Vassal Die Roll Counter

Let’s see if I can figure out this blogging thing correctly.  I threw together a Vassal die-roll parser and counter tonight, and ran it through a few different logs.  Things seem to spot check correctly.  I need to figure out how to put it somewhere where people can see it, download it, and test it out.

For example, this is my top 8 vs Mu0n:

System lines: 62
Player Paul Blanks 9 Focuses 11 Hits 22 Crits 17
Defense  Blanks 8 Focuses 3 Evades 8
Other player Blanks 9 Focuses 9 Hits 18 Crits 2
Defense  Blanks 9 Focuses 8 Evades 15

If I figured out how to use DropBox correctly, the link to get it is here:

To use this, you need to create a file named “log.txt” in the same directory as the exec.  Yes, I hardcoded a bunch of stuff, I was lazy. 🙂  Then open your log in Vassal, click the little box to start it going and hold down PgDn for a while until everyone is saying GG.  Then a Ctrl-A to get everything, Ctrl-C to copy it, and Ctrl-V in log.txt to paste it.  Then run LogReader.exe and see what happens.  Hopefully, it gives you a similar output to mine.  If not, let me know and I’ll debug it during lunch at work or something.

Edit: I updated the link:

  1. I hope other people notice you had 12.5% chance of rolling crits, so an expected count of 7.375 crits rolled in the whole game.

    Rolling 17 crits netted you a whopping 28.8%. That stuff happens, not complaining!

  2. a good start to improve your program:

    a) make it a forms type project
    b) allow loading of arbitrary files through a dialog
    c) put the data in visual form quickly, as Hits+Crits must add up to the same number as Blanks+Focus, for instance.

  3. Hmm, weird. I know I’ve gotten it to work on both my work and home computer. When I have a chance later this weekend, I’ll actually download the dropbox file and see if that works. I have to remember to update it anyways.

  4. Great insight from a well thought of new world champion! Your world final match had the whole community on the edge of their seats. Thank the internet for twitch! Nail biting doesn’t do the game justice, tho I called your 1 hp victory about 20 mins before the end!!
    Was it as nerve wracking for you playing as it was for us watching? My last article on AFM pretty much listed your type of build as the potential winner, great you prevailed.

  5. Firstly, congrats on winning the World Championship. I know you will be a great representative of the game this year.

    See? I am NOT a dream killer!!! 😛

    I do have to disagree with you on one point: I don’t think I beat you pretty soundly at all. Each of my Firesprays had 1 hull left. That’s a dice roll either way throughout the game, and it makes for a VERY close and good game. The Proton Bomb crits were big, even though none of them was a Direct Hit. It was a good, close, fun game. You really can’t ask for much more.

    On topic, that list is a really tough list to fly against. I don’t think it has many bad match-ups at all, especially when it is flown by someone who has put the forethought and practice in with it that you have.

    Oh, and lastly, what are you going to do with 3 sets of acrylic templates now?!?!?!? 😛

  6. Yeah, asteroids and openings are the spots that I see room for improvement on most people I play against. I think it’s probably the most important part of the game, since it determines how your first interactions occur.

  7. Thanks, Doug! I want to see you at GenCon and Worlds next year for more rematches.

    I go into this more in my AFM report (which will be live as soon as it gets approved), but the fight against you was the one where I felt like I was least in control. With all the stress tokens on my side, and the ability of the Firesprays to bounce in and out of combat, you got to determine where and how we fought the whole time. It was a really fun, tense game.

    As for the acrylic templates, blue is for rebels and red is for empire. Anything else, I have no idea what to do with.

  8. Very much so. I was in a tournament yesterday where at least two players literally just tossed their asteroids onto the board and then nudged them for legal placement. Two others I sucked into the asteroid field and dismembered their squad piecemeal.

