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Subject: Welcoming your suggestions rss

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Kim Maston
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Hey all,

I've been trying to design a 2p game based on hand-to-hand combat without much success. My original conception of the game was for it to be a sword fight (of Roman/medieval influence) between two opponents.

During the design process two of my list of objectives was to
a. Not use dice
b. Not use cards with varying values.

I much prefer the game to encourage strategic play, and obviously I need to set up the mechanics cleverly enough to facilitate this. But it's one thing to plan and another to execute.

I'm encountering a lot of trouble designing a diceless combat system that employs combat manoeuvres, hit locations, and a variety of effects.

I'm wondering if my sub-par level of proficiency in maths is contributing to my problem. (it has been a while since I graduate from high school)

I'd appreciate anyone's guidance towards designing combat systems, building card-based boardgames, and, well, anything else that might help.
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Walt L
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Here's the issue. You either need to deiced if a player can do X which equals a hit, and then if you give the second person a chance to block / parry by doing Y, OR if X needs to happen before there can be a hit.

The rub comes in by not wanting to use dice or cards, because at their base they are nothing more than random number generators. So you have to have either something else that determines randomness or a series of event that leads to you goal.

I realize that might be clear as mud but I hope you get the idea.
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silas molino
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How about cards with dual use (defense/attack value)that display body parts and employ a mechanic of card drawing and use similar to dominion?
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Marc Nelson Jr.
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sturner wrote:
Both players secretly and simultaneously pick an action (sword thrust a location, block, move, etc) then reveal the actions. The outcome is then determined based on the actions -- they may both miss, a block may work, a guy might walk right into the opposing sword. No randomness from dice or cards (although you could limit the available actions to a hand of cards).


Like Tecmo Bowl! Of course, each fighter would have different "playbooks" of attacks and defenses.
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Nate K
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Could you explain what you mean by "cards with varying values"?

Also, check out BattleCON: War of Indines to see one example of a system that could do what you're looking to do.
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Dances With Militias
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It's ancient now, though you could probably score a copy somewhere, but Avalon Hill's Gladiator was a die-and-table based approach to H2H combat.
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Kim Maston
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Phew! I finally get some time to visit BGG again. Thanks for all the replies and sorry I took so long to get back to you all.

Silas, I like your suggestion of dual-use (or 'duel use'? ). I actually employed that in one of my variant designs of this project.

S. Turner - Ha! That was one of the first ideas I had when trying to draw up the sequence of play.

Nate K - Sorry, I should have clarified. I mean I don't want to have a deck full of cards with varying strength that players draw to use against one another (i.e. luck of the draw). I'm perfectly ok with using cards of varying value if it can be woven into a buying system.

Jay R., thanks for the heads up, I'll give it a look.

Walt L, I completely understand, and that's my issue.

I should add that I want to minimise double blind play. While theme matters to me a lot, I also enjoy simulation (or is it realism?). I feel that both combatants should have some knowledge of their opponent, something akin to boxing and other combative sports. Admittedly the "Both players secretly and simultaneously pick an action then reveal the actions" (a.k.a. Doakes: "surprise motherf****r!") appeals to my impish preference for chaos. Alas, I'm opting for a mechanic and style of play that embraces partial knowledge of the opponent. I understand that no fighter has complete knowledge of their opponent, so I'm aiming to build play around transparent and hidden knowledge. (e.g. visible + hidden combat cards).

I'm trying to map out systems of strategy that do not rely on luck. Some background: my game takes place inside a hexagonal arena filled with hexagons (spaces). Two combatants duel it out and to win they must either hit their opponent x amount of times or be able to move their opponent out of the area (facilitated by 'push' manoeuvres).

I have a number of attack options that allow for both objectives to be reached. Some of my problems are:

1. Access: how do players access and use attack options that differentiate style of play without using a randomiser? (do players purchase their attacks, and what's to stop them from mirroring one another?)

2. Options: How can I create enough variety so that players can identify and build a strategy for winning?

By not utilising luck in the mechanic, I feel that the game would be based on a series of mathematical formula (systems) that can be predicted. (.e.g If I choose x attack with y card, where will that take me in x amount of turns?).

Perhaps I'm not doing myself a favour by not using luck in my first game design. Perhaps I need to go out there and play more games to help round out my understanding. Perhaps I need to brush up on my math(s). Perhaps... I'm biting off more than I can chew?

Sorry if I'm not articulating myself well enough. Obviously my questions are non-intentionally laden with assumptions built into the design of the game. More feedback would be appreciated, and I'm happy to answer any more questions. I promise to get back sooner next time!

Cheers








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Ian O'Toole
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You could look at boosting a move based on how many of one type of card a player has in their hand. Similar to Eminent Domain. Then use a rondel for stances.

So, if a player is in a defensive stance, and draws a lot of attack cards, they can shift one stance on the rondel for free, and discard cards from their hand to move more spaces (attack cards to move to an attack stance, defense cards to move to a defensive). Then both players reveal their moves simultaneously. The results are a combination of the cards each player plays, the number of the same cards used to boost, and their stance.

That way you avoid cards with numbered values, but still retain an element of surprise. A player could feint be using a defensive stance but then play lots of attack cards. Also, making the deck not recyclable will mean that players will become weaker at attacking or defending the more they do it, forcing them to switch up tactics.
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James Hutchings
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sturner wrote:
Both players secretly and simultaneously pick an action (sword thrust a location, block, move, etc) then reveal the actions. The outcome is then determined based on the actions -- they may both miss, a block may work, a guy might walk right into the opposing sword. No randomness from dice or cards (although you could limit the available actions to a hand of cards).


As well as using cards, you could narrow choice further (and therefore hopefully increase the value of memory and thinking ahead) by, for example, having each player get a hand of ten cards which are kept face-up, and have to pick their moves from that, only getting a new hand when those ten are exhausted.

Variants on this include:

* the same cards are used for both players (they place a token on their side of the card when they've chosen it).

* players get five cards after every five rounds rather than using up all ten.
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Kim Maston
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Thanks Ian & James, those are great suggestions. Thus far Face-up draw has been included in my latest version. Hmm never thought to use a Rondel. Never played Eminent Domain, either.

And oh! I've been meaning to play Fury of Dracula. (And letters from Whitechapel). Will try to do so soon to get a look at the game mechanics.
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