Low Luck, Global 1940

  • Why isn’t Low Luck used more often?  I can’t speak to other games, but in G40, if the dice turn on you then there’s nothing you can do to come back,  even if your strategy is superior…it’s truly a horrible way to lose a long game…so I’m just wondering why this hasn’t become standard for tournament or league play?

  • 2020 2019 2018 2017 '16 '15 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    One answer might be that, without the potential for a game to get lost in this manner, a long game might go even longer – perhaps indefinitely.  Also remember that the dicing element potentially works all four ways.  Yes, a player can lose when bad dice override a good strategy, and can lose when bad dice reinforce a bad strategy…but he can also win when good dice reinforce a good strategy, and can win when good dice override a bad strategy.  I can understand a player cursing when he loses despite a good strategy because he got bad dice…but how many players curse when they win a game on the basis of good dice rather than good strategy, on the grounds that the result is a disappointment because they can’t credit their victory to their own brilliance?

  • 2020 2019 2018 2017 '16 '15 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    Something else has occurred to me.  If the point of the low luck system is to emphasize skill over randomness, this solves (or at least reduces the potential for) the “suffering an awful loss due to some bad dice” problem – but it also creates (or at least increases the potential for) a different problem: suffering an awful loss due to a bad alliance partner.  The problem wouldn’t apply in a one-on-one game, but in any game involving more than two people (as is probably the case in tournament or league play) there’s always the potential for a bad player to sink his Axis or Allied team, even when the other team members are good players.  The more the game depends on skill rather than luck, the more this potential danger is magnified.  And it could be argued that blaming bad dice for an awful loss is better than blaming another person for an awful loss, since dice don’t have any feelings that can be bruised.

    I once read a book by a wargamer who described a miniatures game he had once played.  The game was so large that the two teams had to use a command structure to make it work: each side had an overall commander and several subordinates who each controlled an individual army or corps or whatever (I can’t recall the details).  The writer – who was the overall commander for his team – describes how his team lost because one of his corps commanders didn’t implement properly the orders he’d been given.  The writer described how frustrated he was by this turn of events, even though he did gain valuable insights into a problem that many generals have faced down through the centuries: dealing with a crisis caused by subordinate failure.

  • interesting points, and I see where you’re coming from, but I would turn it around to say…if you have a bad partner that costs you the game, then you deserve to lose (maybe not you personally, but your team deserves to lose because the team is only as strong as its weakest link)…I’ve had my ass handed to me several times (this is my first time playing online via TripleA), and sometimes it has been because of the dice and sometimes it has been because of strategy…when I lose because of strategy, I can get better from it, but when I lose because of dice I have nothing to say other than…what the hell? Losing because of dice feels like a wasted game where I did things right and still lost 98% battles for capitals or something crazy. Losing because of strategy lets me learn and, hopefully, get better moving forward.

    The one thing Low Luck does do is take some of the excitement out of it. It makes 25% gambles that you need to make to try to save the game impossible…and sometimes you need to take such gambles in order to try to make a furious comeback, so that’s definitely an argument against Low Luck. Because taking gambles is, in its own way, a strategy…and the door should be left open for all strategies, even the high variance, risky ones.

  • 2020 2019 2018 2017 '16 '15 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    Somewhere else on the forum, there’s a low-luck discussion thread in which I pitched an idea (just at the broad conceptual level, without any details) about a system that would allow players to choose one of three possible dicing options in any given round of combat.  The basic idea is that the system would have three possible result spreads: narrow, medium and wide.  The narrow spread would have very low variability, with a very good roll producing no better than small gains and with a very bad roll producing no more than small losses.  The wide spread would have the potential for spectacular gains or spectacular losses (if the dice are either very good or very bad).  The middle option would produce results with an intermediate range.  The point of the system would be that if a player chooses the wide-spread dicing option, he’d only have himself to blame if he blows a combat round with bad dice rolls, and if he choose the low-spread dicing option, he’d only have himself to blame if he makes only small gains despite getting good dice rolls.  (I suppose one likely outcome of such a system would be that a losing player would tend to use the high-risk wide-spread option, on the grounds that at this point he has nothing to lose and everything to gain.)

  • I would never play a game online with dice for every round in Global. As Talleyrand19 said, loosing to a good strategy by someone lets you learn something, but loosing to dice just makes you annoyed. Not to mention that games between two skilled players takes well over 10 hours to play, and investing that much time into a game just to get screwed in one important battle almost makes you not want to play the game again.

