Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Why Do We Roll So Many Dice In 40K?

by SandWyrm


40K: "Hi, my name is 40K, and I have a problem." 

Players: "Hi 40K!"

40K: "I'm, I'm... I'm addicted to needless dice rolling."

Players: (Applause)

The intro says it all. We roll too many damn dice in this game. I think that most 40K players have an intuitive sense of that. But when you really stop to think about it, you realize how ridiculous the current situation really is. Most especially, you realize that GW is adding more and more detail to the wrong die rolls!

Let me lay it out graphically for you. We'll imagine that a lone Imperial Guardsman with a lasgun is attempting to shoot and kill a stock FNP Blood Angel at 16".


Let's go through it step by step...
  1. First, the Guardsman has to hit the Marine. This is a straightforward 4+ roll. So the probability at this point is 3 in 6, or 1/2.
  2. To wound the Marine, the Guardsman will have to roll a 5+. But that 2 in 6 chance only comes if the Guardsman hit the Marine in the first place. This roll is dependent on the last one; so the total odds of wounding the Marine is, in reality, only 1 in 6.
  3. The Marine then gets his standard 3+ armor save. But again, this 4 in 6 chance only matters if the Marine has already been hit and wounded. So the total contribution of the Marine's armor to his chances of living or dying is only 4/36, or 1/9.
  4. This particular Marine then gets a Feel No Pain roll. Which, coming after all the other dependent rolls, only offers 3/108ths of protection, or 1/36.
  5. So, the Marine's chances of dying from the lasgun shot are 1/36.
A successful shot then, means that 4 dice have been rolled.  One to hit, one to wound, one to save, and one for FNP. That's 4 dice to determine a result that could have been determined by only 2 dice.

Wait! What?

Yep. If the Guardsman had needed a 6 to hit and a 6 to wound with no save allowed, the average result would be the same. Exactly the same. So in terms of efficiency, we're only half as efficient as we could be.


Hitting The Target Is Paramount!

Looking at that Graphic, it becomes obvious that hitting the target is the most important thing to do, as every other roll you make on the way to a wound is dependent on that one.

So you would think that 40K would have more options for improving your odds of hitting the target. But beyond twin-linking your gun (adding yet another dependent roll), there's nothing. Nada. There's all sorts of FNP/Invul saves happening at the OTHER end. Where the differences between outcomes are ridiculously small.

I mean, what's the value of FNP on a Terminator that's being shot at by a Marine's bolter? To wound a Terminator with a single bolter shot you need: 2/3 * 1/2 * 1/6  =  1/18. So your FNP cuts that in half. Meaning it only affects the total outcome by 1/36.

But for a Dark Eldar warrior, what's that FNP worth?
2/3 * 2/3 * 1/2 = 8/36 (or 1 in 4)
So the Dark Eldar warrior gets 8x the FNP benefit of the Terminator when facing bolters, because he gets no armor save. But what else would provide an 8/36 outcome for wounding?
4/6 * 2/6 = 8/36
So, increasing the Warrior's toughness by 2 points would give you the exact same effect as 4+ FNP with fewer rolls. Why not just increase their toughness?

Other things become obvious when you think about them. For instance, with a BS3 firer shooting an AP2 weapon, reducing their to-hit roll by 1 has the same effect as a 5+ cover save for the target. Which is what the consensus opinion of late seems to think that cover saves should be.

Or take Ork shooting. Orks are bad at hitting things, so to give them a chance at all, GW tends to give them either more shots or twin-link their shots. They then feel guilty about Orks hitting targets, so they make the number of shots random (Lootas). When the obvious answer is simply to increase the BS of certain Orks by 1 or 2, while decreasing another stat like WS, T, or Leadership. Or design Orks in such a way that they don't need to shoot at all to win.


So What's Your Point?

My point is that 40K is needlessly convoluted. We roll about twice as many dice, twice as many times as we need to. As a rule, the game should aim to have us roll no more than about 20 dice at once. With a bias towards it being 15 or fewer dice. You know, a standard handful.

