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Subject: I hate the dice and the dice hate me. rss

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JAn
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After a particularly brutal session of Gears of War: The Board Game[1] I once again lamented how much I dislike dice. I keep trying, but from my earliest days rolling up DnD characters to this modern concept of dice drafting games (which I haven't tried[2] as I think they'd give me the howling fantods) it seems that any roll that matters I'm guaranteed to spectacularly fail.

There's nothing less satisfying (and more frustrating) to me than setting up a turn, playing enhancement cards, spending mana/tokens/prayers, only to roll the lowest score possible, then have my opponent/the board make no preparation, roll high and win.

I'm fine with randomness introduced by other mechanisms like cards or chits pulled from a bag and I'm okay with something like the mana dice in Mage Knight Board Game because it's a random element that influences the game indirectly and there are ways of mitigating it or playing around it - and in fact part of the fun is said mitigation.

(Don't even get me started on simulated dice rolls on digital devices. Then I really feel like the game is sticking two fingers up and laughing at me. I'm looking at you, Battle Lore!)

So, with that:

a) Anyone else feel the same and is there a support group?
b) Any games out there I could possibly use to overcome my distaste? Exposure therapy, if you will.
c) Is there a microbadge for this condition?

***
[1] This highlighted a slight flaw in the game in that enemies have unlimited range meaning that if you get stuck down the end of a shooting gallery they can shoot you, you can't shoot them, and it's game over very quickly.

[2] I did recently buy Assault on Doomrock and apart from being an insanely difficult solo experience, the dice drafting aspect does set my teeth on edge.


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Dice are no different than other forms of randomness, and can have mechanics attached to mitigate bad draws just like any other. It's a scientific fact that we all have the same array of outcomes when we roll the same dice.

The only thing that remains is your perception of them. That is likely where your trouble with dice is seated.

S.
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Justin Case
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rakehell wrote:
c) Is there a microbadge for this condition?

There actually *is* a badge you might like:

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It's one of the ones I felt compelled to get laugh

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Jerry Martin
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Castes of Burgundy and Kingsburg both have dice rolling, but it is more what you do with your rolls than what you actually roll that matters.

And both really good games.
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rakehell wrote:
After a particularly brutal session of Gears of War: The Board Game[1] I once again lamented how much I dislike dice. I keep trying, but from my earliest days rolling up DnD characters to this modern concept of dice drafting games (which I haven't tried[2] as I think they'd give me the howling fantods) it seems that any roll that matters I'm guaranteed to spectacularly fail.

There's nothing less satisfying (and more frustrating) to me than setting up a turn, playing enhancement cards, spending mana/tokens/prayers, only to roll the lowest score possible, then have my opponent/the board make no preparation, roll high and win.

I'm fine with randomness introduced by other mechanisms like cards or chits pulled from a bag and I'm okay with something like the mana dice in Mage Knight Board Game because it's a random element that influences the game indirectly and there are ways of mitigating it or playing around it - and in fact part of the fun is said mitigation.

(Don't even get me started on simulated dice rolls on digital devices. Then I really feel like the game is sticking two fingers up and laughing at me. I'm looking at you, Battle Lore!)

So, with that:

a) Anyone else feel the same and is there a support group?
b) Any games out there I could possibly use to overcome my distaste? Exposure therapy, if you will.
c) Is there a microbadge for this condition?

***
[1] This highlighted a slight flaw in the game in that enemies have unlimited range meaning that if you get stuck down the end of a shooting gallery they can shoot you, you can't shoot them, and it's game over very quickly.

[2] I did recently buy Assault on Doomrock and apart from being an insanely difficult solo experience, the dice drafting aspect does set my teeth on edge.




I am right there with you. And I always wound up playing with people that the dice love.
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mortego
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For me
Dice = Randomness = Love

Thank-You
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Francisco Gutierrez
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This is absolutely perception bias.
I mean this in the nicest way possible, but I doubt that you are such a skilled player that your "perfect plans" are only undone by an incredibly unlikely series of rolls. (or that you've played enough to have made a statistically significant amount of rolls.)

