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Subject: Battlelore Dice rss

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Dave Forsyth
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Hey all.
Is anyone else concerned by the apparent lack of logic inherent in the Battle lore dice? Red, representing the heavies, clad head to toe in shiny mail and plate, are as easy to kill as the half-naked green guys. And yes, I can see that the green guys are more nimble, maybe better at dodging, but it seems to me that the heavies should be much more durable.

So here's what I have done: I bought a half dozen d12's. I primed them all white, and re-painted them. 1 red, 2 blue, 3 green, 2 lore, 2 flags, and 2 bonus yellows.

So, blue, lore, yellow and retreat all continue to come up 16.667% of the time. But red is reduced by 50% and green is increased by 50%.

The big question is: Is it right to tinker with the probability in a system that may be flawed?

I'd be interested to hear if anyone else cares about this, and if so, what people may have done about it.

And while I'm at it, has anyone ever played an old 1992 Milton Bradley game called "Battle Masters?" And if so, am I the only guy here who sees the extreme similarity? It is a hex-based fantasy wargame, with units made up of plastic minis. A deck of action cards dictates whom you can order, and the dice have swords and shields to indicate hits and defenses. Don't get me wrong; I LOVE Battlelore. But it may not be as original as we like to think.
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brian
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This is a common concern among those usually not liking the C&C system. When FFG did their Battles of Westeros based on BattleLore, they addressed this by going to d8's and having 1 Red, 2 Blue, 3 Green, and 1 each of Retreat and "bonus."

However, those of us who defend the original system realize that this is abstractly designed and the differences built into the attack of the unit. If 2 heavies go at it, they are rolling the same amount of dice. Hitting each other is statistically even.

But when a light unit attacks, while they have a chance of hitting them, can only do a max of 2 damage. If the heavy is able to battleback, it returns fire with 4 dice and has double the chance of hitting, even killing the unit outright.

Most likely, a green unit is going to need several rounds to finish off a red unit and will most likely be obliterated in the process.

So the game inheriently keeps the historical flavor while still giving the opportunity for miraculous battles where a lone light infantry unit stands up to a heavier foe, even routing him in the action.

So the system isn't flawed, but I understand why some people belive it to be.
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Michael Wheal
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As Brian said...

also

play a couple of scenarios twice...

once 'normally' and once with Battle Savy.
 
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Griffin Johnson
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Not at all!

Just as a test, stack up (1) Red vs. (1) Green and see how many times the Green comes out on top

I would also be interested to hear any comparisons or info about BattleMasters and how it plays compared to BattleLore.

Your system may mess with the terrain benefits that help green and blue and hurt red.

Like green sitting in the woods protected from the full force of a red strike..something to consider.





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Aswin Agastya
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Well, I once made a calculation comparing Battlelore's battle dice with more complex tabletop games with multiple dice rolls. I can safely say that Battlelore is streamlined in the correct way.

As said above, changing the dice may make the game 'different' especially about green units in forests and blue units on hills. If you increase green unit's vulnerability, you'll make them even weaker; and reds juggernauts. They're already fearsome currently.
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Grant Batt
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Ive thought about this too, and even considered using my BoW dice in a game of BL to see how it worked. I have to admit, I like how FFG decided to use the d8 rather than d6, it makes sense that a green is easier to hit than a red considering that reds are heavier armor and therefore slower (move 1 and attack).
 
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D Fed
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diplomacydave wrote:

The big question is: Is it right to tinker with the probability in a system that may be flawed?


It's your right to play the game any way you want. I am not sure the system is flawed, however, as illustrated by what Brian and others have said.

I think in general we here on the Geek tend to house rule/mod a little too quickly or without fully understanding all the factors invloved. I used to be what I would call a house ruler, but I have scaled that back in recent years. If a game is poorly balanced or playtested then I think house rules are more justified. I don't think BattleLore is either.
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Vasilis
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dfed22 wrote:

I think in general we here on the Geek tend to house rule/mod a little too quickly or without fully understanding all the factors invloved. I used to be what I would call a house ruler, but I have scaled that back in recent years. If a game is poorly balanced or playtested then I think house rules are more justified. I don't think BattleLore is either.


Couldn't have said it better myself!

The game is balanced. Especially when using Battle Savvy rules.

One of the reasons that I really like BattleLore is its elegant gameplay that promotes several aspects of Medieval Combat not with rules but with gameplay.