  9. Pingback: VASSAL | M5
  10. if there are any mac or *nix users out there I ported this program over. you can grab it here: (requires a python interpreter). thanks paul for the inspiration. it outputs something like:

    Player Aeneas
    Total rolls: 49
    Hits: 20 (Expected: 18.375)
    Blanks: 11 (Expected: 12.25)
    Eyes: 14 (Expected: 12.25)
    Crits: 4 (Expected: 6.125)
    Total rolls: 26
    Evades: 9 (Expected: 9.75)
    Blanks: 10 (Expected: 9.75)
    Eyes: 7 (Expected: 6.5)

    Player Legion
    Total rolls: 45
    Hits: 20 (Expected: 16.875)
    Blanks: 4 (Expected: 11.25)
    Eyes: 13 (Expected: 11.25)
    Crits: 8 (Expected: 5.625)
    Total rolls: 17
    Evades: 7 (Expected: 6.375)
    Blanks: 8 (Expected: 6.375)
    Eyes: 2 (Expected: 4.25)

  11. Just seeing this article now for the first time. I have practised a few opening moves, mostly involving my quad shuttle list when I brought it to an event. Intending to fly them and not just park calls for some planning 🙂

    Anyway it’s nice to see your thoughts on deployment here, as they often mirror my own intentions to fly up the sides and dictate the terms of the early engagement by choosing how to enter the middle of the board. This works out even with no Biggs in my squads, so I can imagine the benefits of the extra control.

    Barrel roll + hard 2 4 life.

  12. im not sure how the meta has changed to be boring now, you see swarms just like you always have, although rebel swarms are making it in. On top of that we now have competitive falcon lists that have never before seen the light of day. Interceptors and phantoms are making the position ship game a reality and Dom showed just how deadly 4 big ships can be. Hell I ran a defender to the top 8, which hasn’t seen a high tournament placement yet!

  13. I have been to 3 tournaments since the Phantoms release and id say 90% of the people and all the winners were either Phantoms or Falcons. I dont consider that to be good. If everyone is playing the same lists its just ugh.

  14. That is an issue of people not furthering the meta, not an issue with the wave. Sure you can play out the rock paper scissors if you want or you can try and innovate. That is exactly what happened with nationals here. Sure there were phantoms and falcons, but there were a lot of other ships being used and strategies being used. When the top 10, if not more, were not the same lists then you are seeing a strong evolution. Just look at the difference between the chicago regional results and nationals.

  15. Great report Paul and congrats on making top 4 (even though I know you really wanted to win =P)!

    Love the report and the thought process on your tough matches. The Lando/Chewie Dual Falcon is brutal, and you almost pulled it off two times in a row.

    While there are tons of Falcons and some Phantoms out there, I’m really happy to see the diversity in the top 8 with defenders, shuttles, interceptors, falcons, and swarms going at it. The finals showed that interceptors and phantom can beat falcons (2 at that). Now I just need to watch the video and take notes.

    Keep fighting the good fight and best of luck at Worlds!

  16. Break out x3 Dagger w/ FCS + HLC, Eugene. It should handle Whisper and fat Chewie just fine, well enough to compete anyway. The ion weapons are starting to dwindle in popularity now, and it hits as hard as a 7 ship howl swarm.

  17. 3 x B-Wing with HLC ack
    Whisper would eat that like popcorn
    Chewbacca the same. IMHO at least.
    Im just bummed that everyone is playing my favorite ship, chewbacca/yt now.
    I kinda feel like It was always my favorite ship and now others are taking my glory?/?? Yeah

  18. 3 HLC daggers + FCS will kill chewie in two turns of fire. Whisper is a bit harder to nail down but flying slow it is easy to get her in two arc’s. 4 dice on 4 dice favor red and you have the shields to take the first two exchanges.

  19. Great writeup Paul – I also have a Biggs problem, but it’s probably something to do with my opinion that he’s the best ship the Rebels have (he enables so many builds)!

    I do dislike the current meta (fat Han is boring, and the Phantom is a bit of a win-more, the best players fly it fantastically and there isn’t an awful lot you can do about it unless your list is tailored towards it), but I’m expecting it to become a little bit more exciting when the Decimator & 2400 are in full circulation!

  20. I played my 3b’s with fcs and two z-95s. Was able to take on multiple whisper lists and just narrowly missed top 8. I think balanced lists are still viable. I even faced some strong imp swarms.

    My regionals list was 2bs, a z-95, a-wing and a gold with ict. Got 9th with it.

    Phantoms and falcons are just popular at moment. It will settle down. The yt-2400 will take some of the falcons hotness as well.

  21. Thanks for the great write up Paul! You mentioned your ‘tests’ for setting up your lists. Are you referring to trying out these lists against other players or do you run a setup by yourself to try out a build?

  22. For the most part, I open Vassal offline, and run three or four rounds of movement of lists against one another, and try to see what openings end up with a stronger engagement round. It’s an iterative process to try to figure out where I need to put asteroids and my ships to end up in a strong spot. When I’m happy with the list and the openings, I’ll bring it out against real people.

