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An RPS Strategy card Mechanism

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larienna
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The mechanic is simple, I am working on a space combat system and besides rolling dice for each weapon in a specific order of weapon (Fighter, Misile, Beam Weapons) I want players to choose and play secretly a strategy card that will affect the outcome of the battle. So basically the process is play a card, roll the dice, then repeat for the other weapons. Something similar is used in the "Endless Space" Video Game.

I just want to talk about the strategy card system. I wanted to use a double facet Rock Paper Scisor system. the first facet is simple:

Rock-paper-scisor

Who ever wins the relation ship will have a chance to reroll his dice in battle. In other words, he is stronger.

The second facet is that each card has a value 3-5-8. This is the initiative value. The player with the highest value will get first strike. But also the value is cumulative with the previous card played making it possible to predict your opponents move.

Finally, to counter balance the card with value 3, if a player wins the RPS with a value of 3, he get's a surprise attack where the opponent cannot reply.

By the way, 3 beats 5 which beat 8 which beat 3.

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What I am trying to build is a simple system with multiple path to victory where you could partially predict your opponent's move in all the 3 steps of the battle. I also want a mechanic relatively fast to resolve and analyse.

What do you think?

larienna
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I have been thinking and I

I have been thinking and I might have found a similar but more elegant method. Cards would have 1 value and an ability, like for example:

3 - No Reply from the ennemy OR all weapons hit
5 - Reroll Weapons that missed
8 - Re-roll sixes OR Another weaker ability

The ability only triggers if you win the RPS. So either you go for a strong initiative, or for a strong ability.

larienna
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(in response to another

(in response to another thread)

Each card will have a name of it's own (ex: Maneuver, Tricks, Speed). it's just that besides the name, it has a value and an ability.

One of my worries is the orientation, should I use 3>5>8>3 or 8>5>3>8.

One the first sequence it makes more sense that a lower initiative trump an higher. You sacrifice initiative in other to trumph the other. But I think playing 8 will do too powerful, because not only it gives you a strong initiative but also counter the strong ability of a 3.

On the other hand, the highest card always wins ( which is more intuitive) and the weak card trumph the highest. But you get the double effect of trumping your opponent and having a better initiative which is much more powerful. Still, the higher your init the weaker the ability.

Else I was thinking of a 4 way RPS with 3->5->8->5->3, but that leads to situation where no player trumph each other. So less chance to use your abilities.

vonklaude
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I took a similar approach

I took a similar approach with DarkStar (http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/110730/darkstar). I used RPS with an effect on each card that scaled inversely to the card value. That noted, I wish I'd also thought about initiative like you have! Anyway, this is what I ended up with -

Lightning card values 2, 4, 6, 8. L2 doubles 4 squadrons' power, L4 3 squadrons, etc.
Darkness card values 3, 5, 7, 9. D3 retreats 4 squadrons if you lose, D4 3 squadrons, etc.
Entropy card values 1, 3, 5, 7. E1 destroys an opponent's squadron on a roll of 4 or less if you lose, E3 on a 3 or less, etc.

L > D > E > L

I think you mentioned that you will add initiative to the previous card played. I suppose you will leave the previous card tabled so that players don't have to rely on memory, right? I think this makes it clear that you need 8 > 5 > 3 > 8. Some cases for players Adam and Beth -

A tabled 8
B tabled 3
B trumped A so won that match

A is now sure to win or draw initiative. A is unlikely to play another 8 so B could play 5 to block A's obvious 3. That seems to offer reasonably interesting decision making.

Another option is to give the cards their type and then vary the initiative values within the type. So you have Maneuver, Tricks, Speed (S > T > M > S). You mix that with your effects (all weapons hit, re-roll misses, re-roll sixes) to produce distinct cards. So you might have -

M 2, 3, 4 (N weapons hit)
T 4, 5, 6 (re-roll N misses)
S 6, 7, 8 (re-roll N sixes)
N scales inversely to initiative, for example N is always 3 on the lowest card in the suit, 2 on the middle, 1 on the highest. In that case S8 would re-roll 1x six, while S6 re-rolls 3x sixes. S6 trumps T6 even though they are equal initiative. S7 does not trump S6, but is likely to go before it in firing.

