A Thousand Rolls of the Dice

A thousand rolls of the dice? More like 7,752.

I like my games simple, but not all games are so. Some require more dice than the d6s the BITS System uses – this can be a problem if a player doesn’t want to carry around a dice bag 🎲🎲 Or a new player isn’t sure they are ready to invest. Yet other times a die just cannot be found!

Instead, I want to share with you different dice each with 1292 random rolls that are ready for print to distribute alongside any other piece of gaming material – physical dice not included 😉

d6, d8, d10, d12, d20, and d100 are all included in the DICE ROLLS – Essential doc on Google Drive.

Each page has labels for your convenience. All sheets have a normal distribution of probability, so the rolls are as accurate (or more) than physical math rocks.

A person can start from any corner and go in any direction so long as it is consistent (I would suggest the ol’ left-to-right, top-to-bottom approach). As you go along, mark off which numbers have been used.

Some dice are missing – with a little imagination, all the sheets can be more than they seem:

  • All sheets are also d2s.
  • d6 becomes a d3, d66 (first number x10, add second), or 2d6 (first + second).
  • d8 into a d4.
  • d10 replaces d100.

These are convenient sheets, though beware! Anyone who uses them may feel influenced to “meta game” – giving in to the temptation to look forward at what the next rolls might be and choose to act or not in certain unsporting fashion.

You can also make your own like I did:

  • In a spreadsheet, resize columns and rows to be square.
  • Use this formula: =RANDBETWEEN(1,6) (replace ‘6’ with your die size)
  • Copy, paste!

Or you can skip all that to make a copy from my sheets in Google Drive 😉

Enjoy your games and your play, now made easier with a thousand some-odd rolls of the dice. Cheers~

Play “As Above, So Below,” Out Now

In June, I blitzed the development of Gunslinger in The West (play the demo, an easy-to-read 2 printed pages!). Now is July’s turn to have its own game made.

A long-time passion project, As Above, So Below explored what it meant to make a game for me. It grew fast and big and needed some cooling-off time – now is the opportunity to brush the dust away, coming in at a cool 1 printed- and 2 printed-page collection for your enjoyment:

Prelude

The worlds are old. Very old. Too old. Created in the rift between mysterious heavens above and deadly hells below, you adventure in the ruins and wilds of all that’s left.

Whether ridding the last bastion of corruption by careless caretakers, purging dragons and worse from the dark places, uniting the Beings of the world against supernatural punishment, or making it back alive to the tavern with your plunder, you have the same chances as any angel or devil to leave your mark.

By word and sword and spell you are judged. So rely on your adventuring fellows and roll your two dice in sacrifice to luck – you will need it.

Features

Be a competent, cooperative, and courageous adventurer with your friends. Fulfill your needs, get in trouble, and have fun along the way.

  • 2d6 minimal math (-4 to +4) rolling at-or-over 🎲🎲
  • Androgynous character creation, progression, and scars 💯
  • Minimal stat tracking in 4 qualities: Body, Insight, Thought, Specialty 🔥
  • Game Moderator (GM) guide 🐉
  • Spell and magic creator (sample spells too!) 🧙‍♂️
  • Problem and place creators 🏰
  • Goods economy, loot, help for hire, and many other tables and guides! ⚔

Play Now

(Links below go to Google Drive and the latest game documents.)

Best option: 2 pages, front-and-back. Magic, tables, guides, even a field of battle showing ranges. Too much? Then check out:

1 page, printed both sides. Gives the highlights of the system and some tables. Foldable.

The Future

  1. Update the full, couple-dozen-page As Above, So Below publication with what was discovered in the 1- and 2-page design process.
  2. Hire-out art.
  3. Format for printing in ink-friendly and art-friendly version.
  4. Supplement and expansion plans.

That’s all that comes to mind 🤷‍♂️ (“That’s all,” he says, as if a month or more of work is so meager!)

Again, the 1-page, 2-page challenge really honed the vision I had for the game, a work-in-process for two years. While both Gunslinger in The West and As Above, So Below had fuller versions explored before the challenge, they are clearly better for it.

I think any potential game benefits from a ‘bare bones’ to ‘skin-on-bones’ treatment – it clarifies what should be in a ‘meat-on-bones’ publication, hones rules, and streamlines play as a standalone or for testing further additions.

