Recommend
3 
 Thumb up
 Hide
21 Posts

BoardGameGeek» Forums » Board Game Design » Board Game Design

Subject: Area control attack incentives rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Daniel Johansson
Sweden
Stockholm
flag msg tools
mbmbmb
Hi!
In many area control war games both the attacker and the defender get weakened after combat (lose units). This results in that they are now an attractive target to attack for the next player in turn.

I see this as a problem since:
# this does not incentivize the initial player to attack
# combat will be focused to these territories rather than all around the map

Any ideas on how to prevent this? I want strong incentives to attack and to do battle all over the map

Thanks!
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jeremy Lennert
United States
California
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Perhaps the value of a territory is reduced the more fighting occurs there? This makes virgin targets relatively more attractive.
8 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
1 Lucky Texan
United States
Arlington
Texas
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Antistone wrote:
Perhaps the value of a territory is reduced the more fighting occurs there? This makes virgin targets relatively more attractive.


brilliant!

the 'earth is scorched' or radioactive, or the farmers/non-combatants in the area leave and there's less production there? Then, after the area is looted, it's worthless? so, you have immediate high value then moderate value, then worthless?
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Billy Lumiukko
Finland
flag msg tools
How about a cake break!
badge
How about a cake break!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Antistone wrote:
Perhaps the value of a territory is reduced the more fighting occurs there? This makes virgin targets relatively more attractive.

Blood Rage does something along those lines: once a location is pillaged, the reward is no longer usable.
But this game is a bit special as you might actually want your units to die...
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
James O'Grady
United Kingdom
Wymondham
Norfolk
flag msg tools
mbmbmb
I think something like that happens in Chad: The Toyota Wars I believe.

Also in the computer game Civilisation 2. After taking a city, the population drops by one. If a city exchanges hands repeatedly, it drops ever time. In the World War II scenario, I had Paris disappear completely as it swapped so much.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Carl Nyberg
Canada
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
What if you get a card that helps you every time you are attacked in a certain territory?

i.e. If you have troops in Ukraine and are attacked, you get a "Ukraine" card that may give you reinforcements or a bonus on defense or something. That way, another player has less incentive to attack what has just been attacked.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Man thinks, the river flows.
United States
Riva
Maryland
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmb

    I'm not seeing a problem with the two issues you raise. If the territory is valuable, it encourages conquest. In a multi-player game you cut deals, you negotiate, you reinforce, in order to succeed. This is a well worn road with a lot of successful titles on it.

             S.


2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Justen Brown
United States
Virginia
flag msg tools
badge
mbmbmbmbmb
All the war games I've seen (which admittedly isn't a wide net) account for attrition. There's a "defeated" state, but more likely it results in retreating as opposed to directly losing units which is more devastating when the objective of the game is to hold territory.

For example, Kemet has values for strength, defense, and unit kills but strength is the only deciding factor in winning a battle and therefor getting victory points. So you can win a fight even if you inflicted 0 kills or got all your own units killed and the game is built around balancing that.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Robert Manning
United States
Sunnyvale
California
flag msg tools
badge
mbmbmbmbmb
Give the surviving units some form of experience bonus -- veteran status, better commanders, a boost in technology development, etc. So there will be fewer of them, but of higher quality.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Michael Brettell
Australia
South Turramurra
NSW
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb

Increase the rewards for victory. For example, the successful attacker or defender gets to replenish their forces.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Eric Smith
United States
New Orleans
Louisiana
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
How about you reward the player based on how much damage they are able to inflict on the enemy. Take players Alice, Bob, and Charles; with army sizes of 4, 5, and 6 all within striking distance of each other. Bob attacks Alice and is able to defeat her army, earning 4 points. Alice inflicts 3 damage on Bob, earning 3 points. Charles attacks Bob's size 2 army, defeating it for 2 points. So Bob is awarded for initiating, Alice is awarded for actually fighting in a big conflict, and Charles is only in third place because of his wait and see attitude.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
JT Schiavo
United States
Frederick
MD
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmb
supafrieke wrote:
How about you reward the player based on how much damage they are able to inflict on the enemy. Take players Alice, Bob, and Charles; with army sizes of 4, 5, and 6 all within striking distance of each other. Bob attacks Alice and is able to defeat her army, earning 4 points. Alice inflicts 3 damage on Bob, earning 3 points. Charles attacks Bob's size 2 army, defeating it for 2 points. So Bob is awarded for initiating, Alice is awarded for actually fighting in a big conflict, and Charles is only in third place because of his wait and see attitude.


Senji does this. When a player wins a fight, they kill all enemy units and an equal number of their own units, then score points based on total casualties, with the attacker scoring double if they won.

Then again, senji has a lot of diplomacy and production as well.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Maarten D. de Jong
Netherlands
Zaandam
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
dabuel wrote:
Any ideas on how to prevent this? I want strong incentives to attack and to do battle all over the map

Go play Quantum, and look how that game incentivises attacking. There are several mechanisms at work, and they all contribute to a very agressive environment.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
JT Schiavo
United States
Frederick
MD
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmb
I think Risk does a good job of giving incentive to attack. The need to have a successful attack to gain a card each turn means that players can't afford to sit back and watch or they will fall behind in cards, which directly equates to troop production.

