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'Modern' games and dice combat

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domd
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Agreed

I suppose it depends on the game, but for the most part this is spot on. Even something as far from combat as Scrabble uses both A-R-R and R-A-R. It just depends on when you start the sequence. You could argue that acquiring random letters is the first step in the sequence, followed by laying down a word as your action, followed by result of scoring points. You could also note that any word you lay down is action, followed by the random acquisition of your letters, followed by the result of how it impacts your opponent on the board.

In the end, though, a good game can be accused of having both A-R-R and R-A-R because in it could still have a random component counterbalanced by the player's strategic decisions as well as the opponent's strategic decisions.

ReneWiersma
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Phookadude wrote:To me this

Phookadude wrote:
To me this all seems to boil down to whether a game is abstract or attempts to simulate a situation.

I understand why you are saying this, but another way to look at it is that die rolling is actually an abstraction of combat in a (war) simulation game.

Actual combat between armies is so complex that playing out all the details in a more-or-less non-random fashion would be too complex and too time consuming for game play therefore it is abstracted by using a die roll which more-or-less simulates the actual odds of one army defeating the other.

KAndrw
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MatthewF wrote:I believe that

MatthewF wrote:
I believe that from the Czech Games perspective, and from the limited English that the Czech Games guys speak, their use of "modern games" was perfectly sensible.

Just for the record, the CGE guys spoke better English than many of the supposedly native-English speakers I grew up with!

I guess that from their perspective of the market, ARR must look pretty archaic. I still think it's the right choice for my game, but I definitely see how publishing an ARR game could impact negatively for them across their entire portfolio.

fecundity
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domd wrote:Even something as

domd wrote:
Even something as far from combat as Scrabble uses both A-R-R and R-A-R. It just depends on when you start the sequence. You could argue that acquiring random letters is the first step in the sequence, followed by laying down a word as your action, followed by result of scoring points. You could also note that any word you lay down is action, followed by the random acquisition of your letters, followed by the result of how it impacts your opponent on the board.

This seems specious to me.

The 'resolution' of an action in Scrabble, from the game system end, is just the scoring mechanic. When a player lays down a word, the score does not depend on any random elements. So it's R-A-R.

Note that in attempting to construe Scrabble as A-R-R, you've left out scoring entirely!

Of course-- this is just to say that the distinction between the two kinds of game mechanics makes sense, not that one is better than the other.

Gizensha
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I thought Scrabble was ARR,

I thought Scrabble was ARR, actually.

Just action result randomness rather than action randomness result.

Unless you start the sequence on the previous turn, when you draw your hand back up to seven, which seems counterintuitive. (And I'd argue it being such does, to a limited degree, effect strategy of the game - Immediate benefit of a good score vs that score requires using up all your vowels which you're not guaranteed to get back.)

...Thinking about it, are any games strictly speaking purely RAR outside of roll and moves? I'd have thought ARAR was more comon (And the debate being over ARAR vs AARR), but that seems too nitpicky to be worthy of serious discussion.

fecundity
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Gizensha wrote:...Thinking

Gizensha wrote:
...Thinking about it, are any games strictly speaking purely RAR outside of roll and moves? I'd have thought ARAR was more comon (And the debate being over ARAR vs AARR), but that seems too nitpicky to be worthy of serious discussion.

I thought the debate was whether or not randomness should come between your choosing an action and the resolution of the action. In Scrabble, all of the random stuff is done (you've drawn your tiles) before you decide on a word and put it down. In a paradigmatic euro like Settlers of Catan, all the randomness (in resource production) is done before you decide what to spend resources on.

Of course, whether it's Action-Resolution-Random rather than Randon-Action-Resolution is a matter of where we start counting.

Regardless, these are in contrast with traditional die-rolling wargames: After a player decides to attack, they roll dice to determine whether or not their attack succeeds. There is a random element between the player deciding on an action and the consequences of the action.

The difference (roughly) is whether a player can know what their choice will immediately do, as opposed to knowing the odds of what their choice is likely to do.

But it's been a long thread, so maybe that's not it. ;)

Ratmilk
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Incorporating randomness

I think there are ways to incorporate randomness without the direct use of dice. This is a fleet command game right? Here is my suggestion. This die represents the initiative of the commanders of the opposing fleets and can be used as way to determine the number of actions that both players have. For example, there are a total of 6 actions a commander can take. He can...

allocate power to his shields
allocate power to his weapons
allocate power to his thrustors
scan enemy ship's shield power
scan enemy ship's weapon power
scan enemy ship's course (read enemy thruster power)

Six types of actions allow the player who rolls a six to do all of them while, a player who rolls lower if forced to do fewer. Considering the mean statistic for rolls it nots crippling, and even if there is a huge difference, this is not the meat of the tactical game, only a limitation on options for this round. The next round it would start all over again.

