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What Games Use Tactical Combat in Minimalist Ways?

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jasongreeno
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We're moving on to design of a combat system for our Street Level Superhero card game and I'm looking for inspiration. What games can you recommend that create the feeling of tactical combat in simple ways with only cards and maybe tokens?

Ex. Warhammer Quest has a simplified range system of (in Grover's voice) "Near" and "Far".

Squinshee
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I have found that crafting

I have found that crafting interesting, dynamic combat systems in board games to incredibly challenging. Many defer to dice, which I find to be a mechanical cop-out and when you eliminate that route you have to think more outside the box. Scenarios must be dynamic, where outcomes aren't deterministic but also simple enough to reduce action paralysis.

Ask yourself this: what kind of choices do you want your players to make? How important is winning combat? What are the consequences of each choice? What about the benefits? Are there any uncertainties?

My current design has players take turns simultaneously, where they invest in different strategies that influence what they'll do in combat, but deciphering opponent's action in combat always trumps board advantage. That way board advantage impacts the game yet doesn't decide a victor - your choices do. A player could have a terrible, severely handicapped board position and still have a good shot at winning.

questccg
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Interesting!

Squinshee wrote:
I have found that crafting interesting, dynamic combat systems in board games to incredibly challenging.

I agree that's a very true statement.

Squinshee wrote:
Many defer to dice, which I find to be a mechanical cop-out and when you eliminate that route you have to think more outside the box. Scenarios must be dynamic, where outcomes aren't deterministic but also simple enough to reduce action paralysis.

But dice may be easier for "younger" players. I have a design that's more of a Tactical "simulation" and I've narrowed it down to a "dice system". It allows players to play simultaneously while still taking turns where one player is the dominant player, while the second player "responds" to the other player. But both may be attacking...

Also for the sake of components. Dice require less elements/components.

A quick roll of dice also provides a "gamey-feel" for youngsters too.

HOWEVER I agree that your postulation is correct: "thinking out-of-the-box". Perhaps I could replace the dice with a small set of cards? (Maybe) But again this would definitely make you go: "Hmm..."

Interesting that you bring that up. Like I said I too was working on a Tactical game in nature and this does bring up interesting thinking. Or at least the thought that a dice system could be replaced by a more strategic card system, using a limited deck.

But I have no clue how that would work...

I think some of the LUCK would be "foreshadowing" your opponent's move. It's LUCK but could it also be a part strategy?

Definitely interesting... Thanks @Squinshee.

Gives me something to think about... A very worthwhile exercise.

Update: Cards could be played simultaneously also. And that implies turns could work the same way as with the dice system! :D

Corsaire
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Examples

Lunch Money is a fun and simple example. The rules are online. But that simulates one on one combat. You might find more on point mechanics in Shadowfist.

My suggestion would be to script out a frame by frame storyboard of a perfect fight experience, then figure out how to achieve that.

Gabe
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Neuroshima Hex was the first

Neuroshima Hex was the first game to come to mind.

questccg
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Sheesh...

Man guys those are some of the worst game suggestion I have ever heard of!

*Seriously*! :P

"Neuroshima Hex" looks like the game from Hell. And ShadowFist looks like it's making fun of Hell!

Lunch Money - watched a video... Has some merit. But is so BIZARRE also. Looks like another game from Hell. *Poke you in the eye* action.

Hahaha... Sorry just being honest. Those are the strangest suggestions for Tactical Combat. Nothing like I had envisioned it. Obviously still very much a work in progress (my own). But those suggestions just side-tracked me to the ... Twilight Zone! :P

Tedthebug
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How detailed is it?

Part of the tactics could be the timing of a weaker attack, the deflection of an attack to turn it to your advantage, the targeting of specific locations (map or body). Depending how complex you wanted the tracking of the combat results to be you could look at chaining cards together so that maybe they deflect, step in close & then use a weak, but perfectly targeted, attack to a vulnerable point for a greater end benefit.

JewellGames
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Maybe look at Jak and Poi for

Maybe look at Jak and Poi for tactical card combat. If interested in dice, I have a very unique combat system.

