Dice System, and other things

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Dice System, and other things

Postby q335r49 » Sat May 31, 2008 2:31 am

Pretty cool game! But some comments/critiques

1) I'm not sure why 20 coins are used instead of a d20? The former is distributed normally, and the latter uniformly -- and is so much easier to calculate.
Lke, I don't even know how likely it is to roll 7 or more heads in 10 coins, but the chances of getting 7 or more on a d10 is 30%. In any case, the former is a lot less than 30%.
Some more questions: How likely is it for 4 coins to beat 5 coins? (No easy way to do this, I don't think)
= (4C2*5C1+4C3*5C2+4C4*5C3)/2^9 = (6*5+4*10+1*10)/512 = 16%?
For dice it tends to be easier. I think the probability of d4 beating a d5 is ... umm... (1+2+3)/20 = 7/20, or 35% and a 50% chance of winning or tying.
In fact, if my figures are correct, it seems like coins give weaker units even less of a chance -- which is actually a big problem in this game.

2) I think the game is a lot more fun without tactics cards. For an extra challenge, try playing mutants without tactics. I tend to play all races without tactics, it gives that extra uncertainty to Without tactics, it's becomes kind of important to calculate you chances of success.

3) I like the sense of adventure in this game, adventure and discovery. The land itself is barren, of course -- I don't mean the exploration part, although coming upon a nuke is pretty cool. I mean the way that the game machine throws suprises at you. SInce this is a dedicated 1 player game, discovery is a "legal discovery" -- of realizing the unexpected consequences of rules that you know about but didn't know could be combined in that way, or fo new rules.
Compared with, say, Starcraft, this is a "legal game" rather than a "knowledge game" -- it is a "legal adventure game". My dream game would be something with such complicated rules that no one would ever learn it all (like Nethack or something). But the book would be there, like an encyclopedia, maybe, and one would go on amazing legal adventures, where a small loophole could make or break you. I guess this is the idea behind Magic the Gathering?

Overall, though, I like what it's trying to accomplish, sort of like a "world" that is only interesting as long as its not mastered. In starcraft, one masters the rules fairly easily, the adventure becomes the mastering of one's own reactions -- the keyboard, the memory, stuff like that. This is the sense of adventure in all sports -- an adventure in the body and in memory. In this game, it's an adventure outside of the body, and the more elaborate the rules the longer this legal adventure can last. There are a lot of cool narratives and meta-narratives being created here -- like, the close calls in individual games, or the development of special tactics and a relationship with the rules themselves. I find that Asian cultures, with their emphasis on experience, tend to prefer a mastery of the body over this much more volatile and fantastic legal mastery.

4) Regarding the AI -- someone once told me that fencing required, not reaction and experience, but "courage and determination", it involves knowing what you are going to do, beforehand, and just following it through (OK, Loop left, Loop right, lunge). Not so much courage, in sport fencing. This is basically what the "cults" feature did -- but it could be used for all AI -- like, tech lead, mass expand, detection lead, stealth lead, deployment lead, and so on. Like, I think the AI should be commited to something, like a fencer -- that would be awesome.
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Re: Dice System, and other things

Postby Bullwinkle » Sat May 31, 2008 8:30 pm

I think your calculations are off...the chance of getting 7 or more heads on 10 coins is 17.2%, for 7 or more on a d10, it's 40%. For 4 coins against 5, 4 beats 5 (by 1 or more) 25.7% of the time. 4 beats or ties 5 (0 or more) 50.1% of the time. For dice, it's 30% and 50%. Although a better comparison for 4 coins against 5 might be d5 against d6, since that gives the same number of elements as possibilities for each set, in which case it's 33% and 50%. (You can't have a d1, so a strength of 1 would have no meaning.) So it's true that using dice would make it easier for weaker units to score a hit (but, interestingly, slightly (trivially) less chance of at least tying).

The point in using coins is exactly as you stated, the normal vs. uniform distribution. It's not just the to hit chance that's relevant; the damage allocated is also dependent on how many flips more you had. This kind of distribution does make weaker armies less combat capable (relatively), but it also avoids the infuriating 'spearmen beat tank division' mechanic that plagued the original Civilization. If it helps, remember that the vast majority of units in the game are not (I believe) meant to be single units, but multiple ones (except maybe the Leviathan). A simple infantry unit may get lucky and take down a Colossus or two, but it really isn't likely they'll eliminate a whole platoon.

At any rate, I think the system makes tactical analysis in AE more interesting, specifically because it is less random. The uniform distribution does work well for some systems (D&D, for one), but some games are better for having a normal distribution (I'm thinking about 2nd edition Runebound).
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