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Green Knight

No such things as cold dice - aka. making your own luck

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I'll get to the point soon, but first, let me set the stage:

 

This Saturday I was fortunate enough to be able to go to Østersund, Sweden for a small regionals tournament. 

 

I've been there before, and they have a small, but very friendly community, so it's well worth the 3 1/2 hour drive. I had two mates in the car, so those hours on the road passed effortlessly, despite the darkness of winter and generally poor weather (icy roads and whatnot).

 

I was bringing my Vader semi-DeMSU. Which is basically a DeMSU, but with Avenger. Hugely fun to play :D

 

My first matchup was against a Micke, really skilled guy from Uppsala (6 hour drive away!). Incredibly enough he was also running Vader, in a 6-ship build, including a VSD and 2 Glads. I had not expected to meet another Vader, but my 12 pt bid beat his 11 pt bid, and I got to go 1st.

 

I picked his DT. Judging by the setup I knew this would be a tough match, but I was very confident. Kill his VSD on the flank, then box in his Glads and kill them with GT Avenger's front arc.

 

I got his VSD, then Insidious and a Flotilla. But then he bagged my ISD flagship.

 

Still I remained confident in victory - up until turn 4, when my Demo whiffed horribly against his Demo. Not only once, but on two full rounds of attacks! There were so many blanks it wasn't even funny. Like 1 hit on 8 black dice or something. Definitely the worst string of rolls I've ever had - by a long shot.

 

Granted, his demo was relatively untouched, but how often does Demo fail to kill Demo if they start in black range AND you get to go last/first??? We both knew and accept that his Demo was dead, so it wasn't just wistful thinking on my part. But no. 

 

Instead his Demo survived with 2 hull left and killed my Demo. Which in turn prevented me from running down this Vader flotilla and final raider on rounds 5 and 6. So instead of a win, I ended up with a loss. Not a big one, but still a loss.

 

I certainly wasn't happy with my rolling at the time. And the dice must take some of the blame. Luck IS a part of Armada. Even though dice roll average out over time, there will be naturally occurring flukes in there.

 

Now we get to the point:

 

Backtrack a bit to where I lost my ISD flagship. Note how I lost my admiral AND the primary instrument of wiping out his Glads. Not only did my opponent get a huge chunk of point, but I LOST MY ABILITY TO REROLL.

 

So yeah, my dice were cold, but I had also squandered a very key element of my fleet - Vader's reroll ability. Had he still been there, I would not have failed to kill that Demolisher.

 

So really, it was my decision to go on the offensive too early (not according to plan), that made me take too much damage from his VSD before I killed it, that sealed my fate. Had I gone to speed 2 on turn 2, rather than speed 3, my ISD would NOT have taken as much damage, and would have been in a BETTER position to deal with his Glads.

 

So yeah, luck played a part in my demise, but the larger part was MY FAILURE TO KEEP MAKING MY OWN LUCK.

Edited by Green Knight

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At the Fargo Regionals my Demo rolled 0 hit/crit across 16 consecutive black dice (side arc, none, OE all of them, none, other side arc, none, OE all of them, none.)

Between that, and an ISD II getting an 11 damage shot at my ISD II (3 red doubles, a red hit or crit, and all blue hits or crits) I was looking grim in a game that could have very possibly gone my way.

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At the Fargo Regionals my Demo rolled 0 hit/crit across 16 consecutive black dice (side arc, none, OE all of them, none, other side arc, none, OE all of them, none.)

Between that, and an ISD II getting an 11 damage shot at my ISD II (3 red doubles, a red hit or crit, and all blue hits or crits) I was looking grim in a game that could have very possibly gone my way.

 

I 'liked' that post. Made me feel slightly better :D

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This game is all about dice mitigation (rerolls or auto changes) and much more so than most other games in that there is really only 2-3 turns maximum of engagement.

 

That is why upgrades cost so much, to provide consistency on the 1-2 perfectly lined up shots you get a game.

 

It is also why cold dice have such a big influence on the game. A cold roll even after all the rerolls/mods really hurts and there's not a lot you can do to recover. You only get one chance to knock them out before they either hit you back or fly away.

