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  • #89144

    I’m working on a self-devised set of Dark Age rules. I should add, I’m aiming for a fast play set: say 2+ hours a game so we can comfortably get a game in after Tea or game Saga in the morning & a battle using my rules in the afternoon in a whole day of gaming.

    The idea of “armour saves” is a current consideration. The mechanism of savings throws which came from Fantasy gaming (?) is something we use in Field of Glory. I quite like them in these rules as they add an element of drama.

    I would appreciate any opinions on the mechanism.

     

    donald

     

    #89145
    Howard Whitehouse
    Participant

    Saving throws went out of fashion for a long while. They actually date back to the 60s Golden Age of Bath and Featherstone etc, but faded in the uber-charty 70s, and then the Warhammer version, which is the worst possible version of the mechanism. I took various forms of saving throw up again from the 90s onwards, and use them regularly under different guises.

    They serve two purposes. First of all, they keep both players involved. I roll to hit you, then you roll to protect against that. I shoot at you and hit. I could roll again to see the result and just tell you how I have victimised you, but instead you make the roll. In ‘Mad Dogs with Guns’ my gangster shoots your gangster, and you roll. On a ‘1’ you laugh at me, a 2-3 you duck back, and only on a 4+ are you wounded. Just don’t roll a ‘6’.

    You explain the saving roll however seems appropriate – the gangster dodges back, the heavy armour absorbs the strike, the open order formation means that shots pass through.

    Secondly using a hit-save mechanisms means you can divide up the various modifiers that might apply. In my current project, a deliberately Shiny Toy Soldier game called ‘A Gentleman’s War’ the key concerns for shooting  are range, formation and cover. The shooters roll to hit based on range (4-6 point blank, 5-6 short, 6 long). If there are any hits, the target’s owner rolls a saving roll per hit based on the unit’s formation and any cover that applies.

    So, yes, I’m a fan 🙂

     

    I do all my own stunts.

    #89147
    Whirlwind
    Participant

    …and then the Warhammer version, which is the worst possible version of the mechanism…

    Why was that version the worst possible (not a Warhammer player)?

     

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

    #89148
    Howard Whitehouse
    Participant

    Because it’s a weird afterthought. You roll huge bunches of dice to hit, in a very unsubtle fashion (there are no modifiers for range, so it’s essentially your shooting rating plus whatever is needed to add up to 7. There’s a table to disguise that part)  Then, because that’s far too many, you roll a ‘to wound’ roll of all your hits, which basically halves them. Then the target player finally comes back from taking a smoke break while you did this, and rolls that number of dice to save, according to his notional armour strength.

    As a mechanism it’s unnecessarily slow, clunky, barely interactive, and still ignores a lot of the modifiers that most of us think of as standard.

    I do all my own stunts.

    #89149

    Wally Simon had some typically sarcastic  (and hilarious) comments on saving throws, in my treasured stack of PW Reviews.

    Also about WAB — I recall his noting that pikes were given a “missile rating”, and trying to picture what that would look like.

    #89150
    kyoteblue
    Participant

    LOL!

    #89151

    Thanks, Howard. It’s good for an amateur rule writer ( like me) to receive information from a professional.

    …..you know the questions won’t end here?

     

    donald

    #89152
    Norm S
    Participant

    Having been involved with saving rolls ‘back in the day’, they fell out of fashion and seemed in fact to go through a period of being  frowned upon, but they are certainly back in vogue and the Black Powder stable of rules make good use of them.

    In these rules, the saving roll goes beyond the target being armoured or not and seems to be a mechanic that has as much to do with smoothing out the wild variables that the attacker rolls can bring … I know, by using another set of potentially wild variables, but I find it a totally acceptable mechanic and in some ways it just feels like the attack has generated a load of morale tests, which itself is a common and alternative mechanic to save rolls.

    I have always seen dice as part of the telling of the story, rather than just the pass / fail thing, so if a side rolls three sixes, then perhaps a courageous leader has stepped up and inspired or an undulation in the landscape when approached from a certain direction has exposed or protected the target etc.

    #89157
    Ruarigh
    Participant

    What Howard wrote. I like saving rolls and opposed rolls in games not just because they keep both players involved but also because they give both players a sense of agency. It’s easier to accept that your hero has been struck down when you were involved in the process by rolling dice rather than purely because your opponent’s rolls were high enough.