Now you mention batteries or powerplants being used in your game. If you put this power allocation as a hidden action you introduce tactics and the randomness inherent for commanders running a fleet.

All ships are a combination of three elements; maneuvor, firepower, and shields. It's this interplay that is key, introduce different ship characteristics and you have the tactical element down. The die roll merely determines how many different types of moves you can make. Do I throw everything into an attack because I fear my commander may have a command disadvatage next round? Do I power up my defenses, take the hit so that next round I may get that command advantage I need? It should introduce tension while not taking away from the tactical element your looking for. Hope that was helpfull and coherent.

KAndrw
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It was definitely coherent

It was definitely coherent and interesting, but it doesn't really fit for what I'm after in my game. I want ships to move around, shoot, and quickly have combat resolved. Each ship has its own Battery supply, and moves independently. The play area is a 2D grid, and combat can normally only occur between ships at the same location. In addition, a considerable portion of the game is non-combat, and the game usually ends with all players' fleets at least partially intact.

Your idea seems like it would be perfect for a differently-abstracted game, perhaps one where two fleets are facing off against each other in a battle to the death - perhaps something like Mag Blast but better.

rtwombly
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The decision point...

KAndrw wrote:
It was definitely coherent and interesting, but it doesn't really fit for what I'm after in my game. I want ships to move around, shoot, and quickly have combat resolved. Each ship has its own Battery supply, and moves independently. The play area is a 2D grid, and combat can normally only occur between ships at the same location. In addition, a considerable portion of the game is non-combat, and the game usually ends with all players' fleets at least partially intact.

Your idea seems like it would be perfect for a differently-abstracted game, perhaps one where two fleets are facing off against each other in a battle to the death - perhaps something like Mag Blast but better.


From that description it sounds to me like the decision point occurs before you enter battle, and the decision is whether to enter battle or do something else. So long as you can win the game never having participated in a single battle, I see no problem labeling this a "modern" mechanic. On the other hand, if you have to enter battle in order to win, or if another player can force the confrontation through no fault of your own and cause you, randomly, to lose points and/or resources, then it's an old-school mechanic.

Notice I said "through no fault of your own". If you can choose not to go into areas where an opponent could attack you, it's thoroughly modern. The difference is risk/reward versus pure chance. You haven't told us quite enough about the mechanics to tell if the combat is fundamental to the gameplay or functions as risk/reward. If it's fundamental, I'd say there needs to be more to it than Attack-Roll-Result. I'm also not clear if we're talking about fleets of ships or single-to-single ship combat here. Thematically, it seems odd to me that a single ship would have to resolve its combat by chance, rather than evaluating things like skill of the Captain and experience of the crew, to say nothing of upgrades, etc.

I'm not a big fan of games that force you to think about the bell curve. Usually they're too short to reach any sort of statistical balance point (like playing a single hand of Lost Cities) or too long to remember what's come before. Catan's appeal is, partially, that if you think enough about the endgame at the beginning, you can hedge against bad rolls. 2 and 12 will eventually come up, but you don't bet your first few roads on them.

Ratmilk
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impressions

Yeah, I got the impression that it is fundamentally a card game. Perhaps a better description is in order.

dtrik
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Revitalizing the Dice Debate

just thought Id breathe some life into this argument that always seems to be brewing. Whats wrong with randomization? Why are dice under fire? Don't most games of tactical depth involve randomization to some degree, coping and adapting to this randomization is what makes the game interesting, no? Are people (publishers?) really so close minded to dice that they would turn down an otherwise perfect game because it involves those doom cubes?

clearclaw
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People are interesting, not random events

I don't dislike (physically) random effects and events in games, I simply find them uninteresting. People make the best uncertainty generators.

ReneWiersma
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dtrik wrote:just thought Id

dtrik wrote:
just thought Id breathe some life into this argument that always seems to be brewing. Whats wrong with randomization? Why are dice under fire? Don't most games of tactical depth involve randomization to some degree, coping and adapting to this randomization is what makes the game interesting, no? Are people (publishers?) really so close minded to dice that they would turn down an otherwise perfect game because it involves those doom cubes?

I love dice!!

But, like all things, they have to be used in the right context. I think most (beginning) designers don't even think about alternatives to dice. They stick dice in their games, because every game they know (Risk, Clue, Monopoly) has dice. It just seems a natural thing to do. When used wrong, dice are used in places where a nice human-decision driven mechanic would be much more satisfying. When used right, rolling the dice can be a moment of great excitement.

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