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What is your favorite combat system and why?

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Anonymous
What is your favorite combat system and why?

Combat is inherently risky; otherwise only one side would engage in it.

At some point as the battle is joined the generals can only watch and hope, they can't fight in every duel, so rolling the dice and waiting on the outcome seems to be a neat simulation.

My favourite combat system is in a game called Empires in Arms which covers the Napoleonic wars. There are two troop types regulars and irregulars. Regulars contribute more to the total strength of the army than the same number of irregulars, the extent to which they do depends on the tactics.

First; the defender and attacker each select from three tactical options.
eg; assault, outflank, and probe vs withdraw, echelon, counterattack. This is a rock/scissors/paper type choice, with the combination of tactics determining the effectiveness of the regular and irregular troops.

Then odds are determined and dice rolled and the results table is consulted to determine who wins, and who retreats and how much losses each side takes.

There are some morale effects and terrain effects that are factored in as well.

I like the tactical choices adding another level of simulation below the grand strategy. You can sometimes guess an opponents tactics from his army composition and situation, like the field commander must.

zaiga
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Joined: 12/31/1969
What is your favorite combat system and why?

Vexx_Paradox wrote:

I also like shaping my designs with a bit of the unknowable. That is one reason for my interest in using dice or cards. In most strategic game ideas I have, I still want some little random element. However, now thinking about it, in something strategic like Chess, the touch of randomness comes from the possibility of your opponent doing something unexpected. Hmm, that very idea may have something if it can be isolated and exploited in a design.

I agree. It's something I've been pouring over too, lately. Who needs dice as a randomizer when you have opponents?

Chess, Through the Desert, Clans and Puerto Rico are all games with no luck (or very little), but they have "low clarity" which means that there are a great number of permutations of moves and it's impossible to think them all through. This then leads to opponents making moves that are not totally random, yet not totally predictable either.

Through the Desert and Clans have a variable setup, so that each game is different. Clans has a bit of hidden information to introduce an element of bluff and Puerto Rico has a little bit of randomization in the plantation draws which ensures that each game plays different. These games are also playable with more than 2 players. It is these little things that set them apart from pure 2-player abstracts such as Chess.

-Rene Wiersma

Anonymous
What is your favorite combat system and why?

max_torq wrote:
Combat is inherently risky...
I like the tactical choices adding another level of simulation below the grand strategy.

Well, it seems you rather enjoy a deep and fully immersive strategy game. I would to if I had someone to play against (well, more like beat on). :)

That's one reason I really enjoy the game Dragon Dice. It has a fairly deep combat while also simplifying it with the reduction of stats. Also, the many new miniature battle games using the plastic (but certainly artistic and fun) miniatures such as Mage Knight and Mech Warrior are enjoyable as well. Some degree of simplification, especially having the stats on the miniature's base. Main reason I didn't persue playing these games is primarily the addictive qualities in collecting the miniatures for your armies. It can be an expensive hobby...albiet a fun one. :)

zaiga wrote:

Who needs dice for a randomizer when you have opponents?

Well, don't get me wrong. I still enjoy the use of dice in the proper setting, but I certainly hear you on this. I haven't quite achieved much yet thinking over this little question. Would you say the games you mentioned; Chess, Through the Desert, Clans, and Puerto Rico isolate and exploit this characteristic or is it just an element of the game?

Reason I ask is because I'm still thinking about a game that truly exploits the randomness and unknowables of an opponent. Yes, this is something in just about any game where strategic or tactics are involved. But, maybe I'm thinking of something that empasizes it and might actually make that quality the game itself. To be unreadable and unpredictable. Am I making sense? Anyways, let me know your thoughts on this. This is good stuff. :)

Have fun all!

-Vexx(ed) :)

zaiga
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Joined: 12/31/1969
What is your favorite combat system and why?

Vexx_Paradox wrote:
Well, don't get me wrong. I still enjoy the use of dice in the proper setting, but I certainly hear you on this. I haven't quite achieved much yet thinking over this little question. Would you say the games you mentioned; Chess, Through the Desert, Clans, and Puerto Rico isolate and exploit this characteristic or is it just an element of the game?

I do think that especially Puerto Rico and Through the Desert exploit this characteristic very well. If it were not for the Human Element (as I like to call it) they would have been very dry and abstract games, multi-player solitaire, and not much fun. Instead, anticipating what your opponents' priorities are and what action they will likely choose is crucial if you want to have some success in the game.

For example, in Puerto Rico you might really need the Mayor role to be chosen, because you need an extra colonist to activate that important building. However, there are no doubloons on the Mayor, yet there is an extra doubloon on the Prospector. Now, if you think the next player will choose the Mayor when you do not choose it, then picking the Prospector might be more benificial. However if he then chooses to pick another role than the Mayor, that might be disastrous for you.

So, predicting what your opponents will do will be key to your success, but opponents are never completely predictable. Perhaps that opponent thinks it is more important for him to take another role instead of the Mayor. Even though that seems illogical to you, it might seem logical to him, you never really know.

In Through the Desert this is even more important the in Puerto Rico. Through the Desert is almost solely about trying to deduce where your opponents priorities lie and acting accordingly. It's very easy to screw an opponent in TtD, but it is hard to screw an opponent without screwing yourself too. It's quite a bit of planning, calculating and min/maxing based upon what you *think* your opponents will do. It's this bit of psychology that I enjoy so much in games.

I truly think that you do not need many randomizers when you have opponents. Randomizers are only needed to keep a game fresh and different each time and not even then in large quantities.

- Rene Wiersma

Anonymous
What is your favorite combat system and why?

zaiga wrote:

...anticipating what your opponents' priorities are and what action they will likely choose is crucial if you want to have some success in the game.

Ahh, yes. That's precisely what I'm talking about. Okay. Seems that this characteristic has been well explored and exploited. It's just a matter of the form it takes in the variety of games out there.

Obviously, one of the primary elements that make a strategic game more involved and your opponent(s) that much more unknowable and predictable are the number of choices available to the players for any given action or solution. One thing I like in strategic games is having multiple ways of accomplishing the same goals and for there to be reason for more then one goal.

Chess for example is pretty straight forward; capture the King and you have all these ways to accomplish this. I haven't played Through the Desert or Puerto Rico, so I can't say if these games have that something I'm talking about or not. Well, I suppose a simple way of looking at what I'm yammering about would be it isn't just my goal to attain such and such. It is also my goal to PREVENT this and that from being attained by my opponent(s). Two goals which can heavily effect strategy. Which course do I take at this time? How can I attain and prevent at the same time? Things like that and having many ways of accomplishing both. Hmm...good stuff. I'm giving myself some ideas to play with in this discussion. :)

zaiga wrote:

I truly think that you do not need many randomizers when you have opponents. Randomizers are only needed to keep a game fresh and different each time and not even then in large quantities.

I agree for the most part. Again, I have to state that part of this really depends on what is being sought in the design. I like the way you said this though ... Randomizers keep a game fresh ... With that very thing in mind, it makes it more clear as to just what use any randomizers have and their proper place in the design and you can ask yourself, do I really need this or can I do this another way. Cool. Thanx! :)

Now, a good question is...just how important are randomizers to combat mechanics? Do randomizers add any realism to battle or just make it more unpredictable?

Hmm...

Have fun all!

-Vexx

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