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Turn-based Battle Game

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Blackbird888
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The idea I've been working on is what I'm calling a 'turn-based battle game.' My inspiration is actually somewhat circular. Being a big fan of turn-based JRPG video games, my intent is to create something that copies/imitates some of those battle systems on the tabletop.

Essentially, stripped to its base components, it is a kind of card and dice game. Each character you have has a certain number of upgrades and options available to them. Players would customize their characters (with 3 characters on either side) ahead of the game, then pitch their teams against each other. It uses some tabletop RPG mechanics, primarily using a d10 die to determine success of attacks and some cards.

Comparing it to a game like Magic: The Gathering, there's less emphasis on unpredictable card drawing. A player's strategy is built at the beginning, so the bulk of the game is focused mostly on the battling.

I've got some several of the mechanic ideas written out, and a few others not mentioned, but I'd like to get an opinion on the idea itself.

questccg
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When we talk about "duels"...

I often find the most PERTINENT question is: "Is the game FUN???" I have worked on designing several "duel" style games -- and have always shelved the intended work. because it never felt "exciting". Or there was not enough strategy or decision making.

I think by comparing ANYTHING to Magic: the Gathering, one is making a very incorrect comparison. Magic is "unique". It has ALL of the moving parts that make the game compulsive. Competing or wanting to design something that can compare ... is just the wrong road to take.

I am also working on YET another "duel" game... But my practice of design crappy ones, has allowed me to "mature" my palate (like an aged wine). I've spent some time understanding that in order to design a "good" (relative) "duel" game ... it must be MORE than just the sum of its parts (mechanics and components).

Again not being critical -- this is FREE advice (take it or leave it - it all depends up to you...)

Choosing three (3) STATIC characters is not the best idea. A player KNOWS exactly what STRATEGY he can play with those specific three. Instead make it VARIABLE strategy with a deck of FIVE (5) characters, from which each player chooses RANDOMLY THREE (3) from the five to combat. See the difference? Adds more variability, replayability (rounds) and makes it harder to pin-point an EXACT game strategy.

Now I would typically say your game needs "Instant" or "Take-That" cards player can play AT WILL or at specific points. This would be up to you, and maybe just have "reactions" to an attack (like a counter card). But you need something to create BIG MOMENTS. In my duel game (that I'm working on) there is only ONE (1) Warlord per deck (11 cards). And when that card gets played it influences the board dramatically benefiting the owner. So it creates an interesting paradigm where the OPPONENT sees that card as a threat -- and so the whole "I'm going to bang up your Warlord" sets in. And it's variable too (because sometimes it's easier to strike the Warlord, sometimes it's impossible...)

The thing about D10s is that they are HARD to customize. Again take it or leave it (free advice), I would go for CUSTOM D6s. In my game there are no dice -- everything is deterministic. But if I would want some randomness, I would lean towards custom d6s... Also people who HATE dice, will steer clear of your game. The opposite is also TRUE: people who love dice -- like it when there is more than two (2) custom dice. I would say you could be good for up to FIVE (5) or SIX (6) custom dice. And injecting a variable dice mechanic where you mix-it-up with the character (each character has their own SPECIAL die -- managed by color or something like that).

TL;DR ... But that's okay -- welcome to BGDF. Enjoy the discussions!

Update: Your idea of using JRPG as thematics -- is very original! If you could secure some *serious* Manga or Japanese-style artist... I could picture your game doing well.

It seems like everyone is designing DUEL games these days. We just had a SuperHero thread that went stellar with over 3,000 views and more than 120 comments/posts.

So this is not new ... maybe your game might get the same attention!

Cheers.

Blackbird888
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questccg wrote: I think by

questccg wrote:

I think by comparing ANYTHING to Magic: the Gathering, one is making a very incorrect comparison. Magic is "unique". It has ALL of the moving parts that make the game compulsive. Competing or wanting to design something that can compare ... is just the wrong road to take.

