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Subject: Too random? rss

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Nick Knutsen
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I've played it twice with four players now. Two things I noticed was that the occupations you draw seemed too random, and the die rolling seemed too random.

You start with one occupation, and draw one at a time a few times during the game. Some are great to get early when you can adjust your play to maximize their potential throughout the game. Others are very situational and might not be usable in the early game or maybe just once or twice during the game (or never). Drawing a good one early seems to have a pretty big impact. It seems like the good ones are worth 0 VP and the situational ones are worth more. Getting 3 VP from an occupation is pretty good, but I would much rather draw a great 0 VP occupation in the beginning.

Weapons are also totally random. You might start off with a lot of spears, but your starting occupation (or the ones you draw early in the game) might not support whaling at all. Or it might, in which case you're lucky. Then there's the hunting/whaling/etc itself. If you have a lot of one weapon, the game is driving you to take advantage of that to get some loot, since your odds are good. If you fail badly, you'll either have to use a lot of wood/stone, assuming you have enough, or settle for one resource and another of that weapon. Both options are a lot worse than success. Settling for the consolation prize means you use both a turn and a viking (or two) to get ONE resource and another of the weapons that you wanted to spend to get something useful in the first place. Losing a turn means several more spots will be taken in the mean time, and maybe you can't even use that new weapon this round to try again. So this round all you got was one wood/stone for that action and that viking (or two vikings). In the last round this is catastrophic, but in any round it's pretty bad. There are only 7 rounds. In the last round I guess you could try only when/if you have all the stone/wood (to spare!) you'd need with the worst possible roll, but that would mean playing to hoard a lot of stone/wood just for that, which seems pretty bad. To win the game it seems you should play to reasonable odds of success, I mean assuming some bad luck but not really bad luck. Which means you risk having really bad luck and losing against players having reasonable luck, skill level being equal.

The problem with the luck factor of die rolls comes from how few die rolls there are during the game. In Castles of Burgundy each player rolls 25 times. Luck will even out. Not sure how many times each player rolls in Feast for Odin, but maybe 7? Luck is just a huge factor then.

To fix occupations: Always draw 3 and choose one.

To fix weapons draws: Always draw 2/3 and choose one?

To fix hunting/whaling/pillaging/etc: Not sure, but maybe a sliding scale from getting something to getting good tiles, depending on the die roll + modifiers, instead of just failure/success?

What surprises me is that I can't see that anybody mentions these things as a problem. Maybe I'm totally wrong having only played it twice, but I wonder how I'm wrong?
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Jonas Vanschooren
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The only thing I kinda agree upon is the starting occupations. some definitely are better the others.

No problem with the dice at al, and that's coming from someone who has been on the receiving end of a whaling fail streak. you know the risk going into the action, you can plan for it.
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The odds are a lot higher than they seem since all rolls happen 3 times (check the dice odds thread).

However, I've rolled 7 three times in a row on the D8, and so has my girlfriend. I'm kind of suspicious it's cursed, since that should be 1/512 odds I believe?

For starting occupations, I'm not sure. I suspect they've been balanced pretty well, since in general the game's math balance seems quite strong, but I'm still in the process of slowly testing things.



All that said, someone doing the weekly challenge got 164 in a game without relying on dice rolls, so that can be an option too.
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Nick Knutsen
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Spukky wrote:
No problem with the dice at al, and that's coming from someone who has been on the receiving end of a whaling fail streak. you know the risk going into the action, you can plan for it.


But why isn't it a problem? What does it mean to plan for it? To always have enough wood/stone to cover the worst possible die roll (and whatever else you need wood/stone for before it's good to go get more)? That hardly seems like optimal play either.
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Mike DiLisio
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PunchBall wrote:
Spukky wrote:
No problem with the dice at al, and that's coming from someone who has been on the receiving end of a whaling fail streak. you know the risk going into the action, you can plan for it.


But why isn't it a problem? What does it mean to plan for it? To always have enough wood/stone to cover the worst possible die roll (and whatever else you need wood/stone for before it's good to go get more)? That hardly seems like optimal play either.


