$35.00
Edington Watt
United Kingdom
Bournemouth
Dorset
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmb
I am currently working on a semi-cooperative space empire game, and I am trying to flesh out the current combat mechanic.

In the game, players are motivated to help each other out against invading threats. So, for example, a marauding Space Amoeba could attack a colonized planet and one or more players may send their fleets to help fend off the attack.

Placing aside right now the specifics of how the combat mechanic works (that can be another thread) I am looking for a fair way of distributing enemy hits amongst the defending players.

As a concrete example, let's say player A has 2 ships in the battle, player B has 1 ship in the battle versus a single enemy Space Amoeba.

A round of combat ensues, and the Space Amoeba scores two hits. How do you determine in a quick, elegant and non-fiddly way how those hits are distributed over the three ships belonging to the two players?

You don't want to give one of the players the ability to make the decision as he will always make it in his favor to the detriment of the other player.

Ideally it should be randomized, but how when you have variable amount of ships in battles?

Any good ideas?

Thanks,

--DarkDream
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Warren Fitzpatrick
United States
Ohio
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Do you have any randomization elements? Dice? Cards? If so, it would seem that utilizing one of those would work best.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Thanee
Germany
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Have cards for all the ships, then shuffle them together, draw cards according to the number of hits. Those ships get hit. If hits are left, when the deck is empty, shuffle the surviving ships (dunno, if 1 hit can destroy a ship or not) and repeat until all hits are distributed.

Bye
Thanee
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Marco F.
Italy
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmb
- Distribute 1 damage to each player starting from the player with the most ship involved.
- Resolve ties giving based on current victory points (if any, or something similar).

In the example proposed, player A takes 1 damage (he decides the ship to which applying it), then Player B takes 1 damage on her only ship.
If there were a third damage, it would go on Player's A second ship.
If there were a fourth damage, it would go on Player's B ship.
If there were a fifth damage, it would go on Player's A first ship.

This way, the one that has more ship gains more damage, but also has the chance to distribute it (and later repairing the ship).
The one that has less ship takes less damage, but it is more concentrated and may destroy the ship.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
France
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
You could share the damage among the players rounding up if necessary and let them distribute it among their ships or in place of rounding up give spare damage to the player with the lowest number of ships to encourage more co-op, tie breaks by the player who initiated combat.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Michael Brettell
Australia
South Turramurra
NSW
flag msg tools
designer
mbmbmbmbmb

You say its SEMI-cooperative, so presumably there are some competitive elements. Could you let the players influence the choice? For example, you could have it that the players take turns choosing 1 ship that gets destroyed. Maybe whichever player spends the most of a resource, or has the highest of a certain attribute gets to choose first.

If there's a certain damage value that needs to be taken, I could choose a larger ship of yours that satisfies it, before you get to choose any of mine! Or me taking in fighters of 1 point vs your dreadnought of 5 points means I only lose a fighter for each of your choices, whereas you could lose a dreadnought.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
James Arias
United States
Sanford
FLORIDA
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Hmm, maybe a mechanism like one kid slices the cookie the other kid chooses which half each kid gets. Like the active player decides how many hits each player gets, but the inactive player pick which of the active player's units take those hits.

Or provide some kind of incentive to take hits. Like you get some kind of buff akin to the Energize cards in Nexus Ops, or accumulated currency you can spend on something.

Either of those would create some tradeoff tension / payback analysis.

 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
I doubt it.
United States
Madison
Wisconsin
flag msg tools
I don't owe you my trust. You owe me your proof.
badge
This is my incredulous face.
mbmbmb
Is there a way to incorporate a material benefit for taking damage? I'd suggest a modification of mfenici and crazybyzantine's suggestions:

1. Begin with the player who has the most ships in the fight, but who is not the target of the attack, breaking ties with VP or whatever is workable

2. That player must apply at least 1 damage to the fleets they have in the fight

3. If the player chooses to accept additional damage beyond the required 1 point, they may do so

4. Each additional point of damage gives them a point of honor, glory, prestige, power, or whatever you want to call it, which can be used elsewhere in the game as a resource (reduce costs, modify combat, etc.)

