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A way to do HP besides a Number

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IcePeddlerGames
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Hey everybody! I'm working on a game that has a combat element and was wondering if anyone had any ideas on how to do HP other than a number that gets depleted to 0?

I've not came up with anything yet. Thanks in advance!

radioactivemouse
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Dexterity?

IcePeddlerGames wrote:
Hey everybody! I'm working on a game that has a combat element and was wondering if anyone had any ideas on how to do HP other than a number that gets depleted to 0?

I've not came up with anything yet. Thanks in advance!

You can have an alive/dead method, but I'm assuming you're looking for some incremental way of indicating health.

Some games have a dexterity element (Flick em Up!). Get a piece to a location.

You could use a reverse HP, where you gain damage instead of losing health.

Some games (particularly children's games) use a gimmick like a fat pig where you have to feed it and hope it does not burst.

You could use a system like my game where you have a card that "taps" indicating damage and gets discarded when the card is in a certain position.

Other games have a physical element where the loser just gives up out of pain.

Maybe you can use a Jenga-like system where your life is the tower and damage means you have to take a block and reposition it. You "die" when the tower falls.

...or the reverse where you're stacking elements and you die when the structure falls (see Rhino Hero by Haba). Healing could be taking elements out of the tower...

You could have a DM and have them just tell you when you're dead. It's not ideal, but it does give a solution. Many old combat systems used this ("Free Kriegspiel").

Some games have used a die roll to determine "chance" of death. Have a target number and have health represent the number of dice rolled. Think something similar to the Omen mechanic in Betrayal at House on the Hill. Everytime a player finds an Omen, a haunt roll is done using all the dice. If the number from the dice is lower than the number of Omen's in play, then the "haunt" starts. You could just use that for damage and adds an element of luck.

My game uses a lottery-style combat system to determine the result of battle (see my blog on Combat Stack).

There are a lot of creative ways to go around using numbers. Some of my ideas bounce around the numbers, but is itself not an incremental decreasing number to 0. I know some of these ideas aren't what you're looking for, but they might spur some further ideas. Hope you find what you're looking for. Good luck.

JewellGames
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What is the maximum HP value?

What is the maximum HP value?

drktron
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If the game is card-based,

If the game is card-based, your deck can represent your Health. Discarded (unrecycled) cards lower your HP

If it has a tableau, you can flip over or cover abilities as you take damage.

If it has a legacy mechanic you could mark out or tear off parts to indicate damage

Your HP can be equal to your hand size. As you take damage you have less cards in hand.

It would probably help if you told us a little more about your game.

X3M
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Here my suggestions

- Counting damage instead of countdowning damage. But if you really use a lot of health, I strongly suggest you keep with counting health.
Unless you have a bonus in health for some units. Than count damage.

- Of course a dice roll for "instant" death is an option. But not recommended if you want to keep randomness to a low. If you don't want to keep track of health, this is your only option as far as I know.

- If you have multiple units in a squad, simply remove these units instead. A tank squad can have 3 tanks, but an infantry squad would be having 12 infantry.

- 2 health points? You can use flipping over of your unit.

- 3 or 4 health points? You can use flipping over of your unit and use 1 additional chip that gives 1 damage. Thus:
4 health, healthy unit.
3 health, 1 chip.
2 health, damaged unit after flipping.
1 health, damaged unit with 1 chip.

- 5 or more health, same principle, but then again, no need for flipping over any more. But that depends on certain mechanics.

- 5 or 6 health, you still can use a cube. Each side indicates the health, but you still can apply pictures too.

- In ancient past, I had counters for multiple health units. These counters where attached to my pieces (bad idea) And simply flipped to the back when damaged.
1, 2, 4, 8, 15, 30, 60, 120 etc. was the main sequence.
Maybe you have 3D pieces, where you can make tiny hole. And put pins in once there is damage. First hole is worth 1, second hole worth 2, third hole is 4. Etc.
Up side is, a lot of freedom in health. Down side is, a lot of handling and holes in your pieces.

- Another total free design is having 1, 2 or multiple rings for your piece. Each ring contains the health points.
https://www.youtube.com/user/CnCBoardGame
Here they have 1 ring. But with proper design, a second one would be possible.
Again, the handling is huge. And perhaps not needed.

- The third and last total free design is having "whiteboard" pieces. With the right mechanic, you only need a few for each player. You simply add with a whiteboard marker, how many damage has been done, or how many health remains. Personnally, I love this. There is plenty of room for other special statistics. For example, 1 infantry piece got N=10, and this one piece stood for 10 pieces. Less handling in that case.

