Juan Pablo Vargas Seguel
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Hi there,

I'm designing a battle game, where each player controls 2 to 5 units. Each unit is a pawn on the board, but also a card in front of its owner, where the main info is shown (Name, Weapon, HP, MP, Speed, Attack, etc.).

My problem is that each unit has around 8 traits/stast/levels. Some of these traits vary only a bit, like Speed (from 3 to 5), while others, like HP or MP, can go from 0 to 300 (in steps of 5).
So I need a way to keep track of these levels without making it too complex to use and understand.

First, when testing the game, we used pencil and eraser to write and rewrite the present HP each time it changed; then we tried using a small grid with numbers, crossing out the squares as the HP decreased, but it also increases sometimes, so it was worse than before.
Now we want to come up with a fine method to keep track of the HP and MP. We have thougt using sliders, pins, another pawn in a "stats board", erasable pen, etc., but we are not satisfied yet.
200/5 means that there are 61 possible values for HP and MP (0, 5, 10 ... 300), so it's not that easy.

What ideas come to your mind? If you need more detail please let me know. Thank you very much, good bye!
 
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David Cheng
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To be honest, there is no easy way to keep track of 61 values, not to mention there are 8 traits for each unit.

I suggest no more than 11 values (let say 0 to 10) for each trait, then track it with a cube/pawn for each trait.
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Tonichi Sanvictores
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I agree with David. It seems like you're trying to convert a skirmish RPG into a board game, hence the many stats, but with minis.

Board games I've seen that are similar to what you're doing use either:
* Streamlined stats on the bases of the minis (HeroClix, Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game)
* Stats card for units where stats are listed and manipulated (Super Dungeon Explore, I think --- can't remember any others)
* Character card where stats are constant, and abilities are printed (MTG: Planeswalkers)

Hope this helps.
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Simplify, simplify, simplify.

If damage can only be dealt in units of 5, divide by five. There's no reason to keep a scale of 0-300 if the granularity is identical to a scale of 0-60. So, now you have a scale from 0-60. That can fairly easily be represented by chits in values of 20, 10, 5 and 1, similar to the way Heroes Wanted does for villain damage.

As for the other stats, it would help if we could see the card or board that represents the character.
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Juan Pablo Vargas Seguel
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Thanks for your recommendations.

Yes, I think I have to simplify. Well, most stats are not a real problem, as Attack, Speed, Magic and two more have an inicial value (which can be printed), and can be increased or diminished only in small amounts, which can be shown with chits or tokens...

As for HP (0-300) and MP (0-200), I think I will have to reduce the possible values, for example going from 10 to 10.
I don't think that dividing in 5 makes a real difference, because the same "chit system" can be applied, but with chits of 5, 10 and 50...

Also, I have thought in using sliders on the edge of unit cards (like in "Betrayal on the House of the Hill"). Here, HP and MP stats could be tracked with two little sliders that go around the card, but maybe it looks bad... And there would be 30 or 60 values, so the main problem is not solved yet.

If you get more ideas I would love to hear them, thanks!!
 
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Metäl Warrior
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I've thought about a similar problem with my early stage of a dungeon crawler design. I started with 12-20 HP, but after thinking about it, I've gone down to 1-5 HP. Rather than having highly granular HP, I'm designing the hit chances and damage model at lower granularity, with most hits lashing 1 or 2 damage, with some epic criticals striking for 3 or 4. You can further fudge things around by giving armor or other damage mitigation, so your effective HP can be actually much higher than 5.

5 stages (HP) can be displayed with cards or tokens, by just rotating them 90 degrees for every lost HP. 4th HP is turning the card face down (incapacitated or stunned), and 5th is taking it away from play (dead).

You could extend this further by doing 45 degree turns, although that may be error prone, haven't tested it. If you use both sides of a card or token, you could have up to 17 HP without any counters!

Agree with Davin, there's no point in having HP which are divisible by 5. It's like those pinball machines where the lowest score given is one thousand, or even one million
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Matthew Girdlestone
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Simplify...
Different Color Lego Bricks. Example: 2x4 Bricks = 5, 2x2 Bricks = 1.
 
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James Campbell
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As others have said, first of all you should find a way to simplify.

Complex is good to a point, but at some point it just becomes tedious and you're better off playing a Roleplaying game.

Talisman uses an interesting way of keeping track of some stats. They have these little cones in two sizes (if I remember correctly) that you stack. They represent 1 and 5 (or maybe 10) respectively, and you count them to know how much you have in that particular stat/ability. This also allows you to add/remove easily.

