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Star Wars: Rebellion» Forums » Variants

Subject: Another Combat Variant: Dice Only rss

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Brian Fox
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The combat mechanic in the game is perfectly functional, but I've found it to be a little clunky. While I like the distinction between black/red die, I find combat (especially large ones) to take too long and pull focus away from the game at large. Additionally, tactics cards just wind up serving as another source of variance which add another layer of frustration to combat. In an effort to speed things up and preserve the feeling of the actual game, I've come up with the following:

1. Leave the Tactics cards in the box. They bog combat down too much and add unnecessary randomness.
2. Roll dice as normal. The Crossed Lightsabers result now counts as a "damage block", much like the Tactics card. You can only block regular hits, not critical hits.
3. The Tactics value of your leader now determines how many dice you can reroll per round. For instance, if Darth Vader is leading the attack, I can reroll two dice in space combat and three dice in ground combat.
4. Assign damage as normal. Use your block results to cancel damage.

Leaders become more important (as they should be, since they're crucial in every other aspect of the game) by providing rerolls. To avoid making combat more lethal, you can still block damage (and even reroll into more blocks). By removing the cards, my hope is that combat is both quicker and simpler. Roll dice, take rerolls, compare results, proceed to the next step.

The only potential loss is the immediate retreat/prevent retreat cards, but in the 10 games I have played those cards have never once been useful so I'm not sure their loss is all that significant. A few Imperial Actions are based around Tactics cards... those become useless, but there are a number of ways you could work around them (for instance, let Tagge's action card still allow you to draw Tactics cards -- giving a significant advantage to the Imperial force... Yularen's "Play tactics cards face up" isn't that useful in the game as it stands, so I'm not sure losing it is a big deal).
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Ian Johnstone
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This sounds pretty good to me.

We just need to hear how it works in a game.
 
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Thomas with Subtrendy
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I might have to try it. Not sure I like it, because I actually like the tactics cards, but all in all combat is far from my favorite part of the game anyway.

I'm curious how this will affect balance, though. I've always thought that the combat cards tended to be more beneficial to the rebels than the Empire, as it allowed them a strategic way to punch holes in the Imperial forces, then retreat. I wonder if this would tilt the balance in Imp favor...
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Brian Fox
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Subtrendy Gaming wrote:
I might have to try it. Not sure I like it, because I actually like the tactics cards, but all in all combat is far from my favorite part of the game anyway.

I'm curious how this will affect balance, though. I've always thought that the combat cards tended to be more beneficial to the rebels than the Empire, as it allowed them a strategic way to punch holes in the Imperial forces, then retreat. I wonder if this would tilt the balance in Imp favor...


I don't loathe the tactics cards, but I think combat is just too cumbersome -- it feels like a mediocre "mini-game" that keeps interrupting the far more interesting "meta-game" happening around it. I just want it to be a tad more elegant, without doing away with the black/red dice mechanic of the different units.

I'm curious about balance changes too... I don't think it will disadvantage Rebels too badly, as the extra rerolls should hopefully maintain their ability to push damage through. The Imperial player will typically have less incentive to send a leader to help his defending forces, since it risks messing up his other plans that turn -- again giving the Rebel forces more of a benefit. My concern actually lies in the block action being too strong, and allowing more powerful forces (5 black/5 red) to not only steamroll over a weaker army, but also generate enough blocks to ensure they don't take any casualties. If blocking is too strong, then it winds up making combat last even longer and I've undone the whole point of using this variant in the first place!

vorpal_Cortex wrote:
This sounds pretty good to me.

We just need to hear how it works in a game.


I'm planning on updating this thread with my results after I get a few games in with this variant!

I also realize that the Rebel Shield Generator will need its ability changed -- perhaps it can grant an additional reroll, or provide an automatic block result? I'll have to try out some options and see what feels right.
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Jason Sherlock
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Subtrendy Gaming wrote:
I might have to try it. Not sure I like it, because I actually like the tactics cards, but all in all combat is far from my favorite part of the game anyway.

I'm curious how this will affect balance, though. I've always thought that the combat cards tended to be more beneficial to the rebels than the Empire, as it allowed them a strategic way to punch holes in the Imperial forces, then retreat. I wonder if this would tilt the balance in Imp favor...


