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Subject: Dice Analysis rss

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Stefan Nemeth
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I'm bored and there are no news regarding Descent 2nd so let's talk a little bit about the new dice!

Which sides can we see on the picture?

White armor:
0, 1, 1, 2, 3, ?
I think Gauß would assume the ? is a 2.

Brown armor:
0, 0, 1, ?, ?, ?

Black armor:
2(?), ?, ?, ?, ?, ?

Does anyone know which armor die is supposed to be the best?
Why are there 2 white ones? (How do you even combine natural with item-based armor?)

Only one main die -> blue
I feel good about this, because ranged weapons certainly needed to be increased in damage output!

Red dice for damage only?
yellow ones for range and surges?


QUESTIONS QUESTIONS! surprise


(excuse my bad english)

Thank you!
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Bryce K. Nielsen
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I don't think there will be "natural" armor, just armor dice. Looking at the pics of Heroes and Monsters, I don't see any natural stats, just dice. One thing the preview said was it was removing the "math" of the game, the whole, "gotta beat 4 armor". With dice, you never truly know what the armor will be.

-shnar
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Michael H
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shnar wrote:
One thing the preview said was it was removing the "math" of the game, the whole, "gotta beat 4 armor". With dice, you never truly know what the armor will be.


If true I find that argument a bit flawed as you will still need to beat the expected value of the armor dice. Perhaps it will increase the math because you will need to find the expected value of the attack AND defense.
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Chris J Davis
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ScrewTape wrote:
shnar wrote:
One thing the preview said was it was removing the "math" of the game, the whole, "gotta beat 4 armor". With dice, you never truly know what the armor will be.


If true I find that argument a bit flawed as you will still need to beat the expected value of the armor dice. Perhaps it will increase the math because you will need to find the expected value of the attack AND defense.


I think the idea is that once the amount of maths increases past a certain point, people won't bother and will just leave it to intuition.
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Andy Mills
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bleached_lizard wrote:

I think the idea is that once the amount of maths increases past a certain point, people won't bother and will just leave it to intuition.


You've never played games with mathematicians or engineers, have you?
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Bryce K. Nielsen
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Hey, it's what the preview said...

-shnar
 
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Chris J Davis
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manydills wrote:
bleached_lizard wrote:

I think the idea is that once the amount of maths increases past a certain point, people won't bother and will just leave it to intuition.


You've never played games with mathematicians or engineers, have you?


I'm a software engineer, and my main gaming partners are another software engineer and a professor of astrophysics.

I didn't say that I agreed with the premise.
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Josiah Leis
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Personally I know that having armor dice rather than a static number is NOT going to stop me or any of the people I play Descent with from calculating damage potential on an attack. All it will do is slow the game down slightly until we get used to the probabilities on the dice.

If FFG's idea of "streamlining" combat is "Let's make it more random so people don't think about it...." then I'm a little worried at the direction this design is headed in......
 
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Bryce K. Nielsen
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ScrewTape wrote:
shnar wrote:
One thing the preview said was it was removing the "math" of the game, the whole, "gotta beat 4 armor". With dice, you never truly know what the armor will be.


If true I find that argument a bit flawed as you will still need to beat the expected value of the armor dice. Perhaps it will increase the math because you will need to find the expected value of the attack AND defense.


I kind of thought it was silly when I saw that in the preview. Shifting from numbers to dice just means people will spend more time mathing out an attack, not less. Figuring odds against white dice/brown dice/black dice/ etc. There will be user-created odds charts uploaded within weeks of the games release, etc.

But it's what they think:
Quote:
From simpler rules for determining line of sight to faster setup of each encounter, Descent: Journeys in the Dark Second Edition delivers a tense, satisfying experience with minimal player downtime. Defense dice mitigate the tendency to "math out" attacks, while shorter quests with plenty of natural stopping points mean that even the busiest group can now fit Descent into a varied night of gaming. What’s more, since all necessary statistic, conditions, and effects are listed conveniently on their respective cards, you’ll be able to leave the rulebook in the box!

take from Descent Description Page, emphasis added.


