WARNING: STOP READING right now if you do not believe that the average D6 roll result is 3.5!
Your Dice Are on Average
Put your hand on your heart and answer the following questions: How often have you blamed your dice for a bad turn or a lost game? How often have you groaned loudly about your dice being below or far below average? Once? Twice? During lots or even every game?
During the years I’ve managed to teach myself not to say it loudly (too often). – But well, I’m still getting angry with my dice when they fail miserably although I’d have had a great turn not even needing average dice rolls! Everything had been planned safely – but #$?§%*!
Want some reasons why you shouldn’t cry out loudly (and shouldn’t even think this way)? Here you are:
- Your dice are on average. Period. (You’ve probably just forgotten about the 6, 6 to hit or 6, 5, 4 damage roll a turn ago.)
- It’s simply bad behaviour: You’re telling your opponent that he didn’t win the game because of his superior strategy or tactics … but dice only.
- You’re not learning anything: With a very high probability you’ve lost your turn or game for very different reasons than dice rolls. Try to find your real mistakes and don’t blame the dice (there are very, very few exceptions to this).
Why We Don’t Want “Perfect Averages”
That said, I’d like to get to the more important part of this post finally: We really don’t want to have averages on each and every dice roll! It would be a shame to use dice with a 3.5 on each side!
Have a look at the photo above: 8 dice summing up to 28 perfectly. Lovely! This is what we want, don’t we? But well, I’m mostly rolling attack, damage, and grid dice simultaneously: green to hit and red for damage. And I’ve probably failed to hit with the Uhlans under Hand of Fate. Really annoying.
So why wouldn’t I want perfect averages for each part of my roll? It’s very simple: We’re playing a wargame here, aren’t we? We’re not playing chess or anything else. And if you want to play and to some degree simulate war, you simply have to count in luck. You have to count in emotions, courage, excesses, shock and awe.
You don’t believe me? Here’s Carl von Clausewitz’s famous trinity then. The trinity of forces that drive the course of real-world war in von Clausewitz’s view:
- Violent emotion
- The interplay of chance and probability
- Political calculations driven by reason
When you’re reading Clausewitz’s Vom Kriege, you won’t find one chapter where he’s not talking about general, tactical, or even personal chances and probabilities. One of his main statements: You won’t see too many causalities during a war – if any. Randomness is an integral part of war – and life!
You have to take risks and you still have to stay flexible. … Oh, and don’t blame the dice!