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"Balancing the Dice" Topic

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136 hits since 1 Jan 2018
©1994-2018 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP01 Jan 2018 4:58 a.m. PST

I've seen it done, and I am not strongly opposed, but with shorter rules or unfamiliar rules "high is good" or "low is good" creates less confusion, and I don't think "lucky" dice are that much of a problem. An actual cheat won't be stopped that easily.

Frederick Supporting Member of TMP01 Jan 2018 8:15 a.m. PST

God no – it is hard enough for me to remember whether high or low is better let alone figure out which one applies

Personal logo etotheipi Sponsoring Member of TMP01 Jan 2018 11:00 a.m. PST

The rules have absolutely no way to compensate for "lucky" dice.

The only thing a rules writer, without a detailed analysis of the specific pattern of a specific die can do is make a blanket assumption about bias and apply a compensating mechanic. But since it isn't tuned to the specific dice being used at the time, over the infinite range of possible types of "non-perfect" dice, such a compensation makes no difference.

That is, it will bring some abnormalities to a perfect distribution, bring others closer but not perfect, and make the bias worse for still others. In the average, it makes zero difference.

Basically, without specific knowledge about the bias for which to make the adjustment, picking a compensation approach is just a crap shoot.

Personal logo brass1 Supporting Member of TMP01 Jan 2018 11:50 a.m. PST

In a hobby where everyone claims to have the worst possible luck rolling dice, I don't see the point to a. introducing added complexity, no matter how slight, to the die-rolling process, and b. endangering a treasured post-game ritual.


Personal logo Mserafin Supporting Member of TMP01 Jan 2018 4:15 p.m. PST

What is the baseline prevalence of unbalanced dice? Do they tend to be unbalanced in the same ways? If there were evidence that unbalanced dice were common, wouldn't that be something for the dice manufacturers to sort out, as it would represent a flaw in their product?

Or you could just use Las Vegas casino dice, they are supposedly made to spec so as to be balanced.

Personal logo miniMo Supporting Member of TMP01 Jan 2018 7:38 p.m. PST

There is a huge number of unbalanced dice on the market, and they are skewed to rolling 1s!

So in fact, if you need to roll high in a game, and you're using the very popular small dice with rounded corners your dice *do* hate you. The Chessex style dice can have ~29% chance of rolling a 1.

Big squarish Yahtzee style dice are your most fair dice at an economy price. I have a number of set of balanced Backgammon dice (easier to handle than the large Casino dice); and when I use them I offer some for opponents to use as well and explain why they might want to.

Big Red Supporting Member of TMP01 Jan 2018 7:39 p.m. PST

Everyone use the same dice? Or use a deck of unmarked cards instead of dice?

Parzival01 Jan 2018 11:22 p.m. PST

I was being a devil's advocate in my comment linked above, so in keeping with that, I vote "no." evil grin

I am reluctant to say "should" as a firm requirement on anything gaming related, as whatever brings enjoyment for the players is the real standard for game rules, IMHO. On the other hand, I do in some of my rules create situations where high results are better and others where low results are better. But the situations suit the nature of the situation and are easy and clear to remember. For example, in my homebrew AWI rules, high rolls are needed in combat to inflict hits. But after hits are inflicted, a morale roll is compared to the surviving figures in the unit, with doubling or tripling this number resulting in retreats and routs. Since the controlling player makes the morale roll, he wants to roll low numbers to keep his units in good order. Distinctly different situations, but easy to differentiate. (Plus, for the target in both situations, high numbers are bad, while for the attacker, low numbers are bad.) However, the two approaches really aren't from a desire to create "balance" for the dice; rather that the calculation for each makes the most mathematical sense and ease in the situation.

Rallynow Supporting Member of TMP02 Jan 2018 1:22 p.m. PST

What is it with wargamers and their dice fetish? I blame D&D for starting all of this. Just shut up and roll the dice!

Personal logo Striker Supporting Member of TMP02 Jan 2018 4:31 p.m. PST

D&D was easy. Always roll high, easy.

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