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In an effort to reduce the luck in Battlelore


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#1 Murfenator

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Posted 11 December 2008 - 03:50 AM

For the past year or so a buddy of mine and me played Battlelore almost every day during lunch at work.  It was awesome because we had a place to keep our board setup and each day we'd get to break up the mundane day with some Battlelore goodness!  We only bought the Call to Arms expansion and i got the Earth Elemental.

Because we played so much we saw all the ups and downs this game could have.  At least our opinions.  How the Wizard at level three is so powerful with the free lore, etc.  But the most annoying part about the game that started to rain on our fun the more we played was the dice.  It would no doubt strike one of us severely each game.  Either i'd get a great Chain Lightning chance, wait for him to line up all his guys perfectly just to roll a big fat 0 on the first unit, or he'd get a +2 dice on a red mounted and hit only 1 with 6 dice on my last blue unit.  Something to that effect.  It got to where we were both quite good at the game and our strategies and that it all came down to who got lucky.  And of course, some luck is great!  But even though we were evenly matched we would see some games go 7 -1 victory points or 6 - 2 often.  We tried adding victory points to keep someone from getting lucky early and running away, etc.

Unfortunately i have changed jobs which menas we don't get to play any more.  Though at the time we were burnt out on this awesome game, i now miss being able to play it so often....:(

I said all that to say this.  I've put together a small matrix to try and help those of us who prefer a little less luck in our Battlelore games, if there are any out there!  But, since i don't work with Scott anymore i haven't had a chance to play test this yet.  So i figured id throw it out here and see if any of you Battlelore players could give it a whirl as a house rule next time you play.  Heck, even just looking over it may give you enough to say whether you think it would work or not. 

You will notice that there is a little more lean to the Red units this way.  But i think that will work fine.  Most battles the reds end up sitting in the back most of the game becuase of their movement limits.

As you can see, its only for the main units in the game.  Since we didn't have any unit expansions i couldn't really add it in for those units.  The point of this is to take the statistical bell curve and chop off both ends, keeping someone from suffering from extreme bad or good luck throughout a game. 

Anyway, look over the matrix, and give it a play and then give me some feedback.



#2 bogenblitz

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Posted 11 December 2008 - 07:53 AM

I don't know that I agree that this is a game of luck or even weighted toward being a game of luck. In my experience with Battlelore and Memoir '44, I believe the game to be about 75% skill and 25% luck, though one can certainly feel unlucky at times when good decisions are being made and the dice do not cooperate. For me, getting blindsided by your expectations is part of the game's charm and -- I believe -- this is somewhat realistic. In other words, I don't know that I should (or deserve to get) a particular battle result that is any better or any worse than the built-in probabilities of the units/dice.

As Colin Powell said, "No battle plan survives contact with the enemy."

That being said, it looks like you did put a lot of thought and effort into your battle matrix, and I applaud anyone who can work out a set of house rules to mitigate issues among gaming buddies. Good luck, and I hope you find an opportunity to play again soon!



#3 Indygnome

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Posted 11 December 2008 - 09:15 PM

I once had a very brief conversation about this kind of thing With Tod, so apologies if I steal his thunder on this one. 

It has always been my opinion that in wargames part of the test is adapting, just like a general on a battlefield you have to adapt to the odd things that happen that you just cant plan for. In Battlelore that might be the dice deciding to go on holiday just when you need them most, it might be that your opponent draws some nice cards and plays them at a moment that really isnt good for you. In either case its part of the challenge that wargames are supposed to offer. If you take away luck of the draw then really what you are doing is playing chess with different pieces. Having played chess in the past I can tell you with some certainty its not a game you play for fun, its a mental exercise to see who can process data the fastest. At the top end, players simply memorise the correct response and try and see if previously another person has found a way around a particular move. Sure they are awesome and impressive at the game, but last time I checked we played Battlelore and other such games for fun. 

A simple example of risks on a battlefield that the dice might actually represent quite nicely is a gusting wind, its not steady and constant, so easily can take your archers arrows wide of the mark. They have to decide when to fire, when not to and hope that they dont shoot just before it gusts again. Do they aim wide and hope to catch a gust to bring it on target, knowing that if it doesnt they are going to miss. Its a bit of a lottery. 

I guess the phrase I used with Tod at the time is appropriate, "you have to roll with the punches". (and come out fighting)

Andy 



#4 toddrew

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Posted 12 December 2008 - 01:21 AM

Indygnome said:

It has always been my opinion that in wargames part of the test is adapting, just like a general on a battlefield you have to adapt to the odd things that happen that you just cant plan for.

You didn't steal my thunder at all - I'm more a whisper in the wind-type anyway ;)  When I read this thread yesterday, I was going to post something exactly the sentiment of this, but was too lazy to do so.

I certainly recognize that many want to soften the role of chance in this game and appreciate the efforts to do so - I just think that they take away a vital piece of the game in doing so.

And, murfenator, it is very likely that I don't understand your matrix's intent and impact on the game, but doesn't it just make sure that there are no whiffs and still allows the freakishly potent rolls through?  In BattleLore, as opposed to C&C:Ancients, the attack rolls are not very strong, and rolls that provide no hits are frequent.  1 hit is average for a blue short sword unit attacking another short sword unit - below average if it is attacking a long sword (mounted) unit.  If one wants to mitigate the affects of chance, moving towards a 1:3 hit ratio is the way to go, I think.  (But I also think that it makes the game much less entertaining ).



#5 Murfenator

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Posted 12 December 2008 - 01:29 AM

Luck is certainly subjective.  Some people like more luck in their games.  The chart i posted doesn't really change the game very much.  Even if you roll unlucky you still get unlucky results, possibly just not SO terribly unlucky.  Most of the dice rolled will be within the limits listed and so it won't have any effect.

