
Hi there!
I'm looking for some help with the combat in my game. It's currently quite simple, but there is some math that I'm hoping to get rid of in favor of visual icons or something else. Here's the information so far:
In the game, there are a total of only 9 monsters, with a numerical hierarchical distinction: 19. (2 is stronger than 1, 3 stronger than 2 etc.)
When the Hero encounters a monster, both sides roll 1D6. The monster player adds their numerical value (Monster #2 would add a 2) and the Hero player adds their starting combat value of +3 to the roll. The highest value wins.
As the game goes on, the Hero can find 3 items that permanently increase his combat value by increments of +1, +1, and +3. This means that the most the Hero can have is a +8 to his roll. _______________________________________________
This system works, however I'm wondering if there's a way that I can use dice with symbols rather than numbers, or perhaps a combination of both? I'm trying to resolve the combat visually with the dice roll, rather than having to add figures on top of it.
The only requirements are that both players must roll their dice at the same time, so perhaps it would use coloured dice or icons separate for the hero and the monster players so that players would know who rolled what. And somehow keeping a semblance of the monster hierarchy would be beneficial (somehow making 5 stronger than 4, if even by the smallest odds).
Any help would be much appreciated!

suPUR DUEper
United States Villa Hills Kentucky

Instead of adding the monster's/player's strength to the dice, make their strength the number of dice they roll. Use six sided dice with three sides showing a skull icon (or whatever). Most hits wins the battle.


Thank you for the reply!!
Hmmm okay, that sounds like a feasible option  so the scenario would work like this then:
Hero encounters Monster#5. Monster#5 rolls 5 red six sided dice (each of which have 3 skulls on it, 3 blanks) and the Hero rolls 3 white six sided dice, also with 3 skulls/3 blanks. Most hits wins?
I guess that would be the same thing, but would this require a super enormous amount of dice to the game? As in, potentially a player could be rolling 9 dice at the same time right? Would there be a way to lessen the total number of dice needed to make the game?

suPUR DUEper
United States Villa Hills Kentucky

You would need 9 dice. Each would have three skulls (hits for the monster) and three knight's helmets (or whatever) for the hero. That way they could use the same dice. Actually you could use say three dice if you don't mind rolling several times.
Just out of curiosity, does one loss kill the hero?


Hmmm okay I see what you mean with 9 total dice  but wouldn't that rule out the possibility of both players rolling at the same time? I was certainly hoping to keep that happening if possible, just because of how action packed it makes the dice rolling! haha. Do you foresee any way of that happening?
If the Hero player loses the combat, their turn ends and they MAY lose a hit point (if decided to even include it, because I don't necessarily wan the game to end via death of a hero). It then becomes the other players turn, who then moves THEIR hero. (both players have a hero in the game).
By the way, thank you for these suggestions, so far it's working out and I think you're really close to cracking this puzzle!


With this new idea in mind, I'm trying to think of how to limit the amount of dice needed... all I'm coming up with is having a new 'tier' of 1D6 that maybe has 3 skulls/helmets on it + a double hit or something, and is coloured differently, so perhaps it could take the place of 2 standard dice... but then the problem arises that having more than 2 different colours of dice would be confusing to track who rolled what in the mixup...

