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Road to Enlightenment» Forums » General

Subject: Manufacturing defect = great news! rss

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Andrew Rowse
New Zealand
Wellington
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Like many people, we found that combat in Road to Enlightenment was an exercise in frustration. The card investment required to take control of a new city felt disproportionately high to both the benefit of taking the city, and other players' ease of defending it.

But the maths seemed to be reasonable, and experience with Here I Stand's very similar dice-rolling made us question the results we were getting. We started off joking that the dice were terrible, and hated us. Then we said it with straighter faces. Then somebody said something along the lines of 'bollocks to these dice, I'm raiding my childrens' Yahtzee set'.

That person started winning combats. I picked up a couple of dice and eyeballed them, and what do you know:



All of the dice are irregular, though some are more so than others. But the key point is that their 1-6 axes are longer than the 2-5 and 3-4 axes. The difference is not enough to spot when looking at an individual die, but quite striking when lined up like this.

And that difference seems to be enough to throw off the chances of a 1 or 6. I did a quick test, rolling 6 dice 30 times, and got 21 sixes. The expected number of sixes for fair dice is 30. It's been far too many years since I took stats, so I don't know how many standard deviations away from the mean that is, but it confirmed the trend that we were pretty sure we'd been seeing, so it was good enough for me.

I contacted a few fellow RtE players who had commented here about frustrating combat rolls, and asked them to visually inspect their dice, comparing the 1-6 axes to the other axes. A couple got back to me and confirmed that the discrepancy was not limited to my copy...

THIS IS GREAT NEWS!

There has been a fair amount of negativity about the combat system in RtE, and I strongly believe that much of that negativity has stemmed from the fact that the dice have been rolling around 70% of the successes that they ought to have. Dodgy dice are the easiest thing in the world to fix, especially since RtE's target market is the sort of people who already have far too many dice.

Hopefully other groups will have the same experience that mine did - that replacing the dice with a better balanced set results in a considerably improved experience.

Seriously, Road to Enlightenment is easily my favourite game of this year (technically I bought it last year, but the hard-to-follow rulebook meant that I didn't feel compelled to get it to table until a couple of months ago). The card cycling is fun, the luminaries are immersive, and the stat combination mechanic is beautifully thematic:

* Ideas or technical skill by themselves are not enough to advance scientific knowledge - you need both.

* Producing great works of art requires more than just great artists - you need patrons to fund their efforts (the liquor and opium isn't going to buy itself!)

* Effecting religious change is not possible with just zealotry - you also need the political willpower to force through corresponding legislation (and/or lock up heretics without trial).

* Your nation doesn't get rich just by having wealthy people - you also need political power to wrangle tax collectors to go shake those people down.
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MURRUMBEENA
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All reality is a game. Physics at its most fundamental, the very fabric of our universe, results directly from the interaction of certain fairly simple rules, and chance... (Iain Banks)
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Online χ^2 test: http://graphpad.com/quickcalcs/chisquared1.cfm
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Andrew Rowse
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Quote:
Chi squared equals 3.240 with 1 degrees of freedom.
The two-tailed P value equals 0.0719
By conventional criteria, this difference is considered to be not quite statistically significant.


Had I done twice as many rolls and got the same proportion, that would have been significant. I guess I ought to do that
 
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Dirk Knemeyer
United States
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Thanks for the kind words about the game, although it is of course sad to see this. Our manufacturer has been a wonderful partner so we will get this sorted.
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