    Never argue with an idiot. They'll only drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.

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    #89160
    DM
    Participant

    A saving throw is in many ways he inverse of a “to kill” roll. As others have said it keeps players involved, I like it.

    #89161
    Patrice
    Participant

    I generally dislike game mechanisms which take more time to resolve on the gaming table than the real thing in the real world. That’s why I don’t like saving throws. An arrow flies towards you, you are hit or you aren’t; it should happen in one second in the game, as in reality.

    IMHO saving throws tend to slow the game (two separate dice rolls for only one event) and also it breaks my belief in the game narrative when heroes/characters appear to think: “Oh, damn! An arrow has just hit my chainmail! Am I wounded? Perhaps not? I hope it has bounced. Let’s see…”

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    #89164
    irishserb
    Participant

    I’m fine with saving throws, but find them better suited to games that feature lots of laughing, rather than lots of  quiet, studious thinking.

    #89165
    Howard Whitehouse
    Participant

    I generally dislike game mechanisms which take more time to resolve on the gaming table than the real thing in the real world. That’s why I don’t like saving throws. An arrow flies towards you, you are hit or you aren’t; it should happen in one second in the game, as in reality. IMHO saving throws tend to slow the game (two separate dice rolls for only one event) and also it breaks my belief in the game narrative when heroes/characters appear to think: “Oh, damn! An arrow has just hit my chainmail! Am I wounded? Perhaps not? I hope it has bounced. Let’s see…”

    Except that only in the very simplest rules is shooting resolved that quickly. Let’s say I’m using a D6: I can remember that  5-6 kills a man at short range, and  a 6 at long range. But that’s it. So then you say to me, “But my man in in cover,” and I reply, “fine, so he counts as being at long range.”

    “Well, what if he’s in cover at long range and in cover?”

    “I can never hit him.”

    “Well, what if he’s at short range, and has a helmet on?”

    “is it a good helmet?”

    “It’s a fantastic helmet! And greaves!”

    “Okay, a ‘6’ then. But only if it’s a really great helmet.”

    “Now he’s hiding behind a hedge.”

    “What sort of hedge. Like a garden hedge?”

    “More like one of those Normandy hedges.”

    “I can never hit him then.”

    I do all my own stunts.

    #89166
    Gone Fishing
    Participant

    You make a good point, Patrice, though wouldn’t you say just about everything we do on the gaming table takes far, far longer than it would in reality?

    Donald, I know Fantasy is not your thing, but you might see if you can sniff out a copy of the Lord of the Rings Strategy Battle Game (in any of its iterations – The Hobbit version is likely the easiest to find these days). It is a very strong set that actually can handle all sorts of historical, pre-gunpowder conflicts quite elegantly, and it tweaks easily. And yes, it uses a form of saving throw (actually a roll to pierce armour, with further nuances if the figure is a leader or champion). Well worth a look if only for inspiration. Best of luck with your set!

    Daryl

     

    #89167
    Mike
    Keymaster

    IMHO saving throws tend to slow the game (two separate dice rolls for only one event) and also it breaks my belief in the game narrative when heroes/characters appear to think: “Oh, damn! An arrow has just hit my chainmail! Am I wounded? Perhaps not? I hope it has bounced. Let’s see…”

     

    What is best… 2 rolls that take say 5 seconds or 1 roll that has so many modifiers it takes 10 seconds.

    Melee is not a single event. It is someone trying land a blow. The other person trying to prevent it, and then if the blow does get past, the armour may save them. 3 events but only 2 rolls?

    #89175

    I, too, like the saving throw mechanism. Though, as Patrice says, it depends upon the level of abstraction of the game. I like simple mechanisms with limited modifiers and keeping the players involved. Opposed die rolls (or ‘to hit’ and ‘save’ rolls) fill that role. Splitting the modifiers between offensive and defensive factors makes sense to players, but with two players actively engaged neither one has to shoulder the entire burden to figure out the odds of success. You’re sharing the ‘mechanical labor’ of the game.And also, the more dice thrown, the more nuanced the attack/defense can be.

    But I also like to keep each roll down to one or two dice per player–and preferably the same type of dice! I can’t stand games where you use different types of dice in opposed rolls (well, for anything if I’m totally honest). That is just unnecessary complexity!