It's not a problem because it's not like you get nothing if you fail the die roll after two re-rolls, and are not willing/able to supplement with resources. Even if you fail after all of that, you get compensated with resources, and those resources even help your success rate in that very action in the future should you decide to attempt it again.
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Dave Eisen
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PunchBall wrote:
Spukky wrote:
No problem with the dice at al, and that's coming from someone who has been on the receiving end of a whaling fail streak. you know the risk going into the action, you can plan for it.


But why isn't it a problem? What does it mean to plan for it? To always have enough wood/stone to cover the worst possible die roll (and whatever else you need wood/stone for before it's good to go get more)? That hardly seems like optimal play either.


It isn't a problem because people have different taste in games. I'm likely to end up fundamentally unhappy with the title because of the randomness, but lots of people will think it's just fine and probably some would prefer more randomness than there is. There is a decent amount of mitigation involved for the various random elements, particularly the die rolls, so I can understand being fine with it. But you don't have to be.

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Jonas Vanschooren
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Getting some extra bows and spare wood for hunting, if you fail, not a disaster, you get wood and an extra bow, still cool.

Load up on whaling boats, some spare spears and you'll have a pretty good chance to win.

You can mitigate the luck alot, but it still adds that nice "yeah" or "damn" moment to our games. And cause of the workers back and stuff you get it's not a disaster.

Or maybe I'm low on bows and wood, but still got 1 worker, I can still hunt, if I'm very lucky and hit a 1 or 2 I just give my bows up, but it I fail, no worry now I got that wood I also needed and was going to do a mountain action for, now I just can skip that and get my big barn.
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Jennifer Schlickbernd
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dkeisen wrote:
PunchBall wrote:
Spukky wrote:
No problem with the dice at al, and that's coming from someone who has been on the receiving end of a whaling fail streak. you know the risk going into the action, you can plan for it.


But why isn't it a problem? What does it mean to plan for it? To always have enough wood/stone to cover the worst possible die roll (and whatever else you need wood/stone for before it's good to go get more)? That hardly seems like optimal play either.


It isn't a problem because people have different taste in games. I'm likely to end up fundamentally unhappy with the title because of the randomness, but lots of people will think it's just fine and probably some would prefer more randomness than there is. There is a decent amount of mitigation involved for the various random elements, particularly the die rolls, so I can understand being fine with it. But you don't have to be.



I think in a game with all experienced players you will lose tempo if you fail. What that actually means to game play is yet to be seen. It may be that experienced players don't go for the die roll stuff unless they are behind for example.
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Josh
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Yeah, Rosenberg's a total hack who has a record of putting out 'broken' games, definitely.
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PunchBall wrote:
Spukky wrote:
No problem with the dice at al, and that's coming from someone who has been on the receiving end of a whaling fail streak. you know the risk going into the action, you can plan for it.


But why isn't it a problem? What does it mean to plan for it? To always have enough wood/stone to cover the worst possible die roll (and whatever else you need wood/stone for before it's good to go get more)? That hardly seems like optimal play either.


Planning for it means you let your weapon draws partly decide your strategy. If you draw a lot of spears, you can consider whether whaling wouldn't be a good part of your game. Yes, there can be a difference in what your occupation cards want you to do and what your weapon draws want you to do, but I think this game is all about handling that as well as possible and deciding what is the best thing.
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Andrew Brooks
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I'll probably write an extended post on why I like the randomness in Feast, particularly in relation to the theme, but for now I have two things to contribute.

1. I don't rally like the term "mitigation" to describe dealing with bad die rolls. You can prepare for success by stockpiling resources but there are strictly better results and you'd rather have those. Paying resources to make a die roll a success isn't really mitigating a bad roll, you're just willing to pay those resources to succeed versus pushing for better results given the risk of failure. If you roll better, you are saving resources which provides better action efficiency. I don't want to pay to make a bad die roll work, I just want a good roll. This isn't a problem in my opinion, these are risk-reward action and that's the tension.

2. This

jschlickbernd wrote:
I think in a game with all experienced players you will lose tempo if you fail. What that actually means to game play is yet to be seen. It may be that experienced players don't go for the die roll stuff unless they are behind for example.