In a 15 card tactics deck, there are 5 blocking cards, 2 of which require the discarding of another tactics cars to resolve. With this system, it is a standard 1:6, with no additional hit cards to offset them. I haven't run a stats simulation, but it does seem a bit overly blocky.

Have you done any statistical work on what this does to the number of blocks? Would have to run using a few different leader value combos to see the effects and whether they change the balance of the game.
 
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Brian Fox
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This dice variant is definitely more "blocky" than using Tactics cards, however, it also winds up being more lethal with rerolls every round. I haven't crunched any numbers (damn liberal arts degree), but I've done a ton of die rolling to test and combats haven't become stagnant due to block results. With tactics cards, they have a profound impact on the first round of combat (after they're first drawn) but future rounds of combat are much slower, as it's harder to generate and spend tactics cards turn after turn. They work well for short combats, but long combats drag on and on -- with rerolls, each round of combat is as dynamic and intense as the first.

If somebody loves the idea and has a good head for dice math, I'd love to see some numbers crunched to determine if this system winds up being more or less lethal than standard combat.

However (and I'll edit this into the OP), I've determined that Critical Hits should be un-blockable. This decreases the potency of the block results, and also prevents "invulnerable" units (an AT-AT vs. 10 Rebel Troopers, who keeps blocking their critical hit results). Another option is to only allow block results to block damage of the same color type, which further limits their ubiquity.
 
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Clinton Rice
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This is an interesting variant but I am unclear on the timing.

Normal combat goes like this: Player 1 assigns damage. Player 2 uses cards to block damage. Then they switch.

So on my turn I roll three hits and a block. When am I using this block? And how is the other player blocking my damage before he rolls his attack dice? By the time he rolls, it would (under normal rules) be too late to block damage.
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Brian Fox
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KoalaXav wrote:
This is an interesting variant but I am unclear on the timing.

Normal combat goes like this: Player 1 assigns damage. Player 2 uses cards to block damage. Then they switch.

So on my turn I roll three hits and a block. When am I using this block? And how is the other player blocking my damage before he rolls his attack dice? By the time he rolls, it would (under normal rules) be too late to block damage.


Timing is a little tricky, since you have to carry part of the attacker's roll (his blocks)over til the defender assigns damage; and you can't resolve damage against the defender until the defender rolls his dice to determine blocks. I would probably suggest:

1) the attacker rolls dice and tracks results,
2) the defender rolls dice and tracks results,
3) then the attacker assigns damage,
4) then the defender assigns damage.

It's not foolproof: fastidious players will want to physically record die results, slowing the game down with book-keeping; and if folks forget what they roll it could lead to some arguments. But I won't have those issues with anyone I normally play with The rules as written already include a certain element of "carry over" (the attacker kills defender's units, but the defender still gets to attack with them). In a perfect world, I'd include a whole new set of dice so that both sides could roll and then use the physical dice to assign damage/blocks.

So basically, I would alter the rulebook's timing to have both attacker and defender roll their dice first, and then assign damage afterwards.
 
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jooice ZP
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The best example I have to why this hurts the rebels.

You attack the death star with Jedi Luke, knowing you will have at least 3 tactic cards, you are hoping to be able to block and save 1 fighter, and play one in a million.

Now you are counting on rolling a light saber symbol.

You have to have quite a fleet to hope to be able to roll these,or to survive.

Currently I have been able to attack a Death Star with 2-3 fighters, not sure this will keep working.
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David Lesouef
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Very interesting. I like your variant.
But I will change 2 things:
sionnach19 wrote:

2. Roll dice as normal. The Crossed Lightsabers result now counts as a "damage block", much like the Tactics card. You can only block regular hits, not critical hits.
This result don't block but change à critical hit to normal hit and normal hit to no hit (defense choice)
OR change a no hit to hit and a normal hit to critical hit (attack choice).

sionnach19 wrote:

3. The Tactics value of your leader now determines how many dice you can reroll per round. For instance, if Darth Vader is leading the attack, I can reroll two dice in space combat and three dice in ground combat.
The DIFFERENCE between opposit leader's Tactics Value détermine how many dice you can reroll.
And you can choose to reroll your dice (attack choice) or adversary dice (defence choice).
 
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Thomas with Subtrendy
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jooice wrote:
The best example I have to why this hurts the rebels.

