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Wargames» Forums » General

Subject: Combat resolution mechanisms rss

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A few of us are designing a light wargame. We're looking for a combat mechanism we can use to resolve battles that;

- doesn't take much time (there'll be lots of combat)
- Quite simple (it's a light game, trying to avoid complex CRTs with modifiers and column shifts)
- ideally doesn't involve lots of dice rolling (trying to avoid Axis & Allies style combat involving several rounds of many dice)
- There'll be many battles in the game, with a variety of units involved, each with their own strengths and weaknesses that would ideally influence the result.

I suppose I'm asking for thoughts on interesting mechanics that may work in such a game...?
 
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Eddy Sterckx
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The simplest system I can think of is basically roll 2d6, if a particular to-hit number if reached, the enemy unit is hit. Add some simple modifiers for distance, unit specialty, defensive terrain. Make some units die on receiving 1 hit, others on ... and you're done.
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Brandon
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Here's a simple one that I had previously thought of but didn't feel like investing time or energy into designing a game around it. Simply give each unit a color-coded rating, let's say red, yellow and green (may want shapes also/instead for the color-blind), in order of increasing quality. Then, make a chit pool for each color. Each chit has a numeric modifier on it and the distribution of chits is different for each color: green has, on average, better modifiers, yellow is mediocre, red is worse. Both combatants blind-draw a chit from the pool appropriate for their unit. Units have their own, say, attack and defense numeric ratings as well. You add the chit modifier to the appropriate rating for your unit, compare values, and implement results based on the difference. There should be some overlap in the distributions of modifiers, so a red unit can pull off a surprise victory against a green, for example.

You could further elaborate it, for example by terrain or flanking, etc., affecting which chit pool a unit draws from, or you could come up with situations where multiple chits are drawn, etc., but otherwise each combat is as simple as each player drawing a chit, doing simple arithmetic, and replacing the chit.
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Mike Hoyt
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colditz wrote:
A few of us are designing a light wargame. We're looking for a combat mechanism we can use to resolve battles that;

- doesn't take much time (there'll be lots of combat)
- Quite simple (it's a light game, trying to avoid complex CRTs with modifiers and column shifts)
- ideally doesn't involve lots of dice rolling (trying to avoid Axis & Allies style combat involving several rounds of many dice)
- There'll be many battles in the game, with a variety of units involved, each with their own strengths and weaknesses that would ideally influence the result.

I suppose I'm asking for thoughts on interesting mechanics that may work in such a game...?


Bolded what I think is a key point

I like using a D10 where a unit has to roll less than X to hit. X can be a different base number for different unit types and then you can add as many modifiers as you think necessary (or your complexity budget can stand). Simple system and easy to calculate the odds in advance. See Band of Brothers: Screaming Eagles for a good example of what can be done

Force on Force uses another simple system I like. In that case they have the "nearly universal mechanic" in which success is rolling a 4 or higher. But they differentiate units by having them use different dice, untrained/green use a D6, trained troops a D8, veterans a D10 and elites a D12. They do also have situational modifiers, but Success is always a 4+. Downside is needing a lot of dice (not an issue for miniatures players)

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Maxim Steshenko
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I can recall one which matches your description. It's War Stories CRT deck.

- it doesn't take much time, because you draw a card
- it's quite simple, because all you need is to draw a card and look at the outcome
- it doesn't involve lots of dice rolling, because of cards
- a variety of units can be involved, since you can adjust values on cards
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Robert Stuart
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Is the game tactical or operational? If operational I'd take a 'vanilla' first pass: give each unit an offensive-defensive strength, perhaps modified by whether the attacking unit is fresh or not (a la Battles of the Bulge: Celles), each terrain type a combat modifier (it could be multiplicative or additive), and use an odds-based CRT(*), with one roll to resolve a single battle. As 'traditional' as this is, there are still a number of very good games currently being produced which use this mechanism for resolving battles (e.g., France '40, Roads to Moscow: Battles of Mozhaysk and Mtsensk, 1941, Battles of the Bulge: Celles, Beda Fomm; the latter two being good examples of playable and engrossing lighter games. Beda Fomm has both a barrage table and an odds-based CRT; the presence of both doesn't overly complicate the game).

If after play-testing you feel that a bit more is needed you could introduce one or two instances of column or die roll modifiers to the CRT, or you could introduce a morale number to the units. A few modifiers wouldn't overly complicate battle resolution.


(*) Alternatively you could use a differential-based CRT, as is used in, say, Paul Koenig's The Bulge: 6th Panzer Army or Patton's First Victory: Tunisia.
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G. H.
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1 Resolve the ratio of attack/defense to a "X/1" ratio.

2. Each side adds dice for [terrain, morale, surprise, etc.] bonuses, to make a "x+bonus/1+bonus" ratio.

3. Attacker rolls [x+bonus] dice, defender rolls [1+bonus] dice.

4. The side with the higher total wins. Losing side must reduce (or remove) units who have combat value at least equal to the difference in totals.
 
