Christian T
Germany
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Hi there,

long story short: I was/am developing a role-playing game to play with my six-year old that was simple enough for him to play and even be the game master from time to time. But the combat system still has its flaws. So maybe you have some input on how to improve things?!

Every player has a maximum of 6 hand cards and the hand cards consist of cards with numbers 1 to 13 on it (as well as fantasy-style pictures of fantasy creatures such as dragons). We say the players have a "little army of monsters". The combats are as follows:

1.) Once a combat pops up the player rolls a six-sided die. The rolled number is the number of enemies to fight.

2.) From the deck of the creature cards (numbered 1-13 and with the fantasy creature pictures) the rolled number of enemy cards are revealed and put on the table.

3.) The player now has to choose which one of his hand cards to match with which enemy card. It is similar to trick-taking games that the card that has the higher number "kills" the matched creature. If both creatures have the same number printed on them, both creatures die. And if one enemy card remains unmatched, the number printed on that unmatched card is subtracted from the players health.

A short example: One player rolled a 3.

Cards with the numbers 3 11 and 8 are revealed to the player. The player has following hand cards: 1 2 6 and 10
So he would match his hand cards the following way: 3-6 11-1 8-10. In this case the enemy cards 3 and 8 and the players card 1 "die". Hence, the player made 2 "creatures damage" to the enemy, while the enemy only made 1 "creature damage". Hence, the player wins the combat and receives some reward. Note that if the player rolled a 6, he would not have enough hand cards to match all enemy cards and would have suffered health damage.

One obvious problem: At the beginning of the game, having to fight against 6 enemy cards can be way to hard, as you have not had much opportunities to manage your hand cards and have only weak and a low number of creatures.

The other problem I am facing: At the end of the game the players usually have strong and six creatures in their hand. One (or all) player(s) have to fight against the enemy boss. It is difficult to come up with a interesting fight now that the players have all strong hand cards. So far the boss fight is like this: There are 2 enemy cards that are not in the creature card deck that have the numbers 20 and 21 on them. So they are so strong not one card in the players hand can win against them. On the other hand, they should be matched as otherwise they would suffer severe health damage. They obviously cannot win against those two cards alone, so the player has to roll the six-sided die. The rolled number is the number of additional cards to fight. But that means the player has to roll at least a 3 in order to be able to win the fight (the player would have to make 3 "creature damage" to overcome the 2 "creature damage" suffered from the 20 and 21 creature). At the same time rolling a very high number comes at the risk of having to many enemy cards to match with the (limited) number of hand cards. I am not happy with the boss fight in particular as it makes the fight so arbitrary. The die basically decides whether you win the boss fight or not.

Did you ever come across a similar mechanic in a game? How did they overcome these problems? I am grateful for every advice. Thanks everyone!
 
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Warren Fitzpatrick
United States
Ohio
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edotclz wrote:

One obvious problem: At the beginning of the game, having to fight against 6 enemy cards can be way to hard, as you have not had much opportunities to manage your hand cards and have only weak and a low number of creatures.

The other problem I am facing: At the end of the game the players usually have strong and six creatures in their hand. One (or all) player(s) have to fight against the enemy boss. It is difficult to come up with a interesting fight now that the players have all strong hand cards. So far the boss fight is like this: There are 2 enemy cards that are not in the creature card deck that have the numbers 20 and 21 on them. So they are so strong not one card in the players hand can win against them. On the other hand, they should be matched as otherwise they would suffer severe health damage. They obviously cannot win against those two cards alone, so the player has to roll the six-sided die. The rolled number is the number of additional cards to fight. But that means the player has to roll at least a 3 in order to be able to win the fight (the player would have to make 3 "creature damage" to overcome the 2 "creature damage" suffered from the 20 and 21 creature). At the same time rolling a very high number comes at the risk of having to many enemy cards to match with the (limited) number of hand cards. I am not happy with the boss fight in particular as it makes the fight so arbitrary. The die basically decides whether you win the boss fight or not.

Did you ever come across a similar mechanic in a game? How did they overcome these problems? I am grateful for every advice. Thanks everyone!

Problem 1 (too many enemies) - Use levels. So level 1 has 1/2 of the d6 result.

Problem 2 - Not sure I understand it, but if you have good cards, it seems the easiest fix is to increase the difficulty "number" you need to reach for a boss.
 
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Dave Schroeder
United States
Maryland
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For the first problem I agree with Warren, adding some modifier to the dice roll would be the easiest. If you want to make it a player decision, let them pick every battle what die to use (d4, d6, d8, etc) and have different rewards for each battle difficulty.

For the second problem you could allow matching of multiple cards to the boss cards, with the sum determining the winner. If the boss card was valued at 20, then the players could collectively match a 6, 11, and 4 to beat that card.
 
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