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Too Many Bones» Forums » Variants

Subject: Initiative Calculation rss

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Tyler Ryan
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I know one of the biggest complaints I have with the game revolves around initiative calculation. Often times if a gearloc gets a bad initiative roll and the "right" baddie is in prime position, the gearloc can be out before he even has a chance to respond. This alternative to calculating initiative can (potentially) soften the blow.

Initiative Calculation Variant
1) Calculate initiative as normal, setting each baddie to their specific initiative values, having gearlocs roll, et certera.
2) At the start of round 1, each gearloc can choose to spend some if their dexterity to improve their gearloc's initiative roll by 1 for each dexterity spent. This spent dexterity cannot be used for round 1.

For example, if a character has an initiative of 3, and they wish to go above the baddie that has an initiative of 5. They could spend 2 dexterity to improve their initiative roll by 2. Then at the start of their turn they have already spent 2 of their total dexterity.

This would allow (in many circumstances) a player the opportunity to spend dexterity to go ahead of a baddie, and then have enough Dex to (maybe) kill him, or (more than likely) set up some defense to live and fight another round.

Thematically I view this as gearlocs exerting themselves initially in the beginning of combat to get themselves to a better position.

What do you guys think?
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Joshua Nash
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Nope, I don't like it.

Spending 1 Dex to change your initiative is WAY overpowered. Maybe if you reset to your original initiative each round and had to spend dex each round might balance it a bit more.

But regardless, I won't be doing this.
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Tyler Ryan
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JPN38 wrote:
Nope, I don't like it.

Spending 1 Dex to change your initiative is WAY overpowered. Maybe if you reset to your original initiative each round and had to spend dex each round might balance it a bit more.

But regardless, I won't be doing this.


But dying on turn one without getting a chance to respond is fun? Personally I do feel the current initiative system is a "problem". I want the game to be tough, but I want to be able to say "man we loss, but we had a chance!"

Having an Honor Griffin roll 6-7 damage on you before you have a chance to even try and do anything isn't fun. Instead I'm left saying "Man that sucked, maybe next time the Griffin will roll less.."

This at least gives the Gearloc a chance to get maybe 2-3 defense up before the onslaught.
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Joshua Nash
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Fun? No. But a challenge! Prepare better next time.

But hey, it's your game. Go forth and house rule. Then let us know how it went.
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Tyler Ryan
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JPN38 wrote:
Fun? No. But a challenge! Prepare better next time.

But hey, it's your game. Go forth and house rule. Then let us know how it went.


Simply saying "prepare better" is a cop out, might as well tell me "GIT GUD". Sometimes "prepare better" just isn't​ possible. I think a game should first and foremost be fun.

Challenging is okay, but when a game throws cheap shots at you then it becomes frustrating. It is like a video game that is hard not because they present a valid challenge, but uses awkward camera angles to trick the player. Mechanically speaking, this is the only issue I have with the game.
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Josh Carlson
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Good point Tyler, we don't want initiative to feel like a "dirty trick".

That said, every Gearloc has a different initiative range. So based on your Gearloc's ini range and the types of Baddies you are going up against, you CAN actually prepare differently for such an adventure by prioritizing health (your best turn 1 defense against high attack baddies or low initiative rolls).

TMB has a puzzle aspect to it. The best strategies for success only come after you familiarize yourself with the many aspects that can affect a battle (so much more than just your Gearloc).

So while I agree that you don't want a low initiative roll to spoil the fun, there are ways to mitigate that turn 1 KO.

To each his own though! TMB may rub some the wrong way. The difficulty is high. Also, the variability in TMB can cause some swingy outcomes when all the stars align in the Baddies favor. But for the most part, once you have a base understanding of a few good strats, you can fair pretty well and keep most battles under your control.

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Marcus S
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I was thinking of ways to help with this, although I think totally changing the initiative doesn't seem right. I still think you should be stuck with what you rolled. I wasn trying to think of ways to slightly "nerf" the baddies first turn without changing too much. Something I thought of was maybe something along the lines of "baddies going before any gearloc can only move 1 space on the first turn". The impact of this would obviously depend on how crowded the battlefield is, but could possibly mitigate 1 or 2 (I think?) attacks depending on player count and number/type of baddies, and gearloc starting placements... And the further up the initiative order the gearlocs roll, the less impact it would have.... Not sure how this idea would play out though.
 