Back when I used to play Blood Bowl, I would tease players who complained that the dice weren't going their way. You roll so often in that game that the dice will fail you eventually, therefore the game was all about balancing the odds in your favor.

More often than not, it wasn't that I was getting lucky or that my opponent wasn't, but that I was making smarter moves which didn't rely on having the dice go my way.
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Frank de Jong
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I totally agree, have been against overt use of dice-rolls in games ever since playing Warhammer and Risk when I was younger. Not that I claim to be spectacularly more unlucky than anyone else, it is just that I also somehow always succeeded in missing that one hero in front of 15 of my gunman, before he slaughtered them all, blow up my siege engines first turn, or lose the hero I liked most in Mordheim. (Of course, I was not having a monopoly on it.) On DnD it was often more of a tragicomedy to play with me, and in the few games I played I quickly became known as that 'take 20' Rogue.

The same was true though for Magic the Gathering tournaments: the worst games where one of the players was utterly screwed by their draws were always deciding the outcome. So it is not dice alone that are to blame.

Almost all games have a factor of luck in them. But when luck becomes a factor too decisive in games (or potentially decisive), I get bored by them quickly and don't bother trying anymore. Whether that luck turns for or against me. And somehow for me as well, dice-rolls (maybe because they are often an easy fix in games for a bad design) bear the blunt of my hate for the luck/randomness factor in games I dislike. Or to put it in terms of games: I love Caverna, can perfectly fine live with Catan and Carcassonne, but I utterly dislike Cyclades or Risk.

Edit: just remembered a long conversation I had regarding the subject of when luck becomes overbearing for me in games and hence causes me to dislike them. The conclusion we came to boiled down to something like this: When luck gives you opportunities (say: you get resources in Catan) I tend to be largely OK with that, when luck inhibits others' opportunities (say: eliminating units by dice-roll combat) I tend to dislike it.
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Joe Salamone
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I saw Dr. Strange last night. I'm pretty sure I can make dice rolls come out any way I want now.
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Michael Dillenbeck
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rakehell wrote:
. . . There's nothing less satisfying (and more frustrating) to me than setting up a turn, playing enhancement cards, spending mana/tokens/prayers, only to roll the lowest score possible, then have my opponent/the board make no preparation, roll high and win.

I'm fine with randomness introduced by other mechanisms like cards or chits pulled from a bag . . .

So, with that:

a) Anyone else feel the same and is there a support group?

b) Any games out there I could possibly use to overcome my distaste? Exposure therapy, if you will.


Yes, and these people are called Eurogamers (or sometimes Worshippers of Feld).

I'll say that I often find that I dislike dice and card draws and other things that undo all my plans. When I consistently roll well below statistical average game after game as the Sauron Player in War of the Ring, thus failing at every seige assault I try, while my opponent consistently rolls high and slaughters my forces; I tend not to like the dice. When I spend 7 turns rolling 35+ dice trying to get a 5 or 6 in Eldritch Horror (or 6 because I got cursed at the end of the last turn) and I roll only one 5 and one 6 in all those dice, I feel like dice hate me. If this were unusual or occurred with only a particular set of dice, then I'd not feel like dice hate me.

However, the same goes for card draws. When I got a great hand of cards dealt to me in Agricola and I felt I would finally beat my wife, she was dealt the perfect combination that I don't think anyone could defeat. When I draw a perfect mix of cards in Pandemic but others seem to draw one color that works towards a cure, I feel like my luck sucks and I don't really contribute to winning. When every single attack in Star Trek Fleet Captains is countered by an evasion card by my wife, I really think my luck sucks.

Yeah, a lot of it is perception - but there is a reason why I am drawn to games like Liberty or Death: An American Insurrection (and other COIN series titles), traditional hex-and-counter wargames with combat resolution tables that take into account an array of factors that I control to shift the odds in my favor, or Castles of Burgundy where a bad roll can be mitigated by taking workers.

