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Subject: Dice re-roll mechanic question for the designers/publisher rss

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Brian Frahm
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Had an eager group set up to play Madeira yesterday. Things were going well until we got to Phase C, where we re-rolled the guild dice and pirate dice (which I had apparently forgotten to explain would happen). One of the gamers had this (paraphrased) question:

"Why are we re-rolling these dice? I had made my decision to go that location based on the dice values being so high! Why should a dice roll determine the fate of my last 10-15 minutes of decision making in Phase B?"

At the time, the four guild dice were 3,2,2, and 2. I tried to explain that he would NOT be complaining if they were 1,1,1 and 1 with an upcoming re-roll to define the character action cost! He was still frustrated.

I'd like you hear your thoughts on the thematic / mechanical decisions to have a re-roll at this point. Was there an inherent problem in leaving the dice at their current values?
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Dylan Maillard
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I'm not the designer or publisher, but there are 3 areas on the Madeira Island.
You have to take a 2 or 3 to go on the 2nd area, or pay a bread. Right ? Same on the third area.
So if not re-rolling dices, some areas will certainly be more expansive than others, but people move around, so it can't be possible.
With 4 players, if all are going on this area:
Area 1: 4*1 = 4, maybe 6 or 7 if players have high dices values. So price to paid will be 6 or minus.
Area 2: 4*2 = 8, so price will be 2 or minus.
Area 3: 4*3 = 12, or minus if players paid bread, so price will always be 0, or just 1 or 2...

It can't be possible to let those 3 areas in this state. No ?
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Curt Carpenter
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You definitely have to reroll the dice, for reasons Dylan mentioned, but the question is when. The official rules say in Phase C, after all character actions, as each building is resolved. There is an (official? sanctioned?) variant where you reroll each die as it's placed on a character in Phase B, and thus skip the rerolling of dice in Phase C. Honestly both work fine. But either way, it's best if players understand the rules before making their decisions!

I'm happy playing the game either way. The thing that's nice about the original rule is that players have to do some risk analysis while resolving buildings. Do I resolve this building and hope that the next one is cheap? Or do I skip this one, take pirate(s) to be sure I can do the upcoming building I really care about? Or do I keep high cash reserves that I can roll with whatever happens? These decisions go away with rerolling dice as they're placed on characters, but you do get more predictable planning.
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Matthias Nagy
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framebrain wrote:

"Why are we re-rolling these dice? I had made my decision to go that location based on the dice values being so high! Why should a dice roll determine the fate of my last 10-15 minutes of decision making in Phase B?"


The re-rolling is very important to make each of the five buildings equal to be interesting to be there if other players are there already. Otherwise the most valuable buildings in Region 3 would be too cheap and the building in Region 1 would always be to expensive. So the re-rolling is planned in for a reason.

Re-rolling them immediately as mentioned by curtc is not very interesting for us as the rolling in Phase C is part of the excitement if the plan comes to fruition as set up in Phase B. There have been several fantastic moments, when the planning has to be changed, as the players planned not with the worst case but hoped for better results.

Matthias Nagy
from What's Your Game?
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Jacob Lee
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I hate to say that I'm not a fan of rolling dice for building costs either so I'll share our variant that we've used twice which works great as far as I can tell:
When dice are placed they are not rerolled. After the phase the dice are grouped according to number and only the unique dice add to the cost and duplicates are ignored. Some sample costs: 2 2 3 would be 5 reals because of the 2 and 3 with the other 2 being ignored, 3 3 3 would result in 3 reals. The range of costs would go from 1 real (111) to 6 reals (123) which is similar to the formulaic method of subtracting from 9 for 3p. All this without the dice rolling.
I've noticed a range of costs occurring for buildings in any region. When I've gone solo to a 3 building I used a 1 die with bread to save cash because I had excess bread and not enough currency and paid 1 real. I also had someone thwart me by placing his 3 next to my 1. Sometimes we would try to cooperate and place duplicate dice to keep costs down.

