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Bit Based Wargame

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Anonymous

Hello all, I have been silent for a long time but I am back and ready to go now. Actually most of you probably don't know me - I've been a lurker for a while now. Anyway, I was looking to see if you guys had any feedback on my most recent idea. I would be completely willing to post my full write-up as of now. If you find it interesting enough, I'd "donate" the idea to the community, I am okay with that - I just want to see this come to fruition : )

I was wondering if the bits alone could make a game. What I mean by this is that dice represent units (like diceland I guess, I must research that more). One each face of the die for a certain unit would be the die face number and some stats. For now I am assuming that this will be a space combat game - but this is completely irellevent. Each side of the die would represent the individual unit at a certain damage level. For example, some ships may be damaged faster than others so if you have a 20 sided die ship (quite a ship!), its armaments might be hurt before its engines are. The different sides would allow for a paperless damage/status record for the ship. Since these battles would be on a large scale, many details past shields needn't be micromanaged.

My goal here is to build a game imbedded in the bits instead of the board and reams of paper. Instead of having a board, I was considering using a ruler or other measurement device rather than hexes. However, I would prefer to avoid rulers - any input on this would be welcomed.

I have a basic combat system implemented as well.
"Combat: Attacking player and defending player note the status of, and then roll, their respective ships. The attacking unit must roll higher than the defending one for combat to continue. The difference between the two rolls is called the ATTACK ROLL. If the ATTACK ROLL is higher than the defending unit's SHIELDS, than subtract the shields from the attack roll. The defending ship then subtracts that number from it's noted status (from before it was rolled for combat) and turns to the new side."

*"Status" = the number that the die is on*
*"Shields" = level of shields for the ships status side*

I know this sounds a bit obfuscated, but I have worked it out and it seems to be functional. Unfortunately, much of the game has yet to be completed, so I have not yet ben able to test these rules.

Also, it may seem as if combat is too random, but a clause could be added to read "the minimum attack roll for a ship is 1/10 its sides"

Well, there is alot more to this than I have written here, but it is becoming late and I am afraid this idea will be cut to shreds, so I'm going to test the waters with this primer and see how it turns out ; ) .

Thanks alot guys, this is a wonderful place to learn

- Silverdragon0

Anonymous
Bit Based Wargame

Hello Silverdragon.

First off, I think just about any idea using dice for a game is cool. A number of years ago I started playing around with an idea sort of like yours but I included a large board. I recently just saw a post under the topic "dice rolling" in the Game Design forum which gave in good detail the rules of play for a game called Star Strife (don't remember the authors name). You can find it listed on Cheap Game(?). I'm not sure if that is the actual name of the site for the game.

Anyways...Let me be sure to make one thing clear; I didn't know a game like Star Strife existed when I started messing around with my game idea using dice as "star fighters". It goes to show that there is obvisiously something quite cool about dice as starships and war! :)

Another reason for mentioning these things to you is that you can look some of these things up yourself and see any simularities with your design and that of others. I really do wonder how many people actually think of this very similar premise using dice? :)

Also, don't give up on your idea. Just because its a similar premise, your game mechanics ccould be quite different. Plus, you could always consider adding new elements to the design. Besides...its good practice for thinking over new ways to make things interesting or better. At least, that's the way I see it.

As far as what you posted for a glimpse of a combat system...I'm not quite picturing it yet. Maybe with a little more detail on your gameplay I can get a better sense of your direction.

Have Fun!

-Vexx

Anonymous
Bit Based Wargame

I also think that the dice as units idea is great, except maybe when you start using dice with so many sides that they are easily moved. You probably don't want players "accidentally" bumping the board. [There's an interesting game mechanic idea right there! "Bump the board."]

Obfuscated? I was obfuscated by that word and had to look it up. Playing a bit much Scrabble? :D

SC

IngredientX
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Re: Bit Based Wargame

Hi Silverdragon...

There have been a few games recently that use "bits" in games, as you say. It's a neat subgenre, and there's certainly lots of room for new ideas.

A few questions about your idea...

- Does each ship's die value correspond with its physical status, or is it more of an abstract representation of how powerful it is at this moment?

You mentioned James Ernest's Diceland; that's a great game to go to for inspiration. Each die is eight-sided, and represents a character. The die side facing up is the corresponding character's health, with the higher die faces having special powers. Since the dice are all eight-sided dice, they are considered to point in different directions. You can change the orientation of a die by changin its face, but that will change the character's health and possibly lose a power. Not a particularly good tie to the theme, but a neat mechanic nevertheless.

