Skip to Content

How do you spice up a simple Strategic Combat game?

4 replies [Last post]
Joined: 01/23/2014

I'm in the middle of designing a game that's gone through more than 8 iterations and finally feel as though I've hit a chord of clarity, but the game is still having issues. Here's my game in a nutshell:

Tile Combat, Rock-Paper-Scissors fighting, Hand Management, Hit-the-House victory condition (players have bases that you have to hit to win).

Players have hands of cards that they "program" to each tile face down at the start each turn, which give them a specific amount of movement that turn as well as a unique power (move an extra space if you win a fight, move another tile instead of this one, etc.). When tiles fight, both players choose one of the cards remaining in their hands (hands of 5 cards in a 2p game, 3 cards are programmed and 2 are left in their hands) to play face-down in front of themselves, then turn face-up simultaneously. Using the rock-paper-scissors mechanic, players compare cards to see who wins the fight. The loser's tile is removed from the board and both played cards are discarded and players get to redraw those cards from the decks (which are separated into rock-paper-scissors categories). The first player to charge across the short board and attack the opponent's Base wins the round!

At the start of the first round, there are 5 cards in each of the 5 Rock-Paper-Scissors categories (more like rock paper scissors lizard spock) with numbers on them that range from 1-25, in groups of 5. Tile initiative order is determined by lower numbers, and combat ties are won by higher numbers (lower numbers move faster, higher numbers hit harder). Each category has one unique card with 5 different numbers (Card A 1, A 2, A 3, A 4, A 5, B 6, etc.). You add 5 new cards to each category at the start of each round and remove one from all previous rounds to lower the probability of drawing the early-round cards (likening them to rare artifacts) and increase the probability of drawing the newest cards (like modern technologies). By the end of the game (there are 5 rounds), each category deck will have 15 cards (1 from I, 2 from II, 3 from III, 4 from IV, and 5 from V) for a 2-player game. Each round also increases the amount of times the base has to be hit by 1, extending the duration of the later rounds.

Finally, I've toyed with scoring, but currently have: Kill a Tile=1pt, Kill (not just hit) a Base=5pts. This makes circumstances like in Harry Potter, where you can "Catch the Snitch but lose the game", if an opponent massacres your Tiles all game but you kill his Base everytime.

I've also fought various methods of using the cards themselves:

The card you use for a Tile becomes the cards you use when fighting with that tile, making fights a lot more transparent and less suspenseful.

Also, keeping the cards you use in Fights so that the opponent knows for sure what might be in your hand to help them strategize for fights better.

Sorry for the massive post! This game has plagued me for the better part of a year and I feel like I have something that I can at least work with right now, I just need to iron out some of the small problems I'm having that I outlined here!

Thank you for any time you commit to this post!

radioactivemouse's picture
Joined: 07/08/2013
I would try something like

I would try something like Plot Cards from Game of Thrones (, where both players put down an event that gives initiative and may have a condition that changes the round (I wouldn't worry about gold or claim value).

You could implement it like weather change. Have each round be a day and each day starts off with a weather condition that favors or hinders some card type. It will change the way a player plays their moves during that round and forces them to keep upon their toes.

Just an idea. It will make your game bigger, but I believe it will give that "umph" your game needs.

Joined: 01/23/2014
Great idea!!

That sounds like an amazing idea! The game is based around raw elements, so something like Weather affecting the board would be a powerful strategy addition! Something like Rain boosts Water movement and Lightning efficiency in combat, thanks for the idea!

Tbone's picture
Joined: 02/18/2013
So Far I Like It

The structure for the game seems legit. Taging a long with what radioactivemouse said, maybe each card could have a Tile/Unit affect (when played on the field face down to move and affect things on the field) and an Event/Rock-paper-Scissors affect (when used to resolve battle). So everytime you lay a card/tile down as a rock-paper-scissor (combat resolver) it will also trigger an event or some sort of change to the combat.

You can even give the combat resolvers colors that are associated with the elements so that when you use one with the right card it can give it a boost.


You put down A-2 with "Cascading Fire: if you win the battle deal x damage to any three units; deal x+3 damage if a fire element you control is in the conflict"

The enemy outs down D-1 "Sonic Boom: you may make this card a B-1 if you have an Air element in play. When the battle resolves, if the enemy wins they are knocked back two spaces."

Do you have an example of the cards? Or what will be on them such as combat values?

My game uses tiles and similar winning conditions. If you like to swap rules and feed off each others feedback, definitely message me, I would love to help give ideas!


Joined: 01/23/2014
Simple afterall

I like your ideas, but when I said I had engineered the game to be fairly sime, it was mostly in the combat; the original iteration of the game was very chess like, where each tile only had to run into an enemy tile to kill it. In this version, the combat is the RPS dynamic, and whoever wins that battle kills the other tile. Each tile is a simple pawn until paired with a card, but adding health didn't even occur to me...that could add a bit of complexity without bogging the game down too much, perhaps, if each tile starts with 5 hp or so, then gets more in each subsequent round.

Syndicate content

forum | by Dr. Radut