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Subject: Steelcreed - Battle Dice Game rss

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Clark Kingston
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Steelcreed is battle dice game between two players that takes about 5-10 to play. Each player is given 11 system dice and 2 tracking dice, 5 of the system dice are rolled every turn and the 2 tracking dice are the only bookkeeping items required. I'm interested in your initial impressions, suggestions and feedback. Thanks!

Think MechWarrior as a lite dice game.

PDF rules are here.


 
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Christopher Todesco
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Don't use dice for tracking stats.

Especially in a game where people are going to be repeatedly picking up all their dice and rolling them.
 
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Clark Kingston
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Hmm, I hadn't seen it as an issue since those 2 tracking dice are only adjusted once per turn (if at all). The die that tracks your "life" may not even be touched that turn if you have shields up to absorb the blow. What were you thinking of using in its place?
 
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Christopher Todesco
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I wasn't thinking of using anything in its place. To be honest I haven't even read the rules yet, but unless the players are going to be rolling them, or it makes thematic sense (like Lords of Vegas), I see no advantages to using dice over standard board game methods of tracking information, such as cardboard chits (or wooden cubes, pennies, candy, etc) that the player can add/remove from a pile, or a single cardboard marker (or a cube, penny, etc) that moves along a track.

The problem with dice-as-counters are many: people have a tendency (especially with dice games) to pick them up and fiddle/roll them; also people may be confused when given a die and are never told to roll it; when you have to change it, you have to flip and tumble it in your hand until you find the right value, as opposed to just adding/removing a piece of cardboard or sliding a counter on a track; they are more costly to produce than a few pieces of cardboard; you're limited to 1-6, 1-8, 1-10, etc.; and if you start getting up into the d10s, d12s, and especially d20s, they're insanely easy to bump and lose your value.

Let me flip this on you-- What advantages do you perceive to using dice as counters?

 
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Christopher Todesco
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But since I've wasted your time with my personal rant on using dice-as-counters, I've now read the rules and I can give you some opinion on the actual game.

My first thought was "50% of the dice faces are Malfunction, that's a lot of malfunctioning!" then I saw that players get to reroll malfunctions. While it's kinda neat that the more damage you take, the less you can reroll, all this re-rolling sounds like its going to slow down an otherwise quick-sounding game.

I haven't run the statistics, but it seems like with 5 dice with a 50% chance of rolling a Malfunction, you're going to regularly get more than 2... so even at full health you're going to be getting a lot of Malfunctioning. If you're theme is robots built from junkyard parts, I'd say go for it. But if these are supposed to be giant, well-manufactured Battletech/Mechwarrior robots, it seems strange that even at full health you can malfunction.

Here's an interesting suggestion: (and I know it violates a few of the things I said about dice-as-counters, but if you want to use all dice...) The System dice have no Malfunction faces, just a few blank faces instead; your "health counters" are six red dice that have one or two "Malfunction" faces... as you take damage, you take the red dice from your health track and add them to your System Dice pool. So when you have all 6 health, there's no possibility for a malfunction; but every damage you take adds more probability for malfunction. No rerolling. (Not sure how to determine which system malfunctions, but you can probably come up with something using this idea)



And there's a rules ambiguity---when you roll defense dice, do you add the resulting OS rolls to the existing Shield Die's value, or do you replace the Shield Die's value with the number of OS that were rolled? I would assume you always add the +OS to the existing Shield Die value, but the rule isn't clear.

 
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Clark Kingston
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Thanks for all the feedback. Yeah its more like makeshift bots than fully funded mechwarriors.

With that said some of your ideas sound interesting and I will have to see how I can improve the current ruleset to provide a better game experience. My goal is to minimize tracking, have minimal components, and provide streamlined gameplay with some balance of luck and decision making.

The higher malfunctions were put in to balance the importance of rerolling and dictate reconfigurations when you have a string of deficiencies. I can always tweak the dice to have a lower malfunction rate, that just lowers the importance of rerolling and higher core power. But I do kinda like your "malfunction/life counter" dice idea too.

Personally, I dont think a few quick rerolls delay the game that much. You normally have 1-2 (sometimes 3-4) malfunctions and immediately use your reroll attempts on the malfunctions you want. As soon as that is done (under 10 seconds for roll + rerolls) you apply shield results to shield die, subtract total firepower results to opp shields and away you go...


 
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