- As far as your game is concerned, I don't know if you actually need movement rules. I say that because if you're going to be using dice as the miniatures, there's going to be an expectation of realism. This game is probably going to want to go more in the direction of a cool mechanic that is more of an abstract representation of space combat. sedjtroll's post about the game "Space Strife" in the game design forum, as Vexx pointed out, is a good example of this (though it borrows a mechanic from another James Ernest game, Button Men).

Anyway, if you come up with a cool mechanic that forces players to think about tactical and strategic ways to use their spacecraft, they might not miss movement rules. If you do want to include movement rules, you'll have to throw so much nitty-gritty into the game that the die=spaceship mechanic will be (ka-ching!) obfuscated.

On the other hand, hey, you might get away with it. That's what playtesting is all about...

- Some other games to look into... of course, you have James Ernest's Diceland. This is not to be confused with another recent game called Diceland, by Spartaco Albertarelli and published by Kidultgame. Also, one member of this board, Slam, developed a few games where the dice are the bits. Two of the games, Warp 6 and Knockabout, look phenomenal, and I'm probably including them with my next game order. Check them out; they're more of abstract strategy games that happen to use dice for pieces, but they might give you some ideas.

Good luck!

Anonymous
wow . . .

I had no idea I would get such an enthusiastic response! Thanks ALOT

In response to what you said:

IngredientX:

Yes, the value corresponds to its physical status. Imagine that you had a 6 sided die. On side 6, its status = 6. The higher the better. So if it is damaged, a certain amount is subtracted from its status and the unit is then rolled to be that number. So if, after combat, it was determined that the status should be reduced by 1, the 6 sided unit would then be on side 5. The values written on the individual unit would show how much the ship was compromised by the attack (movement, if used, shield level, weapons, etc.) These woulod be fixed values, but would lend a sense of reality to the game. For example: a small ship becomes damaged to the point of immobility before a large ship does. This status mechanic also allows for customizability on my part - I could go nuts designing the pieces. Yes, this is selfish, but I love doing it : )

I am a bit confused by your abstract movement idea. I guess one thing that I could do is to have the units move head over heels. The larger the die, the farther it could go in each step. Let me try to picture this in ascii - this'll be tough ; ):

flip this way ----->
______
[______] . Assume that this is a die (more on why it is funny looking later). To move it, you flip it over itself (then return it to its original status). This would allow for bigger ships to zoom about while smaller ones cannot. If I wanted to have the feel of a large but slow ship, I'd just reduce the size of the die and increase the number of sides.

scrulley: I was thinking that there wouldn't be a board . . . or maybe people would have to play it on the ground to avoid people bumping into the pieces . . . but how could I forget those poor people in Japan with all of their earthquakes? Hmmm, I'll have to think about this one ; )
regarding "obfuscated" - I'm studying for the SATs so I need to practice my words - my appologies to you guys - you're the guinea pigs

Vexx_Paradox: I will try to research those games. Unfortunately I don't have the budget to buy them so I'll have to garner whatever information I can from bgg. If people are still interested, I could post somemore of my writeup, that might help you understand the combat better. It seems random, but I did it that way so that the bigger ship would usually deal more damage, but the smaller ship could be an underdog and hit'em hard.

Thanks so much, my parents are getting sick of me rambling all day : P

- Silverdragon0

Brykovian
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Bit Based Wargame

While you're researching games with similar mechanics, check out MageKnight ... that game has collectible miniatures with "clickable" bases that rotate through various status slots for the unit as the unit takes damage.

The only question I'd have with the dice would be how much info you could fit on a face ... especially if when you get to a die with lots of faces -- each face gets smaller unless you employ *huge* dice. ;)

-Bryk

Anonymous
Ah, I forgot to mention why the die was funny lookin'

Yeah, I figured out a way to fix that tiny side problem: Prism dice. For example, a 6 sided die would be a hexagonal prism. This would allow each face to be very wide but still have the same number of sides. THe only problem with this is that at a certain point, the dice literally roll - like cylinders. So the number of sides should be maxed out at some level (like 20, but even that might be too high).

gah, I gotta go. I should probably wait a little bit before I respond, I'm hanging on every post right now ; )

- Silverdragon0

Anonymous
Funny looking Dice...

Greets again Silverdragon,

Now, if I'm getting this right, do the dice you're talking about already exist or will you have to have them made? If they exist, neat. I've never seen them. If not, whoa! I looked into what it might cost to have original dice created. It wasn't cheap. Of course, I only checked a few companies. I'm not sure how many exist that make dice, especially originals.

Now, using these kind of dice, that makes your design different. I was trying to picture what you were describing using regular dice (the cubed d6, d10's, d12's, d20's). But I take it your using differently shaped dice?
That could be cool.

