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Initiative problems

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Experimental Designs
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What was believed to be such a unique mechanic turns out to be an overcomplicated mess that morphs into an epic train wreck in slow motion. You may say it is hubris or plain stupidity on my part so I’ll roll it out and see what I need to do with this mess.

The intended purpose behind this mechanic was to represent the chaotic fluidness in combat and to take away the omnipotence of being able to physically look at everything on the board. Normally in a wargame one would have total control of their forces by dictating every action. I wanted to throw in something where you can possibly lose control of your forces once the proverbial crap hits the fan or maybe do something really foolish because some squad leader fell out of his tree. There is a modicum of control you can have over your forces when issuing orders but your HQ is limited on how many orders it can allocate during a command phase.

Orders given during the command phase are intuitive such as “take position” which is a simple move order with a secondary function to deploy infantry if the models are transports. However once these orders are given and executed in the model activation phase it is on its own when it makes enemy contact within its active range. A model’s initiative plays a huge factor in this plus if it has veteracy against an opposing model’s initiative and veteracy. How well you score against or rather how well your opponent score against your initiative will determine how your forces will react.

The model’s reactions is dictated by the army tactical doctrines such as rigid, flexible and standard. A rigid doctrine has weak model initiative but strong command bonuses to represent the need for careful and deliberate planning. The flexible doctrine is the opposite with strong model initiative with weak command bonuses with a lot of breathing room to adapt to a changing situation. The standard doctrine has moderate strength in both model initiative and command bonuses that needs a little finesse in risk factor.

When rolling for the reaction roll 5D6.

Rigid may not discard dice.
Standard may discrd one die.
Flexibile may discard two dice.

Initiative D6 pool
1 = Passive
2 = Passive
3 = Defensive
4 = Defensive
5 = Aggressive
6 = Aggressive

This is where this mechanic blows up. If you roll an aggressive, a defensive and a passive die they nullify each other which this is called a ‘null’ and the model just sits there and waits for orders. Or if there is more passive dice than there are defensive and aggressive dice. Like if you roll a 1,2,2,3,5 there are more passive dice.

However if you roll 1,2,3,3,5 you have two passive and two defensive and one aggressive die. There are more passive and defensive die than aggressive so an action with defensive and passive can be taken.

Initiative actions:
-Request orders: Rolling a null or there are more passive dice than aggressive and defensive dice. This represents your model sitting there like a bump on a log waiting to be told what to do even while it is being shot at.
-Rushed shot: Equal number of aggressive and passive dice.
-Hold ground: Equal number of defensive and passive dice.
-Fall back: More defensive than passive and aggressive.
-Return fire: Equal number of aggressive and defensive dice.
-Pursue Enemy: More aggressive than defensive and passive dice.

X3M
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not sure

I am not sure where the problem is. But if you want to make the initiative of your units to be decided more quickly, yet keeping the choice for the player by discarding/re-roll.

How about giving the player yet another choice when it is unsure like mentioned above? If 2 outcomes are possible, letting the player decide?

However, this might give the player to much choice for your feeling. In that case.

There are 2 options left:
- Just one die, and allowing it to be re-rolled instead of discarding dice. A re-roll of zero, one or two times if the player wants another outcome.
(Unless you wanted the discarding to be forced in some way)

- You could also make a table that consults by adding up the dice.
However, the balance of 1/3th is a bit off now.
5-15, 30.5%, Passive
16-19, 39%, Defensive
20-30, 30.5%, Aggressive
Where (no discarding) but a one time re-rolling a certain number of dice still might work as a choice for the player.

(With 4 dice, the balance is 33.6%/32.9%/33.6%)
(6 dice? Is actually worse)

Just a thought.

If you want to keep discarding the dice instead of re-rolling. I am afraid I have almost no experience in that area.

ruy343
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Discipline.

You know, I think that it might feel more right to call your mechanic "discipline" instead of rigidity. Hear me out:

Keep everything as you've said it, but disciplined troops are the ones that you take dice away from. This allows you more control with their reaction to the enemy. Undisciplined troops might charge in or retreat on their own, while your trained troops obey your orders with exacting precision.

However, the most disciplined of troops can be intimidated, or lured into a foolhardy charge if the unit commander gets the wrong perception of the battle. They have to roll like the others, but removing dice lets you have a better chance of choosing what you want.

