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Stealth Mechanic

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TwentyPercent
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Joined: 12/25/2012

Hey Everybody

I would like to hear your input and possibly any new ideas the other BGDF users have for implementing stealth in a turn-based combat system on a hexagonal battle grid (think D&D tabletop). Right now I have two varying ideas for stealth, and will playtest each for fairness, fun, and game flow. Here they are:

Stealth Mechanic Option 1: While in combat, a character may spend an action to enter Stealth Mode. While sneaking, he removes his character piece from the Battle Grid and keeps track of his actions on a Stealth Grid (a separate piece of paper with a smaller version of the Battle Grid printed). The player must note the location of his character, as well as each action. The character's actions and location will be unknown to the other players, since he is in stealth (players in his party may be able to know his actions by looking at the stealth grid sheet). He simply marks his actions, movement, and location (with turn) on his stealth grid and announces the end of his turn, unless he performs certain actions which take him out of stealth mode (such as attack, cast a spell, use equipment abilities, he runs into an enemy, an enemy runs into him, or his time of stealth runs out; it lasts a certain duration).

Stealth Mechanic Option 2: While in combat, a character may spend an action to enter Stealth Mode. His character remains on the Battle Grid, but enemy NPC's, which follow a certain set of automated tactics, ignore the character in terms of carrying out their tactics (in essence, they don't see him). Enemy players will see the character on the battle grid physically, but will not be able to target him will spells or may not attack him. The only way they could attack him, viably, is with an Area of Effect spell (which they could do so in Option 1, as well, if they are using an AoE spell that would hit the stealthed character's location while targeting someone else.

In either option above, there are three requirements for a character to enter Stealth Mode: they have at least one rank in stealth training, their characters must be out of eyesight from ALL enemies, and the cooldown from their last Stealth Mode must be over (the cooldown decreases with additional ranks of Stealth Training, as well as other benefits).

I have issues with each option, and I'd like to hear your thoughts of each, and possibly new mechanics of stealth. Here are the problems I see with each:

Option 1: Removing the character from the board is nice in that it best simulates stealth (which also would work with invisibility spells, they just put you into Stealth Mode), but it requires more effort in terms of executing and keeping track. It MAY also cause tension among players if other players think the stealthed character is cheating. I would trust the players to be honest and would rather not design a mechanic just b/c cheating is viable, but it's still something I think is worth considering.

Option 2: Enemy players still know the location of the player. While the major benefits of stealth are still seen (can't be attacked or targeted by spells), enemy players still know the location of the player and can play around that knowledge (you can't really force them not to, in any way I can imagine).

Thanks in advance for your attention and ideas,
20%

abdantas
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Joined: 11/13/2012
I prefer option 2. Option 1

I prefer option 2. Option 1 would make it really easy for an overly competitive player like me to cheat.

:0)

NASG
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Joined: 10/15/2012
Option 2 for me as well. In

Option 2 for me as well. In effect the character is being removed from play and so NPCs won't be affecting it and it can't effect the NPCs without breaking stealth and re-entering play.

The piece is kept on the board meaning that any area-effects can still be seen to affect the stealthed character.

There's less props required, no-one can cheat, and all you'd need is a counter or similar, maybe a different base to slot a miniature in?

HTH

abdantas
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Joined: 11/13/2012
or you could have a small

or you could have a small sheet with 2 eye holes for when you go into stealth mode.

abdantas
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Joined: 11/13/2012
coop or competitive

I think this is the main question you wanna ask yourself, in all seriousness. Is this meant to be a cooperative or a competitive game? Having a sneak ability is pretty pointless in a competitive game if everyone can see where you are.

McTeddy
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Joined: 11/19/2012
I'm agreeing with option 2.

I'm agreeing with option 2. Extra paperwork and having to trust other players is alot of work for little payoff in my opinion.

I would like to mention another stealth system I've seen in an old AvP CCG, that might work too. When you go stealthy, you take these 3 "Stealth tokens". One has the player... the other 2 are blank. The stealth player sets all 3 down and moves them all as if they were real.

Because only the stealthy player knows which one was real he can keep track of his own position... but enemies can't be sure which of the three are real.

abdantas
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Joined: 11/13/2012
I like mcteddy's avp idea.

I like mcteddy's avp idea. That's good.

TwentyPercent
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Joined: 12/25/2012
RE: coop or competitive

Hey Abdantas

I appreciate all the feedback. The game can be played any combination of cooperatively or competitively. There's a "Good Side" and an "Evil Side" and players choose at the beginning of the game which side they are playing as. There are no limits as to how many players need to play either side.

In the case of competitive play, opposing players will just get to play the NPC's out, as opposed to them following auto-play tactics, as is the case of games that are cooperative.

In either cooperative or competitive, the sneak ability is important in that it serves as another style of play. Players can focus their abilities in any combination of hand-to-hand combat, stealth/evasion, and spell casting. Removing any of those would take a huge chunk of the game out with it. I'm merely trying to consider options for designing the stealth mechanic.

