Brandon Woodward
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I have been brainstorming a skirmish/wargame idea and thought I would post hoping for some feedback / idea exchange.

I apologize in advance as I am known to ramble at times.

Quick overview - the setting is scifi with some fantasy mixed in (magic does exist) and would ultimately run more like a skirmish game in that the focus is on individual characters instead of faceless masses.

With this in mind, I don't want all of the characters to be solo - but have an option for henchmen. The idea for scale is the larger the game, you add more characters / henchmen.

Activation is alternating unit activation but with an option to interrupt - each unit generates their own action points as a sort of resource management

At the moment I am dwelling on combat. I want the focus to be on the characters and any additional models in their unit (henchmen) be more of a bonus and extra hit point type thing.

I also had a thought of an optional campaign where the characters can advance similar to Necromunda.... so it would be like Necromunda but where each main ganger has their own henchmen/goons/pets, etc....

Currently I have it as an attacker vs. defender roll a dice pool of d10s and count successes. Successes are dependent on stats. (Say Accuracy stat is 5+ every roll of a 5+ is a success, vs a defensive stat of 3+ for a heavier armored target)

If attacker has more successes than defender, the difference = the damage suffered (most instances remove a henchmen model)

Modifiers are in terms of more dice to the pool.
1d10 base
additional d10s for additional models (the henchmen)

I want to avoid a buckets of dice mechanic (In warhammer 40k I have had times where I have rolled 60-100 dice at one time, gets a bit time consuming and clunky at that point) so I was thinking the bonus would not be for every individual model, but groups of models depending on their type.

Basic troops = +1d10 per 5 models (max of 20 models)
Elite/special = +1d10 per model (max of 5 models)
Swarm = +1d10 per 10 models (max of 30 models)

Now, I want the characters to be able to choose from different henchmen, have different weapons, armor etc...

I need to differentiate in a way - with the current system could simple use different colored dice - one color for the character and their weapon, and different color for the bonus dice from their henchmen for their weapon.

Differences in weapons would be range, a bonus to dice roll, special rules, and doing more than 1 damage per success for heavy weaponry.

The problem is - I don't know if this would allow me enough variety in the henchmen, where taking different types would matter.

As an alternative I thought about using multiple dice types - the characters would have a larger dice to use, say D10 for the characters, D8 for troops/elite/special and D6 for swarms so the dice themselves would be the difference.

I am starting to move away from this thinking though as the math seems off using the current stat system I have, and something different would have to be used like a universal success number (say 4 is always a success) and have more additive bonuses. Seems ok for small scale, but would like to be able to scale from small games up to very large ones.

What do the masses think? Does using a single die type (the D10) for everything and just using separate colors to differentiate between the Character and the henchmen in the unit suffice?

The idea overall is wanting the ability to scale up to size of battle - small battles could have individual pieces moving around, but if you want large ones - a lack of some sort of unit coherency and keeping up with a larger count of models individually could get tedious.

Adding the henchmen to the characters would be a way to scale up by increasing the unit size without exponentially creating more individual units.
 
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Peter Collins
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Sounds like Dungeons and Dragons
 
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Brandon Woodward
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Dungeons and Dragons each player controls a single character - playing coop against the player running the game (coop). Also with role-playing

This idea is each player controls multiple models from small groups to large armies and they are playing against each other.
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Craig C
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Sounds like the henchmen could be underpowered if you don't want to add an excessive amount of dice. A swarm of 30 enemies hitting me a maximum of three times makes me envision gnats or something similar, and it may not give you the upscaled feel if you're adding things that don't do a proportionate amount of damage.

Perhaps keep the d10/quantity ratio, but have the amount of damage inflicted depend on the percentage of successes X the number in the swarm. So if you rolled 3d10 for a 30-model swarm and got one success, the defender would take 10 hits, or something similar.

Also, there's a modern skirmish game out there that uses the same value for success (a 4+) but varies the die rolled depending on the troop quality. Peasants roll a d4, regular troops a d6, rangers a d8 and elite SF roll a d10, but the number needed is always 4+.
 
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Edward Gilhead
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Have a look at the rules set called SAGA by Tomahawk Studios/Gripping Beast. They describe basically what you're talking about for combat dice rolling. Also they have devised a very interesting abilities board for each faction, which means that it isn't generic army vs generic army. The rules are written for dark age/early medieval skirmish games, but there have been/are lots of modifications going on. People have shifted the rules from Game of Thrones setting to Shogun Total War style japan and many more. Their forum is here: http://studiotomahawk.freeforums.org/
 
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Graxous wrote:
This idea is each player controls multiple models from small groups to large armies and they are playing against each other.


So are we still talking "1 model = 1 creature"? Maybe ask Dakka for game systems that are flexible enough for small skirmishes (eg. 3 models per player) through entire armies (eg. 300 models per player). I *think* the new edition of Warhammer's supposed to do something like this.

However, if you're talking about "zooming out" and making combat more abstract when, thematically, there are more units in the battle, Games Workshop released Mighty Empire (Mighty Armies?) decades ago. The system allowed players to either fight battles using Warhammer rules, or a faster abstract system where players just rolled dice rather than setup an actual battle.
 
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Alec Stump
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One other thing to consider is that different scales of battles make different things more important. If you go to Dakka one of the things people complain about the most is that 40k has no focus.

On a skirmish level, the damage done to individual models can be really detailed because you only care about 3-10 models.

But on a larger scale, you zoom out of that, so using the same models and resolution mechanics feels more fiddly than it does enriching. So, larger scale systems design out those details and involve mechanics that affect larger, more coarse changes.

The problem with wanting to scale up and down so freely is that you end up with a weird, bland kind of design where nothing matters now because individual details are fiddly, but large, sweeping mechanics are too swingy to feel tactically depthy.

I personally like the post above about representing different skill levels by changing dice in accordance with the unit in question, but you will have to get creative with what the actual mechanics of the game revolve around and what is important/ relevant to the game you want to play.
 
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Brent Spivey
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Quote:
scifi with some fantasy mixed in
action points as a sort of resource management
I want the focus to be on the characters
I want the characters to be able to choose from different henchmen, have different weapons, armor etc...
Adding the henchmen to the characters would be a way to scale up by increasing the unit size without exponentially creating more individual units.


Brandon, you need to check out Rogue Planet. Full disclosure: it is my game, but it's seriously exactly what your looking for. It's sci-Fantasy with magic, psionics, energy resource management, a tabletop physics engine, and uses the PAWN system to represent henchmen.

The PAWN system utilizes a unique mechanism for representing your leader’s retinue and followers and makes for dynamically changing battles as your hero loses abilities, power, and support during a game. PAWNS are also a prime feature of the campaign system and allow a leader to gain new abilities, change strategies, and evolve as a adventure progresses.

Quote:
As an alternative I thought about using multiple dice types


For use of multiple die types, look at Mayhem. It features a custom builder where varying die types are used to represent a units stats. Die can be improved through smart tactical play based on soft and hard counters [these are determined by weapons and unit types]. These improve the a die type by one or two steps. Combat is resolved via opposed rolls, but players can opt not to roll and take the default value of the die. The default is equal to half of the value to the die type. So, instead of rolling a d8, a player can always choose to play it safe and take a 4 instead.

Mayhem is also a good example of a game that scales well from skirmish to mass battle. You can view some battle reports here that show it being used for both if you're interested.

 
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