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Subject: Which tokens to use? rss

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Robert Bracey
United Kingdom
London
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A quick warning. This is quite dense stuff on the probabilities. If you do not want to wade through it the upshot is that at a difficulty 4 there is not much difference in your chance of succeeding at a mission whether you hold a determination, teamwork, or intelligence token. However, once you take other difficulties and game-play elements into account you should be relying mostly on teamwork counters to improve your chances of success with occassional intelligence tokens and avoid determination counters unless you are desperate.


At a difficulty of 4
In my head so please correct these are the odds for succeeding at a disaster at the ‘magic 4’ difficulty.

Straight Roll With determination With teamwork With intelligence (only on fail)
Success 26/36 1196/1296 33/36 98/108**
Used up?- 10/36 7/36 10/36
Hood 1/3 46/108* 1/3 6/36***

Percentages
72% 92% 92% 91%
28% 19% 28%
33% 43% 33% 17%

*If you take a second roll you risk the hood again so increasing the chance of a hood result over-all.
**The probability is marginally more difficulty to calculate requiring you to construct a tree of results, 1/36 times you get two hoods and re-roll one with a 1/3 chance of success, 2/36 times you get one hood and re-roll with a ½ chance of success, 3/36 times you get one hood and 2/3 chance of success, and finally 4/36 you have a 5/6 chance of turning the roll into a success.
***In each case you have a 1/6 chance of rolling the hood again so 1/216 2 hoods, 5/216 + 6/216 1 hood, but remember 4/36 times you get a hood and pass for a total of 6/36.

But how many hoods?

Every time you draw a disaster there is a chance of a hood. First there is a 2/9 change of drawing a disaster card. Then you have to solve the disaster, which at a 26/36 chance of success with a 1/3 chance of getting a hood is an average of 18/39 hoods per a success. In other words for every disaster the hood, on average, advances 0.68 spaces (it is more complex than this as the dice are independent probabilities unlike the cards).
There are 6 spaces to the first scheme, 10 to the second, and 14 to the third. In short you have time to solve 20 disasters, without making any effort to stop the hood. Now the disasters provide tokens when you solve them and roughly split 3:2 between those which provide one and those which provide two. The schemes split between levels I-II which usually require two tokens and levels III to V which usually require 6.
So over a game you will generate about 30 tokens completing missions, of which we expect to spend less than 10 solving others, plus some others (no more than 9) building pod vehicles. Now at the lowest level you will need ten tokens spare to win, at the highest 14.

On using tokens

Now this back of the envelope calculation suggests that teamwork and intelligence are better than determination for dealing with disasters. Teamwork uses less counters, because it only uses them when you succeed, so you accumulate them more quickly, while intelligence slows the hoods advance while rolling (useful but not perhaps not strictly necessary as it seems there is plenty of time to stop the hood). Using determination actually speeds the hood up.
As the difficulty levels increase things begin to change…

At a difficulty of 6

Straight Roll With determination With teamwork With intelligence (only on fail)
Success 15/36 855/1296 26/36 160/216
Used? - 21/36 11/36 20/36*
Hood 1/3 ? 1/3 22/216

Percentages
42% 66% 72% 74%

33% 10%

*You do not need to waste a counter if you roll a double hood, you cannot succeed from that.
At 6 difficulty intelligence is still roughly on a par with team-work but you are now twice as likely to use the counter and where-as if you miss with team-work you can re-roll and use the counter on the second roll (92% chance of success) you have spent the counter succeed or fail with intelligence (just 85% chance of success with two rolls).

Other consideration
A final set of considerations is ease of acquisition and stacking. Where-as Alan can purchase teamwork counters onboard TB3, a vehicle you need in use for most of the game, Lady P can only generate intelligence in Europe and Gordon aboard TB4, neither ideal places to be. Also, remember that the rules do not prohibit you from playing multiple counters on a single task but while teamwork stacks in a linear fashion the re-rolls from intelligence do not. To take an extreme example five teamwork tokens guarantee success on a 10 difficulty roll while the equivalent five intelligence tokens only give you a 13% chance of success.

Conclusions
In my introductory video I pretty strongly favoured getting teamwork tokens. I would stick with that as advice for people finding the game difficult – always go for teamwork. However if you are not struggling at that level the situation is clearly a bit more nuanced and there are good reasons to scatter in a few intelligence tokens, probably to be used only on hood dice and only with a ½ or better chance of success, but definitely to be used on occasion. Not as important as teamwork but definitely a part of any strategy.

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Andrew Keddie
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This is definitely useful in terms of figuring how best to prioritize dice with regards to performing the Rescue action (and you've put a fair amount of work into it; kudos).

I do wonder though if by looking only at the value pertaining to dice rolls it doesn't devalue Determination a little - I've found Determination to be mostly useful in GETTING to places rather than being used to get another roll on a rescue. It's great when you just need another turn to get a Pod Vehicle or another character to a specific drop-off location so you (or the next player) can get the bonus on a rescue attempt they wouldn't otherwise have had.
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Adrian Brooks
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Can someone tell me what each of determination, teamwork, and intelligence tokens actually do? I don't own the game, and don't know which is which.
/Edit. I've worked it out, but it would be nice to add it to the first post
 
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Robert Bracey
United Kingdom
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Determination - take an extra action
Teamwork - add +2 to the result of a dice roll
Intelligence - re-roll one die
 
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Koolin
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Cool text. A bit dry and for some calculations a bit harder to follow, but nice overall. I really like the practical conclusions.
 
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Clive Jones

Cambridgeshire, UK
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CommissarFeesh wrote:
I do wonder though if by looking only at the value pertaining to dice rolls it doesn't devalue Determination a little - I've found Determination to be mostly useful in GETTING to places rather than being used to get another roll on a rescue.

As his walk-through demonstrates, with care and practice it is possible to run around the board fast enough without. I used determination tokens like that a bit in the first game or two I played, but pretty rapidly stopped needing them.

You can improve your skill at Thunderbirds; what you can't improve is your luck. You have to get good at mitigating bad luck, rather than getting luckier. (-8
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