I mostly agree that failing is pretty bad, and you'd much rather succeed (and with the best rolls to boot). However, there are a couple spots where it is not that bad to fail. In particular the spots that only leave 1 worker behind. Especially the 3-worker whaling spot because you get wood + spear + a card if you fail. That's almost always worth doing even at terrible odds.

From my experience, the spots that require die rolls pay out the best return if you roll decently well. Pillaging has the lowest risk in my opinion because you can come in with +3 from ore (plus swords) and don't need much higher than 7-8 to get a good return. On a d12 those are very good odds. Hunting/Whaling on the other hand is riskier because you're likely to have to pay wood but, even so, it's a great deal with a half way decent roll.

I have come to quite the opposite conclusion, you simply can not ignore spots that require die rolls because they are so good that it's worth the risk. If you play it safe you are going to lose to one of the players that didn't fail too much.
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Bob Boberson
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In principle I have a big problem with rolling dice to decide how many goods you acquire in a game where the main goal is the acquisition of goods, and so I thought I'd have a big problem with this randomness in A Feast For Odin. I was already thinking of ways to house rule the dice rolling before I even got my copy.

So I got my copy and have been playing the hell out of it (mostly solo). As it turns out the dice rolling isn't bothering me as much as I thought it would. Firstly, you can avoid it altogether and still score okay. If you do it the fact that you get two re-rolls helps, as does the consolation prize idea. I'm not really a fan of it myself but I don't think the dice rolling can be eliminated because it's so integral to what the game is about that removing it would just kill it.

As far as the hunting/pillaging etc. actions are concerned I'm not keen on hunting as wood seems more useful for other things, and whaling in the solo game doesn't seem that great as you really only get to do it once every other round (unless you want to spend 4 vikings for another go at the same space). I think raiding sucks (although I wouldn't get into a fight defending that position). Which just leaves pillaging. Pillaging seems pretty good, but coincidentally I've only drawn a combined total of one sword in the last 6 solo plays, so I've ended up bypassing dice rolling almost completely (I could have gone out of my way to stockpile stone, but that just doesn't seem worth it to me). My scores have been okay.

The occupation cards actually bother me more than the dice rolling in this game. They just make it too swingy for my taste. I've been saddled with the 'Drunkard' card a few times now, and I've found it to be practically useless. Not only that it's worth 0 points at the end of the game. On the other hand I've drawn the 'Refugee Helper' a couple of times as my starting occupation, which was tremendously useful for scoring a ton of points via emigration. But that's a bit of a problem for me too - it can feel a bit like the game is playing me when I draw something like the refugee helper. It kind of makes me feel silly or willfully stubborn if I don't go heavy emigration. I'd prefer to decide my own strategy each game rather than constantly being nudged in a certain direction by random card draws. Having said that though I believe the cards will benefit the game's replayability in the long run.

Maybe some kind of drafting/bidding variant would be a good compromise?
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alan beaumont
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GAFBlizzard wrote:
I've rolled 7 three times in a row on the D8, and so has my girlfriend. I'm kind of suspicious it's cursed, since that should be 1/512 odds I believe?
Well, not really, because you could also have rolled 8/8/8, 8/8/7, 8/7/8, 7/8/8, 7/7/8, 7/8/7 and 8/7/7, instead of your 7/7/7, which gives a foul luck ratio of 8:504, or 1:63. (Someone check my maths it's 7.30 am here).

This isn't even twice as horrible than snakes eyes and I've seen that rolled three times in sequence on two occasions over my Settlers of Catan career.
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misteralan wrote:
GAFBlizzard wrote:
I've rolled 7 three times in a row on the D8, and so has my girlfriend. I'm kind of suspicious it's cursed, since that should be 1/512 odds I believe?
Well, not really, because you could also have rolled 8/8/8, 8/8/7, 8/7/8, 7/8/8, 7/7/8, 7/8/7 and 8/7/7, instead of your 7/7/7, which gives a foul luck ratio of 8:504, or 1:63. (Someone check my maths it's 7.30 am here).

This isn't even twice as horrible than snakes eyes and I've seen that rolled three times in sequence on two occasions over my Settlers of Catan career.