 

I've had one hit from 8 black dice before. It hurts almost as much as two single hits on five dice from Salvation (Spinal armaments with CF Dial; Home One gave me an accuracy and the CF token gave me a reroll but still couldn't kill the flotilla)

 

As the opportunities to roll are limited, and the consequences of a poor result so severe with little opportunity to recover, these times are burned into our memory. 

 

Though it should even out over the course of one or many games, it still hurts when it happens (often the loss of a game)

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That sux GK, but I completely see your point about making your own luck. I shall regale you with the tail of my Marietta regional this weekend:

 

I had my regional bagged already so I was going into this one to have some fun with stuff I had never tried in a tourney. I give to you:

 

Akbar with Admo added 
Author: moodswing5537

Faction: Rebel Alliance
Points: 386/400

Commander: Admiral Ackbar

Assault Objective: Advanced Gunnery
Defense Objective: Hyperspace Assault
Navigation Objective: Minefields

 

GR-75 Medium Transports (18 points)
-  Comms Net  ( 2  points) 
20 total ship cost

 

Assault Frigate Mark II B (72 points)
-  Weapons Liaison  ( 3  points) 
-  Sensor Team  ( 5  points) 
-  Electronic Countermeasures  ( 7  points) 
-  Turbolaser Reroute Circuits  ( 7  points) 
94 total ship cost

 

MC30c Scout Frigate (69 points)
-  Admonition  ( 8  points) 
-  Skilled First Officer  ( 1  points) 
-  Sensor Team  ( 5  points) 
-  Advanced Projectors  ( 6  points) 
-  Turbolaser Reroute Circuits  ( 7  points) 
-  Rapid Reload  ( 8  points) 
104 total ship cost

 

Assault Frigate Mark II B (72 points)
-  Weapons Liaison  ( 3  points) 
-  Sensor Team  ( 5  points) 
-  Electronic Countermeasures  ( 7  points) 
-  Turbolaser Reroute Circuits  ( 7  points) 
94 total ship cost

 

[ flagship ] GR-75 Medium Transports (18 points)
-  Admiral Ackbar  ( 38  points) 
-  Comms Net  ( 2  points) 
58 total ship cost

 

1 Tycho Celchu ( 16 points)

 

So, notice I forfeited Ordnance Experts for Sensor teams and Weapons liaisons for command selection AND  used TRC for those pesky blanks. I WAS LITERALLY MAKING MY OWN LUCK! Unfortunately, I went 2-2, finished with 20 tourney pts right outside of 16th place by about a point. I had a blast rolling tons of dice, but I think multiple shots with Gunnery teams and re-rolls on Admo would have been more useful. 

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This game is all about dice mitigation (rerolls or auto changes) and much more so than most other games in that there is really only 2-3 turns maximum of engagement.

 

That is why upgrades cost so much, to provide consistency on the 1-2 perfectly lined up shots you get a game.

 

It is also why cold dice have such a big influence on the game. A cold roll even after all the rerolls/mods really hurts and there's not a lot you can do to recover. You only get one chance to knock them out before they either hit you back or fly away.

 

I've had one hit from 8 black dice before. It hurts almost as much as two single hits on five dice from Salvation (Spinal armaments with CF Dial; Home One gave me an accuracy and the CF token gave me a reroll but still couldn't kill the flotilla)

 

As the opportunities to roll are limited, and the consequences of a poor result so severe with little opportunity to recover, these times are burned into our memory. 

 

Though it should even out over the course of one or many games, it still hurts when it happens (often the loss of a game)

 

This is an interesting observation: most ships only get a few (if any) moments of glory per game, and you have to make them count.

 

Which brings me to my next point, but first some introduction:

 

After this rather lackluster start, I went on to table a Rhymerball with near-perfect play, for that sweet 10-1. This gave me a decent, but hardly very good, score before the final round. As fate would have it, those players more likely than me to get to the final table either lost their 2nd match or didn't score enough points, so I was suddenly at the top table!

