Brook Gentlestream
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Long Beach
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Mostly a personal project, but I am looking to make a dungeon-crawler themed co-op cardgame. Think of a mix between Pathfinder Adventure Games and Sentinels of the Multiverse.

I figure I'll have particular sets of cards that represent an Adventure, perhaps consisting of two decks: Rooms and Encounters. Progressing through a dungeon means drawing room cards and possibly having Encounters in that room. A random draw from the Encounters deck determines how many and of which type of monsters you will fight. Each monster is represented by an individual card from a pool off to the side. When an encounter is drawn, and the party decides to advance (or gets surprised), the monsters are laid out in the center area between all players.

Players then have the option of "claiming" a monster, drawing it to their individual play area. (This is a great mechanic I took from Lord of the Rings LCG.) Play then proceeds in Initiative order, with players/monsters in the same area able to perform melee attacks and those not in the same area able to make ranged attacks.

At some point in this, unclaimed monsters in the center area that prefer melee combat should engage one of the players. This is where I'm stuck. I can't think of a good "targeting" mechanic.

I considered class-based targeting, such as "Astral wolves will always target Wizards first, then priests, warriors, rogues" but this is a little clunky and doesn't lend itself well toward inevitable expansions. An extrapolation of that idea was to give each player an icon, and say "Astral wolves try to engage characters with this icon" but that feels kind of arbitrary.

It would be easy to say monsters engage one-at-a-time in clockwise order (unless they prefer ranged combat), which is kind of what Lord of the Rings LCG does, but it can feel weird when goblincs start attacking the fighters while rogues have to go toe-to-toe with a Minotaur. Still, with the aforementioned "claiming" rules in mind, this is the one I'm most strongly considering right now. A related alternative is "forced claiming" of all monsters that don't intentionally hold back. For example, the encounter doesn't start until all mandatory monsters have been claimed by somebody and PCs have to argue it out.

Another option is to say that unclaimed monsters attack everybody. This is kind of the way Uncharted works, with players attacking first and every surviving monster attacking everyone at once. It feels too abstract to me, and I like the idea of monsters engaging with particular players.

Finally, the last option I'm considering -- and only because its very popular -- is to assign targeting actions to individual monsters that target based on the current game state. This is kind of Sentinels influence. I think Marvel Legacy does this as well. Basically, some monsters might target the character with the highest hp, or the lowest hp, or the most cards in hand, or the most mana, or the fewest items, etc.

Does anybody have any other ideas for monster targeting among players? Right now I'm kind of leaning toward the "clockwise around the table until they're gone" method but I'm open to suggestions.

P.S. I use "monster engagement" as my main example of target in this case, but I imagine there might be many other cases where I need to target one of the players, such as enemy spellcasting of spells. In most cases, a random result will be fine for those cases though - monster targeting feels more personal. Like goblins might want to attack weaker party members if possible, or players already being attacked, whereas a Minotaur might want to go after the big guy in armor.
 
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Tom Razo
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If I follow correctly, my first thought, similar to something you already mentioned, was to initiate attacks against players with the greatest HP and so on... If HP is tied, then resolve in a clockwise manner from the player that drew the card.

If melee and ranged attacks are both possible, then melee happens first, then any ranged attacks.
 
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Kristian Järventaus
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Just for completions sake (I'm not really suggesting this, but it's the seed of an idea), you could have an arbitrary matching mechanism using numbers.

Each player would have a number (say 1-100) and each monster would have a number (1-100) (and a "as high as possible" or a "as low as possible" text, depending?). Monsters would be assigned with a black-jack mechanism: the player with the highest/lowest number that doesn't go over/under an enemy's number will be targeted. EDIT: And you could have more than one number for more than one axis of targeting. Monster has "Blue 43", attacks the player with the highest Blue that doesn't go over.

This would require you to build in advanced a targeting chart where each monster and each [character or player or attribute you're using] is plotted, and you couldn't do very complicated things with it, but you wouldn't have lots of text for the player to puzzle out.

Also, what about random targeting? Shuffle the monsters, choose a dealing order and dole them out.
 