However, circumstances could affect their roll. A critical hit on their position could mean that the player has to roll one less dice, the missing dice being an automatic "defense" or "retreat" result. Same could go for a critical hit when an allied unit hits an adjacent enemy: it could force your unit to roll an automatic "aggressive" result.

This means that the players are forced to play to the situation, and that random factors move the army in ways they didn't anticipate. The fact that they still get to choose the action they take with the circumstances is where the strategy comes in, and in choosing when to commit forces. The moment they're committed, they might be out of your control.

Experimental Designs
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ruy343 wrote:You know, I

ruy343 wrote:
You know, I think that it might feel more right to call your mechanic "discipline" instead of rigidity. Hear me out:

Keep everything as you've said it, but disciplined troops are the ones that you take dice away from. This allows you more control with their reaction to the enemy. Undisciplined troops might charge in or retreat on their own, while your trained troops obey your orders with exacting precision.

However, the most disciplined of troops can be intimidated, or lured into a foolhardy charge if the unit commander gets the wrong perception of the battle. They have to roll like the others, but removing dice lets you have a better chance of choosing what you want.

However, circumstances could affect their roll. A critical hit on their position could mean that the player has to roll one less dice, the missing dice being an automatic "defense" or "retreat" result. Same could go for a critical hit when an allied unit hits an adjacent enemy: it could force your unit to roll an automatic "aggressive" result.

This means that the players are forced to play to the situation, and that random factors move the army in ways they didn't anticipate. The fact that they still get to choose the action they take with the circumstances is where the strategy comes in, and in choosing when to commit forces. The moment they're committed, they might be out of your control.

The rigid tactical doctrine and being disciplined are pretty much the same in practice. They intention with the rigidity was to represent a Soviet-style military doctrine that emphasized centralized planning attitude towards military operations to have their troops carry out orders and nothing more outside that.

However, I do like where you're going with the emphasis on undisciplined rabble are likely to blunder into trouble versus seasoned veterans who are better at keeping a cool head under duress, most of the time.

The fact that even the most complex command and control network cannot dictate every action their troops make it is a difference between following orders to the letter versus adapting to the changing situation. I had critical effects in place that makes you discard certain dice in the reaction test but they had rather illogical outcomes.

The problem I run into, to answer X3M directly, is that I feel the mechanic is too cumbersome and bogs the game down.

X3M
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another option

Right, I think I have a better understanding now. nvm the gibberish that I posted before.

You have by the way 6 possible outcomes after combining:
1-Request orders
2-Rushed shot
3-Hold ground
4-Fall back
5-Return fire
6-Pursue Enemy

I rather focus on that.

I know that you have more steering when you use 5D6 on 3 outcomes that have to be combined. And discarding 2 dice will almost always give the right order any way.

A simpler mechanic:
How about rolling a number of dice and simply choose the best one? It is now one of the 6 choices of above. If you have doubles, it doesn't matter, the player still chooses 1 die.

Now it is up to you to decide how many dice you want to use with the 3 levels of discipline.

To give you an idea on the chances.
The chance to get a certain wanted order (1 choice) for your troops:
1 Die_ = 16,7%
2 Dice = 30,6%
3 Dice = 42,1%
4 Dice = 51,8%
5 Dice = 59,8%
6 Dice = 66,5%
7 Dice = 72,1%
8 Dice = 76,7%
9 Dice = 80,6%
10 Dice = 83,8% (The chance compared to 1 Die is now reversed)

With this, you could even add more levels of discipline.
The player also has a better overview and doesn't have to think of possible combinations with discarding dice.

I hope this was of use.

(If you are interested in the formula's, let me know.)

ruy343
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To skip it all...

... maybe you should allow an opponent to perform actions that take away your actions at a price. Perhaps the enemy can do a "bombard" action, which means that holding your ground is going to cost you, even if that's exactly what you want to do. Another alternative is that an opponent "readies" for an opposing attack, meaning they get a bonus that turn against being attacked. You could really put a squad commander in between a rock and a hard place if you make retreat less appealing, and staying still less appealing, so the only way out is to move forward!

This moves away from squad commander psychology, so it could not be what you're looking for.

