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Subject: A great game spoiled by dice rolling? rss

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Noel Llopis
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I love dice. I really do, but I guess they have to be in the right game. I love them in many different games, from King of Tokyo, to Arkham Horror, and even for Escape: The Curse of the Temple.

However, after (only) two plays of Castles of Burgundy, I was left hating the dice. I've seen the almost universal praise that Castles has gotten, so it makes me feel that maybe I'm missing something and I wanted to bring it up for discussion.

My main objection is that dice in this game always feel very negative. They're not a randomizer to see how far I move, or to see if I get a bonus for something, they're just going do deny specific strategies I want. So at best, they have no influence, at worst, they deny what I want to do (or maybe the only thing I can do).

Both my games have been with 2 players. I don't know if that makes a difference, but it made it that certain resources (like mines) were extremely limited and sought-after. I can plan ahead to be the starting player when the new phase starts, just to be screwed with a dice roll that doesn't let me get the resource I wanted or even place any of the resources I had waiting in my board (even spending some workers).

This was less noticeable in the first game because I managed to build several knowledge tiles that let me change dice. But in the second game I didn't have anything like that and I felt crippled all game long.

I know I can get workers any time, but that's spending 1 action of the 2 I have per turn, which seems like a huge opportunity cost. I'm almost tempted to play with a house rule that either lets you modify a die once per turn, or gives you one more worker whenever you get workers, or something like that.

So what do you think? Do you feel that way? Is there a strategy you follow to make dice rolling less aggravating? Any good house rules?


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Bryan Thunkd
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The dice are a constraint on what you can do. You're forced to make the best possible choice with what is available. That's the game.
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The Dave
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I treat the game as if the object of the game is to mitigate dice rolling.

Let me explain:

If you want to place tiles on your player board, you're going to need to roll each of the six numbers roughly the same number of times. Furthermore, if you hope to get good tiles from the depots, you'll need to roll each of the six numbers roughly the same number of times (due to the random distribution, although castles, mines, and boats always go on certain depots, so perhaps certain numbers are more favorable, but over the course of the game, you'll just as likely [again, roughly], want as many tiles from depot 2 as you do from depot 5).

Goods tiles? Same thing. They are randomly distributed, so over the course of a game (or many games), you'll want to roll each of the six numbers for the goods action roughly the same number of times.

So in essence this game is about rolling each of the six numbers, roughly the same number of times, each game. The animals, the building bonuses, etc., is all window dressing (and good window dressing at that!), for what is essentially a dice rolling game.

If you think about it that way it does two things:

1. You won't want to house-rule anything, because that will break the spirit and/or the balance of the game

2. You will play differently.

Let me explain 2. If you go into the game thinking you have to mitigate the rolls of dice, you will make different choices about where to place a building (for example). You may want to place it in a nice juicy spot to complete a region, but if that spot is adjacent to only 1s and 2s, and most of the other open spots on your board that provide legal placement of new tiles are also 1s and 2s, it might be better to place that building somewhere else that opens up new placement spots that are NOT 1s and 2s. A place that provides legal placement for new tiles with a dice roll of 4 and/or 5 might be far better since it gives you more options with future dice rolls.

There's more I could say, but I think this is enough food for thought.

Cheers!
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Jack Francisco
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It's Feld. There will be dice.
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Jeff Michaud
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llopis wrote:
So what do you think? Do you feel that way? Is there a strategy you follow to make dice rolling less aggravating? Any good house rules?

I was going to point you to another thread I thought existed where someone felt that rolling doubles in this game was a bad thing and they proposed a house rule, but I can't for the life of me find it

Even though I can't find my (and others) comments on this subject, bottom line imho is this is a game not about long term strategy, but about getting the most with the numbers you roll.

Do note that I've never played 2-player so ymmv
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Shawn Fox
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senorcoo wrote:
It's Feld. There will be dice.


Trajan, Notre Dame, and In the Year of the Dragon don't have dice.
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Bryan Thunkd
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sfox wrote:
Trajan, Notre Dame, and In the Year of the Dragon don't have dice.

Nor Luna, In the Name of the Rose, Speicherstadt, or Strausbourg.

senorcoo wrote:
It's Feld. There will be dice.