With that being said, and looking at all the preview hero pics, all of the armor lists a picture of a die, no numbers, so I predict that there will be no hard numbers of armor, it will all be dice. Besides, this is Corey's game and he loves dice and cards.

-shnar
 
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Andy Mills
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Well, all of this is pure speculation at this point. I am holding out for at least a preview, if not the rules.
 
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Bryce K. Nielsen
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Well, here are the images we have so far:







So we have:
- Leoric with 1 white die
- Landric with 1 brown die
- Widow with 1 white die
- Ronan with 1 white die
- Beastmen with 1 white die
- Spider with 1 white die
- Master spider with 1 white die
- Giant with 1 black die
- Master Giant with 1 black die

Notice how so far none of the revealed stats have numbers, just pictures of dice? And only 1 die at that (I haven't seen multiple dice yet).

-shnar
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James Reynolds
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When it comes to dice analysis it doesn't take much effort to determine the average amount of damage prevented: sum the sides and divide by 6 so easy to "math out." If your game group is slowed down by this, well then, I'm sure it is slowed down by a bunch of other stuff so grab a beer and some chips.

What I do like about the random defense is that a weapon that doesn't do much damage can have a chance to damage a creature with high armor.

Finally, we don't know how armor works yet. Maybe it is a number that gets added on top of the die roll.

What I love about these forums is the bold statements people make about hating 2e after reading someone’s speculation about one rule. Remember, the game is a system, out of context an individual rule might not make much sense but in the total system it might work great. Remember FFG has game testers and I'm willing to give them the benefit of the doubt, they will find balance flaws and fix them.

Remember Descent is one of their key products, they will take the time and spend the money to make it good.
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Josiah Leis
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I spent 100 GG and all I got was this stupid overtext.....
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igfa_277 wrote:
Remember FFG has game testers and I'm willing to give them the benefit of the doubt, they will find balance flaws and fix them.


Have you played a FFG game before? Why on earth would you give any play tester at FFG the "benefit of the doubt"? Sea of Blood was a Descent product also and it is quite obvious that it either wasn't play tested at all or very, very poorly.

Personally I'm hugely hopeful for Descent 2E, I even have the thing pre-ordered though it goes against my better judgement (curse you Miniature Market and your sales!). But when they say in their own preview that they've streamlined combat so that it reduces the tendency to "math out" attacks and then we see that armor is no longer a static number but dice, well...that doesn't exactly inspire confidence. I'm hoping that they were referring to some other change because as I said earlier if their idea of "streamlining" is "make it more random so people don't think about what they are doing...." then there is a problem.

Totally with you on the weak weapon having a chance to hit high armor things though.
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Cameron McKenzie
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igfa_277 wrote:
When it comes to dice analysis it doesn't take much effort to determine the average amount of damage prevented: sum the sides and divide by 6 so easy to "math out." If your game group is slowed down by this, well then, I'm sure it is slowed down by a bunch of other stuff so grab a beer and some chips.


Of course, averages are only one part of it.
If I need two hits to kill something and I've figured out that my average number of hits is 2, that's not very useful. If it's 80% zeroes and 20% tens, then that's dreadful probability... If it's all twos than I'm in good shape.
Distribution is important.
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Scott Lewis
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Kartigan wrote:
igfa_277 wrote:
Remember FFG has game testers and I'm willing to give them the benefit of the doubt, they will find balance flaws and fix them.


Have you played a FFG game before? Why on earth would you give any play tester at FFG the "benefit of the doubt"? Sea of Blood was a Descent product also and it is quite obvious that it either wasn't play tested at all or very, very poorly.

Well, it depends on the game Runewars turned out great, so I'm guessing the testers for that one were more rigorous. Rex also had a good set of playtesters, IMHO

It's possible that base games tend to have more testing than expansions, though.
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James Reynolds
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Kartigan wrote:

Have you played a FFG game before? Why on earth would you give any play tester at FFG the "benefit of the doubt"? Sea of Blood was a Descent product also and it is quite obvious that it either wasn't play tested at all or very, very poorly.