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William
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I understand the frustration, but I do not find the initiative to be broken by any stretch. Yes it sucks when an Honor Griffin KOs you first turn, but you know how many times that has happened to me? Once. I was going solo and I had no business taking on a 20 point baddie that early in the game. It was my choice and I got a bit cocky and the game slapped me upside the head and reminded me my place in the world of Dealore. Next time I'm choosing the other option. I actually like it can be brutal at times. It reminds me of the classic RPG video games from the 90s where if you stray too far too fast the game reminds you that you need to level up a bit before venturing that far. It was the few times in a video game I generally felt dread and fear that I was in the wrong place at the wrong time. This game relives that for me. So yup. It sucks. Agree. But for me it's a good suck where you it is a bad suck. Where was I going with all this?
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Tyler Ryan
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Takeoutdinner wrote:
Good point Tyler, we don't want initiative to feel like a "dirty trick".

That said, every Gearloc has a different initiative range. So based on your Gearloc's ini range and the types of Baddies you are going up against, you CAN actually prepare differently for such an adventure by prioritizing health (your best turn 1 defense against high attack baddies or low initiative rolls).

TMB has a puzzle aspect to it. The best strategies for success only come after you familiarize yourself with the many aspects that can affect a battle (so much more than just your Gearloc).

So while I agree that you don't want a low initiative roll to spoil the fun, there are ways to mitigate that turn 1 KO.

To each his own though! TMB may rub some the wrong way. The difficulty is high. Also, the variability in TMB can cause some swingy outcomes when all the stars align in the Baddies favor. But for the most part, once you have a base understanding of a few good strats, you can fair pretty well and keep most battles under your control.



Oh don't get me wrong, I love the game and the challenge. I am just attempting to provide alternative variants for players that wish for the first turn to not be as... harsh.

I just know that sometimes the Bones don't roll your way, even if you set up tactically "perfect". Then a player could be sitting around doing little for ten to twenty minutes. That can be frustrating. This is merely a way to mitigate that.

First Round Protection Variant
Oh, I have an idea. What about just a simple rule that says: "In round one, until a gearloc has taken a full turn, all damage (whether true or otherwise) caused by baddies that would reduce a gearloc to zero HPs reduces them to 1 instead."
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William
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WhoAskedU wrote:


Oh, I have an idea. What about just a simple rule that says: "In round one, until a gearloc has taken a full turn, all damage (whether true or otherwise) caused by baddies that would reduce a gearloc to zero HPs reduces them to 1 instead."


I actually think that is a reasonable house rule to at least give you a fighting chance or in a multi player keep one player from completely sitting out the round. The great thing about board games is sometimes the unique way the gamers come up with their own house rules to tweak the game to fit their style or play group.
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Anders Pedersen
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WhoAskedU wrote:
Takeoutdinner wrote:
Good point Tyler, we don't want initiative to feel like a "dirty trick".

That said, every Gearloc has a different initiative range. So based on your Gearloc's ini range and the types of Baddies you are going up against, you CAN actually prepare differently for such an adventure by prioritizing health (your best turn 1 defense against high attack baddies or low initiative rolls).

TMB has a puzzle aspect to it. The best strategies for success only come after you familiarize yourself with the many aspects that can affect a battle (so much more than just your Gearloc).

So while I agree that you don't want a low initiative roll to spoil the fun, there are ways to mitigate that turn 1 KO.

To each his own though! TMB may rub some the wrong way. The difficulty is high. Also, the variability in TMB can cause some swingy outcomes when all the stars align in the Baddies favor. But for the most part, once you have a base understanding of a few good strats, you can fair pretty well and keep most battles under your control.



Oh don't get me wrong, I love the game and the challenge. I am just attempting to provide alternative variants for players that wish for the first turn to not be as... harsh.

I just know that sometimes the Bones don't roll your way, even if you set up tactically "perfect". Then a player could be sitting around doing little for ten to twenty minutes. That can be frustrating. This is merely a way to mitigate that.

Oh, I have an idea. What about just a simple rule that says: "In round one, until a gearloc has taken a full turn, all damage (whether true or otherwise) caused by baddies that would reduce a gearloc to zero HPs reduces them to 1 instead."


That is actually a pretty good idea!
I do not like the "sudden death before taking a single turn" aspect either.
The argument to just prepare better is ridicilous, in my opinion. "You didn't take an extra health two turns ago? Bad luck dude - you are dead!" No, that is neither fun nor good gameplay, in my book.
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Mark D
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Tyler, I like your idea and like some have suggested, you might want to try it out and let us know how it goes. However, there are a couple things that can be done that might mitigate bad ini rolls.

Scouting is probably number 1, but if you had to heal from the previous encounter, then you're fortunate to heal back up to full for free. Ghillie is a great scout and has a trap that can help mitigate movement.

