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Subject: Strider Sprint Simulator rss

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Dave J McWeasely
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To evaluate DEW-North requires a good understanding of when the Strider Sprint can expect to dunk the ring. If the ring dunk is reliable on turn 6, DEW-North has a tough road to ho. If (as seems to happen to me) Strider Sprint takes 8+ turns then its probably useless against DEW.

So I wrote a program that plays the ring game with a Strider Sprint strategy, and it assumes Sauron is doing a pure DEW North strategy.

The Strider player is brave and fast, but he isn't the brightest lad in the class... he'll gladly move in Mordor against 7 dice in the pool when an "eye tile" will kill Frodo. Depending on the state of the board, a human FP player could realize he has time for another turn and wait for the eyes to dissapate.

7S's questions:
Q: Do they get GtW?
Gandalf the Grey goes down to the first non-0 tile. On turn 1 he's not available for reincarnation, because the Shadow won't have a minion out till the last die. On turns 2-5 he'll pop back up on the first will roll. On turns 6+ the situation is "desperate" and its not worth investing the Will for an endgame that might not exist.

Q: Can you try different random casualty strategies to see if the turn 6 or earlier win rate goes up?
Yes, I'm investimigating that now. Whereas I built the tool to figure out if DEW-North will "work", I think the tool I built will be better at answering the former question.

DEW-North thumbsup/thumbsdown may be too slippery a slope of a question, since there's always a temptation to "play the board" rather than "play the strategy in the book", and as the algorithm gets more sophisticated (e.g. implement turn stalls), it just suggests more improvements for counter-play (e.g. hit Minas Morgul and manage to be revealed at the same time).


Q: How are you deciding whether or not to use a ring?
Badly: In Mordor, if an "eye" tile won't kill Frodo, then they go ahead and use the elf-ring! Outside Mordor I count "pips" on the hunt dice I'm facing, and don't move if its too dangerous. Its not a metric I'm happy with, and varying the "pips" parameter shows I might as well use a ring ASAP on the pre-mordor turns. If anyone has ideas...

Here's a log of a sample game:
Quote:
Turn 1: 0 swords, 1 will, 3 others versus 3 eyes
Fellowship moves to Fords of Bruinen.
Using an elven ring (2 left) .
Fellowship advances to Hollin but gets hit with tile EYE+r
GANDALF dies guiding the fellowship. Corruption climbs by 0 to 0.
Strider hides the fellowship.
Out of movement dice
Turn 2: 2 swords, 1 will, 1 other versus 2 eyes
Gandalf has been sent back.
Fellowship moves to Moria.
Fellowship advances to Dimril Dale but gets hit with tile 0+r
Stronghold hunt tile tile 1.
Corruption climbs by 1 to 1.
Strider hides the fellowship.
Out of movement dice
Turn 3: 2 swords, 1 will, 2 others versus 1 eye
Fellowship moves to Parth Celebrant.
Fellowship moves to Eastmnet.
Fellowship moves to W. Emyn Muil.
Using an elven ring (1 left) .
Fellowship moves to Dead Marshes.
Out of movement dice
Turn 4: 2 swords, 0 wills, 3 others versus 2 eyes
Fellowship advances to Ithilien but gets hit with tile 3
Corruption climbs by 3 to 4.
Fellowship advances to Minas Morgul but gets hit with tile EYE+r
Corruption climbs by 2 to 6.
Stronghold hunt tile tile 2.
LEGOLAS dies randomly. Corruption climbs by 0 to 6.
Strider hides the fellowship.
Out of movement dice
Turn 5: 1 sword, 0 wills, 4 others versus 5 eyes
Fellowship declares in Mordor.
Fellowship advances to Mordor-1 but gets hit with tile 0+r
Strider hides the fellowship.
Using an elven ring (0 left) .
Fellowship advances to Mordor-2 but gets hit with tile 3
BOROMIR dies randomly. Corruption climbs by 1 to 7.
Out of movement dice
Turn 6: 2 swords, 2 wills, 1 other versus 4 eyes
Fellowship advances to Mordor-3 but gets hit with tile 1+r
STRIDER dies randomly. Corruption climbs by 0 to 7.
The fellowship hides.
Fellowship advances to Slopes of Mt. Doom but gets hit with tile 2+r
GIMLI dies guiding the fellowship. Corruption climbs by 0 to 7.
The fellowship hides.
Out of movement dice
Turn 7: 2 swords, 1 will, 2 others versus 2 eyes
Fellowship advances to Cracks of Doom but gets hit with tile 3
Merry and Pippin are taken alive.
Ring destroyed.
 
