Recommend
2 
 Thumb up
 Hide
32 Posts
1 , 2  Next »   | 

Stone Age» Forums » General

Subject: Do the dice create too much of a luck factor? rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Letsplay Another
United States
Denver
Colorado
flag msg tools
I recently taught this game to my brother. Towards the end of the game he kept getting horrible rolls which was preventing him from buying the things he had men on. At one point he simply needed to get a 4 or greater with two dice in order to get the resources he needed and he said "if I roll double ones again, I quit", sure enough - double ones. Me and the other player thought it was hilarious but true to his word (and of course childish) he stood up and quit, vowing to never play this game again.

Now I realize that luck is definitely a factor in this game and can actually be a very significant one. I'm personally fine with that because I don't take this game too seriously and I figure that bad/good luck will eventually hit everyone equally but, of course, not if someone won't play it again.

So I was wondering if anyone has come up with some good optional house rules to help minimize the luck factor. For instance, in Settlers of Catan, we used to use a special rule to help mitigate the effect of the dice being horribly unfair to someone. I don't remember exactly what it was because it has been so long but I'm sure that some of you BGGs have run into this in Stone Age and have had players not like this game because of the luck factor and was wondering if anyone has come up with a good house rule to help mitigate this.

Thanks.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Chris Stanton
England
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Quote:
Towards the end of the game

No tools?
They go a long, long way towards mitigating unlucky rolls.
19 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Josh Chen
United States
California
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Tools are very helpful like Chris said and I am surprised he didn't have any.

The other thing is to set your expectations right playing this game because you are playing with dice, although I find all my games balanced out because we just roll them so many times. In a typical game I certainly will find unlucky rolls at some point of the game but not all the time. This applies to my fiancee as well. She will get lucky rolls and unlucky rolls. It's the nature of the beast.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Letsplay Another
United States
Denver
Colorado
flag msg tools
He did have tools. I don't remember the exact situation but he needed to roll 4 or higher to be added to his tools to get what he needed.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Josh Martin
Canada
Mississauga
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
You're playing a game with dice, it is what it is. Now I've played this game hundreds of times, and win most of the time, so strategy is the deciding factor over the long haul. That said, I can still lose a game due to unlucky rolls, but I can still win a game against a grandmaster due to their unlucky rolls- it's not completely deterministic like Caylus or Chess so you actually have a chance to win a given game. Forewarned is forearmed.

As for house rules, you don't need those you just need to play a lot of games to see the "luck" averaged out.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Kent Reuber
United States
San Mateo
California
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
You could always use averaging dice (marked 2-3-3-4-4-5).
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Letsplay Another
United States
Denver
Colorado
flag msg tools
One thought that just came to mind is to perhaps give people a choice. Let them choose to roll the dice and take their chances or just take an automatic 2 per meeple assigned. For example, if you have 2 meeples on the forest you could choose to automatically take the equivalent of a 4 dice roll and get one wood or you could choose to roll, in which you would likely get more (since the average per meeple in a dice roll is 3.5 per die).

This would prevent the horrible dice rolls from killing you when you absolutely need to roll just a low number, which is what infuriates most people, but would still give you the choice to go for more with the dice which most people would probably do most of the time.

Kind of like a "gimme" in golf, which is a short putt that one would almost always make so we give them the putt because we hate to see someone going through the anguish of missing such a short putt, which happens from time to time. Accepting the "2 per meeple" would be the equivalent of a "gimme" in Stone Age and would keep people from getting infuriated.

Just a thought...
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Randall Bart
United States
Winnetka
California
flag msg tools
designer
Baseball been bery bery good to me
badge
This is a picture of a published game designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
tflawless wrote:
Towards the end of the game he kept getting horrible rolls which was preventing him from buying the things he had men on.

If this happens to a player on the last two turns of the game, that is unfortunate. If it happens to him again and again, he is playing too close to the edge.

You should be running a surplus in commodities for most of the game. If three times in the game I risk a 1/6 chance of losing my hut build action and it happens to me once, and ten times in the game you take a 1/3 chance of losing a hut build action and it happens to you three times, I'm not beating you with luck. Don't dare Lady Luck to smack you down.
6 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Letsplay Another
United States
Denver
Colorado
flag msg tools
Barticus88 wrote:
If three times in the game I risk a 1/6 chance of losing my hut build action and it happens to me once, and ten times in the game you take a 1/3 chance of losing a hut build action and it happens to you three times, I'm not beating you with luck. Don't dare Lady Luck to smack you down.


