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Freedom for players

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X3M
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Regarding my wargame. The one that is only a hobby.

I have taken a look at my little player base regarding my favorite game.
The freedom that I am talking about is the one where they either grasp the game and know what to do. They know their options.
The other is those who would like to add their own things, adding options.

Well, some months ago. I decided to make a version of my game where a certain unit type would simply be a symbol on the board. This was requested by the advanced. And the player holds a card of what that unit might be. Another player simply has another version for that unit. Each player had like 12 cards, but with 6 players there are 72 different units. And that is rather chaotic. So until now, we limited ourselves to only 3 players with such a game. Although, we have put together like 300 cards now :)
Yet it was me that had to calculate stuff.

So far this was already rather difficult for the 'beginning' players. They did not join the designing process. Nor the symbol games. They only would like to play the very basic game.

Yet other players (the experienced ones) would love to start designing their own units even more, [[[while the game is already commencing]]].
And to top it off. Without my help.
Sure they can design before the battle starts. I already allowed this, with caution for imbalance. But allowing design during the game? They surely got that from Warzone2100.

- How far should I drag this, "allowing others to add stuff"?
- How to put this "design during game" into action?
- If I do this, put this in a learning curve for the really advanced players?
- The concept of "symbol belongs to a card" would be gone. I think the best would be to design unit parts that a player combines together. Only A + B, not a+b+c+d+e+f etc.
- There is math involved for the designing. Easy for some (I think it is just me right now), hard to the majority. How to solve that? Well, I did say A + B. Because I know how to balance that. But that was already the situation with the symbol games. No, the players that I talk about want to modify every statistic of an unit.
- Teach them how to calculate? That is like giving away my golden eggs.

Quote:

Bottom line, I have no idea where to go with this. But it sure sounds cool if some want to take it this far. What should I do? My best approach?

This is my player base (8 hardcore players)
- I know it all.
- 2(+1) other players would like to design there own during the game.
- 2(+3) others still like to design before hand, they craft their own cards (no printing, they draw ;) )
- 3(+5) more of us play the basic game.
- The rest (about 9 more) only have had small skirmishes for try out. Some liked it, but I don't think they would come back.

X3M
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Ok, the question in

Ok, the question in short:

Are there board games out there that allow players to design/put together their own war units?

Soulfinger
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X3M wrote:Are there board

X3M wrote:
Are there board games out there that allow players to design/put together their own war units?

Yes, but to various degrees. Most let you modify a template, but very few let you build from the ground up like you would in an RPG.

X3M
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Soooo.....

Soooo.....

There is almost notching on this?
No(t much) examples.
No(t much) experience by other designers?
This is like... new terrain that I am touching?
For like, every one?

I always found it weird that there where like only 2 pc games that allowed such thing.
Of course there are editors around, but they prepare things on before hand. No designing during the game.
Nothing of that at all.

Levelling can be custom, but indeed it is often for 1 or 2 units that you control. Not creating an entire army of them.

Is it worth a discussion?..
Or is this something, no one is interested in?....
At all?...... (Well, we have you Soulfinger :) )

Some one?..........
Any body?..............

O well, putting this close to the bin then :D

Soulfinger
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What are you wanting, a list

What are you wanting, a list of games that implement this mechanic?

X3M
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Sure, that would be a

Sure, that would be a start.

Also, I would like to know if any one has thought of this.

What would be the best way to approach this kind of game play?
Simply putting down rules in how to design your own units?

Or would it really be to hard?

I can imagine putting together a soldier or tank, with a gun or cannon on it. And players would understand this. Something like [Body] + [Weapon] = [Unit].
But going deeper into the complexity would probably kill of the game play. Right?

When explaining to a player in how to calculate something. It is bound to fail that the player would understand. Mistakes would happen and the game would be ruined. Unless someone knows of a way in how to do this to some extend without troubling the player with math.

Soulfinger
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I'm on vomit patrol for my

I'm on vomit patrol for my daughter right now, so I doubt I'll ever get around to compiling a list for you. The old FASA games, like Battletech and Interceptor, were loads of fun for building units from scratch though. Not for casual gamers, but a great insight into how complex it can get.

The key reason many designers refrain from doing what you are talking about is balance. Game balance is king in wargaming circles. Spend some time on Bell of Lost Souls and you'll see scores of people kvetching about overpowered units, unfairly nerfed units, power players, etc. For a lot of people, complaining about the rules is a bigger part of the hobby than playing the actual game. Sufficed to say, unbalanced and unfamiliar units are treated with much trepidation. That's one reason why games that allow you to build your own stuff from the ground up aren't all that popular. People fear the unfairness of losing to something spontaneously kitbashed by another player without any vetting process to determine if it is fair.

The more complex your system is and the more options your players have for building units, the more you have to factor in when it comes to what our good friend WelcrielWawdriqe would call the World's First Perfectly-balanced Tabletop Game. I have several games in my file dating back to my college years that were skirmish level systems with RPG level complexity of character generation. The problem quickly became a matter of length. Accounting for all of the variables was turning my game into a tome of weighty rules that I figure few players would have wanted to learn.

kos
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A long time ago, on a computer far, far away...

X3M wrote:
Sure, that would be a start.

I played a RTS many years back which was like this. I forget the name now, but it was similar in style to Command and Conquer. You selected a chassis (tank, walker, etc) and then added on weapons and other equipment (armor, shields). Research opened up new chassis and better equipment.

The game was reasonably fun to play and I enjoyed the unit design system, although in retrospect I think the research aspect was a bad idea. The reason is that research opened up better equipment, so you always wanted to use the best equipment available, and the late game ended with maxed out super tanks slugging it out. It was a waste of time building small/light units. A better (but more difficult to balance) design would have been to make all of the weapons/chassis equally useful but in different situations.

