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A too much complex game!

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larienna
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There is a game idea that passed in my mind a few weeks ago. I tried to develop it a bit just to see how it could look like and I have 2 bugs that are both related to the fact that the game is too complex. The problem is that the game must be complex to make the game more interesting and get the right feeling.

I am now thinking about making 2 depth for the same game, the simple and complex version.

To summerise quickly, it is a space ship rally game where you must race against other ships, overcome some obstacles and fight with a few players. Then you win cash which would allow you to upgrade and tweak your ships.

--- The first problem ---
is the fact that I need 2 maps. 1 map is the rally map where you can see the various check points and where you are in the race. And a zoomed tactical map used for making ship battle or manuvers through asteroids for example.

Would people find it anoying to constantly move from one map to another for each event that occurs. Would it be better to solve the whole encounter with a simple dice roll?

--- The second problem ---
is since I need people to be able to tweak the ship in many ways, I need to create a complex ship printout structures with many modifications possible which will result in many ship stats so that we can see the changes. So we cannot summerise a ship with 3 or 5 stats, we will probably need a few dozens of stats. For example :

Movement could include : Speed, Turn, Inertial control
Shield : Rechange, deflection, strength, overload protection,

I want it to be possible for a player to work an hour on his ships printout just to see how he can improve it. I would have intended to get very deep in the configuration. Like spliting some ship components in smaller components that you can change or remove. You would also be able to determine for example if you want a centered power supply or an individual power supply for shield weapon and drive. You could decide to remove all the security system to get more power but your ship`s "saves" vs many hazard would be lower.

So as you can see, it can get really complicated. So my question is, is it too complicated?

As I said, I might intend to make a simple and complex version of the same game, compatible with each other, to make my target audience larger.

Zzzzz
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Re: A too much complex game!

Larienna wrote:

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--- The first problem ---
is the fact that I need 2 maps. 1 map is the rally map where you can see the various check points and where you are in the race. And a zoomed tactical map used for making ship battle or manuvers through asteroids for example.

Would people find it anoying to constantly move from one map to another for each event that occurs. Would it be better to solve the whole encounter with a simple dice roll?

Would it be possible, or evenmake sense, to attempt to make a two level map for this issue?

Basically I was thinking that you might be able to have a transparent check point map lay on top of the other battle map. Based on your design would something like this be possible?

Larienna wrote:
.
--- The second problem ---
is since I need people to be able to tweak the ship in many ways, I need to create a complex ship printout structures with many modifications possible which will result in many ship stats so that we can see the changes. So we cannot summerise a ship with 3 or 5 stats, we will probably need a few dozens of stats. For example :

Movement could include : Speed, Turn, Inertial control
Shield : Rechange, deflection, strength, overload protection,

I want it to be possible for a player to work an hour on his ships printout just to see how he can improve it. I would have intended to get very deep in the configuration. Like spliting some ship components in smaller components that you can change or remove. You would also be able to determine for example if you want a centered power supply or an individual power supply for shield weapon and drive. You could decide to remove all the security system to get more power but your ship`s "saves" vs many hazard would be lower.

So as you can see, it can get really complicated. So my question is, is it too complicated?

As I said, I might intend to make a simple and complex version of the same game, compatible with each other, to make my target audience larger.

Would you be able to create these many configurations that you talk about using cards? Basically maybe the players can create piles of ship cards, where the card represent the various ship components. It would be easy for a player to then pick up the cards during movement, battle, etc and determine what they can do for that ship. Though this might not be fun (or practical) despending on the number of ships you plan of each player having on the board....

Infernal
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A too much complex game!

I used a component based system for my Solar Flare game. Something along thouse lins could simplify the ship design while still retaining the diverity of the ships.

As for the 2 game boards. It would depend on how often one would need to swap and the setup times needed. If either (or both) of these are numerous then it will be a problem. The more times you have to swap the more anoying it will be (and the longer the game). If you could make the rally board large enough to handle the tactical side of the game then it would be better.

stark1261
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Joined: 09/08/2008
A too much complex game!

Each player could have a small board with a image of a ship and blank spots where you put different cards with diffferent abilities. (Think Perto Rico for card size)

Fore example i equip my ship with an ion dirve. Giving my 3 thrust, 2 inertial control, and 4 turn. I then place than many number tokens into a spot on my ship bard. Then lets say you damage me and I lose one engine function, I remove one of those tokens.

