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Kris Knives comes to BGDF

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Kris Knives
Joined: 08/01/2012

Hello everyone,

I'm joining BGDF as a casual game design. I used to develop ideas with my friends but post college I'm afraid most of them don't have time for it, so I was hoping to find a creative atmosphere here to share ideas and talk.

I'm currently very interested in creating wargame with some CCG elements, possible taking a few elements from the old Battle Masters game since my friends are very much into wargames right now and will be making some topics to discuss aspects and inherent difficulties with the concept. However I also look forward to discussing other people's ideas as I very much enjoy game design and the creativity that surrounds it.

I look forward to meeting the frequenters here and talking.

Joined: 10/13/2011

Hi Kris Knives,

Yikes! I'm actually old enough to know what Battle Masters is...which elements were you thinking of including?


Kris Knives
Joined: 08/01/2012
The Battle Master's Connection

Hello and thanks for the welcome!

I was considering using the giant hex grid map to avoid measuring. (Though perhaps not as big as Battle Master's at least at first. I was thinking 4 feet by 4 feet to start with.)

My theory is that CCG's and wargames have a lot in common but the ability to move and manage an army AND a hand of cards/deck/discard makes it too complicated to be fun. My core thought was to find a way to minimize both army management, card management and how much players need to remember themselves.

I was thinking of using a giant hex grid map like battle master's had with terrain (made specifically for the board) randomly place to reshaping the play field game to game so it isn't static or stale. My hope was that this would eliminate the need measuring which would be a good start towards limiting army management as it could do away with tap measures leaving a hand free to hold cards.

Additionally the bases used by battle masters made unit movement really easy. My thought was make magnetic bases that could then be loaded with squad of your choice and easily moved across the board, easy to keep track of damage (by removing models from the bases) while still having some strategy in the form of squad formations on the base itself as I do enjoy squad management game elements.

Distantly in the fantasy land where this actually gets made I also thought the bases would make the game easier to store then a standard game. Back when battle master's was around we fitted the bases with some Tupperware bottoms to protect the plastic models when we carried the box to other people's houses on our bikes. I was thinking a similar top could be applied making it easy to protect and store models in standardized slots cut in foam making storage of the game easy and cheap compared to most wargames.

I'm also a fan of the Battle Master's odd unit activation system, since it kept the game moving by allowing people to take turns moving many, many units without having to write up and reference a initiative order or just arbitrarily alternate and try to keep track of what moved or what didn't this turn. However its very random nature seems to kill to much strategy in game so I'm trying to think of a way to capture the good elements of that (keeping the game moving with no need to reference books or other materials) in a more strategic format.

I have a lot of thoughts and idea of how some game elements might work, but I thought it might be a good to introduce myself and then lurk around for I get to deep into my own ideas.

larienna's picture
Joined: 07/28/2008
Batlte master is awesome ...

Batlte master is awesome ... except for the size of the board.

By the way, I was working on a battle master variant where there would be 1 card per unit. It can be found here:

I did not really had any time to put more thought into it, but maybe it could give you some ideas for your game since you wanted to use cards.

Kris Knives
Joined: 08/01/2012
Thank you

Much appreciated. I'm not sure this is exactly the same thing I was thinking of but I appreciate the food for thought.

Actually I have to say, as a kid the over sized board was part of the appeal, but when you are an adult the idea of clearing away everything in your living room so you can flop around on the carpet to play a game has a LOT less appeal.

Since you've put some thought into this, what do you think the ideal board size would be? Like I said earlier I'm thinking of using something 4 by 4 however I'm open to ideas before I go to the printed and have one actually made up.

larienna's picture
Joined: 07/28/2008
Well one idea I had for

Well one idea I had for battlemaster is to convert it with poker chips. so you end up with a board with relatively large hex but which are not huge. The following picture use poker chips with hexes, but it is for another game. It's just to give you an idea of the look.

Personally, I like modular board, since I always aim from print and play, see how much hex you can fit on a letter page and see how you can tile them. It could give you the size of the hex you need.

If you want to put the cards directly on the board like summoner's war, you will need bigger hex. I made a small improvised prototype on the picture below by using Eclipse hexes with Duel Masters cards.

Kris Knives
Joined: 08/01/2012
Small Overview

Well my original plan was to have it printed up as a banner of Kinkos. In B&W it is fairly cheap for something that is good quality, and lets things move smoothly across it and can be rolled up and stored easily. The hex grid should be easy to make in photoshop. The goal was to make the board static but the terrain pieces modular and just borrow existing game terrain.

A more modular might not be a bad idea if we can find a way to allow smooth movement across all board pieces but I'm not sure how realistic that is. I have trouble with most modular games pieces not fitting properly together and at the size we're talking having a board in which you put terrain pieces into doesn't seem realistic as it would be impossible to store even if it could be acquired easily.

I see what you are getting at with the pokechip picture but I think I would have to abandon squads (or limit them to a very small size) in order for a board like that to work and I want to keep some squad management elements in the game, at least at this stage of things.

I hadn't thought about putting cards directly onto the board, but now that I didn't consider that. Thank you! That really gives me some food for thought.

Perhaps since we're talking now I should elaborate a bit on some of my design goals.

I want to keep the fast paced strategic miniature game play of Battle Masters, but add in a CCG element to it to add spice. One of my problems with miniature games is, due to the cost of miniatures armies are very static with very few options. Giving units too many options quickly becomes a serious memory issue for player to remember which model does what, and almost any special option you give players, will quickly become routine since a unit is going to use it over and over again.

With CCG's game are a surprise as people can change decks frequently giving new surprises a you never know which cards will and won't see action in a game. I want to have cards enable those epic one off events where units do something truly heroic or usual to change the course of battle which you see in fiction. I don't want them to mostly enhance the battle on the board giving units special moves, buffs. In short I want the cards to act through the miniatures on the board at all time so it doesn't feel like you are playing two games, one with cards and one with miniatures but a smooth experience where the two sides come together.

Ideally I see people assembling armies and decks before games. Then they play the game taking turns with units playing cards frequently to help shape combat.

Potential Problems I'm concerned about in order of how concerned I am about them:

-Playing field/board issues
**Board not being modular enough
**Board being clunky because it is too big
**Board not being dynamic enough with terrain having little game impact.

-Game management issues with both cards and units to worry about.

-Dice and Card being too much. Right now I'm planning on using both, but I'm worried that
might be too much randomization and rolling dice will be a pain with card in hand. As a rule I think dice need to be limited to 5 dice or less as that is what I can comfortable roll with one hand but might need to limited to special attacks or eliminated. Huge potential for problems here.

-Card and miniatures not working harmoniously in the game but rather feeling like two different battles going on at once.

I think if I can work out those four core issues from there it will just be a matter of making the armies engaging and balanced like in the original battle masters and gradually expanding content with larger card lists and more army options.

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