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Suggestions to game set up

 
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Blindfury
dragonfoal



Joined: 24 Nov 2012
Posts: 22
Location: Cockeysville Maryland

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2013 5:01 pm GMT    Post subject: Suggestions to game set up Reply with quote

My biggest issue with Dragon Diceâ„¢ is the game setup. Currently there is very little strategic interactivity in the initial deployment sequence, where almost every step is randomized or taken in secret. This process is good in that it provides for a new set of battle conditions and deployment every game. It’s not so good in that the strength of each player’s starting board position is more dependent on luck than skill. This is because each player builds their armies and places them without ever knowing what any of the terrains will allow them to do or how close they are to a potential eighth face. This often leads to lost turns and first turn blow-outs, either because the opponent’s forces are deployed on terrain faces that allow them to make better use of their unit specialties or because your forces are on terrain that won’t allow you to do anything while your opponent is building their board position. To be clear, I’m not saying that randomness in game setup is bad; simply that having an entirely random process minimizes the strategic component of the game. It’s very common for one player to be placed at a significant disadvantage at game start through no fault of their own. Having some randomness is good, since it means that players can’t depend entirely on deployment to win them games. With that in mind I have the following suggestions.

1. Get rid of the 3 starting army requirement. Most players I know who push this rule simply put 18/1/17, effectively making the limitation irrelevant. All it serves to do is weaken one army by 1 health. This rule could be rewritten as:
“Divide your units into no less than two armies. No single army may contain more than half the health of your total forces.”
2. Adjust the order in which terrains are rolled and forces are placed. Right now there’s very little interactivity in army planning and setup. That’s because the only factor a player can reliably build a strategy around is their home terrain. When you place your forces you don’t know what your opponent is bringing to the table, what any of the terrains will be rolled to, or where the other guy is going to put his armies. What I’d prefer to see is the rolling of the respective home terrains before armies are placed. Under the current system, players always get to deploy their home terrains. There’s no question, it’s going to happen. Revealing and rolling those terrains prior to army selection and placement would allow the players to make an informed decision as to where best to risk their forces. The frontier terrain is still going to be a mystery; but, it will be a conscious choice as to whether your mages are left at a melee face or whether you chose to risk the vagaries of probability on the frontier terrain.
3. Players then pick one of their armies to roll off for first turn. The one with the highest maneuver total wins (ties are rerolled.) This eliminates the single die vs. single die and single die vs. entire army scenario.
4. The player taking the second turn picks the frontier terrain die,.
5. Players deploy their forces in secret. At this point they know what the frontier die is, but not what face it is rolled to.
6. The frontier die is rolled.
7. Forces are revealed prior to the first turn being taken.

These modifications would not only enhance the game’s strategic component, but would also make melee a more viable strategy. In my experience, most players focus on magic and maneuvers, because these two mechanics are near universally useful. By comparison, melee is difficult to set up unless your opponent finds themselves reamed by initial terrain facing rolls. Using these suggestions would give a melee player some ability to place his troops at a face where they might actually get to fight the enemy before they retreated. Melee is only going to be useful if you can get your troops into a place where they can fight in the first place. The best time to do this is before an army takes control of an eighth face. To have any reasonable hope of doing this, a player needs to have his army at the correct terrain when the game starts; else his troops will be relegated to moving through reserves in hopes of finding easier meat.
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Urfaes
dragonmount



Joined: 03 Dec 2012
Posts: 32
Location: Maryland

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2013 5:53 pm GMT    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would agree with most of the set up suggestions, mostly because I come from a wargaming background where terrain is set before armies are deployed. Following the six steps to starting the game, I'd tweak your suggestions just a little:

1. Determine force size as usual.
2. Assemble armies per your suggestion.
3. Set the battlefield as usual.
4. Determine starting distances and roll each of the home and frontier terrains as normal.
5. Determine order of play as usual. If you choose to go first, place your Horde army at the opponent's Home. If you choose the frontier terrain, place your Horde army at the frontier; this army is now your Campaign army.

As flavor, this would effectively be your scouting force; would you rather have advantageous terrain or get the jump on your opponent? Sometimes, you may want to send a less than optimal army to the frontier just to ensure you have that secondary objective, especially if it's at 6.

6. Place armies. After the first player places his or her Horde army, the next player places one of their armies at a terrain. Alternate placing armies until all armies are placed.

