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Subject: Simple card mechanic for handling combat rss

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Nikolaj Wendt
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I am working on a game that has combat in it and I have a card based combat mechanic that does the job, but not fully, and I am looking for feedback.

Mechanic:
Each player has 6 cards numbered 1 to 6.
When one player attacks another player the defender selects one card for each defensive value he has and places them facedown.
Then the attacker announces a single number, and the defender reveals his cards. If the defender has the number the attacker announced he defended and takes no damage. If he doesnt he is hit and takes damage.


I want it to be fast, and either random or "random", and it feels goodnkike that. My main problem is that it feels like you are more active when defending than when attacking and I would like it to be the opposite.

This is cards only. No dice or other elements. But adding some cards or making something that isnt just 1-6 could be explored.

Any cool suggestions?
 
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Mike Vande Ven Jr.
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I think that is an elegant solution. I don’t see a need for a change.

If you want to make the attacking player more active, why not just flip the rolls. The attacker puts down a card per attacking unit. The defender calls out a number (maybe per defending unit). If they match, the defender holds and takes no damage. That gives the attacker a sense of control, and the defender a sense of holding off the attack.
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Ryan Keane
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If I understand correctly, you mean that if the defender has defensive value say 4, the defender selects 4 of his 6 cards and places them on the table, and then the attacker is trying to guess 1 of the 2 numbers which weren’t selected. If he’s wrong, he failed and maybe must retreat. If he guesses right, he wins, the defender takes some damage (maybe based on the attacker strength) and maybe must retreat.

It sounds like you’re just using a more complicated version of “roll 1d6 - you must roll above the defense value to hit.” The big problem I see is that the attacker’s strength doesn’t not affect the chance to hit. What the max defense value? I think it would have to be max 3 or 4, or you could turtle with a defense 6 being untouchable.

A simple modification might be if both players secretly and simultaneously select cards equal to their attack and defense values, respectively, max 3. Reveal them and every card a player selected that wasn’t also played by the opponent is a hit. Eg attacher with value 3 selects cards 1,4,5 and defender with value 2 selects 4,6. The 4’s block each other, but the defender takes 2 hits (from the 1 and 5), and the attacker takes 1 hit (from the 6). You’d still need some other way to decide who wins and who must retreat, like who has more surviving units.

For non-numerical card ideas, I’d suggest looking at how combat is done in Polis: Fight for the Hegemony, which is pretty similar to my suggestion above. That might inspire you to do something similar but that matches the theme of your game. For me, it’s important that the card-based combat the designer chooses helps reinforce the setting of the game. Polis, AGoT, Sekigahara, Friedrich/Maria are all good examples. Boring cards with 1-6 ain’t gonna do that for me.
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marc lecours
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giantmike wrote:
I think that is an elegant solution. I don’t see a need for a change.

If you want to make the attacking player more active, why not just flip the rolls. The attacker puts down a card per attacking unit. The defender calls out a number (maybe per defending unit). If they match, the defender holds and takes no damage. That gives the attacker a sense of control, and the defender a sense of holding off the attack.


This sounds like it works very well !

It is also thematic. The attacker is choosing their avenues of attack. The bigger the attacker army, the more ways they can attack.

The defender guesses which holes they should plug up. The more defenders, the more holes are plugged up.

You can also easily have terrain effects. Good defensive terrain both sides can only pick numbers 1 to 5. Bad defensive terrain, you pick numbers 1 to 8. Etc.

You can adjust the numbers quite easily depending on the size of armies you want in the game.

You probably would want the attacker to win if even 1 attack is not parried. This gives the attacker a big incentive to have a large army. But then you need the defender to get maybe 2 picks more than their army's strength otherwise an attcker with an a 2 strength army always beats a defender with a strength of 1.
 
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Nikolaj Wendt
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giantmike wrote:
I think that is an elegant solution. I don’t see a need for a change.

If you want to make the attacking player more active, why not just flip the rolls. The attacker puts down a card per attacking unit. The defender calls out a number (maybe per defending unit). If they match, the defender holds and takes no damage. That gives the attacker a sense of control, and the defender a sense of holding off the attack.


I tried swapping it directly. Attacker puts down one card and defender announces one number for every defense he has.
But it felt like the one that can be in multiples should be the one using cards. Otherwise I risk having this:
*attacker puts down a card*
Defender: 2,4,5
*attacker reveals*
Attacker: Wait, did you say 1,4,5 or 2,4,5...?