It's not the 1/3 chance of losing a hut build happening that makes people go ballistic in this game, it's the 1/10 or 1/20 chance of it happening and it happens repeadedly that sends people over the edge. That is why I think that my idea above may have some merit.

If the remote possibility of getting a crushing dice roll is unacceptable to you then you would have the option of accepting a very low, yet guaranteed, yield instead of risking it.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Marc Veillet
Canada
Boucherville
Québec, Canada
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
So now I see, He is a "lucky 1" roller... Then he must play only Axis & Allies... beating the crap out of every one else who's playing & that would certainly be fair luck. But then if he gets to a game where he shall roll some 6's... then he will stop playing cause the poor men only rolls 1's? unfair???

No! Strategy... I know when my luck is good, and I know when my luck is running out. So I plan my moves ahead like in chess, so even when I'm totally out of luck, I do win games over strategy! All my friends are pissed at me cause I know how to adapt to unlucky streak.

Another of my friends is always trying the best path to get the worst score at the table... and some of the time, for some "unlucky" reasons, he gets to win the game, I must say here he dislike the fact of winning while trying to get a shitty score. So are we weirdo's? No just calculating the odds, so when I need a lucky roll, I make sure this would be for things I'll need in five turns from now, and for the regular stuff I need right away, I make sure nothing would come up my way to avoid me getting to it.

So finally, your brother shall play A&A, cause then he would be the only person winning against all odds. cool
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Craig Liken
New Zealand
Christchurch
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I think the averaging dice idea is probably the best for if the game is not working for your brother. I guess your take x(probably 2 pips per worker placed) or roll option might be workable too as a variant. Worth a try anyway.

As others have said, tools do mitigate the luck factor hugely, as well as ensuring you place enough workers in the various spots. I think most of us are tempted to spread a bit thinly in those final few turns where the point gathering pressure is really on. To my way of thinking the whole living on the edge thing ties in pretty well with the theme anyway!

In answer to your actual question though, I don't think the dice do create too much of a luck factor. I also think that knowing when to push the luck on the dice and knowing when not to is part of the skills required by this game.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Randall Bart
United States
Winnetka
California
flag msg tools
designer
Baseball been bery bery good to me
badge
This is a picture of a published game designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
tflawless wrote:
it's the 1/10 or 1/20 chance of it happening and it happens repeadedly that sends people over the edge.

Having 1/10 and 1/20 events happen again and again sure sounds like bad luck. Does this happen in your gaming group often? People see streaks and people hope and fear and people do a really bad job of guessing the odds and remembering the streaks. In my experience, there are particular games where particular people are highly prone to take chances they should not. Forty years ago I would say "You can tell it's a game of skill when Billy complains about his luck." Since then I have met dozens of Billies. Stone Age is a game with a lot of randomness but relatively low luck.
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Letsplay Another
United States
Denver
Colorado
flag msg tools
Barticus88 wrote:

Having 1/10 and 1/20 events happen again and again sure sounds like bad luck. Does this happen in your gaming group often?


We've only played this game 3 times. That was the first game where the dice were noticeably screwing someone. His last two turns were especially brutal. He needed a 5 or greater with three dice (98% chance) and failed to get it by rolling a 1-1-2, then on the next turn he need a 4 or greater with two dice (92% chance) and failed to get it with his 1-1 roll, which triggered his meltdown.

If he ever agrees to play it again I'll probably offer him the 2 pip per worker option. I appreciate your suggestion that we should be running a surplus in commodities for most of the game. That is something that none of us were doing which makes us more vulnerable to turn-ruining dice rolls. That is something I'll keep in mind next time I play.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Hubert
Singapore
flag msg tools
Although new players may have the impression that the dice introduce too much luck, this isn't really the case.

The experienced player will still win a significant percentage of the time by effective placement of workers, usage of tools, risk management, being keenly aware of the strategies other players are pursuing, and accurate valuation of each action space, card etc.