There is also loot that can move you up the ini ladder. (Not sure if some will let you do it b4 the battle begins).

There are also permanent buffs such as HP buffs or shield buffs to mitigate the damage, or carry over locked skills that can help. Or Pickets shield wall etc..

Most of these probably appear later in the game but they can be planned for at least.

The only thing I don't like about any ini suggested changes is there are some nasty Gearloc skills that can be done & you only need one die to carry them out. So if you have the disable skill, you'll gladly move up the ini ladder each encounter saving that one die just to disable the worst baddie. Or using say Nuggets wildborn removing a baddie and moving it to the bottom of the BQ. There are many other examples too. The game just isn't built for ini changes like that if some of the baddies don't get a chance to go first occasionally. Baddies have feelings and want to compete too
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Tyler Ryan
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MarkUCLA wrote:
Scouting is probably number 1, but if you had to heal from the previous encounter, then you're fortunate to heal back up to full for free. Ghillie is a great scout and has a trap that can help mitigate movement.


Agreed. scouting is exceptionally helpful, but can only do so much, especially if party members need to heal. You have a 33% chance (50% if you include the 6 and opt to scout a 5 pnt baddie instead of a 20 pnt) of rolling high enough to scout a 5 pnt baddie, and a 17% of scouting a 20 pnt baddie. Then you always run the risk of the baddie underneath being as bad (or worse) than the one you scouted. So it really can only do so much.

MarkUCLA wrote:
There is also loot that can move you up the ini ladder. (Not sure if some will let you do it b4 the battle begins).


Unless there is a different loot card, the one you are talking about can only be used at the end of the round, so the first round damage has already been done. So this isn't a viable option.


MarkUCLA wrote:
There are also permanent buffs such as HP buffs or shield buffs to mitigate the damage, or carry over locked skills that can help. Or Pickets shield wall etc..


While I agree there are gearlocs that can help minimize the initiative "problem". I am not fond of the idea of the solution to dealing with heavy hitting baddies to be "Play Picket, Ghillie, and / or Patches" in every campaign. The whole draw of this game is the replay-ability due to having so many gearlocs to play. If we are saying that at least 50% of the party has to be 2 of the 7 gearlocs, then you are agreeing with me that initiative is a problem. That isn't even including the idea that Patches could be considered "necessary" to heal back up after the turn one devastation.

MarkUCLA wrote:
The only thing I don't like about any ini suggested changes is there are some nasty Gearloc skills that can be done & you only need one die to carry them out. So if you have the disable skill, you'll gladly move up the ini ladder each encounter saving that one die just to disable the worst baddie. Or using say Nuggets wildborn removing a baddie and moving it to the bottom of the BQ. There are many other examples too. The game just isn't built for ini changes like that if some of the baddies don't get a chance to go first occasionally. Baddies have feelings and want to compete too :)


Agreed, there are some nasty Gearloc skills, conversely, there are some nasty Baddie skills. Also, many of the disable / stun skills have a Baddie point limit (IE you roll and can only affect a baddie of 5 or lower points, with maybe a 17% chance of affecting a 20 point baddie) so there is still a chance that those "nasty" gearloc skills do nothing.

I tried my original suggestion last night after having Picket KO'd in round one against three 5 point baddies/. I was playing a Picket and Ghillie, so your "suggested" solution still didn't work. I "rolled back" the battle to see what would happen with the alternative. I spent Ghillie's round 1 dexterity to go ahead of the baddies. I dropped down my Wolverine so that they would attack it instead of Picket. This gave me a breather to get myself established and we still just *barely* won the battle. I'm thinking maybe the alternative could be for every 2 dexterity you spend you increase your initiative score by 1, but it felt balanced.

Baddie Initiative Bonus Variant
Another alternative would be to convert the Baddies' initiative into "Bonuses". When setting up, you instead of just reading their initiative score and placing the dice where it falls. Convert the initiative score into a bonus.

Baddie initiative scores of 5 and 6 are converted to a +1
Baddie initiative scores of 3 and 4 are converted to a 0
Baddie initiative scores of 1 and 2 are converted to a -1

Then when setting up the initiative order, baddies roll their dice and apply their bonus to the roll (Maximum of 6 and minimum of 1). This would add variability (since baddie initiative dice are ranging from 1 through 6) and places some more chance in the baddie.

Baddie Initiative Die Variant
The other alternative, which is too late for wave 1 production, but would be to introduce three new "Baddie" initiative dice. These dice would be Red, Yellow and Green.