Ah, I should clarify. I'm not at all attempting to make something like MTG, rather just mentioning it as a point of reference. Realistically, I'm not attempting to make anything close to a CCG at all. I was more referencing the 'two players duel with cards with monsters on them' aspect.

questccg wrote:

Choosing three (3) STATIC characters is not the best idea. A player KNOWS exactly what STRATEGY he can play with those specific three. Instead make it VARIABLE strategy with a deck of FIVE (5) characters, from which each player chooses RANDOMLY THREE (3) from the five to combat. See the difference? Adds more variability, replayability (rounds) and makes it harder to pin-point an EXACT game strategy.

Each character would have a 'deck' of cards that represent their upgrades, and the player can select a limited number of these cards for a game. So a discerning player could guess as to what their opponent is playing, but it would still be an uncertainty. So I would say calling the characters static would be inaccurate. So while both players may pick Character A, it would be likely that neither would play the same way.

As far as dynamic moments, there are such reactionary cards included, along with a few other things I'm thinking about. The other points are good food for thought.

let-off studios
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Epic PvP

I referenced this game just a few days ago: Epic PvP. In that game it's a one-on-one duel, but depending on the fantasy race and class each player chooses, they have an exclusive deck of cards to shuffle together and use against their opponent.

I suggest you have a look at that game and see what you can learn from it:

https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/168770/epic-pvp-fantasy

Not sure how you want to mix cards and dice together to make your idea work - personally I think there would be enough unpredictability built into using the cards you've mentioned in your first post - but it's certainly possible. The fantasy/JRPG theme is accessible and familiar. I'm a fan of the old Dragon Quest/Dragon Warrior games myself, and would be interested in seeing how you put it all together and make it work.

Work out the synergy between the cards and the dice, and you'd be in excellent shape.

EDIT
A game I'm familiar with that combines cards and dice - but pretty much went off the deep end, in my opinion - is Epic Spell Wars of the Battle Wizards: Duel at Mount Skullzfyre. I used to enjoy that game a lot, but after the novelty of the ridiculous combinations wore off I found myself coming back only to look at the artwork.

The game is "highly tactical" and is quite luck-dependent. This makes for dramatic moments and plenty of upsets and un/pleasant surprises. Not really my thing, but it does combine cards and dice in an engaging way.

https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/112686/epic-spell-wars-battle-wizard...

Blackbird888
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Discussing

What would be the best place to continue this discussion? Here, or in another subforum?

And what would be the best method to share the rules? Via PDF I assume, but what would be the best way to share the file?

FrankM
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This is a good place to discuss a new game

This sounds like an interesting idea, and having a 3-on-3 battle can open up some interesting dynamics. It sounds like you want to include both players' cards in each set, which is a good way to go.

I think that questccg's concern was if players can pick their heroes and their upgrades, then players will find and stick to a favorite combo which hurts replayability.

One way to mix that up was suggested: a tiny bit of deck-building where the player "calls" five heroes and only three show up. Another is to force players to pick different heroes each game.

In a theme that involves mercenaries or mind control, it'd be valid to make players exchange one of their played heroes for one that the opponent played. Of course, your opponent will choose to take the character that you just used to mop the floor with his/her team. But he or she is not obligated to play that hero this time around, denying you the ability to get it back for a while.

You can suggest in the rules, but ultimately it's up to players if they want to keep a persistent roster across sessions or not.

(Edit for grammar)

let-off studios
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Responses

Blackbird888 wrote:
What would be the best place to continue this discussion? Here, or in another subforum?

And what would be the best method to share the rules? Via PDF I assume, but what would be the best way to share the file?

Don't worry about the location of the discussion thread. If it needs to be moved, an Admin will likely take care of it.