Like I said, your feedback is greatly important and I love it when people question my motives and ideas.

Thanks,
20%

TwentyPercent
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Joined: 12/25/2012
RE: I'm agreeing with option 2.

Thanks McTeddy for the input. It seems abundantly clear that the extra efforts for the minimal payout doesn't seem very worthwhile, and right now I'm inclined to agree with you. I will still play-test Option 1 to give it a fair shot; who knows, I may come up with another idea.

I really like your idea for a third option of stealth, however I already have a similar mechanic for illusion spell-casting, which allows the caster to create images so that monsters and other players don't know which is the real one.

I like how you think outside of the box, though. The illusions, I think, will be one of the most fun and exciting spell mechanics in the game and allow for more in depth strategy and combat variance.

Thanks again, all of you, for your assistance. Keep it coming.

Cheers,
20%

abdantas
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Joined: 11/13/2012
just because the execution of

just because the execution of an ability was used once doesn't mean it can't be used again. Maybe you can think of a different illusion type idea, like a teleport spell, or a slow time. That is considering I got your idea correct in that the mirror image spell is meant to be a defensive spell to help the mage dodge harm.

TwentyPercent
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Joined: 12/25/2012
RE: just because the execution of

I agree in that multiple mechanics can have similar designs and executions, but if they can be made different and still viable, then why not do so? Copying the same execution for different mechanics can even make them less fun, since they'd be less unique.

I do have teleportation spells and time slowing spells in the game, but you are correct about the illusion spells. It is meant not only to be defensive in that opponents may waste their efforts attacking illusions, but can also be used to deter attacks altogether by separating groups of enemies and even causing them to chase after the illusions and creating a gap between the character and the enemy, possibly to manipulate the placement of the enemy so that the character may become out of eyesight and stealth once more (assuming they have stealth training). So it is defensive, but in multiple capacities.

abdantas
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Joined: 11/13/2012
a change in color token even

a change in color token even is something as simple as that. When you stealth you could have like 4 grey tokens you move around the board every turn, each turn your stealthed hinting towards where you're going (at least 2 of the 5 tokens need to be within the general direction you're moving) where as the mirror image could be just 3 individual pieces of a different colour that move around independently. So Stealth would move around like a smoke cloud, where mirror image would give you 3 definite choices.

Also, if you get a chance please take a read of my Superhero Game - Combat Thread.
http://www.bgdf.com/node/7791

SinJinQLB
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Joined: 12/02/2012
I'm just throwing this idea

I'm just throwing this idea out there - what if when a player goes into Stealth mode, his piece gets removed from the board, but the starting position is somehow marked (with a token or something). Then, as the character is still in stealth mode, any movements he/she makes are also kept track of. When the character pops out of stealth mode, that is when the movements are taken. So during their "stealth mode" turns, any movements they take are simply kept track of by other tokens or marks or just mentally. The point is everyone at the table knows "ok, stealth player has taken 4 movements". That way everything is accounted for, and there's no chance of cheating.

TwentyPercent
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Joined: 12/25/2012
RE: I'm just throwing this idea

I don't see how that's different from having the Stealth Grid (which it may be my fault for not elaborating enough). The stealth grid would be a smaller sheet of paper with the battle grid printed on it (maybe 4"x6"). When the player goes stealth, he marks on his battle grid sheet each of his movements and actions taken on his turns. So once he leaves stealth, he could be made accountable by other players seeing exactly where his movements were and the actions he took.

One issue does seem to be the trust factor, but the other is the interruption of game flow. Also, how do you make the player accountable? In other words, if after leaving stealth, he shows his Stealth Grid and he moved too many spaces, how do you punish him after the fact? You could say just move him back the spaces, but what his actions may have other influences, like his extra spaces avoided him from running into a monster, which would have altered the course of his stealth by making him visible again, and then possibly the last 2-3 turns would have played differently.

Do you understand what I mean? Is that kind of along the lines of what you meant? I like the idea of making the stealth mechanic as real as possible, but there's a threshhold in which it's not worth it b/c it will interrupt the game too much, be too difficult to track, or simply be unfair and/or not fun.

I hope that provides some clarity as to my ideas.

SinJinQLB
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Joined: 12/02/2012
My idea was basically the

My idea was basically the same principal as the stealth grid, except instead of needing to include extra sheets of paper (for the stealth grid) and needing to mark the paper with pen or pencil, the player would just keep track of how movements he is taking, and then simply move his character that many moves, all at once, when the stealth wore off.

I guess my question would be - what are you going for with the stealth ability? I know you want it to add another layer of strategy, but as far as the actual mechanics go, what should going into stealth accomplish for the player? Does it simply let them get into a position on the board without the other players seeing which path he/she took? Can the player do anything other than move while in stealth mode (like shoot arrows or cast spells?) I apologize if you've already explained these parts.

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