  23. I see they are doing 2 flights at worlds. I didn’t get to go to gen con.. maybe next year. But how is this done. If you don’t qualify in flight 1 can you sign up for flight 2? And are the amount of qualifiers in the flight based on attendance?

  24. They haven’t specified. At GenCon, it was a set # of people (32) that made the cut each day, and you can play the second flight if you missed the cut on the first flight.

    Of course, they could change how they are doing it at Worlds. They haven’t announced it yet.

  25. Hi Paul,

    Great write-up! I’m glad you found the Regionals thread useful. I have the full lists for GenCon too, so hopefully I will have those up within the next week.

    Stats tracking has become way too tedious to keep inputting everything into Excel manually, so I am aiming to write some scripts to do all the work for me. No ETA, but hopefully well before Worlds!

    Of course you can always just peruse the lists themselves, as I am sure you have. 🙂


    — Bob

  26. Regarding the bumping future rules change, I for one hope they do just rule to go by the front guides. It might not be the most “realistic” but it seems so much easier to explain and go by. Unfortunately we can’t make our bases transparent in real life as on Vassal, 🙂

  27. Congratulations on the win. Sadly I didn’t get to speak with you too much at Worlds.

    There were so many good and great players there. Every release makes it harder to find a list that is strong against all the major lists. I took the opposite approach to yours. Where you took all the strongest ideas and found a favored variant, I tried to break new ground. It didn’t quite work but came close. I still think there are powerful undiscovered lists. This will become more true as more ships and upgrades become available.

    I look forward to whatever card you design this time. 🙂

  28. Great Job Paul. It was great to watch you in action, and see how you play. I really like how you wrote this post. Your prep work showed in how you executed your game plans. You don’t make many mistakes, and you make your opponents pay for it if they do. There’s a reason your the 2 time champ, and it has to do with Skill and the time you put into it your prep.

  29. Congrats! I had a great time relaxing watching your final match with Morgan. You definitely deserve the big win.

    As a quick aside, I was under the impression that you were not committed to a boost/BR/TL action until you start to measure the action with a ruler or template. Once the template/ruler is down, its locked in and you are committed to the action, but just saying what you are trying to do is to let your opponent know why are you are reaching for templates around and such.

  30. > I expected the Vassal way, but the way they decided
    > for the whole event was to use the front, and only the
    > front, nubs to determine rotation.

    Pretty much guarantee that most people, in most events, didn’t do their collisions that way.

    It’s very, very weird. (It’s also all but unequivocally wrong.)

  31. Here’s part of a comment Sunny in his thread about the tournament:
    “paul bringing out the token and both of us eyeballing it about 4 inches above the ship is what really bound him. we were way past just a declaration and then a rethink. “

  32. Every player I’ve ever played against is aware of the difference between, “I’m going to focus … no, never mind, I’ll target lock” in terms of which of those two is the “declaration.”

    If people manage to get the game “fixed” so that any mention of an action is binding, that will be so terrible for the game that it’s not expressible in human language. Games would be universally tense and silent, and while that’s bad enough, it’s really only the top layer of the crap-cake that “binding statements of actions” would become.

    Let’s please not even flirt with going down that road.

  33. It’s very strange to me because the rulebook is very specific that you use all 4 guide nubs to orient a ship. Was anyone at the event told that crashes would not be handled according to the rulebook? That seems really, really questionable. To be quite honest I think that would have affected what squads players chose to practice for months and bring to worlds, at least to some degree.

  34. I did get to talk to Frank after. I believe the biggest reason is that since they didn’t ‘completely clarify it in the rules’, that FFG will announce something in an FAQ or something like that. The reason being is they don’t want the game to slow down, trying to fit in more templates, causing more bumps and things to mark and track, then causing more problems and arguments. Thus, having the front nubs follow the track in the plane normal to the direction arc, would be the easiest and clearest way. Again, he mentioned that they are only looking at the physical game side, since vassal is kinda taboo for them to talk about (as a policy).

  35. Great writeup. Clearly the extensive prep work paid off. I definitely agree about the high player skill at this year’s World’s. Seems like everybody I played was a national champ from one country or another. Pretty awesome.

  36. It does make sense presented that way. Vassal will adapt to it as well, pretty easily, and it won’t take much more time, if at all compared to the tabletop. My only issue is in that both version, it’s not 100% easy to line up only one set of nubs to the template close to the collision impact. You’re only lining up a tiny length of segment in one spot only, rather than 2 segments like in the rules, increasing the risk of visual judgment errors.

