Battle Dice

Science Fiction/Fantasy After/What-if Action Reports Of Games Played

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Battle Dice

Postby josta59 » Thu Oct 09, 2014 3:01 pm

Hello all,

I found myself wanting a wargame that I could play with just dice, while still making decisions that were valuable to the outcome. After a bit of research, I decided to try Warp Spawn's Battle Dice (BGG: The rules are here:

This was a difficult decision for me since I really don't like anything with elements of fantasy. But it seemed to suit my criteria better than anything else I'd found, so I gave it a try.

I'm so glad I did. This was just what I was looking for. And with a little work, I could convert it to a modern wargame just by tweaking the language. Even playing solo worked just fine.

The most crucial decisions for the game's outcome happen before it starts, as you build what I'll call a "platoon" based on a distribution of points, 20 for each side. You distribute those between six different unit types, each of which are represented by a different type of die. The six units are generals (squad leaders?), infantry, archers (artillery?), cavalry (close air support?), mages (gained advantages?), and monsters (AFVs?) of various types that the player chooses himself.

Since I hadn't played before, I used the examples that were kindly provided in the rules. I put my "player A" platoon with 2 generals, 4 monsters (dragons), 2 mages, 4 archers, 4 cavalry, and 4 infantry against the enemy "player B" platoon with 1 general, 2 monsters (archmages), 6 mages, 6 archers, and 5 infantry. As you can see, no two games will ever be the same since the platoons can be extremely different. Nothing says you can't bring all generals or all monsters to the fight.

Each turn begins with rolling one die per unit, so it's one huge roll of a whole bunch of dice. That way everything happens at the same time, and players don't take turns. I like that. You roll all the dice for that turn and then consult the rules to determine the outcome.

The decisions for the rest of the game are which of your units get killed when your opponent scores a kill. I did this part wrong because I decided which of my enemy's units were killed rather than my own, which is probably fine and makes for a faster game. For solo play, I used a die roll to determine the type of unit killed by my enemy and then picked the particular units that would hurt me the most. (Spoiler: I still won.)

Each turn is divided into phases, the first of which is the big dice roll. Each following phase consists of comparing each type of roll result and consulting tables to determine outcomes. So each type of unit lends a particular outcome to each turn of the battle. Each type of monster even has its own table.

At the end of the turn, morale is checked by the side that lost more units, and victory/defeat is determined when a side fails the morale check. So it's quick, but a lot happens with a lot of different unit types.

Now to the action:

Turn 1:

Right away I lost 2 of my 4 dragons on the first roll of the dice, just by rolling the wrong numbers. But I rolled "wings" on the dragon table, which gave me a maneuverability advantage for that turn. The enemy archmages, meanwhile, rolled "stealth," which allowed them to negate 2 casualties.

None of the generals did anything in this turn, but the enemy mages got to work. They ensorcelled my platoon, which was a new word for me that means enchanted. This meant they got to set one of my dice to "1." As far as I can tell, this only affects monsters, since this will destroy them. So now I was already down to just 1 dragon.

I got 2 maneuver points with my cavalry units in addition to the 1 I received with my winged dragons. I rolled 3 times on the maneuver effect table, which let me encircle the enemy, charge, and then withdraw. Encircling took away a morale die and gave me another maneuver point for Turn 2. Charging let me kill 2 units, but this was negated by the stealth conferred by the archmages. Withdrawing let me negate 2 casualties of my own.

The rules don't say this, but I decided that negation of casualties should only affect the turn in which it happens. It makes sense to me, since withdrawing in Turn 1 shouldn't allow me to negate casualties I receive when I then charge in Turn 2.

The archers and infantry go next, but my initial dice roll didn't let any of them fight in this turn. Since I had lost 3 dragons, I had to check morale, but I was ok to proceed.

Turn 2:

I rolled all the dice again. This time the monsters took a break, and my generals rolled "leadership" on their table, giving my side a morale advantage.

The enemy mages got 2 spell points and rolled "command" and "summon." Command let them roll on the tactics table and direct missile fire, making it easier for their archers to hit my units. Summon provided reinforcements of their choice, and I rolled a die to determine that they received an extra infantryman. I went ahead and rolled a die for him since the melee phase was coming up.

I received 3 maneuver points in addition to the 1 I received in the previous turn, so I got to roll 4 times on the maneuver table. This time I encircled the enemy, withdrew, charged, and outflanked them, probably not in that order. Obviously this was pretty huge. When I charged, I killed 2 units. I chose their archmages, though if I had played correctly I would've rolled a couple of times to see which types of unit were killed, since that's supposed to be that side's decision. Outflanking them allowed me to set 1 of their dice to "1," so I changed my mind and let that affect 1 of the archmages while the other killed by the charge was a regular mage.

Their archers let off a volley and would've destroyed 3 of my units thanks to the archmages' spell, but I negated 2 of the attacks by withdrawing. I rolled to see what they destroyed (though that choice should've been my own), and it was 1 of my generals. I made it one that would hurt me in morale phase if it came to that (though that was incorrect, as the player gets to make a choice that will do him the least damage).

My infantry finally got to work and destroyed 3 enemy units. I should've rolled for those, but I chose their general and 2 archers. I lost 2 units to their infantry, my last general and 1 mage.

The morale check came up, and I had lost 2 generals and 1 mage vs their losses of 2 archmages, 1 mage, 1 general, and 2 archers. The enemy had to check morale, and since I had been careful to kill their dice showing values that would hurt them in the morale check (wrong according to the rules), they failed miserably and surrendered.

Like I said, I don't think it mattered that I played wrong since either way I got to make decisions that affected the outcome. The way I did it just made it a faster game.

I did an analysis of all the choices I made and how they affected the outcome. I didn't get to make any choices in Turn 1. Many of the kills I made in Turn 2 didn't affect the final morale check, but a few did since I was careful to remove dice showing values that would affect it. Once again, this was incorrect, but when I play it correctly I'll be strategically deciding which of my own units die, which will greatly affect the final outcome also. And it should make the game much longer.

I thoroughly enjoyed this game and am keen on changing the language to make it a game I'll like even more. This will require a lot of thought about how all the effects of the dice and tables would occur in a modern setting.

I think this would be a fun forum game since most of the decisions would be made before it starts, and then one person rolls the dice and we see how it plays out. Probably only one pause would be needed per turn to ask the other player which of their units will be dying that turn. Then it's on to the next turn.

Anybody wanna play? *shakes his dice with a mischievous grin* :twisted:
"...military glory, that attractive rainbow that rises in showers of blood—that serpent's eye that charms to destroy..." --Abraham Lincoln, 1848

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