As for sharing your rules, any file sharing website will do. Add a link to the PDF in a message and those interested can read it themselves.

questccg
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Not my concern

Blackbird888 wrote:
...Each character would have a 'deck' of cards that represent their upgrades, and the player can select a limited number of these cards for a game. So a discerning player could guess as to what their opponent is playing, but it would still be an uncertainty. So I would say calling the characters static would be inaccurate. So while both players may pick Character A, it would be likely that neither would play the same way...

With customizing a player's "deck" (is this traditional Deck-Construction?) you are saying that each player will have their own strategy -- even if it surrounded around one (1) specific character. Is this correct?

When I think "customizing" I think "CCG". Why? Because you need a LARGE pool of cards to draw and construct your deck with. And that's out of most people's financial budgets. Could be in the $100k range -- and is feasible with a Kickstarter ... so it is possible. But unlikely if you are a first time designer and don't have a large network of supporters.

Sorry I made an assumption based on another "duel" game on the forum which was superheroes and villains. My assumption was you would ONLY have "character" cards and custom dice. I didn't realize each player would also have some kind of "deck"...

But my concerns are still valid. Feel free to share more so I can better understand the components to your game.

Cheers.

Blackbird888
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Created so Far

This is what I've created so far, prior to posting here. Already I've considered a few suggestions.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/7971w5cmals49bz/TBG%201.pdf?dl=0

I realize now that some of the above info contradicts what I posted at first. That's an oversight on my part. But this should show a complete picture.

FrankM
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How many cards in the base game?

Thanks for posting the full instructions, it eliminates a lot of guessing :-)

How many cards are available in each kind of deck, and what is the minimum/maximum number of cards required in an actual deck? Am I correct in assuming a game set includes all of the potential cards for two players? Or is there a CCG element?

My reading of the rules is that the player has access to all of the Ability and Action cards associated with a character, and can pick any combination of them to play on a turn (though, as you note, a character can usually only play one Action or Ability at a time).

If that reading is correct, it is equivalent to printing several different abilities on the character card... except that it gives you a lot more space to write out descriptions and gives you a way to make players commit to a decision at the start of a round. Very clever.

Getting back to the earlier concerns about replayability, moderately experienced players may just gravitate to a favorite set of characters and equipment. As the rules stand now, the main source of variability would be the Field Cards, which sound like (in MtG terms) a set of Sorceries restricted to play after the combat phase.

This might work out just fine, but you might need to nudge players into trying new characters. That could be a gentle nudge like a set of random environment conditions set before play ("Stormy: Flying characters operate 1 Speed slower than normal, and Lightning attacks inflict 1 extra HP of damage")... or it could be the kaiju-to-the-face method I mentioned earlier with character snatching.

Blackbird888
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That's a good question...

Determining the exact number of cards is one of those things I'm working on. A relatively small number, I think.

The intent, at least, is to provide enough for 2 players to start.

As I currently have it, a player would have access to the the full list of cards available to the character, but during a game can only bring so many of those options with them into play. So there would have to be some strategy involved ahead of a game. I suppose having it so that players have all options would work just as well, though I'm partial to the idea of having to choose a strategy. It would have to be tested.

I should also say, and I forgot this in the file I linked, but characters have two roles each, rather than just one. So multiple characters sharing the same role may have some overlap with abilities, although it's not universal.

Readdressing card count, a character would need to have with 1 each of the equipment cards, so those can be assumed at the start. I conceived the idea that a character deck would have 2 of each for options. So that's 6. Perhaps between 5-10 ability/action cards per character role, and a character has 2 roles. So 16-26 total cards per character deck is what I'm thinking. If I keep the limit on how many a player can use in a game, we could assume half that total. So the end result would be less of a deck and more of a hand of cards per character.

questccg
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What is the purpose...

Of the "FIELD" Round? I didn't understand the reason for this phase, nor the type of cards used in it. Seems a bit "random".

Can you clarify the purpose of this round???