In the name of making the math simpler, GW has added complexity where it's not needed. The 40-60 dice that Orks routinely roll for shooting or combat is a band-aid for more fundamental stat problems that need to be addressed. Math is hard? Well so is adding/remembering the results of rolling 18 dice 3 times (sometimes with re-rolls) just to see if you hit. If you need that many attacks something is broken.

You only need one primary roll and one secondary roll to get a granularity of 36 possible outcomes per die. That should be enough in most cases. For most models, their "armor save" should be wrapped into their toughness. Leave it to the Heroes, Monsters, and Tanks to get a "saving throw" at all. The current system only needs a third dependent roll because most everyone is running around with stats that are either a 3 or a 4. Bad designer!


So What Would You Do?

Instead of our current setup, where granularity of results is lost because most everyone needs a 3, 4, or 5 to hit or wound (using only half of the possible range), I'd replace it whole-hog with a different (but similar) system based on comparing stats.
  • To hit a target with a gun, you would compare your BS with the target's Evasion (Ev) stat.
  • To hit a target in close combat, you would compare your WS to theirs (as now).
  • To wound a target in either case, you would compare your Strength to their Toughness (as now).
Evasion is the big addition. It would signify how good a particular unit is at keeping their heads down, hugging cover, and moving in such a way as to make it harder to hit them. Models with really high evasion stats would be almost impossible to hit. While units in cover, or fast moving tanks, would get a bonus to their evasion.

Sound complicated? It's not. Here's the only chart you would ever need. It replaces the to-hit chart, the to-wound chart, and the BS conversion chart.


Looks familiar, right? We've all memorized 2 very similar charts already to play 40K. This just condenses them into 1 chart and removes the "awe, you still have a chance" exceptions to the very simple pattern. A target of 'a' means that you automatically hit/wound. A target of '-' means that you can't hit/wound at all.

Some Tyranid monster with S6 hit your Guardsman in close combat? Just remove him. Your Guardsman is shooting a T6 monster with a lasgun? Forget it pal. Go get a Plasma Gun.

Soft Cover would add +1/+2 to your evasion. Hard cover would add +1/+2 to your toughness. Tanks would get a +1 to their evasion for moving, and a +2 for moving fast. You get the idea. It's no more complicated than what we have now. In fact, it's less complicated because there are no strange exceptions to remember like T5 and T6 both needing a 6+ to wound with a lasgun.

So what might the typical unit stats for these tests look like?


Well, to get the Marine on Guard (and vice-versa) numbers to work out as they do now, (using Str3 lasguns/Attacks and STR 4 Bolters/Attacks), you would use the stats above. Whoh! Now Marines look like the badasses we always hear about! Instead of Marines only being 1 'level' higher in skill from a Guardsman, we have an obvious difference of 2 levels.

What also happens is that we open up a range between a Guardsman and a Marine for other troop types to fill. Eldar can slot right in as being more skilled than a Guardsman, but not as over the top as a Marine. While being significantly harder to hit. Guard Veterans can be more skilled at shooting without being the same BS as a Space Marine. Whoa! Meaningful differences!

And Terminators?... Well, they're tough enough that only S5 or higher weapons can even hurt them, but they're also more lumbering and easier to hit. The current rules, for all the dice we roll, can't really convey that.

And vehicles?


Here's toughness values that mimic the armor values we have now. The toughness simply varies by facing. Slow, lumbering vehicles are easier to hit, while medium and faster vehicles can be given higher evasion values.

Vehicles would have somewhere between 3-6 wounds, like a monstrous creature.  If you do 2 or more wounds to a vehicle in a single round of firing, they take a critical hit. Which could modify evasion in addition to the usual shake/stun/weapon destroyed/immobilized results.


Conclusion

So there you have it. A core mechanic that's more balanced between rolls, allows for finer grained differences in troop types, and which is 25-33% faster to play. Maybe more.