I meant the odds of specifically rolling three 7's. I know the odds of failing in general are slightly greater (1/63 as you mention). Either way, if it happens again I'm probably switching in a different D8. whistle
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Derek Long
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misteralan wrote:
GAFBlizzard wrote:
I've rolled 7 three times in a row on the D8, and so has my girlfriend. I'm kind of suspicious it's cursed, since that should be 1/512 odds I believe?
Well, not really, because you could also have rolled 8/8/8, 8/8/7, 8/7/8, 7/8/8, 7/7/8, 7/8/7 and 8/7/7, instead of your 7/7/7, which gives a foul luck ratio of 8:504, or 1:63. (Someone check my maths it's 7.30 am here).

This isn't even twice as horrible than snakes eyes and I've seen that rolled three times in sequence on two occasions over my Settlers of Catan career.


8/512 to be precise (the denominator is the total size of the space of outcomes, not the number of outcomes excluding those in the numerator), so 1/64.
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Dok Indigo
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On turn 1 my opponent used the 3-viking spot to get 2/3 ressources from 2 mountain strips to get all the wood available. I went hunting and called it a fail after the first roll to get a wood so I could get a whaling boat later.
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Hexendoktor wrote:

On turn 1 my opponent used the 3-viking spot to get 2/3 ressources from 2 mountain strips to get all the wood available. I went hunting and called it a fail after the first roll to get a wood so I could get a whaling boat later.

An even more evil thing to do here is go trapping and call it a fail. You still only use 1 viking since you get 1 back, and you block the only trapping space.
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alan beaumont
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What I said
Derek Long wrote:
misteralan wrote:
GAFBlizzard wrote:
I've rolled 7 three times in a row on the D8, and so has my girlfriend. I'm kind of suspicious it's cursed, since that should be 1/512 odds I believe?
Well, not really, because you could also have rolled 8/8/8, 8/8/7, 8/7/8, 7/8/8, 7/7/8, 7/8/7 and 8/7/7, instead of your 7/7/7, which gives a foul luck ratio of 8:504, or 1:63. (Someone check my maths it's 7.30 am here).

This isn't even twice as horrible than snakes eyes and I've seen that rolled three times in sequence on two occasions over my Settlers of Catan career.


8/512 to be precise (the denominator is the total size of the space of outcomes, not the number of outcomes excluding those in the numerator), so 1/64.
Actually we agree. There are 8 in the 7/7/7 or worse sets of rolls and 504 potential rolls in the other set. I expressed it as a ratio, not odds.

Oops, hang on you would bail on any set beginning 1... wow and no doubt on 2 , so the total number is diminishing rapidly. Brain overload.... zombie
 
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misteralan wrote:
Derek Long wrote:
misteralan wrote:
GAFBlizzard wrote:
I've rolled 7 three times in a row on the D8, and so has my girlfriend. I'm kind of suspicious it's cursed, since that should be 1/512 odds I believe?
Well, not really, because you could also have rolled 8/8/8, 8/8/7, 8/7/8, 7/8/8, 7/7/8, 7/8/7 and 8/7/7, instead of your 7/7/7, which gives a foul luck ratio of 8:504, or 1:63. (Someone check my maths it's 7.30 am here).

This isn't even twice as horrible than snakes eyes and I've seen that rolled three times in sequence on two occasions over my Settlers of Catan career.


8/512 to be precise (the denominator is the total size of the space of outcomes, not the number of outcomes excluding those in the numerator), so 1/64.
Actually we agree. There are 8 in the 7/7/7 or worse sets of rolls and 504 potential rolls in the other set. I expressed it as a ratio, not odds.

Oops, hang on you would bail on any set beginning 1... wow and no doubt on 2 , so the total number is diminishing rapidly. Brain overload.... zombie

We're getting a bit off topic here, so maybe we should move to the dice odds thread. https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1657682/when-roll-dice
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Geeky McGeekface
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dotKeller wrote:
I don't really like the term "mitigation" to describe dealing with bad die rolls. You can prepare for success by stockpiling resources but there are strictly better results and you'd rather have those. Paying resources to make a die roll a success isn't really mitigating a bad roll, you're just willing to pay those resources to succeed versus pushing for better results given the risk of failure. If you roll better, you are saving resources which provides better action efficiency. I don't want to pay to make a bad die roll work, I just want a good roll. This isn't a problem in my opinion, these are risk-reward action and that's the tension.

