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"do you prefer to roll dice low or roll high?" Topic

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24 May 2017 2:49 p.m. PST
by Editor in Chief Bill

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daler240D25 Nov 2016 4:16 a.m. PST

Some rules have you pass a test or succeed at an action by rolling BELOW a number, some ABOVE a number. While I know mathematically the world is agnostic to the difference, I still always preferred to roll a high number. Maybe this is from my D&D days when I started gaming, but I think it may be from childhood games where the dice roll determined how "far" you could move on the gameboard with your Monopoly or Parcheesi piece. Higher numbers were always rewarded in those games. Yet some miniatures rules want you to roll below a number. I think it would be a better world and be easier to move between different games if it were a standard that rolling high was usually better for the roller. What do you think?

a.) it doesn't matter, I can shift my mindset between different games with great agility and/or I only play one game anyway.

b.)I prefer rolling low numbers and wish this was the standard

c.)I prefer rolling high numbers and I wish this was the standard.


warwell25 Nov 2016 4:19 a.m. PST

d. trying to impose a standard is an exercise in futility

Personally, I prefer to roll high

GarrisonMiniatures25 Nov 2016 4:24 a.m. PST

For me, dice always roll a 1 or 2 so…

Mako1125 Nov 2016 4:25 a.m. PST

Generally low, though I can see the flipside, especially when you want to add on "positive" modifiers, and/or subtract the "negative" ones.

Black Hat Miniatures25 Nov 2016 4:27 a.m. PST

I don't mind provided the rules are consistent – which invariably they aren't – usually high for firing and low for morale.

Martian Empires was designed so that rolling low is always good….

advocate25 Nov 2016 5:02 a.m. PST

High is good, low is bad.

Andy Skinner Supporting Member of TMP25 Nov 2016 5:23 a.m. PST

d: Consistency is what is important. Don't switch back and forth.

My son and I have played Chain of Command. Most dice are roll high in that game, and we often figure out who is supposed to roll a die by whether you want to roll high.

usually decide who rolls a die by who benefits from a high number. So we thought the shooting player would roll all the dice involved in shooting. But the rules say that the defender rolls the effect dice. That surprised us. Sometimes we still do it our way, because it doesn't matter.


Personal logo Shaun Travers Supporting Member of TMP25 Nov 2016 5:37 a.m. PST

I prefer high, but I do not really mind very much so long as rules are consistent in that rolling high is always good or always bad.

KSmyth25 Nov 2016 6:13 a.m. PST

The dice have a mind of their own. They choose to roll the opposite of what I need. It doesn't matter.

Winston Smith25 Nov 2016 6:49 a.m. PST

Whichever works for the game intent.

Dynaman878925 Nov 2016 7:04 a.m. PST

A – but try to keep in consistent! Needing to roll high sometimes and low other times is annoying.

Personal logo Jeff Ewing Supporting Member of TMP25 Nov 2016 7:20 a.m. PST

I'll make my comment the inverse of Mako 11's -- I prefer to roll high, but I can see the value of trying to roll under a target number -- your own "skill" for example. I suppose my preference comes from d20 roleplaying, where 20 is generally a critical success and 1 is a fumble.

JMcCarroll Supporting Member of TMP25 Nov 2016 7:35 a.m. PST

Anything but a 6!

PJ ONeill25 Nov 2016 7:52 a.m. PST

JMc- You are entirely wrong on that, it's "Anything but a 1 !"

Cosmic Reset25 Nov 2016 7:59 a.m. PST

AS long as the result is an even number, I don't care.

nazrat25 Nov 2016 8:36 a.m. PST

A) for me. As long as it's consistent within the game itself I care not whether I need to roll low or high for successes.

Griefbringer25 Nov 2016 8:52 a.m. PST

I prefer to roll high, but I can see the value of trying to roll under a target number -- your own "skill" for example.

I think there are several ways to handle skill rolls:

1.) To succeed, roll equal or UNDER the skill score (high skill scores good, low rolls good)
2.) To succeed, roll equal or OVER the skill score (low skill scores good, high rolls good)
3.) To succeed, add skill score to roll and try to get equal or over a target number, which is dependent on the difficulty of the task (high skill score good, high roll good, low target number good)

If you want to have positive modifiers indicate improved chances of success, then in case 1.) they should be added to the skill score, in case 2.) to the roll and in case 3.) to either of them.

Joes Shop Supporting Member of TMP25 Nov 2016 8:58 a.m. PST


Personal logo javelin98 Supporting Member of TMP25 Nov 2016 9:08 a.m. PST


vtsaogames25 Nov 2016 9:34 a.m. PST

I prefer high but mostly want rules to be biased all one way. That way I don't have to remember that high rolls are good except for morale and something else.

I think the game designer should work to harder on the design so all die rolls are biased the same way. More work on the design, less on playing.

Nothing as irritating as rolling low until you get to a morale test, then roll six and rout.

Weasel25 Nov 2016 10:49 a.m. PST

Ideally all rolls should go the same way as Vtsaogames suggests.

