February 25, 2020, 02:21:30 AM

Author Topic: Randomness  (Read 4613 times)

Korvanus

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Randomness
« on: October 16, 2012, 04:47:50 PM »
Hello All,

I just picked up the game last week and I am enjoying it. I am a long time MTG player and have had my hands in the WoW card game since the beginning, up until a few months ago. This game scratches the same itch and I really like the core mechanics of the game, especially the spellbook.

That being said, I am having serious issues with the dice in this game. While I am not opposed to randomness, and would rather have it be in dice rolls than in card draw, I find that the dice in this game are far to swingy. This produces unpredictable results that makes it very hard to gauge how effective your actions will be from turn to turn.

As an example, I was playing a two player game against my cousin who was using the beastmaster deck. I forget which creature he was using, but it had 7 attack dice. He did 9 damage total (11 base), 8 points of which were crits. In another game I was playing the warlock, and had the flame lash and bears strength. I attacked rolling 7 dice and I did only 4 damage total (6 base), 2 points of which were crits.

To me this makes it unplayable. While I understand the designers have said that this is a minatures game with cards, it has a very strong CCG feel (more like an LCG) and would love to be a part of the overall scene.

I know critical hits are important so that having a high armor does not make you invincible, but is there a way to modify the dice rolls (or remove them all together) so that they are less swingy? Obviously this would be a variant rule, as I would not expect the game designers to change their game on my account.

Thanks for reading,

Korvanus

Rumsey

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Re: Randomness
« Reply #1 on: October 16, 2012, 05:04:30 PM »
I actually like the dice the way that they are.  You are too used to doing a simple comparison of numbers to determine outcome.  Play a few more games and see if it feels better.  It lends some excitement to the game.  Cool to see a small creature roll well and the big creature totally whiff.  If the outcomes of the attacks could be predetermined then it would lose my interest completely.

I don't think that there is a way to change the dice without ruining the experience.  You could probably try playing with counting the crit one's as normal one's.  That way you'd only have crits on two's.  Or just don't use crits at all.

Hedge

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Re: Randomness
« Reply #2 on: October 16, 2012, 08:36:45 PM »
The best Guage to determine how you are going to do is For every Die that is rolled you will do 0.5 points of normal damage and 0.5 of Critical Damage.  I find it more unsettling that you may never get to roll those dice.


Hedge

Nihilistiskism

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Re: Randomness
« Reply #3 on: October 16, 2012, 10:43:23 PM »
What Hedge said. 0.5 regular damage and 0.5 critical damage AVERAGE PROBABILITY for every die rolled.

My next statement will probably be seen as rude/dismissive, but I do not intend the message to be rude or dismissive, so, please, restrain the D-Bag alerts until you've finished reading the following message in its entirety:

Mage Wars probably isn't the right game for you.

The core mechanics of Mage Wars are built upon an average probability in X dice. This is a mathematical formula that is, I'm sure, painstakingly calculated with great detail into every creature, attack spell, and incantation requiring dice to be rolled, leveled against the costs associated with those cards. If you do not like rolling dice, or do not appreciate the tilted random factor of having games be dependent on how the dice roll in or against your favor, then you should probably look for a new game to play with your friend.

You have identified yourself as a Magic player, and as a WoW player, and both of those games are factored HEAVILY in design toward the deck. That is to say, when designers get together and create cards for those games, they are calculating against probabilities of drawing X cards in tandem with Y cards in tandem with "how soon" vs. resource management. You aren't comparing apples to oranges. You are comparing apples to buffalo. To be more colorful; you are comparing a fruit to a mammal. These games, however similar they may appear to be to one another on the surface, could not be more dramatically different in reference to how they are designed, the costs associated with card design, the resources being managed, and the "randomness" factor, which in Magic and WoW you get by merit of a blind and afterwards mitigated draw, whereas in Mage Wars the randomness factor is dice.

