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Joined: 03/17/2015

Hello all

This is the first time posting (more of a lurker) but I have enjoyed the ideas tossed here.

I am not really a designer, never managed to do anything other than build a couple of prototypes, hit a design wall, and have the games fade as real life events piled up.

I am hoping I can turn it around by posting here, as a sort of devlog. Hoping having fellows to brainstorm with will help avoid the end my other ideas had.

So, onto the idea.

Working name is Combocrawl. It is a coop dungeoncrawl, with a focus on giving to the the players the feeling that they are powerful through the use of combos.

Tossing various ideas around but the main mechanics and core concepts are below.

The game is a card game of sort. The player has a deck that contain the maneuvers he has learned through his career. He also has a hand of cards, with the hand size increasing with level (although I am considering a variant of this). To power and use his card he has a pool of "stamina" named prowess.

Pretty standard up to now.

Each character has a board with five places for cards. The first is the coodown, the second has the number 1, then 2, then 3, then 4, and lastly 5.

Each turn is composed from five rounds ie. people choose if the will put a card in space 1. Then they act as well as the monsters with initiative of one. Then the same for space 2.

The cards upper section have the action. The place where the card will be placed determines the initiative of the action (lower goes first), the cost in prowess (although there might be card with cost modifiers) and the effect as most cards have variables that are determined by the position of the card on the board.

If a card is placed immediately in the next spot as another they are considered a chain.

The cards lower section each has a modifier that enhances the next card in the chain (ie it might add a target to the following attach, or an AoE, or push etc)

The last benefit of the chain is that depending on you class you get a bonus according the the length of the chain.

Lastly, you must expend prowess to defend. And damage required you to discard prowess.

Other ideas I am tossing around:
1) Prowess is composed of three colors of tokens representing three stats.

Thanks for your time reading this!

Questions welcomed as the can help me put my thoughts in order.

X3M's picture
Joined: 10/28/2013
Welcome to the forums! And

Welcome to the forums!

And this:

The cards lower section each has a modifier that enhances the next card in the chain (ie it might add a target to the following attach, or an AoE, or push etc)

Sounds like a cool idea.
Something like throwing oil on fire.

Joined: 09/06/2017
Graphical Chaining Representation idea

Sounds like an interesting game.

I just had a quick idea of a possibly way to represent chaining graphically. (If I am understanding this concept correctly) Cards could have horizontal lines corresponding enhancements. Each horizontal line would be broken into three segments (left middle and right). Each of these segments could have the visible or not. If the left segment is visible it chains with the card to its left. If the right segment is visible this card will enhance the card on its right. If all segments the card to the right of this card gets this cards enhancements and the card to the left of this ones enhancements. If only the middle segment is visible only this card gets that enhancement.

Just throwing this out there, not sure if this is feasible or useful.

WinsmithGames's picture
Joined: 01/20/2017
I love the idea of cards

I love the idea of cards creating combos, and depending on the core game mechanics, you could have some interesting combos. Not to mention, I love dungeon crawlers.

If I'm understanding you correctly, cards will have their base effect, and then may add a combo effect.

I've long-ago shelved a dungeon crawler of my own, but I imagine you could have some awesome combo effects:

  • Bleed damage
  • Push
  • Pull
  • Freeze
  • Paralyze
  • Heal
  • Cause/Increase AoE
  • Confuse
  • Summon

There are so many possibilities, and as someone who loves draft formats of MTG, I'll tell you I LOVE crafting and finding combos of cards/abilities in every game I play. (Not just dungeon crawlers or combat games.)

Also, I love it when cards have multiple functions. It sounds like the card you use will determine its initiative, as well as its effect. This is one thing I love about Gloomhaven. You really have to consider the card you use for your attack, as your initiative is directly tied to it. Some rounds you may choose a card because of its initiative, and not the effect.

Keep us updated!!!

Joined: 03/17/2015
To X3M

Thank you!

Yes exactly. I would like to give the players a feeling of empowerment. Furthermore, if I do it correctly, playing the same three cards as a chain but in a different order will have a significantly different result :)

Joined: 03/17/2015
To Fri & WinsmithGames


Thank you for the ideas.

If I am picturing it correctly, looks like you came up with the previous version of my system :)

At this point each card always(provided the next action is compatible) enhances the card immediately to the right, as the one in the left is kind of in the past.

Thank you, though, If the system changes again I will definitely try this representation method!

@ WinsmithGames

Thank you!

