Monday, 4 May 2015

Randomness and the Solo Experience

I've found that the most rewarding Solo Experience I have ever had has been using a system of rules I constructed myself. I'm not saying this to blow my own trumpet, because when it comes to rules mechanics and my ability to design new ones or choose existing ones and form those into a coherent gaming experience, it is entirely random as to whether the experience is fun or a dull drudge. This is not true for all would be designers, but as I am a full on amateur and in many ways a beginner it is more true for me. So I was simply reflecting upon a rule system I created, and my experience of gaming it, the fun I had, and then trying to work out why that system was more engaging than the plethora of other systems I have cobbled together. One thing kept coming to the surface, it was the central dice mechanic of the game, and how unpredictable that dice mechanic was.

Here's that mechanic word for word from my notes:

Pick up a number of dice equal the attackers attack value.
Pick up a number of dice equal to the defenders defence value. Include 1 die per complete 6” between the attacker and the target, and a number of dice equal to any cover.
Roll both pools of dice. Each die rolled by the defender cancels all the dice of that same number rolled by the attacker.
The number of dice left in the attackers dice pool is the number of hits.

Try to predict the outcome percentage wise, especially when larger volumes of dice are rolled. I'm fairly good at maths, but I realise this is beyond what my mathematical ability will allow.

Hit allocation then worked as follows:
Pick up a number of dice equal to the target units Agility value. And roll for each miniature in the unit in turn in any order you choose. Each roll that matches a value in the dice hit pool causes 1 hit on the miniature rolled for and removes 1 die of that value from the hit pool. Once all miniatures in the unit have been rolled for ignore any dice remaining in the hit dice pool.

Not only is it tough to predict the number of hits caused on a unit, it's then tough to predict which miniatures in a unit will take hits, and the hits they take will be randomly determined. To make sure things aren't a constant stale mate the maximum number of dice either side can roll in combat is 10.

For close combat both sides roll a pool of dice and hits are any unique values rolled between sides, for example, a 6 rolled by side A will block all 6s rolled by side B and vice versa. Hits are then allocated as with shooting. Again remembering the maximum number of dice that can be rolled is 10.

I've found myself in the past just statting up two forces putting them in base to base contact and fighting bouts of close combat to see who comes out victorious, and with close combat the way the dice work really make it feel like the two sides are going at it.

I'm hoping to expand this mechanic out to form the basis of my full solo system.

Thanks for stopping by!

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