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Icehockey Game

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D-Rex
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Joined: 02/04/2009

Hello, I´ve tried for years to design a hockey boardgame. But it is very difficult to simulate the flow of the game. In a soccer game for instance, the players need not be moving constantly but in icehockey movement and speed are the keys to the game. My latest idea is to have an abstract kind of game, where players are moving in areas instead of squares. I think that using Area Movement on the ice is the best way to go for now. However, I can´t decide how the layout should be. I only know that the key areas such as the "Slot", The "Points" and of course the Offensive, Neutral and Defensive Zones should be present. My idea is to let the players be coaches and decide the "big picture", the positioning of the team on the ice and such. Is someone willing to give me a hand?

kiwasabi
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Hi D-Rex, I'm a hockey guru

Hi D-Rex,

I'm a hockey guru of some sorts(played for 7 years and and am still reffing at 9 years now) and know game design. I can offer any help that I'd be for you.

I like the idea of having areas for the positioning of the players. You should definitely incorporate plays into the game somehow. The breakout is another area that is going to have to be perfect.

I'm thinking it should play like some sort of miniatures game but in order for it to feel more like hockey you should only be given something like 10 seconds to perform your turn (via an ongoing timer included with the game). I'm not quite sure how else to make the game intense like real hockey since this is a board game. Any ideas?

By the way, in order to start generating ideas for the "areas" for the players, you should start checking out some images of hockey tables (like foosball but hockey and much better):

http://images.google.com/images?q=hockey%20table&oe=utf-8&rls=org.mozill...

I'll keep posting ideas as they pop into my head. This is an interesting project; hopefully I can be of some help.

-Adam

seandavidross
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Icehockey Game

A friend and I have been working on a hockey board game for the past two months that you might find interesting, it's called Pond Hockey. The game's movement system was inspired by Corné van Moorsel's StreetSoccer but it's been adapted to handle the difference between how a soccer ball can travel and how a hockey puck can travel: more than one player can be moved on a turn; players can move with and retain possession of the puck; the puck travels in a straight line and it may only change direction if it comes into possession of another player who moves with it or passes it again or if it is deflected off the boards bordering the ice surface. It also differs in using cards instead of dice to determine movement points. Additionally, it has rules to permit poke-checking, body-checking, and assessing penalties.

The main things that were borrowed from StreetSoccer were the orthogonal player movement versus orthgonal+diagonal puck movement and the awarding of extra movement points for taking possession of the puck or receiving the puck in a pass. To help get the puck moving a bit more, we also award extra movement points for deflections off the boards - it's not sound physics (unless the boards have springs behind them ;) but the more dynamic puck movement makes it feel more like hockey, so we're willing to sacrifice a bit of realism.

The difference in relative speed between player and puck movement encourages passing and getting your players into better positions to take advantage of passing. With the diagonal movement and extra movement points awarded through passing, the puck can move up the ice pretty quickly, more than twice as fast as a player (in some cases, given the right formation and passing, up to 8 times as fast). And, yet, while we're liking it fine as it is, I have had comments recommending that we try to make the game even faster.

There's a difficult trade off - if the puck moves too quickly, it could become too easy to score; but if it doesn't move quickly enough it can be too difficult to score, and it also won't feel very much like hockey. Having different sized squares (or areas) on the ice to speed up or slow down the pace of the puck might address that issue mechanically - but, thematically, not so much: "I don't understand. Why does the puck move faster on this section of the ice than it does on that section? Isn't it all the same ice? Are there bumps there or something? Is the ice sloped? Does it go uphill and downhill?".

Anyway, I don't think we'll be going down that route and I think I've gone on about this for more than enough time. Let's just say I agree that it's a tricky thing to design a non-dexterity board game that feels like hockey and I sincerely wish you the best of luck.

-Sean

kiwasabi
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Sean, I'm very interested in

Sean,

I'm very interested in your game. This looks very promising; especially for only two months' work! I really like the fact that the game uses cards rather than dice; that makes it a lot more skill based (or so it seems) and less luck based.

Now I know this is a bit out of place for board games, but what if you included a toy launcher that shoots the puck that you use whenever you're trying to score (or maybe when you want to pass, too). It could also work with the deflections you mentioned earlier. Admittedly this is a strange idea for a board game, but I think it might be a lot of fun. I think that any hockey board game needs to include some sort of action element that makes it feel more like hockey. Something like Blood Bowl just won't suffice for hockey. If you just move

-Adam

seandavidross
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kiwasabi wrote:Now I know

kiwasabi wrote:
Now I know this is a bit out of place for board games, but what if you included a toy launcher that shoots the puck that you use whenever you're trying to score (or maybe when you want to pass, too). It could also work with the deflections you mentioned earlier. Admittedly this is a strange idea for a board game, but I think it might be a lot of fun.
It's been done! The NHL Game. For my tastes, it's a bit too gimmicky. Also, I'm not keen on dropping out of a game of positioning and considered maneuver to suddenly start playing a dexterity game. If I wanted to play a dexterity hockey game (um, which I do, but that's not my point ;) I'd be looking to make Subbuteo on ice (um, also something I want to do, but again not my point...). That's also been done, to a degree (Finger Hockey) just not with nice Subbuteo-like figures.

I'm pretty happy with how Pond Hockey plays now. There's positional play, fighting for the puck along the boards, movement up and down the ice, swings in momentum. Pretty much everything leading up to a goal has just the right amount of tension for the light tactical game we're trying to make. The goals themselves are a bit less exciting than I would like - since there's no random element in scoring, once you've calculated that you can score, well, it's already over - you've already scored in your mind before you've physically scored on the board. Other than taunting, there's no reason to leap out of your seat with excitement after a goal - it's not a surprise.