There is no paragraph or rule that gives red units better defense. The dice give them an equal probability of dying BUT still while playing red units tend to be more durable. This means something doesn't it?
It's called elegant design.

Now take a look at Battles of Westeros. It need to "spell it out for you" by changing hit ratios, it needs to "spell it out for you" regarding flanking rules etc.

The way Battles of Westeros {using d8s with different hit ratios} addressed the 'problem' was just a very bad way to change the mechanics in order to appeal to the C&C detractors.

{I'd say that the WHOLE BoW GAME is a big messy rules-variant of C&C rules based on years old people opinions that wanted C&C to be something else or didn't play C&C games long enough to appreciate their elegance.}

The different hit ratios will make red units tanks and green units worthless.

Just do a battle with 2 red units vs 2 green units, using Battle Savvy and you'll see who comes out on top.

Or you can look at it from a player's mind perspective. Which units you are more likely to attack if you know that you'll get hit with Battleback afterwards? A Red one or a Green one?

The result emerges from the gameplay and not from written rules. This is elegance. Especially when using Battle Savvy. Without Battle Savvy, there would be enough cases of Green attacking red because it can get 'free' hits with equal possibility of hitting it. That is one of the many reasons that I won't play without Battle Savvy ever again by the way.

So, as an advice, I'd propose that you just ignore the simple math idea that equal hit probability on the dice means that armored units are of the same vulnerability as green units because this will not emerge in any of your plays.
That's the beauty of the game's design and this is the beauty that BoW destroyed by adding all those "unhappy BL player" proposed rules like 'different hit ratios on the dice'.
And don't get me started on how much luck dependent that game has become regarding FLAG results which are 1/8 on the d8s.
I'm getting fired up about this because I keep hearing how much 'control' Battles of Westeros has compared to BattleLore. Yeah right...it may have better UNIT control but overall the game is more luck driven than BattleLore. The d8s ensure that red unit and flag results will be rolled with a lower percentage so that the whole ordeal is based on luck.
Especially FLAG results are too important to be based on a simple 1/8 ratio dice roll.

Leave the game as is. It's perfectly OK.

Just my 2 cents.
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Dave Forsyth
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Wow. Great analysis, and a ton of good points! Yes, I have definitely noticed the way that Reds can ruin your day when they battle back. And their increased "firepower" does make up for the equal probability of taking damage.

I couldn't agree more about the elegance of Battlelore's design. I think I love this game. Thanks to all of you for pointing out what I should have been able to figure out for myself.

Now I am gonna go kill some more goblins.devil
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Paulo Cortes
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Excellent posts. Thanks!
Been playing a bit with some tweaks on battling back and on melee attacks, mostly because it's fun to turn the knobs here and there and see what comes out.

As suggested by Kent Reuber elsewhere in the forums, we're reducing battle back by losing 1 die per missing supporting unit. This is a great variant, and seems to work very well.
However, to tie it to the retreat patterns, we take into account only adjacent units that are in line or in the retreat hexes (aka defending units)

X is attacking the blue unit * at the center hex (* battles with 3 dice)

A B C D
/\ /\ /\ /\ /\ /\ /\ /\
| | X| | *| X| | | X| | | X|
/\ /\ /\ /\ /\ /\ /\ /\ /\ /\ /\ /\
| .| *| .| | .| *| .| | .| *| .| | *| *| .|
\/ \/ \/ \/ \/ \/ \/ \/ \/ \/ \/ \/
| .| .| | .| *| | *| *| | .| *|
\/ \/ \/ \/ \/ \/ \/ \/

[EDIT#2: clean-up, plus a kind soul was, well, kind to point out that as it was before it was going right against a basic rule of C&C: stay the line, be supported.]
In A there are no defending units in any of the 4 hexes (.) , thus * can battle back with 3-2=1 die

In B there is 1 defending unit, thus * can battle back with 3-1=2 dice

In both C and D the middle hex's unit is fully supported, thus it can battle back with 3-0=3 dice.

The second change re-tips the balance, and differentiates the attacking vs defending units a bit more:

any rolled banner that has a color "better" than the one needed can be re-rolled, but the re-roll only hits on the exact banner color, with no further consequences (i.e. flags, shields, and lore are ignored)

"better" color: red > blue > green

An example: a blue unit is attacked, and 3 banners are rolled, 1 green, 1 red, and 1 blue. The green banner is a miss, the blue is a hit, and the attacker gets to re-roll the 1 red die, which will only hit if he/she rolls a blue banner.