5. The remaining damage the first player didn't take onto their fleet is passed to the player with the next most fleets who is not the original target, and the process repeats, each player taking 1 point, plus any extra they desire, receiving compensation for increased wear & tear

6. The original target is always the last one to deal with any remaining damage after all volunteers have accepted their damage/losses and been compensated with the other resource; this is regardless of how many ships/fleets the original target has in the fight. The original target gets none of the other resource regardless of how much damage is distributed among their fleets (surviving the fight presumably provides them other rewards, even if it's just "not dying this time")

An example:
Space Amoeba attacks A, and B and C each contribute help.
A provides 3 fleets, C provides 2, and B provides 1.
The Space Amoeba inflicts 2 damage on the defenders.
C gets first choice, and takes 1 damage.
If C chooses to take another damage, she would get 1 honor
If C chooses not to take another damage, she would pass 1 damage to B
If B is passed 1 damage, he must take it with no option to take more
A will take no damage

[edit to elaborate]
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Edington Watt
United Kingdom
Bournemouth
Dorset
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmb
Thanks for all your guys comments.

Warren, yes, I have all the normal available randomization board game material such as dice, cards, chips and so on.
Thanee wrote:
Have cards for all the ships, then shuffle them together, draw cards according to the number of hits. Those ships get hit. If hits are left, when the deck is empty, shuffle the surviving ships (dunno, if 1 hit can destroy a ship or not) and repeat until all hits are distributed.

Yes. I was considering the use of cards. Right now to make it simple, one hit means one ship destroyed. So when all the cards have run out then there are no ships left. If I wanted to add the possibility of, for example, a ship having a shield to negate a hit, and it did, I could go ahead and shuffle that card back in the deck.

To make things a little easier, I was thinking of having small tokens with has each player's symbol on one side. Players would take a number of their tokens equal to the number of ships in combat and place it in an opaque mug or something. For every hit, a token would be pulled out which would indicate which player received the hit.

What do you think of that idea?

mfenici wrote:
- Distribute 1 damage to each player starting from the player with the most ship involved.
- Resolve ties giving based on current victory points (if any, or something similar).

Jorath wrote:
You could share the damage among the players rounding up if necessary and let them distribute it among their ships or in place of rounding up give spare damage to the player with the lowest number of ships to encourage more co-op, tie breaks by the player who initiated combat.

Good suggestions. Ideally I would want the hits to more randomly distributed rather than distributing them equally in a deterministic fashion.

From a gaming standpoint I like more a random distribution, as it puts more tension in the game. For example, you can put in a couple of ships along with a player that puts in twice that much and you have no idea up front (assuming you will take some hits) what will occur. Your allied player may loose all his and none of your ships will even experience a scratch. Or you may be completely eliminated yourself. You just don't know.

I also feel this better captures the theme of a battle where anything can happen.
brettellmd wrote:

You say its SEMI-cooperative, so presumably there are some competitive elements. Could you let the players influence the choice? For example, you could have it that the players take turns choosing 1 ship that gets destroyed. Maybe whichever player spends the most of a resource, or has the highest of a certain attribute gets to choose first.

Really interesting suggestion. I am not so sure how thematic it seems that one player chooses another to receive hits. It definitely adds some gaming spice but it just seems difficult from a thematic perspective to justify that I have more or less resources thus my ship or yours should take the hit.

crazybyzantine wrote:

Or provide some kind of incentive to take hits. Like you get some kind of buff akin to the Energize cards in Nexus Ops, or accumulated currency you can spend on something.