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Grace McDermott
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lordrahvin wrote:

I considered class-based targeting, such as "Astral wolves will always target Wizards first, then priests, warriors, rogues" but this is a little clunky and doesn't lend itself well toward inevitable expansions. An extrapolation of that idea was to give each player an icon, and say "Astral wolves try to engage characters with this icon" but that feels kind of arbitrary.
I actually rather like this idea. It wouldn't be hard to do - all magic users get a symbol, or nature-magic get one symbol, and chaos-magic gets another.
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Joel Finch
Australia
Carindale
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You could make the targeting thematic - big beefy monsters target the player with the most HP, sneaky monsters target the player with the most cash, magic-sensitive monsters target the highest intelligence, etc.

So instead of making it purely class-based (and making problems for yourself as expansions add extra classes) make it based on stats. That way there's no need to list the classes out - presumably even the warrior has *some* intelligence.
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Sebastian Janssen
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For my current design, I use the following base logic:

1) The players gets to decide which champion is attacked by the monsters. ("Let me go in first, guys.")
2) When a champion deals damage to a monster, that monster will then attack that champion. ("Now I hurt you!")

This allows the players to assign a "tank" to draw the initial attack from the monsters.

You can then tack on another layer (or layers) of special rules.

Some monsters may have special abilities (ambush) that allow them to ignore the assigned champion, specifically not attacking him upon encounter start.

The tank champion may have special abilities (taunt) that will allow him to draw monsters back onto him if they had started attacking one of his fellow champions.
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David Rauscher
New Zealand
Mount Victoria
Wellington
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How about a reverse "threat" idea, where each PC gets a threat rating?

PC's could start off with a default, and then any upgrades could add threat.

Monsters in turn could be designed to attack the highest / lowest threat, in order to make things interesting.

"Tank"-type characters would get higher threat ratings, and most monsters would attack them first.

Ranged characters / spell-casters / rogues would have lower threat ratings, meaning most monsters would not attack first.

You could give monsters simple trigger words or commands to designate who they attack, eg, some monsters might always attacks highest threat (big bad or stupid monsters), while others might always attacks lowest threat (I think cowardly creatures would be likely to do this, and intelligent ranged monsters as well).
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Eric Jome
United States
Franklin
Wisconsin
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A simple target priority system would work, using icons.

"Strongest foe"
"Weakest foe"
"Closest foe"
"Furthest foe"
"Warriors first"
"Wizards first"

If you combine this with preferred attack pattern ("ranged", "close", "from ambush") you get quite a range of options.
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Jason Mancini
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Since you said that this is a Co-op card game I think a great option would just be to let the players decide among themselves who the remaining monsters would attack. The idea being that they are working together for the betterment of the entire team to decide who will best "bite the bullet" and take the extra attack.



Another option could be to even out the attacks by using the following method:

Remaining monsters will start by moving to attack the person who has the fewest monsters attacking them, then the next and then the next and so on. if there are ties you pick the person who is closest to the left side of the last player to have done something. Example below....


Let's say you have 4 players, and they are sitting around the table so you have a set up like this around the table.
Player 1 at the "head" of the table, and then 2, 3 and 4 counting clockwise from player 1.

Player 3 ends up going first this turn, then 4 then 1 and finally 2.

Player 3 got 3 monsters.
Player 4 got 2 monsters.
Player 1 got 3 monsters.
Player 2 got 4 monsters.

There are 3 monsters remaining.
The first remaining monster goes to Player 4 because that player had the fewest monsters.

Now three of the players (1, 3, and 4) all have 3 monsters. Since Player 2 was originally the last one to go the first player to the left of player 2 that is involved in the tie gets a monster. This means Player 3 gets another monster.

Now players 1 and 4 are still tied at three monsters and there is one monster remaining. Since player 4 is the first on player 2s left that is involved in the tie, player 4 gets the last monster.

Might seems convoluted but I suggest trying it out a few times to see how it flows, because I'm pretty sure it will actually go pretty smoothly and quickly once players get the hang of it.

Now I don't really know all of your game mechanics and how everything else will work together so the more complex suggestion might not work for what you're trying to do, but I think it's worth a shot.


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