Home Forums General Game Design Down with DRMs! A Modest Proposal

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  • #162114
    vtsaogames
    Participant

    I have a modest proposal for rules designers, a minor detail, easily built into new game designs, with minor results. I have seen it in a few other games. Instead of the ubiquitous DRMs (Die Roll Modifiers), switch to TNMs (Target Number Modifiers). Whenever people apply DRMs in a game, they then do a small calculation to see what number they are trying to roll. For example, assume a D6 test that succeeds on 4+. Two different negative modifiers apply, subtracting a total of two from the die roll. Before rolling, the player calculates that only a 6 will succeed. If there are many die rolls during the game and many of them are modified, that many calculations will be made. This isn’t a deal breaker and I won’t throw out a good set of rules because they use DRMs.

     

    I do think game designers should take it on themselves to do as much work as possible in their game designs to spare players from onerous calculations. A few years back at a convention, I played an Old School miniatures game that saw multi-step combat and morale resolutions that required multiplication and division. With large units, it looked great and hurt my head. While playing the game I thought how much faster the game would have played if we had used the combat systems from Bloody Big Battles, for instance. In that game 2D6 cross-referenced with a table yields results in short order for firing or close assaults. Morale is built into the movement table. While the Old School game had a retro feel to it, that is why I have moved on to newer designs.

    In the example above where a D6 test succeeds on 4+, if two modifiers against the tester apply, then add 2 to the target number (which the player using DRMs will have to do anyway). It’s not a big deal but saves the players a little brain power that they can spend on trying to outwit the foe instead. All it requires is switching the modifiers. Any modifier that hurts the testing player is positive and any that help are negative. It may sound contrary but removes a small and unnecessary chore, simplifying the game without changing the overall design a bit.

     

    Now to get my “Down with DRMs” sign and picket outside game publishers, claiming it is all a massive conspiracy…

    It's never too late to have a happy childhood

    #162134
    John D Salt
    Participant

    I’m completely baffled as to what is being proposed here.

    I could understand preferring modifying the number of dice rolled, in preference to the score for success, in order to reduce the amount of calculation.

    But as far as I can see, whether you think of it as adding to the target number or subtracting from the number rolled (or vice versa) makes not a skerrick of difference. Either way, you will be looking for scores of x or more to count as successes.

    All the best,

    John.

    #162138
    vtsaogames
    Participant

    John, my suggestion is to stop modifying the die roll (which makes the player calculate what target number is needed) by simply modifying the target number instead. That small calculation is removed from the game, done by the game designer before the game. A small operation, but one removed from every modified die roll in the game. It doesn’t change the odds, just a slight streamlines the calculation.

     

    Yes, looking at the same score but why make the player do any extra math? Especially if more than one modifier applies and some of them are more than -1 or +1. I’m a retired programmer and DRM strikes me as having an extra step.

     

    Hope that makes sense.

    It's never too late to have a happy childhood

    #162141
    MartinR
    Participant

    What works largely depends on whether you are happier adding/subtracting DRMs or looking up numbers in some sort of table.

    I’m a list type person, so tables and charts suit me, but I know lots of people hate them. I loathe long lists of DRMs, but other people like them. So I guess this stuff is a matter of personal preference.

    "Mistakes in the initial deployment cannot be rectified" - Helmuth von Moltke

    #162144
    Mike
    Keymaster

    I thought this was a case of needing 4 or more to hit with a -1 to the die roll and rather than saying that, you say you need a 5 to hit instead.

     

    #162145
    Patrice
    Participant

    In the example above where a D6 test succeeds on 4+, if two modifiers against the tester apply, then add 2 to the target number

    I suppose that people often do this, half unconsciously, when needed. I’m reluctant to the idea of modifying target numbers because many players (unless they know the rules very well) have more difficulty to remember the actual target number of each unit if it is (apparently) modified all the time. I had a player who was a professional programmer too, and he was doing exactly this; perhaps if everyone had done the same it would have worked but in fact it was a bit confusing when discussing which target number (real, or modified) we were talking about.

    Whenever people apply DRMs in a game, they then do a small calculation to see what number they are trying to roll. (…) If there are many die rolls during the game and many of them are modified, that many calculations will be made.