If you managed to get through that, then hopefully you are still with me.

I love this game, and I am a huge proponent for doing anything and everything possible to make it more accessible, user-friendly, easy to learn, and fun, but you are essentially decrying one of the, if not the, most fundamental design concepts of this game, which leads me back to my original premise; Mage Wars probably isn't the game for you.

To put it another way:

A person has a history of playing Blackjack. He/she likes Blackjack. He/she is enticed into a game of Craps with a friend. The Blackjack player says "Craps would be better if the dice weren't so important."

Everyone at the table looks at him/her funny. Craps isn't the right game for that player, because he/she cannot appreciate the fundamental core element of the game, which is a pair of d6.

I hate to be the guy who says "look elsewhere for your fun" because, as I previously said, I very much want to do all possible to grow this game, but I also have to accept facts, as should you.

-nihil
Take a shower, don't talk like a junior high dropout, and stop being such a fatty.

Korvanus

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Re: Randomness
« Reply #4 on: October 17, 2012, 10:17:33 AM »
Thanks for the Replies Everyone.

While I appreciate your detailed analysis Nihil, anytime you have to preface a statement with I am not intending to be rude generally means you are about to be rude. Perhaps you need to take a step back and reevaluate your approach to talking to people, especially if you are this interested in bring more people to the game. There were one too many condescending statements in there for my tastes.

Irregardless, you are correct that this game might not be for me, which is a real shame. I will play some more games with friends and see how it goes. Its funny, I have no problems with dice rolling in Pen and Paper, Miniatures, and board games, but when it involves cards it just feels wrong.

Thanks,
Korvanus

Koz

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Re: Randomness
« Reply #5 on: October 17, 2012, 11:10:46 AM »
Quote from: "Korvanus" post=2255
Thanks for the Replies Everyone.

While I appreciate your detailed analysis Nihil, anytime you have to preface a statement with I am not intending to be rude generally means you are about to be rude. Perhaps you need to take a step back and reevaluate your approach to talking to people, especially if you are this interested in bring more people to the game. There were one too many condescending statements in there for my tastes.

Irregardless, you are correct that this game might not be for me, which is a real shame. I will play some more games with friends and see how it goes. Its funny, I have no problems with dice rolling in Pen and Paper, Miniatures, and board games, but when it involves cards it just feels wrong.

Thanks,
Korvanus


Try not to let the dice get you down.  While you can certainly be unlucky, I personally don't feel that the dice are overly swingy.  Strategy, tactics and spell book design are FAR more important than the dice.  I think that if you develop your overall strategy and tune your spell book you will find that the dice will rarely be the deciding factor of a game.  Sure, they can and will be the deciding factor on a single attack, but overall it really will average out and you should be fine on a game by game basis.

SeanDeCoy

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Re: Randomness
« Reply #6 on: October 17, 2012, 11:42:14 AM »
Hey guys,

Thanks for the discussion here - it's definitely an important topic. Nihil, I definitely appreciate your passion - Korvanus, I'm sorry that the dice have been swingy on your end. I'll share my experiences with the dice.

I've seen some huge peaks and valleys with the dice in my games. I've seen big creatures do no damage, I've seen tiny creatures survive turn after turn to deal devastating effects to my enemies. I definitely find this exciting, but I know that many people do not.

The thing I haven't seen, is a Mage with a better strategy than me lose because the dice turn against him. I'm not saying it's like that in every game with dice, but definitely in Mage Wars, I've very rarely felt like the dice were just against me from the start.

However, I have seen situations where the stakes were very high, and the game was very close and I lost a series of rolls, or won a series of rolls, and that turned the tide for me. But those games were close, generally, because I was playing at my best, and my opponent was playing at his best.

