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Dice Fundamentals

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Oceans4Ransom
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Hello Fam!

My main question is: What should I know before making a "Dice Game": game based mostly on dice rolling/throwing?

My work-in-progress contains 30 dice... yes, 30 dice, and all Dice are D6's, but they contain mostly custom symbols/numbers. Oh, and no, it is not like Yahtzee or Craps so no worries there. I will explain more in my actual game rules in a future post. (Obviously, I will not post that on this specific forum though so can someone please direct me to where I post that?? New member here, thanks!).

I just wanted to make sure I am not missing any fundamental knowledge about making a dice game. I know dice rolling/throwing does not always necessarily give players an actual "choice" most of the time simply due to probabilities, math, gravity and such. I have worked around that in a primitive way with my game somewhat mechanically and thematically.

However, I just wanted to hear some general or fundamental tips from you all about incorporating dice in a board game. So please, share everything one should know before making a game focused on dice play.

Thank you!

questccg
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You should know...

And I've had players snobbish of my own design because there is use of dice. Some players will NOT play your game simply because it contains dice. It's happened to me, and I've heard from other designers that it's happened to them too...

Some player just prefer deterministic games where it's all about the STATS.

Of course, I will be the first one to agree with you, that it's PURE rubbish! The reality is that very few games get by WITHOUT using dice. And if your design has a LOT of dice...

Some things to consider is "dice pooling" or "dice drafting".

"Dice pooling" means that you use a common set of dice for the players and you can have mechanics that grant you MORE or LESS dice on your given turn.

"Dice drafting" means that the dice that are available to use must be "purchased" or bought for a certain price in order to be able to roll a specific die (or several dice). Like if you want to roll the "BLUE" dice which consists of 4 dice... You have to pay 8 points (as a simple example).

Obviously you can use BOTH mechanics and have a "dice pool" with "dice drafting"... That's probably the most complicated dice system you can have based purely on game "mechanics".

So yeah, I wanted to share with you those "two" (2) well known dice mechanics and of course tell you that some game players are (dumb) because they refuse to play games with dice...

On the other hand there are also gamers that LIKE playing with larger quantities of dice... But that pool of players is smaller than your average game pool...

But don't let that discourage you... Think about those mechanics and how you can improve the design should you be interested in doing so.

Cheers!

questccg
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Well it sort of depends...

Oceans4Ransom wrote:
...I will explain more in my actual game rules in a future post. (Obviously, I will not post that on this specific forum though so can someone please direct me to where I post that?? New member here, thanks!)...

Post it in the "Design Theory" or the "Proofreading" forum... That makes the most sense, your rules are still in a "design" phase before being "Publishable" so it's okay to discuss them in the "Game Creation/Design Theory" forum. But if you want to upload or provide a LINK of your current Rulebook, the "Proofreading" forum might be more appropriate.

Depends on how you approach introducing your rules.

Do you want to discuss specific aspects of your design? Or do you just want to do a "rule dump" and have everyone read your rules.

(Personally I would start with some basics ... and not just "dump" your rulebook...) Why? Because some members won't read the entire rulebook especially if it is rather long. A page or two is okay... But lengthier ones may get "passed over". It's not an easy task to "proofread" just someone's rules to get an idea what their game is all about...

I would go the "discussion route", introduce the design, what is the theme, what are some of the mechanics, what is your hook, etc. And the get into details about what it is you are having difficulties with or need some brainstorming and ideas, etc.

For most people that's an easier approach to "discussing" your design. But some prefer the rulebook dump... Again you'll get feedback but less than if you start a discussion about your game(s).

Cheers!

Jay103
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Not sure if you’re a

Not sure if you’re a programmer, but starting off with some code that can run a simulation for you is probably a very good idea. Even with a firm grasp of probabilities, 30 weird dice would be tough to figure out analytically.

questccg
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Can be manageable if done "smart"

Jay103 wrote:
...30 weird dice would be tough to figure out analytically.

Well assume you have "6" colors for groups of dice that means only "5" dice per color. That's IF everything each dice is the same. But then you can have some colors with "3" dice and others with "6" dice, etc.

The idea is that IF everything is "color-coordinated" you can have a LARGER amount of dice... But then you would need to consider a "dice pool" and MAYBE "dice drafting" (cost or no cost).

