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Help with combat Dice, what do you like?

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Druski
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Boy that's a wide topic, so let me narrow this a bit.
First off, I'm not looking to create a DnD level of dice-intricacies, nor do I want to have armfuls of dice to be thrown. But I DO like the feel and anticipation of rolling dice. I'd like to keep it relatively simple and thematically appropriate

Some setting: you are on a spaceship battling another ship. You're rolling for various weapons with different stats. The enemy ship is doing the same.

The scope: Battles themselves are meant to be more like skirmishes; over in a few minutes. There will be numerous similar fights. You need to take down an enemy (or die/flee) after only a handful of rounds and then move on.

The numbers: I'm looking at having somewhere between 2-4 different weapons per ship (both yours and the enemy). In these early stages, what those weapons are and can do is very much in the air, but it is possible that some weapons will fire multiple shots and therefore roll multiple die. In addition, upon being hit, you will roll a die to determine what section of your ship was just hit.

Hopefully that gives a general idea. I am trying to find a fun, relatively quick, yet thematically appropriate die system. I am not strictly trying to limit it do using D6's but that would be nice.

Right now, purely for functionality I am going with either rolling to overcome a static defense value (your enemy's defense is 3, so you need >3 to hit), that is the same regardless of weapon fired (keeps things more simple), or a hit value that is particular to each weapon (a laser fires 3 shots and hits at 5 or 6, while a missile is 1 shot but hits with a 2-6 - more thematic but obviously more stats to remember and get bogged down in)

I could keep running with these but surely there's something better out there?

ssm
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It's a tough balance with

It's a tough balance with multiple weapons. My suggestion is different rolls for different weapons, but that would introduce varying damages.

I see it as a laser would probably hit just about every time, but would do less damage than a missile salvo.

Maybe limit how often weapons can fire? Maybe it has to be the third round before X weapon can be used?

Maybe introduce defense or miss rolls that vary by weapon?

Keep in mind that a number of people will probably expect to move defensively to a degree. Come up with a good reason they can't and you won't have to deal with that.

kilmor81
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Take a look at Eclipse's

Take a look at Eclipse's combat system. I find that system to be intuitive and simple. lasers deal 1 dmg, plasma deals 2dmg, anti-matter cannon and torpedoes deal 4dmg. all neatly fit into a tile.

They even provide die of different colors to differentiate the damage types. Say you are attacking with 1 laser, 2 plasma and 1 antimatter cannon, you just roll 1 yellow die, 2 orange dice and 1 red die.

X3M
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Medium to advanced war gamers

Medium to advanced war gamers would not have any trouble with the idea that you just shared. However, give players a reason why they are going to use lasers or missile's. May I suggest to look into the combat mechanics of Stellaris (pc game) There you have 3 different weapons. Each with their advantages and disadvantages.

Steve Broadfoot
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Specialized dice is an

Specialized dice is an option. So lets say your ships basic weapon is a bank of 4 laser canons. You roll 4 of the dice and whatever the roll says is your result. Assuming a D6 you could have 3xhits, 2xmiss and 1xcritical hit.

Now, depending on the weapon, certain rules cou.d apply. Youncould separate your weapons into small medium and heavy with each type getting its own coloured dice. That way you can roll all dice at once and recognize what each weapon has done easily. It also helps for unique weapon mechanics. Lets say your medium weapon has a targetting system, you could use a yahtzee inspired move to save dice you like and reroll ones you dont 1 time, that mimics a auto adjustment of the targeting.

Being specialized dice also lets you make he dice individual. Heavy weapons dice could be red and have AoE on one side, representing he heavy duty nature of the weapon.

You could also just make special effects a burn on use card or a card you have to tap for an additional effect outside ofthe dice rolling. So many possibilities.

ssm
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^ That is similar to what I

^ That is similar to what I came back to say.
Custom dice. Maybe a die with weapons & one of ship areas. Blank space means a miss.

FrankM
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Could mean lots and lots of different dice

ssm wrote:
^ That is similar to what I came back to say.
Custom dice. Maybe a die with weapons & one of ship areas. Blank space means a miss.

Ship areas works if the attacker's and defender's relative facing don't matter. Otherwise you'd need several species of location dice!

For some reason the blank for a miss just reminds me of a scene from the novel Startide Rising when a Terran vessel narrowly escaped a pursuing armada. The alien captain shouted "Consult the Library! What does nyaa-nyaa mean in their language?"

Druski
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Thanks, this all gives me a

Thanks, this all gives me a bit to chew on. Something I hadn't mentioned; this is a co-op. So the enemy will always be the game itself and the players are only on one side of the roll (attacking or defending).

