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Subject: Monster spawn mechanic for RPG-lite card game rss

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RanDomino Nickelmaster
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Hey, so I've been thinking about Runebound/RotH/Descent RtL-style games, and I really like the card-game idea of RuinsWorld. Information being nearly non-existent regarding that game, I intend to make my own (which I'll release as a free PnP game here, if I do actually make it. If anyone wants to work on this too, please message me (or massage me; your call). Or should I just make a thread with the current rules and cards, and it could be a wiki-style project? Let me know; BGG is going to own this, not me.).

The question I'm looking for ideas on is how to spawn monsters. The working idea now is that the map is made up of "Terrain" cards such as Forest, Swamps, and Dungeons; on each terrain card is a series of paths and 'clearings' ala Magic Realm, making a map on which players physically move miniatures like in Dungeoneer: Tomb of the Lich Lord (which I haven't played). Each clearing has a Danger number, such as "3". So each clearing will have a Danger number and a terrain type. When a player moves into a clearing, each other player in turn has a chance to play a "Threat" card from their hand. Each Threat card has a Danger number and one or more terrain types, such as "Swamp 3" or "Mountains Dungeon 2". At least one terrain type of a threat card has to match the terrain type of the location, and the total of the Threat cards' Danger numbers cannot exceed the location's Danger (possibly, plus the experience level of the character being attacked). After every other player has had a chance to jump you with something, you can play a Threat on yourself.

I'm against permanent character death, and major penalties for getting killed and resurrected would just bog the game down. But Threats are where loot, gold, and experience points come from. In a game like Middle-earth or The Lord of the Rings Trading Card Game, where you're trying to kill your opponent's party, you play the most dangerous monsters possible. In this game, as it stands, you don't want to play any monsters at all on your opponents, but you want to play your own easy and loot-filled monsters on yourself. Hooray for multiplayer solitaire...

Some ideas for remedying this:
-Everything will be on a card, and Items and Spells are played from the same hand and the same deck as Threats; at the end of the turn, you draw cards until your hand is full. Each deck has to have at least 50% Threat cards, so playing more Threats on your opponents means you get to draw more stuff for yourself. This mechanic was important in The Lord of the Rings Trading Card Game.

-A tangible reward for playing Threats on other players, such as free XP, or Victory Points for killing other players. I don't like this idea at all. A player could just sit in town and gain levels while other players go adventuring and get butchered.

-Instead of playing Threat cards, monsters are spawned by the map. One idea I had was that the edges of each Location card would have a number and a monster type on each edge; the number from one card lines up with the monster type on an adjacent card, leading to random encounters. A "6" could match to "Goblins" in one instance, or "Dragons" in another...
I shelved this in favor of Threat cards with pre-printed mob stats, so you wouldn't have to go looking at a chart with 50 monsters; but it could be made to work.

Help me BGG-Kenobi, you're my only hope.
 
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Eric Jome
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RanDomino wrote:

Help me BGG-Kenobi, you're my only hope.


In role playing games, the basic formula is Ability + Luck > Difficult is Success. So, characters need abilities, augmented by items, skills, and such. Dice are often used for luck. And difficulty is judged by the DM or provided by standard rules.

So, rate each threat as a numeric value. Give each space on the board a maximum total threat rating. Opponents may play threats in turn up to the total threat value of the space. Then, the phasing player faces all threats.

Arkham Horror uses a simple system where the threat level of slain monsters (somewhat) is traded in for various bonuses. Beat a bunch of weak monsters, get them as trophies, then add them up to trade them in for a bonus... or beat a great big monster to get the same bonus. This is probably a good style to replicate here.

This is a pretty simple system. Opponents play threats on you, but you restrict the level of threats by deciding where you go (e.g. go to Dragon's Lair = high threat total = lots of challenge and lots of reward).
 
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Robert Gardunia
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Some other ideas that occured after reading your blurb:

To avoid permadeath there could be location cards 'towns' or 'temples' that would basically act like spawn/heal points for dead/wounded adventurers.