    Self taught, persistently behind the times, never up to date. AKA ~ jeff
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    #89183
    Phil Dutré
    Participant

    A huge benefit of saving throws is that each player rolls hiw own die or dice, and modifiers applied to the conditions of your own figure(s) are applied to your own roll. Not all gaming engines do that, but having two rolls is an excellent mechanic to implement that idea. E.g. cover should not be a negative modifier on the shooter’s roll, but should be a positive modifier on the target’s roll.

    Another benefit, as has been pointed out already, is that both players roll, and you take ‘ownership’ of part of the procedure.

    Much of the dislike of the saving throw in some circles has to do with the narrative. ‘I did hit you already, and now suddenly you’re ok?’ So change the ‘explanation’ of the saving throw to suit your own needs.

    Some relevant posts on the wargaming mechanics blog:

    https://wargaming-mechanics.blogspot.be/2017/02/buckets-of-dice.html

    https://wargaming-mechanics.blogspot.be/2017/02/opposed-die-rolls.html

     

     

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    #89252
    John D Salt
    Participant

    For myself, I see no objection to having separate rolls for “to hit” and “to kill”, which is essentially all “saving throws” come down to, unless deigned by mad people. It seems to me that one could argue for separate rolls to be made at each layer of the vulnerability onion (have you been seen? acquired? hit? penetrated? killed?) if desired, although target acquisition is often treated as deterministic by wargamers, which it isn’t in real life.

    A third function of saving rolls, in addition to those mentioned by Howard, is that they can be used to conceal information. If the attacker rolls to hit, and the target rolls for damage, the target player need not necessarily announce the precise result to the attacker. The attacker will have some indication of the effectiveness of their fire from the number of hits scored, but unless the saving throw results in a spectacular and unmissable result (“Big Badaboom”, as Leeloo put it) will not know the precise effect.

    All the best,

    John.

    #89254
    Ivan Sorensen
    Participant

    I don’t feel strongly either way, but I like saving throws just fine.
    They give the other player something to do, and I find that psychologically, players tend to enjoy having a chance to literally save their troops.

    There might also be something more satisfying about games where its easier to hit but you get a save, versus a lower hit chance but no save, even if the final odds work out roughly equal.

    Nordic Weasel Games
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    #89255

    This has been a great & useful discussion. I mentioned I was thinking of using ‘armour saves’ but I will probably also use them to determine if attached Warlords (1 per side) or Heroes (several, depending on the scenario) are killed in melee.

    After the rules are written, the fairly lengthy testing process should sort out if savings throws sit well.

     

    donald

    #89300
    Angel Barracks
    Moderator

     

    What does a saving throw do?
    Negate the initial effect?

    How?

    Is it is simple as actually, that missed, or is it, that did hit, but failed to penetrate armour.
    Is it, that did hit and that did wound, but actually not enough to consider that model out of action, maybe it was a flesh wound.
    The saving throw negated the initial hit in what can be interpreted as a number of ways.

    Is it that it never actually hit, maybe a save (as used in my sci-fi rules on super small agile drones, packed with ECM and the like) is actually avoiding an otherwise accurate shot.
    It was not an armour save, it was a dodge.

    Does that then mean that a to hit roll, when successful simply means that once the attacker has lost the ability to influence the attack (such as when an arrow has left the bow) looks like it will hit, assuming nothing changes.
    It is a potential hit, rather than an confirmed hit.
    It is only a confirmed hit once the defender has failed to evade.
    So a saving throw is not always armour, it could be a move, it could be the wind, it could be something else.

    Do hit rolls assume that once the target is hit, it can damage the target regardless.
    Chances are that some peasant could kill another peasant, his bread knife is almost certainly going to cut through the other peasants cloth if the blow lands.
    Assuming they of equal fighting skill, then once hit, there will be no save, as there is no armour?
    But that peasant fighting a knight, even if he does manage to best the knights attempts to parry or dodge, is his bread knife going to get though the mail and leather?
    Maybe that is the save, the armour, maybe the save was the knight intimidating the peasant.

    A save can be anything that fits in with your play style.
    It need not always be turning back time and meaning that arrow missed after all…

    Maybe a saving throw is just a random variable to favour the defender?