You attack the death star with Jedi Luke, knowing you will have at least 3 tactic cards, you are hoping to be able to block and save 1 fighter, and play one in a million.

Now you are counting on rolling a light saber symbol.

You have to have quite a fleet to hope to be able to roll these,or to survive.

Currently I have been able to attack a Death Star with 2-3 fighters, not sure this will keep working.


Yeah, that's part of the issue, too. Tactics cards are what their name implies- they add tactics to the game. With only dice, the randomness factor is significantly stronger- which is fine for some people, but many gamers see this as a huge negative.
 
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Brian Fox
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jooice wrote:
The best example I have to why this hurts the rebels.

You attack the death star with Jedi Luke, knowing you will have at least 3 tactic cards, you are hoping to be able to block and save 1 fighter, and play one in a million.

Now you are counting on rolling a light saber symbol.

You have to have quite a fleet to hope to be able to roll these,or to survive.

Currently I have been able to attack a Death Star with 2-3 fighters, not sure this will keep working.


Your broad point is a good one -- any combat variant stands to change the dynamic of combat in the game. It may not drastically unbalance it, but new tactics and unit compositions will be required for certain tasks (and in the instance of some cards, like Rebel Uprising, parity must be ensured). That being said, my variant is actually more beneficial to the Rebels in this situation than the Tactics cards Luke has a Space Tactics value of 3: out of 15 Tactics cards, 5 of them block damage; giving you slightly better than a 1/3 chance of getting a damage block (and a 2/3 chance of getting nothing). With the variant, the odds of rolling a block on 3 dice is 3/6; but Luke allows you to reroll any of those die. You could reroll all three, which gives you a 6/6 odds of rolling at least one block -- the combat rerolls grant a higher chance of blocking damage, allowing you to trigger Death Star Plans. Of course, maybe this means that the variant is unbalanced for the Imperials!

Conan helpfully corrected my math here, showing that my variant gives Luke a 66% chance of getting at least one block while the Tactics cards give him a 74% chance. I don't think an 8% difference is catastrophic, and it might be a worthwhile sacrifice in an effort to streamline. Still, we should consider... Tactics cards may give Luke better odds of blocking, but they also give his opponent better odds of dealing extra damage or preventing Luke from blocking at all. The tactics cards introduce a lot of variables that make it hard to math out the possibilities (especially if you're mathematically challenged, like me!). We're going to be stuck with lingering questions either way: would this change be better for the Empire? The Rebels? In what situations? I'm not trying to recreate an alternative that's mathematically identical to the current model, but if I can get within a few percentage points and don't distort the basic combat balance of the game, I'd happily run a streamlined combat variant with a few slight differences in probability. But I can't say now if those differences in probability are small or large!

Subtrendy Gaming wrote:

Yeah, that's part of the issue, too. Tactics cards are what their name implies- they add tactics to the game. With only dice, the randomness factor is significantly stronger- which is fine for some people, but many gamers see this as a huge negative.


I'm not sure I agree with this -- both drawing cards and rolling dice are random. In the rules as written, the card draws can mitigate the randomness of the dice: giving you another dimension to combat to prevent bad dice rolls (or good ones on your opponent's part) from screwing you over. But since the card draws themselves are random, their ability to mitigate randomness is limited. The tactics they add to the game are pretty elementary too... block and damage cards are often used as soon as possible (at least in my experience), so it's not like there's a complex decision making process. The actual "tactical" ones (No Retreat or Immediate Retreat, whatever they're called) are considered nearly useless in my gaming group.

In the variant I propose, allowing for dice rerolls helps mitigate randomness. It wards against particularly bad rolls, giving players a better chance of success. It makes combat feel more consistent, less vulnerable to drastic swings based on who drew the best tactic cards or who rolled 10 blanks. It certainly doesn't remove the randomness entirely, and I get that many gamers have a peculiar allergy to dice; but I would argue these rerolls do lower the randomness inherent to combat.

