Recommend
1 
 Thumb up
 Hide
12 Posts

Neanderthal» Forums » General

Subject: How much Luck is involved? rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Tom M
United Kingdom
Colchester
Essex
flag msg tools
mbmb
Hi, I'm interested in buying this game but my concern is that the dice, or rather bad dice rolls would seriously hamper a player. Possibly into a position where they cannot come back from and would want to concede the game.
Can you mitigate bad dice rolls? Maybe with Elders or cards that come out?
or are you at their mercy.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Rich James
United States
Plano
Texas
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Both this game and Greenland provide ways to improve your die roll outcomes. It's a big part of both to acquire daughters, artifacts, elders, etc. that improve your chances for success.
6 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Will H.
United States
Washington
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
For me, there are enough game mechanics that allow for the possibility of mitigating luck, that I don't feel like my games are completely random.

The game is hard, but I've never felt that it was pointless due to randomness.
6 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Andrew Denison
United States
Ames
Iowa
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
The other two posters nailed it. I have friends who say it is all luck but I don't think it is.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
suPUR DUEper
United States
Villa Hills
Kentucky
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Like several of Phil's games (High Frontier, Bios Megafauna, Pax P) there is a significant random element in the game. You are playing against Mother Nature as much as the other players. In any single game a player's position can be wrecked due to a catastrophic hunt or severely compromised by several poor hunts in a row. Unlike many dice chucking games, you don't have a huge number of rolls to allow the law of averages to "even out" the random variation.

Over a series of 10 or 20 games it is not an issue. But if I was the most skilled player in the room and a million dollars was on the line, Neanderthal would not be a game I would choose to compete in.

That said, the game is fun and like most Sierra Madre games it is played for the experience and exploration of the system, not necessarily for the outcome.
9 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Morten K
Denmark
flag msg tools
Avatar
mb
In the last game my girlfriend and I played against each other we played very different strategies. I had lots of dice luck initially and got some great trophies and plenty of new hunters whereas she continued for a long time with just a small group but got some nice marriages set up. In the end I had very bad rolls meaning I couldn't kick out her husband/suitors and we ended up tied. Luck of the dice is far from everything in this game.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Adam Gastonguay
United States
Pottstown
Pennsylvania
flag msg tools
badge
Act Three! Everybody Dies!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I taught two brand new players and the dice decided to beat me up all game, and the final scores were new people ~50, me ~20. Yes, I felt like I was behind the whole time. Was I so far behind I would concede? Heck no! Why? The same could happen to them! They could get mauled by a saber-tooth and lose a bunch of tribe, get hit by chaos or any number of things and drop down while I slowly work my way back up to dominant species.

It ain't over 'till its over.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Rich James
United States
Plano
Texas
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I'd like to add that most of the games I've played involve luck - through dice rolls, random card draws, random chit pulls, etc. - and in them it is always possible to feel that luck was a significant factor.

In Neanderthal (and Greenland), I don't think the number of dice rolls or die used makes it particularly more susceptible to luck than other games. You still have full control over what actions you will take and how much you want to run a high risk action vs. something safer. For example, maybe you want to hunt in an environ that requires a roll of two 1/2's for success. If you assign just two hunters, you are taking high risks for failure. Assign 5 hunters, one an Alpha who auto-rolls 1's and have a daughter or something that turns 3's into 1's and your odds get dramatically better. No, you can't eliminate bad outcomes. But the games are about managing adversity and being flexible to respond to things thrown at you.

I think if you make solid decisions and manage your risks wisely, you should usually win or at least be very competitive in these games. Your opponent's are facing the same difficult environment.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Rex Stites
United States
Lawrence
Kansas
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
arjisme wrote:
I'd like to add that most of the games I've played involve luck - through dice rolls, random card draws, random chit pulls, etc. - and in them it is always possible to feel that luck was a significant factor.


Randomness is not equivalent to luck. "Luck" implies an arbitrariness of the ultimate result (win/loss). Or put another way, victory is not determined by skill. Just because a game has random elements, it doesn't mean that "luck" will play a role in the game.

Quote:
In Neanderthal (and Greenland), I don't think the number of dice rolls or die used makes it particularly more susceptible to luck than other games.


There is a tendency for players who prefer games with zero random elements to erroneously conclude that the amount of "luck" involved is directly proportional to the number of die rolls. They would much prefer a game where you roll a die 5 times a game to a game where you roll a die 500 times. But generally speaking, the more times you roll, the less arbitrary the final win/loss determination will be due to the fact that the results will ultimately balance out. A no-luck game that is decided by a final 50/50 die roll is far more arbitrary than a war game with a thousand combat rolls.

Ultimately, there are myriad factors beyond randomness itself that determine whether random elements lead to crowning a winner arbitrarily. The number of rolls, the significance of any particular roll, the time of the roll, etc. all factor into the determination.

The other problem is the role perception plays into things. People seem to tend to remember their own bad rolls and the good rolls of others. In most cases, I'd guess that if the players logged their rolls, they'd see that things are much more balanced than they think. But when you introduce randomness, it's always going to give some players an excuse to use if they lose.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Tom M
United Kingdom
Colchester
Essex
flag msg tools
mbmb
Wow thank you very much guys. Some interesting points to consider regarding luck vs randomness and as a wargamer I totally buy into the ideas proposed by you. You've given me the push I've needed to order the game. Thanks
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Brett Burleigh II
United States
Columbus
Ohio
flag msg tools
badge
Bless the Maker and His water... Bless the coming and going of Him... May His passage cleanse the world...
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
arjisme wrote:
Both this game and Greenland provide ways to improve your die roll outcomes. It's a big part of both to acquire daughters, artifacts, elders, etc. that improve your chances for success.


The big difference about Neanderthal, is that although there *are* ways to mitigate poor luck…. You're highly unlikely to gain access to them in any reasonably timely fashion. Sure, maybe by the end of the game, maybe, just maybe, you'll develop an atlotl. Maybe.

In fact. You're more likely to hold onto the card in your "hand" while your one or two elders dodge die off bullets left and right… and hope you can flip to Tribe and get an Elder in play, and then use said elder to innovate that card!


When I teach Eklund-familiar players, I compare Greenland and Neanderthal like this:

In Greenland - You start off at about mid-level power… Your Elders are populated, you have some asymmetric powers, you have a small tribe - and very importantly, you have your Alpha! Your asymmetry will let you do some luck mitigation and dice improving.
- As the game goes on, you're like to go from Med power -> High power -> major kicks in the gonads -> barely eking out an existence as the world freezes over.

In Neanderthal - Everyone is a blank slate. Asymmetry is provided by the different discs on each brain map… and then it develops very slowly and painfully throughout the game.
- You start off like a lump of raw clay and very low power… As time progresses, you're likely to build up your power level, and through a few lucky events / rolls, you may go on to be very high power, and you MIGHT get to use some cool feature of the game by the end (like an Innovation, or a Domestic Animal, or your Alpha). Maybe… usually only if the wurm events happen (adding more rounds).
So, more like: very low power -> middling power, some good daughter abilities -> a few setbacks, more middling power -> almost high power /or/ being ground down by attrition and attacks. laugh


Still love the game… even while being beat up by my backstabbing local human tribes…
2 
 Thumb up
0.25
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Qu'est-ce que c'est
United States
Bethel Park
Pennsylvania
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Everybody is focusing on the dice, but the cards are a significant luck element as well. With the event cards, it is predictable what will happen, just now when. It's the timing that kills you. What shows up in the biomes can make or break you. What are you going to do with your hunters when the rewards you need aren't there to be had?
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.