Warning! Wall of text/deep philosophical content ahead!
Recently I've not had the opportunity to play Warmachine/Hordes, but instead I've been playing other games and I had a thought: is randomness really necessary for a game? Yesterday, in Part 1, I started by looking at the kinds of mechanics that exist out there in various game formats that incur randomness. Today I will look at a couple of games where there is limited - if any - randomness to see if we can answer the question that I've posed. Lastly, I will share my thoughts about how a miniatures game could be fun without incorporating randomness. I would first like to clarify that randomness is not the same as uncertainty. Randomness can change your desired action after the decision has been made, while uncertainty will affect your decision before you make it.
12 awards since 2004 and is an incredibly fun game for such a simple premise. While this game does have a degree of randomness with the deck of power plants, there are mechanics in play that ensure some reliability of the power plants available, and it's the only random mechanic in the game. Everything else in the game depends upon decisions that players make, and how those decisions affect the decisions of others, but there's no level of randomness beyond what power plants show up. The funds you earn, the costs of building power stations, and the cost of resources are all non-random, but there may be some degree of uncertainty in what the other players choose to do, but again - it's not random. This game has won numerous awards and is tons of fun. In fact, I am interested in even removing what randomness there is next time to see if the game plays any differently (not very difficult to do within the mechanics of the game). "But there's still a degree of randomness!" I hear you cry. Well, there are a few games that don't incorporate any randomness at all!
|More information can be found here|
|More information can be found here|
|Arguably the best RTS of all time|
So what might a miniatures game without any randomness look like? Well unfortunately, given the current breadth of miniatures games out there and their mechanics, it's difficult to take what currently exists in these games and make them non-random by assuming the most probable result. In Warmachine if we assume that every die roll will be the most probable result, damage rolls would largely be unaffected, but high-DEF models would become prohibitively difficult to kill without the proper probabilities - especially when it comes to infantry models which rely on volume of attacks rather than the quality of attacks like Warjacks/Warbeasts do. Similarly, in Warhammer games, assuming the most probable results will be difficult with vehicles where each result on a D6 is equally probable, and with vehicles typically suffering different results for each number on the D6, it again would be impossible to assume the most-probable result.
|Perhaps miniatures games can learn from Diplomacy?|
|There are still plenty of problems with|
8th edition of Warhammer, though.
Does this mean that randomness is a bad thing? No. I do think, however, that it's not necessary. Uncertainty is definitely something that humanity actually craves, as it harkens back to our primal instincts of keeping our minds sharp and fresh. Randomness and chaos has been attributed over time by those who feel like the universe is outside of their control, but as we've evolved as humans, I think we've come to realize that there really isn't much randomness to the world and that it's merely the decisions that we and others make that shape the world around us; no longer is the world determined by a pantheon of gods, but by the natural forces of nature. So I ask you: is randomness really necessary to have a fun miniatures game?