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Subject: Dissecting the D6 – a powerful tool of high flexibility. rss

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Kai Bettzieche
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We all know the D6 as the most common die around.
It has got 6 sides (hence the name) with the numbers 1-6 on them, most of the time in pips.
This way, when the die gets rolled each number from 1 to 6 has got a chance of 1 in 6 to show up and a chance of 5 in 6 to not show up.

However, there is more to it than just numbers from 1 to 6:
The pips on the 6 sides add up to 21 pips in total, which in turn can be split up into smaller amounts of pips (ranging from 1 up to 6 pips on one side).
The 4-face for example does not only show 4 pips: It shows as well 3+1 pips, 2+2 pips or 2+1+1 pips or even 1+1+1+1 pips.
You might say now: “But this all sums up to 4 – so where is the point?!”

And while you are right with this statement, you are completely wrong, too.

The “pipped” D6 gives you the option to sacrifice the power of one side in exchange for a higher probability of other numbers.
Imagine, you are tinkering on a game and need a dice that either permits 1 resource of one kind or 1-5 resources of a different kind.
You now paint one pip on the 6-face in a different colour and declare this one pip as the rare resource.
Whenever a player now rolls a 6 with that die, he has got the option to either select 5 resources of the more readily available or 1 of the rare resources.

Let’s paint the D6 a bit more:
The 6-face gets 3 pips painted, the 5-face gets 2 pips painted, the 4-face gets 1 pip painted.
Let’s assume for the sake of colouring, that the painted pips are red (R) while the others remain white (W).
Let’s have a look at what possible results we’ve got now:

1W, 2W, 3W, 1R, 2R, 3R, 3W+1R, 3W+2R, 3W+3R

That’s up to 9 different options – on one six sided die!
Best of all: You as the designer may decide, whether those are EITHER or AND options:
Give the player both of the results or let him decide, what he wants.
9 Options by adding just ONE different colour!

And now, just imagine, what the D6 can provide by adding more colours ..

Just some food for thought .. So, let me see you designing games using dice modified like this.
(And: yes, I’m doing it myself, too.)


Thanks for listening,
Kai
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Benj Davis
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That is a neat idea. I dig it.
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Benj Davis
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And it could work just as well with multiple dice, where you got to pick a given colour for each die, so you could have some tactical control of what you're getting, but not necessarily a lot.
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Jack Neal
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Cards could be used as a similar tool but it would be great to see a game play with dice like these. Excellent idea, Kai!
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Kai Bettzieche
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Jlerpy wrote:
And it could work just as well with multiple dice, where you got to pick a given colour for each die, so you could have some tactical control of what you're getting, but not necessarily a lot.


Indeed:
You could, for example, have a player roll several dice with the same configuration, thus raising the probability for a given result, by introducing the rule, that only the highest count of a certain colour counts. Or you could add all results of one colour together. Or you could make one colour determine, how many dice with another colour count. Or, or, or ..

There are lots of possibilites to play with, using reconfigured dice
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Very nifty!
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Kai Bettzieche
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schattentanz wrote:
So, let me see you designing games using dice modified like this.
(And: yes, I’m doing it myself, too.)


Delivering ..

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B C Z
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It seems more efficient to me that you simply redefine the die faces to do what you need.

An example is Roll Through the Ages: The Bronze Age where the die faces are:
3 Grain
3 Men
2 Grain OR 2 Men
1 Pot
2 Pots PLUS Skull
Coin

The 2G/2M face is a choice of food or manpower.
The 2P&S locks the die for further re-rolls and carries a penalty if you have too many, but also comes with bonus goods.

Various LEGO(tm) games which includes die also have choice on the die faces, represented by a split face, two 1x2 plates or even one where you can place a pip of your color in one of the 4 slots if there is space on the die to do so that later assists you in the game.

Constraining yourself to a standard 21-pipped die is an interesting thought experiment, but there are many ways to handle a cube when using it as a randomizing device.
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Daniel Hadlock
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Way to think outside of the box.

Love the idea, can't wait to check out the game you linked as well.
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Dre Wamek
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For a game where you roll the dice and move that many, the two color scheme can be mandatory and optional moves. For example, using the 6 pips with half one color and the other half a different color, would require a movement of 3 to 6 spaces. This would give the player some control where she lands rather than just leaving it to pure luck.
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Kai Bettzieche
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@byronczimmer:

Just check Whack & Slaughter and you will see, that redefining the faces is another option, but not necessarily more efficient
 
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David Jensen
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schattentanz wrote:
We all know the D6 as the most common die around.
It has got 6 sides (hence the name) with the numbers 1-6 on them, most of the time in pips.
This way, when the die gets rolled each number from 1 to 6 has got a chance of 1 in 6 to show up and a chance of 5 in 6 to not show up.

However, there is more to it than just numbers from 1 to 6:
The pips on the 6 sides add up to 21 pips in total, which in turn can be split up into smaller amounts of pips (ranging from 1 up to 6 pips on one side).
The 4-face for example does not only show 4 pips: It shows as well 3+1 pips, 2+2 pips or 2+1+1 pips or even 1+1+1+1 pips.
You might say now: “But this all sums up to 4 – so where is the point?!”

