Thursday, January 05, 2012

Fire and Fury dice woes...

...I've just got my 2012 painting tally off the ground with a couple of units of Beja and a half unit of Dervish camelry for the Sudan project....free smileys (trust me, no one was more surprised than me given the veritable painting drought until now)

So while I wait for the inestimable Tony at East Riding Miniatures (wholly recommended for fast service) to send me some bases so that I can finish them* off, I gave some thought to some issues that DG and I are batting back and forth at the moment....

We are now fairly comfortable with the Regimental Fire and Fury (RF&F hereafter...) rules for our ACW gaming; they are the better of the numerous sets we have used, and while over the last few months I have had moments where I seriously wanted to throw them at the wall, and then into the bin, we've put in enough time that we can start considering some "house mods"..

Number one on the list  is the matter of dice...  all RF&F random decision points are based on a single D10 - clearly this can lead to vast swings in fortune from one move to the next, and while I accept that the dice is there to introduce randomness & luck, I do have a bit of an issue with the degree of randomness... Both DG and I agree that something needs to be done so we've been passing ideas backwards and forwards with a view to making some kind of change...
  1. first idea was to use the average of 2D10 but the primary concern was that this would make the extremes so unlikely that (in my eyes at least) the effect would be as unrealistic on the flow of the game as the issue we were trying to fix.
  2. next option was to use 2D6 as this gives a bell curve of results that is known and quantifiable - the downside of course is that the range of results is greater, and we would have to make some changes to the outcomes list so as to mvoe ranges of results up or down....
  3. DG has come up with an idea (he's far more mathematical than me) to use 2D6 where one is positive, and the other is negative...  I understand the concept but need more time to think about it...
  4. The latest idea, and perhaps most simple option, would be to throw 2D10 wherever you would normally throw 1, and then just take the best result...  I think we're settled on this as an option for the next game...
The second issue is with terrain - RF&F treats buildings in a most obtuse manner for a set of rules that are theoretically regimental level - at Corps or Divisional level I can understand the way they treat them but my understanding is that any size of house at the level we are playing at are significant....whereas RF&F nly treats some of them that way - not a major beef but we'll change it for the next game...

My last issue (and this is not such a problem to DG) is the morale rules for artillery....  infantry/cavalry is basically good or disordered, for artillery they have separate descriptions (damaged/silenced etc) which I for one have problems equating wih the infantry equivalent (and that's after a year playing them!) - I'd like to change the rules so that all troop types have the same morale condition....

Be interested int he view of any Fire and Fury players out there....

* I'll post on them when they're done - I seem to have a thing about not doing work in progress shots - I must be a "completist" If you're in need of an immediate Sudan fix though, can I direct you to the brilliant One Man and His Brushes [click here] blog where he has just finished some lovely looking Dervish

17 comments:

  1. We play a lot of FnF, (the old version) now I do enjoy playing the ACW, but Love and hate the rules in the same measure. You can have the tactical brain of a peanut and still trounce the enemy, or be a Napoleon or Alexander and get your butt severely kicked. And its all down to the D10. We toyed with ideas, but always went back to the D10, it does give severe results sometimes, but hell this is war. I'd persevere with the D10, if you mess with the system you won't get enough diferance in melee rolls to get a definitive result. Throwing 10-1 is an absolute killer, if you throw bad, its just tough luck, hence the name of my blog "Don't throw a 1"

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  2. Steve

    I agree that the single D10 can lead to problems, but not always. if you roll enough of them then any dice will revert to a bell curve. My advice (as someone who teaches uni courses on probability models) is try the game out of the box first and then mess with it. Best and easiest solution would likely be 2d6-1 (or 2 depending on if you'd rather have a higher chance of a 10 or a 1). The plus and minus d6 is a throw back to the WRG ancients system, and has the same distribution as 2d6-7 but with more needless math involved.

    Cheers

    PD

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  3. You guys are good - keep it coming... :o)

    Just to be clear DG and I have played it out of the box for over a year now so the discussion is not based on a whim.. like the rules, the single D10 is however, execrable... and I think it's because of the reason Ray gives - I hate losing a game just because of a dice throw.. crap tactics fine, dull general-ship fine, poor dice throwing very definitely not fine....

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  4. For ordinary FnF (not used regimental yet) Use 2d10 as you suggest, but instead of modifying for the three quality states by adding +2/0/-2 use the best/average/worst of the two dice

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  5. Interesting you should bring this up.