***

Does you game contain cards, "flat" pieces or 3D models?
Round, hexagon, square, blocked, model?

gilamonster
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I'm not sure if this is the

I'm not sure if this is the sort of answer the orignial poster is looking for, but I know that some WWII wargames using miniatures show the degree of damage to vehicles by placing different coloured counters (the thin, cheap plastic sort used for children's games) on the models - I think yellow was light damage, red for heavy, and black for a total loss.

Alternatively: something I've been toying with for a while for a WWI/WWII naval wargame, have model ships made of stacked removable components - so if a turret/bridge/gets knocked out, you take it off. The same for above-water decks (when you get down to the waterline, your ship is sunk). This probably only works with large, complex weapons or structures though, for example ships, AFVs, medieval castles, maybe big fantasy monsters too. You could, however, use stacks of counters, or those dismantlable multi-coloured pawns that I've seen sold online to give a similar effect for infantry, etc. Or (expensive!) you could have a set of pawns/miniatures/counters representing the same unit at different levels of damage.

Both these are just alternative ways of indicating the number of hitpoints remaining (i.e. without chits or pencil-and-paper), rather than an entirely different damage system, and probably only work for board- or table-top games.

let-off studios
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Pawns with Rings

The Game Crafter website has rings that fit over pawns. You might be able to remove them as health is depleted, or add them as wounds increase.

https://www.thegamecrafter.com/parts#keyword=ring

gilamonster
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I've just had a more

I've just had a more generally applicable idea than those I previously mentioned: each unit has a cylindrical cup associated with it. When that unit is attacked, different sized spheres are put into the cup; the more powerful the attack, the bigger the sphere inserted. If a sphere placed in/on the cup either rolls out/off or has a larger diameter than the cup so it can't fit inside at all, then the unit is destroyed. The bigger the diameter and/or depth of the cup, the stronger the unit. The only major problem that I can imagine with this system offhand is dealing with healing/repair of units, but by removing a large sphere and re-inserting smaller spheres as "change" you should be able to get around that too.
I think that it would work better with games in which there are generally a small number of units involved, to avoid having huge numbers of cups and spheres all over the place.

Jarec
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I've always liked injury

I've always liked injury cards, random cards you take as you take damage.
You can do couple of nice things with these; having more space for more rules (because you can describe more in a card than just moving a pip or changing a number); and having a system that is not just binary alive/dead.
Injury cards are pretty damn elegant system if you need the above two things in the game.

larienna
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similar to injury card: Hit

similar to injury card: Hit locations. You could make each hit location give a special penalty. If all locations are hit, you die. Or if a combination of location is hit, you die.

I had a similar idea for ships. If you received 2 hit location on the same side, the ship sank what ever the amount of HP left.

From another game I don't rememer the name: When you lose a combat, you get pushed. If you get pushed in a corner or against a wall, you die.

IcePeddlerGames
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Wow! Everybody had some

Wow! Everybody had some excellent ideas. I'm looking into a bunch of these. Thanks so much everybody! (and sorry for the delay in commenting.)

radioactivemouse wrote:
Some games have used a die roll to determine "chance" of death. Have a target number and have health represent the number of dice rolled. Think something similar to the Omen mechanic in Betrayal at House on the Hill. Everytime a player finds an Omen, a haunt roll is done using all the dice. If the number from the dice is lower than the number of Omen's in play, then the "haunt" starts. You could just use that for damage and adds an element of luck

I like this as it gives a little bit of randomness.

JewellGames wrote:
What is the maximum HP value?

Maximum HP will be different per character. It's not set.

drktron wrote:
It would probably help if you told us a little more about your game

Probably should have done that. In a nutshell it is a co-op gladiatorial, deck building combat game. I'm happy tp ramble on about it :p

x3m wrote:
Does you game contain cards, "flat" pieces or 3D models?
Round, hexagon, square, blocked, model?

Nothing is set in stone but right now I'm thinking cards and miniatures on a hexagon board

let-off studios wrote:
The Game Crafter website has rings that fit over pawns. You might be able to remove them as health is depleted, or add them as wounds increase.

Really interesting idea! Didn't even know those existed, sadly.

jarec wrote:
I've always liked injury cards, random cards you take as you take damage.

I was looking at it from the attacker perspective and not the attackee perspective. Love this idea! Have to remember to approach the problem from all angles.

larienna wrote:
similar to injury card: Hit locations. You could make each hit location give a special penalty. If all locations are hit, you die. Or if a combination of location is hit, you die.

I'd actually worked hit locations into the game, or was trying to, but it seems you are further along the road than I was ... Great points!

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