I would like to have the goal scoring be more climactic, but adding a random, or dexterity-based element to the scoring is not an option for this game design. There's some randomness in the order you get your movement points during the game, which forces you to remain flexible and adapt to the situations as they unfold, but other than that it's a game of very little luck, which is what I want this design to be. For a fresh design, I would be more open to introducing randomness, along the idea of miniatures-based play. There are so many ways you could go with designing a hockey game....

Pond Hockey is turn-based, I go, you go, style gaming. To see the film of how the game would be playing out it in realtime, you need to imagine the two players turns happening at the same time. A simultaneous action mechanism would seem well suited to a hockey design, but only if it doesn't slow the game down - the game needs to be fast.

Another idea I had while working on Pond Hockey was to treat each player on your team something like the speedboats in Powerboats: played on a hex grid, each player has a speed and heading, you can change their heading 60 degrees, increase or decrease their speed, then move the players. The dice mechanism for controlling this movement in Powerboats nicely simulates momentum and the difficulty in make finely-tuned maneuvers against the momentum you've built up beforehand. But, once again, the time needed to decide on the heading and speed of all your players, and then move all of them, would slow the game down to a crawl. For a slow-motion simulation, it might work; but for a fast-paced, action game that hockey fans will be expecting - not so much.

Scoring also needs to be fast. No. Not fast. Immediate. You don't want to be doing line-of-sight calculations and consulting CRTs to determine whether or not the puck went in the net. That would just take too long. Again, the game needs to be fast. You also don't want to be doing the equivalent of flipping coins or shooter and goalie rolling dice to see who rolls higher....that's not very exciting either..... Perhaps something like Descent's dice for resolving ranged combat might work but I haven't played that game, nor I have I really given this idea much dedicated thought.

Once again, I've gone on and on, so I'll stop now and let others get in a word. All of this was to say that there won't be any radical changes made to the existing design of Pond Hockey, it's nearly complete (from our perspective) and it does what we want for the most part. But there are many other ways to go, and avenues to explore for designing a completely different game. It's entertaining to consider them, and if they can help you guys make an even better hockey game than mine I'm all for it; but I can't really focus on designing a new game until I'm finished with the game I'm already working on. That said, if you need ideas or feedback, I'm happy to help however much I'm able. The goal is to finally have a good hockey game, it doesn't have to be mine....

-Sean

D-Rex
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Thanks guys! I´ve done about

Thanks guys!
I´ve done about 50 gameboards or so, but never find the right one. But, my latest design I really like. It plays more like a "normal" boardgame. It has 10*6 squares (1 1/5" * 2"), it has shooting areas (Slot, Shots from angle and the points). Face-off situations are easy to set-up. As you mentioned, the hardest way in a hockey game is to simulate the speed of the sport hockey. Also, the physics of skating makes movement even more difficult. But as always, my problems begins when it comes to the sequence of play, to make it flow and find a good balance between offensive play and defensive play. It shouldn´t be like the defensive team could attack the attacking team´s puck carrier after every movement sequence, it´s not realistic and the feel of setting up an offensive play and work up-ice never occur. Also, this reduces your options to have a good tactic.

About scoring. I currently uses a method in which the shooting player rolls a D6 and the goaltender uses a D12. The shot die roll is compared to a fixed value printed inside the square from which the shot is taken. The goalies die roll is then compared to the shot die roll and it could also be modified up or down. I don´t want to have a CRT. I´m not done with that yet, but the average save percentage is about 85% which is little less than in reality.

About skating. My first thought was to let each player in the game have a fixed value of 8 Action Points. To move forward (up/down the ice) cost 2 AP´s. To move diagonal costs 3 AP´s. To move sideways costs 3-4 Ap´s. Speed is based on a player´s skating and max speed is 4 squares (up/down the lenght of the ice). This reduces the chances of non-natural movement as it is difficult to drive by a player at high speed when you´re on the other side of the rink. This also reduces acceleration and speed when "maneuvering" on the ice.

Again, thank you for posting.

Michael Gustavsson

D-Rex
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hockey

Sean,
I agree with you that a hockey game needs to be FAST, I´m with you all the way. The things you brought up is a really a nut to crack. I see the biggest problems as follows,

A) Skating. Speed and direction are the keys in hockey. If a player don´t have speed to catch up on an opponent, he wouldn´t be able to check him. A player at speed is more difficult to stop. A player (with the puck) at speed is going to have a scoring chance next turn (seconds in reality) as he covers longer distance. A defending player at speed will have a greater chance of checking an opponent at slower speed. Speed is the key and must be taken into the deepest consideration. To simulate speed is not that difficult, the problem is to have the players speed reduced. A player maneuvering is going to loose speed and must then accelerate again to gain speed and you can´t do that many times before energy runs out. Then we have the opposite problem, a player maneuvering can´t accelerate to gain speed. What I´m trying to say is that speed and maneuvering goes hand in hand, they both contradict each other.

B) Direction. This is also important as in hockey the puck constantly changes side. The game goes back and forth as turn-overs occur. If a team is on the attack and heading for goal and loosing the puck to the other team, then you just can´t turn and move at the same speed towards your own zone.

As you see, speed and direction are the keys to resolve. If you could come up with a "Perfect" skating rules, then you have the "perfect" hockey game. It will have you deciding things like -"should I deploy my defencemen into the offensive zone yet" -"If I win the puck in the defensive zone I must have a player ready to conduct the attack".

Another thing you pointed out is scoring. It must be quick. You shouldn´t be able to see it coming, the surprise effect is important. It is also very difficult to simulate without some sort of determination. I have that perfect hockey game inside my head, but can´t get it out. Or I know how it should be, but that´s all.