I'm tempted to start writing a rules set. :)

47 comments:

  1. I really, really, really like this. I've said similar things many times, but never gone to the trouble of making something that actually SHOWS how it could work so much better.

    What really scares me is that "amateurs" like you, I and many other bloggers seem to have a better intuitive grasp of how 40k could be a better game than the "professional" designers who get paid to write the rules. Did I say that scares me? I meant "depresses" ;)

    I'd love to see more stuff in this vein.

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  2. I find this very compelling. An easier, more streamlined version of 40k would sure hit the spot.

    This is what I had hoped that Warpath would turn out to be. I doubt that will be the case.

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  3. Holy smokes that's pretty incredible. Finally the "fluff" would be reflected in the stat line all while making a mechanic that is BETTER suited to competitive play. Saved 40K with a single blogpost.

    Forget 6th Ed. I'm playing your game.

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  4. This is a great follow-up to your question about the complexity of 40k. Though it would be lots of work, you should run a battle (small, maybe two terminator squads against each other) using these stats and see how it plays. Would love to see that batrep :)

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  5. @ Kennedy

    We play the game, they don't. We study how to maximize the system and eek out small advantages. They don't.

    Hence we understand their game better than they do.

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  6. @Wienas

    Yeah, Mantic has so far failed to deliver a better core mechanic than 40K. In some ways it's much worse. No difference in BS/WS? Everyone hits on a 3+/4+/5+? Did you think about this at all Alessio? How are you going to make all of your races meaningfully different under that system? You'll stall out at 3 generic stat lines in no time.

    I love their mechanic for KoW, but Warpath can't play the same way and succeed. We need better.

    I'm coming around to the belief that it's up to the players (you and me) to come up with a better rules set. One which can't be sidetracked by the needs of a corporation to sell models. Something like the OpenGL standard for 3D Graphics. Free, open, stable, and able to include cool model lines from other manufacturers besides GW.

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  7. Sweet, if they did this, they then could add more abilities with new rolls too!!

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  8. @Inquisitor_Dunn

    If WE did this... yes we could.

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  9. Wow this is so interesting, as a newbie I rarely think of these things as I am tryin to remember all the rules :s. Very cool

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  10. "I'm coming around to the belief that it's up to the players (you and me) to come up with a better rules set. One which can't be sidetracked by the needs of a corporation to sell models."

    You are enlightened.

    The old-school roleplayers have been doing this sort of thing for a few years, though under a self-imposed limitation of making things that are just like early D&D, which is only now beginning to lift. Regardless, I'd like to see tabletop wargames drift the same way - something that's as good and clean and open to revisions, extractions and extrapolations as Swords and Wizardry would go down very well with me.

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  11. Excellent article. I was beginning to think that the 40k mechanics were a bit stale with the way the statlines were essentially Marine, Guardsman, or Ork. I think your system is much more sophisticated than what GW currently has, and would benefit greatly from the streamlining. As much as my 2 cents counts anyway...

    I entertained the idea that 40k might benefit from being shifted over to a D10 system. Of course that'd be too much of a change for most players, but wouldn't that make the system more "granular" as you put it? In fact I believe there's a D8 Table top game out there... the name escapes me at the moment...

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  12. @Matt

    D10 doesn't work for massed rolling because of simple geometry. The dice would be all over the place, and near impossible to read quickly in a group. Cheating in that situation would be too easy.

    That's not to say that D4, D10, D12, and D20 couldn't appear in a rules set for one-off tests like critical hits or leadership. I remember when Fantasy used a D4 for things like cannon wounds.

    The nice thing about comparing one stat to another is that it achieves granularity while still using a D6 for the test.

    Strength and Toughness in 40K has always been granular, because it's always a value from one to ten. Think about how that roll is different for everything that you shoot. Think about the interest and variety you have there.

    But BS and Armor saves have always been set values. With a corresponding drop in the variety of possible results. 3+/4+ became the norm so that Heroes could hit on 2+, and Orks could hit on 5+. Nobody would even play a unit that always hits on a 6+, so GW didn't design one.

