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Subject: Our game was dominated by the dice rolls. Disappointing. rss

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Toco
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INTRO

Last night we played our first game of X-Wing. I own a base set plus one X-wing and one TIE-fighter expansion. Before I commited to buying this game I've read many reviews and comments on BGG. It sounded good, so I went for it.

I played one game against myself to get used to the mechanics. This way it is easier to teach others. I liked the potential of the game and aborted it after a couple of dogfights. So then I invited 3 friends to come and play.

1 X-Wing with Luke and R2-D2, 1 Red Squad X-Wing
VERSUS
3 TIE-Fighters piloted by Howlrunner, Mithel and Backstabber (and Determination)

I took 2 TIE's the other one miniature each. We played a simple deathmatch, last team standing.


EXPERIENCE

We're all Star Wars fans in our 30's (or over) so the setting of the game is a blast! Top, everybody happy. The manoeuvering system is sweet and the hidden choice of which move you are going to make works like a charm. Good design! Then the first possibility to shoot arrives: ethousiasm, dice rolls, ah missed. No problem, next! ... All fun and cool. Up until the 5th time that happended. soblue Attack roll, all damaged symbols, defense roll, all dodge or changed to dodge by the special action tokens... soblue soblue Eventually the game became a DRAG yuk


QUESTIONS

So, please, what went wrong? Should we only play scenario's? Should we never used the special actions? Should we homerule the defense rolls to use less green dice? Tell me, because I WANT TO LIKE this game. (I invested 65 Euros in it and I'm a SW fan.) But right now it feels like it's a simple DICE ROLL game. thumbsdown

EDIT

I took the advise below. Agreed. And bought me an extra Y-wing and TIE Bomber
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JH
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Dice figure in heavily, it's true. I had a game recently where I never lined up a shot and never rolled a single Evade result. Frustrating, but not typical in my experience.

So, sometimes you will miss a lot, and sometimes it feels like you can't roll any Evade results. You can mitigate this by trying to get Focus tokens and/or Target Locks as much as possible when on the attack, and having a Focus token handy for defense if you don't have a good shot (and/or an Evade token, in the case of the TIEs).

I wouldn't house rule fewer defense dice. They already have a lower chance of giving you a defense result than attack dice do a hit. They break down like this:

Red: 3 hits, 1 critical, 2 focus, 2 blank
Green: 3 evades, 2 focus, 3 blank

So an attack roll with a focus token has a 6-in-8 chance of a hit on each die, while a defense roll with a Focus token has only a 5-in-8 chance of an evade result. More mathy people than me have crunched the numbers extensively, but in the long run, all else being equal, the greens lose. The trick is that with the right setup, all things are not equal. And all the good dice rolls in the world don't matter if you can't line up a shot; there can be a lot of nuance in the maneuvering.

Your options right now are pretty limited, and the game opens up a lot when you have more ships (by design, obviously) There are cards and ships in the expansions that can further affect your chances of a hit or evade. But the game is largely about two things: maneuvering into a better attack position than the other player, and getting (or making) good dice results. For example, so long as a ship is in your firing arc it's hard to miss with this setup:

Bossk (55)
YV-666 (35), Calculation (1), Heavy Laser Cannon (7), K4 Security Droid (3), Recon Specialist (3), Outlaw Tech (2), Engine Upgrade (4)
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Toco
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Thank you for your very well written reply.

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I won't trow away the game, but I'll remember one quote: "... the game is largely about two things: maneuvering into a better attack position than the other player, and getting (or making) good dice results."

If I start playing with this quote in mind, then I won't be disappointed too much anymore, and just "go with the (dice-)flow". But I won't be buying more (very expensive) ships for the moment.
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Ed Bradley
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Never play R2D2 in your first game. Or in a demo game Or in a game under 100pts per side. It will drag out too long.

Rolling equal numbers of dice should favour the attacker as there are fewer evades on the greens than there are hits on the reds. Tokens are important.

But at its heart this is a light miniatures war game with dice combat. Dice will always figure heavily so you need to make sure youre either (a) rolling more dice than your opponent (b) rolling them more often or (c) making sure your dice results are better than your opponents.
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Andres K
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I got into this game this summer and have currently invested half of my monthly salary into it. I agree, that dice rolls can/will be really disappointing. But I, personally, find more fun in the movement and planing phase - how do I outsmart my opponent and get behind him or at least out of his firing arc?
I am not encouraging you to buy more expansions, but there are quite a few cards that can influence dice rolls: rerolls, cannot be cancelled, ect. Or there are different ships - VT49 Decimator does not have any Agility dice at all, for example.
You can try focus firing one ship - if it spends a Focus token after the first attack, it will not be able to use it when the second ship attacks. Also, might pick your targets - cloked TIE Phantom has 2+2 Agility, for example.
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Toco
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Fwing wrote:
Never play R2D2 in your first game. Or in a demo game Or in a game under 100pts per side. It will drag out too long.

Rolling equal numbers of dice should favour the attacker as there are fewer evades on the greens than there are hits on the reds. Tokens are important.