But, if you intend on having original dice, why use typical numerical markings?

Anyways, before I continue this line of questioning, you'll need to explain your dice to me in more detail. :)

Have a fun one!

-Vexx

Anonymous
Regarding the dice . . . cr*p ; )

Yeah, I posted a while back about (edit:) prism shaped dice. Nobody seemed to know about them :!: No, they do not exist - I guess. I have seen similar shapes composed of connected triangles, but those would not do because they taper on one side. I need numerical values so that you could "roll" the unit (so the more sides, the more potential it has - strength, etc.) If anybody has a graphic way to depict this, I would really love to hear about it. I don't have time right now, but I will post a VERY rough example at some point tommorow.

- Silverdragon0

Scurra
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Bit Based Wargame

Prism-shaped dice certainly do exist - although the only game I think I know them in is a cricket game called "Howzat!" IIRC, and I suspect that no-one in the US has even heard of cricket, let alone a dice game based on it ;)

So I can certainly get an idea of what you are trying to get at, although I can't yet see how the mechanics will gel. But keep us posted.

Brykovian
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Bit Based Wargame

Warning: Totally off-topic.

Scurra wrote:
I suspect that no-one in the US has even heard of cricket

That's not true ... most people in the US know that it is "some game played 'over there' and somewhat like baseball" ... ;)

I spent a good portion of an afternoon in a Pub in Bristol one day a handful of years ago with a co-worker trying to explain the game to me. What I remember was that the beer was very good. :D

-Bryk

Scurra
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Bit Based Wargame

Brykovian wrote:
Warning: Totally off-topic.

Scurra wrote:
I suspect that no-one in the US has even heard of cricket

That's not true ... most people in the US know that it is "some game played 'over there' and somewhat like baseball" ... ;)

No, that would be "rounders". Cricket is like Baseball in the same way that Football (that's real football, which I believe USians call "soccer") is like American Football. (Actually, that's a bad analogy - American Football is more like Rugby.)

How much further off topic can we get, do you think? ;)

Anonymous
Okay, enough of this OT stuff . . .

. . . but they do play cricket in the US. It's just really, really slow (if I recall correctly) so we avoid it ; )

I'll keep you guys updated on "rollers" as I progress.

- Silverdragon0

p.s. my sig is weird . . . code and all . . . hmmm

Anonymous
Bit Based Wargame

Just a quick note. Don't bother trying to get a copy of Howzat, I had a copy when I was a kid. It is a really crap game, I don't think we ever finished one game because it was so boring. (It was boring not because of the die, or the theme, but the mechanics. I can happily watch cricket for hours on end without getting bored. It is a great game.)

A suggestion on movement that doesn't require a ruler: If the die are prisims, use the length of the die as the measure of how far the unit can move.

Tim

FastLearner
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Bit Based Wargame

As already mentioned, but I want to stress it, James Ernest's game Diceland (at http://www.diceland.com/) is very, very similar to what you're talking about. You physically roll the dice onto other of their sides in order to move and reorient them. Bigger dice -- by nature of the fact that their sides are larger -- move further. The Ogre die in the Ogre Diceland expansion is a really huge eight-sided die that can travel very far for each "tip" of the die.

Ernest got around the custom die expense by printing them on cardstock and having you cut them out, fold them up, and glue them yourself.

I'm not suggesting you don't consider moving ahead with your idea, mind you. I just want you to know about the existing game and how similar it is to what you're describing.

Anonymous
@Fastlearner

Yeah . . . I see. I'll try my hand at that game some time soon. I think I'm going to put this game on hold indefinitely. Eventually something will :idea: in my head one day.

Thanks - you'll be hearing about this again! :twisted:

- Silverdragon0

Anonymous
Bit Based Wargame

I think this is a fantastic idea as well, and I have a couple of comments if you're reading while this is on the back burner:

1. Am I correct in understanding that your combat system of rolling the dice means that larger ships (i.e. more sides) have a much better chance of scoring a "hit" against a smaller ship? Because I LOVE that mechanic... Then you can armor different ships in different amounts to give smaller ships that are fighters a better chance to beat larger ships with more peaceful missions, etc...

2. A graphical representation of prism dice can be found here for anyone trying to wrap their brain around it: http://amath.colorado.edu/staff/fast/Polyhedra/prisms.html

You just have to imagine that each image is a lot "taller", so that it isn't likely to land on either end when rolled.

3. You might also look up a game called Dragon Dice. I have never played it and don't know how it works, but I understand that the dice in it are pretty much the only bits used.

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