The Dropship Crew has been busy looking at (and even playing some!) of this season's new game releases. In short order we have been tempted by Galactic War One, Gruntz, 5150: Star Army and the preview of Tomorrow's War.Wow! You got some choosin' to do! So many flavours, so much delicious detail & crunchy goodness. How to decide? What to play? I always look at the dice under the hood.
|How Games Get Stuff Done|
Consider for a moment how games get things done.
Dice are tools, they do the job of randomising numbers. We can do a lot of work with just d6. If making straight rolls of 1-6 with a d6 is like using a hammer, rolling a pair of them must be the hammer and chisel combo. Entire game families are built on the solid foundation of the bell-curve running from 2 -12 on 2d6.
If d6 are so darn good, why bother with all the other types of dice? If we can agree that dice are tools, lets accept also that there are some jobs that won't get done very well using just a hammer, or even a hammer and chisel.
Nothing wrong with a hammer, I like hammering, but there is a lot to be said for other types of work as well....
But I want more granularity? Why not! There is a 16.67% chance of rolling any one single number on a d6. On a d8 it's 12.5% and for d10 it's a 10% to roll any one number, all the way. The more sides to any die, the smaller the percent chance of rolling any one number and the finer the 'granularity' or greater potential for detail in your game system.
|I was an Early Adopter of Multi Die-type Games|
Now, lots of detail is great for some people and pure hell for others. The designers' holy-grail is to find the balance point for fun and detail. They need to choose dice mechanics that work well.
Yes, I find the mechanics inside the games we play fascinating and mechanics will definitely influence my choice when it comes to buying a new game. The rich coating of fluff may be inspiring and also important, but not as much as how the game actually plays.
I have found a truly excellent tool that allows us to explore dice mechanics for ourselves. Check out SmallRoller, it's free, freely distributable and fascinating. It's been a long time since the Fnordistan Dept. of Software Engineering blog has been updated, but this bit of code is worth the visit.
With SmallRoller you can recreate pretty much any dice-roll called for in a game, displaying the probabilities as percentages well as a cool Probability Chart. Highly enlightening and useful for players as well as designers of games!