-By: Elliott (PG_E2lio2tR)
Like many war games, Warmachine and Hordes needs to have a way to have some randomness in the game. Otherwise, we would know that X model will auto kill Y model with no need to figure out anything in between. The way we determine this random number is with dice.The need to roll dice helps make this a much more interesting and fun game to play, but doing this takes time and will eat up your clock slowly at a tournament. Today, we will be looking at a few tricks to help with the dice rolling process, making it a bit quicker and how to keep the game state a bit cleaner from it. Some of this may be common sense to you, but when you start to stop and think about it, you see that just stating it might have an impact on how you use them during a game. A lot of this is also left to personal choice. I will be expressing why I made the choices I did to help illustrate the reason behind the choices.
Now the first thing we need to look at is the dice themselves. You may be thinking that they are just dice, you can just use whatever six sided (d6) you have laying around. While this is true, there are things you can do to help your game overall with this selection. The first thing to think about is the size of the dice. This choice will effect a few things. Larger dice are easier to read but can be harder to handle for people with smaller hands or for rolls where you need to roll more than the standard 2d6. When you need to roll 5 or 6 dice, it can start being a handful. The trick here is to find ones that you are comfortable using. We are not talking about the number of dice you will use in other games. Personally I use dice that are medium sized. They are roughly the size of Casino dice. I can easily hold up to 5d6 without an issue and I rarely will need to roll more than that anyway.
The next thing to think about is would you rather use dice that have the numbers printed on them or that uses pips. This really comes down to how you process the rolls and the results. While some can look at actual numbers and perform the mental math quickly to get the final result, others need the visualization of the pips to help come to the final number quickly. I personally side to the dice with pips on them. It helps me visualize the number and makes the dice adjustments quicker for me to work out. I know some people who swear by dice with numbers on them. I would suggest trying both styles and seeing which one you prefer to use.
Now the last aspect of dice selection, Color combinations, may seem odd but there is a reason why I am bring it up. Let me tell you about a gamer I use to play DnD with years ago. He used clear dice with white numbering. Now, when I say clear, I mean clear. There was no color, completely see through. This with white numbers made it impossible to read besides for those who were standing right over them. This became very frustrating for the GM and the other players because we never knew what he was rolling. The same can be said for wargameing. You want your dice to be easily read from both sides of the table. I suggest picking a color pairing that are contrasting and clear to read. Also, let the background color have the least amount of marbling possible. I use the black dice that came with the battle boxes for this reason. The black background with the white pips make the dice very clear for players on both sides of the table to read. If you use a die that has a picture on either the one or the six, make sure that they all have the picture on the same side of the dice and that you state what number they are on before the start of the game. This helps with keeping the game state clear and cleaner game play.
The next thing to do is add one more dice to your pool. This time it should be a different color than the rest. This dice will be used for several reasons but all of them are to speed up the rolling process. This will be the dice you roll when you do damage to help determine the location it needs to be applied to. It will also be the dice used to determine either the distance or the direction of a missed AOE attack. This will help speed up that step of the process. The trick here is to always use it for the same thing every time. I use an orange die for this purpose. It is different enough that it stands out and it is about the same size as my other dice.
Now that you have your dice to roll, the next question is where will you roll them. Most people roll right on the table, and that is fine. There are others who like to keep the rolling off the table and in a dice tray for several reasons. By keeping the dice rolling in a tray, you protect the state of the game and your models. How often do you see people roll and the dice knock over a model. When you stand the model back up, is it in the same location as when it was knocked down or is it just close to it? That slight change may deny you that charge that was critical to your turn because the models are now just a fraction further apart than before. Keeping the dice rolls in the tray will allow you to keep the board state just a bit more controlled. It also keeps dice from falling off the table and slowing down the game as you try to recover said die. The tray will keep the dice controlled and in proper order. The tray will also allow your opponent to be able to clearly see the dice roll each time and not have dice hidden behind terrain pieces or models.
Now you may be asking yourself, “Why this is important?” Well these things are important for a few reasons. Like mentioned with the dice tray section, it helps keep the board controlled a bit more and helps with keeping the game play clean. The other reason that may not be as apparent is that each of these steps help speed up your turns by small increments that can add up in the end. While playing casual games, this is not that big of a deal. Take your time, enjoy the game and have fun. The thing is when you start preparing for Steamroller events, you will want to help shave time down during your turns in any way you can. By rolling the location of the damage with the damage roll itself, you shave a few seconds off each attack. When playing with a chess clock, those few seconds can mean the difference between a win and a loss.
Here are some examples of my setup. I have my standard four black dice that we all get in the battle boxes. I also have my one orange die for location and direction. During those very rare times I need to roll five dice for damage (Butcher1 feat on a charging weapon master for example), I will just roll all five dice together and reroll the orange one for location. As you can see, they are very clear and easy to read.
My dice tray is a monster of a thing. I had it custom made by a company called The Wargaming Woodworker. I have 2 separate sections for tokens. One I use for Fury or Focus and the other is for my random spell effects and status effect markers. The main section is large enough to hold all my templates to help ease moving around. The large rolling section is also nice because it is large enough that my opponent can easily see what is rolled and keeps every contained on the side of the board.
There you have it. Dice are a key part of this game and finding ways to help speed up rolling and making sure that the results are clear to all of those at the table are important things to keep in mind. Simple changes like where you roll on the table and the size of the dice used can have a large impact on the enjoyment of the game for both people. Now get out there, roll your favorite set of dice and have fun.