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A small wargame

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KViki
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Joined: 06/07/2010

I've designed a board game (maybe a mini-game) featuring a battle for control of "resource nodes". It's played on a hexagon field with 6 hexagons on each side (or some another hexagon field). Each player controls the same amount of units (4-6), represented by a card in front of him and by a figurine on the battlefield, which occupies one hexagon. The goal of the game is to control a central "tower", where a unit can produce winning points, as there are four options a player can do in his turn: move a unit one hex away, attack with a unit within the range, deploy a new unit at your starting line or produce the winning point (if the "tower" is captured). When one player gains ten winning points, wins.

Battle mechanics

There will be three types of units: melee, ranged and "magical". When attacking, their range increases (melee:1, ranged:2, magical:3 hexagons away). So, if an enemy unit is within range of a unit, it can attack it. To make it complicated, and somewhat more realistic, i added a specific number for each unit. At melee units it ranges from 4 to 10 and represents armor of the unit. At ranged it ranges from 11 to 17, representing accuracy of the unit. The magical units are a bit different: the number ranges from 3 to 7 and means, how is the spell of the unit reliable. So, if needed, the attacker will roll a d20 and realizes what happened. No counterattacking. The units have three "lifes" and you can have only one unit of each type (card) on the board. Here are some examples regarding combat:

Pikeman (melee, 4) attacks a Risen (melee, 5): roll d 20: less than 6: no effect (absorbed), over 5: hit (risen takes 1 damage point).
Sharpshooter (ranged, 17) attacks a Knight (melee, 10): roll d20: less than 11: no effect (absorbed); more than 17: no effect (miss); 11-17: hit (-1 knight's life).
Bowman (ranged, 14) attacks a Fire mage (magical, 3): roll d20: more than 14: no effect (missed), les than 15: hit (damage to the fire mage).
Demon caller (magical, 6) attacks an Axeman (melee, 8): roll d20: over 5: hit (axeman takes 1 damage), under 6: failed (demon caller is hit); the same for ranged units or magical units attacked by a mage.
The other combats don't need a roll, attack is always succesful.

Now i would like to hear your opinion: Do you think the game is interesting? What is unclear (i couldn't remember all the details) or useless? What strategy would you choose to win? Why do you think one person i've playtested it with likes and the another two dislike it? Could this "game" be included in a greater one, or is it enough to leave it like it is?

Looking forward to read your input :-D!

Geikamir
Geikamir's picture
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Joined: 10/20/2011
Your first paragraph is

Your first paragraph is eerily similar in description to the game I am working on, aside from the armor part. I am also working on a hex mini-war game where there are resource nodes. As you describe your game more, the differences start coming up.

jojodio99
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Joined: 10/30/2011
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Hi, I really like this idea for a mini wargame, but it sounds like a regular sized wargame to me. In my opinion, a mini game should use either cards or counters, not metal figurines, also if you think about it the figurines will be tough to manufacture and package if you plan on using custom pieces. The cost of making the game sounds high, to print a board costs cash, the cards and figurines are also costly, I would suggest cardboard counters or folded "standups" figures to reduce weight for shipping and ease of packing. You said there are resource nodes, but I only heard about the tower itself, perhaps make the nodes scattered across the board and units can capture them, and choosing to give an option to gain resources without any other action makes that players turn boring, they need more options. As far as why two players were not satisfied out of three, I'm unsure, but I believe its got to be the mechanics. Perhaps you should streamline it to 6 sided dice instead of d20, and cut down the mathematics a bit, players want to have fun, not do a lot of math and writing to play, a mini wargame should play fast, maybe 20-30 minutes max, more than that and its no longer a mini game its a marathon. I hope these opinions help you out, good luck with your game design.

