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Spartacus: A Game of Blood & Treachery» Forums » Variants

Subject: Blue Dice Variant rss

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Jonathan Tang
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Just an idea we were tossing around.

During the initiative roll, players roll all their blue dice, but instead of summing them, the players compare their highest die. Highest wins initiative. If tied, they compare the next highest die and so on.

This will keep the resolution in line with attack and defense.
And allow gladiators with lower movement to still be competitive, instead of always taking the first hit and being kited. There was a BGG post some time ago that showed how a 4-move gladiator could effectively kill a 2-move gladiator without taking a single hit.

Hopefully this will provide a bit more balance without weakening the higher movement gladiators too much.
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John Lloyd
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Really clever idea. It still gives a signficant edge to the faster gladiator, but allows a bit greater chance for a slower gladiator to get a hit in. I always enjoy a little reversal of fortune when the dice gods favour the underdog occasionally.

Post again if you try it and let us know how it worked out. To me, it sounds very promising.
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Mordante Mordante
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As the poster above said, I can wait to hear how it works out.
 
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Excellent suggestion! A good variant is one that utilises existing game mechanics and this is very like the "dice string" mechanic for attacks, so it would be very intuitive to use and should give slightly less advantage to the faster gladiator. I don't know how to compare the probabilities but it "feels" like less of an advantage. I'd like to see the actual percentages compared though if someone could figure out the maths.
 
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I could not figure out the maths so instead wrote a computer program to do 100 million initiative checks for a 4-Speed vs. 2-Speed gladiator using the new method and the old method in the rules, and here's the results.

New method:
4 dice vs. 2 dice wins initiative 69.79%
2 dice vs. 4 dice wins initiative 25.51%
rerolls: 4.70%

Old method:
4 dice vs. 2 dice wins initiative 93.92%
2 dice vs. 4 dice wins initiative 3.59%
rerolls: 2.49%


[edit] increased from 1 million to 100 million rolls for greater accuracy
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John Lloyd
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Great program - it semms like a reasonable shift in odds to me. Can you re-run the program for 4 dice vs 3 dice?

We've already been house ruling multiple gladiator fights, for which the initiative rules as written work well. But I suppose even in a four or three way battle, you could still go down the line comparing dice strings.
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D Conklin
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Best variant I've seen... I like the % breakdowns....

Will give it a try.
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VillainousEye wrote:
Great program - it semms like a reasonable shift in odds to me. Can you re-run the program for 4 dice vs 3 dice?


As requested, 100 million initiative checks for 4 dice vs 3 dice:

New method:
4 dice vs. 3 dice wins initiative 59.99%
3 dice vs. 4 dice wins initiative 38.03%
rerolls: 1.98%

Old method:
4 dice vs. 3 dice wins initiative 74.28%
3 dice vs. 4 dice wins initiative 19.17%
rerolls: 6.55%

A note on the way I implemented the "new method"...

Sort dice rolls from high to low in a "dice string"
Compare first (highest) dice roll.
If tied, compare second (next highest) dice roll.
If tied, compare third (next highest) dice roll.
If tied, roll again.

In other words, if the first 3 dice are tied, I discard the 4th, as there is nothing to compare it to on the other side (the 3 dice gladiator). In theory you could say initiative is won if the 4th dice is 3 or higher, like for "unopposed" dice in combat, but I did not implement it this way.
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Kevin 'Rocky' Robertson
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Nice idea, but I would take the unopposed die as the same as attacks, if 3 or more then it wins initiative.
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manfromtherock wrote:
Nice idea, but I would take the unopposed die as the same as attacks, if 3 or more then it wins initiative.


That will be a pretty rare event, i.e. it will only happen if all previous dice in the string were tied - but would be more frequent with 4 dice vs. 2 dice compared to 4 dice vs. 3 dice.

Just for you, here's 100 million rolls for 4 dice vs. 3 dice and extra criterion that 4th dice wins initiative if it is 3 or more and all previous dice in string were tied.

New method (+ unopposed die >2 wins):
4 dice vs. 3 dice wins initiative 60.32%
3 dice vs. 4 dice wins initiative 38.03%
rerolls: 1.65%

Old method:
4 dice vs. 3 dice wins initiative 74.28%
3 dice vs. 4 dice wins initiative 19.17%
rerolls: 6.55%

[Edit] Small correction
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Here are more runs for the new "unopposed die >2 wins" approach. Please excuse any rounding errors (e.g. sum of results not = 100%).

New method (+ unopposed die >2 wins):
2 dice vs. 1 dice wins initiative 65.27%
1 dice vs. 2 dice wins initiative 25.46%
rerolls: 9.27%

Old method:
2 dice vs. 1 dice wins initiative 83.80%
1 dice vs. 2 dice wins initiative 9.26%
rerolls: 6.94%

---

New method (+ unopposed die >2 wins):
3 dice vs. 1 dice wins initiative 78.32%
1 dice vs. 3 dice wins initiative 17.36%
rerolls: 4.31%

Old method:
3 dice vs. 1 dice wins initiative 97.30%
1 dice vs. 3 dice wins initiative 1.16%
rerolls: 1.54%

---

New method (+ unopposed die >2 wins):
4 dice vs. 1 dice wins initiative 85.56%
1 dice vs. 4 dice wins initiative 12.59%
rerolls: 1.85%

Old method:
4 dice vs. 1 dice wins initiative 99.73%
1 dice vs. 4 dice wins initiative 0.08%
rerolls: 0.19%

---

New method (+ unopposed die >2 wins):
3 dice vs. 2 dice wins initiative 62.41%
2 dice vs. 3 dice wins initiative 34.05%
rerolls: 3.54%

