Conflict Resolution >> A Look At Different Conflict Mechanics
Jay Little
United States
Eden Prairie
Minnesota
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Karate Chop!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Recommend
42 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
I love looking at how various titles apply different mechanics or design elements to handle the same sort of in game event. Combat and conflict in confrontational games is an excellent example -- there are many, many ways to resolve conflict in a game instead of just dice. There are quite a few wonderful GeekLists looking at combat mechanics and resolution, but I wanted to break things down in a slightly different way, by trying to classify and define these different methods.

As such, I'm looking at different mechanics for conflict resolution. I'd like to keep the individual entries as discrete resolution mechanics, and then list different games that fit the model underneath.

Some of the entries, like dice resolution, will be many and varied. Others might be more narrowly focused. And still others combine aspects of several of these entries either within a single resolution event or in different aspects of the game. Please help me add any other innovative means for conflict resolution that you've seen handled in a game.

What other methods for conflict resolution have you seen?
What sort of tactical impact does a particular method have on the game?
What's the "neatest" conflict mechanic you've seen?

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: combat_resolution [+] design_features [+] [View All]
  • [+] Dice rolls
1. Board Game: Silent Death [Average Rating:6.94 Overall Rank:2757]
Jay Little
United States
Eden Prairie
Minnesota
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Karate Chop!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Dice Rolling: Greater Value

Many, many games fall in this category. Whether two players are rolling dice and the higher value wins (as in Castle of Magic or Air Baron) or one player rolls, adds his value, and tries to exceed a certain threshold (the "to hit" roll featured in Mage Knight, D&D, Battletech), ultimately the greater value wins the conflict. In the latter example, the individual conflict "win" could be that the unit remains undamaged.

In Silent Death, the attacker rolls dice based on the gunnery skill of a crewmember and the inherent value of the weapon. If the result is greater than or equal to the defense value of the target, a hit is scored.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
2. Board Game: Battle for Armageddon [Average Rating:6.55 Overall Rank:4105]
Jay Little
United States
Eden Prairie
Minnesota
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Karate Chop!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Dice Rolling: Chart Resolution

Lots of hex-and-counter wargames I've played (which haven't been many, I'll admit) use a CRT of some sort (Combat Resolution Table) -- certain values are added up from the forces, and dice are rolled. By cross-referencing the comparative troop/unit strengths with the result from the dice, the actual conflict resolution is determined.

Games Workshop's Armageddon featured some great bits and a CRT for combat. There are countless other games with the same sort of chart system... Ogre, Coup, Duel of Ages (based on variable levels of success), well... too many to list here.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
3. Board Game: Axis & Allies: D-Day [Average Rating:6.41 Overall Rank:2095]
Jay Little
United States
Eden Prairie
Minnesota
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Karate Chop!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Dice Rolling: Hit Allocation

In this case, different units "fire" or get a shot in an attempt to land a hit or damage an opposing unit. Whether it's trying to get a certain number based on the individual units (Twilight Imperium, Wizard Kings, Axis and Allies), match certain symbols (Attack!, Doom) or an arbitrary number regardless of troop type (The Napoleonic Wars, War of the Ring, History of the World), each die matching the required value scores a hit. Scads of games use this, as well.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
4. Board Game: Lord of the Rings: The Confrontation [Average Rating:7.21 Overall Rank:414]
Jay Little
United States
Eden Prairie
Minnesota
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Karate Chop!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Card Play: Superior Number

Troops may have different values, or the cards may hold all the values in the battle, but instead of having dice determine the value added to the troops (or simply representing your strength in the conflict), cards are used. This often has a bit more direct influence, since players generally select cards from their hand to play, rather than roll dice and see what happens.

A Game of Thrones, Dungeon Twister, Cosmic Encounter, Samurai (tiles = cards for this example) and Condottiere all use this sort of resolution, and many CCGs do, as well.

I've also been convinced that LOTR: Confrontation belongs here (instead of with Static Values) and is a cleaner, simpler example than A Game of Thrones, so it's been moved!
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
5. Board Game: Tichu [Average Rating:7.60 Overall Rank:119]
Jay Little
United States
Eden Prairie
Minnesota
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Karate Chop!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Card Play: Last Man Standing

A slight variation on the previous post, but this one is the conflict resolution for lots of trick-taking games -- be the last one to play a legitimate hand, or the highest hand that no one can beat.

