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My group and I enjoy Eclipse, but it has fallen out of favor because of the extreme chance in battle on die rolls. Heck, I can't even get my wife to play at all because the first three games she played, each time she would be in a good early spot to take a good resource hex with a single alien on it and would instead get obliterated (we are talking like 80% or 90% chance to take win). That is no fun. We have moved on to other games like Smallworld and Agricola where it is more about strategy than luck, but I would like to find a way to put Eclipse back into the rotation.

Has anyone tested any house rules that would lessen the harshness of chance in die rolls?

One thing that came to my mind is a self-made technology that could be purchased and would allow the player to re-roll on a 1.

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Average Dice:
The easiest solution would to use an average die, i.e. a d6 with the faces:
0/1/1/2/2/3

0 is a automatic miss
3 is a automatic hit

A modified 3 is a normal hit, e.g. a rolled 1 with +2 from computers is a hit.

While the extreme swings (all dice show automatic hit/miss) are not mitigated, the impact of the modifiers (computers, shields) is twice as large, decreasing the overall randomness.

When an average die is rolled you must remember if it is yellow (1 hit = 1 damage), orange (1 hit = 2 damage) or red (1 hit = 4 damage). Potentially rolling the dice of different colors after each other to prevent confusion.

All other rules should be applicable. Outside of combat, still normal d6 are necessary (e.g. for hive hexes).

Average dice are available online (either physical or as an app) and are useful in numerous games to reduce the randomness of the dice.

No Automatic Hit/Miss
If you want to address the extreme swings, then remove the automatic hit/miss parts of the game, i.e. a 1 can hit with +5 modifier and a 6 misses against -1 shield. I wouldn't recommend this, as shield become too powerful (ships cannot be hit at all), but if this suits your taste, why not?

Lastly average dice and not automatic hits/misses can be combined for an drastic reduction of the luck in the game.

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  • Nice. I have never heard of "Average Dice". I'll look into this. – Jeff.Clark Apr 21 '16 at 22:54

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