In addition to danger and 'terrain type' plays, what about 'tribes' as well. For instance, I have a relatively low danger, high reward card ('Goblin Fungus Farm!') in my hand that I play in an area near me so I can go snatch it up. However, by playing it it would also allow other player to play additional 'Goblin Faction' cards on it to make it tougher. This might add a level of strategy (ie. do I really want to play this if I'm not seeing a lot of Goblin cards out yet)?
 
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Christopher Todesco
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RanDomino wrote:
When a player moves into a clearing, each other player in turn has a chance to play a "Threat" card from their hand. Each Threat card has a Danger number and one or more terrain types, such as "Swamp 3" or "Mountains Dungeon 2". At least one terrain type of a threat card has to match the terrain type of the location, and the total of the Threat cards' Danger numbers cannot exceed the location's Danger (possibly, plus the experience level of the character being attacked).
...
Threats are where loot, gold, and experience points come from. In a game like Middle-earth or The Lord of the Rings Trading Card Game, where you're trying to kill your opponent's party, you play the most dangerous monsters possible. In this game, as it stands, you don't want to play any monsters at all on your opponents, but you want to play your own easy and loot-filled monsters on yourself.



I'd be a little afraid you're coming a little too close to Munchkin for my comfort-- if you haven't played it, I suggest you do for some good ideas of how this mechanic DOESN'T work. The problem with Munchkin---I mean ONE OF the problems with Munchkin is what you can do to yourself or to other people is largely determined by the small random selection of cards in your hand from an increasingly large and diverse bank of cards, and more often than not you cannot do anything. I fear that as in your example, very few players will have any cards that match "Swamp 3" or "Mountains Dungeon 2". Therefore playing this game would become less of planning a strategy of keeping the right cards, and more of waiting and hoping someone will land on the space that you have cards for.

Obviously, you are going to move to the spaces that you have "good" cards for, but because the other players are doing the same thing, the chances that they have cards that apply to your situation are slim... making it, wait for it, multiplayer solitaire.

So while I'm not trying to discourage you, I'm just trying to point out where balance is going to be very tricky. Another Munchkiny issue you have to look out for is that game often degrades into everyone playing more or less by themselves until one person is about to win, and then everyone jumps that one person. It gets old real quick, and when it shows up in another game that has a climactic end battle, say A Touch of Evil: The Supernatural Game (Your experiences may vary), you recognize it real quick and get that awful feeling at the base of your skull that you just played another game of Munchkin.
gulp


 
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J. Green
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As a basic challenge to help you design a working game based on an already successful model, I would recommend you take a look at the game Zombie in my Pocket and look at some of the variants that have been designed for it. It's a simple, solo system that works well as a dungeon crawl; in fact, someone has already made a dungeon version of it. But the basic idea is so simple that it would be a great way to take a variant mod and work out your own print and play version.

It has tiles for a map that always changes, an action/item/event deck that scales up in difficulty with the passage of time, a single mission that must be accomplished, and threats to be defeated. This is the essence of a dungeon crawl. It would be a great system to provide a structure for you to test various methods of spawning monsters.

In the game as it is, things get more difficult as time passes, marked by going through the encounter deck three times. You could change the "time clock" feature of the cards to "levels" and re-set the map each time you go down a level, with one tile being the entrance and one tile being the exit, so that each time you go down a level you go to the next more difficult set of encounters on the cards.

Also, you could simply draw two cubes from a bag, with various colors of cubes representing different threat levels of monsters, and you could roll on a chart to determine exactly which monsters you face depending on the cubes you draw. You could add in another color of cube representing a major treasure or artifact, so you always have a chance of drawing two monsters, a monster and a treasure, or two treasures. You might have 10 easy monster cubes in the bag, 5 medium monsters and maybe 1-3 hard ones, along with 5-10 treasure cubes, and let the treasures be determined by the level of monster you fight.

