# Dice Poll Results Analysis

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GamesOnTheBrain
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Joined: 07/24/2008

Here are the results of the dice poll:

Question A

37.5% = Roll 2d6
33.3% = Roll different kinds of dice depending on my stats
20.8% = Roll 1d6
04.2% = Roll 2d10
04.2% = Roll 1d20
00.0% = Roll 1d10

Question B

85.0% = Roll High Values
15.0% = Roll Low Values

Question C

66.7% = Roll higher than your opponent who is also rolling.
33.3% = Roll equal to or higher than a fixed number.

This poll was meant to get some insights into what makes dice rolling fun.

Why are these results what they are? What do they mean? Do any of them surprise you?

Why are different dice rolling techniques favored over others?

What are the pros and cons of each combination or technique?

I have quite a lot to say, but I'd like to take my time to prepare my thoughts. I'll share them later today.

Let the discussion begin!

Anonymous
Dice Poll Results Analysis

Very interesting survey, thanks for putting it together!

GamesOnTheBrain wrote:
85.0% = Roll High Values

I am currently working on a game that involves combat simulations. One of the things that I have found that simplifies the gameplay is to have intuitive rules to govern the combat. This confirms the impression that high rolls just "feel" better than low and, intuitively, they indicate a success more than a low number. This may not be true in all areas of game mechanics, but it seems to hold true for combat situations.

Quote:
66.7% = Roll higher than your opponent who is also rolling.

I used a mechanic where players roll equal to or higher than (instead of just higher than) a fixed number. Interestingly most players that have little or no gaming experience had no problem, but my more experienced gamers intuitively interpreted the mechanics as "higher than" instead of "equal to or higher than." Interesting! It may not be the best mechanic, but it is clearly a far more used and therefore accepted mechanic.

Anonymous
Dice Poll Results Analysis

While I feel that choosing dice based on abilities is an interesting mechanic, I was surprised by its popularity. I made my choices based on the description "quick action", and stopping to reference abilities (probably involving math) and choose dice doesn't seem as "quick" as desirable.

Just my thoughts

Zzzzz
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Joined: 06/20/2008
Re: Dice Poll Results Analysis

GamesOnTheBrain wrote:

Why are these results what they are?

Keep in mind this is a small sample population, a population of game designers.
I think some of the reason "why" has to do with how games have historically used dice. Most family and table top games use d6, and many include a "move" mechanic which makes people feel the need to roll high and get from point A to point B, first.

GamesOnTheBrain wrote:

What do they mean?

A per guess might be that we have all been influenced by the current mass market games. They use d6, we like d6.... i dunno

GamesOnTheBrain wrote:

Do any of them surprise you?

Not really... because of the historical aspect of it. Not sure, but I think if you polled a more RPG specific group of people, you would get a different result.

GamesOnTheBrain wrote:

Why are different dice rolling techniques favored over others?

For the standard family, d6 are a norm. So maybe they feel comfortable with using d6.

GamesOnTheBrain wrote:

What are the pros and cons of each combination or technique?

Not sure... need to look at this a little more.

GeminiWeb
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Joined: 07/31/2008
Dice Poll Results Analysis

Quote:
Question A

37.5% = Roll 2d6
33.3% = Roll different kinds of dice depending on my stats
20.8% = Roll 1d6
04.2% = Roll 2d10
04.2% = Roll 1d20
00.0% = Roll 1d10

I prefer multiple dice as it allows us to get away from 'all outcomes have equal probabilities'.
- Adding dice together gives bell-shaped distributions, where the rarer outcomes (e.g. 2 and 12 on 2d6) mean something (imagine setllers with a d12!)
- other options include taking highest roll

As for different kinds of dice, I would also include different numbers of dice ... as in Memoir '44 depending on hte type of unit and the range for ranged fire ... This helps avoid a feeling of 'sameness' ...

Quote:
Question B

85.0% = Roll High Values
15.0% = Roll Low Values

High = Good!
Mind you, it was good when I used to GM the old RPG 'Lords of Creation' where you wanted low rolls ... my normal low rolls worked in my favour there!

Quote:
Question C

66.7% = Roll higher than your opponent who is also rolling.
33.3% = Roll equal to or higher than a fixed number.

While I'm quite happy with fixed numbers, there's something nice about the idea of it being a 'contest' .with both people rolling. Note that this does add to the variability (Consider the probability distribution for the difference between the two players rolls - much higher than the difference between one players rols and a constant).