    One real problem is there IMHO. Many players ask “what number must I roll?”, then calculate (and discuss) what number they are trying to roll, before rolling, then they roll the di(c)e, then they calculate again to be sure they are right… so unconsciously they calculate everything twice and they talk about it even more.

    Statistically, this example: “assume a D6 test that succeeds on 4+. Two different negative modifiers apply, subtracting a total of two from the die roll. Before rolling, the player calculates that only a 6 will succeed” …Well, in most cases he/she will roll 1 or 2, 3, 4… which obviously fails, so why hell lose all this time, before rolling dice, with so many calculations which have a great probability to be unnecessary?

    I always tell players NOT to calculate anything before rolling dice, only to do it afterwards if the result seems near good.

     

     

    http://www.argad-bzh.fr/argad/en.html
    https://www.anargader.net/

    #162149
    Don Glewwe
    Participant

    “Any modifier that hurts the testing player is positive and any that help are negative.”

    It is this result of using target modifications (rather than DRMs) that sways my vote.  I agree with John that from a player task standpoint it is a case of ‘six of one and a half-dozen of the other’, so how a player thinks about the modifier (in the case of DRMs: good = plus, bad = minus) is a key factor.

     

    https://brawlfactory.net/

    #162150
    Alex
    Participant

    I’m utterly lost. This is more confusing than just working out with my opponent in seconds what I need to roll.

    Alex (Does Hobby Stuff)
    practising hobby eclecticism

    #162151
    Phil Dutré
    Participant

    As long as I can remember DRM or modifications to the target number are interchangeable, they’re communicating vessels. Players do it in their head in whatever way suits them, and exchange one for the other, especially with low-number arithmetic such as when rolling D6’s. Some players prefer to know “I must roll a 6 to succeed!” before rolling the die. Other players prefer to roll first and add modifiers later. There’s no unique model to what players prefer.

    However, there’s something else that designers can do to win time when computing target numbers / DRM’s / whatevers: when using an opposed die roll, only apply DRM’s regarding your own troops to your own roll.
    E.g. target being in cover, can be a penalty to the shooter’s die, or can be a bonus to the defender’s die (if the system uses opposed die rolls). By applying things like cover to the defender’s die, and things like weapon type to the shooter’s die, player’s don’t need to cross-reference each other’s troop’s status to determine their die roll.

    Tiny Tin Men Blog: http://snv-ttm.blogspot.com/
    Wargaming Mechanics Blog: http://wargaming-mechanics.blogspot.com/

    #162152
    Phil Dutré
    Participant

    John, my suggestion is to stop modifying the die roll (which makes the player calculate what target number is needed) by simply modifying the target number instead. That small calculation is removed from the game, done by the game designer before the game. A small operation, but one removed from every modified die roll in the game. It doesn’t change the odds, just a slight streamlines the calculation. Yes, looking at the same score but why make the player do any extra math? Especially if more than one modifier applies and some of them are more than -1 or +1. I’m a retired programmer and DRM strikes me as having an extra step. Hope that makes sense.

    So are you talking about baking in the modifiers in the target numbers?
    So, you need a 4+ to hit, -1 when target is in cover; and replace that by 4+ to hit, 5+ when target is in cover?

    If so, I’m against it. It’s much more difficult to remember target numbers than remembering DRM’s. DRM’s also convey the idea of a bonus or a penalty, while a list of target number is less clear about that. There is also the danger of having no visible underlying mechanic how much target numbers are changing and under what conditions.

    It’s easier to remember “Humans need 4+, Elves get a +1”, compared to “Humans need 4+, Elves need 5+.” Even more difficult when you have multiple races, each with a specific listed target number.

    The advantage of having a single target number is that you have an obvious baseline. DRM’s alter that baseline. By giving a list of target numbers the baseline or the ups and and downs are not clear and potentially ambiguous.

    Tiny Tin Men Blog: http://snv-ttm.blogspot.com/
    Wargaming Mechanics Blog: http://wargaming-mechanics.blogspot.com/

    #162154
    Mr. Average
    Participant

    BattleTech does what you’re suggesting, and has since the early editions. You always modify the number needed to hit, and so negative modifiers are good for the attacker, and positive ones are good for the defender.

