Friday, January 4, 2013

Rules: Rolling Dice (Ver. 0.5)

I've almost completely re-vamped this section of the rules. Before, it had been a hodge-podge of describing every type of roll that we could think of. But now that our mechanics are getting locked down, I've concentrated on the types of rolls that we actually have in the game. Including how to roll multiple Leadership/Toughness tests together. As well as introducing the Pass-One and Pass-All labels to describe them. Have a look and tell me what you think.

Rolling Dice

In real world battles, there are a wealth of factors that no commander can completely account for. Did the troops get a good night sleep? Is the navigation system working properly? What’s the weather like? Was my order understood?
All of these factors and more contribute to the uncertainty of battle. More than one general in history has done everything ‘by the book’, but still suffered a crushing defeat due to factors beyond his immediate control. It would be unrealistic then not to include a certain amount of such uncertainty into a wargame such as M42.
Adding too much randomness, however, can destroy the gameplay experience. After all, victory should depend on one’s ability to plan for the unexpected and to create contingency plans. But the outcome of a battle should never hinge on just one or two die rolls alone.
In designing M42, we have strived to only introduce die rolls only where the outcome of a particular action should not be certain. Not simply to add ‘fun’ random elements into the game. This preserves the competitive value of play and rewards players for improving their tactical skills.
You’ll Always Use D6 Dice
Every test you are called upon to make in M42 will use some combination of standard six-sided dice (D6).
Types Of Tests
There are 4 basic types of dice rolls that you’ll make in M42. These are:
1.    Rolling N+
2.    Rolling N-
3.    Pass-One Rolls
4.    Pass-All Rolls
1. Rolling N+
Often, you’ll be asked to roll a 3+, a 5+, or some other number followed by a plus sign. This simply means that if you roll that number, or higher, on a six-sided die, your test succeeds.
2. Rolling N-
For some tests, you’ll be asked to roll a 4-, or some other number followed by a minus sign. In this case, the test will pass if you roll that number or less.
3. Pass-One Rolls
For certain tests, such as for Leadership, you will have to roll more than one die. But you will only have to actually succeed on one of them for the test to succeed. This is known as a Pass-One roll.
Note that you only need a single successful roll to succeed for these tests. But that there may be additional bonuses for passing with additional dice.
4. Pass-All Rolls
For other types of tests, such as for Toughness, you will have to roll multiple dice and succeed on ALL of them for the test itself to succeed. This is known as a Pass-All roll.
Rolling Multiple Tests At Once
For both the N+ and N- roll types, rolling more than one test at once is easy. Just pick up one die per test, roll them, and remove the failed rolls. You’re then left with the rolls that passed.
But it’s not that simple to roll multiple Pass-One or Pass-All tests. You can’t just roll all of their dice together. You have to roll them either in series, or in parallel.
Rolling Pass-One/All In Series
This is the easiest to follow option. Just roll the dice for each test separately. One after the other. This works equally well for Pass-One tests and Pass-All tests.
Rolling Pass-One In Parallel
The more complex, but faster, option is to roll the dice in parallel. Here’s how it works for Pass-One tests:
First, make note of how many dice you would normally roll for each test. Next, you roll ONE die per test. Remove any dice that pass. Then pick up the dice that failed and roll them again. Remove any dice that passed. Keep going until you’ve rolled once for each die you would normally roll in Series. If you have any dice left after all of your rolls are complete, that is how many failed tests you have.
So for example, let’s say that I have to roll 3 Leadership Tests, of 2 dice each, that succeed on a 4-. I would roll 3 dice two times, removing the dice that roll 4 or less each time. The number of dice that I have left over is how many of my tests failed.
Rolling Pass-All In Parallel
Rolling Pass-All tests in parallel is similar to rolling Pass-One in parallel. Except that you remove your failed rolls instead of your successful ones.
So for example, let’s say that I’m rolling 3 toughness tests of 2 dice each that succeed on a 4-. I would roll 3 dice two times, removing each roll of 5 or more each time. The number of dice I have left over is how many successes I have rolled.
That’s Um... Complicated
Not a problem. Just keep it simple and roll your Pass-One/Pass-All tests in series.
The parallel methods are only described here to prevent players from coming up with their own flawed shortcuts that skew the odds of these rolls. If you’re going to roll multiple Pass-One or Pass-All tests at once, this is how it should be done.
But you don’t have to do it that way. If either player in a game of M42 objects to rolling these tests in parallel, then both players must roll them in series.

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