• How it Works: The Draw Step



    Howdy Folks,

    I know you were probably expecting the return of Reading the Rainbow this week, but the holidays have led me to begin a new series. I'll be interspersing the two article series as sets release and drafting interests wax and wane. With that said, lets' talk about the new series.

    How it Works will be a series about the inner workings of the game mechanics of Dice Masters. We will look at each piece of the larger puzzle and analyze the different ways we can manipulate just that piece, and look for what effects give us the biggest return for our investment. Today we will be talking about the Draw Step.

    Looking at it in it's most basic form, the draw step is a point where we take 4 random dice from our bag, and roll them into our Prep Area. Let's start with this simple definition and ask a few questions:

    -Why 4 dice?
    The reason we are drawing 4 dice in our draw step, is that at the heart of the game, we start with 8 dice, and drawing 4 allows us to draw half of them. This basic starting point is carried over in several deck building games where you are given 10 or 12 cards, shuffle them and draw half to determine you starting hand. In Dice Masters, we start with 8 sidekicks and while we do randomize which ones we draw, what is really different about this game is the fact that the dice rolls are what truly randomizes our stating two draws. So, why 4 dice? because that gives us half of our starting resources.

    -Why randomly drawn from a Bag?
    The reason we are blind drawing from a bag, is that we are looking to simulate the shuffle and draw mechanic that deck building games use to give us randomization of cards after our deck resets. In Dice Masters, when our bag resets, we have a predictable chance of drawing any particular die, based on how many dice are actually still left in the bag. For example on turn 2, if we bought 2 3 cost dice, and fielded two sidekicks, then we are looking at a 4/8 chance of drawing any particular die. This means that on any given draw, we are half the time going to get the character die we want. This chance to draw what we want is the reason we have the blind draw. Couple this 50%ish chance to draw what we want, with the 6 different faces of the die, and of course our single reroll, and we're looking at a complex statistics problem(which I wouldn't want to bore you with) to find our odds of getting the character we want on a face we want. This step of randomization can be manipulated decreasing the quantity of dice in the bag on a given draw step. Doing this manipulation properly is a skill utilized by savvy players. Another way to manipulate this probability of drawing is to increase the number of dice drawn. The last way we can manipulate the probability of what we draw is to put into the bag exactly what we want to get out of it. While this last method may seem like an extension of the first, there is a subtle difference. First though, let's talk about how we can execute these three types of manipulation.

    Manipulations:
    First, we will talk about limiting the number of dice we have in the bag. The easiest way to do that, is to field as much as possible, limiting the number of dice we have in circulation. This innately increases the rate at which we get to draw a particular die. In our example above, we had 6 sidekicks and 2 characters in the bag, and two sidekicks on the field. If we hadn't rolled those sidekicks, our chances of drawing the character we wanted would have dropped from 4/8 to 4/10. This might not seem like much, but look at the cycle as a whole. If we draw 4 dice and don't get the die we want, with 4 dice in circulation, that means we're guaranteed to draw it the next turn. If we had 10 dice, we could miss the die we want two turns in a row and not get it until turn 5. If that example isn't a stark enough example, how about this, if I miss a character face on a character i draw turn 3, in an 8 die pool of dice, I'm looking at getting another shot at that die, at the latest, turn 6, in a 10 die pool, the latest I could get a shot at that die again would be turn 8. I could buy Hulk, go all out to get him on turn 2, miss the reroll on him in turn 3, and never see him again until turn 8. And all of this assumes I keep my pool as low as 10 dice. Buying more dice in the turns between leaves us not getting hulk until possibly turn 9!

    The second method of manipulation we talked about is to draw more than 4 dice. There are a few ways to to do this, most of them are done outside of the draw step itself, but swarm characters make a good example of mid-draw manipulations. With a swarm trigger we can draw an extra die, increasing our chances of drawing what we want. If we have a kobold in the field, we can effectively eliminate kobold dice from our probability calculations as they each individually trigger another draw. So, with that in mind, let's look at one kobold in the field and a pool of dice with 1 hulk, 2 kobolds and 7 sidekicks. Before we were talking about 4/8 or 4/10 chances to draw what we want. Now, we can look at the above pool, and consider it a 4/8 pool, despite there being 10 dice in there. The reason is, if we draw a kobold, it will give us another draw, thus changing our pool from 4/10 to 4/9 (we drew the kobold, going to 3/9, who then gives us an extra draw, 4/9). The same would happen if we then drew the other kobold, dropping us to 4/8. Thus, whether we draw them or not, the kobolds don't count against our chances of drawing what we want.