The average roll on 7 dice is 7 (when you start throwing armor in here it gets complicated, to where the average damage actually dealt is somewhere between .5 and 1 depending). So, this means that in two separate games, your opponent rolled slightly higher than average, and you rolled slightly lower than average. We tried our hardest in playtesting to reduce the standard deviation of dice rolls as much as humanly possible to account for these swings. For example: the standard deviation in Mage wars is just from 0-2 (as opposed to 0-10, 0-20, or even 0-100). And the more dice you roll, the closer you get to the average dice result.

A little bit of trivia: we actually playtested Mage Wars for quite awhile with no dice, with standard damage for every attack. We found that this did appeal to a certain segment of players, but a much smaller segment than the dice did. This was largely because the game became much more chess-like, where players could plan out all their moves exactly ahead of time, which caused more analysis paralysis, and less emotional involvement.

Eventually, we went with the dice - though with as little swing in them as humanly possible. For the flavor of our game, we thought the dice helped immerse players in the idea that when you conjure a fireball and hurl it at an enemy, there really is a lot of guesswork involved as to what exactly will happen (did you hit him in the face? Square in the chest? Did you catch largely the armor? Was he able to maneuver into a more favorable position at the last moment?).

Regardless, I'm sorry you've had some swing in your die rolls - I can tell you from my experience, one big swing roll per game is understandable, and while it definitely will influence the outcome of a match, it's been rare that dice have completely dictated the outcome of the match.

But I encourage you to keep playing and let us know your results! We're always looking for more feedback, and we're always trying to tweak our math to make the best game possible (another interesting tidbit: every creature and attack we add in the game changes the average damage dealt, so you can see how the math gets insanely complicated!)

Thanks again for the feedback!

Nihilistiskism

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Re: Randomness
« Reply #7 on: October 17, 2012, 05:36:17 PM »
Quote from: "Korvanus" post=2255

While I appreciate your detailed analysis Nihil, anytime you have to preface a statement with I am not intending to be rude generally means you are about to be rude. Perhaps you need to take a step back and reevaluate your approach to talking to people, especially if you are this interested in bring more people to the game. There were one too many condescending statements in there for my tastes.


I very much don't want a flame war, Korvanus. I am sorry if you felt I was rude.

However, telling someone that he needs to reevaluate his approach to talking to people is an attack against the man, i.e. an argumentum ad hominem. I view that as far more offensive than anything I directed at you, thus far, as I never attacked you on a personal level, and, despite the provocation, I will continue to not attack your person, because I do not know you, and I won't claim to try.

It is possible to alert a reader that one's words could be viewed as offensive, and still mean no offense.  The alert is there to say "remove your personal attitude from the equation for a moment, and read these next words objectively and without emotional attachment." I'm sorry if that message was somehow lost, or if I didn't execute that message with enough fervor.

Like I said before...I don't want a flame war. These forums are meant to be a friendly place, so while I cannot apologize for my ultimate message, I can apologize for being so blunt about it, I suppose. I hope, as others have also reflected, that you are able to get over your distaste for swingy dice, and learn that this game is a rich addition to the gaming hobby.

-nihil
Take a shower, don't talk like a junior high dropout, and stop being such a fatty.

piousflea

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Re: Randomness
« Reply #8 on: October 17, 2012, 07:17:15 PM »
Quote from: "Korvanus" post=2231
Hello All,

I just picked up the game last week and I am enjoying it. I am a long time MTG player and have had my hands in the WoW card game since the beginning, up until a few months ago. This game scratches the same itch and I really like the core mechanics of the game, especially the spellbook.

That being said, I am having serious issues with the dice in this game. While I am not opposed to randomness, and would rather have it be in dice rolls than in card draw, I find that the dice in this game are far to swingy. This produces unpredictable results that makes it very hard to gauge how effective your actions will be from turn to turn.


There's a fundamental difference between a purely nonrandom tabletop game (Chess, Connect Four, Othello) and one with randomness (whether it is from drawing cards or rolling dice). A nonrandom game emphasizes the ability to plan things many turns in advance, predicting the future as precisely as possible.