 

Digression: Anyone else ever gotten to the top table with only 14 tournament points???

 

My opponent ran an evil Rieekan bomber list, with 4 Scurrgs, Adar on and AF, Yavaris, and 3 flotillas (w/2 BCC & Toryn).

 

I went first and picked his Outpost.

 

A good game ensued, very intense, very close. I did a few mistakes, but he also made a few mistakes, so I guess it evened out. In hindsight I can always see things I could have done differently, and thereby won, but then and there my play was pretty good.

 

I lost - very barely, with his Rieekan flotilla escaping with 1 hull and BH with 2 hull. Unfortunately I lost most of my fleet in the process... and I absolutely need to table squadron-heavy builds to rack up points.

 

On to my second point of the day:

 

My opponent was very skilled. Best non-vassal opponent I've faced.

 

And he had a very strong build.

 

4 Scurggs, with Yavaris and Adar to reactivate.

 

I completely neutered Yavaris (and then killed it), but his AF and 3 flotillas were enough to keep up the bombing pressure.

 

He even had Rieekan, so than when I killed a ship, it still got to activate those **** squadrons :D

 

AND THEY MADE THEIR OWN LUCK: 1 blue, one black with Toryn Farr and 2xBCC. That's 2-3 damage from every bomber on every attack. With 4(5) such attacks, that 10 or more damage more or guaranteed. No whiffs possible really.

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I took 2 attacks from an MC30+EL. First attack from the front. 1 Acc and 4 hit/crits. 8 damage and no brace into the rear of a VSD. Luckily it was untouched so I jsut sucked up 4 damage on the shields. Second attack was 6 damage 1 Acc. So no brace again, moved 3 damage and took a structural. 

 

Full health Vic to 3 shields in front and 2 hull left thanks to Motti. Luckily it went on to ram Yavaris in a blaze of glory and killed it before going down to a single red TRC90 shot.

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Loosing your ability to reroll is not a good enough excuse.  You must roll perfectly the FIRST time if you expect to impress Grand Admiral Thrawn when he eventually arrives!  

 

 2017 is gonna be a good year!!!!  

 

  Seriously though - yeah loosing Vader is a huge bummer.   Hopefully he escaped in an escape pod. 

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Glad you got some good games in here in Östersund, always good to have you here!

 

I met Mikael that you faced on the final table and he kicked my ass. All those bomber rerolls really put the hurt on! But my dice certainly didn't help, never seen so many blanks and my Demolisher blanked out completely against his space potato despite OE - 2 reds on long range: 2 blanks;  4 black: blank + 3xhit - reroll: 4 blanks! With Avenger in range it could have made some difference if I'd rolled at least average...  ;) Not that I could have won that game, but at least get away with some more points. Wish I had that game on film so I could see what to do differently. 

 

Third game (against the Corvette swarm with bombers) I didn't set up optimally, but lost because I smashed my ISD into the squad furball where I had managed to bind pretty much all of his squads!  :wacko: That, and the fact that I didn't escape with my Demolisher final round but charged instead!  :D

 

Hope to see you in Trondheim in 2 weeks!

Edited by oxymandias

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You know, in the days of the GenCon Special, I couldn't think of how a mirror matchup would not go down to dice!  Even the initiative bid!

 

That being said, my friend was a game designer (he made Lords of Waterdeep).  You need luck to be 10% of a game because otherwise, it'd be chess and only the better team would win.

 

I think weighted dice is the best solution to making your luck.  (I'm completely kidding... in a fun game of plastic ships, I hope no one would ever cheat like that!).

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I think maybe redundant sources of dice modification are at least somewhat important to making your own luck.

 

Run 2 BCCs. (Even though Luke will still fish for the blanks. Every. ****. Time.)

 

Running Vader? If you can afford it, run leading shots too. 

 

Running Screed? Run those ordnance experts anyways. Same with Vader.

 

Overlapping sources of luck mitigation will super help in those 2-3 rounds of sustained engagement.

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I think maybe redundant sources of dice modification are at least somewhat important to making your own luck.