Blackbird888
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questccg wrote:Of the "FIELD"

questccg wrote:
Of the "FIELD" Round? I didn't understand the reason for this phase, nor the type of cards used in it. Seems a bit "random".

Can you clarify the purpose of this round???

I'll try to describe my thought process.

So the concept, adapting a JRPG turn-based battle system to the tabletop, requires a few elements.

First, in a JRPG, the player builds their characters to their liking, by giving them equipment, selecting abilities, and so on (depends on the game, but overall this is true). To replicate this, I decided that each player would have full access to their character's full set of abilities, not relying on luck to draw the right cards. In this way, you could liken the game to a miniature wargame, where players build their armies and loadouts, then pit them against one another.

However, wargames have an element mine lacks: movement. The movements and other tactics taken by opposing players adds a lot of variability in any given game. And things like terrain or what have you that further modify the game.

Lacking that kind of variety, I quickly concluded that a game with just the battle mechanic would get rote rather quickly. Using certain strategies would only go so far, especially as players found strategies they liked. There had to be some method to introduce a measure of randomness or variety into a game. The field deck/phase is my solution to this.

That's the general idea, anyway.

questccg
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FrankM and I agree

Blackbird888 wrote:
...Lacking that kind of variety, I quickly concluded that a game with just the battle mechanic would get rote rather quickly...

Seems to me, adding some "variability" to your game would keep the battle mechanic "fresh". I started by proposing five (5) units/characters and doing random select for three (3) to battle. This would make battles less predictable and definitely add more "replayability".

But what you explained in that "Field Round" sounds absolutely preposterous. I didn't make sense before your explanation and it still doesn't make any sense to me after.

With regard to 5 vs 3 units/characters... Your problem is those "customizable" deck that accompany a character. My suggestion is something like Gundam style with maybe a mix with a "small" yet "customizable" TEN (10) card deck. Each character has APs, those determine which and how many of the ten cards you can play.

With real LEAN decks (TEN or under), you could transport five (5) units/characters. That would mean 50 cards, less than Magic's 60!

I know, I know ... I read your rules. I'm just going with OTHER ideas.

And ten (10) cards to a deck (or hand) is for perhaps customizing your unit/character (with 4 cards) and "6" Action/Power Move cards complementing your unit/character.

I definitely see "Dice-Action". And I would use a custom d6: indicates the number of "APs" you have per turn (and is variable). Maybe something like 4-9 APs (on the custom die). And with that you need to make the best combo for your unit/character.

All that I have written ADD "variability". And probably ENHANCE the simple battle mechanics.

I'll just add for @FrankM:

This was sort of what I thought Jedite1000's Superhero game was going to have: a complimentary and customizable small deck of "Action" cards.

I still see no purpose for the FIELD Round... Probably my own lack of understanding. I haven't had an "ahaa" moment about your explanation... So I'm still uncertain about it.

But consider some of what I've written.

Note: The customization (4 cards), I was thinking Left + Right hands for "Weapons" or "Defensive shielding", for the Top a "Helmet" and for Bottom some kind of "Armor". Then you would have SIX (6) Power Moves along with some "basic" attack (standard for all characters).

This to me sounds more realistic card-wise (count) and the setup.

FrankM
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Movement

I think the problem is that we don't have any examples of what you imagine the field cards look like or do.

If the purpose is to replace the function of maneuver and terrain, then it might make sense to use a deck of Generic cards and be able to play from a hand of perhaps five at any one time.

These would function exactly like the Action of Ability cards (played face-down, resolved in Speed order), but could be played on any friendly character. These would be non-character-specific actions like taking cover or binding an ally's wounds, and only a random subset are available any given round due to the unpredictability of a battlespace.

As for "take that" mechanics, you might include some Generic cards that can be played on an opponent (placed face-down in front of the opponent's card). These could be minor misfortunes (friendly gets in the line of fire thus delaying any attack by 1 Speed, etc.) but not as powerful as Abilities.