Like I have no idea about his game... But if he has "character sheets" with dice quantities to start a ROLL; like 2 Black (Dexterity), 1 Red (Strength) and 3 Blue (Intelligence). And a player can use points to add more of these dice. Or even add another color.

It's hard to speculate ... but I'm saying if it's COLOR-COORDINATED 30 dice is manageable (provided that all the dice of one color are IDENTICAL). And like I said if dice pooling is used in conjunction with dice drafting... You could have any kind of cool dice rolling game (with a fairly familiar dice system).

But it's hard to discuss it... Because we don't know what the game is about and how he plans to use his 30 dice... But I think it's possible!

MikeyNg
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Choices

It's better to have your players act in response to random conditions than it is to randomize their outcome after they've made their choices.

It feels better to choose to do a more magic-based attack after I roll that I'm going to do more magic damage rather than choosing to do a magic-based attack and then maybe I'll roll high enough.

Other than that, we'd need specifics to really address your possible concerns.

Jay103
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MikeyNg wrote:It's better to

MikeyNg wrote:
It's better to have your players act in response to random conditions than it is to randomize their outcome after they've made their choices.

It feels better to choose to do a more magic-based attack after I roll that I'm going to do more magic damage rather than choosing to do a magic-based attack and then maybe I'll roll high enough.

Other than that, we'd need specifics to really address your possible concerns.

Well said!

gxnpt
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dice probabilities

You need to know your probabilities for expected mid-range play and check your extremes so it does not break at the edges but this pretty much covers the important mechanical parts for a dice game.

Custom dice could take production costs too high - keep this in mind. If different colored otherwise same dice will work, use them when you can (including same custom except for color) -- but this a thematic vs cost consideration like custom dice vs standard dice is an "ease of immersive play" vs cost consideration.

I like to take my games to what I think is ready for blind playtest stage and then let that version of the rules get looked at (the rulebook itself normally gets a rewrite after that). BUT, my rules use the layout I would find most useful in an instruction manual for that game (which varies depending on the game and the game complexity) and in no way resembles a sell sheet or standardized format.

Dice give random results. So do cards. Every game except the purely deterministic ones depend on random input. Deterministic ones depend on hidden info and/or overwhelming complexity (branchings due to play) to keep on being an actual game (see tic-tac-toe at the extreme simple breaks at an early age end of the complexity spectrum and Go near the far end of that spectrum).

Most dice games are a roll/reroll thing. Hidden info can be introduced with cups covering dice. Some form of betting could be introduced, or another direct conflict format.

Nothing else comes to mind for What should I know before making a "Dice Game".

X3M
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MikeyNg wrote:It's better to

MikeyNg wrote:
It's better to have your players act in response to random conditions than it is to randomize their outcome after they've made their choices.

It feels better to choose to do a more magic-based attack after I roll that I'm going to do more magic damage rather than choosing to do a magic-based attack and then maybe I'll roll high enough.

Other than that, we'd need specifics to really address your possible concerns.

This even holds true in wargames. Alhough it is considered more fair if hits are re-directed by other means. Not just magically have them hit that one unit.

wob
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i dont know much about dice

i dont know much about dice and probabilities but neither do most people. it is good to know the probability of any given roll (there are math forums/websites that will be more than happy to work them out for you) but as far as the general public is concerned probability is not somthing easily worked out. basically humans are rubbish at doing it.

a good example of this is that most people confuse more dice with more randomness, when in reality the more dice you roll the more predictable the result is.

the game tek podcasts on the dicetower are all about the math of games, there are lots of them and they're only about 5 minutes long (so if its really confusing it will end quickly) and they often talk about dice and probabilities.

Fri
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mitigation / anydice

One thing that a lot of games that use dice have is mitigation. This means that that there is someway to counteract undesired rolls. IMO, the best games allow players to do this by making them sacrafice something else. This because it gives players an interesting choice(s) each turn.

Also https://anydice.com/ is a great resource for looking at dice probabilities and probability spreads.

Oceans4Ransom
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Great suggestions, Thank you

Great suggestions, Thank you all!

I will check out the podcast and website and be ready to learn a bunch!

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