Perhaps you should keep the mechanic as is, but only apply it when the lines of communication are cut off, and you can't sent messengers to some troops. Now, they're out of your control, and will behave in a predictable manner for your enemy to likely destroy. However, well trained troops are more likely to think on their feet and take actions that the commander back at base would have wanted.

This solution means that your general's placement is important to the overall outcome of the battle. You could even include something of a stealth mechanic, where you keep track of the general's position as he moves with a notepad, but the enemy can see your supply lines and extrapolate his position. Other commanders, however, will want to place their general a ways away from the battle, so his supply lines are less likely to be fettered. If there's a factor of distance, you could make an order last two turns, and the army will continue its march until it receives contradictory orders (so your troops may be circling around back, but then go too far and not participate in the flanking maneuver as planned. Oops)

The idea of supply lines (/command lines) intrigues me. maybe mark them with little catan roads?

DifferentName
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I like the ideas

I like the idea of being the commander, and having trouble getting your troops to do what you want them to do. The trick is to make that the fun twist of the game instead of just something that slows it down. X3M's idea to roll a few dice and choose one does sound fun and fast, as long as there aren't too many units being activated every turn.

For Flexibility vs Discipline: The idea of a flexible military is that doesn't always require orders to function well, right? But with the way this game works it sounds like you would be giving them orders more often. This makes sense in allowing that military to take more effective actions, but I'm not sure it fits as well if the idea of the game is that you're supposed to be the commander. However, the idea of Discipline does work in this way, with you as the commander having your orders be more effective on disciplined soldiers.

Experimental Designs
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I could tell you now that

I could tell you now that this mechanic was thrown out but somehow managed to find its way back on the current design. It is about to be thrown out again as I’m starting to see it still has the same old problems like before.

@ruy343 I had a logistics idea in the works when the initial design was in its infancy similar to what you explained in the posting above. However, the idea of logistics and all that was dropped when I changed the scale of the game overall the end result was it bogged down the game to a grind factor of 11. I’m not the only one who has so many ideas for a game design initially to only add up overtime to have a very complex mess that becomes a chore to play.

You entertained a concept to allow the opponent to dictate the actions of your models if they test poorly in a reaction or an initiative test earlier in your post. An interesting notion of: “either I control my forces or you control them.” While this does add a little bit of chaos I get the gut feeling a mechanic of this nature can be abused to the point it may lead to rather…un-sportsman like conduct. I like the sound of it but personally I am uncomfortable with such a concept.

@DifferentName: The game is not purely focused on discipline; forget about the whole discipline thing for one second. The whole doctrine idea I explained before is to represent the variety of different tactics of the armies to choose from in the game to suit a certain play-style. A rigid doctrine favors “hammer and anvil tactics” versus a flexible doctrine that is suited towards those who want a fluid or guerilla style tactic with each having its own advantages and disadvantages tied in.

@X3M: I’m afraid your formula went a little above my head. So are you saying I need to increase my dice pool to get the desired results?

Your variation of it makes it fast and easy however I’m not sure how well this will do on a larger scale game when you have an entire company of models to deal with.

I'm at the point now of moving away from a dice pool mechanic to having something more on the lines of a leadership test to roll equal to or below a certian level of competence versus what I have now.

X3M
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I never said to increase the

I never said to increase the dice pool.
You could for example use 1 die for undisciplined. 2 dice for the trained and 4 dice for the veterans.

So instead of using 5 dice, the maximum would be for example 4.

And if you use this on a larger model, I guess it won't do. I thought you would only do this once for an entire squad that got attacked.

Experimental Designs
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Oh. That would make more

Oh. That would make more sense but again discipline is not exactly the theme in mind.

No, I intended this on a much larger scale and something more dynamic. You are right though, it won't do now that you shed some light on it.

I'm getting too indecisive and I maybe over thinking it.

The challenge here is to find a level of consistency with the design without making a convoluted patchwork monstrosity of borrowed mechanics and my own tweaks thereof.

Perhaps, instead of using dice to dictate the type of initiative, because of the scale being used, it comes down how often initiative can be tested per command point. The test is similar to most morale checks to roll 2D6 equal to or below the command value.

A rigid initiative tests on a company level. The careful planning for centralized doctrines of initiative orders can change to the situation only by a company level commander. Command value of 10.

A standard intitiative tests on a platoon level. This is the basic doctrine of initiative to be more responsive to the changing combat situation per platoon instead of on an entire company. Command value of 9.