    I have 15mm ACW for brigade F&F so when I collected for 28mm ACW I decided on GaG with 4 men to a base, but this results in me not being able to play F&F(impracticable) which I found just won't do all as F&F is my favourite rule set and so I'll be rebasing all my figures to 2 a base in order to allow for F&F gaming and GaG.

    I completely agree with Ray btw.:-)

    Christopher

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  6. Another system where extremes of dice rolls can have a major effect is Impetus. They have an optional rule, called Dice of Destinty. This allows a single reroll of the dice on up to 3 occasions. If you want you can get your opponent to reroll as well. You could try this in F&F - it has the advantage of not undermining the basic system.

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  7. I like the idea David just suggested, that would/could make a lot of difference to the game. I'm gonna pass this onto Postie who ref's our FnF games. Nice one David!!!

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  8. Wow! Some great comments here. We have played old FnF for almost 20 years and often had similer thoughts, tried verious changes but still ended up at D10s. I enjoy Regimental also and we have used these for AWI. I too do like David's idea.

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  9. We used to play a lot of BOFF (Basic Old Firy & Fury). the 10 sider extremes were an issue for one of my opponents in particular. We tried 2d6 but then his conscience bothered him so he reworked the table so that the odds of each result would be the same as with a 10. I didn't understand.

    I did find that the larger the game, the less it mattered as it tended to average out but if playing a game with less than a dozen units a side it could tip things.

    My suggestion which I see has been already suggested, would be to give each side a limited number of re-rolls to be used as they see fit.
    (to be really nasty they could be used to force the enemy to reroll or used to re-roll your own). Rerolls of rerolls not allowed.

    as for arty, I'm not sure what the issue is. They are different true. and I'm not sure what the difference is in RF&F. In the original a damaged battery was just that. It was a step loss. The artillery version of an infantry unit losing a stand but without any morale implication. The silenced result forced a retire unlike the infantry which just becomes less efficient. That would be a flavour thing - different behaviours for different troop types.

    As for the house, I can't recall any ACW battles where single buildings were of any importance except as landmarks. For that matter, there are very few where
    any street fighting occurred. But I could be wrong. A typical period farmhouse (like the one I live in, including outbuildings, could provide cover for maybe 50 fighting men? With most huddling out of sight and perhaps 10 fighting?

    -Ross

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  10. I've posted my response to my blog here: http://ajs-wargaming.blogspot.com/2012/01/average-1-10-rolls-on-2-d6.html

    I hope you find it useful.

    AJ

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  11. How about 2 specially adapted D6 added together? On one D6 you could substitute the 6 for a 0 (or blank face) and on the other, the 6 could be substituted by a 3. You will still get the dreaded 1 result but happily you will also get the 10. The extra 3 will help give you that 'bell' effect you mentioned with 2 ordinary D6. Where might you get custom made D6? Could try www.dice.co.uk (see Special Dice - Laser Engraved). You might be able to get the minimum order for as little as a fiver. David's idea is fine unless you are having a really bad run of luck and at last you get a decent roll of the dice. How are you going to feel then when your opponent says, "re-roll?"

    Davy

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  12. Brilliant idea's all... much food for thought.... Davy - check out AJ's entry above - I think you two guys are on the same track....

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  13. Steve


    There's many ways of getting a similar result. My preference would be to use 2d6 but modify the table instead of the dice. Special d6 are liable to be left at home, or worse still get replaced by regular d6 without being noticed. Also may end up having players grab your d6 specials for other games - Imagine playing WAB or Black Powder using a d6 with no "6" possible!

    PD

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  14. Yikes! Should have paid more attention, Steve (in mitigation, I was under pressure from the missus to get off the laptop and take her to the shops!). Accolades to AJ for a more thoroughly researched approach (spooky about "Case 1"). Sympathies also to PD - watch out for rogue Average Dice in your next BP game.

    Davy

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  15. Hey that's a great idea David I'll try that out! I even play Impetus(like the game a lot!) and that never occurred to me, but then again I'm slow on the light bulbs I suppose.

    Christopher

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  16. I have come into this a bit late Steve but have to say that I agree with Ray that, having played FnF for some time I quite like the idea of the odd extreme result with D10s. As I recall there has been some discussion of this in the original and Napoleonic/SYW Yahoo groups and the upshot was there are those like Ray and myself who like it and those who hate it. Hm - not being much help am I?
    Best wishes
    Jim

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  17. I think the benefit of rerolls is that you lose none of the excitement of extreme dice rolls but over a game the effect is reduced a little

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