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Spartacus: The Shadow of Death» Forums » General

Subject: Blue dice variant still applicable? rss

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Mark Turner
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Back when Spartacus came out, people realised that initiative and movement were done in such a way that a fast gladiator could simply kite a slow gladiator, guaranteeing the win. Ie, with a 2 vs 4 speed gladiator, there was no game there. A prime example was theokoles, who looked strong but was in fact easy to beat.

So the blue dice variant was born, a brilliant idea, very much in line with existing mechanisms, whereby initiative was established by each player rolling all the dice, and comparing the highest.

This still gave the advantage to a faster gladiator, but left some possibility that a slow, strong gladiator could beat a fast weak one.

If I recall, the next expansion started addressing some of the problems with slow gladiators. Now we have a second expansion, where do we stand? Is the blue dice variant still essential, or has the game moved on with the new gladiators?
 
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Mattias Elfström
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The blue dice variant is not needed. The game is not decided in the arena phase.
 
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Mark Turner
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Mattias wrote:
The blue dice variant is not needed. The game is not decided in the arena phase.


I understand. But for many players, having an actual battle in the arena rather than a foregone conclusion (4 spd always beats 2) was part of the fun.

For those that do want a competitive arena, what I was wondering was whether the new cards and gladiators in some ways evened things up,or whether blue dice variant still applies.
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Mattias Elfström
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There is one obvious change: Theokoles has increased speed.
 
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King Maple
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Its still weird that it's not an official variant. So yes, still relevant and it makes combat fun.
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Mark Turner
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Slashdoctor wrote:
Its still weird that it's not an official variant. So yes, still relevant and it makes combat fun.


Actually, they answered a query I had about that once - something along the lines of 'we don't comment on variants'. It'll never be officialised!
 
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Tyler DeLisle
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MrMT wrote:
Slashdoctor wrote:
Its still weird that it's not an official variant. So yes, still relevant and it makes combat fun.


Actually, they answered a query I had about that once - something along the lines of 'we don't comment on variants'. It'll never be officialised!


That's a weird response. I'm really curious to know why they made an active decision to resolve speed in a different way than everything else. I'm assuming they had the same system for everything originally and made a conscious decision to make speed different, so I'd love to hear their reasoning.

I'm curious why you think the expansion would eliminate the "need" for the variant? I might be playing it with the expansion tonight, but I don't remember seeing anything that would change the result, is it just the extra speed on Theokeles?
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Mark Turner
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TyDeL wrote:

I'm curious why you think the expansion would eliminate the "need" for the variant? I might be playing it with the expansion tonight, but I don't remember seeing anything that would change the result, is it just the extra speed on Theokeles?


It was a question mostly. I'm vaguely toying with getting this expansion, and was just interested.

I saw Theokeles had been sped up, but hadn't dug much deeper. I wondered if speeds had been evened out a bit.

I dimly recall some new card that had some blue dice related power that would make the variant more difficult to apply, but that's a while ago now.
 
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george bews
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We continue to use the speed variant. Yes the arena isn't needed to win the game but it does make combat much more enjoyable than everyone sitting around as one gladiator kites another. This way it encourages engagement more and fights are usually much quicker.
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Mattias Elfström
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giggity wrote:
We continue to use the speed variant. Yes the arena isn't needed to win the game but it does make combat much more enjoyable than everyone sitting around as one gladiator kites another. This way it encourages engagement more and fights are usually much quicker.


I think the blue dice variant is a nice variant. More details about what it does can be found here: https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/957938/blue-dice-variant

I can't see how it affects "kiting" in any major way. It only "softens" the effect of differences in speed. The benefit of "kiting" a slower gladiator is still very much there and the gladiator with higher speed will be able to get more attacks in. It will just happen with less certainty.

One effect of softening initiative is that bets will be more luck dependant than with the standard rules. I have no problem with this if players prefer it.
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Mark Turner
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Mattias wrote:

I can't see how it affects "kiting" in any major way. It will just happen with less certainty.


Exactly. Otherwise there's pretty much no point even playing out the scenario. You need some possibility that it isn't a slam dunk to make it interesting...

Pure determinism has its place, but probably not in this one.
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Klaus
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MrMT wrote:
Actually, they answered a query I had about that once - something along the lines of 'we don't comment on variants'. It'll never be officialised!


This is pretty much just a nicer way of saying 'we don't comment on balance issues in our games'.

In our experience, kiting really only becomes a big issue with Speed 2 gladiators. At Speed 3, a gladiator can attack any hex on the board if he stands in the center - of course, he'll take at least one hit moving there.

We've been using the 'blue dice variant' to make starting order less of a foregone conclusion. One thing we'll try in our next game is letting the gladiator who moves first save his attack if he can't reach his opponent. He will still be able to strike back at the end of the round if the faster gladiator moves up and attacks him.
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Mattias Elfström
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We have a completely different variant in play that will spice up the game and discourage kiting as a side effect. It is described in the Wild Animals rules on the files page.

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