A flexible initiative tests on a squad level. This represents a very loose doctrine of a more individualistic or small group initiative, while very adaptive it lacks coordination. Command value of 7.

X3M
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I understand. So, perhaps you

I understand.
So, perhaps you should think of how many dice are possible in the first place. And then work on that?

If you need to check every unit, and want to throw all units at once. You can only use 1 die/unit. That is, if they are all equal.

[hr]

I got the same problem with my different types of damage and accuracy. 3 types of damage means 3 groups of dice to throw. But since some units have different accuracy. Then I need to give them again a different group.
It eventually resulted in having situations where each unit is 1 group. With an average of 12 units, it truly became a dice feast. Not to mention the one where I had 36 different Rifle Infantry.

The only reason why I accepted that is that such an extreme situation is rare in my game. And rather funny to do. But only if it is once.

Experimental Designs
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Ah, now you’re getting into

Ah, now you’re getting into the fundamental problems of the predicament I’m having. Since we’re on the same page perhaps you know where I am going with this.

If you are familiar with games such as Battletech and Warmachine you’ll know they use 2D6 for shooting, damage input and etc. The aim was to match a similar level of consistency in using just 2D6 for the mechanical portions of the game without having gigantic dice pools. My reasons for doing so is because with a six sided die you only have three levels of variation where a modifier of +1 is a huge deal versus on a slightly more bell curve dynamic on 2D6 or even 3D6 you have a little more room for variation to play with.

I could go with the simple design to activate a unit, do its two actions then the opponent does their reactions if applicable and alternates back and forth until everything is activated.
But…

I hate for all that work that went in-game diversity of each of the five factions I had planned out to go up in smoke for the sake of simplicity. I had every faction to play differently to suit a different play style. Those who are suited to attrition battles want to play a particular faction versus someone who wants to be a little sneakier will want to favor the stealthy faction I had designed.

That being said, each faction is different such as how it reacts on initiative, including certain weapons, defenses, armor types and models have their selection of perks to use to your advantage.

Initiative is a big deal since I want it to distinguish between the guerilla-style faction and the faction that simply steamrolls over the opposition with brute force, each balanced with its own disadvantages not only in a mechanical nature it can dictate how one uses tactics and executes an overall strategy, hence another reason why I want the bell-cruve dynamic with 2D6.

I hope this makes sense.

X3M
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Out of options

Lets see.

- You don't want +1 modifiers to be a huge deal. 2D6 or 3D6 is what you feel is right. Thus +1 on 36 or +1 on 216.
- 5 factions with different attitudes; guerilla, sneaky, steam roll, attrition, etc. etc.

***

Even though I understand what you want. I don't see a good way of helping (yet). (I have rewritten this post 4 times now)

I am not sure how many units you have that actually fight within 1 battle. Can they be separate, or is 1 squad treated like 1 unit? I rather have you describe it than comparing with a board game (My wargames are RTS, I don't know board games except risk and A&A).

Thus a step by step how you would play. If it is not much of a trouble. If a step is unsure, then give it only a name.

Quote:

Any way, I have 1D6 for each projectile. And all I determine is a hit/miss. When different tactics are applied, like the one posted in the other tread, I simply roll more often. Instead of 1 dice representing 6 damage, I sometimes use 6 dice representing 1 damage each. Even though the average damage is 5, the bonus of +1 is achievable if all 6 dice remain a hit after rolling.

Sorry, bad example, after calculating there is a 40% chance on 5, and 33% chance on 6. Even though, the bonus is 33% in this, you also can notice the high stability, perhaps you seek stability in outcomes, even if a stat has +1?

Before you think about different races, we should be dealing with your dice mechanic first. My different races accidently occured. But only since I was copying RTS as much as possible.
The differences are fixed numbers and have almost no adjustments to the dice. Again only how many times I roll.

The fact that you want randomness be lessened by a +1 puzzles me in how to achieve that. Maybe we need to do something entirely else that using dice?

How about a bag with colored balls? If a chance gets +1, simply add a ball. etc. You can custom the number of balls.

Experimental Designs
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I can give you more

I can give you more information, but you need to be specific on what you want to know.

I think you're having the modifier confused with dice versus the totality of the score being rolled plus the modifier. For example rolling a 7 on 2D6 and a modifier of +1 bumps it up to a total of 8.