It's Feld. There will be an innovative mechanic.
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Chris Berger
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sfox wrote:
senorcoo wrote:
It's Feld. There will be dice.


Trajan, Notre Dame, and In the Year of the Dragon don't have dice.


And Luna and Die Speicherstadt. Possibly some of his other games, but those, Castles, and the ones you mention are the only ones I've played. I think this is the only Feld game I know that has dice in it (I think Macao does, also?).
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Jack Francisco
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Sorry, was typing on my phone and was distracted. Totally not thinking.
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Shawn Macleod
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This is a euro with dice. The randomness is introduced in the beginning of your turn, and then you plan your play. In my opinion this game relies less on the luck/randomness of dice rolling and more on the tactical decisions you make.

Therefore, I think the game plays just fine as is. But, I also believe that you have to invest some turns into obtaining workers. As you know, you can also build some tiles that enhance your action to obtain/use workers.

Personally, I try to stay ahead in the turn order so that I am not as dependent on workers. I also try to pay attention to what others are building and what they have rolled so that I can anticipate and stymie their play. I also try to maximize my turn. This is best accomplished by having some income (to purchase a tile), and placing tiles that trigger a benefit that allows me to continue making progress on that turn.

All that said, I will not take a tile just to take a tile. If my dice rolls aren't leaving me with good options, I invest that turn into workers and try to make a play next turn that maximizes my play while slowing down an opponent.

Having a handful of workers will keep your opponents on their toes. They will have a tough time anticipating and stymieing your moves because your workers allow you to cover much more of the board. And, they may not be able to count on a certain tile being around next turn.

One last thing...I'm not sure what player board side you used, but I feel the "basic/beginner" boards can result in some stale play towards the end of a two player game. BTW, I do feel this is an excellent 2 player game but, I do prefer it as a 4.
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Robert Kuster
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One of the best mechanics in this game is the workers and they help to balance the luck factor of the dice rolling.
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Noel Llopis
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whattheproblemis wrote:
If you go into the game thinking you have to mitigate the rolls of dice, you will make different choices about where to place a building (for example). You may want to place it in a nice juicy spot to complete a region, but if that spot is adjacent to only 1s and 2s, and most of the other open spots on your board that provide legal placement of new tiles are also 1s and 2s, it might be better to place that building somewhere else that opens up new placement spots that are NOT 1s and 2s. A place that provides legal placement for new tiles with a dice roll of 4 and/or 5 might be far better since it gives you more options with future dice rolls.


That's a really good point. I never once considered that during the games, but something along those lines ocurred to me last night, after I finished the game. I wondered if there was this whole strategy I was unaware of to set things up to make sure you have reasonable choices independently of the dice roll. I dismissed the thought as too convoluted, but maybe that's a big part of the strategy instead of taking a "greedy algorithm" approach and simply trying to maximize what you can do each turn.

I think that part of the problem is that the last game I played in this style was Village, which is very similar minus the dice rolls. So I think I was trying to ignore the dice and just being annoyed at them because they were getting in the way

Thanks for the thoughts. I'm going to rethink how I approach the game, try again, and report back.
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Stephane Bassiaux
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arkayn wrote:
And Luna and Die Speicherstadt. Possibly some of his other games, but those, Castles, and the ones you mention are the only ones I've played. I think this is the only Feld game I know that has dice in it (I think Macao does, also?).


Macao uses dices, as do Roma I and II (Arena).
 
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Jack Francisco
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roberious wrote:
One of the best mechanics in this game is the workers and they help to balance the luck factor of the dice rolling.


Which is very much like Troyes uses influence to alter dice. The mechanics that allow the mitigation of luck are great. At the same time, not having those elements leaves you at the mercy of the dice. devil
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Jeff Michaud
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JeffyJeff wrote:
I was going to point you to another thread I thought existed where someone felt that rolling doubles in this game was a bad thing and they proposed a house rule, but I can't for the life of me find it

found it!

small variant when rolling double
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Noel Llopis
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JeffyJeff wrote:


Interesting. I'm going to play the next game by the standard rules, but I might keep that in mind. I agree with some of the comments in the thread that rerolling might make it too powerful. Maybe getting a free +1/-1 adjustment to one of the dice might be better.
 
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Fernando Robert Yu
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My comment is to come in with the mindset of NOT fighting the dice, but rather by "going with the flow" and working WITH the dice, not against them.