An old game that uses number tokens is Talisman from games workshop, they only used strength and some other stat. But as you got experienc (buy part for you game) you upgraded your strength. The magic sword gives +1 strength, you add a single strength token.

This method would allow you to have several token contributing to the different ability.

TruMobius
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A too much complex game!

I am not sure how to fix your fist problem but your second one is easy enough

Take que from FASAs Aerotech/Battlespace games (well I think wizkids owns that now, but no matter) in a way it was simply a minature/war game but their where rules for making ships (just like making 'mechs in its sister game Battletech)

it could give you ideas for your game mechanics as the rules are very complex and involve; intertia, gravity, etc.

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larienna
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A too much complex game!

- I have already played a few games of battletech and I remember vaguely how it works. There is also star fleet battle which is something that I want to stay away from. If I do make a complex system, it will be a simple complex system, or a complex system which is not annoying to play with.

- I also tought about fusionning the 2 maps but the map would be really huge, or the hex really small, or the race really short. And yes there would be a lot of swapping between both maps. If the tactical encounter are resumed fast, it could still be acceptable. Still removing the tactical map was my best choice but I also tought about removing the rally map. The rally course would have been determined by a series of cards that determines the obstacle and the distance between each.

- For the ship config, I really prefer using battletech style sheet. I have also tough of having a grid where you draw your components on the sheet and connect them the way you want. Using tokens is not so bad to record damage. I will always try to limit the write/erase on the sheet. So tokens and paper clip will be used to keep track of damage and shields. And making a card system for the configuration would not work unless the cards are not drawn randomly. I'll have to see if it can works.

Of course, if there is no tactical battle, there is no need to get that much in the details since an encounter will be solved by a simple dice roll. I also tought of making a kind of table top RPG style encounter. Which mean that you receive a description of what's going on and must make various rolls to succeed but there is not map where you see your ship moving. This kind of encounter would speed up the game.

Emphyrio
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A too much complex game!

SPI had a game called "StarForce: Alpha Centauri" that used separate tactical and strategic maps. And several naval wargames have done the same thing.

Another approach is to have the map represent a number of areas of interest in detail, with the connecting parts abstracted. AH's Blackbeard does this -- it has detailed maps of the Caribbean, Gold Coast, and Indian Ocean with "transit boxes" connecting them.

Your tactical map will be 3D, right? It irks me no end when tactical space combat games treat space as flat.

Kreitler
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A too much complex game!

Emphyrio wrote:
Another approach is to have the map represent a number of areas of interest in detail, with the connecting parts abstracted. AH's Blackbeard does this -- it has detailed maps of the Caribbean, Gold Coast, and Indian Ocean with "transit boxes" connecting them.

You could go a step further and abstract the rally course into a scoring track around the tactical map. You could place colored disks along the rally track to indicate waypoints. This would allow you to change rally courses by using different disk spacings. You could also declare different "local conditions" between sets of markers. For example, between 'A' and 'B', you have gravitational effects from a nearby black hole. Between 'B' and 'C', you're passing through a nebula which increases life support costs, etc.

As players overtake each other on the rally track, they can opt to drop to the tactical game board for ship-to-ship interaction. Similarly, various events may require interaction on the tactical board (e.g., fly through asteroids).

Of course, if each player can experience different events at different times, maybe each person needs his own tactical board so he can resolve independent events that may last several turns.

One final thought about ship diagrams -- Star Fleet Battles' SSDs worked great for recording damage, but they're not so good for tracking upgrades. Starship Catan uses a system for tracking upgrades that boils down to abstract grids into which you place cards representing system upgrades (several people above have mentioned something similar). I'm not sure that's the best -- or even necessary -- but the fact that it's in use in a Catan game suggests it's simple but effective.

Sounds like a fun game. Good luck with the continued design -- keep us posted!

Anonymous
A too much complex game!

Making this a campaign game could easily justifiy the use of sheets for describing spaceships.

As for the two boards, I really like the idea Kreitler mentioned above. The lenght can be handled as a scoring track, the turns and obstacles as event cards.

This can give more variety and surprise, as the track is unknown and different every time. The players could peek forward in the event deck using their ship's radars, so they can adjust their speed and such to make countering the next track event easier.

This really sounds interesting.