Even then .. simplify. 0 to 300, even in steps of 5, is too much for the average gamer to do book-keeping on and still have fun.
 
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Juan Pablo Vargas Seguel
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Thank you again for your ideas =)

I am thinking how to simplify the game, but I also want to keep some of the features that (I think) make it fun... So it is a trade of...

I like the idea of stackable cones, it seems more neat than numbered chits.

Also, there is a point I haven't mentiones yet: In the present game, normal units usualy have an initianl HP of 100 or 150... Only in extreme cases they can start with 200, 250 or 300 HP, so maybe that is part of the problem, but it means there could be better ways to track it, like a system that goes from 0 to 100, and chits that are worth 100 HP, or something like that.

Also, a question for you:
Poll
If you were going to play a "skirmish two-players boardgame" where each player controls 4 units, would you prefer to have one card for each unit, or a sheet of paper for all your units, where you could write and rewrite their stats?
One card per unit.
A sheet of paper for all my units.
      13 answers
Poll created by Champol


Thanks!
 
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Jay Sears
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What I'm doing for my war-type games is using tokens and place them underneath the units to keep track of their health stats. All I need is one token for each unit for their health stat. All other stats on the cards don't change. It works well and is a very simplified way of doing it. A dice is then used for combat.
 
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I recently had another thought for this. Provided the board is large enough and that each side will always have at most four characters, you could put four tracks running the width of the board on each side and track health and mana with two different colored markers for each character.
 
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Juan Pablo Vargas Seguel
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Aha, aha, thanks for your ideas =)
Anyway, I don't think they fit very well in this game.

Quote:
using tokens and place them underneath the units to keep track of their health stats.

In this case that would not be possible. I have to keep track of HP and MP, and that mechanism can be only used with small numbers or "on/off" stats.

Quote:
you could put four tracks running the width of the board on each side and track health and mana with two different colored markers for each character.

I have thought of a mechanism using a long track, with each unit represented by two numbered tokens (in my game, each unit has a number from 1 to 12), but the game also has a turn-grid, so maybe it is too much.


Anyway, I have got an idea I would like to share, to see if it seems appropriate and easy to use and understand. Watch this:



Basically, the HP and MP levels are shown by a two sliders on one edge of the card (or maybe two edges), and the marker is reversible: On one side it says "0" (zero), and on the other it says "100+", so in the example, the unit has an HP level of 180 and an MP level of 40.

What do you think about it?
Obviously, I have to solve the problem of what if MP and HP are on the same number, but that's not very difficult.
Good bye!
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Metäl Warrior
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I like the idea of a reversible clip. When HP and MP are the same, just use one marker, doesn't matter which one. I would like to re-iterate my dislike for 0-100 scale which only has 10 steps, so it could be represented by a scale from 1-10 with less mental overhead

The problem with the clip is that it has to be designed really well so it doesn't mar the card, or ruin the edge, while staying put even when you move or drag it across the table.

Alternative would be to use good old pencil and eraser, or a dry marker.

Finally, with a round base you could have several stages. If you put markings on the edge of the base and make the bases rotating, you could use it like an egg timer to indicate how many HP are left. Probably quite fiddly, though, especially since you have two stats to track. You'd have to lift the mini off the map every time it takes damage, and remember to put it back into the same square as well.

Building on that, you could separate the base from the mini, and put it next to the card instead of on the map. It would be in easy reach, and easier to change.

You could have one ring (a "coin" with a hole in the middle) for HP, another for MP. They could sit on a base coin with a stick in the middle where you stack the HP/MP coins. The base has an arrow pointing at the current HP and MP, and you rotate the HP/MP coins. The base could be different color for different unit types, and have a longer stem if you need to track more stats. Hope that makes sense!
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Jaffeli wrote:
I would like to re-iterate my dislike for 0-100 scale which only has 10 steps, so it could be represented by a scale from 1-10 with less mental overhead


This. Again, simplify, if you can. The smaller (while not negative) the numbers that have to be manuipulated are, the faster the operation. Subtracting 30 from 90 is slower than subtracting three from nine. I know it doesn't seem more complicated to you, but a lot of people are not very good with numbers.

Jaffeli wrote:
I like the idea of a reversible clip...The problem with the clip is that it has to be designed really well so it doesn't mar the card, or ruin the edge, while staying put even when you move or drag it across the table.


Me, too! If these were character boards, instead of cards, a la Zombicide: Black Plague, these wouldn't be issues. The HP and MP tracks would have to be on different edges, though.

Magnets are another option for a player board. They would eliminate all of these drawbacks as well as allowing you to place the track on the interior of the board, as well as the edge.

