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What kind of mechanic could catch the feeling of a warfare battle.

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larienna
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You have probably seen movies likes lord of the rings and chronicles of Narnia. Each time I take a look at a warfare epic battle in a movie, I always get a certain feeling that I would like to reproduce as a board game. It's a bit hard to describe but I am trying to brainstorm on ideas other than roll dices: you win or lose.

I am open to any kind of suggestions:

Side board battles
Dexterity elements
Real time elements

I have a hard time of pointing what could create this battle field feeling. Here are a few ideas I had:

Large armies small heroes: In most movies, you have the armies and the heroes within the battles. Which create a situation where you need to bother about large and small scale elements.

Unlimited strategies: In many battles, people comes up with different various weird strategies (ex: LORT 2 tower: Aragon and the dwarf jump in front of the gate) . First, it creates a situation where you can do everything you want and have many possibilities. Second, it creates unique memorable outcome.

Subjective outcome: That is another thing that I really don't know how it could work. One game that I like is the big idea. The reason why some people invest more in an invention than the other is almost totally subjective: You invest where you think it's more cool. So I was thinking of an idea where the actions you can could be limited to your imagination and players need to agree or not. In the same feeling, I know there is a game called "Imagine" where people associate concepts and players need to approve or not if it's valid.

I like the idea of subjectivity. It's that kind of idea that I also wanted to use for a wrestling game to reproduce the feeling of a wrestling show.

Callan S.
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Joined: 08/21/2009
In terms of the subjective

In terms of the subjective outcome, you aught to think about whether it's playing to win, or if you've decided it's playing to maintain a 'package'. The package is a bit like war recreationists - one side of an old battle doesn't play out the old battle to win it, they play it out to maintain how it turned out. That's the package - and they preserve and uphold it.

ilta
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You could probably create a

You could probably create a word-card system to accomplish something close to "unlimited possibilities." Have players draw cards with words like "jump" "feint" "behind" "around" "the enemy" "archers" etc. Each card has a number, representing its "power," and when a player plays them as a sentence, they can add up the numbers for additional dice, movement, forces, or some other benefit.

You can make this as granular as you like -- different piles for formations, verbs, nouns, whatever -- or very general, with one big pile. You can make the scoring very simple -- one kind of bonus, added together based on each card -- or more complicated -- different types of possible powers on each card, but only being able to score one of them per sentence; possibilities for unique combinations granting extra-special powers. You can also have some cards, when played, offer specific benefits, such as added forces, an automatic kill, or even drawing more cards!

Balancing would be hell, but if you could pull it off you'd get a really cool, really flexible element to add to any wargame. The mechanic you want to explore is "storytelling." I'd start by looking at "Once Upon a Time," a game that uses hands of word-cards to help players guide a mutually-told story to their unique ending. "The Adventures of Baron Munchausen" is also a good place to look, being a very loose role-playing system based on extraordinary tales of tall adventure and derring-do.

schtoom
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Some way to make simultaneous

Some way to make simultaneous turns would be an interesting dynamic, although I don't have any really good ideas on how to accomplish this.

I mean, epic battles don't generally happen because one guy goes one thing, then another person reacts and does something else. There are lots of things happening at the same time, some of which just happen to be reactions.

The storytelling aspect ilta mentioned above sounds pretty awesome, too.

Jpwoo
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The obvious answer to me is:

The obvious answer to me is: Play a role playing game

But that doesn't help :)

One thing that comes up in your examples of movie style combats is that individual characters are important to the outcomes of the battle. So having the players control and identify with heroes within the battle would be neat.

Another thing that comes to mind are interactions on the battle field in different areas. Like, we have to hold this gate so our reinforcement can rally and push in on the enemy. Or If we distract the enemy on this side this gives our calvalry time to ford the river on their flank.

one way to do this might be to have maneuver cards, that if one prerequisite is met, you unlock an ability for another unit. Like, "If your infantry scores a critical hit, you may instantly move a calvalry unit" or "If your magician is eaten Lemurs, you gain control of the dragon unit for one round"

Picking a scale is important too. You want it small enough that a single hero can be useful, but large enough that the greater battle is still important.

Adding subjectivity is a dangerous thing in a board game to me. Especially a war game. One thing that I like about war games is that things are cut and dry, everyone understands the rules, and the outcomes should be agreed on by everyone. Even a game like Warhammer has too much subjectivity for me, with the measuring, and figuring out which models are base to base etc. Give me a hex map any day.

And that is the point where I think that roleplaying games do so much better than board games, creativity in strange situations are the rule. The players agree that they have a mostly neutral arbiter of the outcomes, but if you want to 'break the rules' you can, just make a house rule on the fly. I suppose you could try to apply that same kind of rules on the fly logic to a board game, and that would be an interesting challenge!

Good luck! I would love to see the game you are imagining.

larienna
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Joined: 07/28/2008
For "once upon a time" I saw

For "once upon a time" I saw it pass 2 days ago on our junk trade. I think I should have picked it up. The only bad feeling about it was if there was actually a game there or was it only a story telling tool.

Quote:
Another thing that comes to mind are interactions on the battle field in different areas. Like, we have to hold this gate so our reinforcement can rally and push in on the enemy. Or If we distract the enemy on this side this gives our calvalry time to ford the river on their flank.

one way to do this might be to have maneuver cards, that if one prerequisite is met, you unlock an ability for another unit. Like, "If your infantry scores a critical hit, you may instantly move a calvalry unit" or "If your magician is eaten Lemurs, you gain control of the dragon unit for one round"

That seems interesting, but that could easily lead to a side board battle. I don't hate the idea of side board battle, the only problem is that if there are many battles and each of these sideboard battles takes time to setup and play, the game is going to be very long. This is why I tried discarding the sideboard battle idea.

Unless I can find a very fast way to setup and resolve side battles. Or Even a no setup side battle would be even better. I had an idea of a siege game where there was no amount of units on the board. The tokens of your color where indicating which area were on your control rather than a number of untis. Maybe I could make a side battle where you place the tokens and play cards to change the control of the areas over the map.

Anyways, thanks for the feedback.

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