Old method:
3 dice vs. 2 dice wins initiative 77.86%
2 dice vs. 3 dice wins initiative 15.20%
rerolls: 6.94%

---

New method (+ unopposed die >2 wins):
4 dice vs. 2 dice wins initiative 72.46%
2 dice vs. 4 dice wins initiative 25.51%
rerolls: 2.03%

Old method:
4 dice vs. 2 dice wins initiative 93.92%
2 dice vs. 4 dice wins initiative 3.59%
rerolls: 2.49%

---

New method (+ unopposed die >2 wins):
4 dice vs. 3 dice wins initiative 60.33%
3 dice vs. 4 dice wins initiative 38.02%
rerolls: 1.65%

Old method:
4 dice vs. 3 dice wins initiative 74.28%
3 dice vs. 4 dice wins initiative 19.17%
rerolls: 6.55%

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Mordante Mordante
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Just a game using this variation and gotta say its a stroke of genius.

Thanks for the suggestion!
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Jonathan Tang
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Hey NappyPlayer, thanks for calculating the odds for this!

Just FYI I've been using the "unopposed die >2 wins" and its working great for my group.
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Colin Hall-Williams
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I played using the 'dice string' variant tonight in a 4-player game; With the initiative roll being less of a forgone conclusion, there was in turn less running away and circling. The arena fights were more tactical and much more enjoyable to play or watch, with some great comebacks and underdog victories. I'll be using this from now on, cheers!
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Dan Bigmore
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I keep waiting for Gale Force Nine to reply on here to say either, "Why didn't we think of that?" or "We thought of that; here's why we didn't use it."
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John Lloyd
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Thanks very much for calculating all those odds.
I like the slight shift it gives to the underdog, and yes I'm curious to see what Gale Force Nine thinks.
Even in the expansion, with multi gladiator fights, the system should still work. Maybe it'll become an official variant!
 
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My play group like this one
I like the way it don't mess with gladiators abilities and stats but the
only problem is it breaks dolors ability :/
Don't know how to fix this - any suggestions?
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John Karma
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This is a simple and elegant solution to the extreme imbalance caused by differences in speed dice. Kudos. I only wish I thought of it myself.

Incidentally, I watched a Thracian starter beat Gnaeus under these rules earlier without any major blunders on either side. Sure, he needed good dice, but not the same sort of epic luck that would have been otherwise necessary. It was the most fun I've had watching a fight and probably also the most fun I've had playing the game thus far. Thanks a lot!
 
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Mark Turner
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Bigland wrote:
I keep waiting for Gale Force Nine to reply on here to say either, "Why didn't we think of that?" or "We thought of that; here's why we didn't use it."


Yes, it would be nice for the designers to comment on this. Do they read this forum?
 
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Mark Bower
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Agreed that this sounds good. The Dolor question is a valid one that would need addressed though. I also think that if the dice are tied and one gladiator has dice left that his opponent has no match for, he should simply win.
 
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Jorgen Peddersen
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As a possible replacement ability for Dolor when using this variant, what about if he gets initiative when the top dice are tied?
 
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Clipper wrote:
As a possible replacement ability for Dolor when using this variant, what about if he gets initiative when the top dice are tied?


Or
Special power: When rolling for initiative, "6"s win ties.

Like Magnetius Special power: When attacking, "6"s win ties.
 
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Jorgen Peddersen
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Turns out we're both severely miscalculating Dolor's advantage, Christian. I just wrote a program to calculate the odds of victory and neither of our methods comes close to giving Dolor the advantage his original power gives him.

I didn't realise this until now, but his written power is actually better than having his opponent roll one fewer die (removing a die would reduce the total by 3.5 on average, but he always reduces the total by 4). In a 4 vs. 4 dice matchup, Dolor should win about 81% of the time using the standard rules. Our variant abilities gave him only a 68.5% (mine) and 63.5% (yours) of winning this matchup (I implemented the variant blue dice as extra dice always winning ties regardless of value, but that doesn't change much).

A method which does appear to give Dolor an equivalent advantage in the dice string variant to the advantage he gets in the standard game is to give him the following power:

When rolling Initiative, Dolor's opponent ignores the value of their highest die.

This seems pretty OP at first glance, but that's just because his standard power is actually OP using the normal rules. Perhaps it's better to let the opponent keep the die if it is their last one, though.

One more thing to note: You could also just have the opponent not roll one of his speed dice. It turns out that this is actually the least useful of all the proposed alternate abilities, as rolling fewer dice is not quite as bad with the dice string variant.
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Kevin B
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Words can't begin to express how brilliant this variant is. I can't wait to try it if the upcoming expansion doesn't make these changes.

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have you given any thoughts on how you would alter Dolor's ability?

Your math analyses are fun to read!
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Kevin B
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NappyPlayer wrote:
That will be a pretty rare event, i.e. it will only happen if all previous dice in the string were tied - but would be more frequent with 4 dice vs. 2 dice compared to 4 dice vs. 3 dice.

Just for you, here's 100 million rolls for 4 dice vs. 3 dice and extra criterion that 4th dice wins initiative if it is 3 or more and all previous dice in string were tied.

New method (+ unopposed die >2 wins):
4 dice vs. 3 dice wins initiative 60.32%
3 dice vs. 4 dice wins initiative 38.03%
rerolls: 1.65%

Old method:
4 dice vs. 3 dice wins initiative 74.28%
3 dice vs. 4 dice wins initiative 19.17%
rerolls: 6.55%

[Edit] Small correction


Question: If you are running dice strings with the new rule that unopposed dice being resolved as a success on >2 where does the reroll condition come from?

Haven't you reduced the competition to an outright winner one way or the other or am I missing something?
 
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