 

Exactly. I wouldn't run leading shots with Vader (it just doesn't pass cost/benefit analysis) but running OE on a Demo in a Vader's fleet is worth it: while Vader is alive, Demo can agressively hunt for hit/crits and if he's dead, it reverts to a good old demo. This is especially important if there are crit-triggerred effects (APT).

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I think maybe redundant sources of dice modification are at least somewhat important to making your own luck.

 

Exactly. I wouldn't run leading shots with Vader (it just doesn't pass cost/benefit analysis) but running OE on a Demo in a Vader's fleet is worth it: while Vader is alive, Demo can agressively hunt for hit/crits and if he's dead, it reverts to a good old demo. This is especially important if there are crit-triggerred effects (APT).

 

 

That's exactly what my opponent ran, and he benefited hugely from it.

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So yeah, my dice were cold, but I had also squandered a very key element of my fleet - Vader's reroll ability. Had he still been there, I would not have failed to kill that Demolisher.

 

I don't think you realize just how cold dice can be.

 

 

:D  :D  :D

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Inb4 Dras

 

Dras should totally reply to this thread. Minimum 2000 word count.

 

 

 

Statistically abysmal. That is what they call me.

 

First off, I want to give Green Knight the props he deserves for writing the piece. It makes a lot of sense, to be sure.

 

But it is from a single point of view – and that point of view is the Empire, where they have all of the dice modification you could ever want.

 

Seriously. Darth Vader. Spend a token, reroll your pick. Man, that's such a wonderful ability... I wish my Rebels could take that... No.....

 

Instead, there are other forms of luck-fixing that has to be explored – and the Rebellion seem to be very reactive in that department. They have the raw chaos of Lando – just add more chaos and luck, and you'll be fine – or they remove the hazards of failure somewhat from the game (Rieekan, and to a point Mon Mothma.)... But they lack serious dice-fixing.

 

Its a 'feature', I am told. Vader, Screed, they're all about being able to turn a regular attack into a ruthless beatdown. A simple victory into a crushing one. It certainly fits the imperial theme, but it leaves the rebellion out in the cold... You know you have issues when your best dice is the most fickle dice, you have the most of the most fickle dice, and the only upgrade you can take to fix those dice en-masse is Veteran Gunners.

 

 

Seriously. Veteran Gunners. Not only is it a moderately priced card at 5 points, it occupies a Gunnery Team Slot, that only 3 Rebel Ships actually have... Did I mention it was the Gunnery Team slot, where your wide arcs oftenmost want you to be taking actual Gunnery Teams and just playing double-or-nothing with your luck chances... And thirdly, its everything. Get a slightly-above-average roll? Well, now you better decide on wether you take it and go for broke, or just throw everything out to chance it all with lady luck...

 

Urgh. That recurrent theme again. The Rebellion is a force designed to rely on luck. Not on luck fixing, but raw chaos of luck. And there are times when that luck will favour you.. Fortun Fortes Advat, and all that jazz... But the dice will be cold on you. It happens.

 

You won't be statistically abysmal like me, but they will go cold at times. You need to see the bigger picture on what luck-based play will get you, and focus on the ways where you can die-fix as a Rebel.

 

So, let us move on to that. In the vein of openness and such, we;ll explore it anyway, even though I consider it somewhat of a misdirection of sorts... Some dice mitigation is okay, but its not the Rebel THING.

 

Starting off, Bomber Command. We need it. We need it like a precious. Your Standard X-Wing has a Red Die, statistically the worst for a bomber – sure, it has the chance of throwing 2 damage up, but the misses and accuracy result really makes it difficult to see the effect some times. Furthermore, Bomber command, even a single, is affording Y-Wings, B-Wings and Scurrgs a reroll on the portion of the die that misses.