But at its heart this is a light miniatures war game with dice combat. Dice will always figure heavily so you need to make sure youre either (a) rolling more dice than your opponent (b) rolling them more often or (c) making sure your dice results are better than your opponents.


You are correct. It was a mistake to use R2-D2 in a tutorial game. (I did it to match out the Rebels vs the Empire in points, and I wanted to reach the maximum possible amount of points which was 54 I believe...)
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Toco
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Wibs wrote:
...
You can try focus firing one ship - if it spends a Focus token after the first attack, it will not be able to use it when the second ship attacks. Also, might pick your targets - cloked TIE Phantom has 2+2 Agility, for example.


That's some wise tactical advise indeed. We should play the game some more to feel the possibilities.
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Justin Hare
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Luke/R2D2 is an extraordinarily durable ship for what you have available. The Imperial player would have to focus fire it down when they only have TIE fighters.

I would look at trying again with Mithel, Howlrunner, Backstabber against Wedge, Rookie Pilot.

51 per side and should play a lot faster.
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Toco
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Church14 wrote:
Luke/R2D2 is an extraordinarily durable ship for what you have available. The Imperial player would have to focus fire it down when they only have TIE fighters.

I would look at trying again with Mithel, Howlrunner, Backstabber against Wedge, Rookie Pilot.

51 per side and should play a lot faster.


We'll do that next time! Thanks.
 
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Jim Yager
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This game, like many, is a dice based game, what did you expect? I have played games when every red dice came up a hit or crit, I could not miss. I have also played games when I could not hit. It's all in the luck or lack of, in the dice rolls.
 
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Allen T
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tocoking wrote:
But right now it feels like it's a simple DICE ROLL game. thumbsdown


Well it IS a dice game. Maneuvering simply lets you put yourself in the best position possible to take advantage of those dice. For example: a hard 1 turn with barrel roll to move you outside an X-Wings firing arc while leaving you at range 1 gives you an extra red dice to try and force more damage, while taking no return fire yourself. However- it's still a dice game. I have had a 21 point rookie shoot and kill my 33 point TIE Interceptor piloted by Soontir Fel at range 3 behind an asteroid, very first shot of the game, because he rolled hit-crit-crit and I rolled a single focus result on 5 green dice. I took a double damage crit, and my ace pilot was killed by some chump in a T-65 for the first time.


Just wait until you or someone in your group buys a Falcon, and the maneuvering part of the game goes out the window...
 
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Mork Toblerone
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I think your feelings about the first game, or games, are very common. My first games went on forever; it took so long for ships to be destroyed! But getting better at lining up close shots and maximizing your die roll chances will alleviate that. There are elements in the game design that make the matches tend towards ships exploding, not surviving, and you will get better and pushing that aspect.
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David Hammel
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There are so many ways to mitigate dice. 90% of the game is building your squad correctly with appropriate upgrades and knowing how to fly your ship. 10% is dice rolls.
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Matthew Cordeiro
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Wibs wrote:
You can try focus firing one ship - if it spends a Focus token after the first attack, it will not be able to use it when the second ship attacks.

This. Firing on ships that don't have tokens is huge.

Also, make sure you're taking advantage of your pilots' abilities. Were you flying the TIEs within range 1 of Howlrunner to get rerolls? Were you getting Mauler Mithel into Range 1 for 2 bonus dice instead of 1? Was Backstabber coming in on the flank to get the bonus die?

The dice certainly introduce a luck factor, but squad building and flying each play a bigger role in your success than dice rolls.
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Andreas Krüger
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Also, use asteroids if you haven't already. Losing actions and shots due to bad maneuvering is huge.
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Chris L
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As noted above, this game is all about maneuvering. You need to get your ships in a position where you can focus fire on one of your opponent's ships while not allowing him to focus fire on any of your ships, or make him focus fire on one of your slippery ships, like Dark Curse.

Yes, R2D2 is tough to use in your first game because it can draw out the game, but R2 has one big weakness. Maneuver. R2 only works when using green maneuvers. So if your opponent wants to get a shield back you pretty much know where he's going to be. Get your Tie Fighters into a position where you can fire at range 1 and he can't fire at you.

Maneuver. That is the key to this game and is what makes this game one of my favorites.
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Andrew Lieffring
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Fwing wrote:

Rolling equal numbers of dice should favour the attacker as there are fewer evades on the greens than there are hits on the reds. Tokens are important.


Rolling equal numbers of unmodified dice favors the defender. Half the faces of the attack dice don't hit, and the green dice have a nonzero chance of canceling a hit, which means each die is probably going to miss. 3 dice vs 3 has a 53% chance of doing nothing and 2v2 has a 59% chance. You can expect 4v4 to do at least one damage, but only just barely, and it doesn't come up very much.

The advantage for attackers come from the fact that attack there are a lot more ways to modify attack dice, and when the defender is able to modify defense roles it's generally only once. If the attacker is doing it right the defender will be the target of multiple attacks.
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Ron D
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Splitting up the basic TIE Fighters over two people is probably a mistake. For the TIEs to have a chance, they'll have to be carefully coordinated - don't allow the X-Wings a good shot unless it lets all three TIEs shoot the same target at the same time. This coordination becomes much harder between two people.