Gargoyle
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A too much complex game!

there are some really good ideas coming out...

the first thing i thought of when i read your problem (#1) was this:

have the two boards like you mentioned, and just have a player token on each. Maybe it would seem a bit weird to have two player tokens each but it would make it really easy... your ship on the racing track moves, and then when you need to "swap" to the other board, you just take your piece that's on that board and move it as needed...

obviously i don't know the details of your game, but it might work within your game framework...

Gogolski
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A too much complex game!

I think you could combine the two boards. You could have a board with the asteroid fields for manouvring and fighting, and around that board the actual racing track (maybe with tiles for better replayability). You could plan your strategy on the racing track and do whatever you encounter on the middle part of the board.

The tiles could have a number or letter at each side. The asteroid-field/battle-field could have those numbers or letters around it, so the way to cross it would be different for every tile.

Tiles:<br />
      ------<br />
    /   A    \<br />
   /I        B\<br />
  /            \<br />
  \            /<br />
   \G        D/<br />
    \   F    /<br />
      ------</p>
<p>      ------<br />
    /   A    \<br />
   /J        G\<br />
  /            \<br />
  \            /<br />
   \F        H/<br />
    \   C    /<br />
      ------</p>
<p>Asteroid-field/Battle-field:</p>
<p>         A        B        C</p>
<p>       .    ..   .   o  .  ..  .<br />
 J    o   .o   oo  .   .......       D<br />
      ...   .. o   . o  oo... o..<br />
 I      o.. ..  o .  ....      o.    E<br />
      . .o  ....   oo ...  .o. ..</p>
<p>         H        G        F</p>
<p>(with "." and "o" being ateroids)<br />

The ship would be easiest to represent with a personal ship-board. To upgrade/modify a ship, you can then use tokens of different colors:
=> The first upgrade for manouveablity would be five green tokens, the second upgrade could be three red tokens.
=> The first upgrade for speed could be two blue tokens, the second upgrade five red tokens and the third upgrade seven green tokens.

A nice modifier for a ship could be its fuel-reservoir. So every ship would need to stop every now and then to refuel. When players stop (at a planet with a gas-station), they can modify the ship. (like less speed and more manouverablity for the next tiles with heavier asteroids...)

Just ideas.

onew0rd
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A too much complex game!

I second the "card" mechanic. You could have 3 decks. Weapons (Rockets, Lasers, etc), Engine (for Speed, Control, etc), Upgrades (Shields, Stealth, etc) each could also have a value 1 to 5. A player can never have more than say 7 cards. Then you could have a 4th "Maneuvers" deck which would allow certain attacks, defenses, moves, etc. which require a certain level of either Weapons, Engine, or Upgrade. Like overtake could be a speed maneuver that allows the player to switch his ship with an opponent's on the board and costs 11 points in Move. Players could also discard these cards to temporarily boost their values in the same type to ensure you never have useless cards. The idea would be that a player could use all his 7 cards on weapons cards thus enabling him to use any combat card but then he would never be able to use an Engine card or Upgrade card.

Having complex rules with stats can be a bore sometimes as players fiddle and tinker with the numbers too much and it can lead to analysis paralysis as players try to maximize benefits. If you deal a player a set number of "Maneuver" cards then let them draw 1 ship part at setup, this would nudge the player in a certain direction and would change the game up just as much.

soulbeach
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Joined: 12/31/1969
A too much complex game!

The idea of the scoring track, all along the board's edge, being the actual abstract race trough space, then in the middle(on a 1 board configuration) the tactical area that would change and adapt to the "real" conditions experienced along the race's checkpoints is very nice and sounds fun.

I'm not very good with diagrams and normally skip them entirelly, so i might repeat what you just wrote Gogolski, if i do, sorry for that!

I would see the conditions change with cards, layed all around the board, face down, with simple adjustments made to the tactical area when the Checkpoint is reached by a player. The card associated with the Checkpoint would then be turned face up.

Being able to see the conditions in advance if you have the right systems in working conditions would be very nice indeed.

An engineer on board could give you the special ability of reconfiguring your ship on the go, adapting quickly to conditions.

See the image to explain the idea HERE:

http://www.lastship.ca/RaceGame/

The tactical areas on the map is to help people who are behind, you change the areas as they are attained.

Hope this helps,

Ben

Hedge-o-Matic
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A too much complex game!