Still under evaluation, but sounds like fun. shake
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Stokes
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I tried something similar. Games were much faster and deadlier. However, after a few games, we started to notice that it severely skewed the game in favor of whoever had more red units.

The idea makes sense. But like many have said, balance is already built into the game and each scenario. Tinkering with the dice just unbalanced the game. The only time I would use adjusted dice is when playing using Call to Arms deployment.
 
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Lyn Lee Fox
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I'm new to the game, but it seems to me like no one really addressed the initial question: "Is anyone else concerned by the apparent lack of logic inherent in the Battle lore dice?"

I see the way red units are tougher but move slower, and green don't fight as well, but are faster. I understand that. But what concerns me is that there doesn't seem to be any reason for having three different colors of hit symbols. Since all of them have a 1 in 6 chance of hitting, why didn't they just have one side that means you hit rather than make you do unnecessary color matching? Am I missing something?
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Scott Lewis
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foxx wrote:
I'm new to the game, but it seems to me like no one really addressed the initial question: "Is anyone else concerned by the apparent lack of logic inherent in the Battle lore dice?"

I see the way red units are tougher but move slower, and green don't fight as well, but are faster. I understand that. But what concerns me is that there doesn't seem to be any reason for having three different colors of hit symbols. Since all of them have a 1 in 6 chance of hitting, why didn't they just have one side that means you hit rather than make you do unnecessary color matching? Am I missing something?

Well, the "Battlelore" card tells you to roll dice, and the different colors allow you to activate different units.

Beyond that, it was probably just to give each face on the die something, rather than have blank sides.
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Giles Pritchard
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foxx wrote:
I'm new to the game, but it seems to me like no one really addressed the initial question: "Is anyone else concerned by the apparent lack of logic inherent in the Battle lore dice?"

I see the way red units are tougher but move slower, and green don't fight as well, but are faster. I understand that. But what concerns me is that there doesn't seem to be any reason for having three different colors of hit symbols. Since all of them have a 1 in 6 chance of hitting, why didn't they just have one side that means you hit rather than make you do unnecessary color matching? Am I missing something?


While I agree I suppose there is potential built into the dice - there are none currently that I can think of, but Lore Cards or Magic Items that allow a unit to hit on multiple colours could be good fun.

There could be a creatures that hit when 'any helmet is rolled' and so on.

As I said though - I don't think there are any such things currently.

Cheers,

Giles.
 
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Scott Lewis
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caradoc wrote:
As I said though - I don't think there are any such things currently.

The Battlelore card
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Giles Pritchard
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sigmazero13 wrote:
caradoc wrote:
As I said though - I don't think there are any such things currently.

The Battlelore card


I stand corrected!
 
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brian
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foxx wrote:
I'm new to the game, but it seems to me like no one really addressed the initial question: "Is anyone else concerned by the apparent lack of logic inherent in the Battle lore dice?"

I see the way red units are tougher but move slower, and green don't fight as well, but are faster. I understand that. But what concerns me is that there doesn't seem to be any reason for having three different colors of hit symbols. Since all of them have a 1 in 6 chance of hitting, why didn't they just have one side that means you hit rather than make you do unnecessary color matching? Am I missing something?

Besides the BattleLore Card, yes, the dice might not make much sense. But it probably has more to do with the system in its entirety than just this specific corner of that mechanic.

All the C&C's have d6's. All have a Flag/Banner side and a "wild" side (crossed swords in most of the games, sword on shield here, and grenade in m44). The rest are reserved for units. With Battle Cry, Napoleonics, and Memoir, 2 sides are dedicated to infantry and 1 side to cavalry/armor. So the 1/6 chance of hitting a unit is out for those games. The first two also depict artillery while Memoir removes artillery and replaces it with the special star.

With Ancients and BattleLore, they adopted the color instead of a specific unit. In addition, they gave them all a 1/6 chance. And in both games, they also left the 6th side as a special side with the leader helmet and lore symbol, respectively.

Since this covers all the possibilities, if you left all the colors off and had a generic hit side, you would be left with 2 blank faces. Or you drop from a d6 to a d4. Both of which are unsatisfying and would seem odd in the C&C system.

So why not break them out and give each face its own color. Besides, it has the uncanny ability to frustrate you more: when attacking a green unit, you roll all red and realize had you just been more aggressive and went after that heavy unit, you would have won!
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