Saturday, 26 February 2011

Luck in Wargaming? by Tony Bath, in Miniature Warfare Vol 1 No 5 June 1968


Ray Rousell said...

Wow, that was a great little post, very interesting!

MSFoy said...

It's marvellous to see these old articles - thanks once again for the opportunity.

It would be footling to take issue with the actual content - I am 40-odd years too late, for a start, but it's a fact that I am sad enough to be very interested in dice and kindred chance event generators. I agree most wholeheartedly with Mr Bath's argument in favour of having the chance element - I always had a huge mistrust of rules which did not make an allowance for chance (such as chess!), and agree that such rules mostly worked in favour of those who knew them best - especially the authors.

Yes - you can generate a chance simulator using cards - no problem with that - or dominoes, for that matter. I'm sure you can actually use a goats entrails if you wish. The bit that mystifies me a bit is the idea that someone would formulate rules which employ dice to introduce an element of chance, and then subsequently be concerned that the dice throws behave as dice throws will always behave - i.e. randomly. Wasn't that the idea in the first place? If, instead of working our way through an infinite series of dice outcomes, we choose to work our way through a (finite) pack of cards, then the player with the better memory will have a better idea which cards are left in the pack.

I realise that such a discussion was not the point of publishing the post, and I apologise, but - interesting as the consideration of cards might be - this is not one of TB's better ideas.


Christopher B said...

While I agree with Mr. Bath's point of view regarding randomization, I also agree with Tony's (MSFoy) assessment of using cards instead of dice.

Also, there's another flaw: Mr. Bath's premise is predicated on the assumption that each player will roll an equal number of dice during the course of the game. While I'm not a "grognard" by any means, I have played a wide variety of war games, and I've never played one wherein each player rolls the same number of dice during the course of the game. Based on my experience, this solution would not actually solve anything; the unlucky player, using fewer cards, would still be likely to find himself drawing more low cards than his opponent. Or vice versa: his opponent, drawing fewer cards, would find himself drawing more high cards. Either way, the solution fails.

This article has me thinking - I may have to post something about this topic on my blog...

BigLee said...

Only recently discovered your blog and I have to say I'm really enjoying it. Thanks for sharing these articles, most (probably all) have passed me by and its great to be able to go back and read them.