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Dominant Species» Forums » General

Subject: An idea for quick-calculating dominance rss

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Dave Chandler
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While my game group loves this game we find that we are constantly calculating dominance, often many times at on the same locations. "Okay so you are HOW dominant here? So if I gain a sun will that put me ahead... let me check. And check here, and here and here." Slows things down.

What if you marked the tile with a chit that indicated how dominant you were? Any time you put species on a tile you calculate your dominance and put a chit on the tile that has your 'dominance points'. When I look down and see a red 4, a blue 5, and a black 2 I know that if I move in there and have 6 I'll be dominant. If I'm red I know I have to increase my dominance by 2 to take control. All at a glance.

So here's the problem... what to use? It needs to be very small, colored to indicate who the number refers to, and numbered for use. Also easy to pick up. Any ideas? We played around using dice (D12s usually have enough numbers) but they are too big for more than 3 players to use comfortably. The 3 player test we did with dice reduced the time it took to play the game dramatically and made us feel like the game was a bit more controlled. It let us spend more time working out strategies and less time counting.

I'm really interested in your thoughts and suggestions as to what we can use to make this work. Thanks!
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Lacombe
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You can get mini polyhedral dice from various RPG sources.
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Dave Chandler
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The smallest I've seen listed are 12mm. Think that's small enough to work?
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Lacombe
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Possibly. I'm not sure.

You're not likely to have more than 3 or 4 different players on any given hex, anyway.... so if your 3-player test worked out ok with normal-size dice, I'd imagine you could get by with smaller dice at a higher player count.

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Snooze Fest
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I used colored d6 (borrowed from Zombie State: Diplomacy of the Dead) which worked well enough for most of the game. I later bought a bunch of those tiny little dice but haven't had a chance to try them yet.
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Michael J
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What if you marked some of your cubes with the numbers 1-6? Any time you are on a tile, you just place one of your cubes there to mark your total dominance. If you need more than 6, just put 2 marked cubes there. Then you don't have to deal with dice at all.
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Snooze Fest
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mjacobsca wrote:
marked some of your cubes

Sacrilege!!
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Burster of Bubbles, Destroyer of Dreams.
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Yes, I know a proper 18XX tile should have a tile number.
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The problem is making sure every hex is updated any time board or player state changed. Having dominance numbers mostly correct on the board would be worse than not having them there at all...
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I really thought this solution was obvious to everyone.

Place the dominance cone closest at the 2-hexside intersection to indicate the level of dominance, with "1" being at top-right and "6" being at top-left with reference to the tile type name at the bottom. For example, this would mean white is dominant by "4":




In this case a dominance by "1" would be near the green cubes, by "2" near the white cube, by "3" near the black cubes, by "4" where the dominance cone is currently placed, and by "5" near the orange cubes.

The only drawback is you need to be consistent when you place the land tiles on the board with regards to alignment.

If the cone is at the "6" position it would mean "at least 6".

I think you only run into this problem if you have players who want to sit back and not really participate in the bookkeeping of a game and let "someone else" do it. Then it becomes a chore for one person to maintain state.

Me Hate You.


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Snooze Fest
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No, not at all obvious. And not what I'm looking for, either; I want to know the strength of each color, not just who's dominant and by how much.

Can't wait for the iPad app!
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Simon Dorfman
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snoozefest wrote:
Can't wait for the iPad app!


Me neither. Having a computer calculate this stuff will be quite handy.

Still, this optimizing board game UI for simplify-dominance-manipulation-questions is fun to think about. Here's a weird idea:
What if each hex had a "cube track" for each animal and a dominance track for each animal? And then it had little 1st, 2nd, 3rd,...6th markers for dominance and cube quantity (the Food Chain order would have to be considered when placing the 1st, 2nd, etc. place markers for cube quantity).
This would also make it easy to see who would score the most points if the tile is scored.
Here's a quick mockup:

I had different ideas than what I wrote above as I was creating that mockup...
Oh, I guess you won't be able to see that image until bgg approves it.
I'll just throw it up on imageshack:
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Burster of Bubbles, Destroyer of Dreams.
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Any proposed solution needs to work for really crowded hexes...
 
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Snooze Fest
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Morganza wrote:
Any proposed solution needs to work for really crowded hexes...

Well, you could uncrowd the hex ... I suspect (hope) the iPad app, instead of showing x cubes in a color, will show 1 cube in that color that is labeled x. You could do that here: spend your cubes (still simplest to continue using cubes, since the game is cube limited) to "buy" chits. For example, set 4 cubes aside to place a "4" chit on the hex. Now you have lots of space! Of course, I kinda like the cubes even though they did get to be a handful!

As for dominance: I don't think you need the species track. Instead of the grid depicted above, you could simply have a numeric track; each player would put a marker (a spare cube?) on the track showing their current dominance total; furthest on the track (or stacked on top, food chain order) is dominant.
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Dave Chandler
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I ordered a number of 5mm dice and have been using those.

Night And Day. The difference is absolutely night and day. Sped up the game by over an hour. It's remarkably easy to recalculate your dominance whenever you change your animal because now you're just calculating differences. And you're only doing it once.

