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Subject: Designer Diary - Some Helpful Symmetry rss

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adam wilson wrote:
143245 wrote:
adam wilson wrote:
No math, no charts, no #'s to compare.


Not sure I'm seeing the benefit here in simplicity terms over rolling a die for attacker and defender, and those numbers are the hits inflicted. I'm missing something and I'm not sure what.


It is simpler in that the players don't have to do math. I know that sounds goofy but people are so used to software doing math for them they get turned off by it,(try asking someone to count back change). The BoN system does involve more dice rolling but it is easier for new players to learn.


And don't get me started on reading.
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adam wilson

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Cole Wehrle wrote:
There are very few modifiers.

In addition:
1. The system scales. Big armies. Small armies. Big army vs. a vagabond. Everything is handled by one player rolling two dice at the same time.


My concern is learning and teaching the system. Mentally switching back and forth between numbers and effects is harder than reading icons on die faces, once you have learned them of course.

Cole Wehrle wrote:
2. The system is heavily weighted. Players can easily predict results though there's still room for an occasional surprise.

3. It's fast. Resolving combat on average takes less than 5 seconds, which puts it on the absolute lowest end of overhead, right along with Academy's system.


I agree with you there. Academy's system probably takes longer than yours.

Cole Wehrle wrote:
I've played a couple of the Birth of Nations series, and while that dice system works well in that form, it isn't right for this game for lots of reasons that I could get into if you wanted me to say more.


Sure, why did you choose #'s instead of an icon system?
 
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Cole Wehrle
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adam wilson wrote:
Sure, why did you choose #'s instead of an icon system?


I've found that it's better to think in terms of mental "steps" rather than numbers vs. icons.

So, the number dice are better because the number is all that matters. I roll a "3" and I process it as 3. If the die had 3 icons on it, you would have to count those icons and remember what those icons stood for.

But, if this is a useful way to think about usability it's a bad way to think about design.

When I built the combat system, I didn't start with desire to make the simplest system. I started with a specific model that would produce the values that the game needed. Adapting that to a dice system came second. If there's an easier way for a different dice system to produce the same results, I'm all ears.
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adam wilson

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Cole Wehrle wrote:
adam wilson wrote:
Sure, why did you choose #'s instead of an icon system?


I've found that it's better to think in terms of mental "steps" rather than numbers vs. icons.

So, the number dice are better because the number is all that matters. I roll a "3" and I process it as 3. If the die had 3 icons on it, you would have to count those icons and remember what those icons stood for.

But, if this is a useful way to think about usability it's a bad way to think about design.

When I built the combat system, I didn't start with desire to make the simplest system. I started with a specific model that would produce the values that the game needed. Adapting that to a dice system came second. If there's an easier way for a different dice system to produce the same results, I'm all ears.


I don't know how your dice system works relative to the game as a whole so I won't try to give you any advice. My remarks were based on what you wrote in your blog. I agree that reading the number 3 is simpler than learning icons. The complexity lies in mentally switching numbers around in your head,"4 equals 0", adding and subtracting modifiers, comparing high/low numbers and remembering which effects apply to each number. Gamers with a wargame background can do all this in their sleep but when I start describing these type of systems to a non-wargamer their eyes glaze over. Would you mind describing a combat action round in detail?


 
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Symbols aren't always simpler than numbers.

This discussion makes me think of Fortress America that switched from numbers on dice to symbols when it was re-made by FFG.

I'm not terribly familiar with the original, but teaching the symbols on the dice was always annoying. There was one result on each die that was slightly different, but only for the attacker when attacking certain areas in certain conditions. It was all tied up in that symbol.
It would have been a lot easier to teach, I think, if I could have just said "Defender gets +1 in cities and mountains. Attacker gets +1 if they have combined arms" (which is how I believe the original version handled things).