Alternatively, you could have monster cubes and treasure cubes, and have the monster type chart depend on which level of the dungeon you're currently in. This way you'd only need two colors of cubes, and you could recycle them, throwing them all back in the bag each time you go down a level, or possibly you could keep the treasure cubes you draw out of the bag (or your pocket) and throw the monsters back in, so monsters get stronger and treasure gets harder to find but also more valuable.

You can recycle wooden cubes from any eurogame for this, and keep the cubes, tiles, cards and rules all in a little plastic baggie. You could print out a separate booklet like the ZIMP pocketmod rules with charts for monsters and treasures in the various levels, and how many points you get for slaying each monster or group of monsters. Possibly you could get more points for completing a set of treasure or defeating one of every type of monster before you go to the next level.

Generally a good progression of threats to face going down levels in a dungeon is:
1-Beasts and non-magical monsters (bats, bears, goblins, trolls)
2-Undead (ghosts, ghouls, skeletons, ZOMBIES)
3-Magical monsters (chimera, sphinx, dragon, lich, ogre mage)

Each level of the dungeon would require you to find a treasure or weapon that deals with the next kind of threat you will face, i.e. before you go face the undead, you have to battle level 1 monsters until you find a silver weapon, and before you face magical monsters, you have to keep whacking the undead until you find an enchanted weapon. Since the items will all be on the cards, and you might only get to carry one at a time, you'll have a challenge at each level that matches the theme and situations you face.

This is just one possible way of doing monster spawning that is not as simple as just rolling on a random chart like in the old D&D game or pulling tiles out of a bag like Return of the Heroes.
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RanDomino Nickelmaster
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Skythian wrote:
Some other ideas that occured after reading your blurb:

To avoid permadeath there could be location cards 'towns' or 'temples' that would basically act like spawn/heal points for dead/wounded adventurers.


You're right, I should have clarified. As I have it now a player that dies would theoretically be raised in town with an XP and GP hit.

But now that you mention it, maybe character death shouldn't be so bad. Instead of infinite respawns or one-life mortality, maybe a player could get two or three 'free' deaths before they're out of the game (and then, last adventurer standing wins).


Quote:
In addition to danger and 'terrain type' plays, what about 'tribes' as well. For instance, I have a relatively low danger, high reward card ('Goblin Fungus Farm!') in my hand that I play in an area near me so I can go snatch it up. However, by playing it it would also allow other player to play additional 'Goblin Faction' cards on it to make it tougher. This might add a level of strategy (ie. do I really want to play this if I'm not seeing a lot of Goblin cards out yet)?


Hey, that's nice. So a player goes to the Goblin Fungus Farm for a quick snack, when suddenly someone plays a Goblin Ambush card that spawns twice as many goblins at a Goblin-infested location.

And your post gave me another idea: Instead of mobs jumping out of thin air, maybe they could be played to a clearing when a location card is first revealed (tracked with counters, maybe?). So if Alice travels off the current map edge, Bob plays his next location card (let's say, Mountains) along Alice's path, and plays a couple of Threats (face-down, I suppose) on that location's clearings. So Bob could fight his own stuff, but only after Alice has a chance to.
Problem being, of course, keeping track of what Threats are where. I'll think about it.
See, this is why I made this thread. The positive chaos of the Internet spawns infinite creativity.

Desco wrote:
I'd be a little afraid you're coming a little too close to Munchkin for my comfort-- if you haven't played it, I suggest you do for some good ideas of how this mechanic DOESN'T work.


I have, and the wacky monster-bashing aspect is a design goal.

Quote:
The problem with Munchkin---I mean ONE OF the problems with Munchkin is what you can do to yourself or to other people is largely determined by the small random selection of cards in your hand from an increasingly large and diverse bank of cards, and more often than not you cannot do anything. I fear that as in your example, very few players will have any cards that match "Swamp 3" or "Mountains Dungeon 2". Therefore playing this game would become less of planning a strategy of keeping the right cards, and more of waiting and hoping someone will land on the space that you have cards for.