QFT. Games which give you ways of modifying bad rolls are better than those that don't, but to pretend that it isn't better to roll well than to roll crappy is just incorrect. I'm not sure I have a problem, per se, with the level of randomness in Odin, but I think all of OP's issues (with the Occupations, the weapons, and the dice rolling) are reasonable ones if you're looking for very little luck in a game. The way of dealing out weapon cards is particularly wonky, IMO. I'm not saying it's a flaw, but it does feel peculiar.

Mind you, I really like Odin, but I'm also sympathetic to anyone who thinks there might be too much randomness in the game.
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Nick Knutsen
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dotKeller wrote:
I have come to quite the opposite conclusion, you simply can not ignore spots that require die rolls because they are so good that it's worth the risk. If you play it safe you are going to lose to one of the players that didn't fail too much.

That's what I was afraid of being the case. It means that if you don't play it safe but fail too much, you're going to do worse than players who didn't play it safe but didn't fail too much, as well as players who played it safe.

So you need to take those risks, and hope you roll decently. With so few dice rolls per player during the game (even if you get to re-roll three times), it makes each die roll too decisive for my taste. If it were a short game, the luck factor would be okay, but for such a long game, it seems weird especially considering that the game otherwise is heavy on par with Agricola, Caverna etc.
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Jennifer Schlickbernd
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PunchBall wrote:
dotKeller wrote:
I have come to quite the opposite conclusion, you simply can not ignore spots that require die rolls because they are so good that it's worth the risk. If you play it safe you are going to lose to one of the players that didn't fail too much.

That's what I was afraid of being the case. It means that if you don't play it safe but fail too much, you're going to do worse than players who didn't play it safe but didn't fail too much, as well as players who played it safe.

So you need to take those risks, and hope you roll decently. With so few dice rolls per player during the game (even if you get to re-roll three times), it makes each die roll too decisive for my taste. If it were a short game, the luck factor would be okay, but for such a long game, it seems weird especially considering that the game otherwise is heavy on par with Agricola, Caverna etc.


I'm not convinced this is true after 11 plays. For one thing, Emigration is very strong and doesn't require die rolls, just money. And buying stuff off the large grey tile doesn't require die rolls either. Nor does filling up a few log cabins.

We will certainly keep playing although we are still feeling out the game even though we've played it this much. At some point soon we'll start doing tests of these strategies to see if there really is a die roll issue with the game. I doubt it but we'll test it out.
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Andrew Brooks
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jschlickbernd wrote:
PunchBall wrote:
dotKeller wrote:
I have come to quite the opposite conclusion, you simply can not ignore spots that require die rolls because they are so good that it's worth the risk. If you play it safe you are going to lose to one of the players that didn't fail too much.

That's what I was afraid of being the case. It means that if you don't play it safe but fail too much, you're going to do worse than players who didn't play it safe but didn't fail too much, as well as players who played it safe.

So you need to take those risks, and hope you roll decently. With so few dice rolls per player during the game (even if you get to re-roll three times), it makes each die roll too decisive for my taste. If it were a short game, the luck factor would be okay, but for such a long game, it seems weird especially considering that the game otherwise is heavy on par with Agricola, Caverna etc.


I'm not convinced this is true after 11 plays. For one thing, Emigration is very strong and doesn't require die rolls, just money. And buying stuff off the large grey tile doesn't require die rolls either. Nor does filling up a few log cabins.

We will certainly keep playing although we are still feeling out the game even though we've played it this much. At some point soon we'll start doing tests of these strategies to see if there really is a die roll issue with the game. I doubt it but we'll test it out.


Let me clarify, I think whaling (3) and pillaging (2) are very strong actions that should likely be contested. If a player is able to take one of those actions every single turn they will (possibly) be at an advantage even if they fail occasionally as both spots only leave 1 guy behind on failure. This is mostly due to excellent value per worker and the high modifiers that you can stack providing very good odds and low chance of needing to commit resources. I would consider pillaging to be the stronger of these two though it can provide diminishing returns if the special tiles get drained aggressively (with a decent backup from blue tiles).