This allows a little more interaction during deployment. If I see an opponent going to X; I'll send my army to Y. Then my opponent goes to A, so I go to B. With just three armies a player, it's still faster than some other war games where you'd be placing over a dozen units.
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Blindfury
dragonfoal



Joined: 24 Nov 2012
Posts: 22
Location: Cockeysville Maryland

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2013 6:22 pm GMT    Post subject: re-alternating deployment Reply with quote

Hm,
That’s interesting.
I thought about deployment in the open but ultimately decided against it; partially to keep closer to the current rules, and partially to provide some more variability to the process.
In the end the specific details are less important to me than modifying the current rules to give the players a bit more skill vs. luck in the set up.
I come from the same background and it’s definitely influenced my preferences. I’m not sure how alternating deployment would affect the game; certainly it would create a sub-game of counter moves at the beginning. My only concern would be if the resulting sequence would effectively recreate the same disadvantaged circumstances I’m trying to avoid. Play test it this weekend?
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Urfaes
dragonmount



Joined: 03 Dec 2012
Posts: 32
Location: Maryland

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2013 6:32 pm GMT    Post subject: Re: re-alternating deployment Reply with quote

Blindfury wrote:
Play test it this weekend?

Sounds like a plan; I'm still working out my 36 point My Shrubs Are A'Fire!! Help Meh, Help Meh!! army, so they'll get kicked around for a bit.
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dburkley
rare
Director



Joined: 29 Jun 2008
Posts: 1200
Location: Hillsborough, NJ

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2013 10:31 pm GMT    Post subject: Re: Suggestions to game set up Reply with quote

Blindfury wrote:
My biggest issue with Dragon Diceâ„¢™ is the game setup. Currently there is very little strategic interactivity in the initial deployment sequence, where almost every step is randomized or taken in secret. ...
Dragon Diceâ„¢ has quite a few different play formats, but aside from the multi-player game starting set-up, any of the 2-player formats have the starting set-ups made in secret (ie: behind a screen).

I might not agree with the statement that there is "very little strategic interactivity" in the deployment sequence, but I see the issues you are raising.

The local group I game with try some novel ideas and scenarios. One that might appeal to you is a RISK-like set-up:
1) The screen is used initially, but only your terrains are deployed.
2) The total number of dice in each player's army is announced. With players mutual consent, the opposing armies might be revealed to each other, or be kept secret.
3) Both players deploy 4 health of their army at any location(s). This represents the "scouting parties".
4) The screen is lifted, and both players roll their dice that have been deployed for maneuvers. The lowest total will deploy the next 4 health of their army (or as close to 4 health as possible) at any location(s).
5) The player with the higher maneuver total then deploys 4 health of their army.
6) Alternatiing, both players continue to deploy 4 health (or as close to 4 health as possible) until both armies have been fully deployed.
7) The Horde Armies are rolled for maneuvers to determine Initiative and the game starts as normal at this point.

I also recall a 36-health game format or scenario called "Regiments", where each location had to have exactly 12 health at the start of play. Each location was limited to a maximum of 12 health throughout the game (including the Reserve). That forced combat early and often...
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CalicoCorsair
dragonsteed



Joined: 06 Dec 2012
Posts: 51
Location: United States

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 26, 2013 6:02 am GMT    Post subject: Reply with quote

I like the set up idea posed mostly because I have been a victim to the "blow out on the first few turns" scenario where I've placed my armies poorly and then all terrain is rolled to 5's or 6's on completely different faces than is ideal for that army, but my opponent at that terrain winds up with the advantage.

At least knowing the homes, it does give a certain element of allowing for better strategy able to be used. Having it be a complete "luck" game from the get-go is sometimes a bit disheartening.

I wouldn't mind trying out my "mixed bag" feral army with that set up. ^^
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J.T.Silversmith
dragonfoal



Joined: 27 Nov 2006
Posts: 23
Location: California

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 10, 2013 7:31 pm GMT    Post subject: Reply with quote

I mentioned this in the 1/2 turn discussion, but this is probably a better place to discuss this. I have play tested it a bunch, but it only took trying it once to prefer it. This is what we do:
Each player builds three armies,
Roll to determine who goes first,
then terrains are rolled,
The first player places any one army on any terrain,
Then the second player places any of his armies at any terrain.
Continue until all armies have been placed. (No player can have two armies on the same terrain is the only limitation).
Then the first player takes his first march.

This way you have a better chance to place your armies at a useful terrain, and there is less time moving armies in and out of reserves to get to a good position. There is less harm caused by unfavorable rolls because you have a very good chance of placing at least two armies on a terrain where they can perform the action they were meant for.

This would add more choices and strategy to placing armies in the game, and less importance on building the "right" army to fight at a randomly determined range before the game starts.
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