In later risk games, you could even use those cards to buy victory points when not playing for world domination.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jonathan "Gorno" Fashena
United States
Westchester
New York
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
bill437 wrote:
What if you get a card that helps you every time you are attacked in a certain territory?

i.e. If you have troops in Ukraine and are attacked, you get a "Ukraine" card that may give you reinforcements or a bonus on defense or something. That way, another player has less incentive to attack what has just been attacked.
However this is done (maybe a bonus chip to place on the AOC), this could reflect the victor learning, the hard way, the subtle tactical issues of the terrain and/or "digging in" foxholes, etc. (in the latter case, taken to its extreme of trenches and redoubts, it would make more sense if these benefits accrued by residency rather than victory, and remained behind to be taken over unless demolished).

Gorno (late to the party)
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Bill Cook
United States
Massachusetts
flag msg tools
crinaya wrote:
I think Risk does a good job of giving incentive to attack. The need to have a successful attack to gain a card each turn means that players can't afford to sit back and watch or they will fall behind in cards, which directly equates to troop production.


That doesn't really solve the problem. At least in Classic Risk, you are much better off letting other people battle it out while you do the minimum amount of attacking to get your card. Fighting is really harmful for both the victor and the defeated. (Side note... this is a lesson that does carry over to the real world and more people need to learn.... but that's a different discussion for a different day.)

Where Risk does encourage all out fighting is in the end game. Once the card bonuses get high, it's really worth going after somebody if you can eliminate them. When you eliminate them, you get their valuable cards.

So to the OP, I would look to a mechanic where attaching and defeating somebody gets you more than just getting control of the territory. The victor might get the defeated player's cards, or next turn, or until from another territory that defect after seeing what a poor king they serve, etc.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Oblivion Doll
New Zealand
flag msg tools
Avatar
1. Some form of advantage to attackers.

Basically, make attacking easier. If it's easier to attack than defend, it's more likely for players to initiate than to sit back.

2. Depleting resources from battling.

Maybe have each territory hold a limited number of resources that are depleted by use, AND by fights happening in the region. Valuable regions can be drained working them hard, OR by people fighting to take them from you.

3. Victory rewards to compensate/negate the loss of units.

The final step in combat could be a free "reinforce" action that lets you move troops from nearby regions (often regions which are now behind your front line) into the area to prevent it from being an easy target. Another option would be a "draft" or "call to arms" where you can recruit militia troops from the newly-conquered (or successfully defended) territory as temporary defenders.

Any combination of the above can be justified in different games, depending on the theme and feel you're going for.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Robert Seater
United States
Ashland
Massachusetts
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
I help designers improve their games.
badge
Feed me...games...
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Antistone wrote:
Perhaps the value of a territory is reduced the more fighting occurs there? This makes virgin targets relatively more attractive.

The reverse can work well too -- after the fight, the survivor has a better terrain as consolation for the effort. Cry Havoc does something similar to that. Or just outright award points for combat, as in Kemet or Nexus Ops. Combat is core to the game, but attrition and back-and-forth exchanges are encouraged not punished.

Those examples aren't true area majority games, but the mechanic would translate well.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Oblivion Doll
New Zealand
flag msg tools
Avatar
rseater wrote:
Antistone wrote:
Perhaps the value of a territory is reduced the more fighting occurs there? This makes virgin targets relatively more attractive.

The reverse can work well too -- after the fight, the survivor has a better terrain as consolation for the effort. Cry Havoc does something similar to that. Or just outright award points for combat, as in Kemet or Nexus Ops. Combat is core to the game, but attrition and back-and-forth exchanges are encouraged not punished.

Those examples aren't true area majority games, but the mechanic would translate well.


Cry Havoc's system is really good for that game, but I don't think it fits here. The OP is trying to incentivise fighting that spreads across the map, rather than clumping into a specific corner.

By making a territory more valuable after a fight, there's further incentive to contain the fight in that area, to make sure you have control of it to gain the benefits, and the more fighting happens, the more the location grows in value. You're discouraged from seeking fresh areas to attack once a few battles have been fought.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
James Carlton
Australia
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Routing and rallying is a pretty common solution here - at least in a two player situation.

A force of '8' attacks a force of '6' and wins. When the dust settles maybe the attackers are reduced to 5 and the defenders to 4. The defender might want to immediately counterattack with a separate force of 3 using his surviving force of 4 to make 7. They can't though because the previous defenders are routed, their morale too shattered to fight again. You can then delay how long they rally to be able to fight again.

More than 2 players is trickier.

Forbidden Stars has some nice hidden order mechanics that mean you can never be certain that a previous battle will have taken place before your forces sweep in to clean up the pieces. You might just send your troops on a suicide mission into a fully prepared defense. It also has an order stack that means a player can stack several actions in one spot and know that they will be able to do those orders in a row, uninterrupted by another player allowing them to attack and then reinforce.

It also benefits from a loose system that pairs up players to fight over particular areas and separates 'objectives' from 'resources'. Capturing an objective is a one off goal that completes 25% or so of your win condition. Once it is achieved it cannot be taken away so the attacker is encouraged to win a decisive battle but not worry so much about holding it afterwards. Planets that give good resources on the other hand are often not worth expending a lot of troops to attack as their effect on your win condition is much more subtle.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Freelance Police
United States
Palo Alto
California
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
You're assuming combat is an objective of the game. It doesn't have to be. Many wargames have objective markers, encouraging players to do more than just fight each other. You can also design a resource-based combat game, where resources are used not just to build new units, but (ugh) VP's, accelerate the game timer to the end, and other options. Also, some wargames design games for multiple battle fronts. Winning one battle here does not mean winning the battle there.

You are correct that many games do not have an incentive to attack, resulting in turtling. This is where objective markers on the board come into play.
 
 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.