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Subject: Reducing the Luck Factor rss

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Phil Donhardt
United States
Indiana
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I only play 2 player games. Well, I only know one person who plays Titan. We have been playing each other for years now.

After I learned how to play, I quit for a while because I thought that there was too much luck involved. My friend can roll more sixes than anybody I have ever seen.

Why play such a beautiful strategic/tactical game for 3 hours and have it finally decided because he rolls 9 sixes on my Titan? I thought we might as well just flip a coin to see who wins and save a lot of time.

I figured the exact odds of the relative strength of the characters and developed a reference chart.

Now, on the battle field (ignoring for simplicity, the terrain) A Unicorn (6-4) will always get the same amount of hits against a Cyclops (9-2).

Statistically, the Unicorn should get 5 hits on the Cyclops. But, it doesn't work out evenly when the Cyclops strikes back at the Unicorn.

Statistically, the Cyclops should get 1 1/2 hits on the Unicorn.

So what we do with the 1/2 hit is roll one dice. 1/2 is a 50/50 chance, so we say that you have to roll a 4,5,6 to get the second hit. Roll 4's or better, the Cyclops gets 2 hits on the Unicorn. Roll a 1,2, or 3, and the Cyclops only gets 1 hit on the Unicorn. (This is just a simple example of how it works. Other characters produce different odds)

The chart doesn't have to show every character against every character. It's easier to read if the "number of dice to roll" is written down the first column and the "relative strength factor" is written across the top row.

After a while we just pretty much have it memorized. But if anyone is interested, I can print a copy of the chart.

Now, the game has more skill and less luck. Plus I have become a better player because I know exactly what to expect when planning stategy/tactics on the "big board" and the "battle fields".



 
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John Crowe
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We tried this approach a couple times after a friend complained about the dice not being kind to him. Eventually, we abandoned it, but it has its merits.

My biggest complaint is that removing the dice changes the strategy in battles. Rather than weighing risks, one could calculate exactly what it takes to kill a creature. So instead of throwing a second creature at that creature you REALLY have to kill off this round (especially as attacker on turn 3), you can calculate the minimum required (as well as how many hits you will take in return, possibly protecting a vital asset).

BTW, I've noticed that players who get too used to this method get even more discouraged when playing with dice because they come to EXPECT the average number of hits.

Having said all that, Titan is too good to give up on just because of some bad dice, so using perfect odds is definitely better than not playing at all.
 
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Jake Patterson
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Burlington
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You could also allow fractional damage. Or, you can multiply all of the power and skill factors by six, then you can construct a chart with the expected values all being whole numbers. Or, if you want to really go wild, you can multiply all of the power and skill factors by some number k, and actually roll the dice. The larger k, the closer it will be to expected behavior.
 
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Andrew Gross
United States
Seattle
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time2kill wrote:
My friend can roll more sixes than anybody I have ever seen.


If this is the case, you should not spend your time on something as trivial as "reducing the luck factor" in Titan.

At a bare minimum, you should demonstrate his ability to the James Randi Educational Foundation, and claim your 1 million dollar prize. If your friend doesn't know about it already, it seems likely he would give you a percentage of his prize if you bring it to his attention. See http://www.randi.org/research/index.html for details.

A million dollars is pretty small potatoes for someone that possesses such an extraordinary talent, though. I would suggest that with proper strategy and discipline, one could accumulate tens of millions of dollars in Las Vegas at a craps table before you were banned by the Casinos. This is entirely legal. If you would like help working out the math involved in turning his supernatural ability into a winning craps method, I would be happy to work it out for you, in exchange for a small fee.
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