    Besides, 6+ had to be auto-pass, and 1 had to be auto-fail to appeal to the casual crowd (in theory). So there was no room for a Hero that could walk up and hit/wound conscripts automatically. Even though the Heroes and Villains in movies do exactly that.

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  13. There's another good aspect to letting models auto-fail or auto-pass a roll. It saves time!

    If Mephiston walks into my Guard squad, why should he have to roll at all? Let's just remove 6 Guard models and be done with it. All he cares about is the guy with the power weapon.

    Why should I shoot my Guardsmen's lasguns at Terminators? I MIGHT do one wound for the time it takes me to roll 19 dice twice for my lasgun shots (plus the other guy's saves). Whereas most of the wounds I do to them will still come from my heavy and special weapons. So let's concentrate on those.

    Rolling bucketfulls of dice for 1-2 extra wounds is a waste of time that the game system shouldn't encourage.

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  14. I think you misunderstand how the statistics work - or at least are conceptualizing it incorrectly. Feel No Pain makes it take twice as many shots to kill you, whether it happens at the beginning of the process or the end. By assigning an arbitrary order of operations in your thinking you believe that the "to hit" roll is more important than the "to wound" roll, for example, when in fact they are the same. Your numbers are right but your thinking is off, imo.

    Needlessly complex argument though? I can get behind that.

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  15. Sand, you awed me. Seriously. The system is fast, simple and allows for variety. What else can we wish for?

    I'm for the open gaming system. As an old saying goes - if you want to have something done you have to do it yourself.

    What about the name? RPG has the D20 system, lets call your SanD6 :)

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  16. Give up my 60 shoota attacks? Never!

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  17. "If Mephiston walks into my Guard squad, why should he have to roll at all? Let's just remove 6 Guard models and be done with it. All he cares about is the guy with the power weapon.

    Why should I shoot my Guardsmen's lasguns at Terminators? I MIGHT do one wound for the time it takes me to roll 19 dice twice for my lasgun shots (plus the other guy's saves). Whereas most of the wounds I do to them will still come from my heavy and special weapons. So let's concentrate on those."

    Although I see your point, I would argue to keep in the idea that a 1 always misses and a 6 always passes. Perhaps it is a little more difficult, but it is also those rolls, the times when a plucky guardsman manages to take out a character, or when Logan dies to a Tau shield-drone (as happened to me) that you remember and make for the "cinematic moment" feel to games.

    Otherwise, I think your idea and system is absolutely brilliant and has so much more flexibility and complexity while still being wonderfully simple and would love to see a shift to a game-system built upon it.

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  18. I like it, esp. the fact that there is only a single chart and no more "always fails on a roll of 1" bulllshit.

    I mean why can't a S10 carnifex or some super-strength deamon drop a target w/o rolling, but some guys with las guns can't wound anything with t7+.

    I don't think a good system needs to move away from the d6, but GW limit itself by making every roll of one a failure on the one hand and then going even further to drop the 2+ result from 99.999999999999% of all close combat setting.

    Why is there no difference in the chance to hit between a legendary named character (say Jain Zar or Dante) slapping a ork grot and a simple guardsman slapping the same grot?

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  19. I approve - especially of the fact that termies will be immune to lasgun and bolter rounds, as they really should be.

    Perhaps I should start writing rules for a new game system - it seems that everyone agrees that SOMEONE ought to do it. :p

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  20. I think that the later parts of your post illustrate exactly why we roll so many dice, compared with your system.

    In 40k, you do not deal with one guardsman firing at one terminator, for whom the odds of winning are very small, you deal with 8 guardsmen versus a terminator, or 40 guardsmen versus 5 terminators.

    In your system, no number of lasguns can hurt those terminators at all. They could stand in front of 200 guardsmen, and never lose a model. We all know that isn't what happens, nor should it be. Weight of fire has its place, and allows poorly skilled and armed horde models to stand up to heavily armed and armoured elite troops.