It seems like a minor thing, not sure how big of an issue it will be. Just feels more clunky.

Its a skirmish game where each player has 3 characters (fighter, cleric, mage or whatever) and not military armies, so it doesnt need a way to handle retreat and things like that.
Also, no 'x cards per unit' although I could have the attacker use one card per attack power and defender canceling out attacks by matching numbers.

I liked the simplicity and binary nature, but worth exploring a bit more complexity maybe.
 
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Ian Rapson
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What if you made it still random, but also a battle of wits?

what if cards deal 1 damage except card 6 which deals 2 damage?

What if all cards deal 2 damage if the card 1 more is defended against. For example, card 5 would read, "deal 1 damage, deal 2 damage if the defender plays card 6."
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Oblivion Doll
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I agree with Mike's "elegant" comment - it's really streamlined and simple with an element of mind games to it that sounds like a lot of fun to me.

I think the easiest way to make it feel more like the attacker is "doing" something would be to theme it. The numbers are replaced with something that matches the context the game is built around. If defending units are meant to be groups of soldiers, the numbers could be replaced with scouting out possible attack routes - the number you can cover being limited by your force's abilities or positioning. Then the "number" is replaced with a declared line of attack that you're hoping the enemy didn't have someone looking out for. If you have an advantage because of open terrain, the opponent has less options they can cover. You could also make the attacker feel like they're "doing" more by using cards for both sides - defender placed their cards face-down, attacker plays one face-up, then the defender reveals their cards.
 
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Ryan Keane
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Ah, ok, so it’s a skirmish and damage is like reducing hit points and the attacker is not supposed to take any damage?

I still like the idea of both players secretly and simultaneously selecting cards and unmatched cards from the attacker “get through the defenses” and hit. This solves the issue you said about a player, after revealing cards, saying “wait, what numbers did you just say?”

You could still have simple numbered cards 1-6, but each card could have titles and art that are thematic. Top half of each card could be an attack move that that character class would do, bottom half inverted is a corresponding defensive move that character class would do. In play, the orientation doesn’t matter - you’re just playing a 1 and seeing if the defender played a 1 - but thematically the Fighter is playing a Lunge and seeing if the Mage played a Levitate.

Fighter’s #1 card: top half is Lunge, bottom half is Dodge
Mage’s #1 card: top Fireball, bottom Levitate
And so on

Check out Yomi for something similar.
 
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Oblivion Doll
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Thought of a way to handle a 1v1 type combat system with these cards.

Don't make it 1 - 6, but have left/right and high/medium/low. Defender plays (whatever defense they have) cards to guard against attacks from given directions, while attacker plays their attack - defender hopes they attack a protected direction. To fit theme, left/right would mirror, while high/medium/low don't - so you want the matching height but the opposite side.
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Carel Teijgeler
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Does not sound combat to me.

Attacker only has to say 7 and wins automatically, with 6 he would draw.

Otherwise it is a very lame "guess the number" game.

And giving the attacker also a set of cards will not interesting, either:he picks card 6 every time.

If you want real randomness, use dice.
 
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Oblivion Doll
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anijunk wrote:
Does not sound combat to me.

Attacker only has to say 7 and wins automatically, with 6 he would draw.

Otherwise it is a very lame "guess the number" game.

And giving the attacker also a set of cards will not interesting, either:he picks card 6 every time.

If you want real randomness, use dice.


Doesn't sound to me like you read the OP.

If attacker says 7, you either reply "that's not a valid number I win by default" or "that's not a valid number try again". There's nothing about higher numbers winning. And there's no "draw" scenario. If you play 2 cards as the defender, picking 5 and 6 doesn't make you invulnerable. It means that the attacker can call 1, 2, 3 or 4 and win. If you're the attacker and just call 6 every time, your opponent will know to play a 6 defense card every time, and you'll lose every round where you attack because you're trying to go for the "best" (not actually best) attack value.
 
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Carel Teijgeler
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obliviondoll wrote:
anijunk wrote:
Does not sound combat to me.

Attacker only has to say 7 and wins automatically, with 6 he would draw.

Otherwise it is a very lame "guess the number" game.

And giving the attacker also a set of cards will not interesting, either:he picks card 6 every time.

If you want real randomness, use dice.


Doesn't sound to me like you read the OP.

