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How to answer dice complains?

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Lately I've become more and more irritated by some players tendency to complain about dice and bad luck in their games, and in general try to explain their results by talking about bad luck or good luck, when dice modifications, or lack of such, has a lot to do with it. I can be both against me or someone else, but when some people talk about their games, they make it sound like the only thing deciding the outcome of a game is luck.

My question is how do you deal with it in a friendly manner? If I loose, I (for the most part) have no problems saying against it: it wasn't bad luck, but some gameplay mistakes, but it's harder to tell someone who just lost that it was their own fault. I you don't want to just say "fly better"/"git gud" and show them the middle finger, what do you guys usually say?

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Dice modifications affect "luck", that's true. The player that stacks most modifications on every attack (or defense) has the most luck during a game, so to speak.

But it's a mistake to handwave this with just "learn get more mods". 
Simply put, some ships in this game have much easier time stacking mods than others. Most of the complains in the forum are currently about overpowered ships that are able to equip so many abilities that modify their dice.

It can be because they can equip astromechs on top of EPT, on top of crew, on top of titles that give tokens, on top of... etc.
Some players don't overthink the game too much at statistical level, and for them it might just look like one player is just getting more luck than the other, even doing everything he can do to get mods.
For them, their green dice almost never save them, and their red dice almost never hit hard enough to bypass your green dice, and that's everything they can say about it. 

 

Another variation of this, that I have experienced first hand, is when a player comes to the game for the spaceships and dogfighting (basically, what the core set and the first few waves "sell"), and what he encounters after playing the game for some time is that it is no longer a game about moving spaceships and throwing dice, but a game about gathering tokens and stacking abilities to form synergies.
It becomes less thematic (and I don't mean the "where are the X-wings? Where is Luke?" argument).
It becomes more like other kind of boardgames, like card games, and the fact that you are moving Star Wars miniatures around becomes less important, or even irrelevant. "It's not a spaceships game, it's Magic The Gathering with star wars names.", I have been told, after a person that bought in and got the core and the 4 first waves disliked where the game was going.

 

For the first case, I would tell them the naked truth: There are ships that are ovepowered and ships that are underpowered. And within these ships, there are the combos that work and the combos that don't. If they are okay with that, they will accept it and embrace it. If they don't, it's best not to hide the fact from them anyway.

For the second case, I would totally discourage them from playing competitive games. As most people say here "Gameplay > Fluff", so there is nothing wrong for most competitive players on the fact that a freighter can and will obliterate some heavy assault fighters in most matches. Because fluff doesn't matter.
For the people bothered by that, I would recommend them to try the Heroes of the Aturi Cluster campaign, where the player focuses on iconic Star Wars ships, both friendly and foes.

Edited by Azrapse

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^

this.

Also, there's no guarantee that modification will affect/improve dice results. Dice are dice.

I saw a guy at the Euros roll a five dice, focused Miranda homing missile and after spending the target lock for rerolls, they still only had the grand total of one hit. Dice are a thing, bad luck is a thing, it happens.

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Being specific tends to help. It really is useless to give them a simple "fly better", but if you can politely point out that their 40-point ship spent 4 rounds out of the fight trying to sneak through rocks while you chewed up the rest of their fleet, it tends to go over a bit better. Holding yourself to the same standard is also important, to set the example, so it's good you're doing that already. And try to stay positive: congratulate them for the good moves, as well as pointing out the poor ones.

It won't be immediate, but it will payoff eventually. One of my locals used to complain about his dice all the time, but this weekend I was astonished when it was he who declined to blame the dice or the poorly timed PS0 critical, and instead pointed out the move that allowed Norra to escape and regen, when she otherwise could have been blocked at range 1 of a very angry Bossk.

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Learn to understand when it genuinely was the dice and when it wasn't.  This is probably the most important skill in Gitting Gud.

If they were repositioning with all their actions and not getting many mods, or if they were usually only shooting 3 naked reds versus 3 even naked greens, then 'bad luck' could be more down to their skill versus yours. 3 naked red versus 3 naked green is only an expected damage of just over 0.6, i.e. a better than 50% chance of just doing nothing.  Similarly, learning when it's better to take a focus token or target lock over an extra die (i.e. why Expose is terrible) is a really important skill.