For Wizard, Hearts, Pitch or traditional trick taking games, it's often the highest hand, such as one with trump, in any given round of card play. But for other games, such as Tichu, Castle Lords or Great Dalmuti, it's the highest hand that everyone else has to pass on.

There are some compelling arguments that Blue Moon fits here, so consider it done!
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
6. Board Game: X-Bugs [Average Rating:6.38 Overall Rank:3491]
Jay Little
United States
Eden Prairie
Minnesota
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Karate Chop!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Physical Contact: Overlap

Manual dexterity games are a favorite of mine, and X-Bugs uses the physical pieces to resolve conflict. If you flip your bug on top of an opposing piece, it's captured (barring special powers)... But this mechanic isn't limited to just manual dexterity games -- FFGs Diskwars and Doomtown Range Wars used the physical pieces during attacks. If you move so your piece overlaps another, compare combat values to see how the conflict is resolved.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
7. Board Game: Attacktix Battle Figure Game: Star Wars [Average Rating:6.14 Overall Rank:5704]
Jay Little
United States
Eden Prairie
Minnesota
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Karate Chop!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Physical Contact: Knockdown

I haven't played Attacktix, but from what I've seen and read, it seems that the physical act of knocking over a piece is what resolves the conflict...
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
8. Board Game: Chess [Average Rating:7.09 Overall Rank:415] [Average Rating:7.09 Unranked]
Jay Little
United States
Eden Prairie
Minnesota
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Karate Chop!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Occupation

A great number of games resolve conflict very simply -- if you move a piece into a space occupied by an opponent's piece, it's captured, regardless of unit type or any other values. Many abstract games use this resolution, as well as variants on some classics.

Examples include Chess, Navia Dratp, Creepy Freaks, Geist and Survive!
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
9. Board Game: Stratego [Average Rating:6.06 Overall Rank:2278]
Jay Little
United States
Eden Prairie
Minnesota
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Karate Chop!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Superior Numbers (Static Values)

Two unchanging values are compared, and the higher value wins. Simple, straightforward, and pretty easy to grasp.

The main resolution for Stratego-based games like LOTR: Confrontation, Cleric's Revenge, and Stratego Legends. I know that there may be special abilities that influence the values in Strat: Legends, but it doesnt offer the same options to control that value as in the next listing...

LOTR: Confrontation has been moved to Card Play: Superior Number after some strong arguments by posters.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
10. Board Game: Vinci [Average Rating:7.12 Overall Rank:595]
Jay Little
United States
Eden Prairie
Minnesota
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Karate Chop!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Superior Numbers (Variable Values)

Similar to above, where the higher number simply wins, but there's some player input into the final value of that number. Either by assigning more forces, applying pressure from multiple directions or improving your odds in another way, it's not nearly as cut-and-dry as the Stratego style.

Examples include Vinci, Diplomacy and The Bridges of Shangri-La, and even abstracts like Abalone where superior numbers are required to push/manipulate your opponent, or Tigris & Euphrates where additonal tiles can be played to improve your strength.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
11. Board Game: Union Pacific [Average Rating:7.24 Overall Rank:469]
Jay Little
United States
Eden Prairie
Minnesota
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Karate Chop!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Majority Control

A different type of conflict, but often used to determine who "wins" a battle over something less distinct or tangible as an area on a map, or to determine who receives certain bonuses or privileges. Majority control resolves conflict and placement in a wide variety of games, from stock markets to breaking ties in fantasy settings.

Examples include Union Pacific (for stock), Air Baron (for dominance of hubs), Through The Desert (distribution of bonuses) or Ideology (to determine control of a region).

 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
12. Board Game: The Fury of Dracula [Average Rating:6.91 Overall Rank:1559]
Jay Little
United States
Eden Prairie
Minnesota
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Karate Chop!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
"Rock, Paper, Scissors"

Generally, this involves games where players secretly choose from several options available, then reveal their choices simultaneously. The final outcome is based on comparing the interaction between the choices.