Looking forward to more comments.
Michael Gustavsson

seandavidross
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D-Rex wrote:I´ve done about

D-Rex wrote:
I´ve done about 50 gameboards or so, but never find the right one. But, my latest design I really like. It plays more like a "normal" boardgame. It has 10*6 squares (1 1/5" * 2"), it has shooting areas (Slot, Shots from angle and the points).
For a realistic ice hockey rink, I think your board dimensions are a bit disproportionate (it would be more proportionate at 10x5 squares ) but I think it may also be a bit small. Consider: a regulation NHL rink is approx. 61m x 26m (200'x85') , and an IIHF rink is closer to 61m x 30m (200'x100'). Let's say we scale the board to have each square represent approx. 4m x 4m - then we'd have a rink with 15x7 squares (15*4m=60m, 7*4=28m). This actually works pretty well, as I'll soon demonstrate.
D-Rex wrote:
About skating. My first thought was to let each player in the game have a fixed value of 8 Action Points. To move forward (up/down the ice) cost 2 AP´s. To move diagonal costs 3 AP´s. To move sideways costs 3-4 Ap´s. Speed is based on a player´s skating and max speed is 4 squares (up/down the lenght of the ice). This reduces the chances of non-natural movement as it is difficult to drive by a player at high speed when you´re on the other side of the rink. This also reduces acceleration and speed when "maneuvering" on the ice.

Here's where the dimensions of the rink and player/puck movement coincide. For realistic player/puck movement, consider that the fastest NHL players skate at about 11m/s (25 miles per hour). Let's assume the full movement of a single player constitutes 1 second of game play: On the 15x7 rink, where each square is 4m x 4m, a sprinting skater could move up to (at most) 3 squares in 1 second; on your rink, where each square is closer to 6m x 6m, moving 3 squares would be equivalent to skating at 18m/s (or 40 mph). You currently have players being able to move 4 squares: that's 24m/s (54 mph)! Zoooom!!

So, to be realistic, you'd need to slow your players down to at most 2 squares/turn on your rink. That's a bit limiting. With a player having at most 3 squares/turn on the larger rink (15x7) we have a bit more wiggle room for handling your other concerns about modeling turning, acceleration, and deceleration.

But there's another reason I like the 15x7 rink. The fastest shot for a puck is in the 100mph range (I think 118mph is the record...), or 45m/s. On the 15x7 rink, that translates to about 11-12 squares/second. On your 10x6 rink, it would be 8 squares/second. So, to have realistic puck movement on your rink you want to use these numbers as your limits: let's say 12 squares max per shot/pass on the 15x7 rink or 8 squares on the 10x6 rink. You need some way to govern how fast a player can/is passing/shooting the puck. It can't always be going 100mph! The reason I like the 15x7 rink for managing puck movement is that you could use four 3-sided dice (or maybe three 4-sided dice) to handle setting the puck speed. When a player wants to pass/shoot the puck, they choose 1-4 dice depending on how fast they want the puck to go and get a realistic speed of 1-12 squares. The dice add a bit a chaos to the shooting and passing - if you don't put enough into the pass/shot it'll be too slow and not reach your target; but put too much into it and you'll overshoot your target. I'd say that's realistic.

The other thing the dice provide is a means to model puck deceleration. Say you have a player along the boards at center ice dump the puck into the attacking zone using all 4 of the 3-sided dice to blast it up the ice and get a 1, 2, 3, 3. On the next turn, if no one has picked up the puck yet, the puck wouldn't just stop moving. It would continue to move around the rink at a slightly decelerated rate. By dropping one of the dice that were rolled and keeping the other three dice as they were, you could model this deceleration.

Let's say we drop the one. The puck now moves 8 additional squares in the 2nd second. In the 3rd second drop, say, the two, and the puck now travels 6 squares. Then we drop one of the 3s, and so on. After four seconds/turns, if no-one has picked up the puck in the meantime, the puck will lose it's last die of movement points and come to rest. So, if you blasted the puck into the attacking zone, and no-one touched it for 4 seconds/turns (not likely, but it could happen) it would go 9 squares in the first second, then 8 in the second, 6 in the third, and a final 3 in the fourth. By the time it stopped moving, it would have travelled 26 squares.

The player shot the puck from center ice, so it travelled 7 squares to reach the corner, caromed behind the net going another 6 squares over to the other corner, then travelled 13 squares back down the ice, stopping one square away from the corner in your defensive zone before stopping. This took 4 seconds. Except for nobody trying to stop the puck as it travelled all that distance over four turns, I think that's fairly realistic behavior for a puck; all modeled with four 3-sided dice.

D-Rex wrote:
A player maneuvering is going to loose speed and must then accelerate again to gain speed and you can´t do that many times before energy runs out. Then we have the opposite problem, a player maneuvering can´t accelerate to gain speed. What I´m trying to say is that speed and maneuvering goes hand in hand, they both contradict each other.

And, now we'll get bring this discussion around to your skating/direction concerns. Here's a candidate solution. Let a full turn consist of both coaches moving all of their players, with one coach moving one player, then the other coach moving a player, and back and forth in this way until all of the players have been moved. To help keep track of which players have been moved, you could use double-sided tokens for the players (like the tokens in Fearsome Floors) that have a dark side and a light side. When you move a player, flip their token. When all of the tokens have been flipped to the same colored side, the turn has ended. The tokens would also need to show which direction the player is heading (something like the lantern on the Dr. Watson character in the game, Mr. Jack).

Now, from the discussion above, to keep player movement somewhat realistic, players can only move at most 3 squares per turn (on a 15x7 rink). So, let's say we give a player 3 action points and let them use any number of them (0-3) per turn. Players can move orthogonally (up, down, left, right) and diagonally. To move from one square to another costs one action point. Before each and every move from one square to another, the player can adjust their heading by turning 45 degrees, left or right. For any single turn of 90 degrees, it costs one full movement point. This simplifies your movement model, by having all movement (be it diagonal or orthogonal) cost the same amount (1), cost a lower amount (1, not 2 or 3), but doesn't lose the cost for radical course corrections when the player turns suddenly.