I'd advise against the super-complexity of such a game for the simple reason that, after a point, such endless variety and detail often makes for poor play. Not because the players need to keep track of so much, but because the idea of tactics relies on foresight, and adjusting to situations that can be predicted with some accuracy. Battletech suffered from "build a tactic" syndrome, where people would change their designs rather than their play style, and thus every battle was fought the same way, since units became one-trick-ponies.

This is difficult to avoid, if the freedom of design is too high. Even in the real world, there are severe limits on military design, making the pace of change manageable, and tactics possible. In race circuits, standardization is important, too. The fan's don't want a car to win, they want a driver to win.

Just some thoughts.

OutsideLime
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A too much complex game!

You also want to avoid a situation where players have to carefully inspect each others' vehicles to make sure that they're "street-legal".

I assume that there are some limitations to installation (I'll install five million nuclear engines here) in order to keep things reasonable... a pricing system where each component is worth a certain number of "credits", or limits on number of weapons or boosters or whatevers by location and by vehicle etc.

Without an ump, that means that players have to prove that their ride is legit, which blows any "tricks up your sleeve" you may have installed on your ship.

You could devise some system to avoid this problem, or you may not want configuration secrecy, but I have dealt with the configuration disclosure issue before and it is a factor in such games.

~Josh

Triktrak
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A too much complex game!

Some people love really complex games (usually battle simulations) and may not have a problem with whatever you may throw at them. Since it is a race however you may lose some of the race feel if it is too slow.

I am seeing the popularity of complex games start to gain with games like Twilight Imperium and Arkham Horror. I personally like the more streamlined and less simulative Eurogames.

My advice; concentrate on FUN

larienna
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A too much complex game!

Wow, I did not know that there would be that much interest for this game. I really like that I came up with a theme liek this (I have been partially inspired by an episode of Outlaw Star ). Thanks for the informations. Here are some comments or reply to your comments.

- This is a rally, not a race. On each check points you can score points in various ways. Even if you make a ship with only a cockpit fixed on an huge engine, you will finish first but you will not end up first in the highest ranking. So specialised ship will have more problem performing certain kind of task. so a balanced ship is a better solution to face all hazards.

- If The complexity is low, I could use cards as stat. but I prefer sheet, since you can keep your ship from rally to rally. But i'll use toekn cards and other material to keep tack of valatile information during the game ( shield, Hull, etc )

- I did not want to mention all the details, but there will be 3 crew member in your ship ( 1 pilot, 1 gunner and 1 coordinator ) that you can change, hire, lose in the race or replace with an AI.

- There will be hidden events at check points. Probably a combination of card for each check point like : a location and a task with the point ranking. It will create various possibilities. There is also the hazard event which can be friendly or unfriendly event to all racers.

- For 3D battles, well probably if I had lived on a 0G space station with a 3D hex map holographic projector, I would had tough of making a 3D space battle game. I know that battle fleet gothic use some kind of stand where you could raise or lower the ship. But I don't want to start making vectorial matematics to evaluate distance, fire arc, etc. Like they said in Star Wars, since human are used to 2D fighting, they always ajust their ship with the ennemy so that they can fight in a correct 2D plan. Only aliens who are well trained in 3D fighting ( generally aquatic races ) will attempt 3D manuvers.

- For the rally map, I tought of having a real map could be more cool, because you could try to cut some distance by traveling in dangerous area like an asteroid or mine field. I tought of making the map with various hex circle ( proabably from 5 to 9 hex in diameter ) that you could tile each other anyway you want. Exiting this hex area is out of bound and you get automatically disqualified.

- For the complexity thing, I want it like GURPS, it takes time to build your character but it is quick to use. I might, for example, make only 1 or 2 roll per encounter but there would be many different stats that you can roll against. For example, there could be 3 different shield stat that you could roll against but you only roll against one of them according to the kind of attack.

- Finally, I think that the tactical manuver will slowdown the game. Moving the ship, counting turning and adding inertial sliding each time there is an encounter for each player would just make the game too long. The rally will normally last less that 16 hour ( in game time) but I had also tought of making longer rally ( 2 to 5 day) where you must plan the resting time of your crew. Since the goal of the game is the rally and not the tactical battles, I think I'll stick to an imaginary encounter. Like in RPG.

For an asteroid field, you roll on a table what kind of asteroid encounter arrives and make appopriate doging or damage resolution. For battle, there will be a roll to determine the ships position and distance to determine fire arc and distance and then read the players action.

Still, I could always supply a set of rules for making close up battles in case you are not playing the rally, or in case the players want to make a really long game ( freak players who will probabably make it a multi-session game )

Thanks again for the all feedback.