This problem is somewhat mitigated in Munchkin with more players- but, then, Munchkin late-game might as well be called "Gank the Leader". The mechanic in The Lord of the Rings Trading Card Game I think worked well to balance what a player has to fight: All the other players get a certain amount of "Twilight" resource with which to play mobs, and the amount of Twilight available is determined by the fellowship's actions. So if I'm playing a stealthy Hobbit deck, I'm weak in combat, but I'm not providing much Twilight. So the other players are stuck with all these expensive monsters clogging up their hands. On the other hand, I had a friend who played a Treefolk deck, and he'd give out so much Twilight that in one 6-player game, everybody played all their monsters on him and there was STILL Twilight left over- but they're treefolk; they pounded those mobs into dust. But then the other players get to refill their hands, drawing more items for their fellowships to use on their turns. Even if a player knows they're not going to make a scratch in the opponent's fellowship, they'll still dump a bunch of monsters on them if they want to draw their own fellowship cards.

The difference between LotRCCG and Munchkin in this regard is that in Munchkin you don't refill your hand at the end of each turn, so there's no incentive to fling cannon fodder at your opponent.

So maybe I can just balance things correctly so that it's more important to keep sailing through your deck than it is to deny your opponent their spoils.
 
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Jeremy Holcomb
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RanDomino wrote:


. In this game, as it stands, you don't want to play any monsters at all on your opponents, but you want to play your own easy and loot-filled monsters on yourself. Hooray for multiplayer solitaire...


Well, sometimes the simple solution is best. Don't let player play threats on themselves (or perhaps they can, but only under very limited conditions).
Also, if each time I can play a threat I have the option to discard and draw a new threat players can be a bit more strategic about what threats to play on who, and can respond to terrain changes.
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Mark Wright
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To solve the problem regarding cards, have each card with multiple details.
Each card will detail a threat, a treasure, a random event on the same card. The situation in which it is played defines what happens. This allows you to use a single deck, every player will have a handful of threats and good cards to use!
 
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Jesse McGatha
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What if you have a deck of cards for each terrain type, and whenever you enter a clearing you look at the threat number for that clearing. Then you flip cards from the corresponding terrain type deck (each card of which has a monster and threat level on it) until you exceed the threat number for the clearing. Then you discard the most-recently drawn card (the one that caused you to go "over" the threat level. This means you could have no encounter at all (one card caused you to go over the threat level) or multiple monsters gang up to attack you (the spider and the bear both attack you).

You could also have the one card that pushed you over the threat level be the treasure found if you defeat the other creatures. In other words, the tougher a creature the more likely it is to push you over the threat level and reward you instead.

As for player death, I agree it sucks. Look at the World of Warcraft Adventure Game for a good way to handle this. The player loses currently attached cards (power-ups or enchantments) and gets teleported back to the nearest city at full health. So the loss is only of buffs and positional location on the board. It works well.
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Eric Jome
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RanDomino wrote:
The mechanic in The Lord of the Rings Trading Card Game I think worked well...


I have to agree with you. This is about the best mechanic I think for this idea. I really think you should take this behavior and incorporate it into your game - it provides so many excellent strategy variations, balancing effects, and engagement. That last bit is perhaps the best - I don't have to wait through your entire turn to participate in the game.
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Mr Pavone
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One of my favorite adventure games came from an '80s issue of Dragon Magazine, published by TSR. Tom Wham's Search For The Emporer's Treasure Used a chit -draw system. As a player moved into a new territory he drew a chit. The encounter on the chit had a "found in" stat: rats were found in cities, towns and villages while Trolls were only found in mountains. If the player was in that type of territory, the encounter was worked out.

That's my two cents.
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James Hutchings
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Each player could have a 'target player'. If a player is eliminated the game ends, and whoever has that player as their target wins (a variant of Risk works like this, and the Vampire CCG has a similar mechanism).

This deals with the problem of player elimination (people having to sit out), without having to rely on 'reincarnation'.

It also adds more strategy: wiping out a rival party could lose you the game.
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James Hutchings
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An idea to reduce downtime:

Cards could be drawn from a common deck, rather than each player having a hand, and then every player 'bids' for them.

