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Luck and skill
View Poll Results: Which is more important in a game luck or skill?
Almost all luck 0 0%
Almost all skill 2 4.08%
Being skilled mostly but luck helps 40 81.63%
Getting lucky mostly and slightly skillful 7 14.29%
Voters: 49. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 15 Sep 2005, 18:16   #1 (permalink)
Join Date: May 2005
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Default Luck and skill

This is a subject I feel rather strongly about. The word luck irritates me at times mostly because of some people at where I play.

I like to think that I am a good player with a good grasp of the game and tactics in general. As a result I can usually win regardless of which army I play.

Unfortunately a couple of the players now refuse to play me because I am "Too lucky". According to some of the people I play with the only reason I win is because I make the rolls that I have to make to win the game regardless of the odds of probability.

An example would be in a game where I was playing Necrons vs Space Wolves. My opponent brought out 2 Land Raiders to face me. I shot at 1 of them with a squad of 3 Necron warriors(they'd taken a beating, but had passed moral check) and out of the 6 shots, 4 hit, 1 glanced on a 6 and then I rolled another 6 to destroy the vehicle. I then fired at his other Land Raider with a squad of 3 destroyers. Out of the 9 shots, 2 were glancing, 1 was stunned and the other was a 6 for vehicle destroyed.

Now that would be 15 shots and 2 vehicle destroyeds. According to probability to get a single vehicle destroyed with Guass weapons you need to roll 100 die and out of that 1 will be a glancing destroyed..

As such I seem to have developed a reputation amongst some that I'm an average at best commander, but my luck will carry me through the battle. I've even had my die taken away from me and checked to see if I was using loaded die (I don't as they discovered). I'll even use my opponents die if they ask me too.

Except for 1 where I lost the game because out of 15 dice rolls, 8 missed, and needing 2's to wound on the final 7, I got 6 1's and then my opponent made his armour save. The return fire killed the rest of my army.

Does anyone else get accused of being too lucky or even have some advice on how to deal with this situation, because as it is I acknowledge that my rolling does defy the odds of probability in almost every game I've played in, but I don't think that people should not want to play me because of that.
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Old 15 Sep 2005, 18:18   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Luck and skill

I am the other way. My luck is the most appalling in the world.

No love, it's GREAT Britain....the clue's in the name

Thanx to Kais for the sig
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Old 15 Sep 2005, 19:20   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Luck and skill

Night, you make me sick, im the kind of person who loses 3 terminators for 9 bolter shots.

Luck is part of the game, but its no fun when there is extream luck, like a SM player that happens to make 9/10 saves.
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Old 15 Sep 2005, 19:30   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Luck and skill

That's not true. Honestly, my tactics aren't the most refined things in the Empire, and I have hideous luck. However, this usually makes for quite entertaining situations. I play against Space Marines (worse, Space Wolves) all the time, and their invincibility (or mine) usually fails at the funniest times.

However. Warhammer games in particular rely mostly on tactics, with an element of luck thrown in. If you're a good general, then not even hideous luck can prevent a win against someone worse than you are. However, games like chess rely totally upon skill, and dice games entirely upon luck. So who is to say which is the most important?

Yeah, I play WoW. So sue me.
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Old 15 Sep 2005, 20:03   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Luck and skill

Luck and skill are needed in roughly equal measure - though a lack of luck can cause even the most skilled opponent to pull out therir hair and gnash their teeth..

My luck tends towards average - with small flairs of horrible...

I get things like a squad of deathwing deepstriking in - and scattering exactly 12 " on top of the head of the only guy in range. Or another squad of termies deepstriking in - and lighting up with 4 Stormbolters and 2 Assault cannons - and getting 2 hits - both of which roll ones to wound.

Luck like that can make a mess of even the best laid plan...

Dave Gaidasz
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Old 15 Sep 2005, 20:05   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Luck and skill

The truth is that you are probably not as lucky as you are believed to be. Probability works over time, and you will have rolls where your luck seems to have completely fleeted you, this is an inevitability. Your opponents perception of you being lucky will quickly go away once they play a few games in which you don't manage to make any spectacular rolls, however, the one piece of difficulty behind this will be that any good rolls you you will be considered extremely lucky. In any event, whether you make the right or wrong decisions with you troops is what makes you a good commander. Even if you loose the battle due to a streak of bad luck its how you use your units rather than how lucky your rolls are that determine your ability as a commander.

e.g. i have a 5 man squad of fire dragons, and a 5 man squad of striking scorpions on the table.
Scenerio 1:
Sending the Striking Scorps To destroy a skimmer in close combat with no grenades = bad Commander:
a) If they destroy this skimmer it was a great choice, however it does not change the fact that it was a bad choice(and will generally result in poor results).
Scenerio 2:
Sending the Fire Dragons to destroy a nearby skimmer. = Good Choice
a) the vehicle gets destroyed more often that not , if i roll all sixes to hit it does not change the fact that using fire dragons to kill vehicles is a good decision. Conversely, if i roll all 1's it also does not change the validity of my strategy.

