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Subject: Dice Question (But not what you're thinking) rss

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Clay
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I've already read about the people that are concerned that the dice introduce too much luck, that isn't what this is about. Rather, I'm concerned about roughly the opposite situation.

From what I've seen (mostly the two dicetower reviews) it looks like your roll doesn't actually affect very much at all. You need the right colors to take and complete contracts and I suppose you could manage your dice usage to leave enough of a color left to save some "virtual dice" over but aside from that it looks like the only limitation on your actions is how many dice you have to spend, they could almost be replaced with a regenerating pool of currency tokens.

Don't get me wrong, I'm definitely not looking for a complete luck-fest, but at the same time dice games tend to be interesting precisely due to the need to leverage your rolls into something productive. If the only thing the dice tell me is whether or not I will be allowed to take two of the six or so actions then that doesn't strike me as a particularly exciting application of them.

How does it play? Does it feel like you have adapt your plans to what you roll every turn or do most turns just boil down to you trying to get the most utility from each die you spend without necessarily even looking at what face came up?
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Joe Pastuzyn
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When I played, I likened the dice to getting dealt a hand of cards. You have to play the hand (dice) effectively in order to do well. For that reason, the last thing you do on your turn is roll, allowing you some time to figure out what to do.

There are advantages to rolling certain types of colors, though. If you have one active route you're trying to complete, you'll score more points. Having thrre in the works will give you more flexibility to work with your dice. This is a risk/reward trade off inherent in the game and it is well balanced.

Another opportunity then, is to purchase additional dice to help your long term strategy. These dice could give you additional colors or just augment your VPs when you score.

In the end, the dice are resources to be allocated to help your strategy. These will change with each turn as you roll them, but that's really the heart of the game.
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Tucker Taylor
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There are two main things you do in the game: build track ("complete contracts") and deliver cargo. You'll generally be building on at least one link every turn, while some turns there's just no cargo available to deliver. I'd say the dice rolled matter more than half the time.

It's a perspective thing, I guess: "you don't care about half of what you roll" versus "you have to plan around what you roll, even if you're only using about half of it."
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Shane
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The Message wrote:
Does it feel like you have adapt your plans to what you roll every turn or do most turns just boil down to you trying to get the most utility from each die you spend without necessarily even looking at what face came up?

Some of both of course, but sometimes more of the latter. I guess the 'tension' of choosing what to do with your dice comes in the costs of the 'generic' dice actions. The costs of improvements, especially the higher ones, or the costs of switching stations, etc., means possibly having to spend one or two of those blue dice that you wanted to use for construction cubes on a blue route. Still, I would have generally found it more interesting if the dice colors had more significance.
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Kevin Brusky
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The goal was to create a balance of actions that required certain dice colors vs. dice of any color. Too many requirements on colors and the game becomes a luck-fest. Too little, and it only matters how many dice you roll - not what the results of those dice are.

I think that balance has largely been achieved. I often feel frustrated when I don't roll the colors I need, but I'm always able to find something productive to do with the dice I do roll.

I'm just the publisher, though, so I'll let the designer chip in.
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Cameron Chien
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I also think the balance is quite good. If you somehow manage to not roll the one color you really needed, there are other things that you can do on your turn.

So, the colors DO matter, but there are really good other options in case you don't roll what you want.

Also, having a ton of extra dice does help, but is not automatically a win.

Cameron
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Steven Dast
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In my mind, the main role of the dice (sorry!) is to control (and make somewhat unpredictable) how quickly a player can complete building a particular route. If you're building just one route, and the dice don't fall your way, you stall out on that task for the moment and will have to find other useful actions to take (which is all right, because there are other useful actions). You can mitigate this by diversifying and building routes that require different colors, increasing the probability that you can use more of your dice on building, however (and here's one of the exquisite little conundra in the game) the more routes you're working on, the fewer points each scores when completed.

In many ways, I think that the luck of the game comes more from the order in which the various cards appear than from the effect of the dice.
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the dare978devil
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Callipigus wrote:
In many ways, I think that the luck of the game comes more from the order in which the various cards appear than from the effect of the dice.


Yes, agree with this statement. If, for instance, you are trying to monopolize a certain area, thereby forcing opponents to ship through you, getting the correct contract come up at the right time is crucial. The colour of the dice is usually not a limiting factor, unless you happen to get unlucky enough to not roll the specific colour you need when that contract comes up. I would say that would be fairly unusual given the Improvements you can make to offset this possibility (Careful Planner, Extra Resources Yellow die).

Also, if the contract you want does come up when it is not your turn, it does force your opponents to consider purchasing an expensive contract which may not benefit them very much, only to prevent you from getting it.

The dice in this game are unlike dice in other games. For instance in Eclipse, you may spend hours building up an armada only to be nuked by a much smaller force whose player happens to roll a lot of 6's. This game doesn't have that issue. The colours are only relevant to the routes you are building, and are most often spent as generic dice.
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Bruce Bernard
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I think a good way of looking at it is that it simulates what may happen in real life. A shipment of steel gets delayed and it will eventually show up but it mucks up you plans in the short term. I agree that the amount of luck introduced certainly is just right and it ends up being very thematic. I have only played solitaire so far to learn the game and I am looking forward to introducing it to my group.
 
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