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Sean McCarthy
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The sample seems pretty reasonable. The only obvious mistake is taking a random hit on the 1r tile in Mordor. A human would have noticed they were going to win if they could use Strider to convert the last die to a hide, barring two eyes.

This is where the military situation becomes important, because the FSP player only has the risk the corruption death if the Shadow would win that turn. And judging by the excessive number of eyes, they probably were not going to win militarily turn 6.

By the way, how many eyes is the simulator placing? DEW North (TM) uses zero in order to get its turn 6-7 wins.
 
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Robin Munn

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Nice. Looks like a useful tool.

As another computer geek, I've got to ask. What language did you use? Python? Perl? Something else? Any chance of posting the source? It would be nice to be able to run tests myself and tweak a parameter or two.

Anyway -- what I can see so far looks good. Nice job.
 
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Dave J McWeasely
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SevenSpirits wrote:

By the way, how many eyes is the simulator placing? DEW North (TM) uses zero in order to get its turn 6-7 wins.


Its a good question, and news to me. I had been doing 0 eyes on turn 1, and 1 eye thereafter. That gives me the following breakdown:
<7: 26.9%
=7: 27.6%
>7: 45.5%

With pure 0 eyes I currently get:
<7: 33.8%
=7: 31.4%
>7: 34.8%
The fellowship speeds up against 0 eyes. Naturally.

With pure 1 eye I currently get:
<7: 26.9%
=7: 29.5%
>7: 43.6%
This isn't as good for the Shadow as the 0/1 strategy above, and uses more dice for non-military purposes.

And with 0 eyes against Gandalf and 1 against any other guide I get:
<7: 20.9%
=7: 28.6%
>7: 50.5%
The fellowship has the problem that Gandalf doesn't die! Strider can't take over, and no 5th event die either. As a result the FP does a LOT worse.

What if Strider were to temporarily take over as guide on any turn the FSP starts a turn revealed?
<7: 28.3%
=7: 28.4%
>7: 43.3%
That mostly fixes the Fellowship's problem. I conclude one should make Strider guide when starting the turn revealed.
 
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Dave J McWeasely
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rmunn wrote:
As another computer geek, I've got to ask. What language did you use? Python? Perl? Something else?
Common Lisp! ninja
But yeah, the source code happens to be in a web-browsable place: http://www.osaurus.us/~dm/wotr/strider.lisp
This is the file I'm actively dinking around with, so caveat emptor.
 
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Sean McCarthy
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How is the fellowship getting themselves revealed without losing Gandalf? That should only happen 1/8, by drawing a 0r first.
 
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Dave J McWeasely
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Its probably a bug, but, as you say it happens in 12.5% of games. When that's the case its maybe 60% likely Strider steps in to guide, saves a sword, the fellowship moves that turn (loading up corruption and possibly getting revealed more times, which Strider also fixes). The next turn Gandalf is tanned, rested, and ready to move a non-revaled fellowship... I think the whole transaction is 60% likely to save two swords. 1.2 swords x 12% might make for an 8% shift in the overall outcome.

I've been playing around with pacing issues. Specifically, there's a goal turn, that the FSP really tries to win by. MG claims a reliable turn 5 win against a static defense. I think Strider can't counter that. If the trick is to dunk by turn 6, then the FP can win, they just have to push desperately - saving elven rings for a "safe" move is a losing proposition, its better to forge doggedly ahead at full speed. If shooting for turn 7, then you can spend your rings when the hunt pool isn't going to whack you and avoid some hunt tiles.

Again, this neglects cards. Obviously the biggest cards on the SP side are Cruel Weather, Nazgul Search, etc. As it is now, the FSP is desperately committing suicide with corruption in one game in eight. Twelve of the twenty four character cards help with that, and its not unusual to have palantirs lying around to play them.
 
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Magic. Geek
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Hang on there just a moment.

'MG claims a reliable turn 5 win against a static defense'

Not quite.

devil

I claim a very reliable turn 6.
I am working on a turn 5, but have never done it.

2 of my last 3 games were against Strider Sprint.
I won turn 6 both times, but Strider could see Mt Doom.

Strider Sprint has always given me pause, in a way that no other startegy has. No other strategy stands a candles hope in a hurricane. Close, but still no cigar for Strider.

I am very happy that the numbers are supporting the idea of never hunting the fellowship while Gandalf is in it. This was the original reason for placing Zero Eyes. Realising that placing eyes was a bad idea against Strider took a little while longer. It requires large kahunas. Currently i am placing Zero Eyes against Strider and Gandalf.

