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Subject: Using Division in Mechanics rss

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Eric Pietrocupo
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I made a post a few days ago about a roll and damage resolution mechanic:

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/article/9872023#9872023

And an important complaint I have received is that the use of division should be prohibited because it will scare players away.

The mechanics consist in adding up a number on each unit token in the battle and dividing by 5 (always 5). Each slice of 5 points gives you a die to roll that hits on 4+, and the remainder of the division is kept for the next attack.

Do you think that this is too complicated or convoluted?

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Nick Hayes
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Risk uses division (you gain armies for every three territories you control), but in later editions they added a chart on the board so players can look up the number instead of dividing.

I wouldn't use remainders though. I would simply have the players round up or down.
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Boaty McBoatface
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Complicated no, convoluted yes.
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'Bernard Wingrave'
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I wouldn't mind using division, but then I was a math major.

On a side note, I was initially skeptical of the change in Dungeons & Dragons that more or less eliminated subtraction. I think this was during the switch from 2nd edition to 3rd edition, when THAC0 was also eliminated. In the end, I was very pleasantly surprised by the additional simplicity of a system that only routinely used addition.
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Ian Toltz
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Don't listen to the haters. I think people tend to be too quick to assume something won't work.

Particularly since you're divinding by 5, I think you'll be fine.

If anything, you might consider just getting rid of the word "divide". Make it something like "For every 5 points, you get a die to roll. Any leftover points are saved and added to your total next turn."
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Ian Klinck
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Black Canyon wrote:
Risk uses division (you gain armies for every three territories you control), but in later editions they added a chart on the board so players can look up the number instead of dividing.

I wouldn't use remainders though. I would simply have the players round up or down.


Yeah, if you ditch the remainders, and possibly include a chart, no one should complain.

(e.g. Stone Age is a fairly light game that has a similar approach for resource collection.)
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Andrew Walters
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People can divide, you can use it in a game mechanic.

Frag uses it for damage: I roll a number of dice equal to my weapon's damage, you roll a number of dice dice equal your health as boosted by armor, you reduce your health by the quotient. I roll 14, you roll 7, you take two damage. This actually makes a fun shoot'em up system.

Lots of other games use division. Basically any time you see the word "per" someone will be dividing. Any time you work combat odds, have to pay 1 gold for every three things you own, etc. Write clear, give examples, almost no one will have an issue.
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Eric Pietrocupo
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Quote:
Frag uses it for damage: I roll a number of dice equal to my weapon's damage, you roll a number of dice dice equal your health as boosted by armor, you reduce your health by the quotient. I roll 14, you roll 7, you take two damage. This actually makes a fun shoot'em up system.


The person who pointed me out the division problem gave Frag as an example. Still, the difference with my game and Frag is that the divider is always 5. So it should be must easier for calculate.

As for the remainder, if I remove it, players will always try to arrange their units so that they fall on sharp values. So players will never assign for example a 19 points since they lose 4 points. If I around up, players will always avoid having 11-12 points and will do anything to get 13-14 to get that extra die by saving 1-2 points. Why assign 17, when 13 would give the same results.

So I don't want players losing time maximizing all these little extra points they could benefit from rounding up numbers. This is why the remainder was the best logical solution. I'll still see if I can find an alternative solution.
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Ian Toltz
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larienna wrote:
As for the remainder, if I remove it, players will always try to arrange their units so that they fall on sharp values. So players will never assign for example a 19 points since they lose 4 points. If I around up, players will always avoid having 11-12 points and will do anything to get 13-14 to get that extra die by saving 1-2 points. Why assign 17, when 13 would give the same results.


What's wrong with that?

I think this would work better, and require less brain power, than trying to get people to remember a floating value from round to round.
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Steven Dast
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Consider doubling the values on the units so that you can divide by 10.
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Eric Pietrocupo
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Dividing by 10 is an idea, it's just that larger values could be harder to add up. But I'll consider the possibility.

As for the remainder, I could always offer both options, (round up or using remainder) according to the player's taste.
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Andrew Rowse
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Quote:
1 Battleship(BB) - Strength of 8 each
2 Heavy Cruiser (CA) - Strength of 4 each
3 Light Cruiser (CL) - Strength of 2 each

The target number for a die to hit is 4+ (technology can reduce it to 3+)

...

- Roll 1 die for each slice of 5 points


With 0.5 ( 0.66 if upgraded) chance of a hit for each die, over some arbitrarily long period you would expect each ship to deal the following damage:

BB - 8/5 * 0.5 = 0.8 damage per round (1.1 when upgraded)
CA - 4/5 * 0.5 = 0.4 damage per round (0.5 when upgraded)
CL - 2/5 * 0.5 = 0.2 damage per round (0.3 when upgraded)

Why not take a leaf out of Eclipse's book, have three different coloured dice, and roll one die for each ship in the combat:

BB - Red D10s, hit on 3+ (always hits when upgraded, or 2+ for balance)
CA - Orange D10s, hit on 7+ (6+)
CL - Yellow D10s, hit on 9+ (8+)

This will give you the same average damage per round, and still let you roll lots of dice at once. It will also allow your ships to be upgraded separately, if that would be a good feature.
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One Armed Bandit
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andreww wrote:

People can divide, you can use it in a game mechanic.

