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Subject: How to give life to the monsters? rss

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Estonia
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Working on a tactical adventure boardgame, I ran out of ideas. Basically, in a co-op game, nobody wants to play the monsters. But the monsters need to move and/ or attack every turn.

I thought about using a d6 and show the actions on the monster card (1 - Move toward the nearest player; 2 - Cast the Spell of Destruction). But then where would the spell descriptions even fit? I feel like I'm going to need a Book of Tables à la Tales of Arabian Nights.

Has anything more elegant been done that I might have missed?
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Scott Nelson
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Take on the active role of the monster and hurt the players the most you can. Vote on it as the worst thing the monster could do, it will.
You could give experience points to those who vote with nothing lesser than the majority, and make it blind bid so though co-op, it is still decided by individual choices. No talking it out before voting. randomly attack the player, so you might not want to vote the worst everytime for the xps, since it may be you he attacks!

or roll a die...
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John "Omega" Williams
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Basic approach is to place the creatures at a pre-determined range based on their type or combat style. And have them act accordingly.

Something simple could be like this:
Goblin with Shotgun = Encounter distance: 4, Stance: stand and fire.
Youd place the creature 4 spaces from whomever triggered the event, or the group alltogether, and he would stand and fire at whomever had line of sight to. Or based on some sort of priority system or a basic focus on specific character mechanic.
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Guido Gloor
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Great ways to move the monsters have been devised in a few games indeed.

I particularly like the approach of Gears of War: The Board Game. Before each game, you build an AI deck that consists of cards for the enemies in the current scenario and some generic cards (that are different from scenario to scenario). Each turn, a player draws a card from that deck after his own action and moves monsters accordingly. The cards tell you to do things like "move each Horrible Goblin two steps closer to you and then have it attack", or "spawn a new Huge Orc in the nearest forest to your current position", roughly, and if multiple forests are equally close the player gets to choose which one it'll be.

Another approach is the one Mage Knight Board Game takes - here, monsters are mostly static, and you mostly find new enemies by further exploring the map.

Or there's Ghost Stories, where each enemy has a very basic AI that is always the same with a simple rule, like "send a ghost towards the village." Dungeons & Dragons: Castle Ravenloft Board Game is similar with rules like "always move two steps towards the closest hero, then attack", but which enemy shows up at all is widely varied because they're drawn from a huge deck with tons of unique monsters. You can make these simple rules somewhat intricate and detailed by saying "if you're further away than two spaces, do this, otherwise do that if you're wounded and that if you're still unwounded".

Or of course you can make tables that you roll on for how the monsters behave. I think Magic Realm might do that?
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J Holmes
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Elecricity andor virgin sacrifice usually start them off.
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B Mendez
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You should check out Intruder by Task Force Games. It is based in the movie "Alien".
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Kevin Oedekoven
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How about something like this:

Monsters begin as static AI but if any player is defeated, they take the role of the monsters. If they manage to defeat another player, they get to be "resurrected" and the defeated player now takes the role of the monsters.
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David Boeren
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I find it interested that nobody wants to be the monsters. What is it about that role that they find distasteful? Maybe if you can identify that you can make people WANT to be the monsters and solve your problem that way.
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Freelance Police
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kevinodie wrote:
How about something like this:

Monsters begin as static AI but if any player is defeated, they take the role of the monsters. If they manage to defeat another player, they get to be "resurrected" and the defeated player now takes the role of the monsters.


Works. Many zombie games work this way. The original DungeonQuest would have another player draw a Monster card. The current player then says if he Waits, Attacks, or Holds his Ground. Different monsters would have different responses.

Honestly, monsters don't have much personality in boardgames, so don't worry about it.
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James Hutchings
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dboeren wrote:
I find it interested that nobody wants to be the monsters. What is it about that role that they find distasteful? Maybe if you can identify that you can make people WANT to be the monsters and solve your problem that way.


'Monster' and 'character' describe what the figures look like. Monsters can have any abilities and powers that characters have (and vice versa).
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Jake Staines
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dboeren wrote:
I find it interested that nobody wants to be the monsters. What is it about that role that they find distasteful? Maybe if you can identify that you can make people WANT to be the monsters and solve your problem that way.