    #162155
    vtsaogames
    Participant

    Guess I should have specified that I’m looking at a system where the hit number is always the same, and the number of dice rolled varies. So for example you are always looking at 4+ (if that’s the desired number) and then sometimes modify the target number. Thus number of dice get modified (perhaps by strength of firing unit), as does the target number (by target conditons, etc.).

     

    I thought what I wrote was simple and straightforward. But then I always know what I meant. Others may and do differ.

    It's never too late to have a happy childhood

    #162173
    theron
    Participant

    This is a great topic and motivated me to create an account here.

    I actually do prefer this approach of baking the modifiers into the target numbers. And I absolutely try and reduce the number of small math problems players have to crunch through to play a game. The problem though is it quickly falls apart as you add more modifiers.

    For example if I normally pass a morale check on a 4+ and have modifiers for being elite and having a commander attached I can say that those situations push my roll down to 3+. But what if both apply? The roll should be 2+. The question is how to present this to the player. Which of these communicates more efficiently on a quick reference sheet?

    Morale roll succeeds on 4+
    +1 DRM for Elite Unit
    +1 DRM for Commander Attached

     

    or

    Morale roll succeeds on 4+
    Elite Unit succeeds on 3+
    Commander Attached succeeds on 3+

    Elite Unit with Commander Attached succeeds on 2+

     

    You can imagine what happens when you add a third modifier…

     

    Interestingly Flames of War moved from the traditional list of DRMs to a baked in target number with their version 4 rules. But this was only achievable because they now have a dedicated stat card for each unit where you can quickly look up the number needed. And even then there are still external modifiers such as being in cover that apply on top of the baked in value. It’s amazing how these apparently simple problems are tough to solve!

    #162175
    ian pillay
    Participant

    Are you using a six sided dice for these examples? I think modifying the target number is better with more than six sides. I am trying to recall but I think 1st edition Star grunt used this approach. I know i have played games based on this mechanism. These days I play simplistic games such as OHW. Adding or subtracting 2 from a roll is fairly easy to remember and calculate.

    Tally-Ho!

    #162178
    vtsaogames
    Participant

    Yes, a D6. Although a die with more sides should work too.

     

    My idea is die roll (hit, morale, etc,) always succeeds on 4+.

    target number modifiers:

    elite troops -1

    poor troops +1

    target in cover +1.

    general attached to unit +1. (with risk to general)

    and no further target number mdofiers. Long lists of them are deadly. Other things may modify number of dice rolled.

     

     

    I must say, if you’ve got a system that has different target numbers for different troops, this sounds like a non-starter.

    It's never too late to have a happy childhood

    #162179
    Levi the Ox
    Participant

    In principle it seems nice to only refer to the target numbers, but in practice it can run into a mirrored set of issues.

    Any modifier that hurts the testing player is positive and any that help are negative.

    As others have mentioned above, having mathematically negative modifiers be beneficial can throw people for a loop.  A lot of this comes down to language: the words “positive”, “increase”, and even “bonus” have both quantitative and qualitative meanings, as do “negative”, “decrease”, and “penalty”.  Reversing that axis changes the mental steps a player goes through slightly, but it can also make communicating about it more difficult.

    It also depends very much on what other mechanics the game has.  If stats or dice rolls are involved in both combat and movement, expressing both as positive numbers can be easier to grok than expressing one as negative (but beneficial) while the other is positive (and also beneficial).  Random movement distances or opposed rolls don’t have target numbers, but you can always add +1 to the result on the dice.  Having everything be beneficial along the same axis also facilitates other mechanics like character/unit creation or rating, since you can deal with each variable the same.

    In the end, there a lot of different ways to express various mechanics.  Sometimes the tradeoffs will be worth it, other times they won’t.

    Having thought about it, I think one general improvement would be to have rulebooks explain the process of the mental math around dice rolls.  Establishing that framework will help smooth over the game experience no matter what mechanics you are using, especially for newer players.

