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The Battle of Five Armies» Forums » Variants

Subject: Spontaneous Action Dice rss

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Mike Strand
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Has anyone tried playing with spontaneous action dice? The dice are used to record what and how many actions each player has elected to use. In other words, you select a die from the pool and place it showing the action you are going to take each round rather than roll them. The only limits are that the free peoples player may only select a will of the west once per turn. Likewise, the dark forces player may only select an eye once per turn.

This variant tends to limit the vagaries of the dice. So when you are ready to launch your big attack you don't find yourself with a bunch of muster dice, or if you don't role a dagger when you need to get a ready character from the fate track. The fate draw and the cards add enough random elements to the game, this variant just cuts down on the frustration factor.

A different way to play this variant is to have each player, in secret, select all the die results for the turn. This requires some planning to anticipate what dice to use. I don't care for this version as it adds a lot of time to the game (trying to figure out what actions to choose), without much advantage over the variant above.
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Koolin
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Only played BotFA once, but this sound interesting. But I must say that, for now, I like the dice rolling. It adds a layer of optimization, how to use your dice most effectively and to figure out how to do your big attack with different kind of rolls.

Still want to try this sometime.
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Mike
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Nothing beats rolling 4 Character symbols on your first turn as the Free Peoples... shake

 
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Raf B
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DreamStorm wrote:
Nothing beats rolling 4 Character symbols on your first turn as the Free Peoples... shake

Nothing other than rolling four Wills...
 
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Chris Van Deusen
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I'm with Koolin and like having to play into the rolls. I think it does a nice job of simulating the randomness of shifting battle conditions and having to take what the battlefield gives you.

My wife might disagree. The last time we played, she (FP) got a single muster result in the first two turns and was pretty much sunk. Hopefully that last game wasn't our LAST game.
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Mike Strand
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I agree on liking to play with the die rolls. But there is already a lot of random elements floating around the game with the card play, this just puts a little limitation on the wonkiness, like not getting any dice of a certain kind for a couple of turns, if you can still manage a win it is quite a thrill, but if it puts you in a downward spiral it can really suck spending a few hours losing a game.

Which is why this is mentioned as a variant, not a rules change.
 
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Koolin
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Therefore I think I wanted to try it anyway and have a proper opinion on it.
 
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Josiah Leis
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I spent 100 GG and all I got was this stupid overtext.....
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I think allowing the players to choose whatever die results they wish is far too powerful and also rather bland. It will lead to the exact same game every time with people always taking the same results and things just swinging on combat dice. If you don't like the vagaries of the action dice, I would suggest something that limits or mitigates the issue without totally removing it. Borrowing from the War of the Ring I'd try one of two concepts:

Elven Rings: Each player gets a limited number of them (start with maybe 1 or 2) and you can use a maximum of 1 per turn to change one Die result into any other one (but not into a Will of the West). In War of the Ring one side started with all them (the Free) and when they used them the Rings would pass to the Shadow, and if the Shadow used them they would be removed from the game. I might try the reverse here, with the Shadow starting with a couple or just give each side 1 or 2.

Dwarven Rings: Again each player receives a limited number and these can be spent to re-roll an Action Die you do not want at the start of a round. You are guaranteed to get a new result and can keep re-rolling until you get something different from the original. You are allowed to spend as many per turn as you want.

The Dwarven Rings system was used as a bidding system for side in the past couple of War of the Ring online tournaments (you give X number to the other side to get the side you want to play), and could also be used as a handicap to give to newer players.
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Koolin
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I agree with you, using rings is a better option to mitigate the rolls.
 
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Mike Strand
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On the limited re-rolls theme, I could see one way where there was a marker that began the game neutral and any player could use it to reroll all the action dice. Once a player had done that the marker was given to the other player and only that player could use it next. If that player used it, it would be passed to the other player, and so on.

Of course, you could limit it to one use each, but I think on the whole that would be unnecessary as the fact that if you used it you then lose the opportunity to use it until the other player uses it (if ever). Prudence would limit using it willy-nilly. And so what if you did? If everybody is doing it regularly, it's just one more quirk of fate in the game.
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Raf B
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gull2112 wrote:
Of course, you could limit it to one use each, but I think on the whole that would be unnecessary as the fact that if you used it you then lose the opportunity to use it until the other player uses it (if ever). Prudence would limit using it willy-nilly. And so what if you did? If everybody is doing it regularly, it's just one more quirk of fate in the game.

This is an interesting idea - reminds me of the China card in Twilight Struggle. I would be reluctant to allow a complete re-roll of the action dice pool: when the FSP is in Mordor, or either side is close to clinching a military victory, an opponent's bad action roll can provide that crucial, providential element to winning against the odds. What I might want to try is allowing the re-roll of a single die, including a rolled Eye result, as a less disruptive innovation. I like the idea of the tension of keeping the marker away from your opponent vs using it.

Edit: If the single die re-rolled was guaranteed a new result, the marker would essentially function as a shared Dwarven ring, per Kartigan's post above.
 
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Mike Strand
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You realize this is The Battle of Five Armies forum and not The War of the Rings?
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Raf B
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gull2112 wrote:
You realize this is The Battle of Five Armies forum and not The War of the Rings?

blushThanks for the reminder ... not sure what I think of the idea for Bo5A.
 
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Mike Strand
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And I'm not sure it's appropriate for WotR. I've played WotR a few times, but I play Bo5A almost daily and exclusively.
 
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