My point is that your ability as a commander is determined by how you use your units not how your units did that day. Keep playing and you'll find that you much like many others will start to believe you have poor luck too. In warhammer , although, there are exceptions most things require so many consecutive dice rolls that no attacks has a great chance of succeeding. Hence, the need for redundancy.

OK that is my very long two cents, keep playing and if ppl can you lucky use their dice, and keep playing after enough games others will see you human too.
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Old 15 Sep 2005, 20:20   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Luck and skill

In advanced competition, skill will mostly override luck.

Luck and skill have changed with each edition of the rules, but I wanted to further break down skill into "list writing", "army of choice" and on "field decisions" to clarify my position.

List writing is simply that- your ability to write a reasonably balanced list without growing too much facial hair (aka beardy).

Army of choice refers to what army you are playing. I will come out and say that I don't believe the 40K armies are 'equal' in terms of their ability to win a game based on skill vs. luck.

Field decisions are the choices the player makes with the models on the board- i.e., deployment, movement, choice of target, assault.

1st Edition

Luck- 40%
List Writing-15%
Army of Choice-15%
Field Decisions-30%

In 1st Edition, many stats/spells/equipment was random. Luck was the difference between an Avatar with 3 wounds and one with 10. The nice thing about 1st Edition, though, is that no matter how powerful your Avatar was, you never know when you're gonna happen upon a squat with a graviton gun. Normal troopers had the rare capacity to stop/kill anything, so powergaming or list loading wasn't as big a factor.

2nd Edition

Luck- 15%
List Writing-20%
Army of Choice-30%
Field Decisions-35%

2nd Edition army lists were unbalanced. There were simply armies that couldn't beat other armies, and armies that were nigh unstoppable. The best thing about 2nd edition, though, was the variability in movement, which made it tougher to predict an opponent's movement patterns, and your on-field adjustments and decision making were infinitely more complex than they are now. Skill in 2nd Edition meant taking the right army, and knowing how to move around the board.

3rd Edition

Luck- 30%
List Writing-30%
Army of Choice-25%
Field Decisions-15%

The standardization of movement, close combat, and basic weapon profiles cleaned up the intricate mess that was 2nd Edition. The problem now, though was that 3rd edition was much less tactically flexible, and so more 'skill' needed to be invested in list writing. With inevitable close combats, and the use of Warhammer Fantasy combat charts, luck on the dice was up from 2nd ed. Your field decisions were now more dependant on placing scenery and deployment, because flanking and out-maneuvering was more based on your list writing in 3rd.

4th Edition

Luck- 25%
List Writing-35%
Army of Choice-30%
Field Decisions-10%

What the designers of 4th Edition wanted to do was allow for close-quarter firefights, and reduce that same-old game where one army rushes, and the other army defends. They're getting the 12" firefights they wanted, but list-writing became even more important with the lack of screening and rushing. Things are so standard and tight on the field that playing many armies is simply a matter of deployment and following a general battle plan. The designers also admit from 3rd and 4th edition that they ARE specifically looking to improve the performance of their bestselling Space Marine armies, and have written 3rd and 4th edition from an "Human-centric" viewpoint. Yeck. 3rd and 4th edition was designed to be easy enough for younger and newer players to grasp more easily, which lead to tactical inflexibility, and the GW business aspect of it intended to place more weight on which models you buy.

If I could make two changes to the game:

1) Use a better dice system, like a D20.

2) Allow for more non-standard movement.

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Old 15 Sep 2005, 20:40   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Luck and skill

I would say skill is definetly the most important thing in 40k.

A noob with exelent luck can still be crushed by a competent player. A player using a very fluffy, if rather impractical army can still win againts an unskilled player. I like using strange things and making them work through tactics and strategy. A number of the players at my local hobby store are very skilled and in general luck is hardly a factor.

Those relying on luck will wind up losing again and again. Those relying on skill will find their win ratios going ever slowly up. Its the inevitable balance of practice and aplication of tactics against unpredictable luck. The longer a skilled and tactful player, plays the better they will get with experience and knowledge of their opponents. While a lucky player usually ends up getting cocky and taking a major dive... or two, or three...

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Old 15 Sep 2005, 20:54   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Luck and skill

Luck is. If you cannot make a single roll, all the best tactics in the world won't help you.

"Luck" is a bad way to describe having things go your way though, but I guess it works well enough.

Yriel put it pretty well though. I've played a bunch of wargames, and list writing is THE most important part of 40k. A lot of armies go on auto pilot, it's just a question of sicking the correct unit on it's prefered target and doing it efficiently.

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Old 15 Sep 2005, 22:30   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Luck and skill

I have to say luck has it's part, but skill will see you through most things. There are always going to be times where the dice are either going to get you out of the tightest jam or turn a sure thing on it's ear. Still, by and large if you have a decent list, understand your army and ready your opponent right you'll come through in all but the worste cases. Diffrent armies might rely on luck and skill to diffrent extents as well, but that is a whole new ballgame.
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