What is the functionality of a dice? A dice gives a chaotic element to your game. It will create a gamble like feeling. You can’t be 100% sure what the outcome will be, which creates excitement for people. The disadvantage of the dice is the same, you have 16.667% chance of landing on the correct side. Some games rely heavily on that mechanic to make a game unpredictable. But for me, relying too much on the dice randomness gives a sense of futility. I like to be able to influence the dice throw.
The mechanic in our game will be that, we want to have the randomness of the dice throw to create unpredictability, but we also would like people to feel somewhat in control. That’s also where the
thematic idea from the Dune universe comes in to play. In the game you can find spice, spice is a cinnamon like substance in the books, using it gives the characters heightened awareness and powers of premonition. Bla bla bla, that was our old theme. We now have a new one with Aliens and abductions. With the spiceDNA-tokens you can influence your dice throw. The idea in the game is to use the result of the die as combat action, important locations in the Dune books Earth specimens can be taken over with those combat beam-power roles. So we needed to find out how many dice we would need for and what totals happened most often to find out, what numbers to use for capturing the specimens.
Spreadsheet dice rolling
We created a Google Sheet to simulate a 1,000 dice rolls. You can view it by clicking the link. When you click on the cells you can see the different kinds of formulas I used.
In the image you can see the number of results after the rolls. I colour coded the the higher the number, the more red the cell.
For 4d6 most throws are around 14, which makes sense. Highest throw is 24 and lowest is 4, so the average is 14. 5d6 average is 17,5 and 6d6 is 21. When refreshing the spreadsheet, the numbers change a bit, all will be around the averages.
With that information you can figure how hard or easy you want your game to be. For example for expensive or powerful items/cards you could make the cost high, for 6 dice you would want to result be at least 24. The chance to throw 24 in one time with 6 dice is 7.35%. So one in 14 throws is 24. That is quite a lot, it means that a player needs at least 14 rounds to get the card they want, when you only have one chance per round to roll that throw.
It is the job of the creator to give the player a fun time, so you really have think about, how much trouble or despair do you want your players to feel.