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Subject: Need input on a card-driven battle mechanic. rss

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David Jackman
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Now, there are quite a few games that use card-based resolution from battles, and some that do it in a rather clever way, but in a design im playing with, i think i had come up with a rather clever idea for battle mechanics.

Firstly, this is for a space combat game, more on a tactical level than, for example, TI3. Now, the idea was spurned from dominion more than anything. Heres how it works.

Each player starts with a standard deck of, say, 15 cards:

6 +0 damage cards
4 +1 damage cards
3 -1 damage cards
2 'Miss' cards.

Now, the idea is rather simple - when you engage in combat, you draw a number of cards equal to the ships you have fighting. To resolve combat, you have to play all of your cards on ships. All of the ships have a base damage, and you simply add the card that you played for that ship.

The 'Miss' cards represent a ship that, well, missed. I like the idea of having to choose a ship on your own to miss, and while this would mean generally your weaker ships would be the ones missing, it might add an interesting element to combat resolution.

Another idea would be to allow your opponent to decide which of your ships miss.

Now, as the game goes on, you can spend research points to add cards to your deck. They might be as simple as +more damage, or they might have special uses, like a 'salvage' card that gives you 1 Ore if this ship destroys another this round.

Plus, this would be a great way to give the combat a narrative. Titles and flavortext would be easy additions to such a system.

What do you guys think? could it work? are there any obvious flaws?
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Robert Wesley
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oh sure, as MY very OWN 'idea' were "spawned" from reducing the LUCK factoring with 43 and you would SELECT in this manner for what you wished to "wager". Check it out:

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/98102
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James Hutchings
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The system in the original post would favour 'combined arms'. If you had a group with some powerful, expensive ships and a lot of weak, cheap ones, you'd get to draw a lot of cards, and assign the best results to your good ships.
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Chris Schenck
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This seems like a pretty cool core. I'll be interested to see where this goes.
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Xiang Ling Chan
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I'm very interested in it too. :cool:
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David Jackman
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Thanks for your replies! Ive been doing some testing while at work and last night with a buddy, and i do feel like this could be a fun and quick way for interesting combat resolution (with enough luck to keep it exciting).

Well, a few things about the game:

First off, the combat is more 'wargamey' than, say, TI3. The base ships have ranges of 0-1-3 hexes and all attacks are targeted. It isnt a roll-and-have-your-enemy-take-casualties-the-way-he-wants like TI3, Axis and Allies, or Nexus Ops.

For this reason i am starting to think the best way to resolve it is probably not to draw as many cards as ships you have attacking and put them any way you want, but to draw a card at random for each ship that attacks.

As someone mentioned before, 'choosing' what ships get what cards wouldnt even add that much strategy or interesting choices, as it would be a matter of giving your 'worst' ships the worst cards.

Also, this keeps the luck manageable, as you know there are X of each card that you will draw each time through the deck.

Now, ill explain the very basics of the combat system, and give some sample cards we have come up with.

First, there are Hit Points.

Fighters, the small fast short range ships, have 5.
Cruisers, the medium range, medium speed ships, have 25-35
Battleships, the long range, excruciatingly slow ships have 65-100.

And 'average' damage for these ships would be as follows:
Fighters, 4 damage a shot.
Cruisers, 10 damage a shot.
Battleships, 22 damage a shot.

The game involves a seperate mechanic where you choose what weapons and defenses your fighters, cruisers, and battleships all have, so that you can design your fleet.

Now, the starter deck (no, its not 7 coppers and 3 estates. :O ):

(number) Title
Flavortext
Effect

1 Lucky Shot:
For a brief moment, the controls feel like second nature as you tear through hull.
+3 Damage

4 Steady Shot:
Your good grades in Flight School pay off.
+1 Damage

7 Glancing Blow:
Desperation gets the best of you.
-1 Damage

3 Miss
Beautiful flashes of light dazzle your opponent as they fly right past them.
Cancel this Attack

Now, here are some ideas for cards that you can buy with Research Points (a resource that accumulates on its own every turn)

Flanking Maneuver
Your target deftly maneuvers around your fire, as he is completely broadsided by your wingmate.
Choose another ship that is attacking your target. That ship gets +4 Damage.