When Strider and Gandalf have left, place what you like in the hunt pool, provided those dice will get rerolls. I place ONE eye most of the time because I am expecting to roll another.

Not really sure how to put rerolls into the simulator, especially since you are likely to get them only on the FSP's second move, or first if they are waiting. damn. Include the shadow and everything goes pear shaped again.

devil

I have won my last 16 games as Shadow with DEW North, I have been keeping track in the laughably named 'Why the FP win most of the time... '.

And where does SS get off putting (TM) on copyleft freewar?

 
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Alex Rockwell
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MrWeasely wrote:

With pure 0 eyes I currently get:
7: 34.8%
The fellowship speeds up against 0 eyes. Naturally.


Ok, if MG can get a reliable turn 6 shadow military win, then FP needs to win to win by turn 6, which is 33.8% in this simulation. I think that a few of those turn 7 wins would probably count too.

This is pretty much what I achieved in the base game with shadow pursuing a balanced victory, which leads me to think that if this is all correct, then the shadow military rush and shadow balanced strategy are equal in power (but require different FP strategies to play against).


I would like to know what the FP win %age is if they get 5 dice a turn starting on turn 3, and do not have to spend a will to begin getting this. I think this would simulate an expansion strider pretty rush well.
 
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Alex Rockwell
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Magic Geek wrote:
I am very happy that the numbers are supporting the idea of never hunting the fellowship while Gandalf is in it. This was the original reason for placing Zero Eyes. Realising that placing eyes was a bad idea against Strider took a little while longer. It requires large kahunas.


I agree, I think this is good strategy in the base game. It surprises me also. I dont know about the expansion. There is less benefit to making sure gandalf lives, since die #5 doesnt depend on it. You can also get 2 extra shadow dice with 3 musters instead of 4, and 1 extra with 1 muster instead of 2 (but with drawbacks) so this relieves the pressure of needing as many shadow musters.
 
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Dave J McWeasely
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Quote:
I claim a very reliable turn 6.
I am working on a turn 5, but have never done it.


Oh! Until you raise that bar again, I'll be focusing on turn 6.

Quote:
I am very happy that the numbers are supporting the idea of never hunting the fellowship while Gandalf is in it. This was the original reason for placing Zero Eyes. Realising that placing eyes was a bad idea against Strider took a little while longer. It requires large kahunas. Currently i am placing Zero Eyes against Strider and Gandalf.


It seems the new policy is not helping:

ALLOCATE-0-EYES-AGAINST-GANDALF
<6: 2.286%
=6: 26.304%
>6: 71.41% <-- normal (high) SP win percentage

ALLOCATE-0-EYES-AGAINST-GANDALF-OR-STRIDER
<6: 4.242%
=6: 32.984%
>6: 62.774% <-- SP Win percentage drops by a lot

We can fudge the nazgul hunt rerolls. What is a reasonable estimate of how often the nazgul get re-arranged? More hunt tiles sooner shift up the corruption forcing Strider to die earlier. Then again, there are those twelve FP anti-corruption cards...

In other news, I implemented the "gollum voluntarily reveal" feature, but since time is such a constraint its very conservative about using it. He's decisive in less than 1% of games, usually keeping the fellowship alive when it moves the last space.

Mostly I've been taking random casualties if corruption would equal or exceed 8. This seems to be the optimal number (in the real world I will still use 7 because of eye-stalls and The Breaking of the Fellowship). I toyed with other values, as well as sometimes taking '1's as corruption to avoid the possible strider casualty. Suprisingly, that didn't help.

I think the "AI" is not good in the endgame. Seven Spirts clearly is better. Part of the problem is I haven't played many tense endgames, so I don't know what to look for. In the past I've been dismissive of the ring game, not really considering it very game-able. That's changing a little, but not much.


Here are some random game logs people might want to look at:

http://www.osaurus.us/~dm/wotr/sprint0.txt turn 6
http://www.osaurus.us/~dm/wotr/sprint1.txt corr/8
http://www.osaurus.us/~dm/wotr/sprint2.txt turn 10
http://www.osaurus.us/~dm/wotr/sprint3.txt turn 6
http://www.osaurus.us/~dm/wotr/sprint4.txt corr/6 (mordor was hell!)
http://www.osaurus.us/~dm/wotr/sprint5.txt turn 7
http://www.osaurus.us/~dm/wotr/sprint6.txt turn 7
http://www.osaurus.us/~dm/wotr/sprint7.txt turn 7
http://www.osaurus.us/~dm/wotr/sprint8.txt turn 6 (barely)
http://www.osaurus.us/~dm/wotr/sprint9.txt turn 9 (strider died t4)

These 10 samples had a greater representation of turn-6 wins than average with the current "AI". Here's the average of 100,000 simulations:

4 : 0.001%
5 : 2.335%
6 : 26.179%
7 : 30.193%
8 : 17.842%
9 : 7.262%
10: 2.283%
11: 0.683%
12: 0.18%
13: 0.027%
14: 0.005%
15: 0.002%
SP: 13.008%

<6: 2.336%
=6: 26.179%
>6: 71.485%

Alex, I see your post and will run it soon.