The player who wants the lowest reward could face a monster, the player who's prepared to pay the most could get an item.

This means that all players are 'having their turn' most of the time,
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James Hutchings
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RanDomino wrote:
A player could just sit in town and gain levels while other players go adventuring and get butchered.


Not if there are living expenses that the characters need to come up with, and lose if they can't pay.
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RanDomino Nickelmaster
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Jester wrote:
flip cards from the corresponding terrain type deck ... until you exceed the threat number for the clearing. ... the one card that pushed you over the threat level (is) the treasure found if you defeat the other creatures. In other words, the tougher a creature the more likely it is to push you over the threat level and reward you instead.

I like this. Only about four or five decks would be necessary (generic fantasy adventuring locales: I'm thinking Forests, Mountains, Swamps, Wasteland, Dungeon). I defaulted to the "Players Play Monsters" model for more player interaction, but as it stands players should really be adventuring with each other, or against each other; not just near each other.

ced1106 wrote:
You have some great ideas

Thanks!

ced1106 wrote:
* In Munchkin, Monster cards come with Treasure. So, even though the tougher monsters are more dangerous, they have more of a reward.

Here's what I'm thinking. From what I've found about RuinsWorld (if anyone has any more information on this game please geekmail me!), each player has an individual deck of loot, spells, and other upgrades. In the session report "Malkazar gets Gold Fever!" http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/339573, the following inspirational words appear:

Omega2064 wrote:
(I had a Long Sword card in my hand and played it here as the weapon is findable only on type A monsters and only in Dungeons. Which is exactly what the Slug was and where we are now.)

So what I'm thinking is that each Threat card in this new game would have a 'treasure rating' such as Common, Rare, or Artifact. Each Item, drawn from your deck, has a similar rating; thus, if you defeat a tough monster with a Treasure Rating of Rare, you could play that Rare-rated Holy Broadsword of Monster Slaying +2 or whatever.

So you build your deck so that your character develops in the way you want; a Fighter-type deck would have a variety of weapons, armor, and combat skills; a Paladin-type deck would be similar but with some Priest spells; a Wizard deck would have a variety of spells and abilities that enhance spellcasting, but hardly any weapons or armor. I even doubt that 'hard' requirements (such as "Paladin only") would be necessary- like in a CCG, you want your deck to have synergy.

ced1106 wrote:
You may want to list what adventure thematic elements you will have in the game, so we can reply with what elements you're missing (eg. quests, spells that have additional effects besides pips on a die, ranged combat, etc).

I want to make something similar to Magic Realm, but more of a game and less of a simulation. For example, a 20-step combat phase requiring a flowchart is not necessary. Roll some dice, add a bonus, compare to a target, is good enough.

For tactics, I've been working on a combat system where you add your Body/Strength score, your Agility times the number of dice rolled, and any other bonuses; but your target's Armor is also multiplied by the number of dice rolled. So a weapon like a Rapier might have a value of 3d4- good for high Agility, not effective against high Armor. A weapon like a Two-Handed Battleaxe might be 1d10- it doesn't put your Agility to use, but it's effective against Armor. It's not in its final state, though; multiplication is annoying. I want to kill monsters and take their stuff, not do math.

Character building is essential. One of my favorite things about games like Runebound (Second Edition) and even Munchkin is going from this lowly level-1 pipsqueak that runs from spiders to a walking demigod of death and destruction, within a couple of hours; not only that, but using combinations of items, spells, attribute upgrades, special abilities, and other upgrades to make the character powerful and fun to play at all stages of the game, and in an interesting way. This is one place Munchkin falls down for me in a big way- There is never any decision in that game, just number recognition: "hm, this card is a 2, but this one is a 3. Which one do I use?".