    #162188
    Tony S
    Participant

    Maybe I’ve read too many rules over the years (because that’s a really fun part of the hobby to me) but I’m fine with either method.

    I do detest long lists of DRMs however.  That’s one of the reasons I like Sam Mustafa’s rules so much.

    As for negative modifiers being beneficial, in the ruleset De Bellis Renationis, the author Phil Barker had all negative DRMs as being bad for the player.  However, one player argued that was wrong.

    You see, Mr Barker wrote that modifiers were to be subtracted from the die roll.  So this player, quite seriously, felt that because subtracting a negative number is actually a positive, that the rules were awful.    -(-1) = +1 in other words.

    I’m quite glad I never played someone quite as pedantic as that!

    #162195
    Patrice
    Participant

    The question is how to present this to the player. Which of these communicates more efficiently on a quick reference sheet?

    Morale roll succeeds on 4+
    +1 DRM for Elite Unit
    +1 DRM for Commander Attached

    or

    Morale roll succeeds on 4+
    Elite Unit succeeds on 3+
    Commander Attached succeeds on 3+
    Elite Unit with Commander Attached succeeds on 2+

    Good question, and just in the right time, I’m struggling with it these days while working on a FIW & AWI short extension of my rules, which should include (optional) differences of shooting results depending on troops training and also on terrains (especially open forest where some troops are happier than others). I’ve decided that the best solution is to give both charts. A simple chart with the DRMs because that’s coherent with the generic rules, and another simple chart with pre-calculated results of the most typical situations. That may also help new players to understand more easily the DRM system.

    http://www.argad-bzh.fr/argad/en.html
    https://www.anargader.net/

    #162256
    Jim Webster
    Participant

    Guess I should have specified that I’m looking at a system where the hit number is always the same, and the number of dice rolled varies. So for example you are always looking at 4+ (if that’s the desired number) and then sometimes modify the target number. Thus number of dice get modified (perhaps by strength of firing unit), as does the target number (by target conditons, etc.). I thought what I wrote was simple and straightforward. But then I always know what I meant. Others may and do differ.

     

    there are systems that vary the number or type of dice, so if your unit is fighting at a disadvantage it rolls a d6 rather than a d8. But rolling more or fewer dice rather lacks granularity. If I understand you, it’s always 4 to hit.
    Well with one d6 you’ll roll an average of 3.5 so will on average fail.

    With two d6 you’re roll an average of 7 so would expect to pass.

    The system works well enough in roleplaying. In the original starwars game the GM would set a difficulty number for the task, (normally  5, or 10, or 15 etc)
    You had a number of d6 in the skill and obviously the more dice you had, the more likely you were to perform the task.

    https://jimssfnovelsandwargamerules.wordpress.com/

    #162258
    Geof Downton
    Participant

    Well with one d6 you’ll roll an average of 3.5 so will on average fail.

    …but the ‘average’ can never be rolled.

    Because dice deal in integers the theoretical 3.5 average is rounded up, so the likelihood of pass or fail is even.

     

     

    One who puts on his armour should not boast like one who takes it off.
    Ahab, King of Israel; 1 Kings 20:11

    #162259
    Jim Webster
    Participant

    Well with one d6 you’ll roll an average of 3.5 so will on average fail.

    …but the ‘average’ can never be rolled. Because dice deal in integers the theoretical 3.5 average is rounded up, so the likelihood of pass or fail is even.

    which is true but the increase in odds with adding one more die does lack granularity (and love the Ahab quote 🙂  )

     

    https://jimssfnovelsandwargamerules.wordpress.com/

    #162266
    John D Salt
    Participant

    which is true but the increase in odds with adding one more die does lack granularity (and love the Ahab quote 🙂 )

    Not necessarily. You have assumed that we are summing the dice score, but a more usual habit these days seems to be to count the number of successes (as for example in Abwehrschlacht’s recent demos of “Through the Mud and the Blood”, which are well worth a gander).

    Rolling for success on 4 or more is effectively treating the d6 as a d2. If you say sixes are successes, this makes it easier to pick out the successful rolls from a big handful, especially if you have dice with some special logo thingy on the 6. It also means that adding one to the number of dice rolled is a finer distinction than adding one to the number rolled — with multiple dice, a much finer distinction.