And while you are right with this statement, you are completely wrong, too.

The “pipped” D6 gives you the option to sacrifice the power of one side in exchange for a higher probability of other numbers.
Imagine, you are tinkering on a game and need a dice that either permits 1 resource of one kind or 1-5 resources of a different kind.
You now paint one pip on the 6-face in a different colour and declare this one pip as the rare resource.
Whenever a player now rolls a 6 with that die, he has got the option to either select 5 resources of the more readily available or 1 of the rare resources.

Let’s paint the D6 a bit more:
The 6-face gets 3 pips painted, the 5-face gets 2 pips painted, the 4-face gets 1 pip painted.
Let’s assume for the sake of colouring, that the painted pips are red (R) while the others remain white (W).
Let’s have a look at what possible results we’ve got now:

1W, 2W, 3W, 1R, 2R, 3R, 3W+1R, 3W+2R, 3W+3R

That’s up to 9 different options – on one six sided die!
Best of all: You as the designer may decide, whether those are EITHER or AND options:
Give the player both of the results or let him decide, what he wants.
9 Options by adding just ONE different colour!

And now, just imagine, what the D6 can provide by adding more colours ..

Just some food for thought .. So, let me see you designing games using dice modified like this.
(And: yes, I’m doing it myself, too.)


Thanks for listening,
Kai


There is a big difference in these results. By making a distinction between the color of pips you've merely made 1/6 of a result more powerful than another 1/6 result. This creates deep disjoint statistically. In essence, you have a 1/6 chance of drawing either 30% power or 5% power. Which, in many ways is either the same (6 times greater) or vastly different (30% vs 5%). In reality the percentage shouldn't change; you've just managed to turn 16% odds into 5% - in which case I might suggest using dice to manipulate this ida better.

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Kai Bettzieche
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Uhmm .. yes .. basically, you are agreeing, with what I already said:

Quote:
The “pipped” D6 gives you the option to sacrifice the power of one side in exchange for a higher probability of other numbers.


You could, of course, use different dice for different propabilities, such as a D20 for 5% intervals.

This is, however, where the design aspect jumps in:
Which statement feels more intuitive to you. "On a 1-4 you get 1 coal" or "Whenever you roll a black pip you get 1 coal"?
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Erik McGrath
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I like the idea of manipulating the dice but I'm worried about needing to use customized dice.

For me the attraction of the D6 is that it is so common that people can always be counted on to have some around. If you customize them beyond what you could buy in a CVS then you lose the benefit of that ubiquity.
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Kai Bettzieche
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same here

I'm not a big fan of those pnp dice games, where you have to change the faces of a regular pipped dice to some strange symbols.

That has been the main reason for me to introduce this method here.
 
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John "Omega" Williams
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You still end up needing a table to tell whats what. But it allows for some flexibility and can be memorized over time if used enough. Much like icons on a card.

And if you do not mind the effort you can add a spot of paint to a pip to differentiate it.
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Lee Sweeney
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I would be happy to never see another D6 in a game.

All the tricks to make it work better can be done with a D10, and have a better spread.

IMHO.

Lee
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Kai Bettzieche
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I'm eager to see you presenting the D10 giving you a 1/3 chance in anything ..
 
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Addison Fox
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schattentanz wrote:
I'm eager to see you presenting the D10 giving you a 1/3 chance in anything ..


Reroll 10s. It's not elegant, but it works.
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John "Omega" Williams
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More games should use the d10 and percentile d10.
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Kai Bettzieche
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Anyone still subscribed here?

I'm tinkering on a new game using this method:
[Contest Ready] Zombie Slayer - a fantasy solitaire of zombie slaying - 2015 Solitaire PNP contest

Coloured pips determine the "ressources" a card can produce.
Also, the position of a pip becomes important, since it either determines the encounter or the treasure you can find.



Go, check it out!



Kind regards,
Kai
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Michael Smith
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Wow, just wow, I was at a wall on what to do next and you have totally D6ed that wall with colored pips. So many new ideas from this thank you for the idea, I've seen a similar mechanic before, but sometimes you just need a knock in the noggin to jar something lose.
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Kai Bettzieche
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Hi Michael,

Thanks for the kind words

You said, you've seen a similar mechanic before - could you point out where, please?

Oh, and if this idea inspired yours, I'd be more than gladly to see your results - maybe you even want to link them here?



Thank you and kind regards,
Kai
 
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Asger Harding Granerud
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I for one would use a D6 over a D10 any day of the week

Thanks for a nice write up of your thoughts Kai!

Regards
Asger Granerud
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Steven Tu
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The thing I never liked with dice is how that results are never "equal" unless the designer builds a "safety" for crap results, like using a die for things other than the value.

In this idea, 1s are still 1s, unless you assign some mega-rare resource to it, rolling a 1 is still the worst out of all options, unless yes, 1 is a mega rare resource, in which case you gotta roll for 1s. Argh.

Great idea, but doesn't mitigate my personal pet peeve about dice. I wish it did (I have 60 d6s I've been knocking about trying to figure out a game design I can like myself personally )
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