But if they were shooting e.g. a Concussion Missile with focus and Guidance Chips, they have to roll INCREDIBLY poorly to not get four hits.  Like, a minimum of three blank dice.  So if they're genuinely doing everything possible to get good results, and ending up with crap anyway, they might be right.  It might be the dice.  If they take damage off a range 3 obstructed stealth device focus/evade lone wolf Defender from a 2 die attacker, their rage might be entirely justified.  If Fenn fails to pop a focus-only TIE fighter with focus/TL at range 1, his rage is at least a little justified, he's got a better than 65% chance to kill a TIE outright from full health in that situation, not taking into account the likelihood of Direct Hits or Major Explosions off his crits which increase it a decent amount.

Sometimes it's a lack of skill, either in understanding the probabilities inherent in the game, or in maximising them in your favour and minimising them in your opponent's, or both.  Sometimes the dice (or the damage cards) genuinely do Just Hate You. 

Distinguishing case 1 from case 2 is a vital skill to practice, and one which will potentially take a lot of doing, as some of the crucial cognitive biases (particularly negativity bias (you remember the few times when Fenn got popped in one hit at range 1 WAY better than you do all the times he was unscathed after 3 attacks caught at range 2) , in some cases, Dunning-Kruger syndrome (people who simply aren't equipped with the right skills to recognise when they're playing or interpreting probability poorly, to put it nicely)) are very tough to overcome.

When I was a new player (heck, even now) I'd never object if you give me an honest critique of my play, especially if you point out mistakes I hadn't noticed.  And even if the dice did Just Hate Me, I'll still try my best to find places where I could have genuinely improved my play, as opposed ot just rolling better.

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Some people do not have the ability to rationalize their disappointments.
Where you see "Oh, I spent all my action on repositioning to get a good HLC shot on that ship and I rolled all blanks and eyes. My fault.", the other person only sees "This is unfair, I flew well to get a shot, but the dice ruined it for me. A pilot wouldn't have missed this!".

A person that cannot deal with frustration will quit the game after a few of these, and you could bring Euler, Boole, and Gauss to explain why his dice missed, but they won't just accept it.
For these people, a dogfighting game where good flying can be irrelevant next to someone that "weights" their dice in their favor by spending points on abilities is infuriating. It's like losing a football match because of the accounting department.

Edited by Azrapse

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4 minutes ago, Azrapse said:

Some people do not have the ability to rationalize their disappointments.
Where you see "Oh, I spent all my action on repositioning to get a good HLC shot on that ship and I rolled all blanks and eyes. My fault.", the other person only sees "This is unfair, I flew well to get a shot, but the dice ruined it for me. A pilot wouldn't have missed this!".

Did he really fly well to get a shot, or did the opponent fly well to force him to use his action on the barrel roll instead of a target lock?

Edited by DR4CO

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17 minutes ago, DR4CO said:

Being specific tends to help. It really is useless to give them a simple "fly better", but if you can politely point out that their 40-point ship spent 4 rounds out of the fight trying to sneak through rocks while you chewed up the rest of their fleet, it tends to go over a bit better. Holding yourself to the same standard is also important, to set the example, so it's good you're doing that already. And try to stay positive: congratulate them for the good moves, as well as pointing out the poor ones.

It won't be immediate, but it will payoff eventually. One of my locals used to complain about his dice all the time, but this weekend I was astonished when it was he who declined to blame the dice or the poorly timed PS0 critical, and instead pointed out the move that allowed Norra to escape and regen, when she otherwise could have been blocked at range 1 of a very angry Bossk.

I'm going to go out of my way to point this out as being the ultimate way of dealing with people who complain about dice. I was one of them. Opponents were good in that they didn't smack me across the head for it, but most just kinda shrugged or simply said 'I don't think dice decided this...'

Really, I never had anybody even suggest that I should never have put myself in a position to be shot in the first place. I got that from here. If you point out a mistake and offer a better alternative you give them something specific to look at. They still might not pick up on things, but it would have helped me a lot.

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I think one other really key point is: the dice cannot screw you if you don't give them the chance.  You CAN'T die to an unlikely all-crit result if you're not getting shot at at all.  Barring turrets, and the likes of Feedback Array etc, if you're not in their arc, it's impossible to kill you.  So if you can outfly your opponent to the point where they don't get shots and you do, they won't ever be able to win.

