Last time I mentioned that I felt like I had figured out my dice rolling mechanic for Iron Infantry, so let’s look at that today.

While nuance is great if you’re playing a proper role-playing game like D&D, in a board game, you need a simple answer – Did you disarm the bomb? Did your attack hit the bad guy? Did you succeed or fail at whatever you’re trying to do? A simple yes or no is best 95% of the time (unless your game specifically allows for nuance, but in my experience very few do). In a game like Iron Infantry, there is no in-between – you either fail or you succeed – and I wanted my dice rolling mechanic to reflect that.

Last time I showed you my prototype character card…

As you can see, your characters will level up as they successfully complete missions. As they level up, they will also earn more six-sided dice for their action pool. At Level 1, a character only has one die (or 1d6, which is how I’m going to abbreviate this from now on). So, if a character wants to disarm a bomb, they roll their 1d6. If the roll comes up as an even number, they succeed. If it comes up odd, they don’t succeed. (Now that doesn’t necessarily mean the bomb explodes, it just means they didn’t succeed at disarming it; the team will have a few more chances to disarm before things go boom.)

As the character advances to Level 2, they’ll earn an additional 1d6 for a total of 2d6 in their pool; at Level 3, they get 3d6, Level 4 is 4d6, and Level 5 is 5d6. They’ll also have the opportunity to temporarily add more dice to their pool by using skills. Therefore, if a character chose “Bomb Disarm” as their Level 2 skill, they would get a total of 3d6 when attempting to disarm a bomb, but they’d go back down to 2d6 to attack an enemy or to disable a security camera.

So how does the even/odd thing work once you have more than one die?

It’s all about quantity. If a person has 3d6 in their pool and they roll 2, 4, 5, they have more evens than odds, so they would succeed. But what if they have 4d6 and roll 2, 3, 4, 5? In that case, the tie goes to the player, so they would succeed. Pretty simple, really.

However, much like in a lot of role-playing games, if a player rolls on the ends of the spectrum – either a 1 or a 6 – there are certain advantages and disadvantages to both.

If a player has a 3d6 pool and they rolled 1, 2, 4, they’d need to re-roll the 2 or the 4 to see if they actually succeed. If they roll another even number, then they succeeded, but an odd number would mean failure.

Similarly, if they rolled 3, 5, 6, the 6 roll would allow them to re-roll either the 3 or the 5 to try to get another even number.

And if they rolled 1, 4, 6, the 1 and the 6 would cancel each other out, leaving them with just the 4. So, once again, success.

This 1-or-6 re-roll only counts for the initial roll. So, if the player had a 3d6 pool and rolled 1, 2, 4 and the re-roll results in 1, 2, 6, the 6 just stands as an even number; they wouldn’t re-roll the 1 just because they now have a 6 (besides, there are more evens anyway, so there’d be no reason to re-roll).

The idea behind this system is that it’s pretty fast, is easily tweaked by using skills (just add a die if you have that skill), and yet still leaves a little room for tension with the 1-or-6 re-rolls.

To make it even more flexible, players can use Medals to give them even more dice to play with. Medals are going to be special items that are earned for every level the player has advanced (they’ll automatically get 1 Medal for every level they advance), as well as for certain in-mission feats. These feats will be specific to that mission and their locations will be noted on the game board with a Medal symbol; probably something like this:

Usually that symbol will be covered up by a token of some kind that will symbolize an objective in the mission. To go back to our common example, on this mission, disarming a certain bomb, say one next to the office building’s boiler, might be worth a Medal. The player will make their way to the bomb token and if they’re successful, remove the token from the board and see the Medal symbol underneath. Other bomb tokens may not have the Medal symbol, it really just depends on how the mission is setup.

Now that they’ve disarmed the bomb, if they’re Level 1, they would then have 2 Medals – one for being Level 1 and another for completing a worthy feat. These Medals can be used whenever they’d like to give themselves one additional die in their pool for a roll. So, if they come upon the next bomb that needs to be disarmed, but their roll is a majority odd numbers (therefore a fail), they can cash-in a Medal and roll another die in the hopes of getting an even number or a 6 to let them re-roll one of the odd dice.

Unfortunately, any Medals earned in the mission are cleared away at the end of that mission. Of course they’ll still get their standard 1 Medal per Level at the start of the next mission, but they need to either use all of the Medals they’ve earned during that mission or risk wasting them.

And that’s really all there is to it as far as the dice mechanics go for this game. Of course this could all change once I start playtesting. But for right now, I like it’s simplicity and flexibility.

Next up, I need to start working on skillsets that are available for the characters as they advance. Right now on the player card it just says “Level 1 Skill”, “Level 2 Skill”, etc., but I need to be more specific so that the characters start to become specialized and build, well, character.

For example, the basic commando character I have on the current player card, Blackout, will probably have his first skill be “Hand-to-Hand Combat”. This will give him the knowledge to successfully attack an enemy with a melee weapon (meaning something other than a gun). But at Level 2, he’ll have to decide between two skills – let’s say “Demolition” and “Stealth Movement” – which will help mold the character’s path. These are the types of things I need to start working on so that the characters have a wide range of skills that will keep the game interesting. So, look for that next time!

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