"I had 5 dominance here, I just gained a grass, there are 2 grass at this hex, I'm now 7"

When things change at one hex that makes it even easier.
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Todd Snyder
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I've used colored dice for quite a while, the small but not too small ones (12mm?). Things generally do not get too cluttered, I've used them in a 4 and 5 player game but not a 6 player game. I have found that not only does it speed up the game some, it also makes it clearer and easier to explain the game to first time players, the idea of dominance is easier to 'get' if there is some number indication on the tile itself.
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The Quirken
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djc6535 wrote:
I ordered a number of 5mm dice and have been using those.

Night And Day. The difference is absolutely night and day. Sped up the game by over an hour. It's remarkably easy to recalculate your dominance whenever you change your animal because now you're just calculating differences. And you're only doing it once.

"I had 5 dominance here, I just gained a grass, there are 2 grass at this hex, I'm now 7"

When things change at one hex that makes it even easier.


I've been looking to do this... I've found a pretty cost-effective way to do it via ebay, but the seller in question is out until February. (20 dice x 5 colors for $10 including shipping http://rover.ebay.com/rover/1/711-53200-19255-0/1?type=4&cam... ... just need to get blue ones separate, here for $6 total http://rover.ebay.com/rover/1/711-53200-19255-0/1?type=4&cam... )

Anyone know of any other options in the same ballpark? The next best I've found will set me back $30+ and that is more than I want to pay.

Another option might be making colored chits with numbers on them, but that would require work
 
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Snooze Fest
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Quirken wrote:
Anyone know of any other options in the same ballpark? The next best I've found will set me back $30+ and that is more than I want to pay.

Take a look at these:
Too tiny (5mm)?
Might work (6mm)
Best option (8mm)?
 
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The Quirken
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Hrm. The price is great but there's no guarantee of how many of each color you'll get, and the colors aren't particularly close to dominant species's colors.

With 35 spaces on the board, but usually only maybe 2/3 of them full, 20 d6 per person seems about right. I was thinking maybe the die could replace their first cube on the space. With that in mind, 8mm does seem like the best option, though.

Edit: with 8mm in mind, I found this: http://rover.ebay.com/rover/1/711-53200-19255-0/1?type=4&cam... , which leaves only finding some yellow dice. And thus far, I haven't been able to find ANY 8mm yellow/orange dice anywhere except the link you sent, and there's no guarantee of getting enough.

Seems like my two choices are just buying 4 of those 50 packs of cheap dice you pointed out and picking out the yellows ($8.44), or buying 20 yellow cubes from MeepleSource ($5.45) and sharpie-ing dots on. Thoughts?

Another option I just found is 7mm dice from http://www.em4miniatures.com/acatalog/Paque.html -- looks like the grand total would be £9.82, which is currently about $16. They have all six colors, too.

There's also 7mm on ebay http://rover.ebay.com/rover/1/711-53200-19255-0/1?type=4&cam... (same seller has them for 10mm dice too)
 
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The Quirken
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djc6535 wrote:

Night And Day. The difference is absolutely night and day. Sped up the game by over an hour. It's remarkably easy to recalculate your dominance whenever you change your animal because now you're just calculating differences. And you're only doing it once.


Hey all, just wanted y'all to know I tried using 10mm dice and it worked really well. I'd agree with Dave - it saved about 45 minutes of gametime. But beyond that, it just made the game more enjoyable.

I uploaded a photo here:
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Isaac Marx
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Quirken, where did you end up getting the dice?
 
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Isaac Marx
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BTW here's a handy size reference in case you are trying to decide which size to get: http://www.buncogame.com/dice-size-chart
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The Quirken
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imarx wrote:
Quirken, where did you end up getting the dice?


I got them from eBay, 10mm size. I was going to buy 8mm (same size as the species cubes), but couldn't find them in yellow. Since the people I tested it with wanted to use the dice only as counters and not also as species, it worked out quite well.

http://rover.ebay.com/rover/1/711-53200-19255-0/1?type=4&cam...

That seller will give discount on shipping if you ask for an invoice. (Also, if you order an assorted pack, you can pick the colors. Handy.)

Total price: $23.18 USD for 160 dice, including shipping. You probably don't need anywhere near that many dice.
 
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Michael
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Interesting idea. Now, it's been a bit since I've played this (I know, I'm a terrible person), but aren't there instances where your dominance on a hex might be greater than 6? In those instances, assuming you're using d6, how do you indicate if the die represents a 6 or a number greater than 6?
 
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Snooze Fest
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Tennberg wrote:
Interesting idea. Now, it's been a bit since I've played this (I know, I'm a terrible person), but aren't there instances where your dominance on a hex might be greater than 6? In those instances, assuming you're using d6, how do you indicate if the die represents a 6 or a number greater than 6?
Use an additional die
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Michael
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snoozefest wrote:
Tennberg wrote:
Interesting idea. Now, it's been a bit since I've played this (I know, I'm a terrible person), but aren't there instances where your dominance on a hex might be greater than 6? In those instances, assuming you're using d6, how do you indicate if the die represents a 6 or a number greater than 6?
Use an additional die


That's what I get for posting at 5 in the morning. cool

I'm still debating on whether or not this is something I would want to do. I can see how it would speed up the dominance calculation part of the game. However, the dice I would want to use (made by Chessex) only come in 12mm as the smallest size. 12mm, while small, wouldn't work well on crowded hexes. I think I may have seen smaller dice at their convention booth in the past, but I don't think it was available in more than a couple colors.
 
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