It's also worth pointing out that the rerolls do introduce a degree of decision making: in the example above, the Rebel player has to decide how important those blocks are. Do I reroll all my dice to get as many blocks as possible? I already rolled one block, should I keep the damage results on the other dice to try and take some TIE fighters with me? Since you can reroll any dice, you'll often have to choose what results you want to prioritize: blocks, regular damage, or critical damage. Do I accept my regular damage result, which will kill a Stormtrooper, or reroll it in order to fish for a critical damage that will destroy an AT-AT? Dice can still allow for tactical thinking and battlefield decisions -- I'm not trying to dumb down combat, or make it Risk-style random; merely streamline it. Your concerns are good ones though, and I need to spend time (a lot of it!) determining whether the combat system does feel more reductive or more random with this variant. But I don't think it will!

judograal wrote:
Very interesting. I like your variant.
But I will change 2 things:
sionnach19 wrote:

2. Roll dice as normal. The Crossed Lightsabers result now counts as a "damage block", much like the Tactics card. You can only block regular hits, not critical hits.
This result don't block but change à critical hit to normal hit and normal hit to no hit (defense choice)
OR change a no hit to hit and a normal hit to critical hit (attack choice).

sionnach19 wrote:

3. The Tactics value of your leader now determines how many dice you can reroll per round. For instance, if Darth Vader is leading the attack, I can reroll two dice in space combat and three dice in ground combat.
The DIFFERENCE between opposit leader's Tactics Value détermine how many dice you can reroll.
And you can choose to reroll your dice (attack choice) or adversary dice (defence choice).


I'm not sure how those changes would work out, but you're welcome to give it a go! I really dislike the mechanic of rerolling your opponent's dice... they wind up being able to do less, which typically makes people have less fun when they feel like they can't do what they want. That's why I like only rerolling your own dice -- empowerment! That's the same reason why I just allow rerolls based on Tactics values... your system will only grant one player rerolls (or often, neither player), which is less fun for the other person. I also think the myriad of uses you suggest for the lightsaber result could be a little confusing, which could bog the combat rounds down again. I'm trying to keep it more simple and elegant. But hey, your suggestions may wind up being more balanced -- give it a shot.
 
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Conan Meriadoc
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sionnach19 wrote:
With the variant, the odds of rolling a block on 3 dice is 3/6; but Luke allows you to reroll any of those die. You could reroll all three, which gives you a 6/6 odds of rolling at least one block


I think you got your math a bit wrong =)

The odds of rolling a 6 out of 3 dice is 1 - (5/6)^3, or 42%. Taking into account rerolls if you don't get any sixes, you get 42% + (58%*42%) ~= 66% chances to get a six.

Meanwhile, on 15 cards, the odds of not having a block with three cards are (10/15)*(9/14)*(8/13)= 0.26, leaving you with a 74% chance of getting a Block card. Jedi Luke is still more likely to help you with the cards that without
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Brian Fox
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Dystopian wrote:
sionnach19 wrote:
With the variant, the odds of rolling a block on 3 dice is 3/6; but Luke allows you to reroll any of those die. You could reroll all three, which gives you a 6/6 odds of rolling at least one block


I think you got your math a bit wrong =)

The odds of rolling a 6 out of 3 dice is 1 - (5/6)^3, or 42%. Taking into account rerolls if you don't get any sixes, you get 42% + (58%*42%) ~= 66% chances to get a six.

Meanwhile, on 15 cards, the odds of not having a block with three cards are (10/15)*(9/14)*(8/13)= 0.26, leaving you with a 74% chance of getting a Block card. Jedi Luke is still more likely to help you with the cards that without


Duly noted! Thanks for the math lesson, I'll edit the erroneous information.
 
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Thomas with Subtrendy
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sionnach19 wrote:

I'm not sure I agree with this -- both drawing cards and rolling dice are random. In the rules as written, the card draws can mitigate the randomness of the dice: giving you another dimension to combat to prevent bad dice rolls (or good ones on your opponent's part) from screwing you over. But since the card draws themselves are random, their ability to mitigate randomness is limited. The tactics they add to the game are pretty elementary too... block and damage cards are often used as soon as possible (at least in my experience), so it's not like there's a complex decision making process. The actual "tactical" ones (No Retreat or Immediate Retreat, whatever they're called) are considered nearly useless in my gaming group.



Sure the card draws are random, in that you don't get to mill the deck for exactly the card that you want, but it's not like you just draw something off the top and then are forced to immediately apply it to the battle situation like a game of War...