For me, at least, I just like cooperative games, where the players aren't competing against each other, but against the game scenario/system/whatever. Playing as the monsters means there's one player who isn't part of the group, who isn't joining in. Sometimes this works well anyway - c.f. every pen-and-paper RPG ever - but I don't think the notion that (for example) players should be brought back to life for killing another player would go down well with most co-op groups, and you'd probably find most of them subverting it anyway: "OK, Steve - I know you died, but the party can do without my fighter while your mage is too useful to lose; come over here and hit me with all your orcs."...
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Joe Mucchiello
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Bichatse wrote:
Playing as the monsters means there's one player who isn't part of the group, who isn't joining in. Sometimes this works well anyway - c.f. every pen-and-paper RPG ever - but I don't think the notion that (for example) players should be brought back to life for killing another player would go down well with most co-op groups, and you'd probably find most of them subverting it anyway

In the RPG Rune, playing as GM is round robin by the rules of the game. Each player shows up to the game session with a small set of encounters and you run through the encounters rotating GM at the end of each mini-dungeon.

So you could have a rotating GM as part of the game. Maybe a token that gets passed around the table after each encounter. Or passing the token could be based on who did best in the previous encounter. So the best character sits out of the next encounter, a catch the king mechanism.
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Jonathan Leistiko
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luminarious wrote:
In a co-op game, nobody wants to play the monsters. But the monsters need to move and/ or attack every turn.


Consider creating a nomogram (aka: nomograph) that takes into account the strength of the players, the strength of the monster(s), and their relative locations.

A nomogram is a cleverly-designed chart/table/graphic that takes a few inputs and returns a specific result. They were very popular before the advent of prolific computational devices.

You may find the following article on nomograms useful: http://myreckonings.com/wordpress/2008/01/09/the-art-of-nomo...

...and here's a website specifically about creating nomograms for wargames: http://www.projectrho.com/nomogram/index.html

The Google search I used to find the above pages:
https://www.google.com/search?q=nomography&hl=en&prmd=imvnsb...

Alternately, make a web page that is smartphone-friendly that has a simple program embedded in it and have that program play the monster. (I'm being a little facetious with this, but it *is* plausible.)

I hope this helps!

Jonathan L.
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Steve Finney
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Have a look at Dungeons & Dragons: Wrath of Ashardalon Board Game, Dungeons & Dragons: Castle Ravenloft Board Game, or Dungeons & Dragons: The Legend of Drizzt Board Game. I'm pretty sure that they all assign monsters to the active player and then that player runs the monster in question from there on to a an algorithm described on the monster card:

be that straight-forward:


or more complex:


I believe that there is also a hording mechanic whereby when one monster of a particular type is activated, all monsters of that type are activated!

Best of luck with your design!
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Jonathan Tullsen
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fFish wrote:
Have a look at Dungeons & Dragons: Wrath of Ashardalon Board Game, Dungeons & Dragons: Castle Ravenloft Board Game, or Dungeons & Dragons: The Legend of Drizzt Board Game. I'm pretty sure that they all assign monsters to the active player and then that player runs the monster in question from there on to a an algorithm described on the monster card:

be that straight-forward:


or more complex:


I believe that there is also a hording mechanic whereby when one monster of a particular type is activated, all monsters of that type are activated!

Best of luck with your design!

I was going to say the same thing!
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James Hutchings
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invisiblejon wrote:
Consider creating a nomogram (aka: nomograph) that takes into account the strength of the players, the strength of the monster(s), and their relative locations.


Not to be confused with nomnomnomograms, otherwise known as pie charts
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Kirk Monsen
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You can do a robot system like in Fearsome Floors (move in one direction until it sees a player).

-Munch "you can even add some intelligence first by widening it's view range to more than just a straight line" Wolf
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James Hutchings
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You could also have a deck of cards, or a random table, which gives appropriate monster reactions, such as "an unwounded monster 1 square away from a character attacks that character", or "a monster with a spell and no characters within 1 square casts that spell".

Then allow the active player to choose if there's more than one way to enact what's on the card.
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