  37. I really hope they realize that vassal:

    -has generated business for them in several ways: kept players interested during “play droughts” + got people to try the game out before buying in + got people to boost their collection just to try out successful online lists (double YT-1300 is but one probable example)

    -is a hopeful platform for a worldwide meta (a few countries aren’t reached yet but the progress that has been done is unprecedented), going beyond what Worlds could ever achieve IMO because not everyone, yours truly, has the funds or time to go to their US events – again, it increases interest, trickles down into more solid “evangelists” that can boost a myriad of local metas

    -has never used spoiled text for any of the pilot, upgrade or damage cards, going beyond the pale in terms of legal respect, way above what’s been done for Android: Netrunner on OCTGN, which spoils cards after 6 months or so iirc.

    -has been a testbench 1 wave in advance of release a few times in the last year and can potentially help push for FAQ revisions.

  38. The more I think about it, the less I like the “front-nubs-only” approach. Instead of reducing arguments, it might increase it, as not everyone has the geometric eye needed to find an orthogonal line on these curved templates without any ambiguity.

    It’s the same category of problems which creates problems for the huge ship template and its slightly curved, manufacturing error prone 30 degree notch that can lead to several interpretations for the huge ship banks. When TC developped their improved huge ship template, they used a second point of rest well separated from the notch and greatly reducing errors in judgment.

  39. If/when that goes through, a ship whose front guides have cleared the template will be fully turned/banked at that moment. It will make block MUCH less effective as a disruption tactic. Formations will often be able to maintain the correct vector even if jammed up.

    Another thing this will do is make it much easier to block an enemy ship off the board; especially a large base ship. The fishtail will push the back corner toward the edge. Large ships will have to be more careful than ever.

    I also see room for a lot of play with orientation; it will become tremendously less exact, as there will be only 2 reference points instead of 4. This definitely will lead to argument over whether a ship was well angled. In fact even a skilled artist’s eye will have trouble with the correct angle, especially in situations where the rear outsider corner fishtails into a third ship (which becomes the actual ship you collided with). It’s going to be very hard to determine the correct angle there.

    It’s going to be a hot mess, imo. I don’t see any merit in the proposed method, compared to the one currently in the rulebook. You don’t have to actually lay out extra templates to have an accurate idea of angle when you have 4 points of reference. There’s no problem to fix, and the new method won’t change anything for the better. It’s at best a well meaning mistake.

  40. It will be interesting to see exactly what FFG decides to come out with. Again, this was Frank talking (kinda off the cuff) and he was very tired, so I wouldn’t take it as ‘official’ yet. But yes, my mind was blown when Alex did the maneuver for Paul in the finals, I think a lot of the Vassal people watching where like “oh, FFG Alex is doing it, I’m sure he’ll do it right…..wait…..whut?”.

  41. That was the single greatest report I’ve read! You kept me on my seat with excitement even though I knew who won with the spoiler in the title 😛 I cant believe you remembered so much from the weekend. Really is enjoyable to get great insight from the world champ! Cant wait to see what you do when you join the Scum Side

    Thanks again, and well played sir!

  42. I think the change to debris clouds gives ion-based control a little bit more teeth. It won’t stop the enemy from shooting necessarily, but it can help set up the delightful ion + stress combos and if non-turret ships are pointed away from you, not losing shots due to being on a rock is irrelevant.

    Getting to the point where your ion control lists can reliably hit agility 3 ships, including ones with Autothrusters, is a challenge of course 😀

    That being said, I think you’ll want to stick with asteroids when facing IG-88s, as their offense drops dramatically anytime they land on a rock, and that can happen if they start doing complex moves with advanced sensors and boosts. Sadly I know from experience (note to self: no more poker night the day before before store championships).

  43. So I seem to have missed the point on Squad Building in the Tournament Rules pdf. Didn’t realize you had to pick your obstacles prior to the tournament beginning, and use the same ones throughout. Now I need to think things over again… I’d probably want a mix (initially leaning towards 2 asteroids, 1 debris cloud) so I have options when deploying them.

  44. Your article pointed out something big for me that I hadn’t realized before: Soontir Fel wants Big Rock + 2 big Debris Fields.

    It seams counter-intuitive to pair the stress obstacles with Soontir, but when you realize that Soontir wasn’t planning on flying over obstacles anyway and actually has the advantage when fighting near obstacles, those big obstacles are going to be good against lists that have Soontir severely outnumbered.