Simple.

And simple is what BITS and its derivatives are meant to be 😉

Give these prototypes a whirl – after my playtests, I would adore hearing about your experiences!

Cheers to all the fun times you have coming up~

Play “Gunslinger in The West” Now

June 28th 2022: Huzzah! A preview of the full game is available too! See here:

For June’s goal, I am counting Gunslinger in The West as out now! Have a one-pager and a two-pager condensing a larger 15-page document I’m keeping on the backburner for some more formal testing (graphic design would be nice to have too).

Without further ado, Gunslinger in The West:

Prelude

The West is a land of the lawless and everyone else. You gave up all to come here as a Gunslinger on your horse with your gun to protect – or to take – what little is left.

Perhaps you found some fortune on the way, perhaps you made some friends, all fleetin’.

Regardless of how the sun set, you are here now. There is no Law or government man to tell you what, so how will it be? Save the innocent from the rough? Rough ’em yourself? Explore the wild, undiscovered places? Seek your own justice or justify your own acts?

Your skills got you here, but they will only help keep what is yours yours, steel and soul. So roll your two dice, rely on what makes you particular, pray to luck. You will need it.

Features

Be a deadly Gunslinger in The West with your posse of partners. Fulfill why you are there or get into your own kind of trouble.

  • 2d6 minimal math (-2 to +2) rolling at-or-over 🎲🎲
  • Character creation, progression, and scars
  • Minimal stat tracking via “Particular” skills
  • Game Marshal (GM) guide
  • Riding, hands for hire, and service costs sections
  • Problem and place creators
  • Period-appropriate tables of items and androgynous names

Play Now

(Links below go to Google Drive and the latest game document.)

A single page (both sides) giving the highlights of the game.

(Check this one out!) Two-pages that fill out the system with generating tables, guides, Gunslinger creation and progression, and more!

TBD – Full game system written with extra characterization, examples, and Belle’s Town, and introductory showdown. (Art also TBD.)

The Future and Past

The TODO list is pretty clear cut:

  1. Get the full game updated with the changes from one- and two-pager templates!
    1. See the above preview!
  2. Explore art opportunities.

But what got the game here?

In all truth, Gunslinger in The West is a test project to see what a BITS game with only specialties (the S and no BIT of BITS), called “particulars” in this game. To genuine surprise, this take on the system works quite well!

Further, exploring what it is like to play a ‘hero’ character was eye-opening for development. I will be applying this later to a Halo / DOOM inspired RPG – keep eyes out for it! 👀

Ride on, Gunslinger! Cheers to your time in The West ~

Making a Risk Map

Salutations ~

Part of last month’s goals were to make a Risk board game of the American Civil War.

The goal fell short due to the game not giving the right feel, but I sure-as-heck did the math to make the map 😁

For your reference, the game Risk has a map made of connected continents with various territories in each. If you control a continent, ie have a game piece in every territory, you get the continent bonus, which you usually spend for more game pieces.

The Data Set

It’s the continent bonus I calculated. To do so, I analyzed top-rated Risk games for the number of territories in each continent and how many connections every continent had with other continents. Here’s the list of games (pardon the formatting; yet to look into adding tables to WordPress):

  • Classic
  • Classic w/ a common community modification to connect the Australian continent and rebalance bonuses (ie “Connected”)
  • Star Wars Clone Wars
  • Starcraft
  • Halo (Ring, Forge, Hammer, and Anvil maps treated separately)
  • 2210
  • Mass Effect
  • Star Wars Original Trilogy

Online forums talking about Risk usually base the bonus on a continent’s connections (one territory in one continent connects to one territory in another continent). I feel we need to add territories to this calculation, however, as to control a larger continent requires the spending of more game pieces, thus larger continents are more expensive to get the bonus, regardless of connections (connections being a means for other players to disrupt your control of a continent).

The Equation

Because territories (required to get bonus) and connections (required to keep bonus) are so different in what they mean for a continent, I started my work with a linear equation for each continent for each game:

Nt * Ct + Nc * Cc = B
Nt = Number of territories
Ct = Territory constant for a bonus
Nc = Number of connections
Cc = Connection constant for a bonus
B = Continent bonus

We have Nt, Nc, and B for every continent. We need to solve for Ct and Cc, which we can do by combining the equations to eliminate those variables one at a time.