You got that right. I believe it is the greatest strength f the system but also the point I am facing a design block.

I need the main actions (upper part) to be different enough to be interesting. I also need the modifications (lower part) to be variable and interesting enough so the same 3 cards will have entirely different effect depending on the series they will be played on.

One of my first attempts is below (no mechanics yet, just flavor brainstorming). So for example playing the second card below after the first, would result the first action being Dance of Wind and the second Swift Arcing Lightning.

Storm's Embrace

  • Dance of Wind: Movement (High Speed + Attack with weapon)
  • Swift: (next action is faster)
  • Arcing Lightning: Movement (Teleport + Damage in Line)
  • Sudden: more accurate
  • Booming Thunder: (Teleport + Damage AoE where you appear)
  • Sweeping: Pushes
  • Flashing Spark: Defense (Debuff)
  • Charged: Extra Damage
  • Thunder Cloud: Defense (Increase Defense + Damage)
  • Chaining: Next ranged attack chains to adjacent targets
  • Cyclonic Burst: Defense (Increase Defense + Debuff + Damage)
  • Forceful: Damage + Push
  • Static Charge: Attack (Damage)
  • Laden: Extra Accuracy attaching the same target
  • Shocking Strike: Attack (Damage + Debuff)
  • Bursting: Get AoE

Regarding the multiuse cards, unfortunately they are not :(. The cards do not determine initiative nor power. What determines those is in which section of your board you will play them on. Earlier sections (with smaller number on them) are weaker but faster for example.

Tbone's picture
Joined: 02/18/2013

To increase the variability of affects, maybe have different classes of abilities and modifiers.

For example: Shocking Strike is an ability from the Knight class and if placed in a combo with Forceful modifier, which happens to also be from the Knight class, there is an additional affect.

So a card would have three abilities: Base Ability, Combo Ability, Class Ability. If you match the Combo Ability's class with the following Base Abilities class, the Class ability on the following card is executed.

The ability from the example above would read: "The Knight's Forceful Shocking Strike" and the affect would go off as follows:

Attack (Damage + Debuff) + (Damage + Push) + (gain the amour of the fallen foe if able).

"The Mage's Swift Arc Lightning"

Movement (Teleport + Damage in a Line) + (next action is faster) + (deal one damage to all units within two spaces)

Joined: 03/17/2015
To Tbone

Hello TBone

Thank you for the suggestion.

The idea is there of sorts. As I mentioned in my first post,each class has a particular bonus it gains depending the length of combo.

So the two cards would have similar but potentially different effect depending on what class uses them.

Another idea on the table is that new prowess tokens you gain as you level up, are not just tokens but also have some extra bonus when used.

Variability is not my big issue. I a more concerned on making each ability different and interesting. I would like to avoid the move attack pattern present in most such games.

WinsmithGames's picture
Joined: 01/20/2017
Ahh, I understand about the

Ahh, I understand about the placement of actions and their order. I like that idea.

So what are the uses of Prowess Tokens?

Here's a thought: Personally, I'm a fan of resource-management and action-selection. So maybe the Prowess Tokens have multiple uses, and the player has to strategically decide when and how to use them.

Examples of uses include:

  • Increase damage of an action
  • Reorder your actions
  • Trigger the previous or proceeding Action's combo-effect
  • Draw or replace an Action

There are so many possibilities here. This is also an opportunity to differentiate the classes. Maybe each class has their own use of Prowess Tokens, in addition (or in lieu of) universal options.

To be honest, I'm not a fan of the multiple colored tokens. That creates more varying token types, which means more board space and record-keeping.

We've already shown that you can have a ton of unique abilities. Making them interesting is how they fit within the context of the game.

So we have the game's hook (the combo'ing), but tell us more about the rest of the game. Is it a hex-grid tactical combat game? Is it a tile-laying dungeon explorer/crawler? Is it a card game, where the areas or zones of heroes/monsters are more abstract?

Joined: 03/17/2015
Mmmm intersting

Winsmith thanks for the feedback.

Currently prowess token have three current effects:

1) they determine your hand size. Each character has hand slots equal to prowess. Each card has a "memory" cost depending on level. This is currently the primary way the game limits access to higher level abilities

2) they represent your toughness & Hp. Any damage bypassing armor and defensive abilities causes prowess tokens to be spent (cant be used to power abilities). If you have none to spend, they get discarded (until healed). Loose all of them and you die.