 

Toryn Farr. We really need to be including here more often, too – because Blue Dice are your Backup. An, if you love B-Wings and Scurrgs, then even more so. Mostly, Toryn allows you to achieve parity with Imperial Squadrons. The Great variety of them have swarm built in (stupid Imperial Dice-Fixing), which is just free rerolls to them. Toryn in the area grants that to you, which allows you fighters which are otherwise tougher and meaner, to get the job done just as reliably as your imperial opponent, who starts to then see that speed and lightness are not necessarily boons. Her main strength is the fact that she is a bubble effect (although not an extensive one), and that a lot of your nitty-gritty game relies on Blue Dice... Blue dice are for Anti-Squadron, both from Squadrons and from Ships... Blue Dice are for Counter... Always for counter... Blue dice are for mid-range damage against ships, or for fishing that accuracy, which can mean the difference between good luck and bad luck against a ship where you're rolling damage but are giving them their choice of defence tokens...

 

Turbolaser Reroutes.

Here's the other staple Rebel Die-fixer... No matter what, yo can turn a bad red die into an awesome red die at Range for the cost of an Evade. And most of the time, that's great – but you need to weight that in the actual damage application overall... Even if a MonCal cruiser could fit it, it probably wouldn't, because that additional damage is made up for through sheer amounts of dice being rolled... But the CR90 Corvette or Nebulon B will love it, because their die pools are so small, that a bad roll can mean nothing – and something, anything is better than nothing... period...

 

But that is really it, when it comes to luck mitigation for the Rebellion. There is so little precious else that can really be used... Concentrate Fire Tokens (and additional dice brought on by Concentrate Fire Dials) are an assistance, and Rebels are the kings of Token Shenanigans... Such things as the RaymusTantive gives out 2 tokens a turn if it wants, to other people... CommsNets are important for shuffling around those tokens to the places they want – but really, when it comes down to it, a single die reroll is hardly die-fixing... Its playing to the Luck.

 

Lando is the ultimate in playing to the Luck, but its in a defensive basis... Discard him, make the enemy Reroll... Know what this means... Know when to use it... Know when you're dead anyway and its too late... Personally, I find Lando great when the enemy is throwing Red and Blue dice at you... Black Dice, well, they're probably mitigated ot all hell and showing all Hit/Crits, but you can lessen that impact. But better than lessening an impact is removing any impact at all – and Lando can do that with reds and blues, because the Accuracy (and blanks) re rolled to in the defence stage usually mean nothing... Of course, there are upgrades, but upgrades preclude other upgrades, and we should not get caught in minutiae...

 

 

Foresight/Admonition

A form of luck mitigation – now we're talking about mitigating the enemy's luck... Both are priced at 8 points, because both of them – through their own medium – generally equate to the same thing – One enemy Die removed at the appropriate range. The Range of Admonition is everywhere. It doesn't matter, long or short, it allos you to trade that token for 1 damage die mitigation... And that is a Die of Damage, not just a point of Damage.

The same can be said of Foresight when it is at long range (or Medium with Mon Mothma)... It is allowing you to remove 1 additional die above and beyond what you would normally be removing due to your evade token.

 

Walex Blissex, in his infinite favor, returns to you those Defense Tokens you spend... What the Empire would do to take this man back into the fold... Effectively giving a MonCal Cruiser the ability to brace 4 shots is something that should not be overlooked... Don't do it once well, do it twice... I'll get to that in a minute.

 

Yavaris – What's better to play the odds than to just throw something TWICE... That's what the Rebellion Does. Don't do it the first time well, just do it average TWICE... Now, abuse all of the token shenanigans and the Fighter Commander / Fighter Coordination Team combo to get everything in position, and then either Win Twice as Big, or Lose Twice as Big!

 

Oh, Fighter Commander / Fighter Coordination Team, how you've been a boon already – mitigating weaknesses that allow strength to be brought to bear. Its a shame that we will still be reliant on purchasing Imperial Interdictors to abuse the combination, since only half of it comes in the Pelta. This is a dirty trick, a shenanigan the Empire can use, but to nowhere near the effect... The Nose Punch list I won a local tournament with shows that – yes, you can do your own shenanigan with it, but it relies on its own gimmick to perform...