There are tons and tons of games where you can avoid luck. Just realize that sometimes those dice are simplifying all the complex factors. That crappy roll in Axis & Allies? Maybe the poor roll represented fuel shortages for your German tanks, muddy fields due to unseasonally heavy rains, quality of soldiers being depleted by losses in prior battles, and an incompetent/insubordinate general who didn't execute the commands that you wanted (and is often more approachable to many than having tons of counters and tables to manage supply lines, leader quality, weather, troop quality, terrain advantage, arms advantage, and so on).

The trick is to use the dice and add your own narrative to the events - if you are engaged in the story more than winning, then it is easier to swallow losses. For example, I love Bios Megafauna, but it is a game where the game will kick you in the balls and then use a baseball bat to knock out all your teeth... so your opponents giving you a punch seems irrelevant - but I love watching the environment shift and the various species trying to adapt. If you don't buy into the theme, you often see just a game; when people see a game, it becomes far too easy to focus on "winning" over enjoying yourself while trying to win (but being okay when you lose to someone else, who also likes to win).

Quote:
c) Is there a microbadge for this condition?


Someone else already covered this.
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Maarten D. de Jong
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rakehell wrote:
There's nothing less satisfying (and more frustrating) to me than setting up a turn, playing enhancement cards, spending mana/tokens/prayers, only to roll the lowest score possible, then have my opponent/the board make no preparation, roll high and win.

No, there is worse in gaming, trust me.

Quote:
I'm fine with randomness introduced by other mechanisms like cards or chits pulled from a bag and I'm okay with something like the mana dice in Mage Knight Board Game because it's a random element that influences the game indirectly and there are ways of mitigating it or playing around it - and in fact part of the fun is said mitigation.

Then go play a game in which dice mitigation has been done properly. Most games kinda suck at it because designers don't really understand what needs doing. Start with Roll Through the Ages: The Bronze Age, but use the freely available scoring sheets of its expansion.
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Don Lynch
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.

Dice have feelings too. If you hate the dice then the dice hate you. ninja

At the Risk (tm) of mixing Latin and Greek roots, is aleaphobia a word?

If so, should Caesar have been aware of it? ("alea iacta est"; the die is cast, supposed spoken when crossing the Rubicon.)

Funny how every game group seems to have a player who is known for bad rolls or bad timing of the rolls, while also having another player who is known for great rolls and great timing. Sometimes this only applies to individual games, and not across the board.

I think you have to have a back-up plan (reserves) for when the dice go against you. I also think you have to be able to really exploit those good results when they happen.

While this may be a perception thing, it is also possible that pessimism can effect outcomes. Kind of the reverse of positive thinking. If you expect a bad outcome, that's what you get. Sort of like your own personal head game.

It is also possible that players excuse their losses by blaming the dice, the cards, the referees, et cetera. It is also polite to attribute your victories to lucky dice. And it gets into your opponents heads, making future victories easier. There is an expression among my game group that goes, "Yell like Tarzan and roll great dice." Not sure of where it came from, but it adds to local color.

Chess anyone?

Oh wait, there is a famous story when facing a loss, Nimzowitsch exclaimed, "Gegen diesen Idioten muss ich verlieren!", loosely translated as "why must I lose to this idiot?". May have also involved throwing a piece, depending on who tells the story.

Go forth and roll some more.

.


 
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JAn
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To all those of you citing probabilities and perception bias, you have an open invitation to play your favourite dice-rolling game with me. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll absolutely without question win, but what you'll do most is witness someone utterly adrift on the seas of fate and subjugated by the whims and vagaries of the dice.

I suppose it all does even out, but if I make the roll to be starting player, but fail the roll that would win the me the game, well, that balance of probabilities can take a hike as far as I'm concerned.

Thank you all for your game suggestions, I'll check those out.