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Paul Kreutzer
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I like a combat resolution system that accounts for the intensity of the combat as well as one side's superiority. For example, on a conventional CRT a massive combat of several heavy units on each side could have 1:1 "exchange" or "no effect" results. So I like a table that can affect both sides significantly depending on die rolls.
It's basically three steps:
Determine odds and modifiers
-Each side roll one die (d6, d8, or d10, depending how much variability to provide alongside other modifiers);
Reference the die-roll on a matrix with each side's modified dr, running from for example 1 - 6 or -1 - 8 for d6; the matrix results show damage inflicted by each side, such as
3/2 for die-rolls of Attacker 5/Defender 4.
-Damage is modified and inflicted according to the game's particular rules: 1 damage point met by retreating two spaces or losing one step; command points might absorb one point; strong units may absorb two hits for one, etc.

This system distributes damage to both sides, allows for odds ratio modifiers (such as +1 or +2 for odds superiority or number of participating units), and can produce either mild or intense results (1/1 dr results mean not much happens, but 6/6 will have heavy losses on both sides; 5/1 will be advantageous for one side).

The use of modifiers to the dr also accounts for various unit type advantages/disadvantages; a ready antitank units might be +1 vs armor but -2 vs infantry.
 
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Johnny Wilson
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colditz wrote:
A few of us are designing a light wargame. We're looking for a combat mechanism we can use to resolve battles that;

- doesn't take much time (there'll be lots of combat)
- Quite simple (it's a light game, trying to avoid complex CRTs with modifiers and column shifts)
- ideally doesn't involve lots of dice rolling (trying to avoid Axis & Allies style combat involving several rounds of many dice)
- There'll be many battles in the game, with a variety of units involved, each with their own strengths and weaknesses that would ideally influence the result.

I suppose I'm asking for thoughts on interesting mechanics that may work in such a game...?


Add up all of the strength or attack numbers and draw a card from a standard 52-card deck. Ace-to-six = + the card rank / Seven-to-king = + the card rank/2 rounding up (except for the King--round down to 6).

Defender adds up defense numbers and draws a card from the same deck using the same procedure.

Compare numbers and the high value wins. It even adds another element if you don't reshuffle the cards until you've gone through the deck. It provides an advantage to the player who is keeping track of the cards because an attack becomes a more calculated gamble than a "crap shoot."

Want to add complexity? Add in unit efficiency, brittleness, terrain, weather, armor modifiers as you feel comfortable. Even more than a CRT, this would seem to "generally" reward concentrated attacks while still providing a possibility that the out-gunned side could win.

I guess I was thinking about this because I make my students find ways to use standard decks in my design class.
 
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Long Lance
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colditz wrote:
A few of us are designing a light wargame. We're looking for a combat mechanism we can use to resolve battles that;

- doesn't take much time (there'll be lots of combat)
- Quite simple (it's a light game, trying to avoid complex CRTs with modifiers and column shifts)
- ideally doesn't involve lots of dice rolling (trying to avoid Axis & Allies style combat involving several rounds of many dice)
- There'll be many battles in the game, with a variety of units involved, each with their own strengths and weaknesses that would ideally influence the result.

I suppose I'm asking for thoughts on interesting mechanics that may work in such a game...?


It would help if you specified the kinds of battles, and kinds of outcomes, that you want. Are these battles with 2 units against 1? 20 units against 15? Do the units have strength values that are close together or is it possible for a 25 strength unit to be fighting a 3? Do you want units to die, retreat, or both? Do units have steps/hit points? Are some ranged while othera are meleee? If you provide some examples of what the battles would look like and what range of results you want, it would help.
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Wales
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Battles usually involve a handful of units, but as the game goes on, forces tend to be lumped together into big stacks, a bit like risk. Players also allocate cards to the forces as leaders. At the moment we're using a 'to hit' roll with leaders giving modifiers

I quite like the single 'to hit' number and maybe give players the option to pull out after every round of combat - that might keep fights short enough but also bloody enough. That said, a few of the mechanisms covered above are really quite fascinating. Thanks.
 
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Ryan Keane
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For a light wargame, I really think one of the best is the C&C method of getting rid of numbers and using icons on the dice. Each combat is a single roll by the attacker only. No rerolling, no charts.

C&C system then only requires you to remember how unit type, range, and terrain combine to determine the number of dice rolled. But there are ways to differ from or streamline the C&C system by having different types of dice used (e.g. a d8 is used for tanks or a red d8 is used for tanks in close assault) with corresponding different frequencies of icons. You could have one face that indicates 2 infantry are killed for example, rather than requiring 2 dice be rolled to kill 2 infantry.
 
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marc lecours
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I love the dice system in 1775: Rebellion and 1812: The Invasion of Canada. That system is the most fun simple system that I have played.

1. There are 5 unit types (nationality) each with their own colour dice. This allows each type to have different characteristics.

2. There are no combat modifiers. I kind of dislike modifiers (kind of tiring to add numbers all the time). Here the modifiers are done automatically through the coloured dice.

3. There are 3 symbols on the dice.
a) Kill one enemy unit
b) One of your own unit runs away and won't be there in the second round of combat but they come back later. This would be good in simulating low morale.
c) Blank side on the die. This allows one unit to move (to retreat or advance to another area (even another battle)). This handles all the retreats with no need for a whole pile of rules.

4. During the battle you are faced with the decisions of whether to retreat some of your units, sacrificing the others or stay and fight.

Great system for simple games. Very simple, fast and elegant.
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Andrew Kluck
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Napoleon and his Marshals doesn't use dice and it looks simple enough. The game is still in development, so we'll see how the finished product turns out but I applaud any new direction.
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