3) The are used to power your cards. Usualy a number of prowess tokens equal to the slot number the card is used on are required (although cards may have cost modifiers)

I like your idea. As i mentioned above, having the prowess token have on them abilities is also something I am thinking about. My thought on colored tokens was aimed in including stats that can be tuned to the characters preferences, but I cannot disagree that it is somewhat clunky.

Having basic class-based abilities that let you use prowess in various ways is more streamlined. This also open the way for another idea I had of skill sets giving you extra powers. For example, Storm's Embrace could have a power card that you put beside your character, that could say "As long as prowess is bound on this card you can summon a spear of lightning. The stats of the spear depend on the number of prowess bound"

Now regarding your question on the rest of the game, it is currently hex based with facing. I am intending to use terrain mechanics similar to Assault of Doomrock. The current plan is to be a roguelike (I am not much of writer) - arena game, with both pvp and pve. My focus is to have the basics of combat system before proceeding. My intention is to use enemy's that have no HP (either you kill them or not) with the exception of big enemies. But I need to have a working combat system to check wether that would be fun.

WinsmithGames's picture
Joined: 01/20/2017
I like all of these ideas.

I like all of these ideas. You seem to have thought them through.

How long before you have a prototype ready? Or rules written?

Joined: 03/17/2015

Actually, I finished today the first starting cards. I aim to test them before creating the next one.

You can view the draft here

I dont have time to explain nomeculture right now, but please let me know if the abilities seem boring or not.

Disreagrd the first 5

WinsmithGames's picture
Joined: 01/20/2017
Without knowing the mechanics

Without knowing the mechanics of the game, I definitely see how the abilities can create some interesting combinations, such as the Momementum from Cleave may allow you to use actions you otherwise wouldn't be able to, or the Reposition from Evasive Strike allows you to mimic other abilities in a different slot (creating some flexibility that goes outside the standard parameters of Action Slots).

I know these are just a few of the sample cards, but I will mention that I note most of the combo effects are simple numerical bonuses. These can create interesting decisions of which bonuses are the most strategic. But, personally, I find simple, numberical bonuses not super interesting. Make sure to have a good balance of numerical bonuses and asymetric, unique combo effects.

TL;DR - I like what I see so far.

Joined: 03/17/2015

Thank you.

You hit exactly what I want to do, and so far have trouble doing.Creating non numerical power, that are interesting, and can thematically flow from the upper power.

The present powers make it doubly difficult as they are supposed to be the very basic ones. As you level up you are going to have access to more magical ones that may make it easier hopefully.

A rather vague catalogue of support type powers I am planning on are
• Add damage
○ Extra damage
○ >> under some circumstances
○ Add damage + Remove other damage
• Convert damage
• Add state
• Reduce cost
• Gain something if it hits
• Increase duration
• Make totem of spell
• Move
○ Push
○ Pull
• Increase speed
• Increase area of effect or add one
• Increase defense
• Make trap of spell
• Increase number of targets
○ Extra projectiles
○ Chain

• Increase accuracy
• Increase critical chance
• Add trigger
• Improve next support
• Improve minion
• Convert to Aura

If you have additional suggestions I would be happy to hear them :)

X3M's picture
Joined: 10/28/2013
That is indeed a vague put

That is indeed a vague put together list. :)
But it shows that you are putting a lot of thought into your game. And everything so far. It sounds good in my ears as well.

If you have the time. Try to organise your list a bit more. Maybe you spot gaps that you might want to fill or not.

And remember. Any addition might also have as mirror, subtracting.

A big list asks for tracking the effects on the rest of the game. I am not good in keeping things simple. And if you are really going for a super big game. The following way of working might help. "Might help". Since it only suits people like me.

For myself. I have any ability in my game. Well explained for myself. How much it should weigh. How it works in the shadows of the game. And what the player will feel and see when using the ability. Also, will they use it? And why not when the ability is adjusted otherwise.

Every time when I adjust something. I can track any other aspect of my game. And put every paragraph to a test.

WinsmithGames's picture
Joined: 01/20/2017
We've already gone through a

We've already gone through a bunch of abilities. In addition to push/pull, you could have teleport/swap locations with target.

But your list is pretty extensive as of now. You have plenty for playtesting at least. Coming up with ideas is fun, but it seems like you are ready to playtest (the less glamorous part of game design).

