VarianceHammer

Thinking about Age of Sigmar (which only looks more promising the more I hear about it being freeform and consciously rules-light) reminded me that there’s another Warhammer-related item that’s had my interest: the superb site VarianceHammer. A blog about Warhammer 40K written by a computational scientist, VarianceHammer is an ongoing effort to do dice math right. It sets aside the assumptions behind most analyses of dice to figure out what will actually happen on the tabletop.

Not being a mathematician myself, I’ve found the site’s discussion both technically enlightening and subjectively fascinating. The author of VarianceHammer can apply mathematical concepts that I’ve never even heard of to determine how dice will impact the player experience much more precisely than I’m able to. Seeing how it’s done is as nifty as getting the results.

Every time I read one of the heavy-math posts on VarianceHammer I’m reminded of the breadth of game design as a field, of how many approaches there are to thinking about it and how many tools one can use in applying it. It’s humbling and inspiring, all at the same time. For that reason if no other, I would encourage you to give the site a look.

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