Yes. Another interesting suggestion. I was thinking of possibly having an incentive as well. But from a thematic standpoint, just seems a little weird for a player to gun to take a hit and destroy their ship.
SaintlyThomas wrote:
Is there a way to incorporate a material benefit for taking damage? I'd suggest a modification of mfenici and crazybyzantine's suggestions:

1. Begin with the player who has the most ships in the fight, but who is not the target of the attack, breaking ties with VP or whatever is workable

2. That player must apply at least 1 damage to the fleets they have in the fight

3. If the player chooses to accept additional damage beyond the required 1 point, they may do so

4. Each additional point of damage gives them a point of honor, glory, prestige, power, or whatever you want to call it, which can be used elsewhere in the game as a resource (reduce costs, modify combat, etc.)

5. The remaining damage the first player didn't take onto their fleet is passed to the player with the next most fleets who is not the original target, and the process repeats, each player taking 1 point, plus any extra they desire, receiving compensation for increased wear & tear

6. The original target is always the last one to deal with any remaining damage after all volunteers have accepted their damage/losses and been compensated with the other resource; this is regardless of how many ships/fleets the original target has in the fight. The original target gets none of the other resource regardless of how much damage is distributed among their fleets (surviving the fight presumably provides them other rewards, even if it's just "not dying this time")

Now adding the idea of honor in taking a hit would be a good thematic reason of taking a hit and the incentive would be an added victory point. A little sadistic for my taste though I think this suggestion will work, but I am partial to some totally randomized distribution of hits.

My idea of picking counters from a cup seems a little fiddly. The suggestions of some form of deterministic even distribution, I admit, is less so.

Is there some way of possibly marrying these together or coming up with some random distribution that is a little less fiddly?

Great responses.

--DarkDream
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
France
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Each player has a stack of coloured cards e.g red for one player green for another, For each ship they pay a card, the cards paid are shuffled together and dealt from the top one for each hit received, that colour player takes the hit. Though to be honest each player throwing a token in a bag works better and it could be done in secret so nobody is sure how many they drop in and only known when returning tokens,
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Michael Brettell
Australia
South Turramurra
NSW
flag msg tools
designer
mbmbmbmbmb
DarkDream wrote:

brettellmd wrote:

You say its SEMI-cooperative, so presumably there are some competitive elements. Could you let the players influence the choice? For example, you could have it that the players take turns choosing 1 ship that gets destroyed. Maybe whichever player spends the most of a resource, or has the highest of a certain attribute gets to choose first.

Really interesting suggestion. I am not so sure how thematic it seems that one player chooses another to receive hits. It definitely adds some gaming spice but it just seems difficult from a thematic perspective to justify that I have more or less resources thus my ship or yours should take the hit.


I agree that if I've got more minerals or something than you, it doesn't make any sense thematically. But what about an attribute that is movement- or agility-related on the starships? You could argue that they purposely fly such that the other player's ships take the brunt of the attack.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Thanee
Germany
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
DarkDream wrote:
To make things a little easier, I was thinking of having small tokens with has each player's symbol on one side. Players would take a number of their tokens equal to the number of ships in combat and place it in an opaque mug or something. For every hit, a token would be pulled out which would indicate which player received the hit.

What do you think of that idea?


Depending on how often this is done, it might get a little annoying?

It is less hassle to draw a card than to draw a token from a bag, after all.

Bye
Thanee
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Dave Schroeder
United States
Maryland
flag msg tools
designer
mbmb
Since you want it to be random, drawing cards or tokens is probably the simplest option. If ships are not identical, then a specific card for each ship would eliminate a second step of "you lose a ship, now pick which ship."

This also allows you to pretty easily add mechanics to alter combat, either as ship effects that happen when that ship is drawn, or player traits.
Evade: Take back the first card of yours that's drawn.
Deflect: Take back the first card of yours that's drawn, then draw a replacement.
Redeploy: Look at the top X cards and reorder them.
Shields/Armor: put the card back on top.
Self-destruct: cause additional damage (in case you only have one ship in combat

1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Edington Watt
United Kingdom
Bournemouth
Dorset
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmb
brettellmd wrote:
I agree that if I've got more minerals or something than you, it doesn't make any sense thematically. But what about an attribute that is movement- or agility-related on the starships? You could argue that they purposely fly such that the other player's ships take the brunt of the attack.
I thought about this, and came up with the idea of still using player attributes to determine order but have those attributes selected by the enemy AI.