Joined: 03/17/2015

Indeed. Hopefully I will revert with new insights after the play tests :)

WinsmithGames's picture
Joined: 01/20/2017
Good luck and keep us

Good luck and keep us informed.

Joined: 03/17/2015
Combat System

Ok, problably not time to playtest this weekend, but I thought to take advantage of this time and post the combat system as is. Although it still basic, with not a lot of variations, i think it will help me put thing in order, as well as get feedback on any issues it might have.

So there are three basic parameters in attack and defense.
- Accuracy
This is compared to the Evasion rating or Parry rating of the opponent. Players can choose which one to use and enemies always use their best. I should note the shields are basically weapons with a high bonus to parry. The twist is that certain attacks can force you to use one particular type of defense. [Fast] attacks make you use parry for example. Also each weapon (you need a weapon or shield to parry) has a durability rating. If you parry an attack with equal damage to the durability you must move backwards. If it higher you may still block but you loose the weapon or shield.

This cancels some of the targets armor. Any damage you do is reduced by the amount of armor the opponent has.

If you have bypassed the defenses of the opponent and some damage has passed through his armor, then you compare the remaining damage to the opponents toughness.

If Damage > Toughness then you score a fatal hit. You do 1HP (most opponents only have one), you gain an advantage token (these can be used in later moves to increase your accuracy, damage, penetration, defenses etc and can be gained by combat, cards, or even for example when you use a terrain that gives you higher ground or you attack someone from behind), and can roll the critical dice of the weapon (i will explain this below)

If Damage = Toughness then you score a solid hit. You gain an advantage token and can roll the critical dice of the weapon (i will explain this below)

If Damage < Toughness then you score a First blood hit. You gain an advantage token.

Each player can use his advantage tokens for himself, or for his team mates if they are attacking the same enemy

The AI has a communal advantage pool and enemies use them as they appear. As a result swarming enemies are dangerous.

Finaly critical dice

Weapons have several stats
Accuracy bonus
Penetration bonus
Damage Bonus
Parry bonus maybe

And also have a number of critical dice they can roll. For the time this is 6sided dice. Each weapon has abilities that activate if you roll a particular number, such as push, pull, daze, knock-down, immobilize etc

I am trying to appeal both to those who like dice and those who prefer a more deterministic system. So there are weapons that have lower stats and more dice, those with few dice and higher stats.

Im also considering so alternatives but I havent fixes them yet, where I can have some middle category with few dice and average stats but the capabilities to exchange dice for bonus to Accuracy etc. Or perhaps leave this ability for some magic weapons.

X3M's picture
Joined: 10/28/2013
I don't know how high your

I don't know how high your other stats are. But you mentioned that most have only one health?

Joined: 03/17/2015

Most are just minions so 1 health. It doesn't mean their defenses are small, but once you do fatal hit they die.

So in most situations enemies have two basic states

- Alive. although they may be suffering from various states
- Dead

I a little tires of games where you have track health of every single enemy so I am doing this test.

It may work or not :)

X3M's picture
Joined: 10/28/2013
Health and determinism are

Health and determinism are linked in a way that if you have randomness. Health will shift the randomness, slowly to determinism.

And having only determinism with rps with 1 hp. Then it is solely rps like the actual rock paper scissor game.

Joined: 03/17/2015
Not sure i agree

I am not completely sure I agree.

RPS is not a perfect knowledge example. You do not know what the other one will play.

Here you have perfect information (at least if you play alone). I would more compare it to Mage Knight. As soon as you see an enemy you know whether you can take him or no. The challenge comes from creating a strategy that accounts for the enemy his pal, the terrain and your currently available cards etc.

An other comparison could be 4th editon D&D. Each battle has usualy one or a couple of main enemies with Hp and serious abilities. But to account for the action economy that favors the players there also 1hp enemies that add to the danger absorb some hits and increase the tactical aspect.

X3M's picture
Joined: 10/28/2013
No need to agree. I think

No need to agree. I think that, since you mentioned all those other things that are in your game. There are no worries at all.

So, players aren't building armies against each other. But fight minions instead. That is a whole different sort of game. I always think from a war game point of view. So what I said mostly applies to that sort of games.

To bad though that players know, what is coming.

Joined: 03/17/2015

Aaa now I understand.

Yes it not pvp, at least not the first iteration.

The enemies have critical as well so there is an level of randomness, but I have been doing research on board-game AI and am trying to find ways to make them more unpredictable, but one step at a time.