This in no way turns the game into a chess like system.  There IS still luck involved.  But over the 70-80 we played we noticed that we often had REALLY bad luck or REALLY good luck, and this rule chart would remove the edges of the bad and good.  For instance, if youre rolling 4 dice against a green unit and you get 0 hits (which is rare) you would be allowed 1 hit (unless the defender paid 3 lore to negate the rule).  Youre still only getting 1 hit.  But when you roll 4 dice on a foot unit chances are you'll get a hit.  So like i said, its just removes those extreme times when something really good/bad happens.  And like i said, that is all up to those who are playing.  Some like the randomness, but we played ALOT of Battlelore and I wish we would of tried something like this because i think it would of giving more lasting ability to the game.  You have to understand, if you play the game once a month, it will seem like fun every time you play it.  You wont care about the luck as much because youre just excited to play it.  But when you play the game 3-5 days a week, you begin to notice little things here and there, and this is one we both noticed.....

It doesnt remove the luck, just some of the luck sometimes.....and whether you like it or not depends on your taste. 



#6 Murfenator

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Posted 12 December 2008 - 01:47 AM

It removes some "whiffs" in some cases, and in some cases removes powerful rolls too.  For instance, an Attacker rolling 3 dice against a mounted melee red unit cannot get 3 hits, hence the 0/2.  0 being the minimum he can get, 2 the maximum.  If a red unit with 5 dice rolls against a blue foot unit his range is 2/5, 2 min, 5 max.  Obviously im not 100% on all these numbers though, since i haven't tested it. 

 



#7 toddrew

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Posted 12 December 2008 - 08:16 AM

Murfenator said:


This in no way turns the game into a chess like system.

Agreed.  While I have no intention of changing the odds of the game, I like this types of discussions, and that's why I'm posting.  I hope that none of what I'm saying comes across as an "You're wrong, I'm right." dynamic.  But, I don't think the system, as it is proposed, changes the impact of fortune in the game, it just shifts it towards more powerful rolls.  Only attacks against the reds are subject to be less impactful than what is rolled.


Murfenator said:


There IS still luck involved.  But over the 70-80 we played we noticed that we often had REALLY bad luck or REALLY good luck, and this rule chart would remove the edges of the bad and good.  For instance, if youre rolling 4 dice against a green unit and you get 0 hits (which is rare) you would be allowed 1 hit (unless the defender paid 3 lore to negate the rule).  Youre still only getting 1 hit.  But when you roll 4 dice on a foot unit chances are you'll get a hit.  So like i said, its just removes those extreme times when something really good/bad happens.  And like i said, that is all up to those who are playing.  Some like the randomness, but we played ALOT of Battlelore and I wish we would of tried something like this because i think it would of giving more lasting ability to the game.  You have to understand, if you play the game once a month, it will seem like fun every time you play it.  You wont care about the luck as much because youre just excited to play it.  But when you play the game 3-5 days a week, you begin to notice little things here and there, and this is one we both noticed.....

I think that the problem with the proposed system is that it seems to be premised that the whiffs are as frequent as the full hit rolls.  That is not the case.  In the example given, where a red foot is attacking a green foot, the chance of getting no hits on that 4d roll are roughly 1 in 5.  Certainly it would be a misfortune to garner no hits, but one should expect that to happen about every fifth attack - substantially frequent in my point of view.  Hitting on all 4d however, will only occur about 1 in every 85 rolls.  Much less likely to occur.  By eliminating the likelihood of a whiff, and not changing the odds of the higher hit rolls, the game skews towards higher hit rates, and those will have an impact on the way the game plays out.  The whiffs won't be there to balance the less frequent high hit rolls.  But maybe that is your intent?



#8 Maimed

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Posted 23 December 2008 - 09:25 AM

I do like the luck in Battlelore. It makes the game exciting, chess on the other hand has no luck and no excitment



#9 selbuorT

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Posted 23 December 2008 - 10:36 PM

Maimed said:

I do like the luck in Battlelore. It makes the game exciting, chess on the other hand has no luck and no excitment

 

Yes! Right Mike!

And it seems to me more realistic. No one ever could see what to come in a battle. No commander could know, what the opponents would do exactly. What if the weather suddenly turn against you. What if the nature turn against you? All this sudden incidents  and many more could happen in or just before a battle. You never know exactly what will come. So didn't the French at Agincourt! So didn't the English at Stirling Bridge.

The French, the English should had win their battles because they had great advantage with their multiple of units compared to the opponents.

You see, the luke in Battlelore is historical an lifelike!



#10 crazytalk

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Posted 29 December 2008 - 01:24 PM

A skilled Battlelore player should never have his entire battleplan hinge on the roll of the dice or the draw of a certain card at a certain time. Your overall plan should take into account some degree of failure which is bound to happen. Especially with dice and cards, you go into the game knowing that there is a degree of "luck" or randomness in the game. I think that the dice and cards represent risk in the game, and they do it well. You know going into a battle what the risk is and you can try to mitigate it as much as possible. A well seasoned Battlelore player will more than likely beat a lesser skilled opponent almost every time. Sure, there are going to be those rare times when the dice or cards seem to go your way, or your opponents way. And I can see how someone might want to reduce that chance. I think that those times are the exception and not the rule with Battlelore and I accept that. I would be afraid that that might even affect the flavor of the game overall. The elimination of all the luck in the game would take away the drama and some of the excitement of the battle and who in there right mind wants to play a fantasy battle game without that!






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