Stability is what I am looking for and consistency even with small +/- 1 modifiers which are usually cumilative with other modifiers which they can add up to be quite substantial even on a 2D6 average range.

There are few instances in the game you roll 3D6 instead of the normal 2D6. It's not like Warmachine where there is boosting or something of that order.

As far as the number of units in a battle depends on the size of the game. In an average game in the last few playtests there are usually 5 units per player. Each unit can have one or two squads of infantry and a few vehicles. A squad is usually made of two individual stands of infantry or more technically, two teams as in to represent fireteams in the squad. A team counts as one model because on a 15mm scale a stand for each individual infantryman can get rather fiddly imo. Most units are a mixture of vehicles and infantry but you can have an all vehicle unit if you want big tanks battles.

I hope that clears a few things up.

X3M
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Quote:I can give you more

Quote:

I can give you more information, but you need to be specific on what you want to know.

Lets begin with the question. What is the question at this point? Because I think I got lost in here. And I am not sure if it isn't going about initiative any more.

I'll pretend you still want this. And the modifiers help in this.

Quote:

I think you're having the modifier confused with dice versus the totality of the score being rolled plus the modifier. For example rolling a 7 on 2D6 and a modifier of +1 bumps it up to a total of 8.

Well, I actually had exactly that in mind. With 7 being a pretty stable number, it simply means that 8 is the new stable number. The modifier however is 50% effective compared to 1 Die.

***

For a better balance, thus a higher stability. Using more and more dice is the only solution. The modifiers are relatively low in effect too. However, after a while the numbers become so great in difference that they loose meaning. You can start using classes.

With that I mean that for example you use 5D6:
5-9 is class 1
10-14 is class 2
15-20 is class 3
21-25 is class 4
26-30 is class 5

Not only have you stability with using 5 dice. Where the most stable number is the average, is 17,5. But the middle class 3 is 1 wider than the other 4 classes.

You can simply say, I need # number of classes. I think you want 6?
You also can say how much # dice you want. The modifier effect is divided by the number of dice.

You modify the classes in size for the order you want to give. Meaning that if you want to attack, you make this class the biggest.
A player can decide beforehand what order would be most important and so on. And put them in that order.

This however does require the player to know where the highest chances are.

The modifiers however, simply expand the class, rather than adding them to the dice. For this, you might want to use a ruler or something.

The ruler shows the number that you can throw. And how the classes are divided. Also the chances to get a certain class can be measured. With the modifier, you simply expand on this ruler. And the 6 orders are also constantly placed.

Each unit can have a list of the starting classes too if you want.

***

Only 5 units? You don't have to fear a dice feast then. You simply roll the dice for each unit.
Or am I missing something important?

And the above is not worked out in detail. If you want a detailed example. Please let me know what and how many classes you would like to see. Than I will work things out with exact numbers and examples.
And I think this would be something original too.

Experimental Designs
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I’m about as lost as you are

I’m about as lost as you are when people started derailing on the whole “discipline” thing.

The original question in mind was there a practical mechanical way using cards or dice (preferably dice) where you can give models autonomy so as to take away the “omnipotent player syndrome” in tabletop wargames. Like in RTS games you have the “fog of war” or darkened out areas on the map where you cannot see your opponent’s base or units unless you send scouts to spot them. In a tabletop you cannot conveniently have such a thing in place unless you do a very weird form of battleship with parts of the board covered. With a tabletop game, you may see your opponent’s models there but do the forces you control know that?

Earlier I described my rather inept and very cumbersome mechanic to demonstrate this with initiative and with different types of tactical doctrines to show a variety of initiative levels for the five different factions.

Five units is the limit I’m working with right now for testing purposes. The aim is to make it practical for large forces to be slugging it out against each other. I’m starting small with all intentions to work my way up the ladder. Baby steps, man. Baby steps.

Also if this draws attention to my other thread “A Clunky Theory” http://www.bgdf.com/node/14722 for consistency reasons it is all related.

I’m searching for a sweet spot to make this all mesh together.

X3M
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Right, a fog of war effect. I

Right, a fog of war effect.

