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Simultaneous Actions

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kyle
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HI,

This is my first post. I've been thinking over some possible games for a while, and one I'm working on is a card game that is designed not to have any turns. All players take their goes simultaneously by playing cards face down and then resolving them at once.

I don't know of any games that work like this, but my knowledge of games isn't very broad, so I wondered if anyone could point me in the direction of any games that work like this, or have simultaneous actions as a major component.

Kyle

Rick-Holzgrafe
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A selection of games...

I realize this probably comes under the heading of "too much information," but here's the results of searching for highly-rated games with the "simultaneous action selection" mechanism at BoardGameGeek:

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/search.php3?title=&designerid=&designername...

A few notable games from this list:

Race for the Galaxy may be closest to what you describe. Each player has an identical hand of action cards, each card representing one action. Players choose a single action card from their hand and reveal simultaneously. Every player gets to take every action that was selected, but gets a bonus if they selected that action themselves.

In Twilight Struggle, "headline" cards are chosen simultaneously, but executed sequentially.

In Shogun and Wallenstein, you have a set of ten actions that you (and every other player) can take in every round. You also have a hand of cards each representing a region that you control. Players simultaneously and secretly assign a region to each action; then the actions are carried out.

In A Game of Thrones, actions are assigned to armies by placing face-down tokens by each army. This is done for all armies, by all players, simultaneously. Once placement is complete, all tokens are revealed and the actions are taken (this part is not simultaneous). Also, combat is decided partly by the simultaneous selection of cards. Each combatant knows what's in his opponents' hand, but not which card he will choose to use.

Hope this helps. Welcome to BGDF, and good luck with your design!

Meddler
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Hi Kyle, Race for the Galaxy

Hi Kyle,

Race for the Galaxy is the first one that leaps to mind, which uses simultaneous card reveals by players choosing which phases happen in a round and again to choose which cards are played during those phases potentially.

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/28143

Well worth a look if you haven't already encountered it.

Cheers,

Meddler

kyle
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Joined: 01/14/2009
Thanks for these suggestions.

Thanks for these suggestions. I'm not sure that any of these are really like what I had in mind. Let me describe it a bit better...

The idea is that each player would draw a hand of cards (possibly 6) from a common deck. They would then select 3 of those cards and set them face down in a certain order. Once both players have done this the cards are turned over one at a time and resolved together. Because you are always working three actions ahead it means that some of the cards you play may simply fail.

Players would also be able to play reaction cards from their hand after seeing what cards have been revealed (every card would have a primary action and a reaction action on it). In order to react a player simply places a card face down and then the other player is given the option to play one.

At the moment I'm imagining that it will be based around a fight between individual characters, but I see no reason why it shouldn't be armies, although this will change the implementation a great deal.

If it is a fight between characters then each character will have three stats: Physical, Magic, Speed (this could change depending on the setting), and a special ability. Action cards would have a cost in terms of physical, magic, and speed. A character could not play cards in a single round that had a total cost greater than their stats (e.g. a Character with a magic rating of 3 could play a card with a magic cost of 2 and one with a cost of 1, but a character with a magic rating of 2 could only play one of those cards in a single round.) Reactions wouldn't have a stat requirement, but would require the player to discard cards from their hand to make it difficult to play too many in a single round.

The game would be played with figure on a map as some actions would have a range.

There would be 5 types of card: physical, magic, movement, dodge and focus. Physical cards would be ones that deal damage to your opponent. Magic cards would have a mixture of effects from damage to healing and affecting your opponents ability to play cards (e.g. next round the opponent plays their first card face up before you play any). Movement cards would not have a cost but would be better for those with a high speed stat. Dodge cards would although you to avoid damage from whatever card your opponent is playing. Focus cards would raise your stats for a limited period. The deck would have half as many dodge and focus cards as the other categories.

My questions are:

1. Is it going to be too difficult to come up with a set of rules for how to resolve different effects without giving priority to a single player?

2. Is thinking three actions ahead going to be too difficult? Will it mean that players won't be able to play much better than if they simply acted randomly?

3. There seem to be many different settings that this game could work in, but are there any that you think this would be very well suited to, or ones that might help when it comes to writing the cards.

4. Is it going to be possible to have more than two players or will that be too complicated?

I realise that this involves more than just discussion of a particular mechanic, so I may move this post if someone thinks it would be better off somewhere else.

Thanks for looking.

Kyle

Rick-Holzgrafe
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Question #2

kyle wrote:
2. Is thinking three actions ahead going to be too difficult? Will it mean that players won't be able to play much better than if they simply acted randomly?

