Playbook Analysis: Expectaions

So as I work through my series of Playbook Analysis I find there are themes and thoughts I have about playbooks overall.  I am not known for being scientific so do not expect Ozball level analysis.  I like to play from the gut with some idea of what I am doing and knowing very basic odds.

The playbook adds an interesting element to the dice game.  Many of the other mechanics can be comparable to other systems, but the playbook creates something that can give you options whether your dice are hot or not.  I find it is important to have a good idea of what you should expect based on the situation you are in.  Nothing is guaranteed in a dice game,  but as long as your expectations are realistic you can generally get by okay.

Playbook Basics

Shank Playbook

First lets talk about some basics.  Every model has a TAC and a Playbook.  The TAC equals the number of dice you roll.  For each dice that rolls equal to or above your targets DEF you score a hit.  For each point of ARM they have you subtract 1 total hit.  For each hit you make you may move one column into your playbook from left to right and choose one result up to the depth you reached.  So in the above playbook, if you scored 3 hits you could chose any result up to and including the single Guildball result.

For my own sanity I will stop there with the detailed rules recap and assume you can read the rules and basics like wrapping.  For the most part, playbooks length is equal to the players TAC which means that it takes all dice hitting to reach the higher levels unassisted.  Some players have “short” playbooks which are generally one column less than their TAC.  Some players have “long” playbooks because they have abilities to easily boost their TAC.  There are also a wide variety of bonuses and penalties throughout the game.  Some guilds have access to more than others which may be the reason their playbooks look one way or another.

Setting Expectations

I am going to continue to use Shank’s playbook above as an example of how I am looking at things.  6 is a fairly easy number to look at even if 5 may be the average. I will assume no bonuses or penalties are being applied. Once you understand the concepts within a 6 TAC playbook you can adjust your expectations accordingly.

The first thing to consider is your odds based on the opponents DEF/ARM.  I generally simplify things into 5 categories. Remember that the length of your playbook can push these to go up or down.

  1. 50/50- 2+/2, 3+/1, 4+/0- these are defenses that you should be able to get halfway into your playbook.That third column may be a little iffy, but I generally feel good getting into the first 2 columns at 6 though.  If you are aiming for 3, you should plan for the possibility you may not make it.
  2. 30%ers- 3+/2, 4+/1, 5+/0- I know the percentages are really different, but with these I do not expect to go above column 2 and I am generally prepared to only get 1 hit.
  3. 70%ers- 2+/1, 3+/0-  These you expect to get into the deeper end of things but not all the way.  I would expect a solid 4th column result.
  4. Shoot for the Stars!!- Anything better than 70%ers.  I wouldn’t quite put 2+/0 here, but this is a situation where you are rolling for wraps.  It generally takes some buffs/debuffs to get here.
  5. Say yer Prayers- 3+/3, 4+/2, 5+/1, 6+/0 and better-  You are looking to spike dice and should be happy with one hit.

Other Considerations

Shorter Playbook are more likely to wrap with less buffs and do not like ARM

If you do not need to charge, consider it carefully and whether you opponent can Defensive Stance.  It can take some time to learn to evaluate situations properly based on need.

Longer playbooks wrap far less but can result in more medium results.

Hopefully this can give you some basic non-math related skills on how to assess your odds.  While knowing the exact percentage is sometimes nice, it is not always necessary if you have a good feel for where the favor is and set you expectations accordingly.


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