I'll agree that some FFG games/expansions do have balance problems but these were either made early on in the companies existence or expansions that don't get nearly the budget or man-hours that the "big box" games get. FFG isn't going to mess up Descent 2e, there is just too much at stake. If it is good, think how many expansion they are going to make for it and sell. That is a lot of money. They will put in the time to make it good. Plus they have 6 (7?) years of Descent 1e experience, that goes a long way to making the next generation better.

Perhaps I'm just an optimist at heart but I'm really looking forward to 2e. With all the expansion 1e just became a rules nightmare and there were way too many cheap ways for a good OL to crush the party.

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Bryce K. Nielsen
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Early on? Balance problems? The "playtesting" we're talking about has nothing to do with early printings or balance. It has to do with not being playable, period. Sea of Blood, for example, has one island map that uses both the cave entrance and the whirlpool, a piece that is printed on one side of the same component, so impossible to setup out of the box. Mansions of Madness, a much more recent game, has a similar setup issue with one of its scenarios, completely impossible to setup due to limiting factors. If anyone had actually *played* that scenario, they would have recognized that it was impossible to setup, let alone play.

I'm looking forward to 2nd Ed, but I don't have high hopes that it will be any better quality than the other games FFG has been chewing out. Seems like lately, they've been caring less about customer service and testing and more about release dates (I'm also disappointed that they're discontinuing 1st Ed and would have preferred this game to be a different game outright and just continue to build on 1st Ed).

-shnar
 
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Evan Stegman
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D6Frog wrote:
shnar wrote:
If anyone had actually *played* that scenario, they would have recognized that it was impossible to setup, let alone play.

To this day, I just can't fathom how this could possibly happen if it was playtested.


Easy to fathom: only playtested with prototype or sample components and not the production pieces after the order came back from the printer. That's usually when playtesting takes place.
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Chris J Davis
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D6Frog wrote:
shnar wrote:
If anyone had actually *played* that scenario, they would have recognized that it was impossible to setup, let alone play.

To this day, I just can't fathom how this could possibly happen if it was playtested.


Playtest copies wouldn't have used finished components, with the playtest components obviously being one-sided. That's how.
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Scott Lewis
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shnar wrote:
If anyone had actually *played* that scenario, they would have recognized that it was impossible to setup, let alone play.

That's not necessarily true; it would be correct if they played the scenario with the exact components, but it's possible in internal playtesting, they may have multiple copies of components and thus it could more feasibly go unnoticed. That doesn't mean it SHOULD go unnoticed, as I agree it would be better to have had an audit on the pieces used, but it doesn't mean that there was no actual playing done.

Quote:
(I'm also disappointed that they're discontinuing 1st Ed and would have preferred this game to be a different game outright and just continue to build on 1st Ed).

I know I've beat this drum before, but I have a feeling a large part of the discontinuing of 1E is due to cost, in that reprinting the base set would have cost more in today's printing market and may have required an unsustainable pricepoint. And if the base game is not available, making more expansions would be limiting themselves to current customers only.
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Bryce K. Nielsen
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sigmazero13 wrote:

Quote:
(I'm also disappointed that they're discontinuing 1st Ed and would have preferred this game to be a different game outright and just continue to build on 1st Ed).

I know I've beat this drum before, but I have a feeling a large part of the discontinuing of 1E is due to cost, in that reprinting the base set would have cost more in today's printing market and may have required an unsustainable pricepoint. And if the base game is not available, making more expansions would be limiting themselves to current customers only.

That's probably true when you consider the significant difference in miniature counts. 2nd Ed has what, 8 heroes and 10 monsters?

-shnar
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Scott Lewis
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shnar wrote:
sigmazero13 wrote:

Quote:
(I'm also disappointed that they're discontinuing 1st Ed and would have preferred this game to be a different game outright and just continue to build on 1st Ed).

