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  • Fair, turn by turn dice drafting

     Stephen Hurn updated 1 year, 9 months ago 8 Members · 13 Posts
  • Matt Stow

    May 27, 2021 at 5:12 am

    I have an idea for a game where at the start of a turn dice will be rolled, either enough for 1 for each player, or 1 for each player +1 and players then draft a single die which they think will benefit them.

    I’m now trying to come up with the fairest way for all players to have an even chance of picking the best die as the game progresses.

    I don’t want it being a first in, best dressed speed grab, so I was thinking that whoever drafted first last time, drafts second, second third, third fourth, and then fourth first (in a 4 player game).

    But I’m sure there are other ways of approaching this, so what else have you seen that might work for this scenario?


  • Gabriel Toschi

    May 27, 2021 at 8:03 am

    I think that a first-player token will do what you suggested, but to be really fair, each player has to have the same amount of rounds being the 1st player? (e.g. with 4 players, you need to have 4n rounds).

    There’s a math concept (fair division) that can be used, but I think you will need to have more dice than just 1 per player, but depending of what your game is about, there is a good idea. I learned about it in this video:

    • Matt Stow

      May 27, 2021 at 10:24 pm

      Very interesting video, thanks!

    • Seth Jaffee

      June 1, 2021 at 1:22 pm

      This is awesome! Thanks for the video link 🙂

  • Jeffrey Pacitto

    May 27, 2021 at 9:55 am

    One of the BGDL podcasts dealt directly with this, and one of the methods was the player count +1 method, like you’re suggesting, so there’s more dice to pick from, but the one that sounded best to me was the “snake” method where turn order would go 1-2-3-4-4-3-2-1. Maybe a hybrid version of moving start player and that would benefit? You could have 2 dice for each player then so each “round” would cycle through that snake once before passing along the starting token.

    • Ken C

      May 27, 2021 at 2:37 pm

      player 4 still seems disadvantaged.

    • Matt Stow

      May 27, 2021 at 5:49 pm

      The snake sounds interesting. Do you know which podcast it was discussed on?

    • Mark Brandow

      May 28, 2021 at 7:35 am

      This is actually pretty standard drafting for Fantasy Sports and what not. When I used to play Heroclix that was how we drafted from boosters.

      • Tim Gee

        June 2, 2021 at 11:17 pm

        I’ve encountered the snake draft through fantasy sports (and a real sports draft one time) and I would argue that position 1 at a disadvantage because the talent difference between pick 1 and pick 4 is significantly less than pick 5 and pick 6.

        The effect in picking dice rolls is probably different because there is no inherit value, it is just what you would like.

        It can cause tactical imbalances though because players 1 and 4 at some stage will be able to draft back-to-back which may give an advantage. On the flip side, they may also have to wait for 7 drafts before getting a dice which could be a major disadvantage.

        • Stephen Hurn

          June 3, 2021 at 3:26 am

          It does depend on the sport though. If I was playing in an unrestricted cricket draft I’d much rather snake 1st and last than 5th and 6th (for example) where I could take Bradman (or Sobers if he was banned).
          Snake drafts are about as fair as drafts can get, though MOBA type video games have a banning phase (or two) which lets you block your opponent’s best options. That could be interesting in asymmetrical drafting as well.
          No draft can be perfectly fair as each one will offer one person a “threshold” pick where they can get a combination far stronger than other players. It’s the nature of drafting and it’s why worker placement games give you multiple rounds with variable starting players to stay balanced (worker placement is analogous to action drafting).

  • Stephen Hurn

    June 3, 2021 at 3:44 am

    I codesigned a small dice drafting game a couple of years ago for a game jam, which my friend and I could have taken to publication but decided against because the theme was a bit terrifying (nuclear war). It was a two player draft where we each drafted two dice out of ten, leaving six behind. It worked well because of the way the dice interacted.
    There were 5 colours of dice, two of each colour. Each colour gave a different advantage based on a number range. 1-3 might give a small advantage while 9-12 gives a big advantage, so you had to decide between picking larger numbers, multiple effects, picking the colour that you needed more right now and denying your opponent.
    Don’t be afraid to give the players lots of options. If you only have one die left you have no decision. If you have 7 dice left you have an interesting choice. The key is to make the decisions interesting and multi faceted. You want players to be pulled in multiple directions, unsure of whether they have chosen correctly.

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