There are other very good strategies and the occupations certainly modify the relative strengths of the different paths so I could be wrong in my initial thoughts. I've had success with crafting and am still trying out the other paths. The actual thing that I find to be very strong is exploring and income focus, whaling and pillaging are simply the best supports for it. I don't consider emigration to be overly strong, it's simply a safe strategy. I think it's very beatable if that's your main focus. I'd love to see building be viable as a main path but am not convinced it will work beyond support, same with livestock.

These are all early thoughts (though I've played a lot of solo) and I also don't perceive a die roll issue. I've failed in nearly every multi-player game I've played and have still done very well.
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Harvey Cohen
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PunchBall wrote:
I've played it twice with four players now. Two things I noticed was that the occupations you draw seemed too random, and the die rolling seemed too random.

You start with one occupation, and draw one at a time a few times during the game. Some are great to get early when you can adjust your play to maximize their potential throughout the game. Others are very situational and might not be usable in the early game or maybe just once or twice during the game (or never). Drawing a good one early seems to have a pretty big impact. It seems like the good ones are worth 0 VP and the situational ones are worth more. Getting 3 VP from an occupation is pretty good, but I would much rather draw a great 0 VP occupation in the beginning.

Weapons are also totally random. You might start off with a lot of spears, but your starting occupation (or the ones you draw early in the game) might not support whaling at all. Or it might, in which case you're lucky. Then there's the hunting/whaling/etc itself. If you have a lot of one weapon, the game is driving you to take advantage of that to get some loot, since your odds are good. If you fail badly, you'll either have to use a lot of wood/stone, assuming you have enough, or settle for one resource and another of that weapon. Both options are a lot worse than success. Settling for the consolation prize means you use both a turn and a viking (or two) to get ONE resource and another of the weapons that you wanted to spend to get something useful in the first place. Losing a turn means several more spots will be taken in the mean time, and maybe you can't even use that new weapon this round to try again. So this round all you got was one wood/stone for that action and that viking (or two vikings). In the last round this is catastrophic, but in any round it's pretty bad. There are only 7 rounds. In the last round I guess you could try only when/if you have all the stone/wood (to spare!) you'd need with the worst possible roll, but that would mean playing to hoard a lot of stone/wood just for that, which seems pretty bad. To win the game it seems you should play to reasonable odds of success, I mean assuming some bad luck but not really bad luck. Which means you risk having really bad luck and losing against players having reasonable luck, skill level being equal.

The problem with the luck factor of die rolls comes from how few die rolls there are during the game. In Castles of Burgundy each player rolls 25 times. Luck will even out. Not sure how many times each player rolls in Feast for Odin, but maybe 7? Luck is just a huge factor then.

To fix occupations: Always draw 3 and choose one.

To fix weapons draws: Always draw 2/3 and choose one?

To fix hunting/whaling/pillaging/etc: Not sure, but maybe a sliding scale from getting something to getting good tiles, depending on the die roll + modifiers, instead of just failure/success?

What surprises me is that I can't see that anybody mentions these things as a problem. Maybe I'm totally wrong having only played it twice, but I wonder how I'm wrong?


I'm not a big fan a randomness but I understand that some people really enjoy the press your luck aspect of die rolling (watch a craps table at a casino sometimes). That said, if you allow people to choose between rolling a D8 or two D4s, you allow people to either press their luck or choose a slightly less random path. The same could be said for the D12 or two D6s. Using two dice definitely flattens the variance curves but eliminates the highest and lowest numbers as a possibility. We're playing the game Thursday and I'll let you know how it works.
 
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cohenhs wrote:
Using two dice definitely flattens the variance curves but eliminates the highest and lowest numbers as a possibility.


How does using 2 dice eliminate the highest number?

1d8 will get 1-8, average 4.5
2d4 will get 2-8, average 5
1d12 will get 1-12, average 6.5
2d6 will get 2-12, average 7

If you want to roll low, rolling 2 dice with half the value is on average worse than rolling 1 die.

You will probably need a balancing factor when using 2 dice and aiming for a high roll. Maybe distracting 1 from the result or only getting a maximum of 2 rolls instead of 3.
 
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