There have been at least a few 4X space games I've seen which use similar unit design systems. Again, the names escape me.

X3M wrote:
Also, I would like to know if any one has thought of this.

Yes, several times. But I've never got past the initial concept stage.

X3M wrote:
I can imagine putting together a soldier or tank, with a gun or cannon on it. And players would understand this. Something like [Body] + [Weapon] = [Unit].
But going deeper into the complexity would probably kill of the game play. Right?

In a board/card game where players design on the fly (as opposed to before the game, such as in Battletech), you'd have to keep it very simple like above. Maybe you could go to 3 cards: Body + Weapon + Equipment/Armor, but much more than that and it's going to get unworkable pretty quick.

Regards,
kos

questccg
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Works for me!

kos wrote:
...In a board/card game where players design on the fly (as opposed to before the game, such as in Battletech), you'd have to keep it very simple like above. Maybe you could go to 3 cards: Body + Weapon + Equipment/Armor, but much more than that and it's going to get unworkable pretty quick.

I am using three (3) cards in "Tradewars - Homeworld" and it works pretty good. By combining Deck-Building with starship configuration, it actually is a rather simple concept once you understand and it turns out to be a pretty fun game to play...

My three (3) cards are: Starship, Crew and Weapon.

Each Starship has a "Capacity (5-9)" which determines how much "Resistance and Firepower" a starship may have. Again "Resistance & Firepower" also go 1 to 5. What this effectively means is that you can NEVER have a perfect starship (5:5). You need to compromise either on Resistance (4:5) or Firepower (5:4)...

X3M
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Chunky Reply

First of all, thank you for replying. I have seen some valid points. It made me think this through.

I could answer it all with TLDR though. But I try to refrain from that. (Deleted 50% afterwards)

***

@ Soulfinger

I hope your daughter is alright, the flue is a mean thing to kids. I had to learn the drill for this patrol just recently too. What do you do about the smell?

Battletech and Interceptor. I will look into these games.

The key reason that you mention. Let's see. Well, I got 7 different factors (A,H,S,M,D,R and @). It is still "balanced" in a decent way. And I got some special rules too. All grained through testing. But perfect balance doesn't exist, no matter who claims it. However, I do believe it is possible to make your RPS sharpened enough to counter the differences in end results. Meaning, the outcome of a battle is what you want as outcome and not offset when units are different.... Which is something that I think have achieved thus far.

If one still has that unfair feeling, than it would be a player that doesn't plan well enough in designing. I think I can place this in the "skill" department? There will be an extra chapter in the learning curve.

Some players would love to be able to design so freely (all 7 factors and even the specialism).
But.... that requires math a lot. I just got an idea on tackling that. But maybe I am going way to deep with it.

Setting up a table for reference on the combinations that a player can make?
Ugh, going into detail would require a lot of TLDR.

Now looking at the options that I have left in designing the game. It is painfully clear to me that no new player understands this. Unless it is done for the player in a very simplistic way.

The weigh of rules, well, are already (very) heavy as it is. However, the learning curve is a long road. Learning new things doesn't make the game slower in chapter 3 to 10. Only harder in possibilities.

Yeah, some have completed the first 3 chapters, others are at 7. And only the ones who request chapter 11 and beyond, have completed 10 of course.

***

@ Kos

I think you seek the game Warzone2100.
It is free, legal, and balanced Blizzard style.
Feel free to look it up.
The cheapest units can still be very useful in that game, these days that is.

Never getting past the concept stage. Hmmmm, perhaps the game should be complete and balanced with a set of units first? Then create a research tree afterwards? At least that is what is being tried out for my game right now.

Regarding 3 cards. Hmmm, I think I will keep it on 2 or 4 for my game.
Body + Weapon.
OR
Body + Body Specialism + Weapon + Weapon Specialism.
Where with the specialism, you add a type of propulsion or a type of special weaponry.
But then again, each combination card is a combination on itself. I need to make really a lot if I want more options available.
In other words, no, with my game, too much options/combinations.

***

@questccg

After reading your post, I realised that you are using simple numbers. Yet a smart way in keeping weaknesses and unit design.

***

After careful consideration. How about this?

I simply allow the players that want a custom army to make a list of wishes.
They provide me the pictures. And I edit it into usable unit cards. No combo's.

The research rules remain. And the symbol pieces for the board keep their use. These players simply have their own theme for their army. (And I can create some more myself :) )

Thus keeping things easy, simple and fun for every one.

Soulfinger
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X3M wrote:I hope your

X3M wrote:
I hope your daughter is alright, the flue is a mean thing to kids. I had to learn the drill for this patrol just recently too. What do you do about the smell?

Thanks. A bit more complex with her, as she is medically fragile. No suction machines and trach catheters these days though, so yay! Her hypotonia makes her very vulnerable to respiratory infections though, and she goes to kindergarten in a town where people think of sinks as meth lab equipment, so lots of illnesses.

X3M wrote:
Battletech and Interceptor. I will look into these games.

Please, please do. Totally infeasible for on the fly construction during a game, but these are two systems with the most realized mechanics for building a unit from the ground up. Renegade Legion: Interceptor used to sell for as little as $20 on eBay, and the Battletech starter can be found for under $50 new with miniatures and everything. Great references for gaming history.

X3M
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I know battletech. I have

I know battletech. I have played that game too, some years ago. Only forgot that it is called battletech. What I remember. There is good stuff and bad stuff in that game. The designing of your mech is done in a decent way. The maps are awesome! Scrap the bad stuff, I simply didn't like the absence of slopes back then. But know better these days, it is a bit hard to use a piece on a sloped part of the map.

Interceptor is truly new for me. But it looks double worthwhile the price. The board seems only to be an overview. (Almost) No tactics with the board?
Going to get one any way.

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