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Subject: battle system in a deck building game. rss

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Jeremy Miller
United States
Georgia
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Last time I posted here, I got some good feedback. I am hoping for more. I am designing a Deck-Building game in my free time that mimics Dominion in gameplay mechanics, but I have made several key changes to the gameplay that sets the game apart as a standalone game, and not just a Dominion clone.

The game plays like Dominion in the sense you have an Action phase, a Buy phase, and a Clean-up phase. There will be a set of community cards that each player can buy from, plus each player has 2 card piles that only they can play from. These cards are decided via a draft-veto mechanism at game start. I have also made some end game changes to differ how players can win.

In the universe I have created, Influence is power. Players can gain influence via economic power, military power, or a combination of both. I like the attacking mechanisms in games like Magic or Shadow Era, but have never been a fan of card collection games. I like the strategy and equal footing that deck building games offer. I am basically wanting to design a game that combines the two(if anyone knows of any games that do that, let me know so I can review them). If there are any nightfall players out there, this is the closest game that I have found that does what I want, but don't want to use the "chaining" mechanism. Your opinion is needed.

The goal of this game is to gather influence and players may do that through gaining certain cards (like Victory cards in Dominion), winning battles, or having a powerful economic engine.

To do this game right, I wanted to implement a “BATTLE” system as a separate mechanic from the standard Attack cards one would find in Dominion. My game still had these attack cards. I have had several ideas about how to Design this battle system, but have had trouble implementing it in a fun, fluid way. I have narrowed it down to 2 different base mechanics (that i can tweak) and would your opinion on them.

• The first mechanism is where nearly all of the supply cards have been giving an ATTACK and DEFENSE rating (but not all, theory is that cards that may be super powerful during ones action phase may be nearly useless in battle and vice-versa). The mechanism would work so that after the action-phase, a player may pick up to 4 (maybe 5) cards that are in play and attack a player (what player changes after each round). The defending player may play up to 4 cards from their hand as well. To keep it simple, the victor is determined by the difference in Attack-Defense points. For example, if Player 1 has 10 Attack and Player 2 has 8 Defense points, player 1 wins by 2 and gains 2 Influence (VP). If a player wins by a certain amount, I was thinking 8 or more, that player may take a special influence token from the defending player. If The first player to gain 6 of these tokens wins. (Each player starts with 2 tokens. I was also thinking about having an ability to buy tokens from a pile, but at an extremely high cost). Conversely, if the player loses by a certain number, they are punished in some way next hand. I was also thinking about instead of having players attack after each turn, that they can only battle if they draw a battle card in their hand.


• Another mechanic I was thinking about using was reducing the number of cards that are used in battle (scrap the Attack and Defense ratings of most of them) and have cards in the supply that fuels the traditional economic engine/action phase of the game that makes Dominion great and have cards that would have no affect during a players action phase, but could be “deployed” (removed from the players hand and deck) and these cards would be used to battle players in a way that resembles Magic or Shadow Era. Some of these cards could be upgraded with other cards or influenced in some way, good or bad. I like this idea, but feel like it could get too complicated and messy.

If the community has any good ideas on how to make a battle system work in a deck building game, I would appreciate the critique.
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Mike L.
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There are several ways to do it. Off the top of my head combat can be magic-esque (buy monsters from a pool, which you can use to attack or defend with) or tactical board combat (miniature battle style) or you can play attack cards with attack values and the opponent can play cards for their defense values or miskatonic university style in which you buy enemies for your opponents to defeat or they take a loss. Or a combination of the above.

I am sure there are several other ways to do it, but that should get you started.
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Andrew H
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Could the cost of each card be a default battle stat? Players could discard It as defense if attacked but then they couldn't use it on their turn. In a siMilar way it could add to an attack strength, but limit the remaining cards to buy or do other actions.
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Jeremy Miller
United States
Georgia
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nitro9090 wrote:
There are several ways to do it. Off the top of my head combat can be magic-esque (buy monsters from a pool, which you can use to attack or defend with) or tactical board combat (miniature battle style) or you can play attack cards with attack values and the opponent can play cards for their defense values or miskatonic university style in which you buy enemies for your opponents to defeat or they take a loss. Or a combination of the above.

I am sure there are several other ways to do it, but that should get you started.



Thanks! I didn't think about using a tactical board, that is a good thought. Could you elaborate on the Miskatonic University style. I am not familiar with that approach.
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Jeremy Miller
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Georgia
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fur94 wrote:
Could the cost of each card be a default battle stat? Players could discard It as defense if attacked but then they couldn't use it on their turn. In a siMilar way it could add to an attack strength, but limit the remaining cards to buy or do other actions.


I like it. Discarding for use as Attack or Defense is a great concept. It would add a lot more strategy and calculations to the game.
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Mike L.
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jamcubs17 wrote:
nitro9090 wrote:
There are several ways to do it. Off the top of my head combat can be magic-esque (buy monsters from a pool, which you can use to attack or defend with) or tactical board combat (miniature battle style) or you can play attack cards with attack values and the opponent can play cards for their defense values or miskatonic university style in which you buy enemies for your opponents to defeat or they take a loss. Or a combination of the above.

I am sure there are several other ways to do it, but that should get you started.



Thanks! I didn't think about using a tactical board, that is a good thought. Could you elaborate on the Miskatonic University style. I am not familiar with that approach.


Miskatonic school for girls was what I was talking about (forgot the full name), it was a deck-building game where you had two currencies one to buy cards that fought monsters and another to buy monsters for the player to your left. Each turn if you couldn't defeat the monsters bad stuff would happen, usually you would lose sanity (aka health) or cards from your deck. The game hasn't done very well, so a re-imagining of the mechanic would probably be welcome.
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Pasi Ojala
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Get the Imperial Assault Campaign module for Vassal from http://www.vassalengine.org/wiki/Module:Star_Wars:_Imperial_Assault
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jamcubs17 wrote:
have cards that would have no affect during a players action phase, but could be “deployed” (removed from the players hand and deck) and these cards would be used to battle players


You described how worlds are conquered in Core Worlds. I think requiring to first deploy troops, before you can attack is a good way to implement battle, because it involves planning. When done right (with suitable deployment cost etc.), it also marries the mechanics with the theme.
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Jeremy Miller
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Georgia
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a1bert wrote:
jamcubs17 wrote:
have cards that would have no affect during a players action phase, but could be “deployed” (removed from the players hand and deck) and these cards would be used to battle players


You described how worlds are conquered in Core Worlds. I think requiring to first deploy troops, before you can attack is a good way to implement battle, because it involves planning. When done right (with suitable deployment cost etc.), it also marries the mechanics with the theme.


Awesome. I haven't played Core Worlds yet, but it has been on my list of games to play. I will have to check it out soon or at least read through the game instructions and learn how they do it.
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