Ragnarol Designer Diary 2

Played a couple of quick basic games with 5 new players. The only hiccup was assigning raiding party order. There seemed to be 3 at a time quite often. We quickly house-ruled that on a tie, you roll your dice and player with least axes goes first. It was a quick and easy decision that I’ll bring into the canonical rules.

There have been a few mentions on BGG of the awkward wording and play of the Eye reroll mechanic. This was something I’ve had in mind, but hasn’t really come up as I’ve been running most games. I now know it’s an issue, and I also know that maybe I need to step back a little while doing balance testing, to let players try to work things out for themselves.

Some ideas for alternate Eye rules (from me and BGG)

  1. Eyes simply cancel each other out
  2. Rolling up, each new Eye lets you reroll as normal
  3. After the first reroll, Eyes count as snakes
  4. Eye matching doesn’t cross the battle line, you only match with your own
  5. Same as 4, plus double Eyes lets you change the dice to whatever you want.

Idea breakdown

  1. I’m against this for a very simple reason, it means¬†rolling more eyes is suddenly worse, and this creates a weird probability follow through where more warriors means more matching results so suddenly fighting with more warriors can actually be worse. It may be a simpler solution, but I’m wary of it teaching players eyes = bad.
  2. This was the default starting position, which I moved away from quickly as I can see it changing some of the decision-making behind rerolls and encourage you just to reroll your own dice ad nauseam. There’s a few different reasons you reroll a dice. The obvious one is to improve your own result, if you get a snake or a single axe with a warrior, you reroll it as the odds say you’ll get a better result. The other key reason is to give your opponent a worse result, but if you have a 1/6 chance of giving them a reroll, this invalidates the choice. Say, you have a double-axe, a single-axe and an eye, and your opponent has an axe and a shieldmaiden with a shield. With the current rules, rerolling the shieldmaiden is a good choice. Not including the eye which is just a straight out roll the dice again, there’s a 3/5 chance of getting a better result (snakes puts you ahead by 2, single-axe by 1 as your double-axe is no longer being blocked), and 2/5 chance of no change. However with your rules, there’s a 3/6 chance of getting a better result, a 2/6 chance of getting the same and 1/6 chance of giving your oppponent the chance to reroll your double axe. It becomes more sensible to reroll your own dice and keep the power, which means, you sit there and play with yourself while everyone else watches. So, there’s a problem but it might be worth playing it out.
  3. This is my preferred solution right now. It means that a reroll has a push your luck element as there’s now a bigger chance of getting a worse result. Might need need to add in that you can choose to use the Eye or not, but if you choose to, you must reroll the Eye and one other die.
  4. This could reduce some of the confusion and the matching across battle lines, but it does mean that the player with more Eyes is punished, and I’m wary of this teaching Eyes = bad, again. The silver lining on the cloud is that it may encourage players to spread their forces out more to reduce the risk of double Eyes, although I suppose double Eyes is the equivalent of no Eyes.
  5. Makes rolling doubles more powerful but less thematic. As One-Eye is meant to represent the sacrifice Odin made for wisdom.

I tend to test through 2, 3 and 4.

Copyright © 2013 Kotzur-Yang Creative