Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Dust Tactics Weapon Damage

Today we have something a little different, Udo77 a fellow DT fan has been crunching the numbers. Today he has a pretty in depth analysis of the probabilities, and potentials of some of the common DT weapons.

This is part one of a three part series, coming to you here every Wednesday.


by Udo77

Did you ever wonder how powerful this laser weapons really are? Or how useful this strange phaser weapons might be? And how can you compare them to other weapons?

In this Dust Tactics article we will discuss the damage output of the different kind of weapons, and how they behave differently on the battlefield. With some easy formulas you learn how to compare normal, laser and phaser weapons with each other.

I admit that the content of this article won’t revolutionize the way you already play. Experience is always better than theory. But it can give you a firmer grasp on some details, and maybe you can develop some new ideas from this. As you know: knowledge is power!

Enough of the chit chat. Regarding weapon damage I will distinguish three items:

· Average weapon damage and how you can calculate it easily

· Reliability of the damage output (I avoid the term “probability distribution”)

· Special rules like flame weapons and how they affect gameplay

As this article is about the damage I didn’t take the weapon range into consideration, and we’ll be covering it along with Reliability next week.

Average weapon damage

Now how can we compare the different kinds of weapons like machine guns, flamethrowers, lasers or phasers? I did some math and came up with the idea of “virtual dice”. If you attack with a normal weapon like a machinegun you throw X dice, and every hit does 1 damage. Now you can convert any weapon into a normal weapon like this using “virtual dice”. Weapons with the same amount of “virtual dice” can be treated as equal in this first step. You can calculate this number easily dependent on weapon type.


Number of virtual dice for a normal weapon

The combat value of a shotgun is e.g. 3/1 against soldiers with armor 2. A flamethrower does 1/4 against vehicles. To obtain the number of “virtual dice” multiply the number of real dices with the damage output per dice. The shotgun has 3*1=3 dice, the flamethrower has 1*4=4 virtual dice.

Example Standard Weapon


Number of virtual dice for a laser weapon

Laser weapons have the rule of rerolling your hits. A “Schwer Laser-Werfer” has a combat value of 1/3 against vehicles. The first step is to multiply 1*3=3 as shown above. To reflect the increased damage of laser weapons multiply your result with 1.5. So this weapon has 3*1.5=4.5 virtual dice.

Example Laser Weapon


Number of virtual dice for a phaser weapon

For phaser weapons you have to roll two times to get your result. See page 24 of the revised core rulebook on how to use this phaser weapons. A 60W phaser gun has a combat value of 2/3 (with the lightning symbol between numbers). Multiply again the first with the second number: 2*3=6. Divide this result by 3 to get your number of virtual dice. 6:3 = 2 virtual dice.

Example Phaser Weapons


What to do with these virtual dice?

At the moment we’re interested in the average damage output of a weapon. Weapons with the same amount of “virtual dice” do the same amount of average damage. Easy as that. A laser or phaser does behave differently than a machinegun in a given situation. This we will discuss this later. But it is acceptable to say for now that a 3/1 gun is as good as a 1/3 weapon, or a 2/1 laser, because they use the same number of “virtual dice”. If you’re rolling 3 dice with 1 damage each, or 1 dice with 3 damage, or 2 dice with laser rule, on average that’s the same! The following table sums up our thoughts so far in a more generic way:

Weapon type combat value number of virtual dice
Normal    X / Y X * Y
Laser      X / Y X * Y * 1.5
Phaser    X / Y X * Y : 3

With this easy calculations you can compare the different weapons and get an idea on how powerful they really are.

Actual average damage

If you want you can do the next step and determine the exact average damage. You already know your number of “virtual dice”. Now the kind of attack is important: do you use sustained attack, or do you even use a spotter or some other special case that reverses your dice result?

Kind of attack average damage per “virtual dice“
Normal 0.33
Sustained attack 0.56
Spotter 0.67
Spotter sustained attack 0.89

One dice does one third of a hit-point as damage on average. You can also say: by throwing 3 dice you can expect to do 1 hit-point. With sustained attack you can increase your damage output per dice from 0.33 to 0.56 – your attack becomes 67% more powerful! This is not as good as two separate, single attacks, but nonetheless a huge increase. It’s no secret to use sustained attack whenever possible!

With a spotter chances are even better. For example a sniper with spotter has a chance of 67% to hit, with sustained attack a 89% chance.


Now those are great odds.

Be sure to come back next Wednesday for more DT weapons theory, and a close look weapon Reliability, and how special rules effect weapons like Flamethrowers.

Special thanks to Udo77 for all his hard work developing and compiling this information for us all.

Happy gaming.