Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Mental mathematics is NOT a cure for insomnia!

Last night I suffered from a bad case of insomnia. Try as I might, I just could not get to sleep. I tried reading ... but it did not work. I tried listening to an audio book ... and that proved ineffective as well. In the end I started thinking about the probability of throwing a particular dice symbol when using the MEMOIR '44 or BATTLE CRY! dice that I have utilised in both my MEMOIR OF BATTLE (MOB) and MEMOIR OF MODERN BATTLE (MOBAT) rules (Yes, I really was that desperate at 2.00am!) ... and began to realise that I did not actually need the special dice at all.

The following should make this clearer ... I hope. In the current draft of MEMOIR OF BATTLE (MOB) the dice table looks like this:


This means that the probability of each result being achieved by a BATTLE CRY! die are as follows:
  • Hit on Infantry: 3 in 6
  • Hit on Artillery/Machine Guns and Cavalry: 2 in 6
  • Hit on Generals: 1 in 6
  • Forced to Retreat: 1 in 6
The same probability of results can be obtained using an ordinary D6 die as follows:
  • Infantry: 'Hit' on a score of 4, 5, or 6 (i.e. 3 in 6)
  • Artillery/Machine Guns and Cavalry: 'Hit' on a score of 5 or 6 (i.e. 2 in 6)
  • Generals: 'Hit' on a score of 6 (i.e. 1 in 6)
  • Retreat: 'Retreat' on a score of 1 (i.e. 1 in 6)
Note: The score required to force a ‘retreat’ is 1 because this makes it easy to delineate between a 'Hit' and a 'Retreat'

This is so blindingly obvious that I am surprised that I did not see it earlier ... but I suppose that I got so tied up in using the MEMOIR '44 and BATTLE CRY! dice in my design that I missed it completely!

Having made this 'discovery', I examined the probability of results being achieved by a MEMOIR '44 die ... and came to similar conclusions.


This means that the probability of each result being achieved by a MEMOIR '44 die are as follows:
  • Hit on Infantry, Machine Guns, Mortars, and Cavalry: 3 in 6
  • Hit on Tanks and Armoured Cars: 2 in 6
  • Forced to Retreat: 1 in 6
Note: The ‘Miss’ result has been ignored because it does not affect the probability of a decisive result being achieved.

The same probability of results can be obtained using an ordinary D6 die as follows:
  • Infantry, Machine Guns, Mortars, and Cavalry: ‘Hit’ on a score of 4, 5, or 6 (i.e. 3 in 6)
  • Tanks and Armoured Cars: ‘Hit’ on a score of 5 or 6 (i.e. 2 in 6)
  • Retreat: ‘Retreat’ on a score of 1 (i.e. 1 in 6)
Note: The score required to force a ‘retreat’ is 1 because this makes it easy to delineate between a 'Hit' and a 'Retreat'.

Working all this out whilst I could not get to sleep did not help me to ‘drift off’ … but at least I felt that the time I was awake and unable to sleep last night was not wasted.

10 comments:

  1. True, one doesn't need special dice, but the visual symbols save the need to remember the results table or to have to refer to it.

    This would make the game seem easier and more attractive to children, for example.

    The only problem with icons is they must be unambiguous. I worked with a lady who kept topping up her car radiator until the engine was trashed, because she thought the flashing icon on the dashboard was a watering can, not an oil can!

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  2. Arthur1815,

    You are quite right about the special dice making things easier in certain circumstances, but my thinking came about as a result of two things:

    a) Possibly creating a version of MOB/MOMBAT that I can take with me on a future cruise, and which would require me to use smaller dice in order to keep the storage and transportation requirements to a minimum.

    b) An email from someone who wanted to use the rules but did not have access to the special dice.

    As to your colleague who 'misunderstood' the flashing icon on her dashboard ... well, why didn't she bother to look in the car's owners' handbook!

    All the best,

    Bob

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  3. Hi Bob

    Cure for insomnia = warm milk and whisky, keep drinking until you fall asleep..

    But only if insomnia troubles you, personally I just find something to do, as you do.

    Regards

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  4. Arthur,

    The warm milk sounds like a good idea but the whiskey might just set off my stomach ulcers!

    I have been plagued by insomnia for years, but recently it seems to have got worse. Last night I actually used the time constructively ... and although I felt tired this morning at least I feel that I achieved something.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  5. Bob,

    The problem with your "revised dice throws", if you do this, is that one third of the time you will get a "no result".

    Whereas in BATTLE CRY there is always a result, your revision will have a "total miss" anytime you roll a 2 or 3.

    Perhaps this isn't important to your rules (I'm not interested in more modern warfare so I haven't followed them), if it is, you can juggle the various pip meanings . . . but then you might as well have the "special dice".


    -- Jeff

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  6. Bluebear Jeff,

    One consideration that I did not mention in my blog entry was one of copyright. If I include my rules in the book I am developing and I use the BATTLE CRY! and MEMOIR '44 dice I may well be in breach of Richard Borg's copyright. So I have to find an alternative ... and this is one that works.

    Since I wrote the blog entry I have tested my results by throwing sets of D6 dice and sets of BATTLE CRY! dice and comparing the results ... and they are comparable. I did not find that I got significantly any more or any fewer 'miss' results with the D6 dice than I did with the BATTLE CRY! dice.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  7. Hi Bob,

    Makes perfect sense to me! Also, the idea around the portable cruise version needing smaller dice.

    I noted the mention of a book - very interested in this for sure and will put my name down for a signed copy in due course!

    Oh, and more than happy to help.
    out!

    Seriously though, using d6 makes sense as most gamers have tons of them anyway.

    All the best,

    DC

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  8. David Crook,

    I hope to play-test my ideas very soon to see if the change to normal D6 dice in place of the special dice works as well in practice as it seems to do in theory.

    The book idea has been going around in my head for some time, and will be both a general look at the development of gridded figure wargames as well as sets of working rules.

    Your help and ideas would be very welcome if and when I get round to writing it.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  9. As I am also playing with Command and Colors variants, I went over this in my mind too, but stuck with the dice. The primary difference is that I only allow swords/grenades to hit in close combat (as in the Command & Colors brands, but not with Memoir '44 and Battle Cry). Keeping the symbols means you don't need to juggle the odds in your mind.

    I like the "only hits in close combat" modifier as it tones down firepower and gives you a reason to get in close and get stuck in.

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  10. Dale,

    I have had no experience of any of Richard Borg's games other than BATTLE CRY! and MEMOIR '44, but this suggestion makes excellent sense ... and I may well look at including it (or something similar) in the next draft of my rules.

    The symbols on the dice do make the rules a lot easier for a novice to pick up and use, and do keep things moving along quickly for the more experienced player, but in my thinking I am trying to take into account the copyright issues and the possibility of people who do not have access to the special dice being able to use the rules.

    Thanks again for the suggestion.

    All the best,

    Bob

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