OutsideLime
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A too much complex game!

Quote:
Exiting this hex area is out of bound and you get automatically disqualified.

How about a penalty instead of a disqualification? That way knocking an opponent's ship off the map becomes an actual tactic, since it's not an elimination game. You as the designer then get to invent all kinds of tricky forcefield attacks, tractor beams etc that players can install and attack with.

e.g. Repulsion Mines - course obstacles (or "plantable" ship ordnance) that exert outward force if triggered... can force ships off course and out of bounds... cool stuff.

Just a thought.

~Josh

Qundar
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Joined: 12/31/1969
A too much complex game!

Hi,

I wish I'd have thought of this game. This is a great idea. I have no advice as everyone else already said it much better. Keep us posted, I'd be interested in this one.

Live long and prosper, Qundar out.

Hedge-o-Matic
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A too much complex game!

Having addressed complexity, let me chime in on the racecourse part of your post.

When I first read your post, I went looking for a ruleset I'd designed a few years back, a racing game I'd invented involving SF-style racing through huge metal tunnels. What made me think of it was that I had a course setup that was tile-based, like what you were looking for.

Now, having looked at it again, I see that the course setup was very simple, consisting of six to ten tiles, each of which corresponded to a type of board section that the players actually moved on. But, since the board sections were large, there would be no room for very many of them on a table. So I came up with the idea of having evey straight section of course represented by a single straight-section board, and every curve represented by a single curved board, and so on. The players would move on the boards dictated by a second counter moving on the course tiles, and when they arrived at an edge of their board, they would advance to the next tile and move their ship to the edge of the next race board of the type they needed.

The trick here was that many ships could be on a race board, and appear close, but really not be, since their ships were on different tiles. For example, a course has two straights tiles (A and B), a left turn (Turn A), and then two more straight tiles (C and D). This course could be played on just two boards: one straight (representing all four setions, A-D), and a curve (representing curve A). Each tile of a given type has a color, and players on that tile place a tinly marker under their ship of the same color. If straight A was Red, B was blue, C was yellow, and D was Green, then a player would know that they would only collide with ships with the same color token on their board. I also restricted weapons use to other ships on the tile, so players couldn't fire weapons at a target that had a different color token, since they were beyond the protective screens that seperated the course sections.

This allowed massive courses, without a tremendous number of large race board sections. The fire limitation was themeatically sound (force screens), and made players actially race to keep up with one another, rather than just hang back and fire weapons at the leaders. Maybe something like this would work for you.

Anyway, this thread made me wake this game up, and I've written a new rules set using this track system, but, being perverse, took the line of "how simple could I make this game?" The opposite idea from you, actually.

So, great thread!

Jebbou
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A too much complex game!

Larienna,

This is how I would handle the customization part:

Each player would have a ship drawed on cardboard, with a fixed number of empty square. Each ship could look different. Players would first customize the "hardware" of their vehicule, selecting square pieces(such as in Puerto Rico, as previously mentionned). Each piece of hardware would have a number of open circles drawed on them, each defining the ability of a piece. For example, a reactor with three open slots could add three to the movement. A laser canon with two open slots would add two to the attack rating. Red tokens could be placed in those circles when the part is damaged (Such as placing black tokens on buildings in Puerto Rico), thus reducing the score of the damaged part. Player could also overuse their parts, by placing orange tokens, which would have the same effect as a red one. The player could purchase a combination of reactors, shields, and weapons. Another special piece of equipment could be the control room, or whatever it may be called. That special piece of equipment would allow a player to select special ability cards, that he may keep hidden until used. He could pick a number of abilities equal to the number of circles on the card. Abilities could be: Cloacking device, self repair, turbo booster, blackhole missiles, decoy flare, flanking attack, barrel roll, etc. Some special abilities could overuse a specific equipment part. For example, a turbo booster could inflict one overuse on all reactors.

For combat, my first thought would be to use a combat system similar to the "Vampire" (or Jyhad) card game, where vampires in combat can maneuver, have extra attacks, push the assault one round further, etc.

Even though my ideas might not be completely compatible with what you are doing, feel free to use any of these ideas.

Also, if you want more ideas about spaceship equipments, you can check the computer game called "Space Empire 4" (the fourth one being the only on I've played). You can research an insane amount of spaceship parts in that game.

Regards,

Jeb

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