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Subject: Should all dice rolls run in the same direction? rss

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Geoffrey Phipps
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Question for y'all - does consistency of "dice direction" matter to you?

During a recent play test a particularly luck-starved play-tester (hi Ken!) commented that they would like all dice rolls to go in the "same direction," meaning that they should always be aiming to roll low, or roll high. His point is that makes the game easier to play because it is easy to remember when to check a table - if you have a marginal shot and roll poorly then there is no point looking up the result, you already know you missed.

The table below shows all the dice rolls in Gallipoli, 1915: Churchill's Greatest Gamble. The only thing I am not so happy about is that low dice are better and therefore "good" DRMs are negative. But ASL works that way, so there is precedent.

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Alan Richbourg
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I've revised at least one game so that, as you call it, dice rolls run in the same direction.
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Alex Grant
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I definitely prefer it when they do. It just makes it easier to remember.

The FAB series solved the problem of DRMs for low targets - the modifiers are not dice modifiers, instead they are target modifiers, so a positive modifier increases the target making a success easier (with a +1 modifier you need to roll 6 or less instead of 5 or less).
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Tim Koppang
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Yes, whether high or low, one direction should always be "good," and the other "bad." Just easier to remember a consistent direction.
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Juan Valdez
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tckoppang wrote:
Yes, whether high or low, one direction should always be "good," and the other "bad." Just easier to remember a consistent direction.


+1
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Damo
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mtngrown wrote:
tckoppang wrote:
Yes, whether high or low, one direction should always be "good," and the other "bad." Just easier to remember a consistent direction.


+1


+2.

In Silent War rolling low is good for connecting a torpedo to a target, but then you have to roll high to see if the ship is sunk.

After a long game/late night it's easy to get confused.

I've made myself a custom chart so that torpedo damage is now a consistent "roll low" chart to mirror the to hit chart.
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Geoffrey Phipps
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Well, that is pretty consistent

Now I have to go and re-make all the play-test counters cry

But, as always, it will be a better game because of the change.

And thanks to Ken Guerin for the insight. Attached is a photo of his Australians moving off the beach near Krithia as a column of my Turkish platoons race northwards, narrowly avoiding the encirclement trap. He has high stacks because he is in close fight for the town, and his other stacks have not yet had time to spread out (it is night).

In the new scheme the morale number will need to be inverted (by subtracting from 100). It is the right-most number on the infantry units.


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THE MAVERICK
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geoffreyphipps wrote:
Question for y'all - does consistency of "dice direction" matter to you?

During a recent play test a particularly luck-starved play-tester (hi Ken!) commented that they would like all dice rolls to go in the "same direction," meaning that they should always be aiming to roll low, or roll high.

YES! Go Ken!
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suPUR DUEper
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Yeah, in Churchill when you are attempting to advance a front you want to roll low. Well, unless you are guaranteed a success. Then you want to roll high for a breakthrough. Ugh.

In World in Flames in land combat you want to roll high. In air combat, however, you want to roll extremes (e.g. 2, 3, 11, or 12). That one is not as hard to get used to.
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Ronald Hill
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geoffreyphipps wrote:
Question for y'all - does consistency of "dice direction" matter to you?

During a recent play test a particularly luck-starved play-tester (hi Ken!) commented that they would like all dice rolls to go in the "same direction," meaning that they should always be aiming to roll low, or roll high. His point is that makes the game easier to play because it is easy to remember when to check a table - if you have a marginal shot and roll poorly then there is no point looking up the result, you already know you missed.

The table below shows all the dice rolls in Gallipoli, 1915: Churchill's Greatest Gamble. The only thing I am not so happy about is that low dice are better and therefore "good" DRMs are negative. But ASL works that way, so there is precedent.






My eyes are too old to see there original picture.
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Allen Dickerson
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This is sort of a silly "question". As long as the "die roll" is random, it doesn't matter whether you put the 'good' or 'bad' results anywhere.

Case in point: in my favorite game system, you use a 1d10 for any number of things. Two uses that seem on opposite poles are fire results (where high numbers are more effective) and morale checks (where you roll against a rating on the counter and if you stay lower or equal to that number, you "pass" the morale check; hence, lower is better).

Both of these mechanics make logical sense and are easy to remember and tell apart: much easier than the bewildering array of **modifiers** to each roll.

So, long and short is, it really doesn't matter if "high or low" are consistent with all the randomizers in a given game system.
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suPUR DUEper
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Stiglr wrote:
This is sort of a silly "question". As long as the "die roll" is random, it doesn't matter whether you put the 'good' or 'bad' results anywhere.


Silly from a probability standpoint. Not at all silly from a cognitive load standpoint.

I don't want a game where I need a "6" to hit and a "1" to kill.....
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Damo
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geoffreyphipps wrote:
Well, that is pretty consistent

Now I have to go and re-make all the play-test counters cry

But, as always, it will be a better game because of the change.

And thanks to Ken Guerin for the insight. Attached is a photo of his Australians moving off the beach near Krithia as a column of my Turkish platoons race northwards, narrowly avoiding the encirclement trap. He has high stacks because he is in close fight for the town, and his other stacks have not yet had time to spread out (it is night).

In the new scheme the morale number will need to be inverted (by subtracting from 100). It is the right-most number on the infantry units.




I just realized what this game is about. Looks good.

Must.. not.. place.. another.. P500 order...

