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The Voyages of Marco Polo» Forums » Variants

Subject: Lower luck variant - compensation for bad dice rss

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Steve Lalancette
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I like this game a lot but I find that players are too dependent on dice rolls. Someone rolling nothing but 6s will beat someone rolling nothing but 3s every time. The compensation in camels or gold only starts to kick in if you roll very low and wouldn't do anything to someone rolling 3s across the board, for example, placing that player at a distinct disadvantage compared to someone rolling very high.

I propose the following simple change to the rules to alleviate this. Replace the compensation bonus (1 camel or gold for each point rolled below 15) with a bonus of 1 gold (no camel) for every 2 points rolled below 30. I'm not sure about the actual number but this seems like a good start. This way, everyone gets compensated.

Once side effect would be to introduce a lot more gold into the game and therefore making gold offers much less interesting. I would probably want to start all players at zero gold to compensate. I don't want to add the option of camels as I'm afraid that adding so many camels would break too many things.

Would this variant break the game? What do you think?
 
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Mark Jackson
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Do you find that Rashid wins most games? He always has the ideal die rolls, but I don't see it happening disproportionately...
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Joel Oakley
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Ah_Pook wrote:
Do you find that Rashid wins most games? He always has the ideal die rolls, but I don't see it happening disproportionately...


Your point is reasonable, but I think the fact that his sole power is the ability to make his dice whatever value he chooses is a testament to the importance of good dice rolls. Imagine a game where you have perfect dice rolls and still have an additional super power on top of that. I suppose my point is that it is possible (but unlikely) through lucky dice rolls that you effectively have Rashid's ability in addition to that of another character.

Ultimately, I don't know if I am quite ready to implement any changes myself, but there can definitely be a strong luck element.
 
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trevor

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Well I've probably played over 100 games (live + yucata) and i don't think I've ever felt I lost because someone else rolled better so I think that's a testament to the game.
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alan beaumont
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Getting the hump with probability
Zombie69 wrote:
Replace the compensation bonus (1 camel or gold for each point rolled below 15) with a bonus of 1 gold (no camel) for every 2 points rolled below 30. I'm not sure about the actual number but this seems like a good start. This way, everyone gets compensated.
Well the expected yield from 5 dice is 17.5, so this will inject 6 money/camels per player each round on average.

If you need that kind of help you're playing badly. Don't blame the dice.


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David desJardins
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misteralan wrote:
Well the expected yield from 5 dice is 17.5, so this will inject 6 money/camels per player each round on average.

If you need that kind of help you're playing badly.


If everyone gets 6 gold it doesn't help any of them.
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Anthony Heitzinger
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If someone rolls all sixes (or far above average) then let him/her win. This event is an anomaly and he earned a win with such god rolls (assuming he/she actually wins).

In the span of many many games, the average result is 3.5, and with 25 dice or more rolled per game, that's what you will usually get.

Besides, in my experience with the game, there's plenty of actions to take with low numbers. Khan's favor, grab contracts, get 5 coin, or even travel (I rarely want to travel further than 2-3 steps at a time unless I'm a particular character). Only the bazaar and large city actions love sixes. Heck, you can even reroll your ones if you're digging for a six.
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Mathue Faulk
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DaviddesJ wrote:
misteralan wrote:
Well the expected yield from 5 dice is 17.5, so this will inject 6 money/camels per player each round on average.

If you need that kind of help you're playing badly.


If everyone gets 6 gold it doesn't help any of them.
I don't believe he was proposing anything like that. I think he was just approximating how much money would be added to the game...which is a lot, and would throw the balance towards traveling IMO.
 
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Mathue Faulk
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Rachelisapoopy wrote:

Besides, in my experience with the game, there's plenty of actions to take with low numbers. Khan's favor, grab contracts, get 5 coin, or even travel (I rarely want to travel further than 2-3 steps at a time unless I'm a particular character). Only the bazaar and large city actions love sixes. Heck, you can even reroll your ones if you're digging for a six.

Agreed. There are plenty of actions where low numbers are preferable. Some of my favorite rounds are the ones where I roll really low and get a few bonuses. I usually take camels and reroll a few dice depending on my goals for the round.
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trevor

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If your rolling high numbers then you're going to be paying alot more money to place dice on top of other dice, it's self balancing. This variant really creates more problems imho
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Jonathan Maisonneuve
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Having only 6s is not a good thing. It means that you have to pay 6 gold to use a spot already used, even if what you needed was only a 1 or a 2.
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Wildhorn wrote:
Having only 6s is not a good thing. It means that you have to pay 6 gold to use a spot already used, even if what you needed was only a 1 or a 2.


Yeah, it's odd that the OP didn't at least acknowledge that you usually need at least a couple of your dice to be low. You'd be in a bad way if you rolled all 5s or 6s every time.

The OP is implying that this system of rewarding you for having some high and some low dice doesn't work as it's meant to. But he needs to explain how and why.
 
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alan beaumont
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Inflated opinion
DaviddesJ wrote:
misteralan wrote:
Well the expected yield from 5 dice is 17.5, so this will inject 6 money/camels per player each round on average.

If you need that kind of help you're playing badly.


If everyone gets 6 gold it doesn't help any of them.
I believe you meant to say it helps all of them.
 
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Mathue Faulk
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misteralan wrote:
DaviddesJ wrote:
misteralan wrote:
Well the expected yield from 5 dice is 17.5, so this will inject 6 money/camels per player each round on average.

If you need that kind of help you're playing badly.


If everyone gets 6 gold it doesn't help any of them.
I believe you meant to say it helps all of them.