I got some in my game:
- You cannot see your opponent due to terrain (tree's, high rocks, altitude), ranging from 0 to 100%. I got steps with dice.
- You do know where the opponent is but the enemy is uphill or a special weapon knows how to go through the terrain (rail gun, but you don't have that, right?). Depending on the weapon you can reach them, ranging from 0 to 100% again.

How about adding 1 more roll of dice?
One that simply indicates if the opponent is spotted or not.

And another one that might indicate if you notice the opponent preparing to attack? If not, you get a full load of bullets on your squad. If you do, you can have equal or the upper hand instead.

Your soldiers can get advantage from tall grass, however, by crouching or going prone, they too see less.

Experimental Designs
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I've been debating for an

I've been debating for an additional dice roll.

There are the typical dice rolling to hit and to damage and adding a third might be neededif it won't bog down the game too much.

X3M
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bogging down

In short, more rolls do bog down the game.
And depending on the game or dice effects, damage might be lower as well.
This can result in an exponential effect that reduces the overall pace of the game.

To speed it up again, 2 options:
- For every roll, some extra damage to balance it out? You could relate this to the number of rolls that you are going to use.
- Or, reducing health of your units. This would be more of an overall effect.

Simply play your game, while it is bogged down. Then make speed adjustments accordingly. I know of no other ways to compensate the bogging down.

I don't think you want to reduce map size or the number of units.

Experimental Designs
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Reducing map size and number

Reducing map size and number of units are not the fixes I had in mind.

Reducing the health of the models is something I already have in place in the form of a "fast-kill" system instead of chewing through a lot of damage boxes or armor points like in Battletech. I'm still tweaking it.

I'm not sure what you meant by extra damage though.

X3M
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Extra damage

Well, as you said it. A fast kill.

Instead of reducing health from 10 to 5. You actually increase damage from 1 to 2.

Although I could increase my damage as well from 1 to 2,667 by these means. I instead had chosen 8 health reduced to 3. This due the same practical reason you mentioned. But also many more reasons. And truthfully it depends on the game mechanics that you are using.

However, the plan still exists in the books. And it was meant to be combined with my primary accuracy rolls that I implemented.
123456 creates the following hits: 001122
Where 0 is a miss and 2 is a double hit.
However, with XP you can increase 001122 to, well more.
The same principle with the number of rolls.
001122
001123
001223 etc.

Just one roll would be standard. If it is 36 dice for all rifle infantry, or just 1 dice for the really big tank.
This would have no bonus.

But when you have to cut through some terrain first. Which could take for example an additional extra 3 rounds of rolling the dice. Then the accuracy dice would have an additional upgrade of +3. Effectively making the damage 50% stronger. This bonus is for both players. Thus the game becomes 50% faster. Since the opponent also can fire back. Another 50% would be added if once again 3 rolls are needed. Thus both sides do twice the damage for compensating the extra dice rolls.

With one player having only 1 roll and another having 5 rolls. A bonus of 6 rolls again, +100%. The player with more rolls simply would still be in a disadvantage. Even if both players have twice the damage.

So far so good...

However, this would lead to confusing, abusing, neutralising and imbalance in my game. The 4 reasons why I discarded this mechanic. So you might want to check each one of them and think for yourself if it is wise to add a damage bonus. In a way it is better if you want to keep your health high. But your game mechanic needs to allow it.

- Confusing
Because different weapons also might need different rolls. Just clarifying this is enough. But adding the rule on having more accuracy makes things way more complex than simply having more accuracy by XP or event cards. When telling the player explicit that having multiple rolls by multiple different weapons is not allowed, players can get confused. Since there are also reasons that they can have more damage.
And just accepting is not an option either. Since there might be different units with exact the same weapons. Should they be counted as one group again?

- Abusing
If separate weapons also allow more damage.
Of course players could completely mix up their forces.
However, there are different units with the same weapons. With the thought of having more then one race in the future. This abusing ability would mean imbalance as well.

- Neutralising
Well, what is the point of extra rolls from terrain effects? If the extra primary accuracy immediately neutralizes this effect? 5/6 x 6/5 = 1 Just trying to keep the gamble simple.

- Imbalance
Some battles will actually go way faster than the average battle. There where each battle would be the same turn speed. Now the turn speed will be different as well than just the actual time. This means that battle's that are supposed to be slow, where a player could send reinforcements in time, now go to fast. And the result is that battles are over before players have a chance to react. This simply doesn't make sense to players.

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