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Twilight Struggle» Forums » Variants

Subject: Decreasing the luck factor for Eurogamers rss

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Constans wrote:


I wonder if a really simple solution of making a D6 = 2,3,3,4,4,5 rather than the usual 1 through 6 for coup and realignment rolls. You'd just need to "black in"/"white out" some spots on a standard D6. It would eliminate the extreme results, and cluster results closer to the mean.

Averaging d6 can be purchased online. Example: http://www.em4miniatures.com/acatalog/SPECIALIST_D6.html

What about using both an averaging d6 and a standard d6 and allowing the players to choose the one that best suits their need?

Or using a Catan-style deck of cards numbered 1-6, ensuring a perfect distribution of results...

Brian
 
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Yiannis Hadjikyriakou
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Brighton
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Thanks for the link Brian.
 
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Chris Sauer
Australia
Whyalla Jenkins
South Australia
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I believe the biggest luck factor in this game is not really the dice at all, but instead the card draw. Having opponent events is also not even a factor.
The biggest issue is drawing a whole bunch of 1 and 2 Operation point cards and/or your opponent draws majority of the scoring cards.

A lot of people say this game doesn't have a big luck factor but clearly that isn't true. It's a card game...with dice.
I just find that if you get a lot of low Op point cards you are stuffed and if you pick up the scoring cards you have all the time to slowly influence the board before scoring occurs, and your opponent sits there unknowingly disadvantaged.

Sure experience with the cards helps, but that applies to most games, even luck heavy games like monopoly; but TS clearly wasn't a game designed to have as little luck factor as possible and hence I agree with you that it could do with some improvement.

Good example, I drew the Middle East score card twice in a game, played it at my leisure and at the best time to rack up 6-8 points each time, in a game that is tight for points. Pure luck. Had my opponent had the card even once, they would have made counter moves to nullify their scoring disadvantage. But to be caught out by complete surprise by the recurrence of the Mid East scoring card, which by luck ended up near the top of the deck and into my hands after the reshuffle.

If anyone is wondering why my opponent left the Mid East open, it was because they lost the middle east after the first Mid East scoring card and hence they moved on to try and dominate the other regions...essentially sacrificing Mid East. And yeah, you could expect that maybe the Asia or Europe or Central America scoring card pops into their hand first and they score some points. Instead I get my Mid East card again by luck and I break away on points.
 
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Sabratha
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Masovia
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Quote:
I have found that most of the time you are wasting your time against a country with a stability number of 3
True. The only times I do that is when I want to decrease the DEFCON (mostly as US, mostly if NORAD is in effect).

Quote:
the early coups are more important than the late ones
Yes, this is particularly important when it comes to coups aimed at Italy and Iran.

A sucessful soviet Italy coup on turn 1 pretty much guarantees it will stay Soviet (which means the US will be at best on the defensive in europe for the whole game). There's little to none opportunity to win Italy back, save the "Brush war" card.

A sucessful soviet Iran coup on turn 1 will deny the US access to Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq. This will in turn force the US to risk quickly moving influence to South Korea (thus risking an early "Korean war" flip). It also opens up the possibility of a soviet coup against Lebanon and then locking the US entirely out of the middle east with "Arab-Israeli war" or "Suez crisis".


All in all, the turn 1 soviet coups have a big impact on the game. There is pretty much no sense for the USSR to do anything other than to coup Iraq or Italy.


1 Having said all that, the soviet turn 1 coup is the only fixed point in the game where luck plays what I'd call a big role.

Sure, there's always instances where one can succeed against the odds with a "Brush war" or "India-Pakistan war" card even if the enemy took neighbouring countries, but these results are rare. Even when they do happen, it is never a game-changer.

2 One more very rare case where luck makes an impact is when you start with 2 or more "DEFCON suicide cards" and the enemy has the China card. Then the enemy goes on to play cards that force you to discard something other than the suicide cards, which in turn means you simply cannot avoid playing one of these suicide cards at the end of a given turn. But this is a very, very rare case (mostly late in the game due to the "Terrorism" card). I think I seen it happen just twice (and I played a lot of TS).


TO SUM IT UP:
There is some luck in TS, but it makes a really big impact only in that soviet turn 1 coup. Overall this isn't a luck-driven game. There is a lot of uncertainty and random combinations, but at the end of say 95% of all games the deciding factor behind the end result were decisions of the players, not luck.

Quote:
The biggest issue is drawing a whole bunch of 1 and 2 Operation point cards and/or your opponent draws majority of the scoring cards.
Yes, these cases are unfortunate. I wouldn't mind a rule saying that if you draw 3 scoring cards in one round, then you can treat the last one played as a 2 ops card instead of a scoring one. Or maybe discard it at the end of the round without penalties.
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Aaron Thorp
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I often think about reducing the luck factor in TS in order to reduce the APPEARANCE that luck is a deciding factor in the game.

It is human nature, I think, to point to luck as the reason you just lost.
For me, it ruins the game when one player loses an entire turn to Quagmire, or go zero-for-seven in the space race. The loser naturally feels they lost because of luck, and the winner is left without the feeling of a well-deserved win. For those of us that play only rarely, I think it is worth reducing / eliminating these rare occurrences.

I keep meaning to try the "chits" method of generating a random die roll 1-6. You take 12 chits numbered 1-6 (2 of each) and put them in a hat. For die rolls you draw a chit. You don't replace any drawn chits until you have drawn 6 of them. You can obviously do the same thing with playing cards. This leaves a lot of luck in play whilst eliminating the most extreme outliers of probability. For example, is very difficult to draw 3 straight ones or 3 straight sixes this way.

This thread is a great reminder that I'd like to try this in my next game, which (as luck would have it haha) is this Thursday. :-)
 
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Eruantalon _
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Just roll 3 dice and take the middle result if you are to offended by randomness of the die.

It almost exactly mirrors having a d12 with
1 side of 1 and 6
2 sides of 2 and 5
3 sides of 3 and 4

doesn't take all the randomness away, but nicely reduces the most radical results. Although wars get significantly weaker this way, so I'd still only use 1 die for them (most importantly - chances at 5+ are reduced from 33% to 25%, so by 8 percentage points = 25%!

Obviously there's still lack of draw and you can still get unlucky with the rolls.

Any scoring card variant seems not to take into account the double-edged nature of drawing the scoring.
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