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Too many dice? + Combat mechanic

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Matt201
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I'm making a maritime trading game (set in the 18th Century Caribbean) and with the mechanics I've come up with, I'll need a few different dice. I would really appreciate advice on the dice I have, and any improvements I could make to my combat mechanic (described below).

But first, let me give a brief explanation of each dice, and perhaps you can give advice of how well it works/doesn't work, and if I can improve it or if I even need it.

Movement Dice
The board is made up of hexes, allowing the player to move in any one of six directions on any one turn. This is almost a standard d6, however it only goes up to three (i.e. two 1s, two 2s and two 3s). Later in the game players will have more than one ship in their fleet, and I'm not sure whether to only have one movement die and they control one ship at a time, or have more than one dice (3 or 4) that players roll all at once (one for each ship they own) and then choose which roll they want to correspond to their ship?

Wind Dice
One of the other mechanics I have implemented is that of wind. There is a compass on the board (sort of like a spinner) that keeps track of which direction the wind is blowing. The compass is divided into North-East, East, South-East, South-West, West and North-West (to match the hexes of the board). If you travel in the same direction as the wind, you add +1 to your movement total. If you travel one either side of the wind direction you keep your movement total the same. If you go directly against the wind you -2 to your movement total, and either side of directly against it you -1 to your movement total.

Every time you roll the movement die, you also roll the wind die, which is a d6 with 2 West movements (move the compass one space counterclockwise), 2 east movements (move the compass one space clockwise), 1 no movement (compass stays on current space) and one reverse movement (wind changes direction 180 degrees).

Hazard Dice
Whenever you enter a hex that has a land mass occupying it (either a coast line or island), you must roll the hazard die.You risk causing damage to your ship every time you roll the die. The idea is to discourage players from hugging coast lines and taking "shortcuts" to different ports. For example, you can hug the coast line of Jamaica and make it to a port on Cuba and make it in three movements, but must roll the hazard dice twice, or you can go around, taking 5 movements, but you only need to roll the hazard dice once. The player has the choice to go the fast way and risk damage, or play it safe and minimise that risk. It should be noted you do not have to roll the hazard dice to enter a port hex.

The dice is a d6, comprising of 2 damage sides, 3 safe sides, and an event side, which means the player takes an event card. These can either help or hinder a player/opponent, and often effects the prices of the market and/or cargo a player is carrying.

Combat
I wanted a simple combat mechanic because it is only a side part of a game that is designed as a trade game, not a war one. So far I have the attacking player and defending player roll three dice each.

Attacking dice: a d6 that has two 1 hit sides, one 2 hits side, one 3 hits side and 2 miss sides.
Defending dice: a d6 that has three 1 defence sides, one 2 defence sides, 1 miss side and 1 hit side.

The attacker adds up hit points and the defender adds up defence points. The difference (assuming there are more hits than defends) is the amount of damage the defending player takes. If the defender rolls one or more "hits", the attacking player must take that damage.

For every hit a player suffers, they must take a hit token and place it on their hull. Players have a grid representing their hull and how much cargo they can carry. A player cannot carry cargo on top of a damage token. If a hull is completely covered in damage tokens, the ship is sunk. If a ship is full of cargo, a unit must be thrown overboard to make room for the damage token. Ships can be repaired at friendly ports (as long as they are not sunk).

I think this system is simple enough. The only thing I would like to include is possibly a way for the defending player to retreat from a battle (the attacker can call it off at any time).

If this is the system I use, that's a total of 9 (or potential 12) dice in each game. Is that too many? If so, which ones can I get rid of? I'm also aware they might be pricy because they will all need to be custom made, but I'm prepared to take that on.

Any input would be greatly appreciated! :)

Orangebeard
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Matt201 wrote:Movement

Matt201 wrote:
Movement Dice
... I'm not sure whether to only have one movement die and they control one ship at a time, or have more than one dice (3 or 4) that players roll all at once (one for each ship they own) and then choose which roll they want to correspond to their ship?

I would think it would be easier to keep your fleet together with the "roll them all and apply them as you see fit" approach. Otherwise, a series of bad rolls could leave a ship floating in the middle of the ocean for several turns (unless you want that, of course :) )

Matt201 wrote:
<Wind Dice
...If you travel in the same direction as the wind, you add +1 to your movement total. If you travel one either side of the wind direction you keep your movement total the same. If you go directly against the wind you -2 to your movement total, and either side of directly against it you -1 to your movement total....