For the purposes of misdirection, there could be a small number of null-effect Generic cards that could be played on a friendly or opponent but don't actually do anything. "Oh no, he's played three cards on his ranged attacker and put a card on my healer... how do I respond?"

questccg
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FrankM has reminded me of...

Battlefield cards. In some CCGs like "Chaotic" (was popular for a short while), you choose the "location" you battle in. It offers some kind of conditions/restrictions or bonuses/penalties, etc.

That could add some "variability".

Like "Samurai Dojo": "Players may only attack with one character per turn." Something to do with the Samurai Honor Code where 1 on 1 is the preferred form of encounter.

And of course this will/can add a bunch of "Lore" to your game too. You can think up of more appropriate settings for your battles and obviously the stories that go along with them...

That makes more sense in the "terrain"-oriented sort of direction... Well sorta... LOL!

Super-Tooned
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I think.

I think your game is fine. Don't worry about movement or variability or replayability. If you game is good, players will replay it. For movement, keep it simple. Just put on the card, 'This Card can move that many spaces' or something along those lines. And for varability the deck building aspect will take care of that.

That's my advice. You game seems fine!

questccg
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Medieval or Sci-Fi???

let-off studios wrote:
Don't worry about the location of the discussion thread. If it needs to be moved, an Admin will likely take care of it.

It's fine in this location ("New Game Ideas")... And thank you for sharing your rulebook (or at least the present rules to your game). I'm sure me, like others, will be able to read through the rulebook ... to get a better understanding about your game.

One question: "As a JRPG, what is the setting?"

Is this like a "Medieval Fantasy" or "Super Futuristic"?

Usually those are the two (2) settings of most Japanese style games. There are also fictional context like "Attack on Titan"... Or Devil Survivor (DS) which is like present day with "Fictional Monsters"... Then there a Gundam-style settings for things like Power Rangers and maybe some early RoboTech where it is all Sci-Fi.

Cheers!

Blackbird888
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Battlefield cards is a good descriptor

I had a comment prepared, then my internet flickered and I lost it.

Examples of field cards would range from party-wide ('Raise target number of party by X for the next 2 rounds.') to having negative effects on the enemy player ('Reduce the speed value of the opponent's characters by 1 for the next round.') to more mechanical effects ('As long as this card remains in play, instead of discarding your field cards, reshuffle them into the deck.').

Some characters would also have the ability to remove or suppress field cards (like a healer removing a negative card that hurts you, or a tactician removing cards the benefit the opposing player).

I suppose, instead of having a deck for each player and a dedicated round, I could make it as suggested. A game would have a shared deck, each player drawing a card every round, and they could be played at any time. Such as "At the beginning of a round, play to get XYZ." or "If a character is attacked, play this card to increase defense by +1."

As far as theme goes, medieval fantasy RPG is well-known and easy enough to replicate, though it is highly derivative and many regard it as overdone. I have something of a theme I've worked a little bit on, it steps away from the 'heroes against hordes of monsters' that most JRPGs feature, with various playable factions. It's more of a 'magitek fantasy' or a 'space fantasy' than medieval.

FrankM
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Shared deck with no building = maximum variability

Not giving the player any chance to shape the availability of Generic cards makes it less likely that someone will fall into a rut of playing the same characters and load-out, but one of the nudges I mentioned above might help as well.

The idea of a Battlefield card is that some small number of them are dealt from a special deck of Battlefield cards, and they represent unavoidable rule changes for that game. That would help mix up players' strategies.

If there are hero factions, are there exactly two factions, or do the players pick two from among several? Can a player mix and match heroes from different factions? If so, how would any faction-level special abilities work (player can only use the special ability of the "flag" faction, or each character operates under the special ability of its origin... either can lead to very unusual interactions)?

Just to be clear, not trying to fault your current idea or how you wrote it up... these questions are my way of suggesting some directions you might want to look.