I'm not saying this variant is perfect, but it works for us because none of us liked the dice rolling part of the game and this did not "seem" to throw the balance out of whack. If I eventually find it does then I'll scrap it and delete this post but I'm not convinced yet.
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Steve Duff
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EmperorJacob wrote:
I hate to say that I'm not a fan of rolling dice for building costs either so I'll share our variant that we've used twice which works great as far as I can tell:
When dice are placed they are not rerolled. After the phase the dice are grouped according to number and only the unique dice add to the cost and duplicates are ignored. Some sample costs: 2 2 3 would be 5 reals because of the 2 and 3 with the other 2 being ignored, 3 3 3 would result in 3 reals. The range of costs would go from 1 real (111) to 6 reals (123) which is similar to the formulaic method of subtracting from 9 for 3p.


But it's not similar at all. Your costs are too low, giving you more money than you should have, and the incentivism is completely backwards.

In the real game of Madeira, the cost of an action is generally inversely proportional to the popularity. Popular actions are cheap, solitary actions are expensive (with minor variances of course due to dice rolling). Plus, all 3 regions are equal, ie an action used three times in region 3 will probably be the same cost and can even be cheaper than an action used three times in region 1.

Your variant has none of that. First of all, region 3 is fixed in price, it will always cost 3 no matter what, since [3], [3][3], or [3][3][3] all equal cost 3. Region 2 will always cost 2 or 5. Region 1 will have the most variance, with potential costs of 1,2,3,5, or 6. So right away we've lost the equality of the regions.

In the real game, placing a die in an empty action spot should give you pause, as your costs could be huge and the pirate penalty dire. When I place first, I know that my cost will be minimum 6-8 unless others join me there later. Yours is completely opposite, when I place first, I know my price will be a low 1-3, and might get higher.

Your variant also completely guts the pirate dice. Normally, placing a pirate die does two things, it increases the penalty if you can't pay, and at the same time raises the potential price of the action for those who have already placed. It raises the price by taking up a spot so there's less room for "normal" dice, and as we said, the more normal dice there are the lower the action cost in general.

Your variant reverses this in fact, placing a pirate die will always make the price lower or have no effect for the others, because there will be less ability to raise the price by adding a dice of a different value (eg, if the dice are currently [2][2], placing a pirate die locks the price at 2, whereas placing a regular dice of [3] would raise the price to 5).

This leads to bizarre incentives in your variant, where you will always be better off placing pirate dice on actions where you are already present. In the real game, this again should be a tough decision, since you know your action cost will now be 1-3 bucks higher and the pirate penalty is higher if you ultimately can't afford it. In your variant, it's a no-brainer, always do it so the next dude can't screw me by placing a [3] on me.

Play as you like, but you're not playing Madeira.
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Jacob Lee
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Actually, I already knew what you said before we tried it. Everything. Sorry if this bothered you. Being so hard pressed for money was one of the reasons we tried it. Incentivism was there just different. We may come back to the original rules in time but we're happy with this. If it didn't work for us I wouldn't have shared, but I offered it in response to the original post. Notice how I didn't create a separate thread?
The building cost mechanism is kind of quirky to begin with and stands apart from the rest of the game, in my opinion. There are other ways to assign a cost to buildings from a designer perspective. Just like there are other formulas for pirate token punishment (-16, -8, etc). I say play however you want and have fun with it otherwise you're just like the dad in The Lego Movie. I'm having fun with it.
By the way, you should check out some of the Castaways threads. Lots of different ideas being tossed around over there that completely change the game. They do that to make the game more fun for them and that's all this is.
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Curt Carpenter
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EmperorJacob wrote:
Being so hard pressed for money was one of the reasons we tried it.

You're supposed to be hard-pressed for money (and it gets easier with experience). I'm with Steve; your variant sounds like a disaster to me, for the reasons Steve stated. It doesn't "bother me", it's just feedback. Glad you guys enjoy it though.
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pacemaker 67
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Re: Dice re-roll mechanic question for the designers/publisher (Thread necro 1/1/15)
I did a self play-through recently.

The rules seem to say to roll the dice on a building just prior to resolving that building.

I mistakenly rolled all of the dice on each building before any building was resolved.

In this variant, the intent of the designers is kept intact about costs in general being higher with fewer Guild dice. But what it did was allow me to better planning for Phase C. I could see ahead of time which building I might pass up and take pirates on if I were short on money.

Any comments about this variant from the designers? It seems like it would slightly increase the value of the Bishop.

(edit: clarification of dice)
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