For example, imagine a player starts the turn facing up the ice towards the attacking zone. They could move 3 squares straight ahead; or 1 square straight ahead, turn left 45 degrees to skate 1 square diagonally ahead, then turn right 45 degrees to skate one more square directly toward the attacking zone; or, they could start by turning left 90 degrees for their first action point, skate 1 square left, turn right 45 degrees and skate to 1 square diagonally ahead; and so on. So, if the player skates more or less in a straight line, with only minor course corrections (it shouldn't slow them down to turn 45 degrees), they can go at more or less full speed. But, if they need to radically change their heading, they will be slower. If they had to start heading in completely the other direction (swing around 180 degrees), they would only manage to move one square by the end of their turn.

This model works, to a degree, to solve your skating and direction concerns. But, it assumes the player is always able to move at full speed, if they aren't making sudden turns. I think you also want to model acceleration and deceleration from turn to turn - a player could move 1 square one one turn, then be able to move up to 2 squares on the next, and finally be able to move up to 3 squares on the third turn; if they had to turn suddenly, or stop, they'd drop down to moving 1 or 2 squares on the following turn. You could do that, but it's awkward and it's slow. One approach, would be to have distinguishable players, and have an acceleration track with values 0-3 for each of your players. From turn to turn, you move a slider on each players track as they accelerate and decelerate. You'd be doing this for all of your players, every turn. Kind of tedious in the overhead and somewhat error-prone (if you forget to move the markers).

Another possibility would be to use a cube instead of just 2-sided player pieces. You would use the cube to track speed in much the same way you track damage in block war games like Hammer of the Scots. To adjust the players speed, you just turn the cube so that the face with that speed is showing. You'd need 6 sides, because you also want to keep track of which players have been moved on this turn: so you have 3 light colored sides with speeds 1,2, and 3; and 3 dark colored sides with the same 3 speeds. This might be less tedious, but I'm not sure it would be less error-prone. There's probably other solutions but my point is that, if you want to manage the acceleration and deceleration of players to this degree, you can - I'm just not sure how worthwhile it would be. You get more detailed simulation at the cost of time spent fiddling with bits to manage those details. The more time not spent moving players and/or the puck, the slower the game will feel, and the less like hockey it will feel.

Which brings me to my final point. After laying out this "solution", there's still a problem - this is not a fast game. Even without the tracking of player acceleration, the game is going to take a long time. See, in Pond Hockey, each player has a deck of 10 cards. Distributed within those cards are 60 movement (or action) points that each coach will get to spend per period. The game last for 3 "periods" so, by the end of the game, each coach will have used 180 action points. Pond Hockey takes about 20-30 minutes if you play quickly (and about twice that long if you've got slower players). Now go back and think about the system of movement I've outlined above. Each of your six players will have 3 AP available per turn. You have six players (the 3 forwards, 2 defense, and 1 goalie), so each turn you will use up to 18 AP. After 10 turns, you would have already used all of Pond Hockey's total allotment of 180 AP but you won't have gotten much done if you've only played 10 turns. By comparison, Pond Hockey has 30 turns. To get the same amount of turns in this other game you'd use 540 AP but, more importantly, the game would take at least 3 times as long to finish! You'd be looking at a minimum of 1 hour, but probably more like 2-3 hours as you'll be spending extra time rolling dice to move the puck and doing housekeeping on which players have moved. Unless you're really into hockey, that's a long time to be playing something that is supposed to feel like a fast game.

So, alas, it seems I don't have a solution to your problem after all. The simulation has the potential to be more realistic, but at the cost of taking far longer to play. The really funny thing though, is that even if you've played 30 turns - from the simulation's perspective, you would have only covered 30 seconds of game time! Imagine. If you really wanted to play a simulation, you'd only have 3570 more turns to play the whole game.... Oh my!

-Sean

D-Rex
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Wow, thanks Sean! You have

Wow, thanks Sean!
You have some really good stuff there. I like the way skating is handled. As a note, I did a rink with 14*7 once. The problem with a rink 7 squares wide is to have a good Face-off positioning. I think the 15*8 works better considering that, but not to my full satisfaction. Take a look at Blue Line Hockey, the board is great but it takes to long to move players. There is just to many squares. The best way is to have as small number of squares as possible but still as many to simulate skating movement.

I´m a block game fan (EastFront) and have tried using blocks, but I left them out for some reasons.

I agree with you, there would be to many turns to play through. I had once rules for timing and they worked pretty good. The basics where that the clock was moved forward (ticked) based on actions taken place on the ice. E.g If a team was clearing the puck deep into the opponents end zone the clock was moved 2 ticks. When a Turn-over occured the clock was moved 1 tick. I don´t remember the rules right now but they made "boring" periods of the game go fast and if there was a lot going on the time decreased.

You see now why I wants to have an more abstrack area-based game? You place players in different areas and then calls a play. This is just an emergency solution as my primary object is to have a good simulation. As said, I like your ideas and if you could describe your thinking to handle face-off situations with the rink you propose.

Michael

ilta
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Re: scoring You could have

Re: scoring

You could have dice which show a 1/x chance of winning; the closer you are, the more dice you get; the more defenders in the way, the fewer you get (or the more successes you need to roll). With clever marking on the board denoting the dice for various zones (especially sine you're using a "zone" idea anyway), and a little reference guide posted on each side, it shouldn't be too hard to keep up the pace.

seandavidross
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D-Rex wrote:Wow, thanks

D-Rex wrote:
Wow, thanks Sean! You have some really good stuff there. I like the way skating is handled. As a note, I did a rink with 14x7 once. The problem with a rink 7 squares wide is to have a good Face-off positioning. I think the 15x8 works better considering that, but not to my full satisfaction.

As said, I like your ideas and if you could describe your thinking to handle face-off situations with the rink you propose.

Hadn't really thought that far ahead yet ;) I was just thinking about getting more realistic movement with that post. To handle face-offs would be difficult on the 15x7 (or 14x7) rink - there just isn't enough room to place the face-off circles realistically, and the players are very crowded if you're trying to set them up in something that resembles the formations you'd see in a game. Even with a rink at 16x8 squares, things are tight.

