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Subject: Encounters in Board Games RPG like rss

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Alguien Aqui
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There are a lot of board games that try to catch the feeling of playing RPGs, from adventures in a big land, to dungeon crawlers; from throwing dices to complex strategic decisions,... but Is there any board game that treats encounters not only as combat encounters?

In games like Runebound, you travel and visit certain zones where there are combats of different level of difficulty. Perhaps in some cases an event appears, and something different happens bu it is totally random and players have no choice but to accept it as it comes.

In dungeon crawler games, a master will get you in a dangerous situacion with more and more combat encounters, but some rooms / locations trigger an event with little or no posibility of decission.

So, It would be appealing a game where "any" encounter could lead to a businnes, learning something, of course a combat or nothing at all, just like an RPG.

I have some ideas in my mind to develop such a game but, is there some game like that? Could it be a good idea to take into account?
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Kai Bettzieche
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HeroQuest allowed the players to search each room or corridor. Each time they did, a treasure card was drawn, triggering some kind of "encounter": Either you were surprised by a straying monster or you foud some treasure - there has even been a card that made you find "nothing" at all.
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Simon
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im a little bias here but;

i get the impression that most boardgames influenced by RPGs are influenced by a small subset of rpgs, particularly modern DnD where the main of the player actions are combat orientated. So Descent 1 and 2 for example feel like 4e light to me. There are however games that buck the trend;

The game you will find of most interest is City of Chaos. This is an older paragraph game that is pretty similar in play to a city RPG module. Most encounters are not combat based. It does however have some pretty lame skip a turn esc board game mechanics in it that you might want to house rule out. Also its hard to come by.

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/1145/city-of-chaos

GW's DungeonQuest, Aka suicide quest has a fair number of non combat encounters. Usually combat is more survivable than the non combat encounters.

Tales of Arabian Nights and Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective are both paragraph games. IN effect they play more like rpgs than many rpg like board games.

Mansions of Madness is a game trying to emulate Call of Cthulhu rpg. It does a pretty good job. Again there is combat but its not a dominant part of the game, and often its very deadly and too be avoided. Mansons even has a puzzle subsystem to try and recreate the kinds of puzzles a gm might set their players.

Talisman actually has a lot of non combat encounter cards. I'd say its roughly 50/50 but i haven't checked the decks in any of the editions or anything. It only very vaguely emulates and rpg though.

They are not fantasy but games like Phantom League, Xia Drift system, and even Firefly share some similarity with Traveller RPG. In these games combat is very optional.

Personally i would like to see someone create a boardgame that tried to recreate some of the low combat high danger modules of Old Skool DnD. Rich in story and encounter and less so in 'i hit it with my axe'.
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hero gamer
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I think the biggest mechanical issue with this is that most of the types of encounters you are thinking of require role playing. And imo, role playing is a main line between an rpg and board game... I do think it would be possible to design encounters that had more depth and didn't require combat... something like trying to figure out how to open a locked door by searching the room for a key or tools to open it. There could even be clues to maybe a puzzle. This could all be implemented using cards/tokens but the biggest issue is with role playing, the options are limited and so is re-play ability. I've actually thought about this question alot. In my current "dungeon crawl" im working on, other than combat, a primary element is smashing crates, trying to find things that help you move forward. Sometimes these are filled with traps, monsters, or nothing. But you may find the entrance to a hidden chamber, key, or an NPC that's hiding... Although simple, it really does help to break up the hack and slash feel of a typical DC board game...

Just my .2
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dug fromthearth
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I have a concept for a dungeon game like you suggest.

The idea is to have the dungeon be a sort of maze blocked not just by walls but by encounters. A room might have a spider web that you have to make a difficult strength roll to get past, or a narrow bridge to cross, or a puzzle lock to open. You could try to go around the difficulties or go through them with the right character.

You would also have one shot items to bypass problems - a torch could light up a dark room or burn the spider web. But once you use the torch to get rid of a problem the torch goes away.

It would have less combat (probably not none). But as was pointed out most RPG non-combat encounters are roleplaying or puzzle based. A boardgame just can't create that in a replayable fashion.
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James Hutchings
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pistolario wrote:
So, It would be appealing a game where "any" encounter could lead to a businnes, learning something, of course a combat or nothing at all, just like an RPG.

I have some ideas in my mind to develop such a game but, is there some game like that? Could it be a good idea to take into account?


I've never played it, but I understand that Tales of the Arabian Nights (either version) is like that.
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Simon
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the old pc game Nethack is very close in both its rules and challenges to some old school dnd games. Some of the mechanics (cursed items for instance) can be lifted with out roleplaying. Unfortunately nethack is balls hard and very very unfair, not something modern games look for.
 
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JT Call
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If you check out the play-by-forum games of Two Rooms and a Boom, you'll find some variant games that very successfully bring RPG style mechanics to what is otherwise a social deduction game. PBF42 is probably one of the best examples of that (though I may be biased since I hosted it). If that game were played IRL and each round were twice as long, I could see a lot of opportunities for RPG/LARP play. Like any good RPG campaign, it would just take a talented and dedicated host/GM.
 