Instead, players should be making choices between, say, "Fireball" doing 2 damage to each monster or Lightning Bolt doing 4 damage to a particular monster; low-damage-high-defense vs high-damage-low-defense combat techniques; non-combat skills vs combat-oriented skills; a helmet that has +2 Hit Points vs a helmet that has +1 Armor; etc.

apeloverage wrote:
Each player could have a 'target player'. If a player is eliminated the game ends, and whoever has that player as their target wins (a variant of Risk works like this, and the Vampire CCG has a similar mechanism).
This deals with the problem of player elimination (people having to sit out), without having to rely on 'reincarnation'.
It also adds more strategy: wiping out a rival party could lose you the game.

Ooh, I like it! It even encourages players to throw weak stuff at other adventurers that aren't their targets, so that those players will be able to survive against whoever's trying to kill them. Very nice! Extra GG for you!

apeloverage wrote:
Cards could be drawn from a common deck, rather than each player having a hand, and then every player 'bids' for them.

Hey, that's pretty cool too! So let me see if I get the concept: A number of cards get flipped, either one at a time or all at once; then each player bids (bids what? gold, experience points, loot, bonuses to die rolls, something abstract?) and the highest bid gets to fight that encounter. All the usual mechanics and interactions endemic to bidding games come into play, which is good. I'll meditate on this.

You gave me an idea for loot, though: Rather than each player having a unique deck, there could be one common deck that players bid their 'trophies' on. So if a Wizard kills a Dragon and gets 10 'trophies', that player gets 10 bids; if a Fighter kills four Goblins for 1 trophy each, he gets 4 bids. Then, during the "Bidding for Loot-pulls" phase (yeah, I said it), a "+1 Sword of Pwnage" and some other items are available. The Wizard doesn't want it, but maybe he'll take it anyway, just to be a jerk; or maybe he plans on selling it to the Fighter later; or maybe he plans on turning into a Fighter-Mage.

apeloverage wrote:
Not if there are living expenses that the characters need to come up with, and lose if they can't pay.

Good call.


I think I'm going to play around with apeloverage's idea for each player having a target and see how it goes. I'll see if I can post some early rules and cards in the next few weeks, in my BGG Blog (hereafter called a "BloGG") (Edit: or maybe BloGGs are broken).

Thanks everybody!

(not that this thread is necessarily done- I'll check every few days.)

Oh, and before I forget- I saw a game a few months ago by some real small company, it looked like Magic Realm (hex-tiles with paths and clearings) but it was published in like 2005. I've tried to find it again (even going through every page of my Recently Viewed Games), but no luck. I'm pretty sure it's PnP, but I can't remember the website that was selling it. Does anyone know what I'm talking about?
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James Hutchings
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RanDomino wrote:
apeloverage wrote:
Cards could be drawn from a common deck, rather than each player having a hand, and then every player 'bids' for them.

Hey, that's pretty cool too! So let me see if I get the concept: A number of cards get flipped, either one at a time or all at once; then each player bids (bids what? gold, experience points, loot, bonuses to die rolls, something abstract?) and the highest bid gets to fight that encounter. All the usual mechanics and interactions endemic to bidding games come into play, which is good. I'll meditate on this.


My idea was that you'd bid gold in both cases.

For fighting monsters, the bid would be how much reward you wanted: the lowest bid would win.

For getting items, the bid would be how much you were prepared to pay: the highest bid would win.
 
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RanDomino Nickelmaster
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apeloverage wrote:
My idea was that you'd bid gold in both cases.

For fighting monsters, the bid would be how much reward you wanted: the lowest bid would win.

For getting items, the bid would be how much you were prepared to pay: the highest bid would win.


Ah, gotcha. Well I think I'll try one of your other brilliant ideas first. Bidding as the main mechanic in a lite-RPG adventure-boardgame sounds like it would be fun and interesting, but it sounds like a different game than what I'm going for. I think you should flesh it out, post some preliminary rules that content could just be added to.
 
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Andrew Rowse
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RanDomino wrote:
I defaulted to the "Players Play Monsters" model for more player interaction, but as it stands players should really be adventuring with each other, or against each other; not just near each other.