I really don't see how you could think that playing the cards is random, but dice rerolls aren't. That seems kind of silly to me.
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Brian Fox
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Subtrendy Gaming wrote:

Sure the card draws are random, in that you don't get to mill the deck for exactly the card that you want, but it's not like you just draw something off the top and then are forced to immediately apply it to the battle situation like a game of War...

I really don't see how you could think that playing the cards is random, but dice rerolls aren't. That seems kind of silly to me.


Sorry if I was unclear -- obviously, choosing to play the cards isn't random and rerolls are random. I'm making a point about the degree of difference between *how* random each system is. With Tactics cards, you make the choice to use them in the situations when you need them: tactical decisions. But the card draws themselves are random, and they dictate what cards you can play in the first place. It does require some decision making to block damage (to save that Star Destroyer, for instance); but it also requires luck to draw that card in the first place. Rerolls will obviously be random too, but they help guard against the higher variance of single-rolled dice. Basically, rerolling allows the dice to be more consistent and limits some of the frustrations people have with dice and randomness in the first place. I simply find it more attractive to have one mode determine success in combat (dice) and a way to mitigate its randomness, than two modes (dice and drawn cards) determine success in combat which try to mitigate each other's randomness.
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Clinton Rice
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sionnach19 wrote:
KoalaXav wrote:
This is an interesting variant but I am unclear on the timing.

Normal combat goes like this: Player 1 assigns damage. Player 2 uses cards to block damage. Then they switch.

So on my turn I roll three hits and a block. When am I using this block? And how is the other player blocking my damage before he rolls his attack dice? By the time he rolls, it would (under normal rules) be too late to block damage.


Timing is a little tricky, since you have to carry part of the attacker's roll (his blocks)over til the defender assigns damage; and you can't resolve damage against the defender until the defender rolls his dice to determine blocks. I would probably suggest:

1) the attacker rolls dice and tracks results,
2) the defender rolls dice and tracks results,
3) then the attacker assigns damage,
4) then the defender assigns damage.

It's not foolproof: fastidious players will want to physically record die results, slowing the game down with book-keeping; and if folks forget what they roll it could lead to some arguments. But I won't have those issues with anyone I normally play with The rules as written already include a certain element of "carry over" (the attacker kills defender's units, but the defender still gets to attack with them). In a perfect world, I'd include a whole new set of dice so that both sides could roll and then use the physical dice to assign damage/blocks.

So basically, I would alter the rulebook's timing to have both attacker and defender roll their dice first, and then assign damage afterwards.


My one concern with this is that it gives a bias to the defender the original lacks. The defender knows exactly how much damage and where it's assigned when he rolls. The attacker has to guess.

For example, the attacker might get roll a large number of blocks. Not knowing how many will be useful, he might elect to reroll them, and later regret it. The defender has complete information to act on.

The only way I can think of to minimize this bias would be something like this:

Step 1. Both players roll to generate a pool of hits and blocks (perhaps use some kind of tokens like poker chips or colored glass stones to keep track)

Step 2. Attacker assigns damage, then defender.

Step 3. Defender blocks damage, then attacker. Let unused blocks grant an extra reroll on future rounds.

Step 4: Apply damage and remove destroyed units.
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Jason Sherlock
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This is getting really complicated to fix something that went through extensive playtesting, and was not broken.
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Brian Fox
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jackalope wrote:
This is getting really complicated to fix something that went through extensive playtesting, and was not broken.


I never suggested that anything was broken or that I was fixing anything, so I'm not sure I understand your post. I proposed an alternate idea for combat resolution that makes it quicker, simpler, and less cumbersome for folks interested in that sort of thing. Some people are raising valid and helpful points about the potential impact this would have on game balance; but that doesn't make the variant "really complicated." I'm not looking to make a watertight rules adjustment to rival FFG's development team... I'm just brainstorming an alternative to the combat rules that might better suit my friends and spouse (who find the Tactics cards clunky), so I can enjoy the game more frequently with them.

@Clinton, I wouldn't have the attacker assign damage until after the defender has rolled... the defender doesn't quite have all the information. There's still a slight bias towards the defender, but it doesn't really bother me. I think most fixes to that bias would either make the variant unwieldy, or require secret dice rolling which presents other difficulties. I think the rules as written also include a bias towards the defender: the defender assigns damage after the attacker, so has a better chance of responding to the board state; and the defender has already seen the Imperial player's offensive Tactics cards so has a better read on what's in their hand (i.e. Whether they have any blocks up their sleeve). In this instance, the Tactics cards still do a better job of guarding against defender bias... but I'm still unconvinced that a slight bias is really a significant balance problem.