That's another really useful thing to learn to track actually - the number of turns each of your ships got to shoot something, and the number of turns each of theirs did.

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I think it totally depends on the situation. I played a game once and had 3 consecutive rounds of range 1 target lock focused with 2 t70s against a stressed untokened ig. I did no damage at all. It was frustrating and definately bad luck on the dice.

Now i didnt start moaning but if my opponent had the same thing against me i would feel they would be entilted to voice unhappiness.

That being said it all depends on the manner you speak and understanding that you always remember when the dice go very against you, but rarely remember the hot streaks.

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Indeed. The question is always "what could/should I have done differently?"

If, with as much brutal honesty that you can muster, you really can't come up with a different thing you could have done - from different deployment, different rocks, different approach, different choice of targets, you name it, then, either you can consider thinking if it's a 'blame the dice', or a 'scissors, paper, stone' match-up. But it's very hard to reach that point.

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I want to specify that I definitely think that good and bad luck is a factor in X-wing (I have had Whisper loose her shields to one unmodified R3 attack, cloaked with Palp to the first shots in the game, twice in one tournament) but for the most part, the challenge of the game is to figure out what to do when the die swings one way or another (I ended up winning both those games by flying Whisper really carefully).

It's also a problem that I don't want to sound arrogant. For the most part, I'm not that much better than some of these players, so just telling them the way they fly is wrong doesn't sound like a good idea either. The best I have come up with is asking open questions like "What did you think that turn?", but that's hard in the games I didn't play or watch.

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This is a game that uses dice. Dice can sometimes go cold. That's the agreement we all made when we got into the game, so why complain about something you knew for a fact was going to happen?

There's always one more thing you can do. Find the thing you could've done and learn from it. 

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12 minutes ago, thespaceinvader said:

I think one other really key point is: the dice cannot screw you if you don't give them the chance.  You CAN'T die to an unlikely all-crit result if you're not getting shot at at all.  Barring turrets, and the likes of Feedback Array etc, if you're not in their arc, it's impossible to kill you.  So if you can outfly your opponent to the point where they don't get shots and you do, they won't ever be able to win.

That's another really useful thing to learn to track actually - the number of turns each of your ships got to shoot something, and the number of turns each of theirs did.

This exactly.  When I first got my hands on Vectored Thrusters, I wanted to see what Wedge and Luke could do with some high PS repositioning along side Tarn.  In my first game, I lost Luke in the first attack of the game to Fen.  He landed 4 hits and Crit, Lone wolf Luke rolled evade, blank, rerolled another blank and the crit was double damage.  Done.  Then Tarn went on to turn 8 hits/crits into 3 hits after his forced rerolls with M9 while Wedge blasted Fen, Teroch and 4LOM to win and I was feeling pretty good

Next match though, I faced tripple defenders.  In this one Tarn forced 5 hits to be rerolled resulting in 2 Crits and 3 hits.  Bad luck right?  Meanwhile, in an 8 round match, with 3 ships, I rolled red dice 6 times total - Luke 1, Wedge 2 and Tarn 3.  I was completely outflown, kept trapping myself in the rocks with only one predictable option to get out, never concentrated my fire and had guys on my tail the whole match. I was tabled while managing to take only a single shield off of one enemy.  Dice may have bought me another round or two but I was never winning that match.

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1 minute ago, Magnus Grendel said:

Indeed. The question is always "what could/should I have done differently?"

If, with as much brutal honesty that you can muster, you really can't come up with a different thing you could have done - from different deployment, different rocks, different approach, different choice of targets, you name it, then, either you can consider thinking if it's a 'blame the dice', or a 'scissors, paper, stone' match-up. But it's very hard to reach that point.

Some of us really don't know what we did wrong. Dice probably still aren't to blame, but tactically we don't see our blunders and dice are nice and visible with bright red and green colours.

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I guess it depends on what constitutes complaining.  I regularly say, "Well that sucks" or "That's not good" when I roll all blanks after positioning myself to maximize my offensive or defensive capability, but I make an effort not to bring up my bad dice as the reason my opponent won.  I have no problem saying that I won solely on dice, though.  Heck, I was using a shieldless TLT Y-Wing against an Autothruster, Tokened IG-2000 yesterday with 2 hull left.  I rolled my shot, 3 hits.  Guy rolled 3 misses.  Next shot, 3 hits, he rolled 3 misses.  That's game.  The "math" says I shouldn't have hit him pretty much ever.  Stuff happens.