 
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Philip Thomas
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The SP win percentage is just corruption wins and takes no account of the military situation, right? Otherwise
 
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Dave J McWeasely
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By the way, I don't bother to simulate minion roll out early, since it only tangentally affects number of eyes. I just went for this schedule:
Turn 1: Saruman
Turn 2: Witch King
...
Turn Mordor: Mouth
 
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Alex Rockwell
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I think its pretty clear from that that the FPs chance of doing well is based mostly on pushing out the shadow military win to turn 7.
 
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Alex Rockwell
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Magic Geek wrote:
I have won my last 16 games as Shadow with DEW North, I have been keeping track in the laughably named 'Why the FP win most of the time... '.


Yeah thats a pretty silly thread title.
 
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Sean McCarthy
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Nice work, MrWeaselly. I think at this point we just have to actually play the game to get more information.
 
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Dave J McWeasely
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Alexfrog wrote:
I would like to know what the FP win %age is if they get 5 dice a turn starting on turn 3, and do not have to spend a will to begin getting this. I think this would simulate an expansion strider pretty rush well.



*expansion* on
<6: 9.99%
=6: 36.61%
>6: 53.4%

*expansion* off
<6: 2.28%
=6: 26.235%
>6: 71.485%

Turn 5 wins become a serious threat. Turn 6 or sooner is a coin flip.

With these mechanics it also doesn't cost anything to keep Gandalf alive when drawing small tiles, namely '1', '1r', and '2's. You should kill him on a '2r' though, since strider-guide's so strong after a reveal. Presumably this is another big plus not measured by the above simulations, since he may be character card cycling well into turn 4.

Boy, Sauron must fear Gandalf in the expansion.
 
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Alex Rockwell
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MrWeasely wrote:
*expansion* on
>6: 53.4%

*expansion* off
>6: 71.485%


Wow. 46% turn 6 or better on the strider rush! Galadriel is a serious beating to Dew north military rush!
 
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Sean McCarthy
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Also, all the other stuff in the expansion helps the FP against DEW north. In the expansion, you don't even necessarily have to Strider rush. It works to be somewhat defensive too.
 
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Magic. Geek
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Dont know why we bother really, the expansion fixes everything , which is good to know. It does seem a bit odd that everything I have heard about the expansion helps the Free. Not that the Free need any help of course.

Is there actually anything for the shadow?
Because I think the shadow might be a bit weak.

devil

The shadow rush just cant be slowed by a strider sprint, that is actually the point of ignoring the board.

Saying that a turn 6 Strider makes it, a turn 7 doesn't and a turn 8 is right out just isn't true. If the shadow rolls lots of eyes then conquest is slower, but so is Strider.

The bit that is really hard to playtest is can a turn 6 Strider be beaten by a turn 5 Shadow. The Free have to roll well, but the Shadow also has to roll something that is not eyes. If the shadow is rolling very few eyes, conquest is faster.

Simply doing one part of the analysis and expecting it to hold true against all possible Shadow seems a bit hopeful. This is one of the multitude of reasons why shadow is just more fun.

devil
 
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Sean McCarthy
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1. I completely agree that when one victory condition's turn varies, the other one does as well. This is an important point, and it's hard to simulate (hence my suggestion to actually play games).

2. I agree that the Shadow is more fun to play if both sides rush, but that's boring anyway imo. When the Shadow does not play purely militarily, it's fun to play both sides.


And for MrWeasely, a comment: Right now, I believe that you are not quite liberal enough in taking corruption instead of causalties. I think a real person playing the FP could do better by taking more corruption. The simulator, of course, is not as smart in the endgame, so changing its preferences will probably lead to it committing suicide quite a bit.
 
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Chris Shaffer
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Magic Geek wrote:
Dont know why we bother really, the expansion fixes everything , which is good to know.