I tend to slightly prefer systems where you roll under a target number, because I came from RPG's like Runequest and GURPS.
It doesn't really bug me though and it's never a decisive factor in picking a game.

Personal logo Doctor X Supporting Member of TMP25 Nov 2016 11:49 a.m. PST


More is always better!

Timmo uk25 Nov 2016 12:04 p.m. PST


MajorB25 Nov 2016 12:33 p.m. PST

To quote a certain ex magazine editor: "Roll 'em high!"

Winston Smith25 Nov 2016 3:29 p.m. PST

I may be the odd one here, but I actually like rolling high for combat and low for morale. This way, if the dice have a bias, it will come out in the wash.

If I were playing Age of Reason with someone, and he said "I roll these dice for shooting and these for morale", I would suspect something. grin

14th NJ Vol Supporting Member of TMP25 Nov 2016 4:24 p.m. PST

Most of the games I play higher is better, so I roll low. Always!

Sundance25 Nov 2016 5:59 p.m. PST

As an old, hard-core ASL player, I prefer to roll low, but I have learned to adapt to the game I'm playing.

Personal logo etotheipi Sponsoring Member of TMP26 Nov 2016 3:54 a.m. PST

e. It depends on what is being represented and how.

If you represent and accumulate difficulty with your stats, rolling high follows that model. If you represent skill and accumulate proficiency with your stats rolling low makes more sense.

The target is in difficulty 3 terrain. Smoke between the shooter and the target increases difficulty by one. Beat a 4 to hit.

My sniper skill is 2. The target has been in my field of vision for 3 turns, increasing my odds of hitting by one. Roll a 3 or less to hit.

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP26 Nov 2016 10:35 a.m. PST

It is all

Perception: If one plane is firing on another, high hits are 'high amounts' of hits. Low numbers for high hits could be considered 'counter-intuitive.'

Ease of recognition/calculation: How much is there to add and subtract in the way of modifiers etc. One reason column shifts on tables are appreciated. I think that the high and low rolls for different things like combat and morale can be confusing. I just played a game using the new rules Before Napoleon [SYW/AWI], and the combat rolls and some morale rolls for success were high, but the command and end turn brigade morale rolls were low… and all four could follow each other closely. I found it confusing in what was otherwise an interesting set of rules.

What is being represented: The dice represent the probability of something happening in real combat… so, if the odds are low for an event [a hit], Would you have a high roll or low roll represent that? Perception in a wargame gets into the 'guided pretending' of simulation design. The perceived link between reality and the game mechanic. So etotheipi's example:

My sniper skill is 2. The target has been in my field of vision for 3 turns, increasing my odds of hitting by one. Roll a 3 or less to hit.

So, do those odds represent the actual probability for a sniper with that skill to hit something?[The odds came from some account/study being represented] And for the player, would a higher set of numbers , to hit 4 or more, make more 'sense' in that the sniper's chances of hitting the target are increasing?

War Panda26 Nov 2016 2:46 p.m. PST

The context is important IMO.
If it's the attacker and the dice result represents a successful high rate of fire causing high casualties then it just makes sense to use a high die roll to represent this

Mark Plant26 Nov 2016 9:27 p.m. PST

I may be the odd one here, but I actually like rolling high for combat and low for morale. This way, if the dice have a bias, it will come out in the wash.

You're not alone.

I prefer games where a loaded dice provides no advantage.

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP26 Nov 2016 11:50 p.m. PST

I prefer games where a loaded dice provides no advantage.

Me too! However, I am famously a bad roller regardless. Everyone wants me on the other side.

CeruLucifus27 Nov 2016 6:55 p.m. PST

I prefer game systems where a higher target is more difficult and a higher roll is a better roll, because it "feels right" for positive modifiers to be better and negative modifiers to be worse. The difficulty chart can also be open-ended with this method.

My observation also is that players are more comfortable adding their skill modifiers to the die roll than any other method.

Part time gamer04 Sep 2017 2:17 a.m. PST

Kind of 'old school' when it comes to the die roll. As a kid 6 was always good and 1's bad.

When I played my 1st game where morale & command rolls were involved, it confused the daylights out of me. Especially when all combat was "higher is better."

The only way I learned to make sense of it (and stop the headaches), was to quietly remind myself:

For Morale rolls 'the die roll represents the level of fear my troops are feeling'. So Low is good.

For Command rolls, the die roll represents the 'Fog of War'. The dangers & confusion of battle, "as to whether or not the CO's orders got thru." Again Low is good.

On the dice subject, does any one know of a maker that still makes the Eight Sided D4's? I hate that pyramid, its heel to pick up!

Ottoathome04 Sep 2017 7:08 a.m. PST

I prefer low. Makes the arithmetic easier.

UshCha04 Sep 2017 12:28 p.m. PST

I would agree that at least in a game it needs to be consistant. In addition it should be the same soloution. I.e X or more or More than X. It should not stray within the rules. High or low is statistically abitry so whichever makes sence as the minimum based on the design.

RudyNelson04 Sep 2017 1:17 p.m. PST

Since all gaming dice are unbalanced to some degree due to air bubbles, different density of mixed materials for example, I have always s favored mixed positive results.

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