Here's an example of a possible face-off formation on a 16x8 rink (I did some quick tinkering with the pond hockey rink to make this image).

16x18 Face-off example

I'm using the red and blue circles to represent the double sided counters I mentioned in the long post above, with a white square on one side and a black square on the other. The square shows which way the player is currently facing. I was thinking of treating the two players taking the face off as having already moved for this turn, so they've been flipped and their black squares are showing.

To take the face-off, I'd probably have the coaches each roll two of the four 3-side dice I was using in my longer post for determining puck movement. The coach who rolls highest gets to move the puck the difference of the two amounts rolled (if you tie, roll again until you don't) - so if I rolled a 5 and you rolled a 3, I'd get to move the puck two squares. Then the loser of the face-off gets to move one of their other players, and the turn proceeds from there.

The two players taking the face-off are straddling the line between two squares. That's an artifact of having a rink with a width that uses an even number (8, in this case). The opening face-off happens at center ice, but there's no way to have the players line up directly across from each other at the centre of the board (like they line up at the centre of the rink in real hockey) unless they straddle two squares. Since the opening face-off would have the two players straddling a line, it seemed appropriate to keep the other face-offs consistent.

But now you need rules for handling what it means for a player to be straddling two squares - where can they move to, is there a cost to move from straddling two squares to standing in one, and where can they pass the puck to, and what is the cost. I'm thinking you let them pass as if they were in either of the squares they are straddling. So, from the square on their right, they could pass the puck in 8 directions (N,NE,E,SE,S,SW,W,NW). For the right square, E and W would be the same, but they'd have a different N,NE,SE,S,SW, and NW passing lanes. Now, really, from this position, they're only going to pass the puck E,SE,S,SW, and W but the rules might as well cover all possibilities. The cost to pass the puck to any of their teammates, using the pictured face-off formation would be 1 AP. I'd say, let the straddled players move into one of the squares they are standing over for free, when they can move again on the next turn.

With an odd numbered rink width, btw, you wouldn't have this issue. I'm just saying....

In the diagram above, the face-off in Blue's half of the ice is very congested. Red's defensemen, the "points", are particularly constrained - they need to stay onside for the face-off but there's only one row of squares available to stand in. There's just not a lot of wiggle room on a 16x8 rink. If you went to 18x9, 20x10, or (worst-case) 22x11 - you could have some breathing room, and you'd be able to get a bit more realistic placement of the face-off circles. But, the bigger the ice surface, the farther you'd have to let players and the puck move per turn, which means more decisions per player, longer turns, and a slower game overall.... In some design notes I wrote up for another game, I said designing a game was "like playing Whack-a-Mole on a waterbed" - if you try to pin-down one issue, you'll raise another issue somewhere else in the design. Fun, eh?

How do you handle face-offs on your 10x6 rink? Heck, how do you fit the players on the board? ;)

Sean

D-Rex
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Sean, They don´t fit ;) I

Sean,
They don´t fit ;) I don´t know how to describe it to you. Since I do my drawings in Word documents, I dont know how to show them here. Perhaps if you give me your email I could send them to you for examination.

My intent was to let each square hold 2 players, one from each team. So, to steal the puck a player has to be in the same square as the puck carrier. Interceptions could be made if the puck passes a square next to a player, an intercept move.

I also wants to have a Initiative Track which keeps record of initiative during a game. Let´s say 12 boxes, The 4 boxes in the middle are "blank". The boxes in each end are marked with +1,+1, +2, +3. A marker is placed in the 7th box at the begining of the game (in favour of the home team). The marker is moved left/right on the track depending on situations on the ice, or events if you´d like. E.g a Big Hit or Great Save are typical events that effects initiative. There could be numerous different things to affect initiative.

seandavidross
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Thought about it some more.

16x7 Face-off example

Thought about it some more. The 16x7 rink, pictured above, actually works pretty well. It's a little tight, but still workable. And you don't need rules for handling players needing to straddle two squares (like you do with the 16x8 rink in my earlier post). To get that to work for all of the face-off circles, I needed to run the blue line through the center of a row of squares. I haven't decided whether a player standing in one of those squares is onside or offside, yet - I'm leaning towards offside. So, with this rink, you could use the system of skating and puck movement I described two posts back (move player up to 3 squares, pass/shoot puck up to 12 squares, etc).

D-Rex wrote:
My intent was to let each square hold 2 players, one from each team. So, to steal the puck a player has to be in the same square as the puck carrier. Interceptions could be made if the puck passes a square next to a player, an intercept move.

I came to the same conclusion this morning. I was toying with taking a 20x10 rink and scaling it down by half to get a 10x5 rink.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, to keep things somewhat realistic on this smaller rink size, player movement shouldn't be more than 2 squares per turn, and puck movement shouldn't be more than 8 squares per pass/shot (I'd use two 4-sided dice for this - bit more control over the results than if you just use an 8-sided die). You lose some of the finer details from the movement I described on the 15x7 (or, now, the 16x7 rink) but you can still have some of what you want: players can move up to two squares; before each and every move from one square to another, the player can adjust their heading by turning 45 degrees, left or right; for any single turn of 90 degrees, it costs one full movement point. So, for example, if a player wants to turn around 180 degrees, they do that but they don't move from the square they are in this turn.

I'm not sure about all of the other details (what happens if you pass the puck to a player in this square, etc.), but I'd agree that if you scale down to something like a 10x5 rink, then it would be best to allow one player from each team to occupy the same square.