In that case, what about having two decks for encounters - a loot deck and a monster deck.

* When the players move to a location, the location tells them how many cards to draw from the loot deck (or how many 'levels' of loot to draw - keep flipping cards until the total levels of revealed loot meets the location's cap).

* The total value of the monsters to be faced is determined by adding:
Location monster value
+ Loot monster value
+ Player monster value
Similar to LOTR, as you've already proposed, the player party attracts more monsters if it is bigger/stronger/higher level. Similarly, higher level loot is guarded by higher level monsters.

* Reveal monsters from the top of the monster deck until the monster value is exceeded (discarding any monsters that are unable to be played at the location).

* Players can decide amongst themselves how to arrange the monsters - whether to have one player take on all of them (as the 'tank') while other players support with spells, or divide the monsters up. Depending on your combat model, the combat could take place as rounds, with players and monsters hacking away at each other. A player who no longer has an adversary could either join another player in melee battle, play spells to help another player, or 'ninja' a piece of loot.

* When all monsters are dispatched, players share out the loot evenly, with the player who killed the highest value monsters deciding who gets what. This player could be called the MVP, and perhaps given the privilege of deciding the next turn's matchups unilaterally if he chooses. If levels are earned through combat, the MVP would perhaps get a bonus one.

This sort of framework should allow working together, but also the opportunity to screw over other players. If there is a player who keeps ninja'ing loot, he can expect that the MVP will put him up against a balrog on the next turn to teach him a lesson. OTOH, if there's a particularly nice piece of loot up for grabs, the MVP might assign monsters to everybody but himself so he can grab grab that loot without the risk of anybody else getting it.
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Chris Shreve
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There is always the possibility of having things force players to work together even if they don't really want to. for instance, say that you set up locations based around "hub towns". Each hub town can have a number of adventure sites around it, and travel is done by switching which hub town you are in.

Now, as monster and quest cards are played onto sites, it raises the Peril rating of the associated hub town. You can figure it so that the Peril will grow too quickly for one party to control on its own, forcing the players to team up in order to protect the hub town in question.

This would make players have to travel the entire board (to keep the towns safe), and also to work together, since losing a town gives them less options for adventuring, and makes Peril in the other hub towns grow faster. Maybe when so many towns are lost, the game ends with the player's defeat. This could work well if there was an "overlord" the players were trying to defeat, instead of the standard "make as much gold as humanly possible" format.
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omni_mech wrote:
There is always the possibility of having things force players to work together even if they don't really want to. for instance, say that you set up locations based around "hub towns". Each hub town can have a number of adventure sites around it, and travel is done by switching which hub town you are in.

Now, as monster and quest cards are played onto sites, it raises the Peril rating of the associated hub town. You can figure it so that the Peril will grow too quickly for one party to control on its own, forcing the players to team up in order to protect the hub town in question.

This would make players have to travel the entire board (to keep the towns safe), and also to work together, since losing a town gives them less options for adventuring, and makes Peril in the other hub towns grow faster. Maybe when so many towns are lost, the game ends with the player's defeat. This could work well if there was an "overlord" the players were trying to defeat, instead of the standard "make as much gold as humanly possible" format.


good ideas. maybe it can all be tied together: Players play monsters on each other in an effort to variously kill each other or strenghten players they don't want killed, but monsters endanger towns which all players want to protect.

The 'overlord' thing is possibly an important point: I've thought about games like Descent: The Road to Legend where one player is an 'overlord' in control of all the monsters, and the players are an adventuring party on the same team, and the overlord is actively trying to kill the party. It looks like RtL is a very, very good implementation of the "all vs one" style, and I think it's best if either all the players are working together as in Warhammer Quest (or at least working in the same 'direction') or all the players are in conflict as in a wargame.

So the best compromise is to simulate an Overlord like Warhammer Quest does (from what I hear; I've never played it, and although it sounds awesome, it's not sufficiently available). If the 'overlord' could be a 'long-term' result of the players' short-term behavior...