    The last method we'll talk about is to fill our bag with only the dice we want. Similar to the first method, this can be done by fielding Sidekicks or putting dice we don't want in our Prep Area instead of the used pile, like one does with the Professor X global. However, there are some even more powerful ways to ensure that we have the dice we want. If we are able to empty our bag, we can use globals like Resurrection or Villainous pact to force ourselves to draw a die. Should we execute this method right after making a few purchases, the dice we purchase, as well as any left over dice in our used pile will go to our bag, instead of those plus the dice we use this turn, as would happen on our next draw step. Big Entrance, Transfer Power and Summoned Skull global also give us ways to fill our bag with characters we want instead of our whole used pile. These effects are more of a brute force method, and are thus a bit more expensive and difficult to pull off, but nonetheless effective tools.

    In summary, effectively managing you bag and what you draw out of it is the first step in ensuring your Dice Masters experience goes the way you hope it will. In order to plan your next turn effectively you have to predict what you are going to draw. Once you learn to predict your own draw step, the next move is to predict your opponents. Advanced players will use the tools at their disposal to disrupt their opponent's bag management, whether through removal tools that send dice to the used pile, or anti-global tools that prevent or discourage bag management effects, like Professor X's global or Resurrection. In the end, it is always a different experience from one team to the next, but the skills needed to predict outcomes, understand interactions and plan ahead are at their core the same from one game to the next. This article series will continue to bring you those sorts of lessons, and in the future, perhaps they will serve to help all players understand the game just that much better.
    Comments 10 Comments
    1. Jwannabe's Avatar
      Jwannabe -
      Oooh a new series!

      I'd like to add the uncommon Red Tornado to this :

      While Red Tornado is active, once per turn, if you draw 3 or more Sidekicks during your Clear and Draw step, you may put all of the Sidekicks into your Used pile and draw 4 new dice.
    1. Wargfn's Avatar
      Wargfn -
      Dice Masters Doubles Play tip:
      I wanted to point out in Double for Dice Masters the Prep Area is shared between players on a side and each turn the players determine which dice they will roll. This means that during the draw step, you both are putting 4 dice apiece into the Prep Area (Total of 8), then taking all of the dice and determining which player is rolling which die. This is an effective way to pass characters between players and still maintaining defensive positions during the game. It also adds an element of strategy of wall punching as it is much harder to maintain two walls.
    1. Stormyknight's Avatar
      Stormyknight -
      I LOVE this article. I'm going to be linking this to some players that don't frequent this site often, great job!
    1. StrangeBrew's Avatar
      StrangeBrew -
      Quote Originally Posted by Jwannabe View Post
      Oooh a new series!

      I'd like to add the uncommon Red Tornado to this :

      While Red Tornado is active, once per turn, if you draw 3 or more Sidekicks during your Clear and Draw step, you may put all of the Sidekicks into your Used pile and draw 4 new dice.
      I just got this card (casual player/buyer on a budget), and I know I didn't think the mechanic all the way through until you brought it up here. Thank you very much.
    1. GrahamA's Avatar
      GrahamA -
      Great first article, looking forward to more. Nice to see the "Manipulations" section, hope there's more of these with each step and with many examples (I find some of the card texts quite ambiguous).
    1. pk2317's Avatar
      pk2317 -
      For more/similar reading see:

      Ramp

      Churn
    1. Jwannabe's Avatar
      Jwannabe -
      Quote Originally Posted by Wargfn View Post
      Dice Masters Doubles Play tip:
      I wanted to point out in Double for Dice Masters the Prep Area is shared between players on a side and each turn the players determine which dice they will roll. This means that during the draw step, you both are putting 4 dice apiece into the Prep Area (Total of 8), then taking all of the dice and determining which player is rolling which die. This is an effective way to pass characters between players and still maintaining defensive positions during the game. It also adds an element of strategy of wall punching as it is much harder to maintain two walls.
      Ahhhhh I've never played doubles! This has me intrigued. Now to dupe 2 more people into blowing all their money.
    1. IsaacBV's Avatar
      IsaacBV -
      Quote Originally Posted by Stormyknight View Post
      I LOVE this article. I'm going to be linking this to some players that don't frequent this site often, great job!
      Thanks for the links, and out of curiosity, is there something we are/aren't doing that keeps them away from the site?
    1. Stormyknight's Avatar
      Stormyknight -
      Quote Originally Posted by IsaacBV View Post
      Thanks for the links, and out of curiosity, is there something we are/aren't doing that keeps them away from the site?
      No, I think it mostly has to do with how busy they are. A lot of them make their decks at the event, but I keep mentioning The Reserve Pool to them. I've been an avid Pooler so any time I can mention this site I make sure I do.
    1. IsaacBV's Avatar
      IsaacBV -
      Quote Originally Posted by Stormyknight View Post
      No, I think it mostly has to do with how busy they are. A lot of them make their decks at the event, but I keep mentioning The Reserve Pool to them. I've been an avid Pooler so any time I can mention this site I make sure I do.
      Thanks for being an active 'pooler!