What Are The Odds

 Prolific YouTube commenter Andrew Beasely had a great question on my solo play of Osprey’s En Garde!

To bring you up to speed: in this game each melee figure gets to enact a set number of ploys.  Better fighters get more options.  The players each take a number of tokens that corresponds the figure’s rank.  To complicate matters, the player has to choose how many will be attack and how many defense.  The players do this in secret and reveal their attack-defense ratio after both have selected, enabling a mini-game of bluff and counter-bluff.
My solution was to draw beads randomly from a bag, but Andrew makes a great point.

One of the reasons my games played so wonky is that I would draw beads from the same bag.  Think about what that means for each combat.  My fighters were balancing each other out!

Let’s use an example to illustrate the problem:

  • The bag contains ten of each bead, attack and defend.
  • Two Rank 5 figures are going to fight.  The first one draws four attack and one defend
  • Now the second fighter isn’t drawing from a 10:10 bag, he is drawing from a bag that has six attack and nine defend
  • The second fighter is more likely to draw the opposite of what the first one does, resulting in very even fights with few all out matched attacks

What I need to do is get a second bag with the same mix of beads.  That way both fighters are drawing from the same ratio pool as the other.

Man, I should have started The Joy of Wargaming a long time ago!