    The way I play now, against myself, is I do Low Luck for the first turn of the game and dice after that. This really smooths out the randomness factor of the initial battles that involve huge amounts of TUV. Since you don’t get to decide your starting position, with the way the board starts off there are going to be certain battles that if one side wins or looses can destroy the rest of the game. Say Germany looses the battle for France, or UK scrambles 110 and gets incredibly lucky, or UK gets incredibly unlucky in the SZ 97 battle, then the game, more or less, is decided before it even really began.

    I also give each nation a one time only ability, when they are the attackers, to choose to have the battle roll out with Low Luck instead of dice. This is to help the huge battles that will inevitably happen in Moscow and India and Naval battles in the pacific.

    The biggest problem with only playing a game with Low Luck is that:

    1. Planes become too good in smaller land battles. If there are 3 infantry in a territory all the attacker has to do is send 2 infantry 4 fighters and a bomber and guarantee the take of the territory.

    2. Strafing is incredibly powerful and limits a lot of strategies. Stacking two large forces outside a hotly contested territory is no longer possible. In Low Luck since you can calculate the exact amount of hits needed to leave 1 unit alive you can just attack in and retreat. One example of this is if Italy stacked Alexandria and Sudan first turn, then all UK has to do is strafe Sudan and retreat, where as in dice it would be extremely risky to do so. Also in sea battles you can do crazy things with hit and run tactics that wouldn’t be possible otherwise.

    3. Games feel too similar. With every turn being Low Luck games play out almost the exact same every time, but with dice, after the first round Low Luck, small battles that happen later in the game might not go according to plan and would force a change in strategy, making for more diverse and exciting games. I know you can make the point that having Low Luck on the first turn makes every game more similar than if you didn’t have Low Luck the first turn, but there is nothing I hate more than loosing on the first turn of the game because of bad dice.

    4. Large battles can be made 100%. I am actually fine with this one. Again I don’t want to play perfect strategy and loose to dice :). This is why I would allow a one time only, if attacking, choice of Low Luck.

  • All great points and after playing some low luck I agree with all of the reasons why it hurts the game. I like the idea of using it in round one and then only one big battle after that,  so that dice won’t ruin the game but LL won’t ruin it either.

  • I am a BIG fan of the “dice” aspect of A&A.  I have always been against the “Low Luck” combat system.  I am sure many General’s and Admiral’s from wars throughout history would absolutely love to remove the unknowns from war and have their plans be implemented to perfection … every time.

    By eliminating “luck” … you are eliminating one of the ABSOLUTELY CORE ELEMENTS of war!   The die-rolls represent all the unknowns that exist on the field and seas of battle!  Not sure if you have enough units to take that territory??  Bring in more planes, or wait until you build up, or maybe push somewhere else first.  Those are ALWAYS the unknowns that commanders face before deciding how, or if, to move.

    Look at what you would be eliminating by going “Low Luck”:

    • Did my scout planes correctly identify the enemy ships!?

    • Will the Brigade Commanders understand and implement my orders?

    • Will the enemy fall for my bluff and think the prong of my attack is going to be on the Northern front, when instead we have pretty much bet the farm on hitting them hard in the south?

    • Did some of my radio communications get intercepted?

    • Crap!? … Several of my planes have crashed behind enemy lines!?  Did the pilot survive?  If he survived, how much will he tell of the plan under interrogation?

    • Seriously!? … Heavy rains have to start literally on the SECOND day of our major offensive push?

    • NO!?!! … Why did that stray 25 pounder artillery shell have hit near the Divisional CO jeep, Killing the General and his Chief Officer now!!??

    Guys … “Low Luck” is BAD war game modeling.  I’m sorry.  But I can’t be more polite or nice about this subject.  Low Luck is just simply not good. … It is God.  And there is a very big difference between “Gods and Generals.”   😉

  • @the_jetset:

    Guys … “Low Luck” is BAD war game modeling.  I’m sorry.  But I can’t be more polite or nice about this subject.  Low Luck is just simply not good. … It is God.  And there is a very big difference between “Gods and Generals.”  😉

    The best Generals are the ones that know the best strategy. Low luck shows you the best strategy because it shows you which strategy wins if both sides play perfectly and nothing goes wrong. Granted I wouldn’t want starting players to learn with dice. I didn’t even know there was a low luck system until I’d played well over 300 games. Players should get the feel, and excitement, of the randomness of dice to get into the game and learn certain military doctrines that you don’t get from Low Luck. Once you’re excitement of dice runs out, however, you get tired, and annoyed, of loosing to bad dice, and not your strategy. You hit a wall where dice can’t teach you anything more because you don’t get an exact feel for the “perfect strategy” because somewhere along the way, usually on the first turn or a massive battle, one side got a lot luckier than the other and made your hopes of winning impossible, not by good play, but by bad dice. This doesn’t teach you whether the strategy you had was the best one or not. With low luck the best strategy almost always wins out (probably something like 99%). This teaches how to get better when you go back and review your games you can see exactly where you made a mistake and why.

