If you’re a consumer of media in languages other than your native tongue (and this is directed mostly at Americans), like Anime, J-Pop, or “Foreign Films,” you might be familiar with the argument about “subs versus dubs.” I’m sure the argument occurs in countries outside the United States, but I’m only familiar with the particulars of the argument here in the US. It largely comes down to personal choice.

The argument whether a game’s conflict resolution system should use single dice or use pools of dice feels like a familiar argument. What you want is a system that gives you the right amount of success to keep you feeling like you’re advancing, and the right amount of failure so it doesn’t feel like everything is just being handed to you.

Systems that use pools of dice tend not to grant bonuses to individual die results. If you roll four ten-sided dice, and your goal is to score an eight or higher, generally you just go with how the dice fall. When you increase or decrease the difficulty of a game that uses dice pools, you raise or lower the target number, not the results of the dice.

Systems that base the outcome of a conflict on the roll of a single die tend to have more bonuses to the result of the die when it lands. Because there are fewer dice involved, there’s more room for flexibility with the numbers. With twenty-sided dice, you might add one, thirteen, or thirty, or you might even subtract from your results.

Whether you like rolling a bunch of dice at once, or just one die at a time, if you do a lot of gaming, it’s a good idea to alternate between using both. You can get a good feel for the numbers you get with one, and the other. Different dice give you different kinds of drama. It’s like reading different kinds of books to prevent genre burnout.

And sometimes, you want to play a game that uses cards, instead. There are different uses for all different kinds of gaming resources, from dice, to cards, to tokens and chips, spinners … and that popping thing. And marbles. Branch out.