Simple; makes sense. I would definitely play test with this rule;

Matt201 wrote:
Every time you roll the movement die, you also roll the wind die, which is a d6 with 2 West movements (move the compass one space counterclockwise), 2 east movements (move the compass one space clockwise), 1 no movement (compass stays on current space) and one reverse movement (wind changes direction 180 degrees).

This could create some interesting situations in a battle where direction of the wind is changing rapidly. Could the wind direction be set for the entire round so the players aren't adjusting for the wind each turn?

Matt201 wrote:
<Hazard Dice
Whenever you enter a hex that has a land mass occupying it (either a coast line or island), you must roll the hazard die...

I like this rule; another good one for playtesting. I am assuming I wouldn't roll for hazards if I am moving into a land area with a port?

Matt201 wrote:
<Combat
I wanted a simple combat mechanic because it is only a side part of a game that is designed as a trade game, not a war one...A player cannot carry cargo on top of a damage token. If a hull is completely covered in damage tokens, the ship is sunk. If a ship is full of cargo, a unit must be thrown overboard to make room for the damage token...

I like the cargo rule; is the damaged ship also slowed? do ships need to be adjacent to attack?

Matt201 wrote:
...that's a total of 9 (or potential 12) dice in each game. Is that too many?...

I hate to answer a question with another question, but where do you picture the price point of the game being? Are there any places where the same die could have multiple uses? Could any of the custom dice be converted to standard dice?

Off to a great start here - good luck with your design!

Matt201
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Thanks a lot for all your

Thanks a lot for all your input, I really appreciate it! :D

Orangebeard wrote:
Matt201 wrote:
Movement Dice
... I'm not sure whether to only have one movement die and they control one ship at a time, or have more than one dice (3 or 4) that players roll all at once (one for each ship they own) and then choose which roll they want to correspond to their ship?

I would think it would be easier to keep your fleet together with the "roll them all and apply them as you see fit" approach. Otherwise, a series of bad rolls could leave a ship floating in the middle of the ocean for several turns (unless you want that, of course :) )

Thanks, you raise a good point and I'll think I'll stick with more than one movement die.

Orangebeard wrote:
Matt201 wrote:
Movement Dice
Every time you roll the movement die, you also roll the wind die, which is a d6 with 2 West movements (move the compass one space counterclockwise), 2 east movements (move the compass one space clockwise), 1 no movement (compass stays on current space) and one reverse movement (wind changes direction 180 degrees).

This could create some interesting situations in a battle where direction of the wind is changing rapidly. Could the wind direction be set for the entire round so the players aren't adjusting for the wind each turn?

hmm... that's true. The wind (statistically) will change a lot if every player rolls the wind dice at the start of their turn. Would players alternate rolling the dice at the start of each round, or would it fall upon the first player?

Orangebeard wrote:

Matt201 wrote:
Hazard Dice
Whenever you enter a hex that has a land mass occupying it (either a coast line or island), you must roll the hazard die...

I like this rule; another good one for playtesting. I am assuming I wouldn't roll for hazards if I am moving into a land area with a port?

Indeed that is true. Ports are considered "safe" from hazards, because well that's the sort of place you'd build a port :P

Orangebeard wrote:
Matt201 wrote:
Combat
I wanted a simple combat mechanic because it is only a side part of a game that is designed as a trade game, not a war one...A player cannot carry cargo on top of a damage token. If a hull is completely covered in damage tokens, the ship is sunk. If a ship is full of cargo, a unit must be thrown overboard to make room for the damage token...

I like the cargo rule; is the damaged ship also slowed? do ships need to be adjacent to attack?

I imagine that the attacking player would need a movement total great enough to physically reach the hex that the defender occupies, but does not enter it, they fight (like you said) adjacently.

As for slowing down. I never actually thought of that, and it's a really great idea. If a ship is damaged enough, it will never have a movement total high enough to move against the wind, for example, which is a neat little representation of sails being destroyed. One possible problem is deciding how much damage corresponds to how much you are slowed down...

Orangebeard wrote:
Matt201 wrote:
...that's a total of 9 (or potential 12) dice in each game. Is that too many?...

I hate to answer a question with another question, but where do you picture the price point of the game being? Are there any places where the same die could have multiple uses? Could any of the custom dice be converted to standard dice?

Off to a great start here - good luck with your design!

Not too sure really. I imagine it to be more on the expensive side due mostly to the sheer amount of components I'll need (including the dice, ship pieces, hazard cards and pieces representing both cargo [I worked it out to be about 260 pieces] and damage, as well as game board, rule set and other things like market price and ship ledgers).