    Other commenters have suggested that '6' be an auto-hit and '1' be an auto-fail, but this skews the math that you've figured out, as well as going back to requiring those rolls.

    Besides, as someone else may have said, it's fun to roll the dice.

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  21. @Watchwood

    I'm going to start writing a core system using these ideas. When I get a first draft, we can form some sort of team for testing and improving the rules.

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  22. @Redbeard and Andy

    Instead of tediously rolling 40+ dice on the hope of doing 1 wound to Mephiston (or whoever), let's let the last man standing in the squad roll a D6. On a 6, Mephiston takes a wound. Something similar could be done for shooting attacks. If you fire at least X lasguns at a Terminator squad, you get to roll one "lucky" die.

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  23. @Purgy

    The order of operations isn't arbitrary. There is a clear logical progression. If you fail to hit the target, you won't roll to wound. If you fail to wound, you won't roll a save. If you don't fail to save, you won't roll FNP. The order would only be arbitrary if you always rolled all 4 dice no matter what.

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  24. Okay... I read about a third of the way through the post, and ignored previous comments... so if I'm repeating what's been already said... I don't even feel bad, because it's worth repeating.

    I can see how changing the lasgun from 4 dice to a "on a 6 it works" against that Blood Angel.

    But what about the Marine without FnP? A Hive Tyrant? A Hormagaunt? Another Guardsman?

    We'd have to have a chart 3 pages long to compare weapons to the proper toughness/armor ratings to decide what you need.

    The same goes with moving to Toughness instead of the 4+ FnP gives. So it's the same as T5 when a bolter is looking at you... but what about a Lasgun? What about a Pulse Rifle? What about the vespids' S5 AP1 weapon, that ignores it altogether?

    Find me a simple mechanic to provide the same-as-current percentage against *every weapon in the game*, and I will salute you.

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  25. @Foodie

    Read the rest of the post. :P

    As for making this new system exactly mimic the old one using a different mechanic... uh, can't be done. We can balance the basic troops of 2, maybe 3 races to be very similar to what we have now. But beyond that it's a different game. Where Terminators are immune to small arms fire, but can be laid low by Guard Autocannons 1/4 of the time.

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  26. Fewer die rolls are less advantageous. A single D6 is not a normalized random event. As in there is no single result that the die trends to. So in order to get average results, you have to roll a statistically significant amount of dice, or you can really get screwed over by random chance.

    You may be able to map the current 40K average probabilities to significantly fewer dice, but you will become more susceptible to statistical improbabilities. You are far more likely to roll all ones on 5 dice as opposed to 20.

    If you move to having fewer dice, you should use systems like Warmachine where you add two or more dice together to get a single result.

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  27. @Sandwyrm - sounds good to me. I play weekly with a group of fairly competative guys up in Ottawa, so we know our way around the game mechanics fairly well. (You might have seen cKerensky around on the LO forums - he's an college buddy of mine that I play against a lot)

    I'm also a fairly competent web dev, should we wind up needing a website/forums/whatever, though I presume you've got access to that kind of skillset in your area too?

    Either way, my email and msn are watch_wood@hotmail.com

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  28. Again u forget DE in ur rules, so how about lances and poison?

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  29. I haven't forgotten. But those are special rules, not core mechanics. :)

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  30. ahh that came of far more rude then intended sorry

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  31. I don't think rolling buckets of dice is the problem. Yes I will admit things like first rank second rank with a 50 man combined platoon is a lot of dice or 30 slugga boyz on the charge. However 10 marines rapid firing rolling to wound and so on isn't really that bad.