Sigh, I am weak.
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Geoffrey Phipps
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TedW wrote:
Stiglr wrote:
This is sort of a silly "question". As long as the "die roll" is random, it doesn't matter whether you put the 'good' or 'bad' results anywhere.


Silly from a probability standpoint. Not at all silly from a cognitive load standpoint.


That hits the (double-headed) nail on the head. From a probability point-of-view the mapping of dice-result to hit-result does not need to follow any pattern. From a usability point of view the mapping should be highly-patterned. Similar to the GUI design principle of "Least Surprise." Humans like patterns.
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Leon Major
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I hate wanting to roll high and then wanting to roll low in the same game. I will not buy a game that requires that. I think it is poor design. For that matter I do not like rolling low. It seems un-American- snake-eyes are better than box-cars- Give me a break!
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Kent Reuber
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One thing I don't like is negative modifiers that are beneficial. For example, say a to-hit number is 10 or less. I would prefer that an attack bonus be expressed as +1 (e.g., increasing the hit number to 11) rather than adjusting die rolls by -1 (changing an 11 to a 10).
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Rahul Chandra
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A slightly related note: if your target number X on a dN is printed on a counter, it should either hit or miss X times in N. In Thunderbolt Apache Leader, the weapons hit on X-or-higher on a d10. So a "4" hits 7 times in 10. If that was instead listed as "3" (miss on 3 or less, 3/10 or 30%) or "7" (hit on 7 or less, 7/10 or 70%) it would map to the probabilities without the extra mental steps.
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Rahul Chandra
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and back on topic, I agree that one direction is better for cognitive load, but if your dice are faulty requiring both (or random tables, or ideally changing tables!) would compensate.
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Nick Wade
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geoffreyphipps wrote:
In the new scheme the morale number will need to be inverted (by subtracting from 100). It is the right-most number on the infantry units.

Does that mean units will have morale levels of 81 and similar?
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Pelle Nilsson
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Also a vote for yes.

I prefer if all die-rolls go the same way. Also better if all rolls are "roll higher/lower than" OR "roll higher/lower than or equal", but not a mix of those two, because I can never remember. Normally it should not be so difficult to adjust values +/-1 so that this works.

It helps if this do not only apply to dice but all the other values in a game as well. I prefer if high values are always good. If high combat values are better than low combat values, high movement ratings are better than low movement ratings then high morale values should be better than low morale values and so on.

These are just special cases really of a more general rule to keep things consistent and with as few surprises as possible to make a game easier to learn/teach/remember.
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Pelle Nilsson
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Related: It is nice when a target value can be quickly calculated and then rolled against. My brain hurts when it gets too complex and I have to take my combat value and add a die-roll and then apply modifiers, and then find some target (eg defense) value that I need to roll, and then modify the defense value, and then remember what the ***** I rolled, and what was the target now, and what was I doing, and oh, did I remember *that* modifier, and did I even remember to roll the dice, and what was the defense value, and was it this unit I was firing with, etc etc etc.

Too few games have "this is the target number, here are a few modifiers, once you have calculated the target number roll your dice and if you rolled higher/lower than the target (or equal) you hit".

Probability is equivalent, but it can be made to hurt the brain more or less.
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Barry Harvey
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Whilst I agree with the statement, it has been suggested on other fora *cough* rpggeek *cough* that using different high/low goals avoids any 'bias' that someone's dice, however accidental, might have.

Not a problem with wargamers, obviously.
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Timothy Young
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caracfergus wrote:
Whilst I agree with the statement, it has been suggested on other fora *cough* rpggeek *cough* that using different high/low goals avoids any 'bias' that someone's dice, however accidental, might have.


It won't help if your dice has a bias to 3 or 4 though... No-one ever needs a middle-roll.

I much prefer a game that goes either high or low, it just makes it much easier to follow. If a game needed a 6 for a hit, then a 1 for a kill, I would probably just change the numbers over.

I have been tempted for Great War at Sea to buy a box of un-numbered dice and just spray one surface in red to use for the 'hit on a six' 'bucket of dice' gun firing sequences. Would save a lot of time!
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Pelle Nilsson
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Tim RTC wrote:

I have been tempted for Great War at Sea to buy a box of un-numbered dice and just spray one surface in red to use for the 'hit on a six' 'bucket of dice' gun firing sequences. Would save a lot of time!


Our reaction after our first (EDIT: and only, so far) game was "wow, there must be much better ways to resolve naval gunfire than to roll all those dice looking for hit-numbers" and I started dreaming about a system more like the cards in Tokyo Express or some other clever way to just avoid the issue completely.
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Wolf Hoepper
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Absolutely a yes here.

For me it is a sign of good design, if you keep one direction. It basically doesn´t matter if a design aims for high rolls or low rolls = DRM are added or subtracted to enhance success. But mixing both is harder to remember how that specific rule mechanic works, for me a sign of bad design and an overall not desirable game mechanic.

Probability wise it shouldn´t make a difference, but there are many gamers, that have different dice for different games, since they are believing that a certain die only rolls either high or low.

From a "natural" feeling rolling high seems having more tension to me (like you need a 3 or better to succeed) than lower rolls.

A good example for streamlined well thought out design is the d20 system. Basically anything you want to check gets a difficzuty number, any appliable modifiers enhancing success add to that, any negative effects subtract and you have to either equal that number or surpass it. Easy to remember, easy to implement changes and corrections and keeps the flow of a game going without the need to check rule books (ususally).
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