Salvage Team
Waste not, want not.
If a ship dies within 4 of this ship this turn, gain 2/4/6 Ore if it is a fighter/cruiser/battleship.

Effective Propaghanda.
Rumors spread around the fleet, sowing fear and despair.
When you buy this card, put it on top of your opponents combat deck.
Cancel this Attack.

Jamming Signal
Electronic warfare is the ultimate equalizer.
Cancel this attack. Choose an enemy ship within 4. Cancel that ships attack.

Desperate Measures
The best offense is a good...offense.
+6 Damage. This ship takes half damage. If this ship is at 1 HP, it also dies. If this ship would be reduced to fewer than 1 HP, reduce it to 1 HP instead.

Evasive maneuvers.
'Hard Astern!' the admiral shouts as a wave of torpedoes scrapes past the hull.
-2 Damage. Move 1 space and cancel one attack against this ship.

The other thing you could do, is have cards that are added to decks when specific events trigger, like so:

Vengeance
They. Will. Pay.
Add 2 copies of this card to your deck when your Starbase takes damage from an enemy for the first time.
+6 damage, and remove this card from the game.

***The two cards below involve a Supercapital ship: Each race will have the design for a unique one - Think Death Star, or, if you are familiar with EVE online, a Titan. Besides being absurdly expensive and almost invulnerable, these act as a game clock, and when one is build, the other side has a set amount of turns to get their own supercap or they lose.***

Pride
Your terrible behemoth of a supercapital ship is christened, and the fleet cheers with conviction.
Add 3 copies of this card to your deck when construction of your races supercapital ship is complete.
+5 Damage

Awe
Recon pictures affirm your Commands worst predictions: The enemy has completed a supercapital ship. And it is on its way.
Add 3 copies of this card to your deck when your enemy completes construction of their supercapital ship.
-5 Damage

Also, it gives me an easy way to make a 'command' module for carriers (carriers could be equipped with a command module if they were to give up all thier weapons)

Command Module
2 External Hardpoints
All allies within 5 of this ship draw 2 combat cards, discard one of your choice and use the other.



The only issue i can see is that LOTS of combat needs to take place so you can get through your deck a lot. But, at the same time, whats better than encouraging conflict? devil





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David Jackman
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runandhide wrote:
I really like the idea of card-driven battle mechanics, so I'm really interested in what you've written, and would definitely encourage you to continue working on these ideas. I don't, to the extent that I understand what you've written, see any "obvious flaws". I do however have one idea.

One way to handle the distribution of the attacks and the cards would be to have the attacker assign one card face down to each of their ships prior to the ships being assigned to specific defenders. The defender could then assign the attacking ships as they wish, as long as the distribution over ships is even. In this way, you may want to place "misses" on your strong ships, hoping that the defender will mistakenly assign your weaker ships to their more valuable ships. This could add some psychological nuance to the game.

Here are two links to geeklists on diceless combat resolution that I've found helpful when thinking aboutt card-driven battle mechanics. Perhaps you will find something inspirational in them too.

http://boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/20206

http://boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/5989

Best of luck!



Stop putting down great ideas that make me want to abandon my original design! haha. :)

That would, indeed, be interesting. And those lists do definately spur some ideas - Especially Warp War- *silently muses*

EDIT: So much testing has gone by, and many more problems than solutions have come up, but one thing is clear: this combat system is the most fun and solid idea in the design i am creating.

One breakthrough i had: This would allow the implementation of different races to be intuitive, unique, and flavorful.

Each race would have a different combat deck and different combat cards they could buy for their deck. You could adapt the theme, balance, and flavor on cards. Sometimes, it might be a matter of a card ONLY having different flavor and a different name, but it would give it a different feel, which is what im really looking for.
 
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