    All the best,

    John.

    #162275
    Jim Webster
    Participant

    which is true but the increase in odds with adding one more die does lack granularity (and love the Ahab quote<noscript>🙂</noscript>🙂 )

    Not necessarily. You have assumed that we are summing the dice score, but a more usual habit these days seems to be to count the number of successes (as for example in Abwehrschlacht’s recent demos of “Through the Mud and the Blood”, which are well worth a gander). Rolling for success on 4 or more is effectively treating the d6 as a d2. If you say sixes are successes, this makes it easier to pick out the successful rolls from a big handful, especially if you have dice with some special logo thingy on the 6. It also means that adding one to the number of dice rolled is a finer distinction than adding one to the number rolled — with multiple dice, a much finer distinction. All the best, John.

    Going for the number of successes is fine. I’m not sure I’ve ever used it as a system in rules I’ve written, but I’ve played it. Impetus does that, as does Dragon Rampant.
    I must admit whilst a special logo for a 6 (but some sets have the special logo for one 🙂   ) is fine, but I confess to being irritated by those games where you have to buy special dice. Bitter experience over too large a number of decades reminds me that dice somehow disappear

     

    https://jimssfnovelsandwargamerules.wordpress.com/

    #162278
    madman
    Participant

    I am confused about this entire discussion. Pardon my ignorance but I see two possible interpretations of Vincent’s original thoughts.

    1. Instead of DIE ROLL MODIFIERS have instead REQUIRED ROLL MODIFIERS. I see no difference between the two other than to confuse if BOTH are need for a single roll or at various times in a single game. Use one or the other everywhere.

    Now my initial thought was the game designer should make up a chart or table of “roll to succeed” values for every circumstance in the game. Other than being a ton of work for the designer and potentially padding a rules book or QRS with pages of charts and tables I kind of like that approach. In my mind it would force the designer to see how many variations they have created with their rules and should result in a more streamlined system in the end as the designer sees where less is more.

    2. Instead of die roll modifiers there should be ONE value for success. All rolls need to roll, say, 4+ on D6 to succeed. Then to increase the chance of success the player rolls more and more dice and every success, or just one has to work, acts like a DRM without modifying the roll.

    Sounds like every variation coming out of England since the ’90s. Buckets of dice which in many cases cannot be held in a single hand. Some rules limit the total number of dice but the end result is the same. Walls of dice descend upon the game table potentially damaging or moving forces, terrain, etc. the only solution is the use of dice trays which for some games have to approach the size of a small game table. Another variation I have seen (Claimed to be in an effort to keep both sides of the game interested) is a roll of dice “to hit” followed by a roll of dice (by the “target” player) “to save”. Sounds like old school D&D and saving throws. If limited to the addition of one or two more dice this may not be too bad, but anyone who has seen bolt action or Chain of Command has seen two handfuls of dice being required for a single “roll”.

    So if I am out to lunch (often) on my interpretation could someone give me a two line summary of what has been proposed and where the thoughts are going please?

    #162279
    Jim Webster
    Participant

    Sounds like every variation coming out of England since the ’90s. Buckets of dice which in many cases cannot be held in a single hand. Some rules limit the total number of dice but the end result is the same. Walls of dice descend upon the game table potentially damaging or moving forces, terrain, etc. the only solution is the use of dice trays which for some games have to approach the size of a small game table. Another variation I have seen (Claimed to be in an effort to keep both sides of the game interested) is a roll of dice “to hit” followed by a roll of dice (by the “target” player) “to save”. Sounds like old school D&D and saving throws. If limited to the addition of one or two more dice this may not be too bad, but anyone who has seen bolt action or Chain of Command has seen two handfuls of dice being required for a single “roll”. So if I am out to lunch (often) on my interpretation could someone give me a two line summary of what has been proposed and where the thoughts are going please?

    I agree with you with the buckets of dice. I saw a 40k game where an Ork player rolled 100 dice for a unit’s attack, and the target player then rolled the dice that had ‘hit’ to save. But there was another step in there as well that I’ve forgotten because I think some of the hits had other effects.

