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Pollux85

New Rule Variant: Wild Die

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I had an idea for a new rule variant that could make the game much more swingy, but perhaps in a fun way. It's taken from the Wild Die Concept from the Star Wars D6 RPG. 

Anytime someone rolls the yellow dice and they get the side with two surges and one damage, they get to keep that and then reroll that same yellow die and add that next roll to their attack or attribute check. 

Thoughts? Does it make the game too swingy? Do I need to provide something to make it possible to swing the other way for the defender? Or provide some way the yellow dice can also create a "fail?"

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You'll fine that skirmish players hate swing-y.  They already loudly lament the existence of a 1:6 chance, that may come once or twice in a game, that enables a character to dodge an attack , thus disrupting their carefully laid out damage per turn calculations.  I'd also ask, what if a character doesn't have a yellow die?  So some character will not benefit at all from this mechanic.  This is especially egregious in combat.  The mechanics already take dodge into account, and if you are on the losing end of a no-x-roads streak, a white dice character potentially takes a lot more damage than, so attackers with yellow dice in their attack pool, or characters that choose their attack dice, are suddenly at a significant advantage that was never figured into play testing.  

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I wonder if a new die would help this- maybe a purple die that's blank (or sparse) on all sides except a side or two of double surges.  You're unlikely to get much out of it, but in the event that you manage to string together a couple of those surges they can really overpower an attack maybe once or twice a game.

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This is exactly why I am worried about Monolith's new Batman iteration of the Conan game Mechanics - they added two new dice with incredibly swingy results. It seems to be going from more of a resource-management American-European game hybrid to more of an American-style purely swingy-dice based mechanic. Which doesn't mean I didn't throw my money at them - it just means I will try the new version of the rules out before investing in any new versions. This house-rule seems way too close to a mechanic I am already skeptical of...

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Posted (edited)

I think it depends entirely on what you and your playgroup are going for when you play.  From a competitive standpoint (either campaign or skirmish) I don't like it at all - feeling like you "deserved" the win but lost to a one-in-a-hundred chance feels really bad and frustrating.  But from a storytelling perspective I love it - blast those darn rebels for succeeding against impossible odds!  Groans and cheers heard all around!

So I'd avoid it if your group has any kind of a competitive streak, but if you're already playing the game like a fun RPG then I'd say go for it for sure.

 

 

Edit: And if you do think it will work for your group and try it out, I wouldn't bother with defense or a fail condition.  The situation that I can envision this having the most impact is in attribute tests (i.e. test insight and roll 5 total surges to launch the ship or whatever).  Rolling a big string of surges to succeed in a crazy-hard test at the last minute feel like it could be a great story and a lot of fun for the rebels.  Rolling an "insta-fail" doesn't seem like it would be that exciting for anyone, even the imperial player.

Edited by ManateeX

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I'm not immediately opposed to this. But why just the yellow die? Why not every die?

I think that a better option would be something like a force die. Each side gets a standard D6 that they roll every time they roll the dice for any reason. You keep track of the total, and every time your total reaches 40, you have an opportunity for a bonus associated with that roll. Add a die to your roll, set 1 die to a face of your choice, subtract a die from your opponents roll, re-roll any of your die, etc.

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5 hours ago, thestag said:

I'm not immediately opposed to this. But why just the yellow die? Why not every die?

I think that a better option would be something like a force die. Each side gets a standard D6 that they roll every time they roll the dice for any reason. You keep track of the total, and every time your total reaches 40, you have an opportunity for a bonus associated with that roll. Add a die to your roll, set 1 die to a face of your choice, subtract a die from your opponents roll, re-roll any of your die, etc.

I picked only one die because I don't want to go gonzo and change a bunch of things without testing, and asking people on the board is part of the test. I also wanted something that didn't require even more components. It's a small change, but one that can have radical implications. Missions that require the destruction of a certain target in a specifictime frame suddenly are a bit more achievable. Ones that require a certain figure to survive suddenly are a bit more perilous. Probe droids are suddenly a much bigger problem. 

 

Now I'm wondering if the best way to go is to let each hero pick a die that is "their" wild die, but once they pick, they are stuck with it for the rest of the campaign. That feels like a more useful tool for the Imperial though, since they always know what their attack pool is going to consist of. 

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14 hours ago, Pollux85 said:

Now I'm wondering if the best way to go is to let each hero pick a die that is "their" wild die, but once they pick, they are stuck with it for the rest of the campaign.

Could tie that to the Hero's statistics. If their best stat is Might, their wild dice is red. If it's Insight, yellow. Tech, blue. No best stat (two or more are equal), green.

Of course, which dice is wild has an effect on what happens. Yellow dice exploding is useless if you don't have good surges, but phenomenal if you have +damage, +pierce, and loads of harmful conditions and surge abilities to choose from. Red dice exploding is never going to be useless but never going to be amazing either.

That said, I think clarity on exactly what you want to achieve is the key thing here. You've already refined it from a very general question of "does this sound fun?" to something a bit more specific: "certain kinds of missions become easier or harder, and certain units become more powerful too". That's good, but I think it would be worth digging even deeper into the outcome you're looking for. For example, with yellow as the wild dice, Probe Droids get a boost, and so do Imperial Officers, but neither of those are exactly rare in campaign games as it is; what makes buffing those units in particular, but not others, a desirable result? (Not saying it is or isn't desirable, that's up to you to decide). The flip side is that heroes will get Wounded (and probably Stunned) more often; they'll have to Rest and lose actions to get rid of Stunned more often too. Is denying the heroes actions, and making it easier for the Imperial player to achieve their most common victory condition, thus making things harder for the heroes in two ways, a deliberate intent? (It might be, if your players are finding it too easy and want to play on Hard Mode). Once you are clear with what you want the effect to be, and why, it becomes possible to consider approaches towards that end, and assess how well this specific approach achieves it or not. Until then, I can only answer "does this sound fun?" with "I don't know, but the game as it stands is already fun".

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'Exploding' dice as a concept isn't new, and personally I have no specific issue with it in general. However I wouldn't generally recommend putting it into a system that wasn't designed for it. 

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Exploding dice are a win-more mechanic in an already snowball-ey game. You're already being rewarded with the best result on the dice, why should you be rewarded more just because you got lucky? 

The only advantage I can see to such a system is that it speeds up TTK (time to kill) but in an erratic and unpredictable way. This is problematic in campaign because most of the missions are on a timer so messing with the TTK could mess up the mission's timing. It also introduces more variance, and one side might end up benefiting more than the other just by how the dice roll. In skirmish this might be fine if you find that your games are dragging out, but again the erratic nature is the undesirable part and it feels like you're better off just giving each figure a static +1 damage bonus if you want kills to come faster. Or you could just implement a 65 minute timer into your games ala tournament rules. 

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9 minutes ago, DerBaer said:

To make ist short: Swingy sux on competitive games.

The more total rolls are performed, the more swingy the results can be also in competitive games.

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