Do wargames need dice?

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Do wargames need dice?

Post by SpaceMonkey on Fri Jan 01, 2010 12:00 am

I was wondering do wargames need dice? Can some other system, like card drawing, remove the need for dice? Anyone have any ideas?

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Re: Do wargames need dice?

Post by SpaceMonkey on Fri Jan 01, 2010 1:52 am

The reason I bring this up is I have just seen the release of Malifaux. It reminded me of a set of rules I was designing a while back. It was a Wild West skirmish game. Each player had a hand of 6-8 playing cards. They would use these cards to activate individual models and perform actions. Some actions and characters would cost more to perform or activate than others, so you would have to play high value or multiple cards to perform these actions, thus spending or using up your hand of cards. If you won (bought) initiate and used all your cards in the beginning you were unable to perform any actions or protect your models when it was the other players turn. It was all about swings and roundabouts (what you lose on the swings, you gain on the roundabouts). I like a game that lets you balance your decisions and choices over what you can gain. This makes for an interesting game.
I do like dice but maybe they can introduce too much of a random element.

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Re: Do wargames need dice?

Post by SpaceMonkey on Fri Jan 01, 2010 5:53 am

Here is the basic idea of a Wild West skirmish game with the card dynamics I was working on.

Player Z controls a Sheriff, with Shooting Skill of 5, wants to take a shot at a Gunslinger, controlled by Player X.

The Player Z has three choices:

Option 1: Draw ONE card from the Deck and reveal it to all. If the card is lower than 5 then action fails and it now becomes the other players turn. If the card is equal to or greater than 5 then the Action Succeeds. The card revealed goes into the discard pile.

Option 2: Play a card/cards from their Hand. Player Z chooses a card or cards from their hand that the sum is equal to or greater than 5 and plays it on the table. If the sum is equal to or greater than 5 then the Action Succeeds. The card/cards revealed go into the discard pile.

Option 3: Pass. It is now Player X’s turn

Action Succeeds:
If the Action Succeeds we must see how much damage is done to the Gunslinger. In my original plan for the game this would be done by rolling dice but it could be done like this:

Player Z has two choices:
Player Z Option 1: may draw ONE card from the Deck and reveal it to all. This is the damage Player Z is hoping they will cause the Gunslinger.
Player X now may react to the card drawn. To protect the Gunslinger Player X must now equal or beat the card drawn. They have three choices:
Player X Option 1: may also draw ONE card from the deck
Player X Option 2: play ONE or MORE cards from their Hand
Player X Option 3: let the card drawn go unchallenged and take the full damage it states.

Compare Results and Calculating Damage:
If Player X’s card/cards do not beat Player Z’s card total then the Gunslinger will suffer the amount of damage shown on Players Z’s card minus Players X’s card/cards. Once all calculations are completed the card/cards revealed go into the discard pile.

E.g. Player Z draws an 8 and Player X plays a 2 and a 4 from their hand. The Gunslinger will suffer 2 points of damage (2+4-8=2). All card/cards revealed go into the discard pile.

Player Z Option 2: may select ONE or MORE cards from their hand and play it/them FACE DOWN on the table.
Player X now may react to the card/cards played. To protect the Gunslinger Player X must now equal or beat the card drawn. They have three choices:
Player X Option 1: may draw ONE card from the deck. Player X reveals the card first then Player Z reveals their card/cards.
Player X Option 2: play ONE or MORE cards from their Hand. Player X reveals their card/cards first then Player Z reveals their card/cards.
Player X Option 3: let the card drawn go unchallenged and take the full damage it states.

The result is calculated as with Compare Results and Calculating Damage above.

E.g. Player selects two cards from their hand and places them face down on the table. Player X is worried and doesn’t want to lose their Gunslinger so they play three cards face up with the total of 23. Player Z reveals that the two cards they played totalled 6 (Player Z was just trying to draw cards off Player X). The Gunslinger suffers no damaged (6-23=-17). All card/cards revealed go into the discard pile.

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Re: Do wargames need dice?

Post by SpaceMonkey on Fri Jan 01, 2010 5:48 pm

Here is another version

Version 2

Player Z controls a Sheriff, with Shooting Skill of 5, wants to take a shot at a Gunslinger, controlled by Player X.

The Player Z has three choices:

Option 1: Draw ONE card from the Deck and reveal it to all. If the card is lower than or equal to the Shooting Skill (e.g. 5) then Action Fails and it now becomes Player X’s turn. If the card is greater than the Shooting Skill (e.g. 5) then the Action Succeeds. See Action Succeeds.

Option 2: Plays a card/cards from their Hand FACE DOWN on the table. Player Z chooses a card or cards from their hand that the sum of MUST BE greater than the Shooting Skill (e.g. 5). See Action Succeeds.

Option 3: Pass. It is now Player X’s turn

Action Succeeds:
Player Z must now subtract the Skill number from the Sum of the card/cards revealed/played. This will give you the amount of Total of Possible Damage done. See Calculating Actual Damage.

E.g.1: Player Z draws an 8 out of the deck (this card is played FACE UP and revealed to all so both players can see its total). The Shooting Skill number of the Sheriff is 5. So 8-5=3. 3 is the Total of Possible Damaged done to the Gunslinger. See Calculating Actual Damage.