Pelle Nilsson
Sweden Linköping

This might work with just two dice (but I have not done the maths to confirm it):
Two dice with symbols. Probably different distributions on both. Each symbol appear at least once on each die though.
Each monster has one or more of the symbols. More symbols means more dangerous.
Roll both dice. If both show the same symbol AND the monster has that symbol then it is a hit. Otherwise not. Although if just one die show a symbol the monster has that might mean something else if you want it to.
As I said I did not do the maths, so I have not thought of if this is enough to make 9 different levels of hitprobability.
One way to make it allow for more levels would be to print one or two identical symbols on the monster. So one monster might require two claws to hit, while another can just hit on a single claw. Or a monster might need a specific combo of two different symbols to hit. The more different ways are allowed to specify what is needed for a hit the more levels are possible, but of course it would not be fun if all the low levels almost never hit.
The hero could be solved in a similar way, with the hero and each bit of bonus added each have some symbol or symbols to look for.
EDIT: OK, I had only had one cup of coffee today. Now that I have had two I could think a bit better about this, and also do the maths. I think more than one symbol per side is needed to make it work very well, and to look for combinations of different symbols. For instance you could have these two dice:
1: A, A, A, B, B, C 2: df, df, de, de, de, ef
The possible combinations that can come up are: Ae: 33.3% Ad: 41.7% Af: 16.7% Ce: 11.1% Cd: 13.9% Cf: 5.6% Be: 22.2% Bd: 27.8% Bf: 11.1%
But you could also use single symbols (requiring only a roll with one die technically, although if players just roll two out of habit that will not ruin anything):
A: 50.0% C: 16.7% B: 33.3% e: 66.7% d: 83.3% f: 33.3%
That adds 3 more unique probabilities! So for 9 monsters you could for instance give them these symbols: d: 83.3% e: 66.7% A: 50.0% Ad: 41.7% B: 33.3% Bd: 27.8% Be: 22.2% Af: 16.7% Cd: 13.9%
(That leaves two combinations that can be used for two more even weaker monsters, and three combinations that have the same probability as some of the others, but could be used on new monsters for thematic reasons.)
There are probably better ways to solve this that just needs a bit more thinking and/or coffee, but at least this shows one way to use only two dice and 6 different symbols to solve it.
EDIT2: Perhaps rolling to hit was not enough though. Did not realize that at first. But it was fun to calculate anyway, and perhaps some other combination of symbols on the dice, including also symbols depending on the hero's equipment can solve the problem in a similar way using only two (or three?) dice?

James Campbell
Canada Toronto Ontario
Growing old is mandatory but growing UP is optional!
Tabletop Game News, Reviews, Sales, Design and Publishing. Visit us at www.iwillnevergrowup.com!

westmaas wrote: With this new idea in mind, I'm trying to think of how to limit the amount of dice needed... all I'm coming up with is having a new 'tier' of 1D6 that maybe has 3 skulls/helmets on it + a double hit or something, and is coloured differently, so perhaps it could take the place of 2 standard dice... but then the problem arises that having more than 2 different colours of dice would be confusing to track who rolled what in the mixup...
What would be wrong with including 18 dice (9 of each side monsters/heroes) in the game?
If you're going with dice rolling for combat, you might as well go big.
I was thinking about this combat mechanism for a bit and how you could reduce the math time that is involved, but TedW's suggestion sounds like the best solution to me. There's less math (just count up the hit symbols and the higher number wins) and if people are going to like chucking dice for combat, they really won't have a problem with chucking up to 9 dice at a time.
As for production purposes, having a few custom dice vs 18 custom dice of two types is costnegligable really.


The only thing wrong with 18 dice is that it may be a bit of an overkill  because combat isn't a central part of the game, packaging the game with 18 dice just seems excessive. And I feel like perhaps rolling 9 dice at a single time might be a little too much for someone's hands lol. I suppose they could roll 3 at a time, but then you'd have to keep tallying your hit scores etc.
But maybe you're right, and 9 dice at a time could be the answer.


I appreciate the idea for the 2 dice combinations as well, that was very well thought out! I read it over a few times to fully grasp the mechanic.
The one thing I'm wondering is this  because combat is resolved in only 1 round (no hit points etc), is there a need for any sort of defensive symbol? Should everything just be about accumulating hits? If you're able, would you be able to explain how your system would work in a hypothetical scenario of a Hero against a Skeleton (perhaps with a Bd combination).
I think this can work, but I'm still struggling to see it clearly in practice, so any step by step clarification would help tremendously!

Pelle Nilsson
Sweden Linköping

westmaas wrote: I appreciate the idea for the 2 dice combinations as well, that was very well thought out! I read it over a few times to fully grasp the mechanic.
The one thing I'm wondering is this  because combat is resolved in only 1 round (no hit points etc), is there a need for any sort of defensive symbol? Should everything just be about accumulating hits? If you're able, would you be able to explain how your system would work in a hypothetical scenario of a Hero against a Skeleton (perhaps with a Bd combination).
I think this can work, but I'm still struggling to see it clearly in practice, so any step by step clarification would help tremendously!
See my EDIT2.Defense would require some addition. I saw you got a great answer on bgdf about how to use few dice in combination.