The Red die would have the following values on each side: 6, 5, 5, 5, 4, and 4.
The Yellow would have the following values on each side: 4, 4, 3, 3, 2, and 2.
The Green would have the following values on each side: 3, 2, 2, 2, 1, and 1.

Then the baddie initiative would be converted as such:

Initiative of 5-6 roll the red die
Initiative of 3-4 roll the yellow die
Initiative of 1-2 roll the green die

Though to be fair, players could roll a d6 and then convert the numbers based on whether it is "red", "yellow" or "green".
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Roger Dumas
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It can be very off putting to have the baddies take you out before you even get a chance. One thing I had read on another thread to help overcome similar issues was to allow your gearlocks to roll their defense dice at the start of the round before anyone gets a chance to go - kind of similar to Pickets Innate ability.

I always thought that sounded kind of unfair for the person playing picket sense that was one of their abilities special to that character - so maybe combine your idea with the rolling of defense dice together. You can choose to spend 1 or 2 dex (not sure what would make this most balanced. Maybe a formula - 1/2 dex rounded up, or 2/3 dex, something like that.) to roll your defense dice before the battle begins. Just like Pickets innate skill, you can not use any bones, but any shields you roll can be slotted for use. The dex spent to do this would not be available to you during the 1st round of the combat. Of course, Picket would still be able to use his skill as normal, still giving him his special advantage.

This would be a good way of giving you a little extra protection to get through that first round when your initiative is lower than the baddies. But it still does not guarantee that you will be able to come out the other side with out being hurt in the start - as you should be when a powerful baddie is opening up on you. Also, moving up in the initiative order, in my opinion, can give you a very big advantage not only for the first round of combat, but for every round after that. This would help alleviate that advantage.

Just another idea you might consider using to help house rule the game to make it a little easier. In the end, have fun playing the game.
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Jason Shradnick

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Use a turn 1 dex point for a reroll. As many times as you want.
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Tyler Ryan
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Mpgrunt wrote:
Use a turn 1 dex point for a reroll. As many times as you want.


This is probably the most elegant variant, as it is the simplest to remember. I like it.
 
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WhoAskedU wrote:
Mpgrunt wrote:
Use a turn 1 dex point for a reroll. As many times as you want.


This is probably the most elegant variant, as it is the simplest to remember. I like it.

Not going to help you when you're fighting 6 initiative baddies with Patches, who at best will roll a 4. But maybe this works in a multi-gearlock case.
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Tyler Ryan
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cafin8d wrote:
Not going to help you when you're fighting 6 initiative baddies with Patches, who at best will roll a 4. But maybe this works in a multi-gearlock case.


Yea, perhaps a combination?

At the start of the battle you may spend 1 dexterity to do one of the following per dexterity spent:

1) Spend 1 dexterity to re-roll your initiative dice.
2) Spend 1 dexterity to roll one of your defense die, ignoring bones.

In both cases, if you don't like your roll, you may spend more dexterity to re-roll additional time(s), each re-roll costs an additional dexterity.
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Rookswj wrote:
I understand the frustration, but I do not find the initiative to be broken by any stretch. Yes it sucks when an Honor Griffin KOs you first turn, but you know how many times that has happened to me? Once. I was going solo and I had no business taking on a 20 point baddie that early in the game. It was my choice and I got a bit cocky and the game slapped me upside the head and reminded me my place in the world of Dealore. Next time I'm choosing the other option. I actually like it can be brutal at times. It reminds me of the classic RPG video games from the 90s where if you stray too far too fast the game reminds you that you need to level up a bit before venturing that far. It was the few times in a video game I generally felt dread and fear that I was in the wrong place at the wrong time. This game relives that for me. So yup. It sucks. Agree. But for me it's a good suck where you it is a bad suck. Where was I going with all this?


Not sure where you were going ... but it was a good ride!

I love the initiative dilemma. Yes, things can be unfair ... but the reverse also happens. With a good initiative roll last night I had Boomer taking out one of those 5 pt Baddies with Signal (forgot which one - I'm on a plane right now) before that guy even had a turn.

Another mitigating strategy is geography. I defeated Mulmesh with Boomer and Picket. The key was putting my 'locs in the corner & controlling which Baddies had melee access to them. Then when I got around to "revealing" Mulmesh, I made sure he showed up in lane 3 (by defeating that Baddie at the appropriate time). I created this scenario by studying the initiative order (which was very disadvantageous since there was an Inspire dude out there) & picking my battle turf wisely.