My enthusiastic participation in this thread is just an attempt to get some interest to rub off on other people, so they'll give the varuant a try and help me see if it's got any legs!
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Thomas with Subtrendy
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sionnach19 wrote:
Subtrendy Gaming wrote:

Sure the card draws are random, in that you don't get to mill the deck for exactly the card that you want, but it's not like you just draw something off the top and then are forced to immediately apply it to the battle situation like a game of War...

I really don't see how you could think that playing the cards is random, but dice rerolls aren't. That seems kind of silly to me.


Sorry if I was unclear -- obviously, choosing to play the cards isn't random and rerolls are random. I'm making a point about the degree of difference between *how* random each system is. With Tactics cards, you make the choice to use them in the situations when you need them: tactical decisions. But the card draws themselves are random, and they dictate what cards you can play in the first place. It does require some decision making to block damage (to save that Star Destroyer, for instance); but it also requires luck to draw that card in the first place. Rerolls will obviously be random too, but they help guard against the higher variance of single-rolled dice. Basically, rerolling allows the dice to be more consistent and limits some of the frustrations people have with dice and randomness in the first place. I simply find it more attractive to have one mode determine success in combat (dice) and a way to mitigate its randomness, than two modes (dice and drawn cards) determine success in combat which try to mitigate each other's randomness.


I mean, that's fine, different strokes for different folks. I do think you're overestimating how random the decks are, though. Basically the most relevant mechanical difference between dice and cards in this case is that streaks (good and bad) are always possible with dice, even when mitigated with rerolls (which just reinforce "good" streaks). With cards, all outcomes are possible, and while the draws are indeed random, each "unsuccessful" draw makes future ones more likely to yield the desired result. You could theoretically roll dice all day and not get the number you want (if you're really unlucky, of course) but a card buried in a deck eventually finds its way out.

Plus, it's not like there's a ton of variety in the deck. There are damage dealers, blockers, cards that prevent retreat, cards that allow additional draws from either deck... there might be a few more, but you can pretty reliably count on getting at least a little of what you need, especially if a good leader is brought to combat.
 
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Brian Fox
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Subtrendy Gaming wrote:


I mean, that's fine, different strokes for different folks. I do think you're overestimating how random the decks are, though. Basically the most relevant mechanical difference between dice and cards in this case is that streaks (good and bad) are always possible with dice, even when mitigated with rerolls (which just reinforce "good" streaks). With cards, all outcomes are possible, and while the draws are indeed random, each "unsuccessful" draw makes future ones more likely to yield the desired result. You could theoretically roll dice all day and not get the number you want (if you're really unlucky, of course) but a card buried in a deck eventually finds its way out.

Plus, it's not like there's a ton of variety in the deck. There are damage dealers, blockers, cards that prevent retreat, cards that allow additional draws from either deck... there might be a few more, but you can pretty reliably count on getting at least a little of what you need, especially if a good leader is brought to combat.


That's all true, and I think you're right — I am overstating the randomness of the cards. This variant probably is a bit more random than the rules as written, which is the trade off I make to try and streamline the system. I don't think the degree of difference is so large as to be balance-distorting, but I could be wrong there too! As you say, different strokes for different folks... I'm a long time wargamer, so dice rolls to determine combat is very natural to me. I understand that many people dislike the randomness of dice, and prefer the random nature of a deck of cards instead. Obviously, this variant would be unattractive to them!

I've also been doing a lot of thinking about War of the Ring, which has some analogs to Rebellion. WotR makes use of a dice and cards combat system, and has a heavier emphasis on combat than Rebellion. It uses simple Risk dice-rolling mechanics, which sounds awful in theory (to me, at least); but in the game I think it works smoothly and easily. Many folks find the combat system for WotR entirely acceptable, and it doesn't have the same frustrations Rebellion combat presents for some. There are ways to do dice and card combat in heavy thematic wargames that work elegantly; and perhaps that's the case here. Or perhaps it's just a difference in mindset, as some folks have suggested: combat is much less common in Rebellion, and perhaps people find it an unwelcome diversion from the core essence of the game when it's intended to be a main feature.
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Thomas with Subtrendy
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War of the Ring's combat is much, much smoother than Rebellions, you're spot on with that. And it's decently thematic, too- Sieges favor the defender, combat cards (though fewer in number than Rebellion) have flavor, and (perhaps most importantly) the combat is concise and to the point and just uses standard dice. In fact, I bought sets of red and blue dice just for that game.

