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Subject: A house rule I play with rss

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J
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I would like to run a house rule we play with when we play small world with the board to see what people think about it.

We (I in particular) have have always disliked games with dice based combat between players. especially when the variance fluctuations are large. Now small world isn't nearly as bad as some other games but its still annoying to see a player with 1 unit left conquer your unit in the mountain off of a lucky die roll meanwhile you never get that +1 unit you need.

The rule is that on your final conquest you may to choose to roll the die like normal or you may automatically take a +1 bonus reinforcement if you are attacking your weakest defended area that isn't occupied by an active race.

The general idea is to remove the random bonus that lucky people get from rolling the die by reducing the number of times the die is rolled. The average roll of the die is supposed to be 1 so we think just giving the 1 under certain circumstances is fair.

When we say weakest defended region we mean any region that you can legally attack with the lowest defense when all discounts are taken into account. For most races this will be the region with the weakest defense that they currently border. The reason we specify that it has to be your weakest defended area is so people cannot for example choose to attack a lone unit with their last two guys instead of conquering an empty region.

We also included the bit about active race to restrict when it could be used.

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Chun Ping
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sounds like a good variant for those who hate dices. seems to me it's easy enough that it wont really break the game.
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Chris Ferejohn
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If you like. Frankly people should be passing up that final roll a lot more often than they do anyway.
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Christian Elling
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Not to nitpick or anything, but how come the average dice roll is 1?

On a regular d6 it would be 3 and a half/ 2 die 4 and 3.

Translated to small world you would only get (at least) 1 half the time.
 
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Pere
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Trekamp wrote:
Not to nitpick or anything, but how come the average dice roll is 1?

On a regular d6 it would be 3 and a half/ 2 die 4 and 3.

Translated to small world you would only get (at least) 1 half the time.

Compare a regular d6:
(1+2+3+4+5+6)/6 = 21/6 = 3.5

to the smallworld dice
(0+0+0+1+2+3)/6 = 6/6 = 1
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Ben Bateson
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I'm with Chris - one of the best emergent tactics of Small World is the realisation that playing defensively wins you more games.
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Shawn Garbett
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senseless wrote:
Trekamp wrote:
Not to nitpick or anything, but how come the average dice roll is 1?

On a regular d6 it would be 3 and a half/ 2 die 4 and 3.

Translated to small world you would only get (at least) 1 half the time.

Compare a regular d6:
(1+2+3+4+5+6)/6 = 21/6 = 3.5

to the smallworld dice
(0+0+0+1+2+3)/6 = 6/6 = 1


And for completeness sake, the median of a regular dice is:
(3+4)/2 = 3.5

the median small world dice is:
(0+1)/2 = 0.5

The median is sometimes considered a better representative value of the expected result. For example, let's say the average salary of a company is $29,000. That could be because 9 employees make $10,000 and the CEO makes $200,000. The median in this case would be $10,000.

So in the case of median, by taking the +1 it's an upgrade, but since it's available to all players it doesn't skew the game. Good house rule proposal.

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J
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CyberGarp wrote:
senseless wrote:
Trekamp wrote:
Not to nitpick or anything, but how come the average dice roll is 1?

On a regular d6 it would be 3 and a half/ 2 die 4 and 3.

Translated to small world you would only get (at least) 1 half the time.

Compare a regular d6:
(1+2+3+4+5+6)/6 = 21/6 = 3.5

to the smallworld dice
(0+0+0+1+2+3)/6 = 6/6 = 1


And for completeness sake, the median of a regular dice is:
(3+4)/2 = 3.5

the median small world dice is:
(0+1)/2 = 0.5

The median is sometimes considered a better representative value of the expected result. For example, let's say the average salary of a company is $29,000. That could be because 9 employees make $10,000 and the CEO makes $200,000. The median in this case would be $10,000.

So in the case of median, by taking the +1 it's an upgrade, but since it's available to all players it doesn't skew the game. Good house rule proposal.



Hey thanks.

I should note a few things.

First of all this does create situation where order of conquering matters. Like if a player conquers a certain region his weakest defended region is now 1 which he can take with his 2 final units however if he conquers a different region his weakest defended region is now 0 which he would be forced to take instead. This doesn't usually occur often enough for it to be really noticeable though goblins who can easily abandon a region and auto-take another region with a declined race in it with one unit can abuse the rule a little bit (A empty region and a region with a declined race have same defense to goblins).

Also I've played with this rule with several of new players (who I seem to play with a lot) and experienced players (my copy of the game I can put a fair house rule in if I want to) and it seems to perform pretty well. Much better than when I would play with new players who always took the final roll and would be really annoying when the luck was skewed.
 
