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"0, 1, and 2 Dice" Topic

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1,045 hits since 16 Dec 2015
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HidaSeku Inactive Member16 Dec 2015 6:14 p.m. PST

Wizards of the Coast produces a board game called Betrayal at House on the Hill that is pretty fun. One of the core mechanics is rolling a number of dice equal to a stat, and comparing that to either someone else's roll or a particular target (ex: 2+)

The dice, in particular, are rather interesting. They are six-sided dice with two blank facings, two single pip facings, and two double pip facings. Thus, each die is either a 0, a 1, or a 2. Mathematically, it's the same as 1d3-1, but in use they are quite quick to use.

What I was curious about (and why I'm posting this topic) is whether these dice would be useful for various wargaming? I've used all the various polyhedrons (d4, d6, d8, d10, d12, d20) and multiple variations thereof (2d6, "d100" d66, etc). However, I think these 0,1,2 dice have some use in game design.

One thing they are very good at is making it possible for someone worse at something to beat someone better at something. 8 dice vs 2 dice sounds unbeatable using any of the regular die sets. With the 0,1,2 dice it's not likely but a lot more likely. I can see this being a good way to calculate combat between, say, green troops and veteran troops. Or perhaps the result of morale, or any number of things that can come up in wargaming.

Has anyone seen dice like these used in wargaming? Has anyone considered using these in a wargame? I, personally, think it would be pretty nifty!

thorr666 Inactive Member16 Dec 2015 6:27 p.m. PST

Isn't that just fudge dice?

Personal logo Shaun Travers Supporting Member of TMP16 Dec 2015 6:35 p.m. PST

The original Justified Ancients used opposed 1d3 dice rolls for melee. It was the degree of difference that was important (no half or double as in DBA). Made the modifiers very important. So while not 0,1,2 it was 1,2,3; but 0,1,2 would work the same.

HidaSeku Inactive Member16 Dec 2015 6:39 p.m. PST

Interesting about Justified Ancients… I'll have to look that up.

thorr666, it's similar to fudge dice but somewhat different. Fudge dice are 0, +, or -, so will average 0 no matter how many dice are used. The average when using the 0,1,2 dice is that the more dice, the higher the average, so 8 dice would average 8 instead of 0. The key is that there is still the possibility of a zero value result, or numerous low end results (1,2,3) that can be beat by only 2 dice that are lucky and roll high (2,2)

emckinney16 Dec 2015 6:47 p.m. PST

That's functionally identical to fudge dice. An all-zeros result is equivalent to all -. An all 2s result is equivalent to all +. Just imagine that the – are relabled "0," 0 is "1," and + is "2."

surdu2005 Sponsoring Member of TMP17 Dec 2015 4:12 a.m. PST

From a design perspective, so non-missile combat (i.e., melee, hand-to-hand, etc.), there is something intuitively appealing to a mechanism in which your roll different sided dice based on your skill. As HidaSeku originally postulated, there is a chance that the lower-skilled person might prevail. If I am rolling a d20, and you are rolling a d4, there is a small chance that you could win. This presumes opposed die rolls, which I think has an intuitive feel for hand-to-hand or other opposed actions. (I don't think it has the same intuitive feel for shooting.) Opposed die rolls have been used in many, many games.

There are two drawbacks to this method, I think. The first is that d4 to d12 is not enough of a spread. Adding two sides to a die changes the expected value of the die by 1. E(d4) is 2.5. E(d6) is 3.5. E(d8) is 4.5. And so on. If you want to change the die you roll based on table situation (e.g., hitting the flank, you are wounded, etc.), 4 to 10 doesn't give enough variance. Rolling two dice between d12 and d20 changes the math. So, I found a couple of on-line sites that produce dice in d16, d18, d22, and d24. This gives enough differentiation, but is a bit expensive, since these dice aren't commonly available.

This leads to the second problem -- finding the right die. "Okay, I started with a d8 and had three positive modifiers. Where is the #$#!@# d14?!" As I was collecting these dice, I was careful that each die type is a different color. From d4 to d24, making sure that each was a different color was a bid difficult. As a GM, I can say, look for the purple one, the light blue one, or whatever. This helps. Still I have had gamers complain that they have to know whether to roll a d20 or a d6 in a given situation -- and that's only two die types.

So…. I have it in my head to try out the multi-dice idea at home for something like gladiators, but with other projects, like my recently released Combat Patrol, this just hasn't been a priority.

Buck Surdu

HidaSeku Inactive Member17 Dec 2015 11:05 a.m. PST

I remember the chart in Battlesystem which had a column for d14, d16, and d18 and although that game didn't need them to play I always wanted to get some. I'm glad you are putting them to use, Buck Surdu!

Last Hussar17 Dec 2015 12:34 p.m. PST

Technically a fudge die is a d3-2

Umpapa17 Dec 2015 3:13 p.m. PST

I am using exactly the system described by Surudu for years, with good enough effect.

surdu2005 Sponsoring Member of TMP18 Dec 2015 5:28 a.m. PST


Do new players have difficulty finding the right die?


surdu2005 Sponsoring Member of TMP18 Dec 2015 5:49 a.m. PST


I have dice from d4 up to d24 in all the even numbers. (Of course you can use a coin as a d2 if you really want one.) Sometimes you can find some odd-numbered dice, like d7, but I don't see the value of them. The even numbered ones are sufficient.

Right now, however, I have spent the last three years designing a system that doesn't use dice at all. I built the charts and then tore them apart and put them on a deck of 50 cards. I think it's really elegant. If interested, you can see some posts about Combat Patrol elsewhere on TMP.


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