    But I agree that at times I too may not have understood the initial discussion.

     

    https://jimssfnovelsandwargamerules.wordpress.com/

    #162282
    ian pillay
    Participant

    I agree with you with the buckets of dice. I saw a 40k game where an Ork player rolled 100 dice for a unit’s attack, and the target player then rolled the dice that had ‘hit’ to save. But there was another step in there as well that I’ve forgotten because I think some of the hits had other effects.

    Roll to hit, roll to wound, roll to save….. pretty much sums up WFB and 40k….

    Tally-Ho!

    #162283
    Jim Webster
    Participant

    I agree with you with the buckets of dice. I saw a 40k game where an Ork player rolled 100 dice for a unit’s attack, and the target player then rolled the dice that had ‘hit’ to save. But there was another step in there as well that I’ve forgotten because I think some of the hits had other effects.

    Roll to hit, roll to wound, roll to save….. pretty much sums up WFB and 40k….

    Yes, that’s it, thanks

    https://jimssfnovelsandwargamerules.wordpress.com/

    #162285
    Phil Dutré
    Participant

    Whatever system one uses, it’s a good design principle not to mix possible modifiers to the die rolling procedure.

    Either:

    – use classic die roll modifiers

    – add or remove dice (e.g. in bucket of dice methods)

    – change the type of die (d4 -> d6 -> d8 …)

    Mixing these 3 base systems is a big no no and only adds confusion while playing.

    Tiny Tin Men Blog: http://snv-ttm.blogspot.com/
    Wargaming Mechanics Blog: http://wargaming-mechanics.blogspot.com/

    #162286
    John D Salt
    Participant

    I agree that it is not a good idea to mix different ways of applying bonuses and penalties — modify roll results, number of dice, sidedness of dice, use column shifts on a CRT, but not several of these together. Generally it seems to me that players tend to assume that high numbers are good and positive modifiers are good, as mentioned by Levi the Ox. However in boardgames especially one often has to roll a target number or less, and the advantage of this is that if you are rolling against a rating — say roll 1d6 against a morale rating and fail if the roll exceeds the rating — it makes higher ratings better than lower ones. Either way works, but, again, mixing is confusing, so a designer should decide on high-to-succeed or low-to-succeed and stick with it for everything.

    I am still at least as confused as madman about how exactly the original proposal was supposed to work, but I will observe that modifiers — whatever they modify– are the way we show the effect of different tactical circumstances. It is therefore desirable to have a fair number of them, in order to allow for sufficient tactical richness. It might be simpler to have as few modifiers as possible, but it is likely to be frustrating for the player who has arranged all sorts of favourable circumstances for his troops to have none of them reflected in the rules.

    All the best,

    John.

    #162287
    madman
    Participant

    John

    If after arranging favorable conditions then the effects are not modeled in the rules either the player has not read the rules or the rules are trash. If one conducts oneself in a manner which in reality would benefit your forces and it is not reflected by the game something is wrong and no choice of game system will change that.

    #162308
    hammurabi70
    Participant

    so a designer should decide on high-to-succeed or low-to-succeed and stick with it for everything.

    This would be prejudicial against those who consistently roll high or low.  We write rules that deliberately vary between high and low as a good result, so, for example, that combat is high and morale is low.

    #162313
    Whirlwind
    Participant

    This would be prejudicial against those who consistently roll high or low. We write rules that deliberately vary between high and low as a good result, so, for example, that combat is high and morale is low.

    Does any player genuinely consistently roll low? Or do some players just remember their low rolls more?

     

    https://hereticalgaming.blogspot.co.uk/

    #162314
    Mike
    Keymaster

    This would be prejudicial against those who consistently roll high or low.

    If someone is rolling high more than low, that is not the fault of the rules.
    There is something else going on?

    #162315
    Mike Headden
    Participant

    I would view with great suspicion anyone who could bend the laws of probability so far as to consistently roll high or low. I would want a good close look at their dice too!

    I do however know people who seem to roll a perfect average of 3.5 with D6’s while consistently rolling high when low is needed and vice versa!

    I suspect this is more perception than reality. We remember the exceptions to the rule more often than the run-of-the-mill results.

