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Evaluating Attack Actions Beyond Damage Dice

Updated: Aug 21, 2020


When I fist started looking at stat cards for Godtear champions, my first instinct for evaluating attack actions was to look at how many damage dice they could roll. OOoohh .. Rangosh, Shayle, and Rattlebone sure looked tempting. Lorsann, not so much.


After a bit of experience with the game, I have begun to think about attacks a bit differently. I am starting to consider range and volume of attacks more heavily. This has to do with the spiky nature of Godtear dice.


Some folks dislike the spikiness of the dice. I get it, randomness can make the game feel like the decisions of the players do not control the outcome. I personally do not find this to be the case. The sheer volume of decisions a player makes in a game of Godtear means that the randomness nearly always evens out over the course of an entire game. I like the spikiness because it constantly messes with well-laid plans and forces players to think on their feet. Godtear is not a game about dreaming up a perfect list and plan and then executing the plan flawlessly. Instead, Godtear is a game about creative adaptation to a constantly fluctuating board state. Give me the latter game every time.



Anyhow, the dice are spiky. This reality can and should affect the way we understand the game. While the dice can fail us, they can also succeed wildly. I’ve seen five dice roll an eight. It happens. This has led me to the conclusion that the number of times you roll the damage dice in a game is as important as the number of damage dice you roll on any given attack. I’m not really equipped to do the math on this; it’s just in intuition that I have distilled from some table time. I’ll try and give you a crude bit of math, though, to illustrate the point.

If we define a dice spike as a result where the number of successes exceeds the number of dice rolled, then the chance of the dice spiking is usually a shade under 20%. Getting a 4+ on 3 dice is a 19.91% chance, 5+ on 4 dice is 19.68%, a 6+ on 5 dice is 19.17%, and a 7+ on 6 dice is 18.56%. For the sake of simplicity, let’s say that we have a roughly one in five chance of spiking our dice.


In other words, if you can roll damage dice five times in a game, you are likely to get some kind of spike sooner or later. That may not sound impressive, but consider that Rangosh (combined with his followers) can potentially put out five attacks in a single turn (6 with a plot phase ultimate). That won't actually happen, of course, but the point is that some Champion/Follower unit groups can attack more often than others.


Spiking a damage roll can be a round-altering event. If a 3-stack of unburnt reavers spikes their damage roll to a 7, that will be enough to one-shot kill Lorsann, for example.


My point here is that rolling the dice often gives you more chances to hit crazy spikes and let the randomness work in your favor.


So what allows you to roll damage dice often? Three things: number of attacks, accuracy, and range.

Here is a list of each champion and the maximum number of attacks they and their followers can potentially make in a turn. I'm assuming that attack ultimates are made in the plot phase.. For the sake of simplicity, I'm counting attacks that target multiple followers (like Buffet or Piercing Strike) as a single attack. I realize that it’s highly unlikely that achieving max attack volume would actually happen in a game, but the figure at least lets us compare champions to each other:

Max Number of attacks/Turn

Slayers

Keera

4

Lorsann

4

Morrigan

3

Rangosh

6

Sneaky Peet

4


Guardians

Finvarr

2

Halftusk

2

Mourneblade

2

Rodhri

2


Maelstroms

Blackjaw

4

Grimgut

4

Titus

3


Shapers

Nia

3

Raith'Marid

2

Rattlebone

1

Shayle

1


Here is a list of maximum accuracy for each champion and their followers. By max accuracy, I mean their most accurate attack without boons. Some champions have other things that can boost their accuracy (Halftusk’s Fighting Fit, for example), and those are indicated with an asterisk.


Max accuracy

Slayers

Keera

7

Lorsann

8

Morrigan

7

Rangosh

6

Sneaky Peet

8*


Guardians

Finvarr

6*

Halftusk

8*

Mourneblade

5

Rodhri

5


Maelstroms

Blackjaw

6

Grimgut

7

Titus

6


Shapers

Nia

5

Raith'Marid

6

Rattlebone

4

Shayle

6


Here is a list of the maximum attack range for each champ and their followers. By this I mean, their longest range attack. Keera gets a 3 with an asterisk because she channels attacks through followers up to three hexes away even though those attacks are technically range 1.


CHAMPION

Longest Range Attack

Slayers

Keera

4*

Lorsann

3

Morrigan

3

Rangosh

3

Sneaky Peet

1


Guardians

Finvarr

1

Halftusk

1

Mourneblade

3

Rodhri

1


Maelstroms

Blackjaw

2

Grimgut

1

Titus

1


Shapers

Nia

2

Raith'Marid

2

Rattlebone

2

Shayle

1

Looking at these tables reveals some of the subtle power of some champions. For example, let’s consider the champions I mentioned in the first paragraph: Lorsann, Shayle, Rattlebone, and Rangosh.


Lorsann has always seemed better on the table to me than she does on her card. This is because she is not impressive in terms of damage dice, but she has unmatched accuracy and range. She also has a better than average potential attack volume. This kind of reflects her power on the table: she reaches out and touches anyone, rolling dice often. Every now and then, she spikes.


The offensive firepower of Shayle and Landslide, by contrast, appears to be no great shakes once you look past the damage dice of Boulder Bash. Landslide can only boulder bash once per turn, and it’s at range 1. Of course, Shayle is great for other reasons, but maybe taking him to murder things is not as amazing a proposition as it may first appear. Same for Rattlebone - her single damaging attack has range 2, but is not terribly accurate. Of course, her ability to distribute boons and blights can help this, but she is definitely not a volume attacker. This means that if you take her, it should not be with killing stuff in mind. That may sound obvious, but her 6 damage dice might tempt people to think of her as more of a damage output character than she really is.


Rangosh still looks like a monster based on these metrics, but for different reasons than I might have first thought. Yes, Jawbreaker's 7 damage dice is a big deal, but there is a subtle power in the Red Bandits. The ability to ambush in both phases and to shoot at range 3 is no joke. Three attacks per round from a follower unit? Yes please. That’s unique in the game so far. Plot phase damage is good stuff. Auto-wounds are good stuff. These bandits are more than Brutal Master fuel, and knowing that may change the way we use Rangosh and his followers on the table. I used to hold them back in an effort to keep Rangosh’s supply of ammo intact, but I’ve begun to bring them into the fray a bit more (though not into maelstroms), and found the results mostly to my liking.


I realize that my methodology here is flawed in many ways, but hopefully there is something here to suggest that we should look beyond damage dice in assessing a model’s offensive power. I Invite people who are actually good at math to break it down more accurately.

Conclusion


Damage dice matter, of course, but other things matter as well. I imagine many of us have had the sad moment where we land our high damage attack only to flub the damage roll. It happens. What also, happens, though, is the crazy damage spike that changes the course of a turn. The human mind remembers unexpected disappointments more vividly than unexpected successes, so it might be easy to forget when those spikes work in our favor. Nevertheless, part of understanding this wonderful game may lie in giving ourselves as many chances as possible to get those spikes. A good way to kill things in Godtear might be to roll damage dice often by selecting a war band that can apply accurate attacks often.

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