If attacker says 7, you either reply "that's not a valid number I win by default" or "that's not a valid number try again". There's nothing about higher numbers winning. And there's no "draw" scenario. If you play 2 cards as the defender, picking 5 and 6 doesn't make you invulnerable. It means that the attacker can call 1, 2, 3 or 4 and win. If you're the attacker and just call 6 every time, your opponent will know to play a 6 defense card every time, and you'll lose every round where you attack because you're trying to go for the "best" (not actually best) attack value.

Not clear from the OP, as it is not mentioned at all. Don't know how you can conclude that all from avague description in the OP.
 
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Nikolaj Wendt
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anijunk wrote:
obliviondoll wrote:
anijunk wrote:
Does not sound combat to me.

Attacker only has to say 7 and wins automatically, with 6 he would draw.

Otherwise it is a very lame "guess the number" game.

And giving the attacker also a set of cards will not interesting, either:he picks card 6 every time.

If you want real randomness, use dice.


Doesn't sound to me like you read the OP.

If attacker says 7, you either reply "that's not a valid number I win by default" or "that's not a valid number try again". There's nothing about higher numbers winning. And there's no "draw" scenario. If you play 2 cards as the defender, picking 5 and 6 doesn't make you invulnerable. It means that the attacker can call 1, 2, 3 or 4 and win. If you're the attacker and just call 6 every time, your opponent will know to play a 6 defense card every time, and you'll lose every round where you attack because you're trying to go for the "best" (not actually best) attack value.

Not clear from the OP, as it is not mentioned at all. Don't know how you can conclude that all from avague description in the OP.


Sorry if things were not clear enough but everything he said was correct. All posters understood the system (except for the part about whether these were armies or individuals, which I left out).
 
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Nikolaj Wendt
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obliviondoll wrote:
Thought of a way to handle a 1v1 type combat system with these cards.

Don't make it 1 - 6, but have left/right and high/medium/low. Defender plays (whatever defense they have) cards to guard against attacks from given directions, while attacker plays their attack - defender hopes they attack a protected direction. To fit theme, left/right would mirror, while high/medium/low don't - so you want the matching height but the opposite side.


I was thinking it would feel cooler with hit areas, but went away from it because numbers are faster and this is something that could down a bit if players have to refer to torso, left arm etc. Thats what it felt like at least. I can try it since its closer to theme.
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marc lecours
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Hit areas is way better.

chest, head, abdomen, legs, groin, neck.

Much more immersive than 1,2,3,4,5,6
 
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Iffix Y Santaph
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I have actually designed similar. I won't give you the full detail, as the game I'm working on still retains it, but I can show you a sample.



In this case, the attacker and the defender have a bit of information on their cards that shows a value needed for their attack to succeed.

The attacker plays card 5. If the defender has played card 3 or 4, the attacker succeeds.

The defender plays card 6. If the attacker has played card 2-5, the defender succeeds.

In this case, the Defender's card succeeds, whereas the attacker's card fails.

This allows the battle to happen simultaneously, not just as a defense, but where the defender can go on the offensive if the attacker isn't careful, so the attacker needs to weigh out whether to risk attacking someone who is stronger than he is.

This example assumes a 1:1 combat, and would likely need to be changed if each player was attacking with multiple forces at once. The attack strength is also determined by an outside element rather than by these cards.
 
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Koen Hendrix
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TO REPLICATE YOUR SCENARIO:

Attacker presents their 6 cards (faces hidden), one of which is the "hit" while the other 5 are dummies/feints.

For every point of defense, the defender gets to remove one card. If the remaining cards still contain the "hit", the attack hits.

TO ENHANCE IT:

As above, but the attacker doesn't always have the same 6 cards. Instead their cards are determined by the attack strength / style.

A better attack could obviously have more "hits", or more dummy cards. Imagine the difference between these attacks:

[HIT] [HIT] [HIT] [---]

[HIT] [---] [---] [---] [---] [---] [---]

The first can't be stopped with less than 2 defense, but is always stopped with 4 defense. The second is a sneakier attack.

I think this system would really shine if you put damage values on the cards directly:

[1] [1] [1] [0]

[1] [0] [0] [0] [0] [0] [0]

[2] [1] [1] [0] [0] [0]

[2] [2] [1]

[3] [0] [0] [0] [0]

Now you have a card attack system combines both damage and hit chance, allowing for high damage attacks and low damage attacks with varying degrees of "defendability".

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John
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When playing this game if I was the defender I would probably pick my cards at random. If I was playing against someone who was doing that I'd either pick a card at random (if I'm allowed to do that) or always call 6 (because it doesn't matter if my opponent has picked their cards at random).

puslemus wrote:
My main problem is that it feels like you are more active when defending than when attacking and I would like it to be the opposite.