On the other hand, a semi-random game emphasizes the ability to make plans with the ability to react. Certain cards like Divine Intervention, Turn to Stone, and Force Hold are great examples, as they are most powerful when placed ahead of time and then used reactively.

And of course, a completely random game like Poker emphasizes the ability to bluff and to call bluffs, which is a totally different skill from strategic planning.

I feel like the randomness in MW is actually not that huge. Failing to draw the right cards in a M:TG game is killer. Failing a key ability roll in a board game, or saving throw in an RPG, can kill your character outright. In MW it is very hard to lose an entire game just by one dice roll. Now when you are already behind, a bad dice roll can seal your fate. But if there's one nice thing, it's that there are tons of dice rolling all the time. You may roll poorly on the damage dice but roll well on the effects die and cause a Stun. Or your mage may roll poorly but your Darkfenne Bat rolls well and scores crits + Rot.

Phaelog

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Re: Randomness
« Reply #9 on: October 18, 2012, 12:58:40 AM »
Quote from: "Nihilistiskism" post=2278
Quote from: "Korvanus" post=2255

While I appreciate your detailed analysis Nihil, anytime you have to preface a statement with I am not intending to be rude generally means you are about to be rude. Perhaps you need to take a step back and reevaluate your approach to talking to people, especially if you are this interested in bring more people to the game. There were one too many condescending statements in there for my tastes.


I very much don't want a flame war, Korvanus. I am sorry if you felt I was rude.

However, telling someone that he needs to reevaluate his approach to talking to people is an attack against the man, i.e. an argumentum ad hominem. I view that as far more offensive than anything I directed at you, thus far, as I never attacked you on a personal level, and, despite the provocation, I will continue to not attack your person, because I do not know you, and I won't claim to try.

It is possible to alert a reader that one's words could be viewed as offensive, and still mean no offense.  The alert is there to say "remove your personal attitude from the equation for a moment, and read these next words objectively and without emotional attachment." I'm sorry if that message was somehow lost, or if I didn't execute that message with enough fervor.

Like I said before...I don't want a flame war. These forums are meant to be a friendly place, so while I cannot apologize for my ultimate message, I can apologize for being so blunt about it, I suppose. I hope, as others have also reflected, that you are able to get over your distaste for swingy dice, and learn that this game is a rich addition to the gaming hobby.

-nihil


You were being a jerk. You knew that post sounded the way it did from your own preface. Everyone else found a way to communicate their feelings without lines like:

Quote from: "Nihilistiskism"

I hate to be the guy who says "look elsewhere for your fun" because, as I previously said, I very much want to do all possible to grow this game, but I also have to accept facts, as should you.


That's being rude. There's no justification for it. You also don't get to lecture anyone about needing to be "without emotional attachment" and then react to Korvanus' very, very polite post to reign it in a bit with talk about "attacks on the man" and flame wars and how he has somehow offended you in the same breath. As you have aptly demonstrated with your response, we're people. Relax and treat people with more respect in the future, especially considering the subject at hand. Fun as it is, this is just a game we're talking about here. I really hope you wouldn't say that to someone's face. I now have to convince one of my friends, who was keen on some organized play, after seeing this thread that no one would treat her like that over a simple question in real life.

Korvanus is just looking to see if others have been down this road with some variant rules that worked for them. To that end, Korvanus, in addition to what Rumsey suggested you can try the following. Instead of rolling for damage treat the dice rolled as the amount of non-critical damage the attack/spell does. No bookkeeping, pretty close to the average probability, and armor is still a factor. This is going to turn high armor creatures into juggernauts, however, so I'd cut the armor of every creature in half and round down. The efficacy of the Bull's Endurance, Bear's Strength, and Rhino Hide enchantments are going to change significantly so you need to keep an eye on these and effects like them. I have not tested this variant but I did give it some serious thought once when this topic came up in conversation

I will also chime in with my encouragement to tough it out with the dice. To that end I suggest you put together a spellbook where the plan for victory minimizes the dice as much as possible. I have a Warlock deck built around cards like Malacoda, Ghoul Rot, Idol of Pestilence, etc. that deal predictable amounts of damage. Then any dice you roll you can look at as icing on the cake!