  45. I think it is most interesting when one player wants big obstacles and the other wants small obstacles — how badly you want big obstacles will matter, since you need to take initiative to place 2 of your 3 instead of just 1 of your 3. Initiative matters less with small obstacles. You are really wanting more empty space, so even though you are bringing small obstacles you will always reach for the largest obstacle to control its location.

    What I think this will mean is that lists that want big obstacles must learn not to care where they go, and really to expect those obstacles to get played in the corners or a similar location. It’s still advantageous compared to the old 6 rock assortment, because 2-3 of those corner placements were small then. So I foresee some greater advantage to lists that like those big debris… mainly ionizing lists.

    Dash will be sort of interesting. My experience with him is that he likes debris vs most lists, but he likes rocks vs other turret ships. I expect most turret ships will choose 3 small debris once it gets settled what is best for them, so it may be that Dash brings 3 rocks which is very strange to think on.

  46. I’m not sure about that. I think Soontir might really not like the 3 big obstacle setup. The Debris fields have a noticeably larger footprint than the rocks, and if he’s in the thick of things, using predominantly his greens to reset PTL, extra stress is going to be very bad news. On the other hand, if he’s coming in on a flank and doesn’t need the extra actions to get tokens for defense, he can just park it in a debris field, get an extra defense die, a stress, and a focus from that stress.

  47. Bringing exactly 3 tokens adds an interesting level to squad building. Now, not only do you have to consider what squad you are bringing and its counters, but you also have to consider which asteroids and their placements will benefit your squad as well.

    I think what this change does (aside from making less for us to lug around from table to table), is it brings the newer players closer to Paul Heaver status. Paul, and many other top players, have been considering strategies and placements of asteroids from the beginning as part of their overall game strategy. Now newer players are going to be forced to think about these Turn Zero aspects of the game as well. It is a nice change, and one that I think will have a fun aspect while it plays out on the table. It’s a good thing I still keep a piece of duct tape on mine to denote which is which (from the old Wave 1 days of each player brought their own and chose from them, so there would be 2 of the big asteroid each time.)

  48. I have some dollar store sticker sheets with little dots, I put one on all my asteroids a while back for tournament use. Lots of people I know have painted or used a highlighter on the edge of the cardboard to make them stand out on the board and recognizable as their templates.

    Anyway you make a good point, this will force some people to think about things they would normally leave to chance, so it might give them a nudge to think a bit more deeply about the game. Or they might just grab 3 random rocks 😀

  49. I think swarm lists will still want Asteroids to deny shots from there opponent when they block, and 2 ship lists or Large base ships will want Debris Clouds to let them still take there shot if they get blocked or do a risky maneuver.

    The real question is how much of a impact does Debris have on Ion weapons and Stress Control lists? Does this help them enough that they become a staple of the Meta and earn a bigger slice of the pie?

  50. As a TO, I fear having to track this. How can I verify someone is using the same obstacles they signed up with? They’re not labeled or overly identifiable in any easy way.

    I think I’ll just have to assign a number to them and write down their selection when they sign up.

  51. Maybe have them trace the outline of all 3 of their obstacles on both their squad list sheet and their score sheet? That way if you need to do a spot check mid-tournament you just have them place their obstacles on the back of their score sheets – if they don’t fit in the outline then you have a problem.

  52. Transmogrifier has it — just have players do a quick trace.

    Here’s why you won’t have any problems:
    — Players are looking to earn respect from one another.
    — Risk::Reward; this is for too but easy to catch/report.
    — The room is full of eyes that will report this cheating to you.

    Also the 5 small rocks are really quite interchangeable with one another at no real gain to a cheating player, as are the 4 small debris. Only changes between rock and debris or severe changes in obstacle size are significant advantage. So it’s not as hard as you might think.

    The most subtle significant change is a switch from the big debris to the big bent debris, which is super obvious.

  53. Nah, it just requires a standard nomenclature to be developed, and then your obstacles to be listed with the squad sheets that include your ship builds. This then gives enough security that cheating shouldn’t be a problem.

    An advantage to the ‘choose ahead of time’ rules are that they prevent people from pondering too long during a pre-selection phase, in a game that’s already squeezing timewise at a lot of tournaments.

    It also helps ‘teach’ new players how to think critically about turn zero, and that’s valuable in itself.