Having a rule which allows you to always have an ability to modify the dice is a sort of "cop out" from the spirit of the game methinks. Besides, there are actually many choices with the dice results that many of the actions you do are good. In addition, there are other ways to get workers besides using the dice (ie placing the barracks building gives you 4 workers, having the yellow tile which gives you a worker for every mine you have) and I really believe that using dice to get workers is a tactic you should NOT do too often.
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Moe45673
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It sounds like you've never played a dice game like this before and you're used to Yahtzee or "greedy" type games when it comes to dice. I agree that you need to transform your approach to the game.

Having said that, Trajan sounds like the game for you. Many call it Feld's magnum opus, CoB without the dice (and some other nifty mechanics).

Hopefully you'll come to enjoy it, it's good to see your little venting session was productive!
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Steph Hodge
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Thunkd wrote:
The dice are a constraint on what you can do. You're forced to make the best possible choice with what is available. That's the game.


What he said.

You just don't like the game- that's okay but I think this is what makes the game so great.
 
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Neil Christiansen
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Dice rolls that don't match what you are trying to do just create an inefficiency as you have to go get workers.

But I have not seen that mines, castles, or any other path is much better. If you do not get mines, get ships, move first, and sell lots of goods to make money.
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mannig germany
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Hi, to all

First, I think this game is N O T chess, or a chess-like game !

If we want to play WITHOUT surprise, destiny, fortune etc.
there are only few games to do this !

This IS a very good game, with a lot of mechanism to reach the win.

And it is a game for experienced players !
Therefore our game-gang use house rules,
like with a lot of fine games, we play.

The simplest way here is to have a 6set of the dice-numbers,
if they ALL are used, have the next set. (double for 2-dice games);
for ex. this works fine with "talisman".

So try !

I think a game-creator like (here) Stefan Feld gives us with a very good game the base (!) idea,
and then (experienced !!) players make their own best playable game from it, depending of their group liking.

Manfred


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Hey Manfred,

if you feel the game needs houseruling, that's cool! What do you think is lacking in this game to the point you modify the rules?

Are you talking about cards like the event deck in Catan?
 
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llopis wrote:
JeffyJeff wrote:


Interesting. I'm going to play the next game by the standard rules, but I might keep that in mind. I agree with some of the comments in the thread that rerolling might make it too powerful. Maybe getting a free +1/-1 adjustment to one of the dice might be better.


I dunno, is rolling doubles *really* an issue? Because you can use the dice in various ways I don't think is any different than any other roll. Roll a pair of sixes, use one to ship (for instance) and the other to place a building you have in your queue, for example. Also, you do have the workers to change it up if you want.

 
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Chris Berger
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bop517 wrote:
I dunno, is rolling doubles *really* an issue? Because you can use the dice in various ways I don't think is any different than any other roll. Roll a pair of sixes, use one to ship (for instance) and the other to place a building you have in your queue, for example. Also, you do have the workers to change it up if you want.


I feel like it might be mathematically provable that rolling doubles is generally worse than rolling two different numbers. For example, assume you're only interested in taking a tile and placing a tile and don't have any workers. Rolling a 3 and a 4 will allow you take a 3 and place a 4 or take a 4 and place a 3. Rolling a pair of 6's will only allow you to take a 6 and place a 6. Half as many options. That's not a proof certainly, and is a very simplified case, but I think it holds up.

I don't think that the game needs a houserule to deal with doubles. It's slightly unlucky to roll doubles, but it's not that horrible, and it should even out anyway. But I also wouldn't be opposed to playing with a houserule that said you could reroll doubles once, or maybe even get a free worker when you roll doubles. (Again, not saying it needs it, but I wouldn't mind trying it if someone else at the table wanted to.)
 
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freddieyu wrote:
My comment is to come in with the mindset of NOT fighting the dice, but rather by "going with the flow" and working WITH the dice, not against them.


Completely agree.

I've played this game fairly often. I've brought it to almost every game session I've gone to for the past year and I've even gotten my girlfriend to play it with me. I've won more games than I've lost. I do the best I can with what the dice give me. When I've lost I rarely blame the dice - it's because someone played better than I did. The dice usually don't affect the outcome of this game.
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