Topic: Board Game pre-Post

I may have inadvertently created a new (or remixed) damage mechanic, I just have no idea how to figure out probabilities to make sure it's balanced. Maybe one o' yous has an inkling.

Essentially, an attacker fires whichever guns they have built and have the resources to fire. Can be anywhere from 1 to 5 guns.

In playtesting so far, the defender would then roll dice, and add up the various hits, half-hits, or what have you. Worked smoothly, but dice are...a little bit *too* random for me.

So, here's the new system, as simply as I can put it:
There are 4 categories of parts you can add to your ship. Right now let's just keep them as numbers 1, 2, 3, and 4.
So I'm gonna make cards that equally distribute symbols representing those part types.
So, 24 cards. 6 cards affect part type 1, 6 affect part type 2, etc.
Each of these cards also has a setback printed on it, like "extra electrical damage" or "sacrifice one resource" for funsies.

In an attack, the attacker fires whatever guns they want, and the defender draws the equivalent number of cards from the "damage deck." And calculate damage like so:

Any single card labeled with 1, 2, 3, or 4 causes damage to *that type* of part *if* the target ship has one. Otherwise, it's a miss.

Any pair of 1's, 2's, etc is actually a bit better for the defender: they pick one to keep depending on the printed setback they hate less. The other one is discarded.

Any triplets are Critical Hits. The defender has to keep two of them.

Over the course of the game, the number of cards you have represents how many times you've been hit: so if you're playing a 10 HP game, collecting 10 cards means you're dead.

this means a couple of cool things:
1) Early in the game, critical hits are unlikely to happen, because it will take a while to build and fire 3 guns, the minimum to get a critical hit.
2) the idea of smaller ships being harder to hit is built in to the system: smaller ships are less likely to have the parts dictated for damage by single cards.
3) This gives a little bit of strategy that dice do not have, since players have opportunities to "pick" which damage they have to deal with.
4) Even more strategy can worked in since the probabilities will shift a little as each type of card is removed from the deck into each player's hand. Players could use this knowledge to their advantage.

So basically, instead of using dice (or even simple cards labeled with the equivalent of dice odds), particular damage is determined more by combos of symbols on the cards, yielding some very interesting results. I just have no idea how to balance those probabilities.

...does this make any sense as printed?

Last edited by Writhyn (2019-03-14 13:12:24)

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Re: Board Game pre-Post

Ish? I can sorta get the idea but I can't really tell how balanced it might be, or how to improve it, until I've actually tried playing it.

I will say, cards rather than dice is a good mechanic that I wish was used a bit more. Was used effectively in Daytona 500 back in 1990 or so.

Boter, formerly of TF.N as Boter and DarthArjuna. I like making movies and playing games, in one order or another.

Re: Board Game pre-Post

Ok, so there is definitely some weirdness going on here with player incentive and optimal play. The problem is that landing a second hit on a category of parts is objectively worse than only landing one hit, as we've spent more resources to not only for the same amount of damage, but have now given our opponent a chance to chose a better downside (Even a critical hit is worse than just hitting three different components, making it not feel very critical). This means we're punishing our players for shooting more guns at their opponent, even though shooting at the opponent is how you win. Maybe consider letting the attacker choose which damage card is kept so they get something out of multiple hits?

"ShadowDuelist is a god."
        -Teague Chrystie

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Re: Board Game pre-Post

Hmm. But if the end goal is simply to deplete their HP, that will still happen every time. The downside they choose is in addition to the overall damage.

As it is, I'm testing the simpler system of just assigning hits or critical hits to be printed on the cards. If that works, cool.

Edit:
I forgot to mention that critical hits don't so much cause more damage as they bypass all defensive pieces. An ordinary hit is blocked by an armor piece. A critical hit does damage regardless of how well-defended your ship is.

Last edited by Writhyn (2019-03-16 00:42:30)

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Re: Board Game pre-Post

Just from a player playing to have fun standpoint (I'll leave the numbers to Shadow, cause that's just better for everyone in involved)... I don't really see how this works as much more than a random chance battle sim.

The only actual active input the player seems to have is how many guns to build (And why wouldn't you build as many as possible? It /only/ increases your chances of scoring a crit), the rest is just up to the fates of whatever you pull from the deck.

If this is going to be the primary fighting method, it would be nice to have some amount of strategy or interactivity at play. Maybe the players have a deck of cards they can use to attack or defend with, that take ship resources to activate, or there are drawbacks to having to many guns for your ship size, or something like that.

I get the feeling right now that I'd play one round of this, get slaughtered and feel like shit because I was just entirely at the mercy of the RNG gods.

But that said, this is literally the only thing I have heard or know about your game, for I know right now this could be an insignificant little side mechanic of the game. So TIFWIW.

EDIT: To clarify. I don't see how this system executes the in-universe idea of "I am an intelligent ship captain trying to be better than another intelligent ship captain that I am currently fighting."

ZangrethorDigital.ca

Re: Board Game pre-Post

At the moment, the game is more about managing the repercussions of blasting the hell out of each other than it is about the process of blasting the hell out of each other, but I take all points positively! Thanks for the feedback, I'll give a more complete picture of the development shortly smile

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Re: Board Game pre-Post

Thinking on it overnight, I'm wondering if I might be getting thrown sideways because it's the defender pulling the cards, so attacking feels like a very passive action. There's no strategy or intention behind the attack, it's just pull the trigger and hope, and then the defender gets to ultimately decide what happens.