Sometimes this is a simple rock-paper-scissors resolution (like the combat system in Dungeonquest), or it may have far more possible outcomes based on other factors (like the weapons used to fight Dracula in Fury of Dracula). Empires of the Ancient War feels a bit like this, too.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
13. Board Game: Go [Average Rating:7.66 Overall Rank:121]
Jay Little
United States
Eden Prairie
Minnesota
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Karate Chop!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Surround

This type of resolution is pretty straightforward -- capture your opponent by surrounding their pieces or limiting their options. The classic conflict resolution for games like Go, Pente and Othello.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
14. Board Game: Cosmic Encounter [Average Rating:6.93 Overall Rank:801]
Jay Little
United States
Eden Prairie
Minnesota
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Karate Chop!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Negotiation

Some games simply rely on an agreement or pact to resolve conflict. I can't think of any games where this is the only measure for resolution, but quite a few games feature elements of diplomacy or negotiation as a means to resolve some conflicts that crop up.

Cosmic Enounter (when Compromise cards are played), Diplomacy, Who's The Boss and Quo Vadis? all feature this in one form or another -- if not as a sole means of conflict resolution, then at least as an element present during another type of resolution.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
15. Board Game: Light Speed [Average Rating:6.37 Overall Rank:2327]
Jay Little
United States
Eden Prairie
Minnesota
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Karate Chop!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Line of Sight

This method of resolution is quite simple -- if there's a line of sight from the attacker to the defender, or a "line of effect" along the path of the weapon in the case of Light Speed, a hit is scored! Same thing sort of works in Laser Attack -- if the machine sees you, your piece is lost.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
16. Board Game: Nuclear War [Average Rating:6.21 Overall Rank:2302] [Average Rating:6.21 Unranked]
Jay Little
United States
Eden Prairie
Minnesota
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Karate Chop!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Spinners

Instead of using dice or cards as randomizers, some games use spinners... Spinners tend to be a little wonky, as sometimes the components get sticky and warped, or a savvy player can get especially good at flicking the spinner to get the results they want.

Nuclear War, The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle and my beloved Star Wars Battle of the Death Star Game all use spinners.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
17. Board Game: Kahuna [Average Rating:6.66 Overall Rank:913]
Jay Little
United States
Eden Prairie
Minnesota
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Karate Chop!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Matching Cards

For some games, playing cards that match symbols to the board or target, or a series of matching cards are the means to resolve conflict. In Kahuna, one of my favorite games in the Kosmos/Rio Grande line, you can "attack" the bridges of the other player by playing sets from your hand -- either two cards of the same island, or one card of each island a particular bridge is connected to.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
18. Board Game: Arena Maximus [Average Rating:5.90 Overall Rank:4330]
Jay Little
United States
Eden Prairie
Minnesota
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Karate Chop!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Card Sets

Similar to the above, but instead of trying to match cards to features on the game board or tied to the type of unit you're trying to attack, playing sets of cards is more dependent on the combination of cards already in your hand -- such as trying to whip or ram other players in Arena Maximus. In a way, playing sets of cards is also what Adel Verphlictet uses during the individual shows, the "conflicts" of that game.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
19. Board Game: ZÈRTZ [Average Rating:7.31 Overall Rank:477] [Average Rating:7.31 Unranked]
Jay Little
United States
Eden Prairie
Minnesota
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Karate Chop!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Jumping

Instead of moving into and occupying the space one of your opponent's pieces is in (like in Chess or Geist), here the object is to move past or jump the opposing pieces with one of your own to capture it, like in Chess Checkers and Zertz.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
20. Board Game: Wallenstein (first edition) [Average Rating:7.51 Overall Rank:342]
Steve Zamborsky
United States
Chicago
Illinois
flag msg tools
designer
badge
"Ah, Denny, I've hardly seen you this episode."
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Cube Tower

In Wallenstein, when a conflict erupts both sets of armies are cast into the Cube Tower. Whoever has the majority of armies that emerges wins, with the victor placing the difference between the two armies into the conquered territory (the others die and return to the respective owners' supplies). Any neutral armies that emerge are set aside and cast in with the next conflict.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.