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3 minutes ago, ricefrisbeetreats said:

I guess it depends on what constitutes complaining.  I regularly say, "Well that sucks" or "That's not good" when I roll all blanks after positioning myself to maximize my offensive or defensive capability, but I make an effort not to bring up my bad dice as the reason my opponent won.  I have no problem saying that I won solely on dice, though.  Heck, I was using a shieldless TLT Y-Wing against an Autothruster, Tokened IG-2000 yesterday with 2 hull left.  I rolled my shot, 3 hits.  Guy rolled 3 misses.  Next shot, 3 hits, he rolled 3 misses.  That's game.  The "math" says I shouldn't have hit him pretty much ever.  Stuff happens.

This is an interesting point.

The response to losing, and your opponent saying 'your dice were terrible/my dice were ridiculous' should never be only 'I agree'.

Even if the dice were wildly ludicrous, I make a point of ALWAYS making an effort to figure out something I could have done better other than roll dice better.  I've yet to find a game where I played 100% perfectly with wisdom of hindsight and still lost, except for the occasional 'well, I've got to take a high-risk/high-reward option to stand a chance and it didn't pay off' cases.

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18 minutes ago, LagJanson said:

Some of us really don't know what we did wrong. Dice probably still aren't to blame, but tactically we don't see our blunders and dice are nice and visible with bright red and green colours.

Agreed, but that's why I say "differently", not "better". You might not think a different approach would have worked better, but why not? If you can explain why what you did was the best of the options available at the time, you tend to have to think about the options you actually had......at which point, with 20/20 hindsight, I tend to find the "oh, bugger, I could have [???] instead" tends to occur.

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 Buy them a drink. Talk them through what went wrong. Remind them of what went right. Ask them what else they think could have gone better. Time spent being a friend makes for great competitors.

When I first started, after every game I would ask "What would you have done differently if you had been flying my list?" I lost a lot and asked this a lot. Then I just asked when I lost. Now, it hurts to do it,but I stay with the discipline.

Eventually you reach a place where you can recognize the point that you have lost a game before the dice are even thrown. But I got there with the help of friends, and by trying to be one as well.

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Some people have some investment in convincing themselves that X-Wing is more about luck than it is.

Some people, on the other hand, have a tremendous investment in convincing themselves that X-Wing is less about luck than it is.

Whether "complaints about luck" bother you more than "complaints about complaints about luck" will often serve as a decent indicator as to which group you're in (if either).  And maybe even why.

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Dice complaints should be reserved for non-Regen ships only. Now, if the complaining is coming from pilots of those ships, let them know that beer was designed for many reasons; to assist in insuring the survival of the best transcribers of Holy texts through the dark ages of the plagues, to help insure better family cohesion and resistance to the evils of whiskey in Ireland, to complement and promote cohesion and grand dialogue in groups, to help promote general cheer, and to create players that are resistant to dice outcomes. Sure, it doesn't change the dice, make them fall with all (or mostly) paint, but it does reduce the polarized reactions to their eventual testing outcome.

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I like to show people lists that have 0 dice rolling in them, or very minimal.  Things like a double ghost and y wing, all with autoblasters and accuracy correctors on the ghosts.  Do an exercise in what dice can and can't do, show them that they are subject to luck and risk.  And then suggest that they buy new dice.  If you don't like the dice aspect of the game, take the dice out of it.  Its pretty boring without the dice factor.

After tracking my own dice over a few casual weeks, I learned I rolled way more green dice than red dice (and that the regular FFG dice were pretty fair over that "small" sample).  I learned I shouldn't put myself in those situations as often as I did.  Suggest they do the same thing?  Sometimes, your dice really are trying to kill you.  But its probably a very minimal number of games over a year.

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2 hours ago, thespaceinvader said:

Learn to understand when it genuinely was the dice and when it wasn't.  This is probably the most important skill in Gitting Gud.

I had this happen to me just last week.  I was trying to down an a-wing, and threw my dice.  I could have focused for 1 more hit, but I was so sure I would get him I saved it for defense.  The a-wing defended well.  The next turn, 2 more shots and the a-wing is still alive with 1 hit.  That turn I could have screamed bad dice, but in fact, the a-wing was still around because of a choice I made 3 rolls ago.

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