Symbols can work, but mixing symbols and numbers and converting back and forth can be tiring. Using symbols to hide numerical complexity doesn't always help (in my example).
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adam wilson wrote:
The complexity lies in mentally switching numbers around in your head,"4 equals 0"


The dice that will be included in the game will be custom engraved so there will be "0" faces instead of "4"s
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adam wilson

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MusRattus wrote:
Symbols can work, but mixing symbols and numbers and converting back and forth can be tiring. Using symbols to hide numerical complexity doesn't always help (in my example).


That sounds much worse than a straight number based system. They should have streamlined the rules before switching to icons. Icons only work if the rules are designed for them.

 
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adam wilson

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I read the rules on the kickstarter page, which aren't final, and I think I have a better idea of how this works. If I'm reading the rules wrong or my math is off let me know;

If 3 cats attack 1 bird the unmodified results will be;

2d4- 0,0 -or any other equal result; no loss's for either side

2d4- 0,2 -cats lose 0, birds lose 1

2d4- 2,3 -cats lose 1, birds lose 1

The percentage breakdown is roughly; 25%- no loss's for either side, 37.5% defender takes loss's, 37.5% both sides take loss's. I can see how icons would be difficult to implement with factions and cards.
 
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adam wilson wrote:
I read the rules on the kickstarter page, which aren't final, and I think I have a better idea of how this works. If I'm reading the rules wrong or my math is off let me know;

If 3 cats attack 1 bird the unmodified results will be;

2d4- 0,0 -or any other equal result; no loses for either side

2d4- 0,2 -cats lose 0, birds lose 1

2d4- 2,3 -cats lose 2, birds lose 1

The percentage breakdown is roughly; 25%- no loses for either side, 37.5% defender takes loses, 37.5% both sides take loses. I can see how icons would be difficult to implement with factions and cards.


In that 2,3, cats can't lose 2 because they can only lose as many models as the enemy has, I think? 1 bird can only kill 1 cat. So, Cats lose one (despite birds rolling 2, there is only 1 bird, so the die is capped at your number of units), and the Bird loses one.

From the rules:
"Whether you are attacker or defender, you can deal
hits up to your number of warriors in the clearing of
battle (or available swords if Vagabond). "
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adam wilson

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Ravendas wrote:
adam wilson wrote:
I read the rules on the kickstarter page, which aren't final, and I think I have a better idea of how this works. If I'm reading the rules wrong or my math is off let me know;

If 3 cats attack 1 bird the unmodified results will be;

2d4- 0,0 -or any other equal result; no loses for either side

2d4- 0,2 -cats lose 0, birds lose 1

2d4- 2,3 -cats lose 2, birds lose 1

The percentage breakdown is roughly; 25%- no loses for either side, 37.5% defender takes loses, 37.5% both sides take loses. I can see how icons would be difficult to implement with factions and cards.


In that 2,3, cats can't lose 2 because they can only lose as many models as the enemy has, I think? 1 bird can only kill 1 cat. So, Cats lose one (despite birds rolling 2, there is only 1 bird, so the die is capped at your number of units), and the Bird loses one.

From the rules:
"Whether you are attacker or defender, you can deal
hits up to your number of warriors in the clearing of
battle (or available swords if Vagabond). "


Your right. math. gulp
 
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adam wilson wrote:
Ravendas wrote:
adam wilson wrote:
I read the rules on the kickstarter page, which aren't final, and I think I have a better idea of how this works. If I'm reading the rules wrong or my math is off let me know;

If 3 cats attack 1 bird the unmodified results will be;

2d4- 0,0 -or any other equal result; no loses for either side

2d4- 0,2 -cats lose 0, birds lose 1

2d4- 2,3 -cats lose 2, birds lose 1

The percentage breakdown is roughly; 25%- no loses for either side, 37.5% defender takes loses, 37.5% both sides take loses. I can see how icons would be difficult to implement with factions and cards.