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Travis Hall
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I think if you do want to assess the effect of the die, there's probably a better metric than either mean or median. Neither of those takes into account the fact that the real effect of the die roll varies depending on the situation. Specifically, it varies depending on how many tokens the attacker is short of conquering the region he wishes to conquer using the die.

Suppose the active player wants to use his last token to conquer an empty Region with no special defences. He will need to roll at least 1 on the die to take the Region. However, if he rolls more than 1, the extra dots don't give him any benefit. They are wasted. So, the effective results on respective die faces are 0, 0, 0, 1, 1, 1. That gives a mean (of effective results) of 0.5.

When the active player is two tokens short of his desired conquest, rolling a 3 is no better than rolling a 2, but also it doesn't matter in any significant way how close he came if he still fails to conquer the Region. A 1 is effectively a 0. The results now are 0, 0, 0, 0, 2, 2, for a mean of 0.666...

And when three tokens short of normal conquest, the results are 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 3, for a mean of 0.5.

Then, perhaps more relevant to strategic decisions is how many points different uses of the die will net the player. If the active player is a single token short of conquering a Region worth 1VP, there's a 0.5 probability of success, for a mean of 0.5VP and a median of 0.5VP. For a 1VP Region needing two more tokens, it's a mean of 0.333... and median of 0VP, and for three tokens needed it is mean 0.1666... and median 0VP.

Those are perhaps better metrics against which to assess the proposed house rule.
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Simon Germann
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Hi there,

I read this post carefully because I am not at all a fan of the "dice rolling" in Smallworld. I used to play Vinci (the game which Smallworld was hugely inspired from) and there is no dice rolling, and it works very well like this.

I don't see what dice rolling brings in Smallworld, except a luck factor, and I don't like games with a luck factor (this is strictly personal).
This is why I would much rather play Smallworld without the dice rolling (and then without the "barbarian" tile), than use the house rules above (even if I think they are perfectly usable).

In other words, the question at hand is the following : Do you think the game is balanced without the dice rolling, and without the barbarian tile?




 
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Danny Mack
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By "Barbarian tile" do you mean the "Berserk" special power badge?

As for the dice rolling in Smallworld, it should be obvious that its purpose is to add a luck factor to the game. As previously noted it has a minimal effect on the game and is often avoided. It just adds a little bit of surprise, a little bit of chance that the best laid plans could go awry. It adds a little variation into the powers through the inclusion of Berserk.
Those who love dice rolling have something fun to work with, and those who hate it can pay 1 coin to pass it up. Nobody is forcing you to play with it, or even take it out of the box. But some people will really like it. While I am no dice fan myself (avoiding Risk whenever possible for just this reason) I can appreciate the inclusion of Berserk and the final conquest attempt into this game, for the sake of variety.

In answer to this most recent question, I don't understand why "balance" is considered the chief virtue of Smallworld and the prerequisite for each new component of the game. It's the imbalances that make this game interesting, IMO.
 
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Robin Reeve
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If one does not like dice rolls, simply don't authorize the last conquest dr : players do with what they have.

... and don't use the Berserk power.

Now, randomness is imbedded in the game anyway, with the race&power everchanging mix.
So, one could decide upon predesignated combos, allways played in the same order.
No surprise and totally mastered elements of the game.

One can however consider that the final conquest die roll could help a weak combo to pull out an additional conquest and thus make it more attractive.

On my part, I do like the luck factor in SW : it is a funny game anyway. The additional suspense of the last conquest is part of the fun.

Of course, that is just me.
 
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Rick Janssen
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CyberGarp wrote:
senseless wrote:
Trekamp wrote:
Not to nitpick or anything, but how come the average dice roll is 1?

On a regular d6 it would be 3 and a half/ 2 die 4 and 3.

Translated to small world you would only get (at least) 1 half the time.

Compare a regular d6:
(1+2+3+4+5+6)/6 = 21/6 = 3.5

to the smallworld dice
(0+0+0+1+2+3)/6 = 6/6 = 1


And for completeness sake, the median of a regular dice is:
(3+4)/2 = 3.5

the median small world dice is:
(0+1)/2 = 0.5

The median is sometimes considered a better representative value of the expected result. For example, let's say the average salary of a company is $29,000. That could be because 9 employees make $10,000 and the CEO makes $200,000. The median in this case would be $10,000.

So in the case of median, by taking the +1 it's an upgrade, but since it's available to all players it doesn't skew the game. Good house rule proposal.


I also think thinking of the average or median is meaningless in this case. If you have 1 token and are trying to take an empty area, you need to roll a 1 or higher on the die (2 or 3 is no better than 1 in this case). A player has a 50% chance of rolling a 1 or higher. So to say you averge +1 is a bit of false logic. It should at best be every other turn you are allowed to accept +1 in lieu of rolling the die.
 
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