Oracle
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Joined: 06/22/2010
Re: Dice Poll Results Analysis

GamesOnTheBrain wrote:

37.5% = Roll 2d6
33.3% = Roll different kinds of dice depending on my stats
20.8% = Roll 1d6

This is the only surprise to me. Almost 60% of people want to stick with 1-2 d6's. I would have thought that it would have strong negative connotations from the roll-and-move genre, and at the very least, people would be bored with them because they're so over done.

Jason

GamesOnTheBrain
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Joined: 07/24/2008
Dice Poll Results Analysis

Here are my thoughts, part one:

What surprised me the most... Question C:

66.7% = Roll higher than your opponent who is also rolling.
33.3% = Roll equal to or higher than a fixed number.

Twice as many people who voted would rather roll against an opponent who is also rolling, yet the most popular small scale fantasy combat games out there, D&D and Mage Knights, use a fixed target for the rolls.

Why? What are the pros and cons of each?

Here are some that I came up with:

Roll equal to or higher than a fixed number.

PROS
- Satisfaction of knowing your goal
- Easy to figure out your odds of success, making planning easier
- Fast and easy. Only need to roll once to determine success or failure.

CONS
- Opponent downtime. Must wait while you carry out your attacks.
- Lack of opponents sense of control over his own destiny.
- Counter-intuitive stat scores (depending on the system). In Mage Knights for example, a 12 Defense is the equivalent of a 5 Attack. In D&D, a 15 Defense is the equivalent of a 5 attack. My gut says someone with 15 defense should have a rating that is much better, if not 3x better, than a guy with 5 attack.

Roll higher than your opponent who is also rolling.

PROS
- More opponent involvement in play.
- Opponent has a sense of control over his own destiny.
- Intuitive stat scores. 5 Attack is the equivalent counter of 5 Defense.

CONS
- No satisfaction of knowing what you must roll to succeed.
- Much more difficult to figure out your odds of success.
- Significantly slower. Requires twice as many dice rolls to determine success or failure, as well as the player tendency to "wait and see" what his opponent rolls first. In fact, this "wait and see" tendency might very well be due to the natural desire to know your goal, since once one person rolls, the target number, in a sense, becomes fixed.

Can anyone think of any other pros and cons? Has thinking about these pros and cons changed your opinion about which method you might prefer?

jwarrend
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Joined: 08/03/2008
Dice Poll Results Analysis

GamesOnTheBrain wrote:

Roll higher than your opponent who is also rolling.

PROS
- More opponent involvement in play.
- Opponent has a sense of control over his own destiny.

This is, in my experience, a phantom benefit. In combat-heavy games with long turns (Axis and Allies, Shogun, Risk, History of the World), nothing is more annoying than to have just finished your 20 minute turn and go into the other room to take a break or get a soda, when you're called back to the table -- "Hey, you're being attacked, come roll your dice". There's no real involvement here, no control over your own destiny; you're just rolling dice. It's only interesting to have to roll dice in your own defense if there are some decisions involved on your part as well.

That's not to say that it isn't ever fun to have to "dice off" against an opponent, simply to say that "dice off"s don't necessarily mitigate the downtime problem or up the player involvement; in some cases, they just amplify that problem.

-Jeff

GamesOnTheBrain
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Joined: 07/24/2008
Dice Poll Results Analysis

jwarrend wrote:
GamesOnTheBrain wrote:

Roll higher than your opponent who is also rolling.

PROS
- More opponent involvement in play.
- Opponent has a sense of control over his own destiny.

This is, in my experience, a phantom benefit. ... There's no real involvement here, no control over your own destiny; you're just rolling dice. It's only interesting to have to roll dice in your own defense if there are some decisions involved on your part as well.

In reality, I agree. Since dice rolls are meant to generate random numbers, a player does not have any more *real* control over his own destiny when he rolls.

On the other hand, don't players prefer to roll dice for themselves? What would happen in a game where an opponent actually rolls for you?

Wouldn't your gut say.... Hey! *I* want to roll for myself!

Why do we have that gut feeling? What causes the satisfaction of rolling for yourself? Why would letting someone else roll for me be less satisfying?

I think it comes from the innate desire to have more control over one's own destiny (regardless of the fact that in reality, rolling your own dice does not give you any more control over your destiny).