    >>

    That was waffle and possibly incoherent.
    If my ramblings are too bad, let me know and I will try to make it less garbled…

    #89302
    Chris Pringle
    Participant

    Some additional reasons in favour of saving throws, as well as the very sound ones cited above of agency and involvement:

    • The combination of to-hit rolls and saving throws can produce nice subtle probability curves, much better than, say, combining everything into a roll of a single D10 or D20, with modifiers that are a blunt 5/10/20%.
    • Splitting the process up into several stages (roll to hit, roll for damage, roll to save) can actually be quicker and easier overall than a single combined roll. This is because whenever you miss, you don’t have to calculate any of the modifiers that apply to the later steps. Thus the total calculation burden and time expenditure can be less.

    I’m speaking from the experience of helping Scott Fisher to design “Check Your Six!”, the award-winning and I believe best-selling WWII air combat rules. I successfully argued for successive rolls to hit, to damage, and to save. I’d say the succcess of CY6 suggests this wasn’t a bad decision.

    Chris

    Bloody Big BATTLES!

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    #89338
    TerrainShed
    Participant

    I have no objection to saving or throws or opposed rolls (to my knowledge) but if defenders want something to do they can always look stuff up in the tables for the activated player.

    Enjoy your gardening

    Les & Alison

    #89346
    John D Salt
    Participant

    Two more thoughts I have had:

    1. A “saving throw” or “target response” mechanism could be used to give the target player a choice as to how they wish to respond to the threat. For example, a team coming under small-arms fire might decide to take cover and go heads-down, thus losing the right to return fire, in exchange for a really easy saving throw, or, if feeling a bit more butch, elect to take cover and return fire, but with a slightly harder saving throw. I am not aware of any rules that employ such a mechanism apart from John Armatys’ “Battle Group”, where it worked very well.

    2. There might, especially for missile combat, be a time lag between the apparently-successful shot and the final impact. In an air-to-air combat game, for example, a missile might roll for a successful launch (accounting for factors such as motor reliability and seeker head performance under the conditions prevailing at time of launch) and, some time later, roll for success at the target end (accounting for factors such as fuze reliablity, and seeker head performance under conditions prevailing in the terminal phase, such as decoys or evasive action). This would give point to players choosing different salvo sizes for launches (shoot-look-shoot or shoot-shoot-look). Again, I’m not aware of many rules that employ such a mechanism, as few include “time of flight” even for weapons moving at speeds comparable with the target, such as SAMs, AAMs and torpedoes.

    All the best,

    John.

    #89348
    Catullus
    Participant

    There’s nothing wrong with the idea in principle. It’s how you execute it. As Howard Whitehouse noted, the way it works in Warhammer is tedious, yet I never even think about the mechanism when we play Square Bashing.

    #89513
    Shaun Travers
    Participant

    Hello John (Salt)

    With regards to your point 1, I believe NUTS! models this as well as when a unit is fired on you roll to see its effect on it “morale”, it could immediately fire back, go to ground or run away.  I have simplified at little as there are also things that happen if you are outgunned (by more deadly guns).  It is what makes for a very decent solo system as you are never sure what your units are going to do.

    #95524
    Brian Handley
    Participant

    It really depends on whether you are addicted to throwing die I am very adverse to throwing die it slows the game.  Statisticaly you can do in one random draw what you can do with using a saving throw system

    . Adherence to a D6 is one of the reasons its crops up.  We use a D20 so you can better resolve a situation in 1 die roll.

    If you believed you had “control” of a random factor then you are advocating cheating as its supposed to be random.  If its not random get something that it.  so owning a role is an illogical premise.   Personally I fine nothing more irritating than some idiot continually shaking the die and screaming come on “6” etc.  he should be playing LUDO or something else.  Needless to say I play such folk only once, usually they lack the disapline to control an army with any credibility anyway.

    #95552
    Darkest Star Games
    Participant

    A lot of melee combat mechanisms in most games are too abstract for me.  I never understood why one guy rolls to hit while the other guy just stands there and takes it and then rolls a save if he is hit.  A bit too fatalistic. Shouldn’t they both be fighting?  And what about armor?  Why is it so abstracted that it doesn’t matter if you’re wearing chainmail or ringmail over padded?  And yes, I get that I am missing the point of the abstraction to make it more “gamie” .  I think it’s because I was an RPG gamer before a tabletop gamer.  I’d rather have a mechanism where both sides roll their combat skill and which ever is higher has scored a hit, and then the damage applied is based on the weapon and the armor involved.  After all, a halberd giving you a whack on the helmet may not penetrate and kill you (the first time) but it sure as heck will cause some damage, and not every weapon is effective against all armor types.