Sean

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There's one other thing I

There's one other thing I didn't address in the player movement, but I'm not sure how worthwhile it is to cover: skating backwards. If you want realistic defensive movement, then you might want your players to be able to face one direction, but head in the opposite direction. Not sure what the cleanest solution to that one would be. For one thing, you'd need someway to know if the player was skating backwards or forwards on their previous turn. For rules: I'd say, if they continue in the same manner as last turn (either forwards or backwards), then they'd move as usual; but if they change from skating backwards to forwards, or vice versa, I'd charge them the same as rotating 180 degrees. Also, I'd probably limit a player skating backwards to moving 2 squares on the 16x7 rink, or one square on the 10x5/10x6 rink.

D-Rex
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I tried to have players

I tried to have players skating backwards using your suggestions earlier. I had the player "paid" 1 skating point (Movement point) and then moved him backwards. I also let him move diagonaly and 1 step sideways without changing facing. This is very realistic. Also a player can only pass/shot the puck into the "front arc", the three squares in front of him. This also makes sence using backwards skating since a player then could pass the puck directly after a succesfull check.

If the blue line is drawn as you show, this could be used. The square row (with the blue line) is part of the Zone the puck was played from, as in real hockey.

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D-Rex wrote:Also a player can

D-Rex wrote:
Also a player can only pass/shot the puck into the "front arc", the three squares in front of him.
Hm. That would remove lateral passing (passes to the player's left or right) and back passes (passes to the player's left rear and right rear flank). And I'm not sure I'd even remove being able to pass directly behind the player - I've seen players do that in games. You could limit the distance that back passes could travel, but I don't think I'd eliminate them altogether. For shooting, I'd say any shot made at an angle that is not included in your "front arc" would need some sort of modifier to reduce it's chances of success; but, again, I wouldn't eliminate them as options altogether.

D-Rex
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Yes, you´re right. But I was

Yes, you´re right. But I was thinking like this; A player skates into the puck carriers square. He makes a successfull check, he could then only pass the puck (when both are still in the same square) in one of his front arcs. I just want to have a REASON for skating backwards. But as you say, passes in arcs other than front should have a reduced value. In real hockey the biggest reason for skating backwards is that you faceing your opponent and could therefore react to his actions quicker.

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I forgot, If using the rule

I forgot, If using the rule of having two players occupy the same square, a "Battle" is taking place if the puck is passed to such square. Players can do all normal actions but at reduced strength. I think it´s easier to have this rule than the traditional one player per square. Markings is one example. Before I even let two players from each team occupy a square. This brought situations like -"That battle was tied, should I send an another player in there or should I wait and see".

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Skating Backwards

D-Rex wrote:
I just want to have a REASON for skating backwards.
Well, using the movement system described above for the 16x7 rink, to turn around 180 degrees would take 2 AP; that would leave you with 1 remaining, so after turning around you could only skate one square forward. If you suddenly had to go in the opposite direction, you'd need to turn around again, and once again only skate one square forward.

Suppose we say that a player can skate backwards at most one square (optionally turning 45 degrees before doing so). That seems reasonable (they'd be going about about 8 mph). On a subsequent turn, the player could continue to skate backwards (again for only a single square) or they could skate forward as normal (up to three squares). This works, if you're not using the model that tracks acceleration (with the cubes for players).

So, the benefit to skating backwards (in the simpler model) would be found in the quicker transition to skating in the opposite direction than if you had turned around, skated one square, then turned around again, and skated one square. Using this model, since a player who skated backwards can skate forward normally on a subsequent turn, there also wouldn't be any need to track whether a player had been skating forward or backwards on the previous turn (with a model that requires tracking acceleration, things are less simple).

This would work well for the 16x7 rink. On the 10x6 (or 10x5) rink, it doesn't scale as easily. For realism, you can move forward at most 2 squares on the smaller rink. Turning around would take an entire turn and the player would move zero squares. Let's say a player could skate backwards at most 1 square (another option would be zero squares on one turn, then one square on the next, but that's fiddly and would require tracking). They'd be skating backwards at around 16mph (which I imagine some people can do, but not many) so the realism is reduced. The benefit to skating backwards, however, would be greatly increased - considering the alternative of turning around completely would result in zero movement on one turn, and decreased movement on a subsequent turn if they suddenly needed to skate in the opposite direction.

Anyway, while some of the simulation is sacrificed on the smaller rink, on both rinks the benefits of skating backwards versus turning around seem to be inherent, from the movement system alone. So, the benefit doesn't need to be derived by restricting passing. It's already there.

ToddLang
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pond hockey scoring

sean-

Pond hockey looks great. I saw some of your discussion of it as a variant of street soccer on BGG, but it looks liked you've really developed it into its own game (rather than just street soccer on ice) since then. Great job.

You mentioned that scoring is anti-climatic.
Why not require a die roll to score, when your game play shows that a goal has occurred? You could make the roll easy (say 2 or higher on a six-sided die) or even automatic (1 or higher). But assuming you need at least a 2 or higher, the roll of a 1 represents an amazing save by the goalie and the puck bounces off the goal mouth on a 90 degree angle from the direction the shot came in for the number of spaces that remain in the shooters turn (if only 1 or zero spaces remain --the goalie gloved it and his team gets possession behind the net). If the puck bounces to another offensive player then they get a "rebound shot" that goes in on a roll of 3 or higher (or whatever you decide). Furthering this thought, each team would have 5-6 "star points" that they can spend in goal scoring situations during the game. so you could spend one point on defense so that the shooter needs a 2 to score (or 3 to score). You'd limit this spending so that a 5 or 6 always scores. In addition you could let the offensive team spend these points as well to increase chances or to offset defensive spending. This could be a blind bidding process or a turn-based expenditure.

Another alternative is that your chances of scoring could depend on how "hard" the shot was. That is how many unused spaces are left when the puck goes into the goal scoring area. Say you are 3 spaces away and roll a 6. You only needed a 3 to score, and so the extra 3 unused spaces could increase your chances of scoring.