I am curious, does that potentially open up any interesting combat mechanics? Clearly without having players on both sides of the roll the game does not need to be balanced for it. (that said, I am planning on using the same pool of weapons for both sides, so there would need to be some balance as they will be on both ends of the barrel)

Desprez
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I'm going to cut and paste my

I'm going to cut and paste my reply to a similar question.

Basically, I'm a big fan of using custom dice to produce deep combat results by using a symbolic language of sorts.
It's a fantasy example, but can easily be adapted for a sci-fi space setting. Perhaps it'll spark some ideas.
----------

I've been experimenting with symbolic dice combat for quite a while now. And you can even build in some pretty sophisticated concepts that are all effectively "under-the-hood". In that, the math is all done beforehand and baked into the dice, so all the players need to do is compare symbols.

What I've found that works well is a symbolic language that is, essentially, "Do this offense, unless that defense." Where the offense and defense in question are represented as symbols.

This can be further broken down into having different dice for different classes of attack. (Melee, Range, Magic) (Guns, Beams, Missiles) (Attack, Bonus1, Bonus2) This way, you can include different buffs for offenses on the appropriate attack dice, and have the defensive symbols cross-over onto different dice.

So for example, say you are using a d6 for a Melee attack. As a baseline for a hit, you'd have some kind of universal symbol for a hit, like a star or pip, that appears 4/6 on that die.

So a normal unbuffed attack vs an unbuffed defense, is 4/6 chance to hit.

Then on the same faces of the hits, you have a smaller defensive symbol that can potentially cancel out the hit if the defender is showing the proper symbol.

So that face becomes, "Hit, unless the defender shows (armor symbol)"

You may then use this symbol more times on the die to represent more effectiveness, and or include it as a defense on multiple dice depicting greater versatility against multiple types of attack.

So multiple defensive symbols will chip away from that 4/6.

Conversely, you can add other offensive symbols that indicate a hit only if the attacker has the appropriate symbol. Thus increasing the 4/6 to 5/6 or more.

That face says, "Miss, unless the attacker shows (sword symbol)"

You can also combine the two concepts (and this is probably as complicated as you want to get) by further adding another defensive symbol paired with an optional offensive symbol.

Thus saying, "Miss, unless attacker has (sword symbol). But also miss if defender has (shield symbol)."

In this way, the dice are effectively disguised stat tables that the player never needs to worry about. You can build interesting relationships between offense and defense types far beyond simple +1, +2, etc. And they are even quicker to resolve.

Some defenses can work better vs certain offenses. You can build in diminishing returns for certain attack buffs. You can build rock-paper-scissors relationships (or not) with deliberate distribution of attacks and defenses.

There's lots of ways to implement this, so I'll just go over some broad concepts and lessons learned.

1) You need to spend time on clear symbols. Ones that can be quickly identified at any angle, and at varying sizes.

I highly recommend following a pattern for easily distinguishing offensive symbols from defensive symbols. For example, defensive symbols always appear as an outline, offensive symbols always appear as a solid shape.

2) No more than two unique symbols per die face. If you must break this rule, do it sparingly, and realize that this is going to really add to the learning curve for new players.

It should be noted that multiple pips representing multiple hits can probably be regarded as a single unit, if you go that route.

3) There's not much to be gained by using ever increasing die faces. Stick to d6 or d8 if some faces are going to have more than one symbol.

Here's what happens. Say you want your baseline chance of hit to be 50/50. On a d6, that's three spots for offensive buffs, and three spots with default hits. All of these spaces may also have defenses.

Ok, now say you decide you want to have room for more offensive options. So you move to d10. That gives you four more spaces, right? No.

You still want 50/50 as the baseline, so you now have five spaces instead of three. You've only gained two. Additionally, you've now watered down your existing buffs. Maybe one of them should remain strong, so you expand it to two faces, and now you only have one face left for your new buffs. To top it all off, d10 sides are much smaller and cramped, making your symbols harder to read, and increasing your production costs by using non-6 sided dice.

If you need further examples or explanation, just say so.

Druski
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Just want to give an update

Just want to give an update that I am currently toying with a similar system to Eclipse (1 = miss, 6 = hit, other rolls can be manipulated by modifiers), but have inverted it:

Since each round of battle does take some time, and I want the game to involve numerous small battles rather than a single large one; rolls that do not equal a 1 are ALL hits (the game has recharging shields, as well as defense modifiers that can bring a roll down to 1, but there are hits aplenty). A roll of 6 = a crit which always hits and results in a status effect based on the weapon fired (fire, hull breach, etc) - providing it got through the shield.