     

    Growing old is mandatory, growing up is entirely optional!

    #162317
    vtsaogames
    Participant

    I never seem to roll the odds. Either a run of luck that has opponents groaning or a run of crap dice that has me moaning. A buddy brought back a bronze statue of Durga, the Indian goddess of War from his trip to the sub-continent. I rub her with my dice-rolling hand before rolling. Sometimes she rewards this, other times she seems to resent it.

    It's never too late to have a happy childhood

    #162449
    Stephen Holmes
    Participant

    This would be prejudicial against those who consistently roll high or low. We write rules that deliberately vary between high and low as a good result, so, for example, that combat is high and morale is low.

    Does any player genuinely consistently roll low? Or do some players just remember their low rolls more?

     

    Only the ones with biased dice.

     

    #162450
    Stephen Holmes
    Participant

    Whatever system one uses, it’s a good design principle not to mix possible modifiers to the die rolling procedure. Either: – use classic die roll modifiers – add or remove dice (e.g. in bucket of dice methods) – change the type of die (d4 -> d6 -> d8 …) Mixing these 3 base systems is a big no no and only adds confusion while playing.

     

    I think this nails the classic methods (Though I’d avoid d4s, and use d6, d8, d10) with a standard hit on either 4 or 5 (See Congo and Pulp Alley).

    Others:

    D&D’s advantage / disadvantage – roll extra dice and take the best/worst score. Neat in fairly limited circumstances.

    GW’s “Rinse and repeat”, reroll the successes / failures creating a diminishing “bucket”. Slow, clumsy, awful.

    And then there are opposed rolls. 2 sets of modifiers, a comparison, and a lookup on an outcome table. Considered revolutionary at the time, which illustrates the awfullness of other contemporary methods.

    #162454
    hammurabi70
    Participant

    Yes.

    One club member notoriously rolls low.  In one evening he never rolled higher than three using rules that always required high rolls for the best outcome.

    One club member is well known for his good fortune and carries the nickname ‘Prince of Darkness‘ for his capacity to roll extraordinarily well in tight corners; his honest character has never been challenged.

    Life has some extraordinary wrinkles; Napoleon’s comment on whether a General was lucky was no chance statement.

    #162456
    madman
    Participant

    And then there are opposed rolls. 2 sets of modifiers, a comparison, and a lookup on an outcome table. Considered revolutionary at the time, which illustrates the awfullness of other contemporary methods.

    Please elaborate. I am intrigued, primarily since I am unfamiliar with this approach. If you could mention some rules which use this mechanic it would be appreciated.

    Getting back into the hobby five years ago I was put off by the roll to hit then the opponent “rolled to save”. I soon saw it as a variation of roll two dice to hit changed to the coarser roll one die to hit twice with modifiers (if used with that game system) applied to BOTH rolls as opposed to applied to the single roll. That satisfied for a while. Now I see it as a time waster when players claim to not want games to last more than a couple hours.

    I still stick to my attitude of if the players want to reduce DRMs the designer should replace the need to roll X+ and either oppose roll or roll buckets of dice with a chart. Two D6 can give 36 results if used in a 6 x 6 grid using 2 different colored dice. A handful of 6×6 charts with no more than say 2 DRMs applied, in total or to each die, with the effects listed in the chart. Conflict of Heroes is pretty good limiting DRMs. I think there are no more than 4. One for range (usually not applicable), one for terrain the target occupies and one more for any bonuses the player uses from a pool of “command points” the player wants to apply to that situation. The base roll is 2D6 add your “attack strength (the 4th DRM) and other DRMs and meet or exceed the defense strength of the target. Greatly exceeding eliminates the target while just to slightly results in the draw of a damage level chit.

    #162481
    MartinR
    Participant

    I think Stephen is referring to DBA. A combat resolution system it is hard to beat in terms of simplicity and modelling of outcomes.

    I hate buckets of dice as a mechanism. It is is lazy, cumbersome, models nothing and once the number of dice thrown exceeds a dozen or so, the outcome is  largely predictable.

    "Mistakes in the initial deployment cannot be rectified" - Helmuth von Moltke

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