 

With the Rebels and luck, Seriously, this is what gets me the most... Don't tell them the odds, just let them roll a bunch of times. They may never get one solid, average, simple setup all game. But will have wild swings of luck forward and backward. Because that is what the rebels do... That is what the Rebels are.

 

They're taking on a giant monolithic organization of turbo-lasers and hull plating. Backed up by solid reliability. The empire's greatest strength is about being solid, standard and reliable, without having massive swings of luck for and against. What poor or good luck you have is reflective of the game you have played and the positioning you have, because you have the tools to iron out the wrinkles in the luck curve.

 

The Rebellion however, is far more seat-of-the-pants, and the first thing a prospective Rebellion player must do, is come to terms with this. You simply cannot meet and match the empire on Dice mitigation. You cannot. You can try, and you will find you come up horridly under-matched. I wilfully admit, I did this for a long time. I sought the dice fixing and luck mitigation qualities for my Rebellion fleet, feeling that, “if I could just get Average luck, I'd be on to something...”

 

Its an entrapping layer of play. It is always better, in my opinion, to mitigate a weakness than to build a strength, because of the way diminishing returns plays out... But this is one exception to that case – you cannot mitigate the Rebellions luck-based system. You can't. Not by playing Rebels. Not by playing them in a way that capitalizes on any of their strengths.

 

No, you need to roll the odds. You need to take Lady Luck by the arm and sweep her off her feet. You need to **** the aces and the eights... Because you don't do it once well, you do it twice...

 

Leverage every **** dirty trick you have... And now, the Pelta has given us 3 more Dirty Tricks to leverage... A Dirty trick, in this instance, is something the empire just can't do, and you should do it... leverage those bonuses, leverage those tricks – learn the wonder of the Force Multiplier, and when they should be applied, and where. “All Fighters Form on Me.” would be the death of Independance, they cried... But nay, it was soon shown to stack, and now, you can have Speed 5 B-Wings... People were already happy using Speed Four B-Wings, but 5 is Even better... Now you can catapult OVER fighter Screens and be in place. Now you can think one turn in advance, instead of where you need to be three turns in advance.

 

Because B-Wings themselves are basically 1.5 Y-Wings duct-taped together... Their offensive output and points cost is expected... They just shed a lot of hull to not be “heavy”... They fit the Rebellion theme of don't do it once well, do it twice!... Don't rely on one bomb die.. Have Two! Even if they are mismatched. TWO!

 

Dice DO run hot and cold.

 

Even in his Article, although Green Knight states that “Dice do not run cold” in the title, he fails to bring that conclusion on board by the end. In fact, he emphatically states that dice DO run cold at times. That's the nature of luck. Armada has lots of way to mitigate luck through strategy, through positioning, through favourable matchups and all, but when it comes down to it, you still need to throw dice to ultimately win games. And when you have to throw dice, you surrender yourself to lady luck and her entropic embrace...

 

The question becomes, how do you handle that?

 

Do you look to the Empire, and ways to Mitigate that...

 

Or do you look to the Rebels, grin, and say, “So, Double or Nothing?”

Edited by Drasnighta

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In the chicago regional, my roughest game was against an opponent who ran 3 TRC-90s with a Home one providing accuracies. 

 

It literally did not and could matter what he rolled, he picked me apart.  

 

It was only through a rieekan mishap and some good bombing runs that I was able to stave off a 9-2 or a 10-1. 

 

Fortune does not necessarily favor the bold, but luck does favor the prepared. 

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Redundant rerolls can definitely help. The best example of this would be double Bomber Command Centers. The thinking on rerolls for bomber dice when you only get one versus two is dramatically different and so the decision-making tree is more nuanced and less prone to failure overall.

 

You do get issues of diminishing returns, though, past that second reroll.

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In the chicago regional, my roughest game was against an opponent who ran 3 TRC-90s with a Home one providing accuracies. 

 

It literally did not and could matter what he rolled, he picked me apart.  

 

 

I know people who would say "You have a bigger problem if you're being picked apart by Acc / Double-Hit "

 

Because that's all that would get me.

 

Speaking from experience, of course :D

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