In that 2,3, cats can't lose 2 because they can only lose as many models as the enemy has, I think? 1 bird can only kill 1 cat. So, Cats lose one (despite birds rolling 2, there is only 1 bird, so the die is capped at your number of units), and the Bird loses one.

From the rules:
"Whether you are attacker or defender, you can deal
hits up to your number of warriors in the clearing of
battle (or available swords if Vagabond). "


Your right. math. gulp


Also, your math isn't anywhere near right. There are 16 possibilities on 2d4. One of those is 0/0, so 1/16 (6.25%) chance of no one taking hits. Then there are 3/16 chances (18.75%) for the attacker to deal damage with none in return (1/0,2/0,3/0). The remaining 12/16 outcomes (75%) don't include any zeros, so involve varying losses on both sides.

Then there are the ambush cards in defense, and whatever else might occur to add/subtract more hits. I haven't fully read the rules just yet.
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adam wilson wrote:
Ravendas wrote:
adam wilson wrote:
I read the rules on the kickstarter page, which aren't final, and I think I have a better idea of how this works. If I'm reading the rules wrong or my math is off let me know;

If 3 cats attack 1 bird the unmodified results will be;

2d4- 0,0 -or any other equal result; no loses for either side

2d4- 0,2 -cats lose 0, birds lose 1

2d4- 2,3 -cats lose 2, birds lose 1

The percentage breakdown is roughly; 25%- no loses for either side, 37.5% defender takes loses, 37.5% both sides take loses. I can see how icons would be difficult to implement with factions and cards.


In that 2,3, cats can't lose 2 because they can only lose as many models as the enemy has, I think? 1 bird can only kill 1 cat. So, Cats lose one (despite birds rolling 2, there is only 1 bird, so the die is capped at your number of units), and the Bird loses one.

From the rules:
"Whether you are attacker or defender, you can deal
hits up to your number of warriors in the clearing of
battle (or available swords if Vagabond). "


Your right. math. gulp

laugh

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adam wilson

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Ravendas wrote:
adam wilson wrote:
Ravendas wrote:
adam wilson wrote:
I read the rules on the kickstarter page, which aren't final, and I think I have a better idea of how this works. If I'm reading the rules wrong or my math is off let me know;

If 3 cats attack 1 bird the unmodified results will be;

2d4- 0,0 -or any other equal result; no loses for either side

2d4- 0,2 -cats lose 0, birds lose 1

2d4- 2,3 -cats lose 2, birds lose 1

The percentage breakdown is roughly; 25%- no loses for either side, 37.5% defender takes loses, 37.5% both sides take loses. I can see how icons would be difficult to implement with factions and cards.


In that 2,3, cats can't lose 2 because they can only lose as many models as the enemy has, I think? 1 bird can only kill 1 cat. So, Cats lose one (despite birds rolling 2, there is only 1 bird, so the die is capped at your number of units), and the Bird loses one.

From the rules:
"Whether you are attacker or defender, you can deal
hits up to your number of warriors in the clearing of
battle (or available swords if Vagabond). "


Your right. math. gulp


Also, your math isn't anywhere near right. There are 16 possibilities on 2d4. One of those is 0/0, so 1/16 (6.25%) chance of no one taking hits. Then there are 3/16 chances (18.75%) for the attacker to deal damage with none in return (1/0,2/0,3/0). The remaining 12/16 outcomes (75%) don't include any zeros, so involve varying losses on both sides.

Then there are the ambush cards in defense, and whatever else might occur to add/subtract more hits. I haven't fully read the rules just yet.


A 2d4 unmodified result of 2,2 or 3,3 has no higher or lower number. Are you saying the results are applied even though there is no difference?

There are actually 6/16 chances for the attacker to deal damage without taking any.
- 0-1-2-3
0 N D D D
1 D ? B B
2 D B ? B
3 D B B ?
 