  • Hi theROCmonster,

    I see your points and fully understand them.  I’m just trying to point out that “Low Luck” actually decreases the realism of Axis and Allies, rather than increases the realism.  It also decreases the depth of plans and strategies.  “Rule number 1 for a War Plan … Always have a Plan B.  Because more than likely, Plan A will go to pieces once the bombs start to explode.”  Low Luck turns the game into more of an “Abstract Strategy / Mind Sport / Chess” type of game.  Not that chess is a bad game! … It will outlive Axis and Allies for sure as time goes on.

    Dice force your to anticipate the unknown and not just invade Germany with the exact number of troops needed “+1”, just for good measure.  That wasn’t at all the spirit or doctoran of WWII.

  • No plan or strategy will survive after the first battle with the enemy. I think von Moltke said this after the 1914 campaign failed and they had to dug in. So, what to do when you are a real brilliant mastermind of a military genius ? You are kind of a God of the battlefield, but unfortunately you are out of luck on a regular basis. You always do all the military skilled correct moves, but your moron enemy have so much luck he just keep winning. In that case, maybe war is not for you ? You might consider gardening ? I once read about Napoleon Bonaparte that when he picked his generals, he didn’t mind about their academic schooling or how long they had been serving in the military. When asked, he once pointed at a donkey, and said that donkey had been with him in like 20 battles, but he still was a donkey. Of course, he must have been a battle hardened donkey, but still……
    Napoleon believed in luck, and he would always hire generals that were considered lucky.
    Go figure…

  • That is why you should play several hundred games of dice to understand what to do when the battles don’t go your way. You need to be malleable. I just build the correct units, and do the correct moves based off of what the board should look like 3-5 turns in the future. Low Luck allowed me to see my mistakes (thank god for triple A :), and that allowed me to get much better much faster than I would have with dice. But I would say I was already nearly an expert when I took up Low Luck. I wouldn’t recommend it for anyone that hasn’t played at least 100 games.

  • 2019 '15 '14

    I’ve always felt the same way as the jetset. For me the dice rules are an important part of the narrative aspect of the game. They allow for more surprises or turn arounds or crushing upsets at the last minute, the kind of thing that allows you to build out a uniqur story around what just happened in a given combat.

    I understand the appeal of Low Luck, but the gameplay is substantially different.  A build or combat strategy that is guaranteed to come off in LL, could fail miserably in a dice game. Sure you might be able to model averages for expected results using an LL scheme to map your strategy in a dice game, but there’s always a chance that the dice end up disagreeing with you ‘that time.’

    In that respect I don’t see a huge amount of cross over. Playing 100 dice games won’t really prepare you or teach you a whole lot about what to expect in an LL game. As mentioned before low luck alters a lot of things, with respect to deadzoning and strafing, the number of defensive units required to back down an attack entitely, the way the airblitz works, the way anti aircraft fire works, etc. Just too many differences to really say that a strategy that anticipates the one style of combat is going to graph onto the other consistently.

    I think after playing a few games, most players are able to determine which style of gameplay they prefer. If you love the consistency of LL, and hate the unpredictably of dice, then wait for a match with another LL player. If you hate LL, but love dice, then wait for a match against a dice player. Especially in a long game like global, if you start a playing with a combat system you dislike, then chances are that the game won’t be very satisfying for you. There are enough players out there who enjoy both ways of playing that you can probably find a likeminded opponent if you just stick it out for a little while.

    To the initial question about why LL isn’t used more often, the answer is probably just because the manual doesn’t offer a description of how Low Luck works, or provide the kind official endorsement for that combat system that would probably be necessary for a larger groundswell of support. In regular tournament play it foes have a bit more cache, since that is where the systemperature was first put into practice… Fortunately for those who do enjoy Low Luck, tripleA  created simple “click tab” option in the game options menu, that allows any game to be played with universal LL rules, which I think has done a lot to popularize that style of play. There are also tripleA scenerios out there which were designed from the ground up with the LL playstyle in mind, which helps. I don’t know if the G40 designers took LL into account when they created the set up. If it was designed for LL, I imagine some of starting unit distributions might have been a little different. But again the game is pretty flexible, so even a game that wasn’t created with LL in mind, can still be adapted pretty easily, although the playtime required or the usual bids might be slightly different.

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