Blackbird888
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I totally understand

Everything I've posted is what I've come up with until now. Obviously, a fair portion is likely to be redesigned or dropped.

I get what you're saying about battlefield cards now, and I've seen that in other games. Yeah, that's sounds like a good idea.

The more I think about it, the more I like the idea of a single deck that both players use, and I think removing the field round is probably for the best.

As far as factions, everything I have is purely conceptual. I had a few different ideas for factions, but I decided on no mixing. Seeing as I use roles, two characters across two factions that share a single role may have some of the same abilities, with a handful unique to them.

questccg
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Often misunderstood

I think the "direct" language we use sometimes gives people (other) the impression we are "telling designers what to do".

And of course that is an incorrect conclusion. Our "direct" language serves as a way of expressing ideas -- you as the designer will or will not choose to follow. But at least you had the chance to mull over the design and see if you could better incorporate "some" ideas or be exposed to other ideas -- again to see how they "might" work with your design.

I think our friend "Super-Tooned" doesn't necessarily understand that we are not telling anyone what they should do. We're just presenting ideas that come to mind based on the input given by the designer (aka You). It's your final "right to veto" anything you may have read, heard or seen... because ultimately it is your design.

But coming to a forum and joining it's ranks -- and asking questions, is in my mind a great way to get feedback about your design(s). So please don't be offended if some of our "posturing" seems direct. It's just simpler to express the ideas and have the designer critique them himself.

Cheers and hope your design comes along!

Blackbird888
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No, I get it. I've already

No, I get it. I've already come away with a few good changes. The feedback is encouraging and thought-provoking, and it's why I posted in the first place.

Dice is one of those elements I want to analyze. When I think of custom dice, I think of Fantasy Flight Games, who are in the habit of using custom dice over traditional numerical dice, though I don't know if that's what you mean by custom.

FrankM
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Custom dice

Blackbird888 wrote:
No, I get it. I've already come away with a few good changes. The feedback is encouraging and thought-provoking, and it's why I posted in the first place.

Dice is one of those elements I want to analyze. When I think of custom dice, I think of Fantasy Flight Games, who are in the habit of using custom dice over traditional numerical dice, though I don't know if that's what you mean by custom.


Custom dice are ones that have something other than numbers or pips on the faces. You submit a graphic of what you want on each face, and the company makes them for you. Custom d6 are by far the easiest to find.

Custom dice certainly aren't essential (remember in Trouble! how there were special rules for when you rolled a 6?), but they can be much easier for players if you want to do anything more complicated that generate a number from the dice roll.

Besides, if the game takes off, you can have a little side business selling replacement dice, premium dice, etc.

questccg
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Dice drafting + subset Selection

Blackbird888 wrote:
...Dice is one of those elements I want to analyze...

Since your JRPG is a blend of Sci-Fi and maybe actual time... A Pulp Fiction sort of. Not to reiterate what was discussed for Jedite1000 Superhero game. I think a "dice drafting" mechanic would be an EXCELLENT "alternative" for your design.

My ideas go something like this:

  • In the middle of the game play surface are SIX (6) dice. Each dice is a Custom d6 and has a different color.
  • During a phase in the game, players DRAFT dice from the middle, selecting one dice at a time. So Player #1 chooses Die 3 first, then Player #2 choose Die 6, then Player #1 choose Die 5 second, then Player #2 choose Die 1 next, etc.
  • The goal is to customize a HAND of THREE (3) custom "drafted" dice you will use to ATTACK (or Defend from) your opponent.

You may also include TWO (2) STANDARD dice (White) and add those to the mix. So on your turn you would roll FIVE (5) d6s. And then with the rolls you get, you match TWO (2) CUSTOM dice with the TWO (2) white dice (leave one custom dice - out of the picture).