Frag uses it for damage:


And if you read reviews of Frag, that is hands down the number one complaint. I demo Frag at conventions, and I hear the bitching about the division a LOT. I actually keep a few pocket calculators in the box, because inevitably someone will get hung up on the division and stall the game.

Quote:
Lots of other games use division. Basically any time you see the word "per" someone will be dividing.


No, they're more likely to be multiplying.

"Pay 3 gold per sheep". That's not dividing, that's multiplying.
The majority of games where I do see dividing, it happens generally ONCE a game, as part of end game scoring. Remainders are not relevant.

As compared to this game, where you're doing this division multiple times per turn, every turn, AND you have to track remainders AND remember them for the next turn... for each separate unit.

It gets worse when they can carry over for several turns.
If you have a 16, that leaves you with 1 to carry over the next turn... which is 2 the turn after... you have to carry this remainder FIVE turns before it's relevant
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Old Gamer
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Asmor wrote:
Don't listen to the haters. I think people tend to be too quick to assume something won't work.

Particularly since you're divinding by 5, I think you'll be fine.

If anything, you might consider just getting rid of the word "divide". Make it something like "For every 5 points, you get a die to roll. Any leftover points are saved and added to your total next turn."

This. Almost everyone can divide by 5 and keep a remainder (maybe some indicator for the remainder? A die which you set to show your current excess?). Unfortunately, for some people, words which they associate with maths switches off their brain...

When was the last time anyone heard a Risk novice say "1 army for every 3 countries? This is too hard!"
 
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Scott Westgard
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In general, I would avoid division in party or lighter games.

It is fine, and actually easy, in games where there is a easily divisible denominator such as 5. Dividing by 7 or 31 might be ridiculous. The problem then lies at which threshold the division works in the game. Most people dont like too much math in their games, or just a little. I guess it depends on who you are gearing this game toward.
 
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Scott
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Asmor wrote:
I think this would work better, and require less brain power, than trying to get people to remember a floating value from round to round.


Give them a chit with a number printed on it to show any remainder.
 
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Eric Pietrocupo
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Quote:
Most people dont like too much math in their games, or just a little. I guess it depends on who you are gearing this game toward.


I intend to make an light-medium war game. So I am aiming for an experience audiance.

Quote:
Give them a chit with a number printed on it to show any remainder.


I inteded to use a track from 0 to 4 where you move a token on it as the remainder progressed. I did not expect people to remember the remainder.

Quote:
Why not take a leaf out of Eclipse's book, have three different coloured dice, and roll one die for each ship in the combat:


The problem is that there is more than 3 type of ships / weaponry. And the same type of ship has different stats for the japanese, american and England.
 
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Andrew Rowse
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I guess that one of the most important questions is 'what sort of numbers will people be adding together and dividing'?

My confidence in mental addition starts to drop when adding together more than about six numbers, so if I'm going into battle with 3 destroyers, 2 cruisers, 4 zodiacs and a couple of kayaks, it's already a bit of a pain to add them up. If they're getting knocked off as the combat proceeds, I'll probably feel compelled to sum them again instead of subtracting the dead ones.

Throw division in on top, and it just feels unwieldy. I suspect that I would feel like I was doing too much maths and not enough exploding things, which strikes me as the antithesis of ameritrash.

Quote:
Quote:
Why not take a leaf out of Eclipse's book, have three different coloured dice, and roll one die for each ship in the combat:

The problem is that there is more than 3 type of ships / weaponry. And the same type of ship has different stats for the japanese, american and England.


So don't have different dice, and instead roll for each type of ship (which is admittedly more like Eclipse than my original suggestion!), but still have one die per ship.

Work out what damage-per-turn rate you want for each ship, and make the target value 10 - 10 * p (ish). If that doesn't give you enough granularity, use D12s or D20s.

You can have different targets for the ships of the different nations, and should achieve approximately the same results (in terms of kill rates) with MUCH less mucking around.
 
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Eric Pietrocupo
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Ships are divided by weaponry. All ship assigned to gun fire first, all ship assigned to torpedoes fire second, etc. Weapons are fired one at a time. So I don't think there will be too much ship per weaponry.

Quote:
You can have different targets for the ships of the different nations, and should achieve approximately the same results (in terms of kill rates) with MUCH less mucking around.


Of course I could have used this, the problem is that there is another variable to take into account. The 4+ of the methods in the original post is not a fixed value. It can be dropped to 3+ for certain weaponry if technological progress is made.

If I use different TN for ship stat I'll have to include a bonus to the TN. I'll probably be forced to use D10 and d12 like you suggested, the problem is that it does not make it PnP friendly since it does not use regular d6 dice. Ran rolling 2D6 per unit would be too confusing.

If each ship has a different TN, I must also roll each die individually, while when I add up all the numbers I roll X dice all at the same time what-ever the fleet composition. So a bit less rolling but a bit more counting.

I'll still consider your ideas. If I really have no choice, I'll use d10 or d12 instead.

 
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