There is luck, but it can be mitigated and managed with skilful play.
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Gary Heidenreich
United States
Milwaukee
Wisconsin
flag msg tools
designer
MilwaukeeTEG
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
tflawless wrote:
Barticus88 wrote:
If three times in the game I risk a 1/6 chance of losing my hut build action and it happens to me once, and ten times in the game you take a 1/3 chance of losing a hut build action and it happens to you three times, I'm not beating you with luck. Don't dare Lady Luck to smack you down.


It's not the 1/3 chance of losing a hut build happening that makes people go ballistic in this game, it's the 1/10 or 1/20 chance of it happening and it happens repeadedly that sends people over the edge. That is why I think that my idea above may have some merit.

If the remote possibility of getting a crushing dice roll is unacceptable to you then you would have the option of accepting a very low, yet guaranteed, yield instead of risking it.


Maybe he should have placed three guys in there instead of two. Less risk. If he wanted a guarantee against the dice, then place four.

1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Mark Papenfuss
United States
Star
Idaho
flag msg tools
"Your results are back: it's negative"......um, is that a bad thing?
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Do the dice create a luck factor?
---Yes

Is it too much of a luck factor?
---I don't think so

As mentioned, Stone Age provides so many ways you can mitigate your luck---additional workers, tools, changing your strategy, etc. that many players can still find ways around some unlucky rolls. But the bottom line is that the game is unpredictable. It's a gambling game---how much insurance are you willing to place? How conservative are you going to play? How risky?

I think for many of us it is that mechanic that makes this game "fun", while for others, such as your brother, it may prove frustrating particularly if they are already feeling persecuted.

In my opinion, you were right to laugh when he rolled snake eyes again and many players in his shoes might have laughed too. All in good fun. Simply put, and to answer your question, the fact that he stormed off and quit indicates that the dice may prove too much of a luck factor for him.
5 
 Thumb up
1.00
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Letsplay Another
United States
Denver
Colorado
flag msg tools
mpappy wrote:

In my opinion, you were right to laugh when he rolled snake eyes again and many players in his shoes might have laughed too. All in good fun. Simply put, and to answer your question, the fact that he stormed off and quit indicates that the dice may prove too much of a luck factor for him.


He'll come around... he actually has a great sense of humor and is pretty laid back. He just has a flare for theatrics. I'll never forget a gaming session of "Killer Bunnies and the Quest for the Magic Carrot" (which, by the way, is the dumbest game ever invented) where he actually had to be restrained from throwing his cards into the fireplace. I can't even think about that without laughing.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Snooze Fest
United States
Hillsborough
North Carolina
flag msg tools
badge
We love our pups!! Misu, RIP 28 Nov 2010. Tikka, RIP 11 Aug 2011.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
No luck variant: every meeple is 3.5 pips (round down).

Solved!

But maybe not quite as much fun ...
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Todd McCorkle
United States
Anderson
Indiana
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
tflawless wrote:
"Killer Bunnies and the Quest for the Magic Carrot" (which, by the way, is the dumbest game ever invented) where he actually had to be restrained from throwing his cards into the fireplace.

Why would you restrain someone from throwing killer bunnies cards into a fireplace? Shouldn't that be encouraged? whistle
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Olivier D.
France
Brulain
Unspecified
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
As each resource is traded for VP equal to its pip value, I'd say that those dice tend to define who wins and who doesn't, based on the total number of pips rolled during the game.

(assuming all of those resources get traded of course).
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Marcel Sagel
Netherlands
Groningen
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
mildaene wrote:
As each resource is traded for VP equal to its pip value, I'd say that those dice tend to define who wins and who doesn't, based on the total number of pips rolled during the game.

(assuming all of those resources get traded of course).

Not when you're buying cards with those resources. Or when you're using tools.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Letsplay Another
United States
Denver
Colorado
flag msg tools
kusinohki wrote:

Why would you restrain someone from throwing killer bunnies cards into a fireplace? Shouldn't that be encouraged? whistle


Scorched cards makes for a tough sell on eBay. Although I wouldn't be surprised if the entire box eventually became fire fuel.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Dave Daley
Canada
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
tflawless wrote:
he kept getting horrible rolls which was preventing him from buying the things he had men on.