You mentioned having special damage effects on some of the cards as an extra "bonus" bit of damage, but I wonder if that might be better served by pulling it out into a separate mechanic that the attacker is in control of. Just thinking as I type, so this may or may not work... but something along the lines of, each player is dealt two special effect cards that they can play with an attack, so say...

I move to attack Boter's ship, I have 2 guns, and I really want to blow out his propulsion system so he's a sitting duck. I play my special ability card at the beginning of the attack that says if Boter pulls a propulsion system damage card it auto crits. And just extend that to whatever other effects you can think of: If the defender takes  damage to it's weapon systems from the attack, one gun is out of commission for a round. Player then draws back up to 2 cards, and can burn resources to scrap their current hand and redraw.

At that point, it's still effectively up to whatever the defender pulls, but as the attacker I can control a small amount of the strategy of the fight with what I'm (effectively) targeting that could have larger repercussions down the line, ie. I manage to crit Boter's propulsion, he's a sitting duck for a round, allowing me to move a second ship into firing range, but then Boter manages to get a shot into my weapons systems meaning I don't have the firepower to blow him out of the sky while he repairs his engines.

ZangrethorDigital.ca

Re: Board Game pre-Post

Interesting. I suppose it is unusual for the defender to have most of the actions. *takes notes*

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Re: Board Game pre-Post

I've been back and forth about whether I wanted to post this, cause I kinda feel like it's me standing here telling you how to make your game and I don't want to come across as condescending, but at the same time I want to be helpful, so here it is. If it's not helpful or stuff you already know, feel free to ignore me.

Player incentives are an important part of designing games and one of our main tools for directing player behavior. Well designed incentives lead to intuitive and fluid play, while poorly designed incentives can lead to feelings of frustration and confusion. As designers, we want our players to take the paths that lead to success naturally and at a pace that leads to a good game play experience, and we certainly don't want to have to force them along. Now, you might assume that players will automatically be incentivized to take actions that win the game, but in fact that is only true insofar as that they want to do the things they find fun and most people enjoy winning. But if they find something else to do that's more fun, they might not actually progress toward winning.

Let me talk a little about a game I played recently called Space Base. In this game you have a base with twelve hangers for ships, and these ships produce resources as you roll dice, allowing you to buy more ships that produce more resources, etc. This is super fun, and we were having a great time building up our production engines. Some of these ships also produce victory points, which progress you toward winning, but the main way to acquire victory points is to buy very expensive ships that give you a bunch of points at once, but shut down the hanger they go in. This is not real fun, as you spend a lot of your hard earned resources to make your base worse. Yes, it leads to winning, but we were having a good time building up our bases, so we didn't bother. Except for the one guy who had played the game before, he started buying these and just suddenly won, while the rest of us only had a few victory points. It wasn't intuitive for use to take the path to victory because not only was it not the most fun thing to be doing, but it felt like you were being punished for doing it. However, it's probably a good thing he was there to end the game, because it ended while we were still having fun, before it started to drag on and become tedious. We weren't upset that we got so absolutely defeated because we'd still been having fun the whole time. Making winning natural helps new players stay competitive with veterans and helps you control the pacing of the game so that people are still having fun at the end.

Which brings me to the Monopoly problem. Losing at Monopoly sucks. You're steadily ground out of the game by poor luck as you're forced to sell off your houses and mortgage your property, watching any hope of winning the game fade away until you wish you'd just go bankrupt already so you can stop playing. They no longer have any incentive to play the game, so they don't want to. This leads to all the house rules you see that add chances to get large sums of free money. They add incentive to keep playing because you might land on free parking, or roll snake eyes, or successfully rob the bank when no one is looking, and now you're back in it. But now no one ever looses and the game goes on too long and everyone gets bored and just stop playing.

So, we want people to want to win, but we also want people to want to keep playing even if they're not going to win, all the while keeping the gameplay at a good pace. This can be a tricky thing to balance, and the answer is going to be different for each game. I don't actually know how your games works, but just from what I've heard, I wanted to highlight these few things. If defenders have too many advantages over attackers (getting to choose negative effect, armor, chance of shots missing) it could lead to gameplay where the more fun thing to do is build defensive ships that shrug off your opponent's attacks. This could lead to poor pacing where players get bored before the game ends. It also sounds like players could end up taking crippling hits that leave them playing from a position they're unlikely to win from long before the game ends.

Now, I want to re-iterate, I don't want to tell you how to make your game, and I'm making a lot of assumptions as I don't actually know how your game works, so take everything I'm saying with a grain of salt. However, I always try to provide helpful criticism when asked, and this is a field I'm knowledgeable in, so I didn't want to leave you hanging either.

"ShadowDuelist is a god."
        -Teague Chrystie

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Re: Board Game pre-Post

ShadowDuelist wrote:

Which brings me to the monopoly problem

Tell it, brother!

Hurroo

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Re: Board Game pre-Post

Duuuuuuude ok this is super helpful! it makes perfect sense.

I'll hopefully post a more complete sense of the game this weekend.

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