Maybe, though that is a bit subjective. Personally I think the most important thing for randomly resolving combat is that it's quick. Obviously whatever you use needs to give the required odds of success and the players should have a reasonable idea what the odds actually are.

My only slight concern is that some people might consider it a mind game and spend time thinking about what numbers to pick. I doubt many people would do this...
 
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Geoff Watson
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It's the same as rolling D6 over the defence value but slower.
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Bruce Nettleton
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I have to affirm some of the other posts on this.

In your system, it might feel like the attacker and defender are making decisions because they are picking cards and numbers, but really their decisions are trivial because all of the numbers and cards do the same thing. It would not change the math of the game at all if the two players were rolling dice.

I like some of the other solutions, though. The one supplied by khendicks is particularly interesting.

Sticking with your initial idea, though,another tool in your toolbox might be to make a mandatory "rest" for restoring the cards to your hand, so that if I use 1,3, and 5 in my defense this round, one of those cards (of my secret choice)would not be available to me in the next round of combat (call it fatigue). If the Attacker has the same constraint, I can picture later rounds of combat becoming very "mind gamey."

Ex.

Round 1
Defend with strength of 4: I choose 1,3,5,6.
Attacker attacks with 5: The attacker must fatigue his five. I fatigue my 5 also, as it is now unnecessary to my defense.

Round 2
I choose 1,2,3, and 4
Attacker knows he only has a 1 in 5 shot, here, but he gets lucky with a 6 and scores a hit. I secretly choose to fatigue my 1.

Round 3
I only have four cards left, so I play them all: 2,3,4,6. Sadly, I know my 6 is wasted because the attacker's 6 is fatigued.
The attacker also has 4 cards to choose from: 1,2,3,4. He knows one of these is a possible hit, but doesn't know which one. He tries 2, which is blocked. We each fatigue our 2.

Round 4
My defense is still 4, but fatigue is taking its toll. I have only three cards left. I play them all: 3,4,6.
The attacker's odds of success have increased through my fatigue. He now has a 1/3 shot. He selects 1 and scores a hit. We now each have the same two cards left (3 and 4)and know that the combat is over between us.

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John
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puslemus wrote:
Any cool suggestions?


Impulse has cards which have 1-3 gems on them. During combat players draw a card from the deck for each unit they have in the battle and whoever has the highest total* gems wins. More units = more chance of winning. It works well because the range of values is small (and there are more lower cards). If cards in you game have values then you might be able to apply something similar.


*I have simplified this slightly, it's also possible to play cards from your hand to boost your total if they match certain cards in play. Cards in hand are useful in many other ways so that's not an easy decision.
 
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Wim van Gruisen
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I agree with all the posters above who state that the base mechanic, as posted by the OP, is bland and random. Make it a bit interesting, both for defender and attacker.

I like the idea that different values do different things; a 6 to attack does extra damage, if defender plays three low cards he can draw an extra card next turn, that sort of thing.
Another option would be that players cannot use the cards they used last turn (but you would need some more cards than just 1 to 6).

Idea for that last option: give each player two sets of cards of 1 to 6 (or 1 to 5, or 1 to 4, if large hands of cards are not what you want). If attacker plays two cards of the same value, he does an extra point of damage if it gets through - but he cannot use those cards next turn in his defence. On the other hand, the cards that defender used to defend cannot be used in his next attack - so those numbers cannot be used to make a double attack.
If defender plays two cards of the same value, he should also get something extra. Perhaps a single point of defence for the next higher or lower number, or he can do an extra point of damage when he attacks, or his opponent can play one fewer card when he defends next round.
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Jon Vallerand
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As some have said, this comes down to rolling a dice, UNLESS the number chosen means something. If not, then what numbers you choose comes down to trying to read your opponents' mind.

If instead of numbers, it's body parts, and getting hit in the arm has a different effect as in the leg or head, then you're talking. Or if getting hit in the same place twice increases the damage you take.

If you stick to numbers, you could make the number the cost in energy (or whatever) of the attack and the damage the defender gets.

Or you could make it so that you can get a certain bonus with certain numbers. For example, my sword does double damage when I choose 6.

Maybe some of the cards have an effect, even if not triggered? For example, when I play my 5, I heal 1 Pt, regardless of what number you call.

All of those make the decisions important, because there's still this aspect of trying to out think your opponent, but at least now, you have something to go on.
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