Friday, February 15, 2008

On Dice

If there is one thing I cannot live without, it's dice. That is something I find kinda funny, since I seldom (if ever) play RPGs. It is not that I have anything against RPGs, I just can't act. I can never seem to get into character, which completely defeats the purpose of playing an RPG.

Now, I know there are other gaming genres that use these lovable polyhedrons. I just wanted to point out my short comings. Wargames also use dice, but most of the ones I have seen are D6 based (this says nothing for the majority, since I havce not seen that many wargames in action). Since my obsession is the genre of the CCG, I have no real excuse to love dice... or do I?

Using dice has taken the place of using glass counters, at least for me. They take up much less space, and one D6 can replace up to six glass counters. On many occasions I have been known to use a D20 for my life marker. And of course there are some games where a random decision must be made. Dice are just that cool.

Recently I have had the honor of finding a rare treat. I have found a CCG that has a D20 based combat system. Yet another excuse for me to keep them around. I will not tell you which game it is, since I try not to mention games I have not reviewed by name (except for the mainstream games). However, I do get some traffic from a forum dedicated to this neat game, so they will know which game I am talking about.

Fortunately for me and my obsession with dice, not just one game uses dice. I have found one card based game that is also a wargame (but you know what I am going to say). Its system is D6 based, which makes it very interesting and accessible.

Then there is Draim Arena. The combat system is so developed that Draim had to design their own variants of the D12. Two different D12s are used that adds a random element to the game that makes it even more fun.

Well, before I go, I should tell you that I was tinkering around with a wargame a few years back. What made this game unique was that you could get all of the pieces you need from your local supermarket for about $0.25 each. That's right... Gumball Machine Wars! I'll let you think about that until next week.


narrator said...

Dice are so prevalent with the games we enjoy that many CCGs have also been designed to use them. Their use as score counters is more recent but a use for them that I like.

But they do have their negatives. As a player, in the majority of dice games, you're handing the result of a round or game over to chance. True, there will be modifiers that will increase your chance of success but you're still in the lap of fate.

With some games it can be a case that one single wrong roll at the wrong time can, in effect, completely ruin any strategy you had going and lose you the game. True this is bad game design but shows the potential negative of dice.

You get a different feeling in a game where you made the wrong choice or tactical decision and lose as opposed to losing as the result of a dice throw.

The best games that use dice don't fall foul of the above trap of a single roll ruining everything. Still I prefer games such as chess, stratego and even some CCGs where your strategy and decisions determine success.

So I can't agree with you. I like dice but I can live without them.

Charon said...

I definitely have to agree with when you say a dice roll can ruin a strategy. Would it be mean if I said I love watching my friends faces when that happens? I have a friend who threw a D20 so hard it split in half after one of those incidents.