And then you LINK ONE (1) custom d6 with ONE (1) White d6. This gives a POWER value (White dice) to the custom d6. So say "Melee" x 5. That dice gives you an "Action" which you can resolve using cards and a POWER giving it an AMOUNT you can USE for an attack (for example).

I made it on PURPOSE to differentiate Jedite1000 design from what I am proposing to you. Because we all want our designs to be different. I must say Dice-resolution based games there are many and trying to create something NEW each time ... can be a challenge.

Cheers.

questccg
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More variability

questccg wrote:
...And then you LINK ONE (1) custom d6 with ONE (1) White d6. This gives a POWER value (White dice) to the custom d6. So say "Melee" x 5. That dice gives you an "Action" which you can resolve using cards and a POWER giving it an AMOUNT you can USE for an attack (for example).

Then you can have SOME "character" only allow you to choose and LINK ONE die... where as some OTHER "characters" allow you to LINK BOTH custom dice.

This also injects some "character" variability.

You can have different BONUS for each "character" one being a +1 Die selection... And you can VARY that SOME MORE:

  • Jack has TWO (2) LINKED dice when he ATTACKS. But only ONE (1) when defending.
  • Jill has the opposite: 2 LINKED dice when she DEFENDS.
  • etc.

Something along those lines. Again I have purposely offered you choices DIFFERENT from Jedite1000 game - because he too uses 5 custom dice and there were different presets.

This Dice-combat idea is "different" from his, offering your game unique flavor.

Cheers.

questccg
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What your CUSTOM dice can look like

A RED die could have: 3 Melee, 2 Range and 1 Miss. (Considered to be an ATTACK die)

A BLUE die could have: 3 Shields, 3 Miss (Considered to be a DEFENSE die)

These are just EXAMPLES. The idea is to "formulate" SIX (6) DIFFERENT dice with some of them offering variable powers.

A YELLOW die could have: 2 Melee, 2 Shield and 2 Miss. (A combo dice).

You can think of others, I'm sure. The idea is SIX (6) different ones with matching abilities for attacking defending and all your "character" abilities. You have a bunch of characters that you could design custom die for each one, and then add some variability.

  • Striker (Melee - fist symbols)
  • Blaster (Range - target symbols)
  • Healer (Heals - Heart symbols)
  • Augmenter (Hybrid dice Healer/Melee)
  • Tactician (I don't know - it's YOUR game! LOL)
  • Defense die (Used normally by the player defending)

Think something like that... And maybe the Tactician an COUNTER-STRIKE and do damage while defending, etc.

Plenty of stuff to explore and think about...

Blackbird888
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I'll have to think about it

For symbols in a system like that, I could use attack (a sword or fist), support (covering defense and healing; a shield, helmet, or heart), and special (for augmenters, tacticians, or other side abilities; a star or an arrow).

Perhaps I could also give each character a dice code. I could have power dice (standard d6) and ability dice (customized d6). A character could have a set value of each. Whenever they act, they roll all or some of the dice on their card whenever they act.

Of course, that could get tricky. Roll enough on the ability dice and get 1s on the power dice may lead to those irritating situations of "I can activate my power but not hit?"

I could also use a dual symbol system, which I've seen some games use. Offensive dice have "A" symbols, defense dice have "Z" symbols. "Z"s neutralize "A"s. If you'be got at least 1 "A" left over, you hit. That would also preserve the ability point system I have in place, and I could play around with that in different ways (such as allowing players to spend extra ability points to add more "A" to their dice rolls).

P.S.: Tacticians could also be 'saboteurs.' They act like de-buffers.

FrankM
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Joined: 01/27/2017
Dice and action cards

So I think the current idea is that players draft dice, then cards are assigned face-down, then custom dice are rolled, then everything resolves (possibly with numeric dice rolls) in a somewhat orderly fashion.