Nihilistiskism

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Re: Randomness
« Reply #10 on: October 18, 2012, 02:17:01 AM »
Well that was fun. Think whatever you want. Being a jerk, however, requires one to intend jerkishness, which I didn't. I'm not pursuing this any further with you OR Korvanus, because, as you said, it stains the forum.

I hope your friend gets more into the game, as I hope Korvanus sticks with it.

-nihil
Take a shower, don't talk like a junior high dropout, and stop being such a fatty.

Shad0w

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Re: Randomness
« Reply #11 on: October 18, 2012, 08:14:18 AM »
If your going to keep this going please do it in a constructive manner. Try to keep things on topic please.
"Darth come prove to meet you are worthy of the fighting for your school in the arena and not just another scholar to be discarded like an worn out rag doll"


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Korvanus

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Re: Randomness
« Reply #12 on: October 18, 2012, 10:43:11 AM »
Thanks for all the Reply's,

SeanDeCoy - I appreciate all the details regarding the thought process involved with designing the game. I understand why it was designed the way it was and respect the designers decision. I will definitely play more matches to see how things go. One thing I was wondering is why the dice were designed in blocks of 2 (2 blanks, 2 ones, 2 twos, 2 criticals)? Why not decrease the variation by going with 1 blank, 1 two, 2 regular ones, and 2 critical ones? Wouldn't this result in less swing between the rolls, but still allow for all the same feelings associated with dice rolling. Just a thought.

piousflea - I will keep that under advisement when I play my next few games. Like I said before, I think I am hardwired to dislike dice when playing cards...

Phaelog - Thanks for understanding what I was attempting to say, I apologize if my posts may have turned your friend off organized play. As with all games like this there are all kinds of people involved and it comes down to finding a group of people you enjoy playing the game with. I hope that she will reconsider.

Nihilistiskism - It was not my intention to start any war between the two of us. I may have over reacted, and for that I apologize.

Korvanus

Shad0w

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Re: Randomness
« Reply #13 on: October 18, 2012, 11:51:16 AM »
Quote from: "Korvanus" post=2294
Thanks for all the Reply's,

SeanDeCoy - I appreciate all the details regarding the thought process involved with designing the game. I understand why it was designed the way it was and respect the designers decision. I will definitely play more matches to see how things go. One thing I was wondering is why the dice were designed in blocks of 2 (2 blanks, 2 ones, 2 twos, 2 criticals)? Why not decrease the variation by going with 1 blank, 1 two, 2 regular ones, and 2 critical ones? Wouldn't this result in less swing between the rolls, but still allow for all the same feelings associated with dice rolling. Just a thought.

piousflea - I will keep that under advisement when I play my next few games. Like I said before, I think I am hardwired to dislike dice when playing cards...

Phaelog - Thanks for understanding what I was attempting to say, I apologize if my posts may have turned your friend off organized play. As with all games like this there are all kinds of people involved and it comes down to finding a group of people you enjoy playing the game with. I hope that she will reconsider.

Nihilistiskism - It was not my intention to start any war between the two of us. I may have over reacted, and for that I apologize.

Korvanus


Thank you.

BTW when play test my group thinks of MW more like a minis game rather than a card game. Due to the fact that each player makes a spell book and you choose cards from it make people think of it as a card game. The base system is more like a minis game at its core.
"Darth come prove to meet you are worthy of the fighting for your school in the arena and not just another scholar to be discarded like an worn out rag doll"


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Elkwynn

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Re: Randomness
« Reply #14 on: October 18, 2012, 03:40:16 PM »
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