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adam wilson wrote:
Ravendas wrote:
adam wilson wrote:
Ravendas wrote:
adam wilson wrote:
I read the rules on the kickstarter page, which aren't final, and I think I have a better idea of how this works. If I'm reading the rules wrong or my math is off let me know;

If 3 cats attack 1 bird the unmodified results will be;

2d4- 0,0 -or any other equal result; no loses for either side

2d4- 0,2 -cats lose 0, birds lose 1

2d4- 2,3 -cats lose 2, birds lose 1

The percentage breakdown is roughly; 25%- no loses for either side, 37.5% defender takes loses, 37.5% both sides take loses. I can see how icons would be difficult to implement with factions and cards.


In that 2,3, cats can't lose 2 because they can only lose as many models as the enemy has, I think? 1 bird can only kill 1 cat. So, Cats lose one (despite birds rolling 2, there is only 1 bird, so the die is capped at your number of units), and the Bird loses one.

From the rules:
"Whether you are attacker or defender, you can deal
hits up to your number of warriors in the clearing of
battle (or available swords if Vagabond). "


Your right. math. gulp


Also, your math isn't anywhere near right. There are 16 possibilities on 2d4. One of those is 0/0, so 1/16 (6.25%) chance of no one taking hits. Then there are 3/16 chances (18.75%) for the attacker to deal damage with none in return (1/0,2/0,3/0). The remaining 12/16 outcomes (75%) don't include any zeros, so involve varying losses on both sides.

Then there are the ambush cards in defense, and whatever else might occur to add/subtract more hits. I haven't fully read the rules just yet.


A 2d4 unmodified result of 2,2 or 3,3 has no higher or lower number. Are you saying the results are applied even though there is no difference?

There are actually 6/16 chances for the attacker to deal damage without taking any.
- 0-1-2-3
0 N D D D
1 D ? B B
2 D B ? B
3 D B B ?


Whoops, I was doing the combination math with permutation bottom number. You're right with that chart, that there's 5/16 chance of getting a 0 and something greater than 0. So 6/16 chance of the attacker not getting hit.

1/1, 2/2 and 3/3 should just be each take 1 damage, each take 2, each take 3. I think the 'attacker takes the higher die', with no mention of what to do when there are ties means they both just take one of the dice when they're equal.

Edited for mathing before coffee
So, 1/16 (6.25%) chance of no one taking damage, 6/16 (37.5%) of just the defender taking damage, and 9/16 (56.25%) of both taking damage.
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adam wilson

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Ravendas wrote:
adam wilson wrote:
Ravendas wrote:
adam wilson wrote:
Ravendas wrote:
adam wilson wrote:
I read the rules on the kickstarter page, which aren't final, and I think I have a better idea of how this works. If I'm reading the rules wrong or my math is off let me know;

If 3 cats attack 1 bird the unmodified results will be;

2d4- 0,0 -or any other equal result; no loses for either side

2d4- 0,2 -cats lose 0, birds lose 1

2d4- 2,3 -cats lose 2, birds lose 1

The percentage breakdown is roughly; 25%- no loses for either side, 37.5% defender takes loses, 37.5% both sides take loses. I can see how icons would be difficult to implement with factions and cards.


In that 2,3, cats can't lose 2 because they can only lose as many models as the enemy has, I think? 1 bird can only kill 1 cat. So, Cats lose one (despite birds rolling 2, there is only 1 bird, so the die is capped at your number of units), and the Bird loses one.

From the rules:
"Whether you are attacker or defender, you can deal
hits up to your number of warriors in the clearing of
battle (or available swords if Vagabond). "


Your right. math. gulp


Also, your math isn't anywhere near right. There are 16 possibilities on 2d4. One of those is 0/0, so 1/16 (6.25%) chance of no one taking hits. Then there are 3/16 chances (18.75%) for the attacker to deal damage with none in return (1/0,2/0,3/0). The remaining 12/16 outcomes (75%) don't include any zeros, so involve varying losses on both sides.

Then there are the ambush cards in defense, and whatever else might occur to add/subtract more hits. I haven't fully read the rules just yet.