KViki
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Joined: 06/07/2010
exact details

First, thanks for opinions. Geikamir, it is really possible, because it's the simplest and most general,I could imagine. :-)

jojodio99 wrote:
In my opinion, a mini game should use either cards or counters, not metal figurines, also if you think about it the figurines will be tough to manufacture and package if you plan on using custom pieces. The cost of making the game sounds high, to print a board costs cash, the cards and figurines are also costly, I would suggest cardboard counters or folded "standups" figures to reduce weight for shipping and ease of packing.

Good to remember, how much this would cost. So far, during the playtesting, I used paper and as figurines only numbers of the units. I didn't think about real figurines yet, but I don't intend to divide them into the three types of units, just adjust, to recognize, which is which, as there can be only one unit made from each unit card. The folded "standups" figures are also probable.

jojodio99 wrote:
You said there are resource nodes, but I only heard about the tower itself, perhaps make the nodes scattered across the board and units can capture them, and choosing to give an option to gain resources without any other action makes that players turn boring, they need more options. As far as why two players were not satisfied out of three, I'm unsure, but I believe its got to be the mechanics.

Well, I said it in the introduction, but the "resource nodes" is meant to be the tower (or more in more players, a larger castle perhaps). In fact, there are no resources to be gathered and used to produce units. The only tokens you use, are the winning points and damage points, just to know, how the unit is healthy. As to number of the nodes, there are one less than there are players to enrage the combat. That's why I worked with only one tower in two-player game. In a three-player game, the castle is a possible option - it can be occupied by one unit only (like a tower), but contains three central hexes.

The original intent was to find a use for a d20, because it was a new element to me :-) I'm not going to remove that, the math behind is not that hard, I think players can count up to 20 and compare. I wrote the combat rules a bit too complicated. There are three points:
Melee have armor: if hit, they can avoid damage (under 4-10);
Ranged have miss: there is certain chance to miss the target (over 11-17);
Magical can spell wrongly: do damage to themselves (under 3-7).

The only action per turn seems good, there cannot be done much damage, so that the first player isn't too advantaged. I think you were counting the resource collecting as an action, but it's out of question.

Maaartin
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Joined: 05/15/2011
Not bad if you're in such kind of games

KViki wrote:
I'm not going to remove that, the math behind is not that hard, I think players can count up to 20 and compare. I wrote the combat rules a bit too complicated. There are three points:

  • Melee have armor: if hit, they can avoid damage (under 4-10);
  • Ranged have miss: there is certain chance to miss the target (over 11-17);
  • Magical can spell wrongly: do damage to themselves (under 3-7).

This is much clearer than you examples. IIUYC, Melee can avoid damage from non-magical attacks only, right?

I rewrote you examples in order to see if I got it, X denotes the roll:

  • Pikeman (melee, 4) attacks a Risen (melee, 5): X<=5: no effect (absorbed), otherwise: hit (risen takes 1 damage point).
  • Sharpshooter (ranged, 17) attacks a Knight (melee, 10): X<=10: no effect (absorbed); X<=17: hit (-1 knight's life); otherwise: no effect (miss);
  • Bowman (ranged, 14) attacks a Fire mage (magical, 3): X<=14 hit (damage to the fire mage); otherwise: no effect (missed):
  • Demon caller (magical, 6) attacks an Axeman (melee, 8): X<6: failed (demon caller is hit); otherwise: hit (axeman takes 1 damage); the same for ranged units or magical units attacked by a mage.

No idea whether you like my formulations, but I avoided redundancy (you always roll, so you don't need to write it; the last condition is always simply "otherwise") and computed numbers (I say "X<=5" instead of "X<6" in the first example since 5 is the defense value of the Risen). I also made all the values ascending (I'm not sure about this making sense) . In case you like it, you could also shift some values by one so that "<" only (or "<=" only) gets used everywhere.

So your rules are very simple and there's no math at all (although it looked to jojodio99 like there was a lot of it), just comparisons. I'd say that's really nice.

I'm afraid there are not many choices and not much strategy there, especially in a two player game. With more players it could work, if they don't mind the luck factor.

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