Brian Gee
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Hey all.

I'm working on a design that involves a euro style action point mechanic for movement, mixed with tactical combat. It takes place on a square grid board with obstacles (like a maze), and I'm trying to decide the most intuitive way to handle the movement of flying and non-flying units. My current plan is to have non-flyers not be able to move diagonally, because it presents more interesting decisions on how to spend your action points (harder to get around obstacles), while flying units would be allowed to move diagonally (more intuitive, "as the crow flies"). The only problem is that this is making it difficult to balance the number of movement points I give to each unit.

One other problem I am having with flying units is relating to melee combat. I want non-flyers to be able to attack flyers in melee, but this feels unrealistic. I could stretch reality and justify it somehow (for example "flyers need to land to engage in melee with a non-flyer"), but I don't know if this is the best approach.

Because of these issues, I'm considering if it is possible to remove flying units from the game, but I feel like this will hurt the theme a lot.

What do you feel would be the most intuitive way to handle these issues? How is this commonly handled in other similar games you can think of?

Edit: fixed typo
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Daniel Danzer
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Just a quick shot:

Make the units on disks. At the beginning, all disks are "non-flyers". The one who can "lift off" are turned upside down then and move more freely. But for their "launch" they use one of their movement points (into the vertical direction, so to say). As long as they are flying, they move crossing the obstacles or diagonal or whatever you want. If they want to "fight" a non-flying unit, they have to land: So you turn the disk around again, lose one movement point and "land".
This would make it even possible to have two units (one flying, one "non-flying") in the same spot at the same time - if this was not possible so far anyway.

Er ... I hope I expressed this clear enough?
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Kai Bettzieche
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what about the obvious:

flyers move as non flyers, but ignore any obstacles in their path.

why is it unrealistic to have non-flyers attack non-flyers in melee?

flyers attacking non-flyers could be justified with special attacks (such as a dragon's breath); non-flyers attacking flyers can be justified with a special attack such as a range-attack with a bow.

units not having such special attacks cannot attack a unit on a different level of elevation.

as simple as that
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Brian Gee
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Yes, that makes sense Daniel. Very interesting. Yes, the units will be on tokens of some kind, so the potential exists for me to use flipping the token as a way to indicate the unit is in flight. So do you agree with my original assumption that while flying, a flying unit should have the advantage of moving diagonally? Does that seem like the most intuitive way to handle it? I wish I could think of a similar game with this situation, but despite all the games I have played I can't.
 
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Brian Gee
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Kai, yes I'm thinking of taking away the diagonal movement of flying units in order to simplify things, I just wasn't sure if that would seem unintuitive. Would someone assume that a flying unit would be able to move diagonally on a square grid? Can either of you think of an example of a game with a square grid and flying units?

As for non-flying units attacking non-flying units in melee, that was a typo. As you may have guessed, I meant that I want non-flying units to be able to attack flying units in melee. As you've mentioned, the intuitive way to handle it would be that flyers can only be hit by ranged attacks, but in this game there are hardly any ranged attacks, so I feel this will make flyers too powerful...

To be honest I'd rather remove this flying issue from my game, but some of the units I want to use wouldn't make sense thematically without having a flight ability (dragon for example).
 
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Daniel Danzer
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If you let them change directions during their moves (I don`t know their range) it would be nice to have the "ground units only moving orthogonally and unable to cross rivers, walls or whatever obstacles, while flying ones could move also diagonally.

If you want to let them fight only "face to face", then only pieces on the same elevation and space could fight. Period.

If the flying ones get too powerful (playtest sessions 1 - 36) just give them less movement points. And let them be real slow when on the ground!

Ground-units: 3 Spaces orthogonally
Flying units on ground: 1 unit orthogonally
Flying unit flying: 3 units in each direction ("start" and "land": 1 point minus).

Or something like that, depending on the grid, the obstacles, the number of spaces and so on.
 
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Joe Mucchiello
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downstream wrote:
To be honest I'd rather remove this flying issue from my game, but some of the units I want to use wouldn't make sense thematically without having a flight ability (dragon for example).

Fight underground with a low ceiling.
 
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Brian Gee
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Daniel, you are in the right ballpark, the movement range would be somewhere between 2 and 4 moves per turn, and they can change direction during the movement.

I'm intrigued by the concept of different elevations, and I'm strongly taking it into consideration, but I'm thinking it might be too complex for the style of this game (I want the mechanics to be really streamlined, it has a strong euro and abstract influence). The other main concern is that due to the small number of ranged attacks in the game, I think it will be too easy for a flyer to avoid combat by staying in the air...

So I'm still interested in alternatives to the different elevation idea if anyone has them.