So during the play testing phase, I'm sure there will be a lot of cuts, but presently I'm not too worried about cost, as long as the components make sense.

Once again, thanks so much for your input, it really really helps!

mindwarper10
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Joined: 06/13/2010
I just wanted to make a note,

I just wanted to make a note, don't change the each player changing the wind direction, because ;
1: It can make some players feel "left out" if you only need one player to change the wind.
2: realistically the wind can change on a whim, especially on open places like the sea, (though its far more likely on land where your inside a bowl shaped place...damn Alamogordo New Mexico...don't miss livin there...lol) one second the wind can favor you, start to drift into a different direction, or make a total flip just as you have it right now.
3: I really don't know what I was goiing to put for 3...but it is nice to have more than two points aint it? so here is 3. because I said so! *joke.

voodoodog
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Joined: 07/02/2012
Squall on the horizon!

I agree with Orangebeard and Mindwarper's thoughts about the wind. I like the idea of having one player roll for wind at the start of each round, rather than each move. Otherwise it's a topsy-turvy maelstrom to rival Hurricane Sandy. Take turns alternating who rolls (clockwise around the table) to eliminate any player feeling "left out" from having a hand in the wind conditions.
Regarding your original question about "Too many dice?" 9 (or less) should be adequate, 12 seems like a lot, especially when you factor in the additional manufacturing cost of each additional die. I'm no mathematician, but I'm sure that you could pare the number down and use a smaller combination of dice to achieve the same results.

Matt201
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turn vs round

I've been playing around just by myself with a standard d6 to see how it plays out, and the wind direction and did a forty roll test assuming every player rolled on their turn. Here are the results of which way the wind was facing every turn for player one AFTER they had rolled the wind die: (it should be noted that there are no "spaces for North and South- it goes from SE straight to SW and from NW straight to NE. East and West have dedicated spaces)

~wind starts East~
TURN ONE: SE
TURN TWO: SE
TURN THREE: SW
TURN FOUR: NW
TURN FIVE: W
TURN SIX: NE
TURN SEVEN: NW
TURN EIGHT: NE
TURN NINE: NE
TURN TEN: NE

Player Two:
~SE before roll~
TURN ONE: SW
TURN TWO: E
TURN THREE: W
TURN FOUR: SE
TURN FIVE: SW
TURN SIX: E
TURN SEVEN: SE
TURN EIGHT: E
TURN NINE: E
TURN TEN: SW

Player Three
~SW before roll~
TURN ONE: SE
TURN TWO: SE
TURN THREE: NW
TURN FOUR: SW
TURN FIVE: NE
TURN SIX: SE
TURN SEVEN: E
TURN EIGHT: SE
TURN NINE: NE
TURN TEN: W

Player Four
~SE before roll~
TURN ONE: SW
TURN TWO: NW
TURN THREE: W
TURN FOUR: SW
TURN FIVE: E
TURN SIX: SE
TURN SEVEN: NE
TURN EIGHT: E
TURN NINE: NE
TURN TEN: NW

In terms of East vs West, you could assume that each player could safely plan a journey in one direction and that on each of their turns they could expect the wind to be facing a consistent direction to their last turn. North vs South was a little less predicable, as it jumped fairly regularly at some points, but Player 1 and 2 seemed to have pretty consistent wind movement for the entire 10 rounds.

Pretty interesting to look at really...

abdantas
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Joined: 11/13/2012
Have you thought about having

Have you thought about having it so that whenever you roll a specific number on your movement dice then you'll roll the wind dice?

JustActCasual
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Joined: 11/20/2012
Overboard

Why not throw the combat mechanic overboard? It seems like it's very marginal to how you want the game experience to play. If you do feel you NEED a combat mechanic, why not tie it in further to the awesome hull mechanic: to be able to attack a ship needs to spend hull space on cannons but automatically damages without defense, or in a combat the defending ship always takes 2~3 damage to the attackers 1? Personally I prefer the cannon solution to encourage different strategies across players while pumping the core gameplay and eliminating some dice rolling (which is random, slow, cluttering, and adds to AP).

Overall this many dice should not be too much of a cost concern, but you might think of stickering rather than custom printing since you want a couple of different types: stickering also has the advantage of more artistic detail. You also definitely want different colours of dice for the types to speed gameplay. If you want some quick price estimates for Print on Demand check out the Gamecrafter site: I think they are able to make all the components you listed.

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