In Fighting Fantasy Gamebooks you fight a lot of bizarre creatures. The first word to describe the series of books has the very nature of violence in it. Many times the text gives you no option to run. Despite the book’s claim that it takes minimal risk to complete it, you will fight in these gamebooks.
When I took it a step further at school, we played without dice.
We did not have dice handy on the playground, so combat was never a hit or miss situation in our games.
The Crux of Combat
Not using a hit or miss system in our game forced collaboration. It wasn’t me deciding exactly what happened, but a group effort.
Player: I want to jump from the tree and tackle him.
DM: Since the orc is twice your size, I think you’d be able to grapple on to him. I don’t think you’d actually knock him over. What do you think?
Player: True. Let’s say I’m able to at least get my arms around his neck from behind.
DM: Sounds good. It’s going to be more difficult for him to attack you that way too.
Player: Maybe I could choke him and knock him out doing that.
Now that he’s unconscious, what’s your next move?
Using this method didn’t always pan out in the players favor.
DM: Peeking out from your hiding place in the rocks you see the group of lizardmen rummaging around your campsite.
Player: I still have my sword on me. I want to charge at them and take them out. They don’t see me, so they should be surprised.
DM: There are five of them and only one of you.
Player: Hmm. I was able to take out the three goblins. I still go for it.
DM: They turn as you charge forward and the looks on their faces do show surprise. You manage to cut one of their legs before they all draw their swords and cut you down.
Player: I figured as much. Can I play one of the slaves I freed next? I could probably rally the other slaves to get revenge.
There was never a “bang bang you’re dead” argument, which is odd since that’s often cited as the reason for having rules in the first place.
In fact, the only arguments that I recall are when we started using rules.