Here are my current thoughts.

An enemy is represented by a card that has a section which indicates how its hits are distributed.

So, for example, with the Space Amoeba it will say something like this on the card:

All hits: most damage, most fleets


What this means is that if the Space Amoeba generates hits, all of them will be allocated to the player who did the most damage, and if players are tied for most damage, then the player with the most fleets takes the hits. If one or more players are tied in damage allocated and fleet size, I am thinking rolling a die amongst the tied players (lowest roll takes damage) or drawing a random counter that represents the player to take the damage.

So for example, lets say we have a battle with a Space Amoeba where player A has 2 ships, and player B has 1 ship.

In the first round, both players score 0 hits, while the Space Amoeba scores 1 hit. As each player scored no hits (tied for most hits), you look at the second criteria which is based on fleet size. As player A has 2 ships, he takes all hits which in this case is 1 hit which destroys one of his two ships.

For the second round, player A scores 1 hit, and the Space Amoeba scores 2 hits. As player A did the most damage to the Amoeba, all 2 hits are allocated to player A which destroys his last ship with the extra hit being lost.

As the Space Amoeba can only take one hit, it is killed and player B is left with the single surviving ship.

What I like about this is that the enemy determines how hits are allocated which seems fairly thematic to me. A Space Amoeba is an animal and will thus lash out at any ship that hurts it the most.

For differing enemies, you have different hit allocations. A religious anti-tech enemy may target a player with the most anti-religious technologies. Another enemy, will always target the defending player of a planet and so on.

I think this is pretty easy and fast to do.

What do you guys think?

Thanks,

DarkDream
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
JT Schiavo
United States
Frederick
MD
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmb
DarkDream wrote:
brettellmd wrote:
I agree that if I've got more minerals or something than you, it doesn't make any sense thematically. But what about an attribute that is movement- or agility-related on the starships? You could argue that they purposely fly such that the other player's ships take the brunt of the attack.
I thought about this, and came up with the idea of still using player attributes to determine order but have those attributes selected by the enemy AI.

Here are my current thoughts.

An enemy is represented by a card that has a section which indicates how its hits are distributed.

So, for example, with the Space Amoeba it will say something like this on the card:

All hits: most damage, most fleets


What this means is that if the Space Amoeba generates hits, all of them will be allocated to the player who did the most damage, and if players are tied for most damage, then the player with the most fleets takes the hits. If one or more players are tied in damage allocated and fleet size, I am thinking rolling a die amongst the tied players (lowest roll takes damage) or drawing a random counter that represents the player to take the damage.

So for example, lets say we have a battle with a Space Amoeba where player A has 2 ships, and player B has 1 ship.

In the first round, both players score 0 hits, while the Space Amoeba scores 1 hit. As each player scored no hits (tied for most hits), you look at the second criteria which is based on fleet size. As player A has 2 ships, he takes all hits which in this case is 1 hit which destroys one of his two ships.

For the second round, player A scores 1 hit, and the Space Amoeba scores 2 hits. As player A did the most damage to the Amoeba, all 2 hits are allocated to player A which destroys his last ship with the extra hit being lost.

As the Space Amoeba can only take one hit, it is killed and player B is left with the single surviving ship.

What I like about this is that the enemy determines how hits are allocated which seems fairly thematic to me. A Space Amoeba is an animal and will thus lash out at any ship that hurts it the most.

For differing enemies, you have different hit allocations. A religious anti-tech enemy may target a player with the most anti-religious technologies. Another enemy, will always target the defending player of a planet and so on.

I think this is pretty easy and fast to do.

What do you guys think?

Thanks,

DarkDream


I like this idea, with the exception of hits being wasted. I guess you can make the argument that the enemy doesn't know how successful the attack will be and only attacks one fleet, but I think going both deterministic and wasting hits leaves little incentive for a player to ever assist in a battle where they would be the first target.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Dave Schroeder
United States
Maryland
flag msg tools
designer
mbmb
DarkDream wrote:


For differing enemies, you have different hit allocations. A religious anti-tech enemy may target a player with the most anti-religious technologies. Another enemy, will always target the defending player of a planet and so on.