It's both, and I'm sure David said exactly what he meant.
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alan beaumont
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Bell curve ball
misteralan wrote:
Zombie69 wrote:
Replace the compensation bonus (1 camel or gold for each point rolled below 15) with a bonus of 1 gold (no camel) for every 2 points rolled below 30. I'm not sure about the actual number but this seems like a good start. This way, everyone gets compensated.
Well the expected yield from 5 dice is 17.5, so this will inject 6 money/camels per player each round on average.
Thinking further this variant will actually penalise rolling low.

Since you will only get compensation at 1:2 pips down you are getting little extra return compared to average rolls. For example if we compare a roll of 12 vs 15 the current rule gives you 3 - 0, but in the variant you get 9 vs 7 (assuming half points are lost), so you are relatively worse off. Hitherto I've always envied under average compared to average rolls...
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alan beaumont
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mfaulk80 wrote:
misteralan wrote:
DaviddesJ wrote:
misteralan wrote:
Well the expected yield from 5 dice is 17.5, so this will inject 6 money/camels per player each round on average.

If you need that kind of help you're playing badly.


If everyone gets 6 gold it doesn't help any of them.
I believe you meant to say it helps all of them.

It's both, and I'm sure David said exactly what he meant.
I'm sure he meant to say it doesn't advantage any of them, which is a little different.
 
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Steve Lalancette
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misteralan wrote:
Thinking further this variant will actually penalise rolling low.

Since you will only get compensation at 1:2 pips down you are getting little extra return compared to average rolls. For example if we compare a roll of 12 vs 15 the current rule gives you 3 - 0, but in the variant you get 9 vs 7 (assuming half points are lost), so you are relatively worse off. Hitherto I've always envied under average compared to average rolls...


Indeed. Rolling very low might actually be overpowered in the current rules. This variant would fix that as well.
 
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Steve Lalancette
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Wretched Git wrote:
Wildhorn wrote:
Having only 6s is not a good thing. It means that you have to pay 6 gold to use a spot already used, even if what you needed was only a 1 or a 2.


Yeah, it's odd that the OP didn't at least acknowledge that you usually need at least a couple of your dice to be low. You'd be in a bad way if you rolled all 5s or 6s every time.

The OP is implying that this system of rewarding you for having some high and some low dice doesn't work as it's meant to. But he needs to explain how and why.


I agree that the best roll is probably not all 6s. I was generalizing in the OP because I didn't want to get into too much detail. A very good roll on most turns would be 3 6s and 2 2s I guess. The point is that rolling 5 6s isn't much worse (you'll just spend 4 more gold on your travel) but rolling 5 3s would be much worse. It's difficult to win in this game in my opinion without rolling some 5s and 6s. This variant is meant to curb that a bit.
 
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trevor

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Well it would make the '5 coin' spot essentially worthless

Perhaps you need more plays before experimenting with these incredibly swingy variants. Alot of your criticisms are what I would expect out of someone with not alot of familiarity with this game.
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bigGameGeek wrote:
Well it would make the '5 coin' spot essentially worthless

Perhaps you need more plays before experimenting with these incredibly swingy variants. Alot of your criticisms are what I would expect out of someone with not alot of familiarity with this game.


Yeah, I'm going to have to trust the hundreds of playtesting hours Luciani & Tascini put into the game -- as they do for all of their intricate clockwork designs -- over the sweeping conclusions of a consumer who played it a few times.
 
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David desJardins
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Wretched Git wrote:
Yeah, I'm going to have to trust the hundreds of playtesting hours Luciani & Tascini put into the game -- as they do for all of their intricate clockwork designs -- over the sweeping conclusions of a consumer who played it a few times.


It's not a matter of trusting or not trusting, because the goals are different. The primary goal of playtesting is to make a game that appeals to a large audience, not to make a game that is balanced. The larger the audience the more luck they are going to be comfortable with, but there are also a lot of people, including a lot of those on BGG, who want to reduce the luck, so that's why they think about variants.
 
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alan beaumont
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On a roll?
I think the one time too much luck has been commented on is a game where I rolled something like ? ? 5, 6, 6 in at least 3 instances, in a game where gold was unusually useful and movement was tricky. Going on the gold track at the 5 really paid off, although I don't think it was a crushing victory.

This was only one game in several dozen (NB. I seldom log plays), so I don't believe die rolls are a critical factor. Making a good/poor choice of personality at the start is far more crucial.
 
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Kirk Thomas
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The beauty of this game is that you have to piece together ALL of the variables into a winning approach. With 25 dice rolls in a game, I think the luck factor of what comes up is already diminished, but there are so many ways to use the die values (and to manipulate the die values) that I find the notion of a "bad roll" very rare in this game. And, yes, there are times / strategies where one set of values would be greatly more beneficial than another, but there is a lot of context to make that happen.
 
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trevor

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DaviddesJ wrote:

The primary goal of playtesting is to make a game that appeals to a large audience, not to make a game that is balanced.



That's an awfully general statement. I'm sure there are alot of designers that playtest to improve balance over appeal.
 
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David desJardins
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bigGameGeek wrote:
That's an awfully general statement. I'm sure there are alot of designers that playtest to improve balance over appeal.


I'm sure there are, but not a lot of successful published games come from those designers. A board game is still a commercial product. There have to be more than 12 people who want to play it, or it's just a niche or hobby venture. This game, in particular, won a bunch of awards, sold a lot of copies, and so on, which you can't achieve by narrowing the appeal to a very select group.
 
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