Wings of War is a dogfight game in which players secretly select three "maneuver" cards from a deck and place them in first, second, and third order. These are then revealed: all the "first" cards are shown and planes execute those maneuvers (and then fire on each other if they are within range), then the "second" cards, then the "third". It works very well (and is a lot of fun). It may seem that the later cards might as well be randomly chosen, but in fact the heart of the game lies in successfully predicting what your opponents will do (and successfully surprising them with your own). All movement and firing is simultaneous.

RoboRally has a similar mechanism. Unlike Wings of War, the robots that you are directing can collide and push each other around. A robot unexpectedly colliding with (or getting in the way of) your own can send your robot off course, so that the rest of your programmed moves become wildly inappropriate. This is more like what you're fearing: that moves programmed too far in advance may be useless (or worse than useless) when finally executed. RoboRally players simply learn to enjoy the chaos.

Most movements in RoboRally can be made simultaneously, but not all. To resolve situations where "simultaneous" movement is ambiguous, every movement card has a unique "priority number". The higher-numbered card is executed first in any situation where it matters. Players get their card hands by drawing from a common, shuffled deck.

In your case, it will very much depend on what actions you make available to your players. This is a game that (I predict) will take a lot of playtesting, tuning, and tweaking before it plays to your satisfaction. But I don't see any inherent reason why it can't work.

I haven't time to address any of your other questions at the moment, sorry! I may have more time later.

kyle
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Thanks, that's very helpful.

Thanks, that's very helpful. It's good to see that this sort of thing is possible. Although it does make me think about how to rationalize my mechanic.

Why do the characters in the game have to play three actions ahead? I'll have to think about that one.

Meddler
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kyle wrote: Why do the

kyle wrote:

Why do the characters in the game have to play three actions ahead? I'll have to think about that one.

Your suggested alternate them of a battle between armies would actually explain this one nicely, especially if the battle's setting doesn't include instant communications (so couriers rather than radio for example). Time spent waiting to receive reports, making a decision and sending out orders means forcing the commander/player to make decisions well ahead of observing recent outcomes would be perfectly in theme.

From a personal perspective I also quite like the armies theme - there are a number of personal combat/dueling card games around, I at least haven't encountered as many that use a larger battle skin (though I'm sure others will be able to mention plenty).

kyle
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That's a good idea

That's a good idea meddler.

The thing that turned me off that idea was that if it was based around armies I would want at least three units on each side (preferably more), but to give three orders to each unit per round is excessive.

Perhaps I could have one order per unit to hand out each round and i could decide whether to give them all to one unit, or to divide them out. Units that received no orders would then continue with the last order they received.

Meddler
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I'd been assuming the cards

I'd been assuming the cards themselves would be the units, so for example you'd play a 'Scouts' card, representing a unit of scouts being sent out into the battlefield. Could then have the various attributes you'd discussed above in an individual sense converted to an army sense so that, for example, your army has an 'Infantry' rating of 3 or whatever and some cards used that rating/had certain requirements (allowing one 'Scouts' at 1 infantry point and one 'Skirmishers' at 2 points in a single turn, but no 'Shock Troops' which requires 4 infantry or somesuch). Somewhat different spin on things to what you'd outlined above admittedly, guess it really depends on how you want to represent the different armies.

kyle
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You're right meddler, that's

You're right meddler, that's a much better way of doing it. I think I might turn this into two games, one a duel, and one a battle.

I've been trying to work out some card ideas, and I've realised that movement is going to be a problem. What if both players turn over a movement card at the same time?

Option 1:

When you play a movement card you also do something that indicates what that move will be.

Option 2:

There is a way of deciding who moves first. Maybe based on ranking cards, or based on the character's speed.

I prefer option 1, but I can't see any way of doing it that isn't too complicated. Writing down doesn't work because either it would let your opponent know that you are playing a movement card, or you would have to write something every turn. Option 2 would be easier but it stops everything being simultaneous.

Any ideas?

Rick-Holzgrafe
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kyle wrote:What if both

kyle wrote:
What if both players turn over a movement card at the same time?

There are two problems here.

If a movement card doesn't specify the movement precisely, then you need a "simultaneous" way for the players to reveal their destinations. You can do this by having them write it down after the cards are revealed, so nothing is given away during card selection. This would mean they could postpone the decision until the card is revealed, but that isn't necessarily bad. Or you could use a move selector (like a cardboard spinner, except the pointer stays where you set it instead of spinning freely). Each player has their own. Players can quickly and easily choose a movement on the selector, and keep it secret (face-down) until the movement occurs. The game Maharaja: Palace Building in India uses a selector with two pointers to allow simultaneous selection of two actions. (Click here to see a picture of this device.)