To everyone else, I hope you try and understand the pain players of my ilk experience when a game comes out like, oh say, Roll Player that looks great, but which I cannot possibly purchase as all I would be buying is yet another opportunity for my friends to beat the absolute pants off me.

Lil Blue Spider wrote:

When luck gives you opportunities (say: you get resources in Catan) I tend to be largely OK with that, when luck inhibits others' opportunities (say: eliminating units by dice-roll combat) I tend to dislike it.


I like that. Seems something like The Castles of Burgundy would fall into the former category, plus have mitigation mechanisms in play and perhaps work somewhat towards changing my attitude[1], if not actual fortune.

***
[1] It's not "diephobia", that certainly doesn't mean what I thought it would.
 
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Bob Boberson
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I hate rolling well just as much as I hate rolling badly, because I can take no credit for the former and can do nothing to avoid the latter. And the dice don't care whether you're throwing them for something mundane or the most important turn of the game. Dice rolling just sucks.
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Reed Dawley
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I'm with the dice, when was the last time you brought them flowers or took them out to a nice place? Not that normal dive you go to every week, a nice place. Treat your dice right and they will treat you right as well.
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Bob Boberson
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IMCarnochan wrote:
Treat your dice right and they will treat you right as well.


I put my dice in pop-o-matic dice bubbles, so I don't have to touch the filthy things. yuk
 
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Maarten D. de Jong
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rakehell wrote:
To all those of you citing probabilities and perception bias, you have an open invitation to play your favourite dice-rolling game with me. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll absolutely without question win, but what you'll do most is witness someone utterly adrift on the seas of fate and subjugated by the whims and vagaries of the dice.

No, I won't. Because there is no such thing as a permanently unlucky player.

Quote:
I suppose it all does even out, but if I make the roll to be starting player, but fail the roll that would win the me the game, well, that balance of probabilities can take a hike as far as I'm concerned.

Dice don't concern themselves with what they are used for. It's just a cube rolling around on a flat surface. And if you feel that it is ridiculous that despite best planning efforts you can lose the game on the whim of a die roll... then you need to accept that you don't agree with that sort of game mechanism, and need to look for something where you have measurably more control over your own fate in the course of a single game. Which, of course, can also be attained with dice, but requires far more care from the designer.
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JAn
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cymric wrote:

Dice don't concern themselves with what they are used for. It's just a cube rolling around on a flat surface.


The only reason you can say that is because you haven't had to put up with the little bastards and their devious ways for well over 20 years.

History is written by the winners and all that, but as Depeche Mode once sang:

"...But before you come to any conclusions
Try walking in my shoes
Try walking in my shoes
You'll stumble in my footsteps..."
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Mark Smith

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I see you like living on the edge too as the dice in Space Hulk: Death Angel – The Card Game have bee infused with bad luck and fickle results.
The ones that hurt most aswell, like the reinforcement die in Small World or that tricky fight in Runebound (Second Edition) just before the final battle. The list goes on .....
You could always forsake all religions and pray to the dice gods directly for divine intervention of your throws. They may listen on a 4+.
I used to worship them briefly while playing Warhammer and 40K in the dark early days of gaming , but alas there may be more than one dice deity among us to wreck havoc with our games.

Perhaps the earlier suggestions are best and we all should keep the odd euro game sitting on the side, which will help us escape to a realm of non dice god corruption every once and awhile .
Good luck to you and your throws.
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Bryan Thunkd
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Sagrilarus wrote:
Dice are no different than other forms of randomness
This is unequivocally false. A die can generate the same result twice in a row while drawing from a deck of unique cards cannot. While there are many forms of randomness and dealing with randomness is a skill that you should develop, let's not gloss over the fact that how randomness is implemented has a significant impact on gameplay.