Different weapons roll different amount of dice, though generally the ones with numerous dice also have a negative modifier making each die more likely to miss.

Thoughts? Reactions?

ElKobold
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Druski wrote: Thoughts? What

Druski wrote:

Thoughts?

What are the interesting decisions that a player has to make during combat to succeed?

If it's just roll and see what happens, then I suggest to cut all the "shield checks and modifiers or whatnot". Make it as quick and simple as possible.

Druski
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The decisions happen prior to

The decisions happen prior to the dice rolling. The players (reminder, it's co-op) work together to take actions that may increase our odds of hitting or decrease theirs (or neither, because there's a fire to be put out and some bug-eyed alien is trying to take over the bridge!). So after everyone figures out their actions, the dice are rolled and we see what happens.

I Will Never Gr...
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Steve Broadfoot

Steve Broadfoot wrote:
Specialized dice is an option. So lets say your ships basic weapon is a bank of 4 laser canons. You roll 4 of the dice and whatever the roll says is your result. Assuming a D6 you could have 3xhits, 2xmiss and 1xcritical hit.

I had this same concept for several of my games (and for use with games like Axis and Allies and Warhammer 40k) and had a big batch of these dice made up by my manufacturer;

http://iwngu.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Hit-or-Miss-Dice-O...

Sets of 5 dice,
white has 1 hit 5 blank,
yellow has 1 hit, 1 critical, 4 blank,
orange has 2 hits, 1 critical hit, 3 blank,
red has 2 hit, 2 critical, 2 blank
black has 3 hit, 2 critical and 1 blank.

FrankM
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I Will Never Grow Up Gaming

I Will Never Grow Up Gaming wrote:
Steve Broadfoot wrote:
Specialized dice is an option. So lets say your ships basic weapon is a bank of 4 laser canons. You roll 4 of the dice and whatever the roll says is your result. Assuming a D6 you could have 3xhits, 2xmiss and 1xcritical hit.

I had this same concept for several of my games (and for use with games like Axis and Allies and Warhammer 40k) and had a big batch of these dice made up by my manufacturer;

http://iwngu.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Hit-or-Miss-Dice-O...

Sets of 5 dice,
white has 1 hit 5 blank,
yellow has 1 hit, 1 critical, 4 blank,
orange has 2 hits, 1 critical hit, 3 blank,
red has 2 hit, 2 critical, 2 blank
black has 3 hit, 2 critical and 1 blank.

Just avoid using a die color that matches one of the player/faction colors... unless there's a special pip on the die that does something for that team.

john smith
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I started with, and always

I started with, and always try to stick to, percentile dice. Modifiers never bothered me. I find them the best way to conceptualize what is going. IE I have a 50 percent chance "to hit" with my rifle. In high wind -15 modifier gives me a 35 percent chance. Simple and straightforward.

X3M
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Perhaps, CRT is also a

Perhaps, CRT is also a possibility for you.

I am looking into that this week(still working on it). But for me, it will be a choice by the player, compared to the situation. Each "die" will be equal in average damage. But some have higher miss chances together with higher damage output on hits.

john smith
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[quote=X3M] But some have

"But some have higher miss chances together with higher damage output on hits"

Do you mean like a DPS rating in a RTS video game??

X3M
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john smith wrote:"But some

john smith wrote:
"But some have higher miss chances together with higher damage output on hits"

Do you mean like a DPS rating in a RTS video game??

In my case. The DPS is always the same.
Depending on the situation. Players like to take risk or not, when rolling the hits dice.
1/6th chance on 10 damage or 2/6th chance on 5 damage or 5/6th damage on 2 damage. You can imagine what a player might choose when facing an enemy with either 10, 5 or 2 health points.
There are many more variations. But I am still trying to figure out, what my 5 choices will be. That is in another topic.

***

Druski could apply CRT dice with different DPS. Because he needs modifiers to apply. Simply going down or up the list. No need for 5 different dice. Simply having 5 different results per side is enough.

john smith
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I don't use CRT's in my

I don't use CRT's in my Wargaming anymore, to many players nowadays complain of them. When I play other games with a CRT, I have converted the CRT to percentile chances. So if in low odds on CRT you can only get a result if you roll a 1 on a d6 then that is converted to a 16 percent chance on percentile die. This was a method I took from a Armor Magazine article on using commercial wargames for Training when I was in the Army. I like consistency and not having to learn a new system for every game. With this method I can keep the learning curve down between all my different genres of games.

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