E.g. 2: Player Z played two cards from their hand totalling 12 (these cards are played FACE DOWN so Player X does not know their total yet). The Shooting Skill number of the Sheriff is 5. So 12-5=7. 7 is the Total of Possible Damaged done to the Gunslinger. See Calculating Actual Damage.

Calculating Actual Damage:
Player X now may react to the card/cards drawn/played. To protect the Gunslinger Player X must now equal or beat the Total of Possible Damage. They have three choices:
Option 1: They may draw ONE card from the deck and reveal it.
Option 2: Play ONE or MORE cards, FACE UP, from their Hand.
Option 3: Let the card/cards drawn/played go unchallenged and suffer the full amount of Total of Possible Damage.

To calculate Actual Damage to the character you must subtract Total of Possible Damage from the total of the card/cards drawn/played by Player X. This will give Actual Damage. If the result is 0 see Flesh Wounds.

E.g. 1: Player X sees that they only have to beat a 3 (see E.g. 1 above) but the lowest card they have, in their hand, is a 9. They don’t want to waste it so they draw a card from the deck and get a 2 (bad luck). So 3-2=1. 1 is the Actual Damage the Gunslinger suffers.

E.g. 2: Player X CAN NOT see the total of the two cards that Player Z has played (see E.g. 2 above). He is scared and does not want to lose the Gunslinger so he plays three cards from his hand that total 7 (he has a really bad hand). All cards are revealed. So 7-7=0. 0 is the Actual Damage the Gunslinger receives which is a Flesh Wound. See Flesh Wound.

E.g. 3: Player X draws/plays card/cards totalling 12. So 3-12= -9 (see E.g. 1) or 7-12= -5 (see E.g. 2). The Gunslinger receives no damage.


Flesh Wounds:
If the result is 0 then it is considered a Flesh Wound. A Flesh Wound do not cause any damage but still affect Morale.

At the end of the round all cards revealed go into the discard pile.

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Re: Do wargames need dice?

Post by S W Dickson on Sat Jan 02, 2010 11:28 am

Sounds similar to the way some people play wargames - with a twist.

What I refer to is the "rolled dice pool".

Instead of picking your dice up and rolling only when required - they roll about forty at the beginning of their turn, picking those they want when needed. Ultimately they will run out of "good" results of course, but it means they can get the results they want for whatever essential part they need to conclude this turn, whilst the less important stuff is left hanging.

An interesting take. It works well for Wild West especially - always nice to have playing cards on the table... (but what do you use your half bottle of Rye Whiskey for?)

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Re: Do wargames need dice?

Post by SpaceMonkey on Mon Jan 04, 2010 11:23 pm

"...what do you use your half bottle of Rye Whiskey for?"
Drink it! You haven’t been to one of my games nights. We never been able to finished a game of Talisman, seeing as we usually play it as a drinking game Wink

I’ve hear of dice pools system before, it just feels a bit like cheating to me. I like cards because there is are limited amounts of a card. You can use this in your strategy: Will you hold onto the 6 of diamonds because the other guy needs it to use a special ability or play it and put it back into the discard deck knowing that it will be reshuffled and come back into play?; Three kings have been played already the chances that the other guy will have the other one is slim but do I still risk it?; etc. It sounds a little like card counting but there are a lot of strategies you can generate with a close random generating system like cards as apposed to and open random generating system like dice.

I agree, using cards in a Wild West game is good because of the atmosphere it generates. When I think of all the old westerns I see people riding horses, shoot outs and saloons with people always playing cards in it somewhere. In fact that is what made me think of the idea in the first place. I think when you are playing a game anything that can help you lose yourself into it is good. Mind you I was never the sort that would get dressed up for a RPG.

I’ll have to keep working on this Wild West game. I’ll try and post what I have and come up with. What should I call it? Maybe I should call it “Wild Faro” or “Six Aces and a Gut Full of Lead”. Any suggestions?

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Re: Do wargames need dice?

Post by Lanrak on Mon Jan 11, 2010 4:00 am

HI all.
Do wargames need dice?
Short answer NO.

But if you want to have a random element in your wargame , dice or cards are the common alternatives I can think of.(You could use 'spinners' or a computer to randomly generate numbers . )

Some wargames use finete values , and its just the skill of the players that decide the outcome.

But most players like the random element ...

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Re: Do wargames need dice?

Post by S W Dickson on Mon Jan 11, 2010 10:48 am

I think dice are cool cos they're so easy to find in your house. Everyone's got a copy of monopoly or something somewhere with a couple of D6 in it - and have used them since they were teeny tiny children. Cards are funny things, sometimes you just can't find them (they don't live in big game boxes usually).

But yeah, for something to be a "game", I reckon some form of random element is necessary. Otherwise it turns into a sport, where the skill and talent of the players become the only focus.

I love my old cards and cardstock games though. I got a copy of "lost valley of the dinosaurs" when I was young, with bullet tokens and "chance encounter" cards - that plus the slow inevitable creep of the lava flow certainly opened my eyes to games like Hero Quest and Space Marine.

That and a misspent youth reading 2000AD, listening to Heavy Metal and watching Aliens.

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Re: Do wargames need dice?

Post by sucramreverse on Mon Jan 11, 2010 10:56 am

I know I would prefer dice. Tabletop gamers are superstitious about their dice, and I have fallen into that. Dice have just become the accepted way to settle disputes in our groups, and since wargames are a lot of disputes, dice seem to be the natural choice.

But no, they aren't required.
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