Note: Nc is the number of connections regardless of which territories are connected. 1 territory with 1 connection is 1 Nc; 1 territory with 4 connections is 4 Nc.

The Calculations

I assumed this would be straight forward for at least one of the Risk games. Spoiler: It was not 😑

Saving you some of the nitty-gritty calculations (you can do this yourself), let’s look at Risk Classic:

  • Continent – Territories – Connections
  • N. Amer.     9                       3
  • S. Amer.      4                       2
  • Europe        7                       8
  • Africa          6                       6
  • Asia             12                     8
  • Aust.            4                       1

This leads to getting multiple values for Ct and Cc, meaning how bonuses were calculated was a seemingly arbitrary affair 🤷‍♂️

OK! No problem! I’ll try the same thing on the other games…

The Problem

OK. We have a problem. They also churn out obviously tiered continents (some being better than others). For instance, the Connected modification to Classic Risk, while better, leaves us with 3 distinct groups:

  • Cc = 1.167 * Ct
  • Cc = Ct
  • Cc = 0.571 * Ct

To get around this, I tried averaging, normalizing, and a few other pen-and-paper solutions to make this work out.

Nothing worked out 🤦‍♂️

UNTIL I REMEMBERED:

~simplify~

The Solution

How does one simplify this sticky situation across multiple games? Some grossly off in their bonuses? (*ahem* Halo Risk 😐)

The solution is to combine territories and connections 🎉 Doing that, we get:

(Nt + Nc) * C = B
Nt = Number of territories
Nc = Number of connections
C = Constant for a bonus
B = Continent bonus

That equation allows for each game to get to C = B / (Nt + Nc), so a constant can appear. Here’s what I pulled out, also weighting each with BoardGameGeek  ratings:

    • Game – Constant – Weight
  • Classic                  .400             5.58
  • Connected           .411             6.00 (Classic rounded up)
  • SW CW                 .419             6.01
  • Starcraft               .389             6.37
  • Halo* (Ring)        .398             6.44
  • Halo (Forge)        .396             6.44
  • Halo (Hammer)  .407             6.44
  • Halo (Anvil)        .383             6.44
  • 2210                      .411             6.69
  • Mass Effect          .391             6.81
  • SW OT                   .391             6.84
  • * Halo needed extensive recalculation of its bonuses – they were incredibly low compared to any other Risk game. I may update BBG someday with a rules correction for improved and more consistent gameplay.

The Answer

We are left with two numbers: The weighted average (.399) and the median (.398). For simplicity’s sake, let’s call it .4 for:

(Nt + Nc) * .4 = B
Nt = Number of territories
Nc = Number of connections
B = Continent bonus

I adore when numbers come together ❤

TLDR; To get a fair continent bonus, add each territory and territory connection to another continent together, then multiply that by .4 to get the bonus for control of the continent. 

The Other Observations

Looking at a fair number of Risk games, I noticed some trends between the versions. (We will skip looking at copy-paste Risk games that only do a reskinning of the theme.)

  1. The bonus constant 40% (.4) can be ‘flexed’ down to 33% (.33) or up to 42% (.42) without skewing the fairness of the continent. Whatever percent is used, keep in mind that higher percentages are preferred (more reward for the ‘risk’ of controlling a continent).
  2. 6 continents is expected on a Risk map.
  3. Each continent has a minimum of 2 connections and 5 territories (4 territories is doable but extreme and should remain only thematic).
  4. Good design means connections are greater than 25% of the territories in a continent. (Bad design examples: Australia in Classic, North Atlantic in 2210.)
  5. Good design means there are more territories than connections in a continent. (Bad design examples: Africa, Europe, and Asia in Classic.)
  6. More game pieces means better player experience and faster play (long games is a common critique of Risk).
  7. Capping either the number of game rounds, putting in a score tracker, limiting the number of game pieces per territory, or all of these things and more also assist the slow play problem.

This was fun 😁 I may share later how I would “fix” each Risk game. Let me know if I should get on that sooner 😉 Cheers for now~