Success on 5+
ErikPeter Walker
United States
Rochester
Minnesota
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Inspired by How people experience probability, this is a list of games requiring players to roll a five or better on six-sided dice. Usually, the number of dice you roll depends on the situation, but there will usually be thrilling moments hinging on rolling a single die. There also might be situational modifiers that make some rolls harder (hitting on only 6, require multiple successes, etc.) or easier (4+, etc.)

You see this mechanic in a variety of games, and I think there is a reason for it: a 33% chance is magic. A roughly-a-third chance to succeed will entice players to gamble and succeed often enough (with a lucky roll) not to be discouraged.

Likewise 2/3 chance is about as low as you can get where the player is generally confident he will succeed but not flip out when he misses with a single roll.

I originally noticed this playing Final Fantasy Tactics, which gave probability estimates that were admittedly wonky and based on arcane game state variables, but still reliable enough to weigh different tactical options.

I'll add a couple I can think of off the top of my head; please add any which I've overlooked or might not be familiar with.
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1. Board Game: Arkham Horror [Average Rating:7.31 Overall Rank:239] [Average Rating:7.31 Unranked]
ErikPeter Walker
United States
Rochester
Minnesota
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Success generally happens on a 5+, unless you're cursed (6) or blessed (4+).

Players roll a number of dice equal to their skill level (minus the difficulty of the task). Some tasks require multiple successes; for example, in combat, players deal one damage per success.

If you fail you can also spend a clue tokens to roll extra dice, which never seems to pan out. Except when it does, which is super exciting.
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2. Board Game: War of the Ring (Second Edition) [Average Rating:8.39 Overall Rank:14]
ErikPeter Walker
United States
Rochester
Minnesota
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Each player rolls one die per unit involved in combat (to a limit of 5), dealing damage on rolls of 5+.

On the first turn of a fortified battle, or in a siege, the attacker only hits on 6's. However, there are plenty of combat cards and effects that lower the target number and make it easier to dish out damage.

I once had an exciting probability moment in this game (1st edition) when two elves and a leader in Lorien managed to hold off the entire host of Moria, led by the Witch King. A combat card initiated a 3-round battle which I pressed to four, rolling 40 dice (5 per round plus 5 re-rolls when I missed) without a single success, aiming for a target of 5+ for the first round, and 6 for the next three.

Meanwhile he rolled a ton of damage, and the next round mustered an elf or two and came out to slay the witch king. Fun times. I think the fact that stuff like that can happen, albeit unlikely, is one of the reasons a 5+ mechanic is so captivating.
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3. RPG: Shadowrun (4th & Twentieth Anniversary Editions) [Average Rating:7.04 Overall Rank:96]
Peter Robben
Belgium
Antwerp
Antwerp
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And here...
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Buckets of 'em...
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4. Board Game: Virgin Queen [Average Rating:8.08 Overall Rank:462]
Kris Van Beurden
Belgium
Leuven
Vlaams-Brabant
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Virgin Queen & Here I Stand - hits in combat are made on 5/6.
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5. Board Game: The Napoleonic Wars [Average Rating:7.02 Overall Rank:1850]
Kris Van Beurden
Belgium
Leuven
Vlaams-Brabant
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The napoleonic Wars and its daughter games, Wellington & Kutuzov: 5 disrupts, 6 kills
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6. Board Game: No Peace Without Spain! [Average Rating:7.59 Overall Rank:3203] [Average Rating:7.59 Unranked]
Kris Van Beurden
Belgium
Leuven
Vlaams-Brabant
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5&6 hits

Leaders are killed on an 11 or 12 on 2D6 - that's also 5&6
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7. Board Game: Warhammer 40,000 Codex [Average Rating:6.99 Unranked] [Average Rating:6.99 Unranked]
Club Squirrel
England
Brierley Hill
The Black Country
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Atomic batteries to power! Turbines to speed!
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In Warhammer 40K Orks are not the best at shooting, only hitting on rolls of 5+.

On the plus side, there are a lot of 'em shooting
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8. Board Game: Here I Stand [Average Rating:7.94 Overall Rank:174]
Joel Toppen
United States
Gallup
New Mexico
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Preorder Navajo Wars by GMT Games
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