Roll needed to score:
+0 spaces: 5 or 6
+1 space: 3 or higher
+2 spaces: 2 or higher
+3 spaces: 1 or higher.
+4 spaces: 0 or higher (remember, required die roll can be modified with star points)

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ToddLang wrote:Pond hockey

ToddLang wrote:
Pond hockey looks great. I saw some of your discussion of it as a variant of street soccer on BGG, but it looks liked you've really developed it into its own game (rather than just street soccer on ice) since then. Great job.
Thanks Todd. It seems to be going pretty well. Had a very good play-testing session last weekend against some strong competitors who all wanted to play back-to-back games. A good sign. I'm also enjoying the game more with each iteration.
Quote:
You mentioned that scoring is anti-climatic.
This is still true, to a degree, for the reasons I mentioned. But, a lot of my plays have been solo play-tests, or against opponents with less experience. Scoring against yourself is seldom "whoohoo" exciting, and scoring against opponents who are unable to defend against superior play is similarly less exciting.

This past weekend, however, I had the joy of playing against people who'd had a lot of experience with StreetSoccer and that made a huge difference. Suddenly, I had to fight very hard to keep momentum in my favour. Scoring was much more difficult and therefore much more satisfying when it occurred. Although it's still more like "Phew!" than "Whoohoo!". Regardless, at the moment, I'm no longer really looking to change it. I'm liking it as it is. Also, I have a co-designer on that game, and he's hard to convince when I suggest even minor changes. I had a hard time convincing him to let body-checking be in the game (because, you see, it's not legal in "real" pond hockey). Anyway, trust me. Dice would be a non-starter.

I am, however, entertaining working on this more simulation-like game we've been discussing in this thread as a separate game. I like the player and puck movement system. It's too involved for what I want Pond Hockey to be, but for a slightly more rules heavy game, it intrigues me to see if it can be made to work in a game that doesn't take 3 hours to play - but feels like you've had a good full game of hockey.

Pond Hockey is simpler, more abstract - and that's fine. That's what it''s meant to be. But, this game, let's call it 'Hockey', might be able to offer some things that Pond Hockey sacrifices for simplicity and speed - frequent and full team movement up and down the ice, offsides, face-offs, etc. I'm not looking to force these things back into Pond Hockey (they don't fit), but I would be interested in seeing if they could fit well into some other hockey game.

Quote:
Why not require a die roll to score, when your game play shows that a goal has occurred?
For Pond Hockey, I don't think there'll be any dice in the game. Sorry. For this other game we've been discussing, personally, I'm leaning more towards ilta's idea for scoring - where each square has a certain percentage chance (roll two 10 sided dice, to get a number from 1-100) of a shot going into the net, less modifiers for players being in the way of the shot - but I admit I haven't devoted a great deal of thought to that part. Yet.

Quote:
Another alternative is that your chances of scoring could depend on how "hard" the shot was.
I like the idea of having deflections, and factoring in how hard the shot was, not just the percentage likelihood it would go in. If it's too hard, perhaps it should overshoot the net, or reduce the percentage that it will go in. So, to my mind, the game I've been describing above (on the 16x7 rink) uses four 3-sided dice for controlling puck movement. A shot on goal would require choosing how many of those dice to roll, plus rolling the two 10-sided dice to determine accuracy. If your shot is hard enough, and accurate, minus modifiers, it goes in. Otherwise it overshoots the net, or deflects off the goalie, or whatever. Still need to think about it more. I'm also still thinking something like the dice from Descent/Doom could be used for this issue. Haven't decided how, exactly, it's just a nagging suspicion at the moment.... something to do with Save Points and spending Fatigue for extra dice. Fatigue tokens could be collected by doing line changes, that sort of thing. It's all still pretty nebulous....

The Descent dice have heart symbols for determining damage against Health Points, and numbers for range, and surge symbols for other effects, as well as an X for a miss. I'm not sure about the surge symbols, but you could use the damage and range ideas: each square would have a number of "Save" marks (a different amount for whichever net you're targeting), to hit the net you'd need to roll that number or higher, as well as roll the correct range. Different players might get different sets of dice to roll, so that your snipers would be more likely to score than your defensemen (or your goalie). If you roll an X, say, you'd miss but the puck would still travel the range you rolled. Maybe a blank side would cause a roll with too much range to overshoot. You'd have modifiers that increase the number of Save points you need to roll depending on whether the goalie is in nets or not, if defenders or other players are in the way. Things like that.

[EDIT]

Player Counter Label Player Counter Label Flipped Here's an example of possible player counter labels (one for each side of the counter) for a forward using the Descent dice idea. The triangle at the top shows the players current direction. The green, blue, and yellow, squares along the left side show which dice this player rolls (plus any extra dice paid for with Fatigue, or maybe Energy, tokens). A defensive player might only have two of these dice, and perhaps a goalie would only have one. That, or the players would have different combinations of the colors of dice. Each color of dice would contribute more or less to shooting distance and/or accuracy.

The little grey circle in the bottom right shows how many Save points this player would add to the opponents shot total when the player is on defense. Or, maybe, the defender would roll this number of dice, and the number of these symbols that show up would be added to the shot total. In any case, a defensive player might, say, have two of these symbols, and a goaltender might have three of them. Each square on the ice surface would have a number of these grey circles (or maybe just one with a number inside). The worse the angle, or distance from goal, the higher the number. This number plus the total number of these symbols for defensive players along your player's line of site to goal, would be the number of symbols the player would need to surpass when they roll their green, blue, yellow, and any extra dice to have a successful shot on goal. The dice would also show the range the puck travelled, which would need to be at least as many squares as it would take to reach the net. If you can figure out how many Save points to assign to each square so that you can get realistic save percentages, I think this model might work pretty well.