I know I've beat this drum before, but I have a feeling a large part of the discontinuing of 1E is due to cost, in that reprinting the base set would have cost more in today's printing market and may have required an unsustainable pricepoint. And if the base game is not available, making more expansions would be limiting themselves to current customers only.

That's probably true when you consider the significant difference in miniature counts. 2nd Ed has what, 8 heroes and 10 monsters?

I don't remember the exact 2E details, only what I'm seeing on the FFG page.

1E had 20 hero figures and 60 monster figures. (80 total)
2E has 8 hero figures and 38 monster figures. (46 total)

So it looks like 2E has just over half the plastic components. I think the cardboard components are a bit lower, too. But from the very little I know about manufacturing, it's just getting more expensive to make these games today for whatever reason. Plastic (especially good quality plastic) seems to be hit especially hard, although I'm guessing all components are affected by the high fuel prices today since I'm sure shipping is taken into account for these price points.

Again, all just speculation, but I just don't think FFG went to 2E "just because". While gameplay concerns were probably a part of it, I think the cost was the driving factor, and to reduce the price, they'd have to modify the game in some fashion.
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Josiah Leis
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Yeah 2E has 8 heroes and 38 "monster figures" which probably comes out to about 9-10 different monster types. I am also definitely hopeful that Descent 2E will receive much more thorough and rigorous play testing that the Sea of Blood expansion. The two sides of the tile thing I can see happening, with as others have mentioned prototype components. However there are far more grievous errors that IMHO show that Sea of Blood just wasn't play tested period (such as the Kraken rules, or lack thereof). Play testing a 50 hour advanced campaign is difficult no doubt, but I believe a concerted effort to do so should have happened. I know my group personally would've been ecstatic to thoroughly play test a new advanced campaign, even with prototype components.

The fact that they've pushed the date back from March to 2nd Quarter is actually quite encouraging to me. To my mind it suggests that they had to change some things while the game was being printed. Whether that means play testing revealed things that needed fixed, or editing caught some important errors I am pretty optimistic that the push back was a very good thing for Descent 2E.

Also I just wanted to point out that as huge of a Descent (and FFG for that matter) fanboy as I am, a Second Edition of Descent and NOT a continuation of 1E is exactly what I was hoping would happen. 1E had too many problems that couldn't be fixed with another expansion, and after the craptastic effort that was Sea of Blood I had no faith that they could produce another good expansion for Descent. I just hope that this 2nd Edition is as good as I am wanting it to be.

*Edit* I forgot to add that my doubts about FFG's playtesting and editing processes are mainly based on their track record as a whole. There are several definite bright spots (Runewars as Scott pointed out, Chaos in the Old World to name another) that show that they were playtested very carefully. Their record as a whole in this department isn't really that great though. I do believe they are making efforts to improve though, similar to how their rulebooks of late seem to be getting better (again Runewars as an example).
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ErikPeter Walker
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So, uh, about the dice...

My gut feeling is that having variable damage subtraction is cool. Without flat damage reduction, weak monsters will still be a threat to the heroes, they just have to gang up. Plus there can be really tough bosses. Also maybe the wonky cloaks of disappointment are gone.

I hope they get rid of Pierce too. If every hero/monster has at least a chance for some armor, it's effectively +1 damage, and I think it's weird to have an effect that is "+1 damage, except against unarmored opponents". Actually looking at the images above shows that it is still there. Oh well. I guess it wasn't 100% streamlined...

I'm surprised by the apparent absence of surge dice, but that hesitation after every not-quite-successful attack--"Do I spend the fatigue and hope to boost it? Okay, (roll), oh look, I failed. Do I spend another?"--is a subtle but noticeable time sink. And since you probably won't roll as many surges in this version, perhaps they can do more.
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Bryce K. Nielsen
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Look at the larger version of this image:



You'll see that the Spider has Pierce, so they kept that ability in the game. They also have Surge abilities, something new. Looks like monsters will be able to spend surges on specific abilities instead of gaining extra threat for the Overlord. In fact, I have a feeling Threat has been removed completely with the "streamline" goal.

But yes, no Power Dice. I think I'm going to miss those.

-shnar

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