A 2d4 unmodified result of 2,2 or 3,3 has no higher or lower number. Are you saying the results are applied even though there is no difference?

There are actually 6/16 chances for the attacker to deal damage without taking any.
- 0-1-2-3
0 N D D D
1 D ? B B
2 D B ? B
3 D B B ?


Whoops, I was doing the combination math with permutation bottom number. You're right with that chart, that there's 5/16 chance of getting a 0 and something greater than 0. So 6/16 chance of the attacker not getting hit.

1/1, 2/2 and 3/3 should just be each take 1 damage, each take 2, each take 3. I think the 'attacker takes the higher die', with no mention of what to do when there are ties means they both just take one of the dice when they're equal.

So, 1/16 (6.25%) chance of no one taking damage, 5/16 (31.25%) of just the defender taking damage, and 10/16 (62.5%) of both taking damage.

There isn't any mention of ties in the rules, I hope they clear that up. Why 5/16 instead of 6/16 for D? If there are 16 possible outcomes and 6 of them are D, wouldn't that be 37.5%?
 
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adam wilson wrote:

There isn't any mention of ties in the rules, I hope they clear that up. Why 5/16 instead of 6/16 for D? If there are 16 possible outcomes and 6 of them are D, wouldn't that be 37.5%?


You're right, it was early and before I had my coffee. I edited the post up there.

It is 1/16, 6/16 and 9/16 for 'no damage' 'defender only hit' 'both hit'.

Bonus points for figuring out the Woodland Alliance 'Hidden' ability for only having 1 unit in a fight.
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Geoff Speare
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I take the designer diary note about combat being bloody as an indication that for ties, hits are inflicted by both sides. I agree that the rulebook should be clear about this.
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adam wilson

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galfridus wrote:
I take the designer diary note about combat being bloody as an indication that for ties, hits are inflicted by both sides. I agree that the rulebook should be clear about this.


It certainly makes sense from a mechanism perspective. Academy's system has a similar quirk. Combat can drag out a few die rolls if both sides roll blanks and no one wants to move to an adjacent space. Roots system seems heavily weighted to the attacker, I hope that is intentional.

If we are going to go down the symbol/icon rabbit hole, I think something like Memoir44's dice system could work. There would have to be symbols for;

No loss's

Defender takes hits = # of attackers, or 1,2,3

Both sides take hits = # of adversaries or 1,2,3

Special actions- this would cover the faction abilities and/or card modifiers

An 8 sided die would come out to; No loss's- 12.5%, D1-3 37.5%, B1-3 37.5% and Special actions- 12.5%

I think it could be done but it might not fit in with the rest of the game.
 
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adam wilson wrote:
Roots system seems heavily weighted to the attacker, I hope that is intentional.


I think the idea is the attackers advantage is tempered by the ambush cards. They sound extremely powerful but are limited in number (and from a shared deck) so the counter play to ambush cards is to keep track of them!

Also think in games with an action economy there sort of needs to be some advantage in "combat" to whoever is taking the action.
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Patrick Leder
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Actions are really, really expensive. Combined with you may not get enough hits to obtain your goals, attacking is necessary but brutal.
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adam wilson

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GreenM wrote:
Actions are really, really expensive. Combined with you may not get enough hits to obtain your goals, attacking is necessary but brutal.


It sounds like attacking will give you a temporary advantage but might hurt you in the long run.
 
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adam wilson wrote:
GreenM wrote:
Actions are really, really expensive. Combined with you may not get enough hits to obtain your goals, attacking is necessary but brutal.


It sounds like attacking will give you a temporary advantage but might hurt you in the long run.


Said the guy that got attacked every turn as the Alliance.
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This looks fantastic, but OMG please not d4s, the most unpleasant dice to roll. Can I suggest 8-sided d4s with numbers 0-3 twice?
 
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At this point the plan is to use d12s, with 0-3 repeated three times.
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