D-Rex
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Very good Sean, I like your

Very good Sean, I like your ideas. I´ve playtested the rules concerning player and puck movement and they work pretty good, well, very good. I´m not sure about the sequence of play though. I tried some different solutions but I´m not sure yet.
Alt A:
1) Attacking Team move all players, one at a time.
2) The puck could be played after each move.
3) Defensive team move.
4) Checking is made by Def. team

Alt B:
1) Initiative Roll (with the Initiative Track described above).
2) Winning team performs 1 Action (Skate, Pass, Check, Shot, Block....)
3) Non-winning team performs actions as above.

I have some other ideas that I´m trying at the moment, will return with results. I think if the issue about sequence of play is the key from now on. If that could be made perfect then the rest would be simpler to deal with. Any ideas?

I´m using an old rink I had and it has 14x7 squares. Still I´m not so convinced about 7 squares wide rink (the problem about positioning of face.off´s and goalies).

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D-Rex wrote:Very good Sean, I

D-Rex wrote:
Very good Sean, I like your ideas. I´ve playtested the rules concerning player and puck movement and they work pretty good, well, very good.
Cool.
D-Rex wrote:
I´m not sure about the sequence of play though. I tried some different solutions but I´m not sure yet. SNIP I have some other ideas that I´m trying at the moment, will return with results. I think if the issue about sequence of play is the key from now on. If that could be made perfect then the rest would be simpler to deal with. Any ideas?
I think I'll need to get a chance to physically test the sequence of play to see what feels best and is most intuitive. In the comments I've made to this thread so far, I've already sketched out the rough sequence of play I've been imagining:

Initiative (starting order) is determined at the face-off. Face-off winner moves first. Let's say Red won the face-off.

1) Red moves any player up to 3 squares (using the movement rules outlined above, for turning, skating backwards, etc). After that player has been moved, it is flipped over to show that it may not be moved again until all other players on Red's team have been moved.

2) If Red's player is the puck carrier then, before, during, or after moving, that player may pass or shoot the puck. As an aside: I'm also thinking passing and shooting should be similar actions (they use the same dice, but passing needn't be concerned with having enough "Save" points, only range, that sort of thing).

2 a) Maybe let the player receiving a pass opt to pass again immediately at the cost of being flipped. I don't know about this one. Blue would end up moving more than one player in a row at the end of his turn.

3) After Red has moved one player and maybe passed or shot the puck, Blue would move one of his players. Lather, rinse, repeat.

As I said, I'd need to play-test this to see if it works. I also haven't really thought about how checking and change of possession should play out yet. Regardless, I don't see them affecting turn order. In my mental model of the game so far, turn order is decided after each face-off. Oh, and in that same mental model, I'm seeing penalties as being made deliberately, not by chance. But that's another issue....

D-Rex wrote:
Alt B: 1) Initiative Roll (with the Initiative Track described above). 2) Winning team performs 1 Action (Skate, Pass, Check, Shot, Block....) 3) Non-winning team performs actions as above.
I understand the initiative track idea, but I think I'd go a different way. In the shooting comments I made above, I made reference to Fatigue or Energy tokens. I think Energy tokens is the term I'll use going forward. To my mind, part of hockey is managing the energy economy of your team through frequent and efficient line changes. At the start of the game, each coach starts with an equal number of energy tokens. These tokens can be spent to add dice to skill checks (face-offs, shooting, passing, checking, etc). The more spent, the better the chance of succeeding, but the fewer available for skill-checks in the future. So, a team that spends its Energy in a rush, will be at a disadvantage as the other team spends their Energy to swing momentum in their favour. Energy tokens are replenished by making line-changes (not sure exactly how that will play out), which takes players temporarily out of the flow of the game as they skate off to their respective benches. This also could swing momentum in the opponent's favour.

There'd be a limit to the number of Energy tokens each team can have (determining that limit would require play-testing) and, between periods, each team would restore a fixed amount of Energy, but not necessarily enough to return them to their Energy limit (although this might be too harmful, if so, both teams should restore to their limit). I realize you'd also like to reward teams extra "Initiative" or "Energy" for big plays but, to my mind, the result of a big play will inherently give some advantage to the team that makes it; piling additional reward on top could create a positive feedback loop that may lead to a "Rich Get Richer" or "Runaway Leader" issue. Anyway, these are my thoughts on how "Initiative" or Energy could be managed, using a single, consistent economy based on one resource.

D-Rex wrote:
I´m using an old rink I had and it has 14x7 squares. Still I´m not so convinced about 7 squares wide rink (the problem about positioning of face.off´s and goalies).
I'd still like to see your Word docs on how your game plays using the 10x6 rink. You have my email address. If I were to use a larger rink, I'd go with the 16x7 rink I posted earlier. But, as I mentioned earlier, and you discovered on your own as you moved down to a 10x6 rink, there are issues with having a larger ice surface and more movement options per player. If the smaller surface can be made to work smoothly, it may be the better option as it would lead to faster play.

D-Rex
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Check your email :)

Check your email :)

seandavidross
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ToddLang wrote:an amazing

ToddLang wrote:
an amazing save by the goalie
I brushed over this when I replied to your post earlier, but I thought I should mention: while you can do some limited (yet surprisingly effective) defending or "getting in the way" when playing Pond Hockey, I'm afraid there is no dedicated goaltender in that game. I realize it might seem odd to not have a goaltender in a hockey game, but it makes sense if you accept the theme - it's a pond hockey game. Strictly speaking, goaltending of any kind is illegal in that sport. I admit that we did stretch the theme to allow for body-checking (which is also illegal). People really seem to like that part but you can play without it, if you prefer. That said, as much as we were able (while still keep the game interesting), we've tried to stay true to the theme.

I actually did make a dedicated goalie variant for the game, but it was vetoed by my co-designer for not being true to the theme. Also, it introduced exceptions and extra complexity for little or no benefit. Which is a long way of saying "It didn't fit".

Anyway. So that we don't dominate D-Rex's thread (anymore than I've already done), if you'd like to chat more about Pond Hockey, please feel free to send me a geekmail on BGG or to send me a private message here at BGDF.

Cheers,

Sean

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