House of Cards: Putting it Together

I ended up analyzing more attack actions than I had intended, but that allowed me to compare them to each other.

Troll Feller Strike

In order to make it complete I needed a comparable result for Troll Feller. That meant calculating results including the 1 Black die penalty on the attack. So I calculated results for 5 characteristic dice, 1 Yellow, 1 Purple, and 1 Black. I also changed the base damage from 10 to the 12 I have been using for the other actions.

As an interesting aside I plotted the results for 2 Red and 2 Green dice with and without the Black die. For rolls in the middle of the distribution the Black die decrease likelihoods by a little less than 10%. The effects became less pronounced at either end of the distribution.

Stance 2 With and Without 1 Black Die


Comparing Attacks

Average Damage Summary Table

Attack 3 Green 2 Green 1 Green 0 Green (Blue) 0 Red (Blue) 1 Red 2 Red 3 Red
Melee Strike 12.6 12.3 11.9 11.5 11.5 11.7 11.9 12.1
Thunderous Blow 11.4 11.2 10.9 10.6 11.9 11.9 12.0 12.1
Mighty Swing 13.4 12.8 12.1 11.4 11.3 11.7 12.1 12.4
versus 3+ Armor 12.9 13.3 13.7 14.1
Troll Feller 14.9 14.4 13.8 13.2 13.6 13.8 14.1 14.3
Reckless Cleave 15.7 15.3 14.9 14.3 15.7 15.7 15.7 15.7

Putting all 43 damage curves together would have been an unreadable mess so I plotted damage curves for 2 Green dice and 2 Red dice. 

Conservative Attacks with 2 Green Dice


Reckless Attacks with 2 Red Dice

Looking at the overall comparisons the higher damage attacks generally seem to come in two styles. The highest average damage comes from having large damage for minimal success. If the attack roll is 1 success and 1 boon on the reckless side the attacks do

Reckless Cleave 18
Troll Feller Strike 16
Mighty Swing (3+ armor) 15
Mighty Swing 13
Thunderous Blow and Melee Strike 12

Reckless Cleave is the big winner gaining +5 damage from the single boon, though Troll Feller gained +3 (versus armor 2). Thunderous Blow is an odd version of this. Instead of 1 boon, it needs the rarer 1 comet to get its huge damage boost making it a sort of pale shadow of Reckless Cleave.

The other style is to have a large number of available damage additions yielding the possibility of very high damage on a good roll. For 3 success, 6 boons, and 1 comet the results look like

Mighty Swing (3+ armor) 26
Mighty Swing 24
Troll Feller Strike 23.25
Reckless Cleave 20
Thunderous Blow 19
Melee Strike 14

Notice how the order of Mighty Swing, Troll Feller, and Reckless Cleave invert as the attack becomes more successful.

One attack, however, sort of has both, Troll Feller Strike. The 1 boon line is +1 damage and ignore armor. For all of these calculations I have been assuming an armor of 2. The result was a good but not great 1 boon line of effectively +3 damage. This was not as good as Reckless Cleave with +Str, generally 5 for a combat character. But as the target’s armor increases Troll Feller Strike becomes a better attack. At armor 4 its 1 boon line is as good as Reckless Cleave but Troll Feller also has 2 boons for +3 damage +1 critical and 1 comet for +1 critical and a random amount of damage. If the target’s armor is one lower than the character’s strength Troll Feller Strike becomes possibly the best melee attack in the game. The flavor text for Troll Feller is that it is used by fanatic dwarfs to kill huge monsters like trolls, the kind of opponents that would have a high armor. In addition the attack can only be used if outnumbered or against large opponents. So it is not unreasonable that it would excel at fighting huge, heavily armored foes.

More than Damage

The graphs only cover damage. There is more to an attack in WFR3 than damage. They have recharge rates so that they can’t be used all the time, some come with penalties to use, and some have particularly horrible things happen on a poor roll.

Melee Strike is free and can pretty much be used all the time being the only attack with a recharge of 0.
Thunderous Blow doesn’t really have penalties other than needing to recharge.
Mighty Swing has a 2 Black die penalty making it more difficult and increasing the chance of simply failing.
Reckless Cleave penalizes the character’s active defense and on a poor roll increases the damage they take from attacks.
Troll Feller Strike can only be used if outnumbered or against large foes, has a 1 Black die penalty, and on a chaos star, which no amount of good dice can counteract, damages the character, though at recharge 2 it can be used fairly often.


These articles highlight the opaque nature of the WFR3 rules. Just looking at the action it is not obvious that the conservative side of Mighty Swing would generally do more damage than the reckless side. That increasing the number of reckless dice can decrease the effectiveness of Reckless Cleave was also unexpected.

I must admit, however, that the actions basically work. The only garbage action, conservative Thunderous Blow, is obviously garbage. The rest are fine for conservative or reckless characters. The two attacks considered to be really good by the WFR3 community, Troll Feller and Reckless Cleave, actually are good attacks. The better attacks have more restrictions, penalties, and bad things happen on poor rolls. At least for this group of cards a player with a reasonable knowledge of the game could make good choices without having to run through all the statistics.


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