As you can see, the addition of a range of values makes some cards more winning than others, but that is balanced by the scaling of the effects. If you have weapons that easily hit, then you will happily play S8. If you have weapons that often miss, then you need to play M2. If you have the S8 down, you have interesting options on your next play.

lewpuls
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I think RPS methods work when

I think RPS methods work when players are not guessing or trying to read the other player's mind. But if they are guessing/reading, they amount to entirely random results. (I assume one player just chooses one third-one third-one third; if both try to outguess, which is not the preferred minmax strategy, then who knows what will result).

So if you have, say, cruisers, dreadnoughts, and fighters-with-carriers, and each is vulnerable to the one listed after (and fighters to cruisers) then players can attempt to maneuver to take advantage. But when just playing cards out of a hand, if there's not something to change the fundamental relationship, then it's entire random, and WHY BOTHER?

(Sorry, I haven't tried to understand the exact details you're proposing, this is an observation about RPS in general.)

vonklaude
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lewpuls wrote:I think RPS

lewpuls wrote:
I think RPS methods work when players are not guessing or trying to read the other player's mind. But if they are guessing/reading, they amount to entirely random results. (I assume one player just chooses one third-one third-one third; if both try to outguess, which is not the preferred minmax strategy, then who knows what will result).

So if you have, say, cruisers, dreadnoughts, and fighters-with-carriers, and each is vulnerable to the one listed after (and fighters to cruisers) then players can attempt to maneuver to take advantage. But when just playing cards out of a hand, if there's not something to change the fundamental relationship, then it's entire random, and WHY BOTHER?

(Sorry, I haven't tried to understand the exact details you're proposing, this is an observation about RPS in general.)


Good old random ensures a draw in standard RPS, but players don't really choose randomly and of course strategy can be introduced by making the choices asymmetrical. Which is what the OP proposed. RPS is a very important mechanic in games and appears in many guises.

Leadpipe
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RPS

vonklaude wrote:
lewpuls wrote:
I think RPS methods work when players are not guessing or trying to read the other player's mind. But if they are guessing/reading, they amount to entirely random results. (I assume one player just chooses one third-one third-one third; if both try to outguess, which is not the preferred minmax strategy, then who knows what will result).

So if you have, say, cruisers, dreadnoughts, and fighters-with-carriers, and each is vulnerable to the one listed after (and fighters to cruisers) then players can attempt to maneuver to take advantage. But when just playing cards out of a hand, if there's not something to change the fundamental relationship, then it's entire random, and WHY BOTHER?

(Sorry, I haven't tried to understand the exact details you're proposing, this is an observation about RPS in general.)


Good old random ensures a draw in standard RPS, but players don't really choose randomly and of course strategy can be introduced by making the choices asymmetrical. Which is what the OP proposed. RPS is a very important mechanic in games and appears in many guises.

I think lew has a point here (at least as I am interpreting him). The cards should have a synergy with certain types of ships so that there is a clear bonus that is being given before the opponent's card is factored in. This is also what the computer game does - a card that gives bonuses for missile attacks is obviously more valuable if your fleet has many missiles, while the same situation makes it reasonable for your opponent to play a card that boosts his missile defenses. Then, *in addition*, the cards would have a rock/paper/scissor effect where certain cards trump others. It might be a sufficient advantage to base just the initiative on the rps relationship (making combat simultaneous for similar choices)

hvymtlmachine
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Some general RPS/strategy

Some general RPS/strategy card thoughts that came to mind:

Formation/tactics cards that require certain numbers/types of ships to be effective (fighter screen, defensive sphere, flanking manuver, etc.) are more predictable based on a player's fleet composition and might favor strategy over randomness.

What sort of information do players have about their opponent's hand of strategy cards? Does everyone start with the same set? Are they drafted from a face-up pool? Are they drawn from a face-down deck? This will probably effect the level of strategy involved in playing cards also.

vonklaude
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hvymtlmachine wrote:What sort

hvymtlmachine wrote:
What sort of information do players have about their opponent's hand of strategy cards? Does everyone start with the same set? Are they drafted from a face-up pool? Are they drawn from a face-down deck? This will probably effect the level of strategy involved in playing cards also.

A 'War Strategy' approach is worth considering. (In 'War' players draw cards at random, but in 'War Strategy' they have a hand they play from.) You see it in the Game of Thrones boardgame, and in a slightly different take, in the Dune boardgame. I tried drawing from a deck but I think you do want to feed players more information. I also tried a revealed hand but that doesn't work unless players have a decent number of cards with good coverage of values.

So perhaps consider giving players half-a-dozen to a dozen cards that they expend in contests, perhaps with some way to improve their hand during play?

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