Some of us would like to play the game as-is, and not buy a $40 expansion...

p.s. it's "tough row to hoe" -- a farming metaphor -- and not "tough road to ho"
 
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Robin Munn

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MrWeasely wrote:
rmunn wrote:
As another computer geek, I've got to ask. What language did you use? Python? Perl? Something else?
Common Lisp! ninja


I bow to your Mad Geek Skillz. cool

Seriously, I was never really able to wrap my head around Lisp. The prefix syntax always put me off: I could work with it if I had to, but it always felt like turning my brain backwards and inside-out to do so. But it's a pretty awesome language -- part of why my own favorite language (Python) is so cool is because it borrows so much from Lisp.

But enough about programming languages. This is Board Game Geek -- I'm only 1/3 on-topic with this post.
 
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Dave J McWeasely
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Last night the fellowship lost a game because they accumulated 21 corruption!!! surprise

Not only did Frodo succumb to the ring, he decided to get a "I (heart) Evil" tatoo and to try out for the Sauron Cheerleading Squad.

Looking through the backtrace, they'd been closed out of Mordor until the start of turn 6, and decided to have a go at a one-turn mordor sprint against six frickin' eyes! They moved the first four spaces successfully, shedding companions and corrupting up to 11. Then on the last tile pull of the game they got the eye for +10 corruption. This triggered an exception because I assumed corruption would never get past 20. blush
 
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Dave J McWeasely
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A new way of thinking about the game
SevenSpirits wrote:
And for MrWeasely, a comment: Right now, I believe that you are not quite liberal enough in taking corruption instead of causalties. I think a real person playing the FP could do better by taking more corruption. The simulator, of course, is not as smart in the endgame, so changing its preferences will probably lead to it committing suicide quite a bit.


True. It'd been a while since I re-trained the variables with the current algorithm. Currently it tells me that if '2's or better would bring corruption to 6 or more, take a random casualty. '1's can be taken as corruption unless total corruption would be 11 or 12. But the importance of the decision is trivial, less than 2% for decisions all over the map.

I think the #1 cause of suicide is the fact that the simulator treats the end of turn 6 as the end of the world. Even if the SP has rolled 10 eyes on turn 6, the Fellowship will bull-charge into it in an all-out attempt to win by the turn-6 deadline.
_______________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________
_Enough Minutae!_______________________________________
_______________________________________________________

Like you've been saying, by measuring victory by turn-number is inaccurate. As has been pointed out, its easy to push back the DEW rush to turn 7 if the SP rolls bzonga-loads of eyes. Sometimes too even the most berserker DEW Rusher snipes out with a Cruel Weather for the extra turn worth of actions.

A better metric is to track dice spent on the ring game and on the military game. At some theoretical point when Sauron spends enough more dice than the FP on the military, he gets a military victory. At some point when the fellowship spends enough dice on the ring game they get a ring victory. At some point when Sauron spends enough dice on the ring game he gets a corruption victory, but various factors conspire to limit the number of dice that he can efficiently spend.

Not all dice are spent for the same effect. That's the fun of the game. Alexfrog would probably say that a die spent on Cruel Weather is the most efficient die you're likely to play in the midgame, since it blocks the FP from efficiently spending all but one of his swords for an entire turn. On the flip side, an eye die in the pool on a turn where the FSP is sitting and healing is zero efficiency. Playing Swords in Eriador on turn one is likewise inefficient - the Shadow only goes there if everywhere else is rock-like.

The FP have a very hard time spending military dice efficiently early. A Power Too Great is the only card that can be played with a reasonable chance of costing the Shadow military a die later on down the line, but even it can be held and played later in such a way that it costs the shadow more than one die to counter. If played after the Shadow is out of army cards, with big armies surrounding the three elven strongholds, it can cost 20 dice!

But for simulation purposes, lets just assume all dice have the same efficency. The stats we need from you high-level game players fighting Strider Sprint are:

1) SP dice spent militarily
2) SP dice spent on the ring, (eyes + cards + ?nazgul-shadow?)
3) FP dice spent on the ring (cards, move, hide)
4) FP dice spent militarily
5) who won
6) turn of win

I think this is a reasonable quantitative measure of a game without the odious complexity of a blow-by-blow account.

There is the problem that, in the endgame when its not close, the losing player engages in a "death wiggle": they spend lots of actions trying to forestall the game end with a low probability of success. Such dice badly skew the statistics because they break the all-dice-are-spent-with-the-same-efficiency assumption. Also, the SSSimulator never wiggles militarily, and always wiggles in the ring game. Is there some criterion that can be met to discount obviously inefficient dice? e.g. FP military dice spent when shadow has 10+ vp, or character dice spent on a ring that clearly can't dunk by end-of-game.
 
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