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Endure the Stars» Forums » Variants

Subject: Streamlining combat (a bit) rss

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Jonathan Rowe
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EtS is, mechanically speaking, a simple game and simplicity is its charm. You're not consulting a myriad of tables or rolling different shapes of dice. Any house rule that complicates things needs scrutiny.

Yet there's one area that could be simplified further and that's target allocation in combat. At the moment, Survivors roll off against each other to see who takes the hit. This often results in a two step combat procedure:
- roll off to see who gets hit
- roll to see if armour 'soaks' the hit
In a melee with a crowd of Swarmers and some Icarauses making ranged attacks too, a group of 3 or 4 Survivors can necessitate a lot of fiddly rolls. Perverse outcomes can occur, where all the attacks are directed at the one heavily armour character - or at the one unarmoured character.

So, why not allow players to line up their miniatures in order of combat priority.
- monster attacks go from left to right
- large based figures (male Marine and Scout, female Engineer and Technician) must be to the left of small based figures
- large figures resolve their attacks first, followed by smaller ones so, Titan, Icaruses, Jaegers then Swarmers (although Bosses may have their target specified on their card)

Example: 5 Jaegers attack the male Marine, female Scout and female Captain. The Marine has to be the main combat priority (he goes on the left) and the players agree that the Captain will go to the left of the Scout. This means the Marine gets hit twice (by the 1st and 4th Jaegers) and so does the Captain (by the 2nd and 5th), but the Scout only gets hit once (by the 3rd).

If there were also two Icaruses attacking from range, those attacks would go to the Marine and the Captain.

Refinement - Mutual Protection: A Survivor can take one hit meant for another Survivor who is next to them in combat priority. They can do this once per monster type. This choice must be made before any armour saves are rolled.

Example: Against the Jaegers, the Captain could take the hit aimed at the Scout, but the Marine couldn't.

This rule gives the players much more choice and agency over who gets hit, allowing them to put healthy, well-armoured Survivors in the way of danger and protect wounded, unarmoured characters. This makes the game easier (although we've got no shortage of house rules on other threads making it harder) - but I figure that agency and choice are just objectively good things in games and anything that increases them is desirable. Plus, it's thematic ("Get behind me!" "Protect the medic!").

Blackouts: During Blackouts, arrange the combat lineup randomly and Survivors may not protect each other from attacks.
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John Aronis
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Seems really cool.
 
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Nick Bos
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What we do is, let's say there are 4 swarmers attacking 2 of our survivors.

We assign 1-3 to one survivor and 4-6 to the other.

We then roll 4 dice at once. Every 1-3 will hit survivor one, and every 4-6 will hit survivor 2.
 
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Jonathan Rowe
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Faerun wrote:
What we do is, let's say there are 4 swarmers attacking 2 of our survivors.

We assign 1-3 to one survivor and 4-6 to the other.

We then roll 4 dice at once. Every 1-3 will hit survivor one, and every 4-6 will hit survivor 2.


Indeed that's what I've been doing. When you're just being attacked by a handful of Enemies and there's only 3 or so Survivors that's no trouble. But when trouble comes calling and there's a dozen or more of them (easy enough when Icaruses launch ranged attacks) then I found this mechanic less fussy. It also involves making choices and games are always better when players make choices.
 
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Nick Bos
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deadmarlowe wrote:
Faerun wrote:
What we do is, let's say there are 4 swarmers attacking 2 of our survivors.

We assign 1-3 to one survivor and 4-6 to the other.

We then roll 4 dice at once. Every 1-3 will hit survivor one, and every 4-6 will hit survivor 2.


Indeed that's what I've been doing. When you're just being attacked by a handful of Enemies and there's only 3 or so Survivors that's no trouble. But when trouble comes calling and there's a dozen or more of them (easy enough when Icaruses launch ranged attacks) then I found this mechanic less fussy. It also involves making choices and games are always better when players make choices.


Fair point! I could also see another houserule interacting with this, where you could spend an action to get a 'defend' token or something like that, which means that you would be assigned half of the hits, and the other half is assigned randomly or something like that.

Plenty to think about and test
 
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