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Sunday, January 22, 2006


Nothing but a lot of rolling dice...

As GC and Cy take a stab at miniature games, I figured I would take a moment to share my experiences with you. For those of you who may not know, "miniature" games (or simply, "miniatures") are not teeny tiny games, but games played with miniature representations of soldiers and other combat units. Some folks spend a lot of time painting not only the miniature units themselves, but also the buildings, trees and other parts of the landscape. Miniatures started out mainly with historical battles (the battles of Napoleon and the American Civil war, for example) but now you can find them in all genres from fantasy to sci fi and even super heroes. There are even rules for folks who want to use Legos as their units.

While the creative side of me is drawn to the meticulously painted figures and landscapes, I have a problem with the rules of some of these games, which tend to put too much emphasis on random die rolls and not enough on strategy. I recently participated in a game in which my units had a 25% chance to wound a target, regardless of whether it was halfway across the board or right next to me. The only variables had to do with whether or not anything else happened to be in the way, like a barrel or a bush (which would further reduce my chance of harming the target). The only strategy was simply moving so that I could spot the target. The only thing I could do to improve my odds would be to increase the number of units that I had to bear on a single target, so at least one of those die rolls would come up in my favor. Of course, that still means each individual die roll has a 75% chance of coming up against me.

What it all boils down to is coming up with a set of rules that allows the player to develop a strategy for winning without making the game itself too complicated. I'll let you know what I come up with.
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