Also in terms of initiative at battle setup, even though the Baddie locations are specified by BQ stack order, you can often "coerce" this favorably by scouting and leaving more survivable 1st round Baddies on the top of the stack (where they get the center lanes & much easier access to 1st round attacks). And your placement of 'locs is completely up to you (subject to attack types) to induce certain Baddie movement and attacks on who you want them to take on. Of course like everything in this game, this won't work every time. But it is another tool to stack the odds more in your favor.

The levels of both strategic and tactical thinking in this game within a fairly concise ruleset is amazing. Great job CTG!!!
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Tim Ebert

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Takeoutdinner wrote:
Good point Tyler, we don't want initiative to feel like a "dirty trick".

That said, every Gearloc has a different initiative range. So based on your Gearloc's ini range and the types of Baddies you are going up against, you CAN actually prepare differently for such an adventure by prioritizing health (your best turn 1 defense against high attack baddies or low initiative rolls).

TMB has a puzzle aspect to it. The best strategies for success only come after you familiarize yourself with the many aspects that can affect a battle (so much more than just your Gearloc).

So while I agree that you don't want a low initiative roll to spoil the fun, there are ways to mitigate that turn 1 KO.

To each his own though! TMB may rub some the wrong way. The difficulty is high. Also, the variability in TMB can cause some swingy outcomes when all the stars align in the Baddies favor. But for the most part, once you have a base understanding of a few good strats, you can fair pretty well and keep most battles under your control.



To me Too Many Bones is like poker. There is a lot of randomness and variability in poker, but there is a reason a lot of the same people get to the final table in the world series of poker. They have figured out how to mitigate a lot of the randomness and odds and learned to optimize their hand. Your going to lose, but if you win more than you lose you come out ahead.
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Greg Kleinfall
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I too have felt the sting of getting pwned before getting a chance to act. However, the door swings both ways. Last night I rolled a 6 initiative for Ghillie and one shot Marrow. Shortest Tyrant battle to date.

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Brian Baker
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Rookswj wrote:
It reminds me of the classic RPG video games from the 90s where if you stray too far too fast the game reminds you that you need to level up a bit before venturing that far. It was the few times in a video game I generally felt dread and fear that I was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Not just in the 90s -- I remember having that feeling when playing Oblivion (Elder Scrolls) a while back.
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chang chang

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yea, the problem with "prepare better" is that it becomes a situation that the only way to prepare is just to dumb training points into HP, so that you can survive round 1... which is then no strategies any more. so far I noticed that nugget, tink need at least 6 HP by the time they hit baddies 5pt, if not they would likely die on round 1.

we came with houserules that I came to share in a new thread.. but figure I share here as well

1. we start with 2HP extra (no extra training), this remove that "i HAVE to put some HP points before day 3 (on 2p game), let us have more fun with training points
2. round 1 before battle every gearlock roll their defence dice. to compensate we distribute the same amount of dice to baddies (yes, this means that baddies that don't have def dice, might end up with def) This was a nice alt because it balance the wipe of gearloack just because bad initiative roll and also work both ways. OF course we can still have a horrible roll on def and end up the same, but is less often

OF note, we noticed later playing with picket that that is his innate, so we still need to come with something related but better for him

this is a work in progress, but so far works.

PS I do like the idea mention above about if KO on round 1, go to 1HP instead, except that some gearlock have no way to heal, though healing items seem relative common.
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Anders Pedersen
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How about this:

"For the 1st round, and 1st round only, any Gearlock that is hit, prior to its own turn, may roll defence dice in advance of activation. But the dice rolled still count towards the normal total allowed by dexterity."

That way you kind of get a saving throw against a 1st turn kill-off, but do not get any kind of bonus dice or other extras. Picket is not nerfed either since his innate ignores dexterity in the first place, so he is likely to have all dice available when activating.
 
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chang chang

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dbc- wrote:
How about this:

"For the 1st round, and 1st round only, any Gearlock that is hit, prior to its own turn, may roll defence dice in advance of activation. But the dice rolled still count towards the normal total allowed by dexterity."

That way you kind of get a saving throw against a 1st turn kill-off, but do not get any kind of bonus dice or other extras. Picket is not nerfed either since his innate ignores dexterity in the first place, so he is likely to have all dice available when activating.


hmmm...
this might work.. adding the "balance" to the baddies might be too much though then.
we were doing that the DEF dice that were place in the active spot, are substarcted from the DEF dice available. But because we went with the approach of balancing by giving def dice to baddies, we didn't consider DEX

I`ll copy paste this on the thread I open for this
https://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/1771114/variant-1st-rou...
.. to keep it on my "list of ideas"

thanks
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