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Civ game Dice System idea

6 replies [Last post]
larienna's picture
Joined: 07/28/2008

I played Roll though the ages a few weeks ago and I decided that it might be the solution to my game: Use a dice system to abstract many of the details of civilization management. The only difference is that I will have a map.

Now I designed a system lately and I just want some feedback. Each turn, players roll 5 dice of different colors. Each die represent a certain civilization field like: Civil, Military, Empire, Economy, Ressources, etc. (other ideas are welcomed). Players may roll up to 3 times but 1 die must be kept at the end of each roll. Each roll of 6 is equal to 0 and it trigger a disaster in that field (ex: civil desaster creates revolts).

Each field would also have a minimum value, which is the minimum you can roll on that die unless you roll a 6. For example, if your min economy is 3, a roll of 1-2 will be considered as 3. Min value can be raised with various upgrades through the game. Each field would also have a level. If you roll > than your level, your level increase, if you roll lower, your level drops and equal nothing happens.

Now once your rolls are done, each field has a series of actions that can be performed. For example, the military field might allow you to draft more soldiers, buy new ships, or increase the quality of your army with new unit types. Each of these actions will have specific requirements like: Military roll needs to be 5+ and Economy level needs to be at least 3 to add knights to your army. Or you can bring in play a number of soldiers equal to the value of your roll. Etc.

Some requirements will be paid value that you need to have once, while other values might be maintenance values that you must keep at all time or lose what you have acquired. For example, maybe you need to always have an economy level of 3 to keep the knight into play.

To avoid some disasters or low die rolls, you might be able to force a roll to drop to 0, or force a disaster, in order to increase the value of another die. This could be explained as: You are lacking of resources, you can pillage your own cities, to get the missing ressources you need.

Right now, the systems seems pretty neat because:

A- You can influence values in different ways: Increase die roll, min value, level, or give extra re-rolls. Very usefull to implement various special abilities.

B- The system is independent to the number of action because the value of the die is not split between multiple actions. For example, drafting, building ships and hiring use the same military value even if you do 1 or all the actions. This allows the game to be simplified or expanded at will.

c- The dice rolling force your to keep certain bad roll to be able to re-roll others but if you push your luck too much, disasters will occur.

What do you think?

3ddevine's picture
Joined: 10/13/2010
This sounds great so far!

This sounds great so far! Very interesting mechanics. I have a question about the "disasters" how devistating are they to a player? It seems like they will come up quite often so having them destroy too much could be bad.

Also when you first roll your 5 dice, do you have to keep any 6's that come up or can they be included in the re-roll?

bonsaigames's picture
Joined: 12/20/2010
Great Solution

First, let me say that I love this solution.
I have two suggestions;
1 - Use larger dice (ie, d12), this way the disasters can be more significant because they'd come up less often and you can have more gradation on your scale. If you want the disasters to come up on a 1 in 6 instead of 1 in 12, you can put two disaster symbols on your d12 and still get a 1 - 10 gradation.
2 - You asked about die type suggestions, I would say you should have one die type for each way to win the game (ie, Military, Social, Economic, Technological).

larienna's picture
Joined: 07/28/2008
Right now, you have to keep

Right now, you have to keep all 6 that has been rolled. I will have to reconsider the odds unless the disasters are not too disastrous. Consider that some special powers will give free re-rolls.

As for the victory conditions, I have much greater victory condition, but one of the condition will consist in maxing all levels.

The next part right now is how to define a price to everything that can be done in the game.

larienna's picture
Joined: 07/28/2008
I made some blind test

I made some blind test yesterday, it seemed nice but did not worked out exactly as I wanted. But there is some potential.

First, I am thinking to reduce the number of fields to 3 because I am simply lacking of field ideas. So I intend to use Civil, MIlitary and Empire. The rolled value and levels represent Gold and production which has been invested in that field. So for example, a building cost and maintenance level will only be dependent on the civil stats. Buildings that would have normally increased your gold income would for example allow you to increase the value of a die roll of your choice.

Each field would have permanents, things that you can buy to give you permanent upgrades (if they are maintained). I was thinking about Buildings for civil, Unit types for military and Characters/Heroes for Empire.

It was a bit annoying to constantly adjust the level of each field. So what I am thinking to do is that level does not increase by themselves. Instead, you need to roll higher than your current level and forfeit all the actions in this field to increase your level. So for example, instead of producing troops and ships, you decide to increase your military level. The advantage is that the levels does not drop if you roll lover than your level. So the level will be much more constant. As for the number of level you can increase, I still find 5 levels interesting because you can easily make a D6 check versus a level.

As for the disaster, if you roll a 6, your level will drop by 1. I think that will be the disaster because it is hard to have random disaster that targets things on the board. The odds to get a disaster seems pretty high, so that might be enough.

Players could be able to drop their die value to 0 (forfeit all action in that field, no disaster) to increase the die roll of another die by probably 2 points.

Another mechanic that I could add is that you can only keep 1 die per roll. So if for example, you roll two 5, you cannot keep them both, but only 1 of them. IF you roll two 6, you need to keep a 6, but you only keep one of them. So with a system like this, it slightly increase the decision level and reduce the luck factor. It makes it harder for a player to to be lucky and start with a very high roll.


In order to speed up the game, everybody would roll at the same time and perform all it's action simultaneously. In order to prevent conflict regarding expansion and colonization, players would move at the beginning of the turn their Heroes/Characters on the board and resolve any battle. Then all the actions performed afterward can be done on the hex they have a city or a hero.


Another interesting element is the presence of randomness. For civilization development, the only randomness is the roll of these 3 dice. So if for example, your empire level is very high and you buy a subterfuge action for espionage, well it automatically works, there is no rolls required.

The only other presence of randomness is during battle (random results) and for spell casting (random efficiency). But everything else should be deterministic

Meldryn's picture
Joined: 07/15/2011
Seems like a pretty sweet

Seems like a pretty sweet idea. Definitely sounds like my cup of tea, anyway. One concern I'd have with the dice mechanics you've described is that all that dice rolling could bog down game play and make for some bad down time. How frequently would these dice rolls be made? Because if you're talking three (or five) dice rolled up to three times by say three to five players at the beginning of each player's turn...that's a lot of dice! Particularly when you figure in the necessity for calculating variable modifications to these rolls and their impact on what sound like a decent variety of units/unit types, resources and locations...

larienna's picture
Joined: 07/28/2008
Well, on the last post, it

Well, on the last post, it might drop to 3 dice. Each player would roll each turn, but all players can roll at the same time. Most of the actions afterward can also be performed simultaneously. So there will not be that much down time.

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