The other day I was pondering the use of alternate methods of randomizing in Wargames. The usual method is to throw dice of course, be they the standard 6-sided dice (D6), average dice (faces of 233445), or one of the specials such as a 4-sided, 12-sided, 20-sided dice etc.
Dice rolls, regardless of the number of faces, usually provide three outcomes. Either I win, you win or it’s a tie. Three outcomes then had me thinking of using the old rock, paper, scissors (or the extended rock, paper, scissors, lizard, Spock) for outcome generation. Using rock, paper, scissors, lizard, Spock as the example (indeed, any number of odd combinations can be used) provides for one tie, two win and two loss outcomes per round.
With 5 possible outcomes, the Win 2, Lose 2, Tie one compares with rolling two 6-sided dice where ceteris paribus (OK, so I didn’t need to use the Latin term for “everything else being equal” but it does make this post sound a little more highbrow 😉) the outcomes are 15 wins, 15 losses and 6 ties.
20% ties on rock, paper, scissors, lizard, Spock compares with 16.7% using two dice, so ties are a little less likely using two dice. However, and here is where it gets interesting, using rock, paper, scissors, lizard, Spock does provide for a less random outcome as we try and second guess our opponents of their next hand gestures.
Time to ‘fess up. I have no idea where I am going with this thought, just that I am going somewhere or considering an alternative. I know there are some wargames where rock, paper, scissors is used to determine one-on-one hand-to-hand combat, but I am trying to think of a way to use in mass battles.
Mind you, rock, paper, scissors, lizard, Spock does not have the same satisfying sound as a handful of dice bouncing around the dice tray and spinning to a stop to reveal a brace of ones and twos when you only needed one six!