    I too have been working on a house set of rules with much sucess. My approach though is really designed to reflect the fluff a bit better and requires some brain power from the players so it's not for everyone but its rules allow a good amount of variety and plays quicker as well but does require some though process or having refrence tables handy for those who don't like to think. Let me know and I can share some of it with you if you're interested. I had looked at an approach similar to yours a while back. The problem I ran into was representing the strength and AP of a weapon on a 1-10 scale that really provides variety. You wind up with one of my biggest issues with 40K and its that everything is roughly the same. We have stats that range from 1-10 and use roughly 3-5. AP is important its the difference between a marine being hit by an ogryn with a giant hammer and sent flying vs being hit with a power sword and having it slice through his armour. Sure the Ogryn is stronger but the Marines armour will shrug it off where as the power sword will slice through his armour and more likely wound the marine. But increasing the strength of the power weapon doesn't make sense when its still not likely to rip through a tank where as the Ogryn will probably rip something off.

    Like I said I would be more than happy to share ideas with you as having different perspectives really does highlite flaws that wern't though of before. Then again our end goals may be seperate I don't care for a more streamlined game I would like a game that makes sense plays quick and has variety and I have found that combination is attainable but requires the players to use brain power. I think 40K should be more strategy based anyway and a little less dependent on luck.

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  32. Send me what you've come up with Strung.

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  33. It sounds like you might enjoy Combat: Alien Suns when it comes out. The game scales really well from 10-12 models per side all the way up to armies like you'd see in 2500 point 40K games.

    The rules are relatively easy to pick up, and they actually make some sense. There are reactions, strategic planning because you may not get to activate every element (unit) each turn, and even mishaps that can go in either player's favor. Keep an eye out for this one, as it's going to get a full release sometime soon (hopefully before the end of the year).

    Most of the 40K players who have played in the beta really like it, and think it does a much better job showing what really happens than the outdated 40K rules. You're also not rolling buckets of dice. You're still rolling a few, but it's basically X shots per weapon, and then X saves.

    Check out www.defiancegames.com to get some more info. Mantic is still playing the "roll a bucket of dice; lather, rinse, repeat" game with a couple of twists. C:AS is a whole different animal all together.

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  34. These posts are why I'm an avid reader of The Back 40k.

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  35. So I wonder what as a rules designer would you really do to cut down on the number of dice being rolled.

    I guess the first thing to do is determine if the problem is rolling a ton of dice or having to make 3-5 rolls to see if something dies.

    40K is unique in that you have large units shooting and such and when you have armies like orks and guard then some units comprise probably more guys and attacks then some players have dice. That is a problem but then again in order to fix that you would have to redesign the whole system or a mechanic for large units firing. I don't know if taking out one set of dice rolls does it either. I mean by the time you get to FNP which is the 4th roll if you have it you're only rolling a handful of dice and its pretty quick.

    I think bringing in an auto pass and auto fail system so that you can avoid some dice rolls and get rid of overcomplicated rules like wound allocation in favor of torrent of fire or something similar would speed up play quite a bit. There are a lot of rolls that fail that should never have to be made such as my termies punching your guardsman if a powerfist hits a guardsman he dies to think a 1 in 6 chance that he doesn't die is being a little more than optimistic about his chances of survival. I think this could lend to faster playing.

    As far as the problem of large units you could always make a modifier system based on the size of the unit for example... say only 20 attacks are ever rolled and for each additional attack you can count 1 successful hit as 2 if the number of remaining attacks is 40 or more or double the number of attacks made then each successful wound counts as 2 wounds. So say you have 30 guardsmen and they rapid fire for 60 attacks so they take 20 shots hitting 10 that doubles to 20 becuase of the number of extra attacks and then roll to wound and do 7 wounds that then doubles to 14 wounds. So number of rolls are the same but you roll say 40 dice compared to 90 dice and do 14 wounds compared to 10. So I guess your wounding increases but that is bound to happen taking shortcuts. Havn't thought about a mechanic like that before but I think something like it may help with large units and buckets of dice being thrown. That in conjunction with the other change I stated could speed up play a bit while still leaving a good feel for the representation of that unit's abilities.

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  36. Treating the attacks characteristic as a multiplier is an idea that I've had. But that randomize the results too much. I'll have to think on it.

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  37. Might randomize, I meant to say.