Here is part of my search in AI in case someone is interested in matter for their own projects:

X3M's picture
Joined: 10/28/2013
I got a lot of AI, dice

I got a lot of AI, dice driven.
However, it consumes a lot of time in the game, to decide on the AI.

Considering these days to translate it into AI decks.

Joined: 03/17/2015
Current AI

My current idea for combocrawls ai is to have enemy tokens in three colours.

So for example orc axe throwers (my demo enemies) come in blue, green and red.
They enemy card has five actions, each corresponding to the analogous 5 combo slots the players have.

Each round you pull an enemy card. This card has two arrows of each colour. When you put it beside the enemy card it shows which two action each colour of the orcs will do.

So you always know what actions the enemy has available, but you do not know which one he will do.

Joined: 03/17/2015

Hello everybody,

Still working on this. Did some play-testing, and uncovered a lot of problematic areas so I am now streamlining and altering some things.

In the meantime this is a post to explain how weapons work.

Before beginning it essential to describe the action board first.

The action board comes with six slots. A cool-down slot (this is where action cards used stay for a round after use) and 5 slot with the numbers 1 through 5.
The slot the card is used in plays a great importance because

1. It is the initiative
2. A lot of cards have effects with an X value which equals the slot number plus any prowess the character spends (beyond the cards activation cost which equals the level of the card).
3. Attacks usually have an Accuracy and Damage equal to the slot number used plus, weapon bonuses plus extra prowess.
4. The slot used also gives actions an extra key word
a. Slots 1-2 give the [Swift] keyword that enables the character to choose if the enemy will defend with block or evasion.
b. Slot 3 gives the [Focused] keyword that adds 1 to the number of critical dice rolled
c. Slot 4-5 give the [Mighty] keyword that disarms enemies that successfully block

Now on to weapons

Weapons have the following components
Keywords: These either have functionality of their own or are reference by other cards
Bonuses: These are the bonuses they give to damage, block etc
Special Ability: The special ability of the weapon if it has one
Critical:The number of dice you roll to determine if the hit is a critical hit
Critical Effect: The number you must roll above to activate it and what it does

Two examples below


Name: Gladius

Keywords: [Melee] [Light] [Pierce], melee restricts what action cards can use it, Pierce is the type of damage an might be relevant for some situation, Light is the type of weapon. Light weapons can only be used in combination with actions in Slots 1-3.

Reach: 1

Bonuses:+3 Accuracy, +1 Damage

Special Ability:Gain +1 Block when wielded as an off-hand weapon or in combination with a shield

Critical: 1

Critical Effect: On a 5+ give the enemy a Bleed token


Name: Longsword

Keywords: [Melee] [Medium] [Slash], melee restricts what action cards can use it, Slash is the type of damage an might be relevant for some situation, Medium is the type of weapon. Medium weapons can only be used in combination with actions in Slots 2-4.

Reach: 1

Bonuses:+3 Accuracy, +1 Damage

Special Ability:You may reduce your Critical by any amount for this attack in order to gain the same amount in Accuracy or Damage or any combination there-off

Critical: 1

Critical Effect: On a 6 you may attack an adjacent enemy

I am trying to have weapons be different, not better or worse, as well as have actual repercussion on how you fight.

I also wanted to put dice, but make the make them function as a bonus rather than determine success or failure, as well as give a way out for those not wishing to use them.

Edit: Some more expamples here

WinsmithGames's picture
Joined: 01/20/2017
I'm glad you got to playtest

I'm glad you got to playtest and found problem areas.

To be honest, your game still sounds too heavy. The weapons have a LOT of qualities and text on them.

I think your biggest hurdle will be making the game concise enough that the learning curve isn't too steep and that players are spending most of the time making interesting decisions and executing the cards.

My first design was a tactical rpg/adventure, and I had the problem of starting way too big, and playtests became a matter of cutting and trimming as much as possible.

What you should do is:

1. Playtest
2. Find a couple elements to tweek that will streamline the game and make it more fun
3. Playtest
4. Find a couple more elements to tweek to streamline the game
5. Playtest
6. Find a couple more elements to tweek
7. Create a Feedback Form
8. Then playtest with more folks, and get their thoughts

Best of luck!

Joined: 03/17/2015
Thanks. That is what I intend


That is what I intend to do.

I agree with your assessment, and that was one of the first things I am trying to correct. Although at the moment the problem is more prevalent in the action cards.

A question on the weapons. Do you find them visually or mechanically complicated

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