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Joined: 04/23/2013
Well

I was developing a game (as a matter of fact, the very game that prompted me to start this community) where I used dice, a 'randomizing factor' (I switched between a randomizing dice but eventually went with randomizing keywords; convuleted, I know), and a chart to determine success / failure. The basic reason is I wanted to figure a way to simulate not knowing how much you succeeded, but only whether you succeeded or failed. The reasoning behind this is that I wanted players to try something (specifically picking locks or disarming traps) and then decide for themselves whether the task was difficult or easy. I.E. If a player came up to an iron lock, and it took them 4 tries to unlock it, then they might come to the conclussion that iron locks are hard to unlock. Now they may have just gotten unlucky, so there conclusion may be incorrect. Ok, what I found was from playtesting such a mechanic (and to make it relative to this thread), is that most people hated it! I'm not sure if it was the complexity of success/fail resolution or just the frustration of not knowing what the 'target #' was, but most people really found the whole thing a nuissance. I think it was a combination of the two myself. I feel the same way about the combat resolution mechanic in Dungeonquest. Basically it's a rock scissors mechanic with combat resolving by comparing the two cards. I absolutely hate this in a mechanic. I can always remember how cheated I felt when a stupid little goblin knocked down half of my hit points. Now this sort of mechanic might be more strategic or 'realistic' (how realistic can fighting a goblin be really), but me personally, I'd much rather roll for a target #. Not sure why...

-Darke

GamesOnTheBrain
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Joined: 07/24/2008
Re: Well

Darkehorse wrote:
I'd much rather roll for a target #. Not sure why...

This is precisely why I started this discussion.

I want to try to figure out WHY people prefer certain methods of using dice to resolve conflicts over others.

I know it might sound crazy, but I'm trying to find out if some things are almost *objectively* more fun than others, and if so why.

I think it would be helpful to all of us if we can better understand what makes fun.... well... fun!

jwarrend
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Joined: 08/03/2008
Re: Well

GamesOnTheBrain wrote:

I want to try to figure out WHY people prefer certain methods of using dice to resolve conflicts over others.

Just out of curiosity, what would be the practical result of knowing the answer to this question?

I suspect, for myself, that Zzz is correct, and that probably the d6 is preferred because it's so familiar. But whatever the result turns out to be, what you'll know at the end of it is what die method people prefer.

Of course, that doesn't answer the two questions that I consider more important. The first is "given a 'non-ideal' die mechanic, will you still play?" For example, Axis and Allies uses "roll lower than", which is the overwhelming loser in your poll. But given that, people still play and love A&A; would "roll high" make them love it more? Are people able to see past their preference to recognize the cleverness of a designer at coming up with a different system?

(Incidentally, there's a 3rd option that your poll may not have addressed, that of "Throneworld" and "Pirate's Cove" in which you try to roll an exact number to score a "hit" and the number of dice you roll is related to some property of your attack).

The other question is, "Of [some set] of combat resolution mechanics, which do you prefer and why?" No matter whether it's "roll high" or "roll low", most dice mechanics are going to be similar. Risk and Axis and Allies, while different, are in the same "family". But there are other ways of resolving combat; using cards, for example, or the "cube tower" of Wallenstein. (my personal favorite). It seems that understanding which of these kinds of options people prefer could answer bigger questions about what kind of combat system you use based on considerations of luck vs decisions in combat, etc.

My fear is that with this poll, you'll be able to base your combat system on exactly the right "aesthetic" choices (roll high, roll a d6, etc) but whether the game as a whole (or the combat system specifically) will appeal to people will have almost nothing to do with these aesthetic considerations. I say that only because I've never, ever read a review of a game that said "In the combat system, you roll a d6 -- awesome!" or "the combat involves trying to outroll your opponent -- I love it!"

Just curious,

Jeff

GamesOnTheBrain
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Joined: 07/24/2008
Re: Well

jwarrend wrote:
Of course, that doesn't answer the two questions that I consider more important. The first is "given a 'non-ideal' die mechanic, will you still play?" For example, Axis and Allies uses "roll lower than", which is the overwhelming loser in your poll. But given that, people still play and love A&A; would "roll high" make them love it more? Are people able to see past their preference to recognize the cleverness of a designer at coming up with a different system?

Check this out...

Last night, my nephew was telling me about a new edition of Stratego he played earlier that day. The main difference was that high numbers won battles!

Now here's a game that, like Axis & Allies, has been around for decades, and they're changing it? Why? Could it be that they've found "rolling high" (though I know this is not rolling) to be almost universally preferred to rolling low?