Thursday, 3 March 2011

The portable wargame: Changing the activation dice?

The recent comments made by Ross Mac and arthur1815 in response to the latest play-test of the Frontier/Musket wargames rules I am using with my portable wargame, have given me something to think about.

I therefore propose to retain the concept of activation dice, but to no longer use the 'Risk Express' dice for that purpose. Instead, I intend to use dice marked as follows:
  • One face will be blank
  • Two faces will be marked '1'
  • Two faces will be marked '2'
  • One face will be marked '3'
These numbers will represent the number of Units of any type that a player may activate during a turn.

This means that a player throwing four activation dice has a range of results from not being able activate any Units to being able to activate twelve Units during a turn, with six being the average number of Units they will be able to activate.

This is somewhat less restrictive than the present system, and also allows for more gifted commanders to be allocated more activation dice than less able ones.


  1. In other words 1/2 the score of a d6 rounded down. (for those of us without blank dice)

    I think this change will work well. It allows a varied force composition without penalizing some troop types yet leaves players in a position of not being always able to do everything at once.


  2. Ross Mac,

    You have grasped my intentions exactly!

    It was the simplest solution that I could come up with that imposed a level of restriction on the players without being too restrictive.

    All the best,


  3. Aren't "average dice" (2, 3, 3, 4, 4, 5) still commonly available in Britain? Rolling two of those would give you a range of 4 to 10, with modes of 6 and 8.

  4. Itmurnau,

    I did consider using average dice, but I wanted to have a system that could be used with ordinary D6 dice if necessary.

    All the best,