I'm not saying Rebellion's combat is perfect- far from it, and while I don't particularly find WotR's combat all that enjoyable, it's at least not cumbersome and distracting from the other parts of the game like SWR.
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A.I Dyk
South Korea
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Superbly intersting! and I totally support your suggestion since I came up with a similar variant recently and posted on the one of my local community site(https://translate.google.com/translate?sl=ko&tl=en&js=y&prev...)
(not a good quality of translation than expected though)

I was thinking of translating my previous article and then post here, couldn't have a time to do so(actually, for my bad english).

My own house rule is as follows:
1. Leave the tactics cards in the box(= same)
2. Lightsaber plays a special role(will be explained later)
3. Tactics value of each leader contribute the number of re-rolling the dice in combat round(= same)

Differences are as follows :
1. Interestingly, my first attempt was to use lightsaber to block damages as you suggest. But I found that the most time consuming part of the combat is just it. There are some reasons, e.g.,
1.1 - The attacker needs to consider overkill
1.2 - The defender needs to consider what to block
1.3 - The more damages are blocked, The longer combat lasts
1.4 - Annoying damage markers

Thus I focused on how to reduce the blockable damages. I also tried to embody every possible or at least similar effect which can be done by tactic cards(Escape Plan, No escape, Bombardment), thus a lightsaber is re-designed for one of the following abilities.

Space Battle
- Remove an opponent's lightsaber dice.
- Opponent can not retreat at the end of this combat round(No Escape)
- Direct hit(either black or red damage)
If it is followed by ground battle
- Additional direct hit damage for ground battle(Bombardment)

Ground Battle
- Remove an opponent's lightsaber dice.
- Retreat!(Escape Plan)
- Direct hit

We can observe some interesting properties here.
- If a player has more units(more dice), the opponent has a lower probabiliy of retreat.
- In a tiny combat like 1 TIE-fighter vs 1 X-wing with high tactic value of leaders, the power of leader is saturated compared to the original rule since we only can re-roll a die with tactic value.
- If a player plans to retreat, he/she must re-roll for lightsaber even at the expense of damage dealing since the opponent can neutralize lightsabers, vice versa.
- We can expect more dynamic battle by using bombardment effect.


2. Ion cannon and shield generator
Ion cannon - same
Shield generator - block 1 damage


3. Combat round goes like this
1. The attacker rolls a dice(including re-roll by tactic value)
2. The defender ''(does the same thing)
3. The attacker neutralizes opponent's lightsabers as many as he/she wants using his/her own lightsabers.
4. The defender ''
5. The attacker use special ability of lightsaber(if he/she has)
6. The defender ''
7. If the defender has shield generator, reduce that amount of attacker's damage dice(either direct hit, regular hit).
8. The attacker assigns damage to the defender's units.
9. The defender ''
10. Destroy! and put some damage markers
11. If both players still have any units, go to 1.

As we can observed, damages are blocked prior to assigning damages, we can simplify the process of damage dealing and minimize the use of damage marker.

Thank you for reading bad-formatted-with-bad-english reply. Anyway so glad to see your variants and share mine as well.
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cody danforth
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We use a very similar variant. The difference being that the crossed sabers is 2 hits of the die color. Works really well and speeds up combat to a good pace.
 
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Conan Meriadoc
France
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codykhan wrote:
We use a very similar variant. The difference being that the crossed sabers is 2 hits of the die color. Works really well and speeds up combat to a good pace.


I like that it's consistent with how lightsabers work for missions, but don't you think it's a bit too attack-oriented ? It may lead to rebel fleets being wiped out pretty quickly, when blocking and retreating is usually their main option.

I could give a try with the following rules, though :
- Lightsabers counts as two hits of the die's color.
- A player can block as many hits as their Leader's tactics values, over the course of the whole combat. Using them all in the first round will be common, but keeping them forces the opponent to overcommit damage.
- Shield Generators allow blocking a single damage per round.
 
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