I think this is pretty easy and fast to do.

What do you guys think?

Thanks,

DarkDream


It sounds like it would make the decision to participate in combat much more interesting, since you would be deciding based on what you think the other players are going to do instead of totally random outcomes.

I think you probably want to build in the ability to split damage, at least in some cases, just to keep your options wide open. A plasma cloud enemy for instance, that splits damage evenly across all players that fill a certain criteria.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Edington Watt
United Kingdom
Bournemouth
Dorset
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmb
crinaya wrote:
I like this idea, with the exception of hits being wasted. I guess you can make the argument that the enemy doesn't know how successful the attack will be and only attacks one fleet, but I think going both deterministic and wasting hits leaves little incentive for a player to ever assist in a battle where they would be the first target.

That's a good point. I was thinking that by having the hits allocated to the player that caused the most damage (which is random based on die rolls) you would never be sure it would necessarily be you that takes all the hits. However, you are right it may indeed cause some players to not contribute ships to a fight. I will need to play test it to see.

I also thought instead of all hits going to one player you can have something like this printed on the card instead:

Equal hits: highest attack roll, fleet size

Instead of having "All" like in the space Amoeba, this enemy distributes one hit at a time in order of the players with the highest to lowest attack roll with ties going to the greatest to lowest number of ships per player.

Thus to use an example, a powerful enemy attacks player A with 2 ships and player B with 1 ship.

In the first round, the enemy scores 2 hits. Player A's highest attack roll is a 4 and player B's a 2. The hits are distributed one hit at a time from the highest attack roll to the lowest. In this case, the first hit goes to the Player A (his highest roll a 4) and the next hit to the second highest roll which in this case player B.

This may not be a perfect example, but there is flexibility in the system to have hits distributed more uniformly.

Good observations.

--DarkDream



 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
France
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Thematically the enemy regards the players as one fleet so I personally would prefer a distribution among the ships rather than players also to encourage co-op play maybe there could be a reward based on your number of surviving ships.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
JT Schiavo
United States
Frederick
MD
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmb
I know it adds another step, but perhaps each ship makes an attack roll and a defense roll. (This could even apply to the enemy ships as well.) Ships that make a poor defense roll are the first ones hit, and there could be technological bonuses for stealth(roll no defense dice if you don't hit), maneuverability(bonus to defense rolls), or training(reroll defense dice).

You could easily perform this by rolling a pair of dice for each committed ship, one red for attack and one blue for defense. Of course the viability of such a system depends on how many ships will get committed to a battle. One or two per player? Fine. Ten per player? That's a lot of dice.


I do prefer the deterministic approach, personally, but random might be easier to balance into the rest of the game.

Another way to encourage the semi co-op plays in a deterministic system would be to provide some kind of reward to players that take hits when someone else is under attack. Some type of compensation for lost ships, be it money, vp, whatever. It could even come from the defending player instead of the bank, to make it a much less altruistic action.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Dave Schroeder
United States
Maryland
flag msg tools
designer
mbmb
DarkDream wrote:
I also thought instead of all hits going to one player you can have something like this printed on the card instead:

Equal hits: highest attack roll, fleet size

Instead of having "All" like in the space Amoeba, this enemy distributes one hit at a time in order of the players with the highest to lowest attack roll with ties going to the greatest to lowest number of ships per player


You could expand this to add more granularity and less math with something like:

Highest attack roll (2)
fleet size


With damage progressing down the condition list. In this case, the first 2 damage would go to the player with the highest roll, the next damage to the player with the largest fleet, and any remaining damage would loop back to the top. No division, rounding or wasted hits, and it adds the possibility of players betting that the later conditions might not even happen when deciding whether to participate.

You could also add other conditions to encourage participation like:

surviving fleet size: *some reward*
lowest attack roll: removed from combat

 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
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.