Also, remember that defensive abilities, particularly persistent defensive abilities, get stronger as the game gets smaller. Luke (even without R2-D2) can be really hard to kill in a 50ish point game. R2-D2 is even worse.

The key in this game is mitigating luck by modifying dice rolls. For the X-Wings, try to have both a Target Lock and a Focus when attacking (and ideally, an extra die for being at Range 1). For the TIEs, on rounds where you are attacking, try to focus fire on a single target and aim to have Focus tokens for everyone. The coordinated fire will minimize the value of a defensive Focus token on the target X-Wing. Use blocking and the asteroids to deny other ships actions at critical moments.

Good luck!
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I'll chime in like everyone else, yes the dice will swing this way and that; however maneuvering correctly and mitigating the luck of your dice via pilot abilities, upgrades, or actions can make a huge difference (all of which come with time and experience). If not done so, you could place a time limit when doing a straight up death match; it gives you a definite finish to the game and can influence how aggressive etc. people may be near the end to secure the points win leading to more excitement.
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One of the reasons the game is designed around 100 pts or more is that it gives you enough dice roll chances to reduce overt randomness.

Think of it like flipping coins. Flip 1 coin 1 time or flip 50 coins 50 times. In 1 situation, you get either 100% win or 100% loss but in the later you will tend towards a 50% outcome.
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Not an uncommon experience with the core set sadly. I actually didn't care much for the game for quite a while from similar experiences. I will, however, suggest:

- Play 100 points. It's what the game is designed to and it shows. At 100 its much easier to focus fire down things like camped tokens and much harder to avoid attacks.

- Use asteroids. They're an easy complication to ignore, but they keep the game from falling into K-turn jousting matches, which get particularly problematic because players stop using actions...

- Love the target lock. This is generally what I find breaks the stalemate. Sure there's a slim chance the green dice can say no regardless, but in general target locks remove those times where the red dice fail, and without those, the fickle greens will also falter.
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Archibald Zimonyi
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IncompleteUserNa wrote:
Fwing wrote:

Rolling equal numbers of dice should favour the attacker as there are fewer evades on the greens than there are hits on the reds. Tokens are important.


Rolling equal numbers of unmodified dice favors the defender. Half the faces of the attack dice don't hit, and the green dice have a nonzero chance of canceling a hit, which means each die is probably going to miss. 3 dice vs 3 has a 53% chance of doing nothing and 2v2 has a 59% chance. You can expect 4v4 to do at least one damage, but only just barely, and it doesn't come up very much.

The advantage for attackers come from the fact that attack there are a lot more ways to modify attack dice, and when the defender is able to modify defense roles it's generally only once. If the attacker is doing it right the defender will be the target of multiple attacks.

I am sorry, how can rolling unmodified dice favor the defender when there are more sides that hit on a red die than sides that cancel hits on a green die?

Please explain the math there.

Archie
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Xander Fulton
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Thamos von Nostria wrote:
Also, use asteroids if you haven't already. Losing actions and shots due to bad maneuvering is huge.


This. A MILLION TIMES THIS.

It's just not the same game, at all, without asteroids. The core rules should honestly never even let players *entertain* the idea of playing without them - they are absolutely core to the game play and balance.
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zimonyi wrote:
IncompleteUserNa wrote:
Fwing wrote:

Rolling equal numbers of dice should favour the attacker as there are fewer evades on the greens than there are hits on the reds. Tokens are important.


Rolling equal numbers of unmodified dice favors the defender. Half the faces of the attack dice don't hit, and the green dice have a nonzero chance of canceling a hit, which means each die is probably going to miss. 3 dice vs 3 has a 53% chance of doing nothing and 2v2 has a 59% chance. You can expect 4v4 to do at least one damage, but only just barely, and it doesn't come up very much.

The advantage for attackers come from the fact that attack there are a lot more ways to modify attack dice, and when the defender is able to modify defense roles it's generally only once. If the attacker is doing it right the defender will be the target of multiple attacks.

I am sorry, how can rolling unmodified dice favor the defender when there are more sides that hit on a red die than sides that cancel hits on a green die?

Please explain the math there.

Archie

What he's saying is that with an equal number of unmodified attack/defense dice, you have less than a 50% chance of getting a hit.
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Andrew Lieffring
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zimonyi wrote:

I am sorry, how can rolling unmodified dice favor the defender when there are more sides that hit on a red die than sides that cancel hits on a green die?

Please explain the math there.

Archie


The attack die has 4 faces that hit and 4 faces that miss, giving it a 50% chance to hit.

The defense die has 3 faces that cancel a hit and 5 faces that don't, giving it a 37.5% chance to cancel a hit.

In order to hit, the attack die has to show a hit and the defense die has to not show an evade. The chance of this happening is 50% * 62.5% = 31.25%.

The numbers get better for the attacker as the dice go up, but in the 2-3 dice range that most of the game is centered around, you just can't expect an unmodified attack to hit unless you're rolling more dice.
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