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  38. Wouldn't this make it impossible to model high ST mid-to-low AP weapons like the Hellhound or *shudder* the Manticore?

    It would be sad to lose a nieche of weapon that is really nasty vs vehicles but sucks against heavy infantry.

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  39. Not really - instead of a blastgun, make it a single shot that deals X amount of wounds to a target model at using whatever strength. Great against tanks and MCs, not so much against units of termies.

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  40. @Korona

    Good point. I'll have to think on it.

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  41. "Instead of tediously rolling 40+ dice on the hope of doing 1 wound to Mephiston (or whoever), let's let the last man standing in the squad roll a D6. On a 6, Mephiston takes a wound. Something similar could be done for shooting attacks. If you fire at least X lasguns at a Terminator squad, you get to roll one "lucky" die.".

    I'd be in favor of once no matter how many are firing/chopping. If you aren't entitled to a kill, but have a chance for one anyway, that's fair. Massing fire on targets immune to said fire, to compensate for being out of position? Maybe not so much...

    Strange that this was posted when it was, parallel development. :)

    The nice thing about having some units protected by their evade, and some by their armor is that it allows for weapon selections that bypass one but not the other. That's something which can't be done with straight armor/ap.

    Flamers and blasts bypass evade and allow any armor? Yes please.
    Sniper rounds bypass all armor and allow only evade? Sounds good to me.

    At any rate, expect to have this lurker eagerly anticipating every post and update, along with each comment, too.

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  42. What about this for a way for weight of fire to have a chance of doing something to a tough target? Make a rule saying that a unit like a guardsman blob may (maybe with a leadership test) work together to either focus fire or spray an entire area. By dividing their effective number of shots by some easy number, like 5 or possibly 10, they can increase their effective strength or ballistic skill by one, giving them at least some hope of hurting a tougher target with all of their shots.

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  43. This is old now, but, a greater # of dice roll sets between beginning and ending the determination of an attack, with generally better odds for each roll, is infinitely superior in terms of establishing reliability than having single or fewer dice rolls per attack, with worse odds.

    That's to say, if a 2/3 chance to hit and 2/3 chance to wound and 2/3 chance to save is equivalent to 6/27, that's ALWAYS a better approach to take for a tactical game than it would be to roll a single "9-sided dice" or equivalent with 2/9 odds.

    That's kind of the important thing ... the games like warmachine and others where they basically roll a single dice per attack per model, with a target # to do damage or not, are BAD in terms of reliable tactical games. Less #'s of dice rolls lead to lower statistical reliability, and thus a streakier game, and one harder to balance, etc. etc.

    Buckets o' dice = good.

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  44. With what Mike said. Look at Fantsay Flight they use a 2D10 system for many of their board games. When they first ran the games they all used a D20. Stats were the same but they found the number of times a player was succesful on rolling was far fewer than if they were to roll 2D10. I really do think the keys o faster playing are 1) fewer units. let's face it moving 180 boyz or 120 Guardsmen and rolling their attacks just takes time. That is why many games just don't do it. Now me I like having units like that in the game I think its fun but if you wanted to speed things up, make armies have a model limit or something 2) Allow automatic hits and fails. Some things just shouldn't be rolled or are such an obscure chance of happeneing they shouldn't be represented in the game. I have seen and heard of some crazy stuff over the years like a lone snotling killing the master of the ravenwing but honestly while it is epic and fun the game would still be fun without those moments. 3) Get rid of time consuming rules like wound allocation. It really is a dumb rule because apparently all my melta weapons thought that one Nob Biker looked like the best target you know the one without a PK or skorcha.

    I think those would all be good starts if all you wanted was to have a faster game. Beyond that I am a fan of a major overhaul so that the full range of stats from 1-10 are used more often instead of every unit having special rules they are no longer special when everyone has them like FNP and FC.

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  45. I think sandy your forgetting such things as the demoralizing effect rolling 80 choppa attacks has on the other guy, regardless of odds...

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