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Subject: Changing dice values rss

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Kurt FromVirginia
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Any thoughts on filtering some of the randomness out of the game? My thought is to change the dice values from 1-2-3-4-5-6 to 2-3-3-4-4-5. I've played the game once and haven't formed a final opinion as to whether the game would play better with a lower standard deviation on the dice rolls.

Thanks in advance for your thoughts.
 
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Chris Cieslik
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That doesn't really work with the 1-2-3-4-5-6 cards that give one thing to each player.
 
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Matthew M
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Why roll dice at all? Just have each dude count as 3.5 - then you only need dice for those few civ cards.

That won't make the game fun, mind you...

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Larry Levy
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Kurt, in spite of those who think it's fun to roll a 7 on four dice (cough--Octavian--cough), I've thought all along that the game would be slightly improved with averaging dice (the 2-3-3-4-4-5 ones you mention). I honestly think the game plays fine without them, but they would lessen some of the more extreme die rolls that can occur. Naturally, you would keep one normal die for the cards that assign items on a 1-6 die roll. Given that Stone Age has some appeal to families, it probably would have been a mistake for it to have been published with anything other than the familiar d6's. But among gamers, averaging dice would be no problem. So unless you play with people who like tossing single dice onto the gold fields, on the off chance of rolling a 6, I'd say go for it and see how it plays.
 
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Tony Chen
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The luck level is ok as is, I think.

Also, the more radical dice rewards long term planning. You don't want to be caught in the situation where an extremely poor result will hurt you extra (3 meeple on wood, you need 3 more wood to buy the card you reserved. If you don't collect 3 wood, you miss that card), or where you cannot take advantage of an extremely good result (last round, you need 3 food and put 3 meeples on it. Roll for more food than you need, a waste). In short, it takes long term planning to make use of abnormally high rolls, and suffer minimally for abnormally low rolls.

That's the beauty of this game. The luck actually adds strategy.
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Kurt FromVirginia
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The inspiration for my question came from a recent experience playing Kingsburg. In that game you roll the dice and make do with what you have. An individual with bad luck that constantly rolls low will have a big handicap against a more forutnate soul who consistently rolls 5's and 6's.

My thought for Stone Age was to avoid the handicap issue by bringing down the standard deviation of the rolls. (You would need a normal set of 1,2,3,4,5,6 pip dice for the civilation cards that dole out resources and/or food and/or tool points). The difference here with Kingsburg is that you decide what you want to buy before your roll, as opposed to "making due with what you have".



 
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Larry Levy
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Actually, Kurt, I think Kingsburg does a better job of mitigating against bad rolls than Stone Age does. Even with a crap roll in Kingsburg, you can often use your dice singly and get just as much as you would have with an average to good roll. In Stone Age, though, a bad roll means less resources, period. Sure, you can use your tools to push it up a bit, but you could have used the same tools to push up a better roll. It's true that really bad rolling in Kingsburg will doom you, as it's too hard to get stone and eventually the bad rolls will catch up to you. But I think good play in Kingsburg can overcome only moderately poor rolling. In Stone Age, though, you'll be at a disadvantage due to fewer resources and no amount of clever play will change that.
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Paul Harrington
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If you want to retain the flavor of rolling the dice but greatly reduce the luck of the dice, you can simply give each player a deck of cards with four of each card from ace (1) to six. Each player shuffles, and when needing to roll a dice, takes a card from his pack. When his pack is exhausted, he reshuffles and deals from the top again. For the civilization dice, you probably should use four real dice. Since each player will go through his pack several times, the average roll per player will stay close to 3.5.

In fact, I suppose you could do that at Kingsburg too (although I'm kind of partial to the acutal dice because I was at best the fourth best player in a four-player game recently but dice overcame my opponents' superior skill )
 
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Thiago Boaventura
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Nice! I played the game yesterday with my brother with the this little twist (2-3-3-4-4-5) and it works very well. The game become better. Always I will try to play in this way.
 
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Todd Moon
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How about you allow players to use either kind of dice? It'd become a tactical choice every time they roll. Do you want to increase the risk for higher potential rewards? (use 1-6 dice). Or do you want a safe bet?

For even more fun, give each player a couple of tokens at the start of the game. They can use one token instead of rolling any dice for a resource, and instead get a flat 3.5 pips per meeple. (Rounded up?) Oh, to make it even better, they can use the tokens after they roll a really poor roll. No one likes to see someone roll 7 dice in a critical moment and get something like 10 pips. It's not fun at all. No one laughs. We just try to console the unlucky player who probably just got eliminated from the game. Having this sort of "insurance" would ease the pain of those moments.

It could be even simpler. The tokens could let you simply re-roll all of the dice. There could be additional insurance if you roll even lower. The Kingsburg expansion has this idea in one of it's "role" cards. (The Philosopher?) If you roll less than 10 you can re-roll once. If you roll even lower, you get one VP. So the token could give you a re-roll and a small bonus if you roll even lower. Maybe 2 VPs.
 
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