    Same goes for shooting.  Why do so many rules only take the shooters ability into account?  Surely you should also take the experience of the target into consideration.  I mean, someone who has some battlefield experience will be more effective at using cover to keep from getting hit, while those FNGs will tend to do dumb things like standing up to get a better view…

     

    I’ll use a save mechanism if I have to, but I probably won’t like it.

    "I saw this in a cartoon once, but I'm pretty sure I can do it..."

    #95562
    Ivan Sorensen
    Participant

    Okay so hear me out:

    What if when a unit takes fire, they get to roll against their troop quality to reduce the damage, to represent cautious movement and fieldcraft.

    We’ll call it…er…a Rescue Throw.

    🙂

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    #95563
    Brian Handley
    Participant

    I realised afterwards we do have sort of a saving throw.   In Anti-Tank fire there is a throw to hit and then a penetration roill.  Even with a D20 it was not possible to make it simple enough to do it all on one roll.   Not sure if its a saving throw really, except that it is a further roll to se if you do damage dependant on diffrent parameters to the first roll.   I guess if we used a D100 we could do it in one roll but you are already throwing two di so no gain against say rolling a red die to hit and yellow die for armour penetration.   We don’t do it that way as a hit is not guaranteed.

    #95574
    Private Snafu
    Participant

    Why do so many rules only take the shooters ability into account? Surely you should also take the experience of the target into consideration. I mean, someone who has some battlefield experience will be more effective at using cover to keep from getting hit, while those FNGs will tend to do dumb things like standing up to get a better view… I’ll use a save mechanism if I have to, but I probably won’t like it.

    Some games have it this way, some don’t.  An early medieval game (Dark Ages, I’m content to call it) such as Saga has a standard save.  The “to hit” is determined by the defenders armor.  It feels right.  A spear to the belly is a spear to the belly.  Mail won’t stop a powerful piercing blow much.

    Flames of War its harder to hit Veterans versus trained guys.  Bolt Action and Chain of Command its harder to kill Veterans.

    I absolutely HATE that in Bolt Action you don’t get to make the save.  The attackerer rolls to kill (damage roll).  I understand why it is so when you roll the damage for Armor and apply this backwards to infantry, but I dislike it much.  Its a niggle in the grand scheme and still enjoy BA.

    I think its perfectly ok for units to have different shooting and save values.  My Sci-Fi mashup I am working on has units with differing shooting, melee, and save values.  Stormtroopers are just terrible at shooting compared to Heroes.  Astromechs have near nil shooting value but miraculously save on 2+ with re-rolls (I’m making this up).

    “Why do so many rules only take the shooters ability into account?”  I think it may be more common for it to just be a fixed number and that actually feels too simplistic.

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    #95575
    Private Snafu
    Participant

    Okay so hear me out: What if when a unit takes fire, they get to roll against their troop quality to reduce the damage, to represent cautious movement and fieldcraft. We’ll call it…er…a Rescue Throw. 🙂

    Agreed.  There is no way in heck you are sniping a Jedi at long range off the battlefield.

    ___________________
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    #95577
    grizzlymc
    Participant

    I have, in the past, always opposed saving throws as I would like the whole business dealt with with one roll.  However, doing that with a dozen different weapon types against a dozen different armour types gets a bit tough.  I can also see that, on the empty battlefield, saving throws might be a good way of reflecting common suppression vs rare kills.  It would be interesting to experiment with the salty one’s idea that you can choose which saving throw table you get to roll on.

    #96376

    Saving throws give both sides something to do in any combat situation, whether you are attacking or are on the receiving end of the attack.  I quite like saving throws in moderation.  My personal favorite is still that which is in Wargames (Featherstone).  A 6 is relatively unarmoed.  5-6 the man has a shield or body armor.  4-6 he has both armor and shield.  This would work great for your Dark age rules should you choose to go with saving throws.  Whatever you decide, keep it simple.  few steps to resolving combat and you will speed things along.

    John

    "Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power."

    --Abraham Lincoln

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