Copyright © Nigel Buckle 2003
Many articles written about MECCG detail decks and possibly where to play the resources and how to use the hazards. However not much has been said about actually playing the game. In my opinion, a good deck is only half the battle; a good player using an untuned deck can often beat a weak player who has a strong deck.
Unlike some card games, MECCG has a hand replenishing mechanic, and you draw cards in your movement phase and your opponents'. This means players often have to discard cards - and I believe it is this that many players find difficult.
The rest of this article is split into six sections:
1. Resource Play
2. Hazard Play
4. Organisation, Site & End Phases
5. Character Draft
Parts 1 & 2 have been covered in previous months. This month, we will look at combat.
Combat vs. Creatures (and Automatic Attacks)
Combat in MECCG involves rolling 2 six-sided (normal) dice. I believe it's helpful for a player to know a little probability to help making decisions. In MECCG, you usually need to roll a certain number or more to succeed. The following table summarises the probability (odds/chance) of rolling the desired number or more:
2 or more 36 out of 36 100.0%
3 or more 35 out of 36 97.2%
4 or more 33 out of 36 91.7%
5 or more 30 out of 36 83.3%
6 or more 26 out of 36 72.2%
7 or more 21 out of 36 58.3%
8 or more 15 out of 36 41.7%
9 or more 10 out of 36 27.8%
10 or more 6 out of 36 16.7%
11 or more 3 out of 36 8.3%
12 1 out of 36 2.8%
For example: Beorn & Hama are moving from Rivendell to Beorn's House, Beorn has some cram. If they are attacked by a Cave Drake, what is the likely result?
The Cave Drake has a prowess of 10, so Hama (prowess of 4) needs a 6 to make the strike ineffective and 7 to defeat. Using the table above, the chances are 72.2% & 58.3%. This assumes Hama taps - if he doesn't, then he suffers a -3 modifier, meaning he needs a 9 (for an ineffective strike) or a 10 (to defeat). The chances drop to 27.8% & 16.7% respectively.
Beorn (prowess of 7) needs a 3 to make the strike ineffective and 4 to defeat. Using the table above the chances are 97.2% & 91.7%. This assumes Beorn taps. If he doesn't, then he suffers a -3 modifier meaning he needs a 6 (for an ineffective strike) or a 7 (to defeat). The chances drop to 72.2% & 58.3%.
So going back to my article last month I suggested you tap both characters. Now the probabilities have been calculated, these are the possible outcomes:
Cave Drake defeated (gaining 1 MP) = 53.5% (58.3 x 91.7)
Both characters tapped (no MPs) = 16.7%
Hama wounded (or dead), Beorn just tapped = 27% (27.8 x 97.2)
Beorn wounded (or dead), Hama just tapped = 2% (0.722 x 0.028)
Both characters wounded (or dead) = 0.8% (27.8 x 2.8)
There's no way you'd make this sort of calculation in the middle of the game, but it might help to consider the following summary table of the probabilities given above. The difference column is the character's prowess subtracted from the creature's prowess, adding (or subtracting) any additional modifications.
Difference Chance to Survive Strike
2 or less 100%
So in our example above Hama (prowess 4) vs Cave Drake (prowess 10) gives 10 – 4 = 6, 72.2%. If you want the chance to defeat (rather than include the chance of ineffectual) just add 1 (in this case making it 7, dropping the chance to 58.3%).
As a general guideline – if you can get the roll you need to be a 6 or greater then that's probably sufficient (72.2% chance of success), if you prefer to play a more risky game go with a roll of 7 or greater (58.3%). Higher than that and your chance drops below 50:50.
Combat vs. Agents (and other characters)
Creatures are fairly straightforward, but Agents and Company Vs Company Combat have the added complication that the prowess of the opponent is unknown. It will be a base value (the prowess) plus a die roll. This means the calculations are more complicated and there is a larger spread of possible outcomes – as even a high prowess character could roll low (2) or a low prowess character could roll high (12).
Consider Beorn (prowess 7) being attacked by Wormtongue (prowess 1), what is the chance that Beorn is wounded by the attack (and with a body of 9 would be killed 16.7% of the time)?
If Beorn rolls a 6 then his effective prowess (7 + 6) is 13, there is no way Wormtongue with a prowess of 1 can roll higher than that (the maximum is 13, 1 + 12). The chance of Beorn rolling a 6 or more (doesn't matter what Wormtongue rolls) is 72.2%. However that does not mean that the chance of Wormtongue wounding Beorn is 28.8% (100 – 72.2) as even if Beorn rolls lower than a 6 there are outcomes where Beorn is still successful (i.e. Wormtongue still doesn't roll high enough).
For example Beorn rolls a 2 (chance of that is 2.8%), Wormtongue would need to roll a 9 or more (chance of that is 27.8%) giving an overall likelihood of 0.77%. This and the other possible outcomes are summarised below:
Beorn's Roll Wormtongue needs Chance
2 9 1/36 x 10/36 = 0.77%
3 10 2/36 x 6/36 = 0.93%
4 11 3/36 x 3/36 = 0.69%
5 12 4/36 x 1/36 = 0.31%
Overall likelihood of Beorn being wounded = 2.7% (adding up the above).
The following table may prove useful when deciding if it's worth risking combat with an agent (or Company vs Company Combat). The difference is the prowess of the character subtracted from the prowess of the agent (or opposing character):
Difference Chance to Survive (not be wounded)
-10 or more 100%
So Beorn vs Wormtongue is a difference of 1 (Wormtongue) minus 7 (Beorn) = - 6, which gives a likelihood of 97.3% as already calculated above that Beorn survives (and 100 – 97.3 = 2.7% chance of him being wounded).
Assuming you are happy with my general guideline for combat vs. Creatures (which was to try to get the roll you need to be a 6 or greater, giving a 72.2% chance of success), then when fighting against an agent (or character) you need your character's prowess to be at least 2 greater (giving a difference of –2 on the chart above, 76.1%). If you prefer to play a more risky game as long as their prowess matches, you still have a 55.6% chance of surviving the attack, but if the agent has a higher prowess than your character the odds don't look so good.