You (and he) almost certainly only remember the bad rolls. I play Stone Age most weekends, and I can count on one hand the number of times a player has had an entirely "Bad Night" rolling the dice. It does happen, but it's pretty rare.

Generally guys like this roll really well, or at least average on the night, then remember only those two catastrophic rolls, where they didn't get what they needed. Or the time they needed one gold with 4 dice, and missed.

But it averages out. If I am rolling crap, I keep rolling, because I know that, by the end of the game, I'm likely to be rolling a "3 Average", which means good rolls are ahead. And generally they are.

That doesn't mean it's no infuriating when it happens. I know one time I needed food in the worst way, so I was purchasing any card with a "Roller" on it. I didn't get food on the first two, but I bought two more. Failed to roll a 6 (Food) on those two as well. In a 4P game, I failed to roll a single 6 with 16 dice! I spent 10 minutes in the bathroom, refusing to come out, and rolled for only wood the rest of the game. It's the worst "sport" I've ever been playing games, and I still feel terrible about it. Bad luck is infuriating, but it really does average out.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Letsplay Another
United States
Denver
Colorado
flag msg tools
elkabong wrote:

But it averages out. If I am rolling crap, I keep rolling, because I know that, by the end of the game, I'm likely to be rolling a "3 Average", which means good rolls are ahead. And generally they are.


It's actually 3.5 average, but never think that bad rolls early in the game must mean that good rolls will come later in the game. The dice have no memory, so that logic can just lead to further frustration. Vegas has built huge hotels with people applying that same logic.

elkabong wrote:

That doesn't mean it's no infuriating when it happens. I know one time I needed food in the worst way, so I was purchasing any card with a "Roller" on it. I didn't get food on the first two, but I bought two more. Failed to roll a 6 (Food) on those two as well. In a 4P game, I failed to roll a single 6 with 16 dice! I spent 10 minutes in the bathroom, refusing to come out, and rolled for only wood the rest of the game. It's the worst "sport" I've ever been playing games, and I still feel terrible about it. Bad luck is infuriating, but it really does average out.


That would be very frustrating. But it seems you made the exact mistake I pointed out before. You figured since the first two didn't pay off, then the next two must, which only compounds your disbelief and angst. I figure that the odds of not rolling a 6 with 16 dice is 5.4%. Which means, if you play as much as you say you do, you will see something like that happens in one out of every 18.5 rolling sessions, which is really not that uncommon if you think about it. However it does seem infuriating when if does happen, especially near the end of the game.

I think it's sound reasoning to figure that you will get more goods than you hoped for just as much as you get less than you hoped for, so when the yield is favorable you need to consider those extra resources a gift and set them aside for when the dice aren't as kind. That is something I need to work on.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Alex Drazen
United States
Massachusetts
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Quote:
That would be very frustrating. But it seems you made the exact mistake I pointed out before. You figured since the first two didn't pay off, then the next two must, which only compounds your disbelief and angst. I figure that the odds of not rolling a 6 with 16 dice is 5.4%. Which means, if you play as much as you say you do, you will see something like that happens in one out of every 18.5 rolling sessions, which is really not that uncommon if you think about it. However it does seem infuriating when if does happen, especially near the end of the game


I'll do you one better: in my most recent 3P game of Stone Age, I bought four Market cards and didn't get a single "good" roll (5 or 6) the entire time. The odds of that happening are 0.7% (seven-tenths of one percent), and I lost by about three points because of it. Had I rolled a single tool or farm, I would have had an extra +5 to +7 bonus or so at the end of the game (from card bonuses) and each opponent would only have received +1 in resources (the winner to my right would only have seen wood or clay, so it wouldn't have helped him much with the heavyweight huts we had, and the other player was never really in it).

Another time, I rolled 1-1-1-2 on a Market card. In a 2P game, I rolled snake eyes, 1-2, and snake eyes again on three consecutive Market cards (0.004% -- a four-thousandths-of-a-percent chance! I think it's a little higher because I just did it for that order, not for any three rolls, but it's still comically ridiculous what can happen in this game)

Those are outliers, though. With good play by everyone, this game is going to come down to a couple of rolls of the dice, and you just have to hope you don't get the bad one at the wrong time.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
1 , 2  Next »   | 
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.