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Juan Pablo Vargas Seguel
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Aha, interesting ideas!

Maybe I have to clear something: Each unit is represented by a miniature in the board, AND the card in front of the player (the card could be thin or thick) so the slider shouldn't be an issue, because the card doesn't need to be moved. Have you played "Betrayal at the House of the Hill"?.

About the 0-100 scale problem, I agree with you that I should use numbers from 0 to 9. This means I would have to double all the HP values I had already set for my game, because I wanted the lines between the numbers to be used for 5x values (15, 75, etc.)... So I will amplify everything by 2 and divide by 10 (I know that's the same as dividing by 5). whistle

HaNd_SoLo wrote:
If these were character boards, instead of cards, these wouldn't be issues.


I'm not sure I understood: Why do yo think the sliders are difficult to use if using unit cards instead of unit boards?

Bye!
 
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Champol wrote:
...the card in front of the player (the card could be thin or thick) so the slider shouldn't be an issue, because the card doesn't need to be moved.


Cards are thin and flexible, easily shuffled. If you make them thick, they become boards.

Champol wrote:
HaNd_SoLo wrote:
If these were character boards, instead of cards, these wouldn't be issues.


I'm not sure I understood: Why do yo think the sliders are difficult to use if using unit cards instead of unit boards?


If you use a slider on a card, it will have a tendency to bend the card or tear up the edge. It will also lift that edge of the card, making it more likely the rest of the card gets bent.

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Juan Pablo Vargas Seguel
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Aha, I get it...

maybe "card" is not the word I was looking for, but honestly I have not decided yet if they will be thin cards or thick boards... Also, the idea of a board where you "mount" the cards is pretty temptating, I will consider it.
 
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Juan Pablo Vargas Seguel
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I want to ask another question:

What are the pros and cons of using card sleeves and markers to write over the card?
In this case, you could just erase and rewrite the actual HP and MP everytime it changes.
Is this a good idea? maybe simpler than the slider idea?
or is it less atractive?

I want to hear your opinions.
 
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Craig Somerton
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Champol wrote:

Anyway, I have got an idea I would like to share, to see if it seems appropriate and easy to use and understand. Watch this:



Interesting. I started using paper clips on one of my games a few years back, just for this purpose, but the metal kept scoring and marking the cards, so I sleeved them.

I noticed The Game Crafter have Slider Clips, which are better but still not perfect. http://news.thegamecrafter.com/post/31863193044/slider-clip

That said, I love your idea of printed values on the clips - that makes then VERY useful as you could significantly alter the values just using different colours or values on the clip itself.
 
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Metäl Warrior
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Champol wrote:
I want to ask another question:

What are the pros and cons of using card sleeves and markers to write over the card?
In this case, you could just erase and rewrite the actual HP and MP everytime it changes.
Is this a good idea? maybe simpler than the slider idea?
or is it less atractive?

I want to hear your opinions.


Recent KS campaign for Near and Far researched this, and had an entry in their FAQ on this (scroll to the bottom). They found that using a dry erase marker on a card would result in residue in the game box, and be messy. They ended up using the good old pencil and eraser method.

I think for that to work in the long term you'd have to have multiple cards when they have been used for a while, or cards that can be printed at home.
 
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Robyn Dawson-Ruiz
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For MP and HP you could have a track that goes from 0 to 50 in steps of 5. you could then put a die on this track that has the following sides: +250, +200, +150, +100, +50, and +0. The number shown on the die plus the value on the track is your current HP and MP. You could even use a single track per unit, with a red die for HP and a blue die for MP.
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Juan Pablo Vargas Seguel
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Thanks for your comments.

I still want to try the slider idea, but I'm preparing a prototype for testing the whole game, and for now I will use sleeves and markers to keep track of HP and MP.

The sleeves are only for the cards you choose to play with, so after using them there shouldn't be a problem to erase the ink and put them into the box (and there could be extra sleeves, just in case).

One of the cons of the slider method is that the numbers occupy too much space on the edge of the cards, and I want to make them Poker size, so it's difficult to fit all the info in the space left.

The red and blue die system is a good idea, but I think I need to avoid adding more components to the game (in this case: the HP/MP board), althought the six faces of the die allow all the combinations...

So that's for now, I will test my game with the marker-on-sleeve method, and then decide if changes are needed. Thank you very much!

(I will keep listening to your ideas anyway).

PD: A more sofisticated method would be to create a 3D printed plastic "frame" for the cards, that holds them and has the scale to track these values... whatever.
 
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