Or you could just have the movement cards specify the exact movement. ("Two steps forward.")

The second problem: what happens if simultaneous movement causes a collision between two (or more) players? There are a number of possible solutions to this one.

1. If the pieces' full movement would cause them to finish on the same location, then all pieces cease movement one step before the common location.

2. Have a "Priority track." Each player has a marker on the track. The player in position 1 on the track moves first; other players move in track order. Every so often, change the ordering. This could be done by rotation, by auction, or by random draw. One interesting way would be to include a "Priority Action" card in your deck. The effect of this card is just to move that player to the front of the Priority Track. If multiple players play this card simultaneously, they keep their positions relative to each other, but move ahead of all players who did not play the card. This lets players compete for priority.

3. Allow multiple players to be at the same location.

Hope this helps.

supergrover6868
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Is this wargame type idea? I

Is this wargame type idea? I only know wargames. But in that instance simultaneity has been something that is describes as impossible but really inst that hard to do. A turn represents a moment of "in game time" just for a clear example, Say it takes you 1 minute to run 50 yards in a game. So to run the hundred yard dash would take two turns.

The best way to get simultaneity is to break down the turn into smaller representations of time. Like 10 seconds. This allows for turn based games to get closer to simultaneous movement without turning into barely controlled chaos of several players preforming actions in any random order.

fecundity
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kyle wrote: When you play a

kyle wrote:

When you play a movement card you also do something that indicates what that move will be.
...I can't see any way of doing it that isn't too complicated.

If it is a game of battling armies, rather than dueling heroes, let it be warfare in a period where armies met in battle lines. Instead of mapping movement precisely on a game board, boil it down to just a few options: flank, retreat, advance, charge.

Taavet
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Theme

It may be just as easy to ask yourself what would the units do?

If its two armies and they *surprise* end up moving into each other, they would probably fight, right?

If to boxers are facing off and they both punch instead of one punching and the other blocking they would probably both connect or both miss.

Or if they were wrestling and both charged in shooting for the legs of the other guy they would probably just smash into each other and then have to get back to their legs quickly.

Two planes moving into the same airspace would crash.

Hopefully, that helps. The other ideas above are good as well, but in general I think the more you flesh out the idea the more you will find answers or see that things just won't work how you hoped.

Good luck!

larienna
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Where I used simultaneous action

I generally use simultaneous actions to reduce downtime between turns. It has been mostly used in my game variants, but also in a few of my game.

For example in my starcraft and twilight imperium variant, all production and technology phase are done simultaneously. Only combat and invasions are done in order. In my arkham horror variant, all players perform thir actions at the same time. The people only wait at the combat phase to see who is engaged in a battle.

Personnally, I really like simultaneous phase especially in long epic games. It makes you more in the game and reduce downtime.

rtwombly
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2 Ideas

First, a brief mention of what I'm doing in my latest design, Shamus. It's a boardgame, not a cardgame, but there's a sort of simultaneous action. It happens in two phases.

--In the Planning Phase the players set down their meeples without interfering with the placements of their fellow players. This happens simultaneously if the players are in different parts of the board, but there's a character-specific Turn Order if they are close together.

--In the Initiative Phase, players use that Turn Order to make changes to their placements. This is when the players can set up confrontations and challenge each other for area control.

I mention this just to say, there are ways to support conditional simultaneous play but still cater to the limitations of the medium.

Second, from your description it strikes me that the cards should be actions - attack, buff, heal, etc - but sometimes provide opportunities to react to your opponent's actions. You could have some cards that provide a simple "Attack +3", which would be stronger than an "Attack +1/Defend -1". Or your player might risk it all on a "Counter +/- 3" that would deflect 3 hits and inflict 3 of your own, but only if the opponent does an Attack <= 3. You could have "Look Ahead" cards that would leave you wide open to the card it's played against but allow you to flip the next card up and play against it knowingly. I'd add some sort of counter that rewards successful defending with extra card draws. Are there CCGs that play like this? I'm not convinced it's coming out of my brain unaided.

JB
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You gave me an Idea

What I'd really love to see is a game with teams. Where one person would have powerfull cards that they plan in advance, and the other person would have quick Reaction cards. This could be like the Adimral and the Captian, or a Fighter and a Coach. Whatever theme, I would just like to see the interplay of such a term trying to co-ordinate actions (without talking of course.)

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