While I'm on it, another idea I had was combining a lite-Wargame (as Battlemist) with a lite-RPG, with victory coming from conquest, adventuring, or a combination: Characters could travel from place to place, but opposing armies can block them; so you need to use your army to clear a path. Or the city where your hero or party has to bring the MacGuffin is in enemy hands, so you have to conquer it. The goal would be something like having 10 'levels' worth of cities and artifacts; you could conquer half the map but lose to someone that raided enough dungeons.
The final result would be a game like RtL but where everyone is the Overlord to everyone else. This is a work-in-progress and probably will be for a while because as I'm sure you can tell feature creep is a big problem, and I'm not sure how much to emphasize the Wargame aspect vs the RPG aspect. what I really need to do is playtest a bunch of different versions...
 
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RanDomino wrote:
words words words


On the subject of an overlord, I was thinking more like an Arkham Horror "great old one", or the bosses from the WoW Boardgame. I'm envisioning a mixture between Marvel Heroes, Runebound, and Arkham Horror.
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omni_mech wrote:
RanDomino wrote:
words words words


On the subject of an overlord, I was thinking more like an Arkham Horror "great old one", or the bosses from the WoW Boardgame. I'm envisioning a mixture between Marvel Heroes, Runebound, and Arkham Horror.


oh, gotcha. well it seems to me that that type of overlord is just a collection of rules and conditions committed to a card. so we're talking abou the same thing.
 
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RanDomino wrote:

Oh, and before I forget- I saw a game a few months ago by some real small company, it looked like Magic Realm (hex-tiles with paths and clearings) but it was published in like 2005. I've tried to find it again (even going through every page of my Recently Viewed Games), but no luck. I'm pretty sure it's PnP, but I can't remember the website that was selling it. Does anyone know what I'm talking about?


I believe the game may be called Arcanum (sorry not sure how to link it).

This project is very interesting. I'm a fan of Magic Realm and the deterministic combat is probably the one thing I don't enjoy as much as the rest of the game. I do like the warning/sound chits for monsters though for monster spawning. Arcanum uses something similar.

~telengard
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telengard wrote:
I believe the game may be called Arcanum


thanks, it took me a while but I found it a few days ago. The art looks vomit-inducing but the gameplay looks interesting. I wish there was more previewed, but maybe I should just go through the couch cushions for $7.

Quote:
(sorry not sure how to link it).


when typing a post, above the "Subject" bar and below the smilies there's a row of buttons- 'game' 'quote' 'spoiler' etc. Click 'Game', enter the name you're looking for, hit enter on your keyboard, click the name of the right one. It'll spit out code like {GAMEID=21669} which turns into a link. When you go to a game's page, in the address bar the block of numbers at the end is a game's GAMEID.

Quote:
This project is very interesting. I'm a fan of Magic Realm and the deterministic combat is probably the one thing I don't enjoy as much as the rest of the game.


Magic Realm even has random combat, with the tactics change. Ah 1978, when even deterministic combat was random.
A really deterministic combat system is in the Lord of the Rings CCG, and it works well because you're fighting random monsters. I think no more than one random factor is necessary in a mechanic- If you have a 50% chance to hit and a 50% chance to do damage if you hit, why not just condense it to a 25% chance to do damage? Rolling dice is fun but time-consuming.

Quote:
I do like the warning/sound chits for monsters though for monster spawning. Arcanum uses something similar.


Yeah, I like how it's random but not so random that you can't plan.

Overall I think games like Runebound (Second Edition), Return of the Heroes, Arcanum, World of Warcraft: The Adventure Game, Munchkin Quest etc are all getting closer and closer to an ideal but falling short every time for a variety of reasons. If there's any interest, I'd ideally like to do a collaborative effort BGG- and BGDF-designed 'perfect' free PnP lite-RPG with all the fixin's, but without incomprehensible rules. I'm much more concise when talking about tangible things! although I really, really like game theory... and I think a failure to use game theory is the main reason previous games have not been as good as they should be. Except Warhammer Quest which is apparently perfect.
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