An "attack" result (sword? explosion?) would activate some add-on effect on the character's weapon.
A "defense" result (shield? helmet?) would activate some add-on effect on the character's armor.
A "utility" result (wrench?) would activate some add-on effect on the character's accessory.
Other symbols would be designed to activate add-ons with the character's Action or Ability cards (with symbols that hint as movement or health or thought). High-risk-high-reward cards might not do anything unless an appropriate symbol is rolled, though in that case I might provide two distinct symbol options. A particularly goofy character might have an Ability add-on powered by a "miss".

saluk
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Joined: 05/11/2010
Some thoughts: 1) Other than

Some thoughts:

1)
Other than bosses, fights in a classic JRPG serve the role more of letting the player test their build than providing engaging gameplay. This is the reason many of them have you fighting 1000s of fights to level up or before the next part of the story - you need to test your build many times so that you are good with it before going against a boss. That's also why they usually resolve quickly and are not drawn out - you either lose and know your build needs tweaking or you win and can try against more different types of enemy groups.

Bosses are like the final test to see if your tweaking and preparation was correct, while also throwing some new mechanics and challenge at you that you probably haven't seen before.

I'm not sure what a 2-player head to head rendition of those battle mechanics is supposed to be like. You probably don't want it to resolve as quickly, and you probably don't want the fight to be as asynchronous as a boss fight.

Just something to consider as you adapt - you are harkening back to some of those old mechanics, but you may have to take some liberties to support a very different format.

2)
Example games: boss monster, battlecon, sentinels of the multiverse

Boss monster does a really good job at capitalizing on nostalgia for those old games. It proves retro can sell. It also adapts old themes in a new way, by making the player the boss. I think it's a good example of taking something familiar and making it work as a game by modifying it, which is exactly what you are doing.

Battlecon is an excellent 2-player dueling game which adapts not jrpgs but fighting games in as way that feels almost exactly like what it emulates. It's also worth looking into as there is not an awful lot of pre-game customization: Players choose a preset fighter with a preset deck and just have at it. And yet the strategy is quite deep, enabling you to play many times and still get a thrill even in the same matchup. Chess has no variable elements whatsoever and it has persisted, so I'm not sure I agree with questccg that you must have more variability in player loadout to create a fun game.

It also uses an ap/hp type system.

Since you are emulating the jrpg of course, people will expect a lot of flexibility in creating that initial build.

And Sentinels just feels the most like a jrpg boss fight of any non-digital game I've ever played. It's a very good adaptation, even though it doesn't mimic the theme. Again, like battlecon, other than which heroes you bring, there isn't much pregame customization.

3) Consider whether you really need dice when you already have cards. How random are you intending the experience to be? JRPGS certainly have some randomness, but usually the right strategy is close to foolproof. Dice rolls also can slow a game down. It can certainly work, and I play Pathfinder ACG which has a lot of dice rolls in addition to the cards. But the game is essentially "how can I play my cards to give me the best chance at my dice roll". Which is fine - but is that the game YOU are hoping to make? Always make sure your design decisions are supporting the experience you want players to have.

4) Have you started with basic prototypes/playtesting? I find out very quickly how bad my ideas are when I just take my stack of blank cards and a sharpie and start writing some stuff up and attempting a sample turn. This is before even thinking of what I think the right cards would be. I usually find enough issues that I get discouraged and give up :P Until lightning strikes and I feel like I've got the bones of something worth fleshing out.

I like the concept, and good luck!

Blackbird888
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Joined: 08/26/2017
Indeed

When I first started juggling ideas around, I thought of single-player or co-op, or competitive, and several different things. Heroes vs. monsters was the starting element. Over time, though, it has evolved and changed. I say JRPG, because that was what inspired the idea, but realistically it has moved out of that classic spectrum.

Really, of them all, it's probably closer to Pokemon (the video games, not the CCG), where you build a team of characters and fight equals, rather than heroes against dragons and demons and such.

Not quite playtesting, but very soon. Dice is one of those things I'll be testing, and I'll probably also test a diceless resolution mechanic as well.

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