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dennis bennett
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I've been thinking of including mor than just basic monster encounters in my own game. Having traps, special locations, treasures and characters to interact with (merchant, prisoners that need to be saved) would be really flavourful.
The main issue i have with it that, unless you come up with different mechanics for resolving these types of encounters, it's really more a matter of flavour, but essectially more of the same.
It also tends to use up more actual space on the cards i'm designing as it calls for lengthy explanations.
 
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Dylan Green
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This may be a foolish question, but perhaps there is already something that achieves this: an RPG. It kinda already does this:

Quote:
a game where "any" encounter could lead to a businnes, learning something, of course a combat or nothing at all


Perhaps you're not making a board-game.
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I'm in the process of designing an rpg type game where you can interact with your surroundings, gain skill, craft items etc. I do use a few different mechanics in order to resolve each 'type' of situation. No dice. I cant stand the randomness of dice!
 
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Tyler Lipchen
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I've thought about this a lot in my latest two designs. Here's my problem with RPG mechanics: They can be basically be categorized as two problem-solving methods.

1) Roll-Playing

You roll dice, and try to get over a difficulty. Or under your skill. Or a certain number or successes. Whatever your dice mechanic is, it's the same for EVERY interaction. Enter combat? Roll a die. Pick a lock? roll a die. Persuade a merchant? Roll a die. Each task is completely different, yet the same mechanic is used for everything. Most people overlook this because the experience (the roelplaying/the theme) is so strong. When you translate this to a board game, I feel that the mechanic is too weak on its own. Roll dice to accomplish tests doesn't involve much strategy or decision making, and therefore seems like a very shallow mechanic. It also doesn't FEEL like you're doing the specific task at hand.

2) Roleplaying

Some tasks in RPGs are handled simply by role playing. You have a discussion with the GM regarding what you want to do. You and the GM act out the scene, and voila! You persuade the merchant! Obviously, you can't do this in a board game. Like it was said above, that's the real line between board games and RPGs.


So the real challenge is creating several encounters that all FEEL different, without complicating your game by having too many different mechanics to govern each one. Space Cadets is both a good and bad example of this. Each station feels like you're actually doing the task. But imagine if one person had to do all of those stations, all the time throughout a game! It's too many mechanics to keep tract of!

So with that in mind, in order to solve this mechanical problem (that a LOT of designers have, judging by how many times I've seen this topic on the forums) we need to create a mechanic that is simple enough to be learned easily and remembered, but can be modified enough to make it feel different when it's used to accomplish different tasks.

I've been fooling around with a system that I think will help accomplish this, but I haven't tested it enough! Once I'm done with my current design I'll go back and test it some more and post my findings somewhere on here, lol!

I'm very interested in how everyone else has approached this 'problem', and if anyone else feels the same way I do regarding RPG/Board Game mechanics?
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Dylan Green
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Tylerguy853 wrote:
So the real challenge is creating several encounters that all FEEL different, without complicating your game by having too many different mechanics to govern each one. Space Cadets is both a good and bad example of this. Each station feels like you're actually doing the task. But imagine if one person had to do all of those stations, all the time throughout a game! It's too many mechanics to keep tract of!


IMHO:

RPG's tend to use simple mechanics to answer complex questions. That is, I roll one dice and add some numbers. That part isn't interesting. What I care about is what is at stake. Do I kill the ork? Do I sneak past the guard? Does she fall in love with me? Do I overcome my existential angst as a creature torn between human and monster? These fictional questions and situations are where the meat and potatoes of the RPG experience lies. This is what makes all of the encounters FEEL different. There is a robust system handling all of the moving parts of the FEEL. Its the shared fictional world that you build at the table.

Trying to strip out the shared fiction and quantify that as a series of mechanics, each of which tries to capture some part of that FEEL is a losing battle. The best you will end up with is a cold overly complex version of something that already exists in an exciting elegant form.


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James Hutchings
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Tylerguy853 wrote:
2) Roleplaying

Some tasks in RPGs are handled simply by role playing. You have a discussion with the GM regarding what you want to do. You and the GM act out the scene, and voila! You persuade the merchant! Obviously, you can't do this in a board game. Like it was said above, that's the real line between board games and RPGs.


I'd say that the easiest non-RPG equivalent would be a choose-your-own-adventure-style list of choices (which possibly lead to 'roll-playing': for example choosing to bargain honestly with the merchant leads to a roll against Charisma; trying to wheedle the merchant leads to a loss of Heroism and an easier roll against Charisma; threatening the merchant leads to success and the keyword 'Wanted' - and so on).
 
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wolf90 (Drew)
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A more simplistic game from a RPG point of view (although by no means a simple game!) would be Maze Master. Although combat occurs, the changing nature of the maze from other players' actions lead to decisions and events that are not martial in nature.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/weaver/maze-master-an-e...

D.
 
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