Gabe
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Just saw this game, and it

Just saw this game, and it appears to have some interesting tactical combat. Enemies have 4 targetable sides. There's a lot of planning movement to try to maximize attacks and also avoid being hit. The game uses miniatures, but I'm sure something similar could be done with cards or tokens.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/steamforged/dark-soulstm-the-board-...

X3M
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There is this, "you have to

There is this, "you have to safe up a couple of cards, before you can even destroy a certain enemy", principle.

A big enemy can block only one opponent. Thus a lot of fodder cards, might actually be good in damaging an opponent.

MtG vanilla has these.

questccg
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Has anyone seen this?

Moved to it's own thread: http://www.bgdf.com/node/17981

Jarec
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I've always liked Starcraft

I've always liked Starcraft the board games way it condensed the original PC release combat.
As I remember it (it's been maaany years) both players have a small deck of combat cards, which grows to include better ones, as research is made.
When the actual combat begins, the defender deploys his forces in a formation (there's a handful of different types of dudes and how they act in different formations), then the players play simultaneously their drawn cards on the corresponding units, saving the best cards for situations you really need the win, and the trash cards in hopes of the opponent having even worse ones.

adversitygames
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If you haven't seen it, I

If you haven't seen it, I think Tannhauser did a good job of tactical combat. Each player controls a team of troops. It splits a map of small circular spaces into coloud-coded areas. You can only see inside your area (or, if you're on an intersection between two areas, you can see into both/be seen from both, so eg at a corner between two corridors).

The scenarios could have done with a bit of polish (even in the 2nd edition) but the raw combat mechanics were pretty solid.

X3M
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Jarec wrote:I've always liked

Jarec wrote:
I've always liked Starcraft the board games way it condensed the original PC release combat.
As I remember it (it's been maaany years) both players have a small deck of combat cards, which grows to include better ones, as research is made.
When the actual combat begins, the defender deploys his forces in a formation (there's a handful of different types of dudes and how they act in different formations), then the players play simultaneously their drawn cards on the corresponding units, saving the best cards for situations you really need the win, and the trash cards in hopes of the opponent having even worse ones.

While the boardgame is an answer to the question for examples. Sorry to say:I am strongly convinced it does not reflect the RTS in a correct way.

Jarec
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Well yes, you are right. What

Well yes, you are right. What I was thinking was how well the game took every aspect of the original, and made pretty simple system incorporating and abstracting them all. What came out of me was just the combat bit (which still has some of the essence of the original).

Another example of a real simple system is in the game of Dust.
It's basically Risk but with a few additional layers; Some units give tactical superiority, and the winner of that category strikes first; Some units can make a special bombing attack that cannot be counter attacked; and then there's a pile of special cards which allow the player to make one big special action.
Dust, as a Risk clone, has dice of course, but there's pretty good pull with the mass vs. tactical vs. bombing approach to its combat.

X3M
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Axis and Allies, I think that

Axis and Allies, I think that the simple combat system here can be translated to cards as well.

radioactivemouse
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Choice.

jasongreeno wrote:
We're moving on to design of a combat system for our Street Level Superhero card game and I'm looking for inspiration. What games can you recommend that create the feeling of tactical combat in simple ways with only cards and maybe tokens?

Ex. Warhammer Quest has a simplified range system of (in Grover's voice) "Near" and "Far".

I think you have to break it down to how to create tactics in a game, not which games have it.

To put it simply, tactics boils down to this: Meaningful Choices.

If you're creating a game with tactics, you must provide an environment where the player can make a lot of meaningful choices, but you don't want to overwhelm the player with so much choice that they go into analysis paralysis during the game. It's what I call K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple Stupid). You can still create a tactical game while giving the player a low amount of choices...like choosing a pistol (with low damage, needs aiming, has range, lots of bullets) as opposed to a shotgun (with high damage, doesn't need much aiming, low range, and low bullets).

When I'm looking for a mechanic, I don't ask other people because they don't know what I'm looking for exactly (and to be honest, there's not much in your description). I think about what I want the player to feel, then find (or tweak) a combat system that emulates that to give meaningful choices. It may be a longer road, but I think it will be more rewarding.

I'd do some researching. Dice Tower has a lot of videos...many many card game videos (including mine, but I don't think my mechanics would work in your game).

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