Would it be completely unintuitive (and/or ridiculous) to have flying only affect movement, and not have any affect on combat? (non-flyers could attack flyers in melee)



 
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Dean
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Give each unit a limited number of flight tokens. Movement involving flight requires spending a token. Non-flight movement redeems one. This models stamina, in a way - the longer you fly, the more tired you get, and have to spend a few turns grounded to recover. This limits the unit's ability to evade enemy action overlong. You may even wish to rule that at completion of the movement, the unit will be considered grounded.

Further, combat may lead to full depletion of flight tokens. This may minimise the "hit and run" tactics that you seem to implicitly dislike. Once a flying unit has turned your flank and engaged, it will act effectively like a ground unit, at least until it can avoid action for a full turn.

Further, the more flight tokens you may have on attacking, the more devastating the initial assault? Just a thought.

 
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Brian Gee
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I think I can pull this off. I just looked up the rules for Titan, since it has similar units to some of mine (dragon, gargoyle), and this is how it handles flying units:

"A flying unit ignores all hazards until it lands. A flying unit always lands at the end of its move, but may not land on a hazard..." etc

In Titan it seems there are no restrictions on whether flyers and non-flyers can fight in melee, because flyers land when they are not in the process of moving. This is how I had originally imagined my game working as well, but didn't know if this was commonly done or whether it would be rejected by players as being unrealistic...
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Kai Bettzieche
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tbh: it IS rather unintuitive to have flyers move diagonally exclusively ..
flyers .. well .. fly (d'uh ..) - they don't move in different directions ..

and no, I cannot think of a game with a square grid where this would matter ..

if there are hardly ranged attackt, throw them in. ranged attackers get their bonus versus flyers and a malus versus ground units ..

as simple as that

downstream wrote:
Would it be completely unintuitive (and/or ridiculous) to have flying only affect movement, and not have any affect on combat? (non-flyers could attack flyers in melee)


see above:

jmucchiello wrote:
downstream wrote:
To be honest I'd rather remove this flying issue from my game, but some of the units I want to use wouldn't make sense thematically without having a flight ability (dragon for example).

Fight underground with a low ceiling.


flying = better movement.
either fight below ground or state a rule that sais, that a flier takes of at the beginning of his turn and lands at the end or as soon as he engages in combat (do you remember the pc-game Warlords? there it used to be like this: flyers ignored ANY terrain (even the roads that could have made them faster if they walked) and were considered on ground when attacking or when it was not their turn)
 
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Brian Gee
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Kai, the environment of the game has already been determined and it is not underground. Joe's comment was still entertaining though!

As for the combat, I think we have come to the same conclusion that it is doable to have the flyers land after each movement. This is the most elegant solution for me as it doesn't require me to introduce additional mechanics (I feel there are already plenty and am trying to simplify if possible).

The only remaining decision is about allowing flyers to move diagonally. Daniel is definitely right, if I do allow it, I will need to playtest it a lot in order to tweak the balance on the flying units. Kai seems to think it is unintuitive but Daniel does not. Would anyone else like to weigh in?

To give a bit of extra information, the game already has another ability that allows non-flying units to ignore obstacles (but not move diagonally), so if flyers cannot move diagonally, they will be functionally the same as those units. This is not necessarily a bad thing, as it will make balancing the units easier, however it may seem like the 2 abilities are redundant. I can't eliminate either though, as only one of these abilities would not match all the relevant creatures thematically.
 
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Kai Bettzieche
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the abilities are not redundant at all, if you put it in a way, that fliers are ALWAYS in the air and do NEVER engage in air-to-ground-combat.

then fliers can be countered with fliers only and the obstacle-ignoring-walkers engage in melee with other walkers only.
 
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Brian Gee
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Kai, I've decided I want to keep the combat as originally designed, flyers land when not moving and engage in combat the same as non-flyers. A combat system where only flyers can fight flyers will not work because this is an asymmetrical game where not all the teams have the same units, and some teams have no flyers.
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Joe Mucchiello
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downstream wrote:
Kai, I've decided I want to keep the combat as originally designed, flyers land when not moving and engage in combat the same as non-flyers. A combat system where only flyers can fight flyers will not work because this is an asymmetrical game where not all the teams have the same units, and some teams have no flyers.

Magic the Gathering has such a combat system. Flyers having to land between turns is not very intuitive either.
 
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Brian Gee
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I hear you Joe. I'm really on the fence about it.

While there is definitely some similarities to Magic, the difference between this game and magic is that it is a boardgame with a very limited number of spells and creatures, and you can't mix these between teams, so if one of the team has no flyers it would be completely incapable of dealing with flyers on the opposing team...
 
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James Hutchings
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You could change the theme to fit the mechanics. Instead of dragons, have creatures that glide, or teleport, or some other means of movement.
 
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