Quote:
It's a scientific fact that we all have the same array of outcomes when we roll the same dice.
Sure, but there are games where each player has a numbered personal deck of cards that they draw from. At least there every player is guaranteed to see the same numbers throughout the game. In a dice game it is possible, but probably unlikely, that I could roll all 1-3's while you roll all 4-6's. Those seem to be fundamentally different forms of randomness.
 
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Martin Larouche
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I much prefer the randomness of dice than the randomness of cards.
Most card-based systems end-up overly long to play out, are supper-fiddly and are just not satisfying.

And they provoke a lot more cheers around the table.
I remember games of Ikusa, where the battle end up within a few dice rolls. Every player, even those not participating in the battle, are actively looking at the results, with "ohs" and "ahs" after every dice thrown.

Meanwhile on the supposedly less random card based system, like StarCraft: the board game, players fall asleep while other are having their battles. When the long battle is over, people just acknowledge the results and move on.
The same occurs with Kemet, though it isn't as bad. I hardly ever see anyone cheering during it's combat system. It's a very methodical and analytical way of resolving combat, even if it's fast. It doesn't provoke strong reactions and emotions around the table.

Not to mention that card-based system usually inevitably leads to card counting. How many cards of that type are left in the deck? What are the cards he already used? etc... to count current probabilities.
I don't like that.
 
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Thunkd wrote:
Sagrilarus wrote:
Dice are no different than other forms of randomness
This is unequivocally false. A die can generate the same result twice in a row while drawing from a deck of unique cards cannot. While there are many forms of randomness and dealing with randomness is a skill that you should develop, let's not gloss over the fact that how randomness is implemented has a significant impact on gameplay.

Quote:
It's a scientific fact that we all have the same array of outcomes when we roll the same dice.
Sure, but there are games where each player has a numbered personal deck of cards that they draw from. At least there every player is guaranteed to see the same numbers throughout the game. In a dice game it is possible, but probably unlikely, that I could roll all 1-3's while you roll all 4-6's. Those seem to be fundamentally different forms of randomness.


    Let's leap to the conclusion that I'm not so goddamned stupid as to think that draw without replacement is the same as a die roll.

    There's a hatred for dice here that is irrational, one that does not extend to card draws that present the same level of randomness. With modern six-siders in particular there's an imperceptible level of slant that virtually never affects one player more than another, because everyone uses the same dice and in most games all are looking for the same rolls.

    And yet dice are given personalities, accused of having vendettas, of being in league with each other. No one ever accuses one particular die of having an attitude, it's always all of them, be it two, three, or ten in games like Heroscape. It's a conspiracy! People request game recommendations that specifically don't have dice in them because "I always roll low."

    I tell people "write down all your rolls" and when I say that the problem magically disappears. They don't even have to actually do it. They know they're full of crap. They waffle, they hem and haw and say "I only get bad rolls when it matters!" which more or less is invoking voodoo to explain the problem.

    When you boil this all down, dice do what they're supposed to, they do it well, and they do it with remarkable dependability.

    Except in Talisman. The dice in Talisman ARE COMPLETE BULLSHIT.

             S.


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Kevin Keefe
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rakehell wrote:
cymric wrote:

Dice don't concern themselves with what they are used for. It's just a cube rolling around on a flat surface.


The only reason you can say that is because you haven't had to put up with the little bastards and their devious ways for well over 20 years.

History is written by the winners and all that, but as Depeche Mode once sang:

"...But before you come to any conclusions
Try walking in my shoes
Try walking in my shoes
You'll stumble in my footsteps..."


Thumb and tip for Depeche Mode.
 
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Kevin Keefe
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Dice freaking hate me. It's a running joke in the game club that I run and the adult group that I'm in. Everyone knows that dice hate me.

We tracked it once in a Blood Bowl game. Every die roll I made, with ones as ones (duh) and skulls as ones. I rolled a one 40% of the time. No lie.
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Maarten D. de Jong
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Now track it in all games.

If you're still consistently off, I'd suggest taking a hard look at your fellow players, or go to a betting agency proclaiming your skill... and thus start making serious money.
 
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