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Modifying a combat mechanism

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larienna
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Sorry for the bland title, there is not really a better way to describe this. I'll try to make it quick.

So far I used a combat system where each side had a number of cubes. The amount of cubes present in the battle allows the player to roll between 1 and 3 colored die. And each colored die had different ranges of value to kill or to rout an ennemy cube (ex: 1=kill, 2-3 = rout). Then players spent 1 action for 1 combat roll and multiple actions could be spent;

Problem

The main problem with this combat mechanism is that as casualties increases, the number of dice rolled gets reduces since there are less cubes in the battle. Which requires even more actions to eliminate your opponent.

Now I like the idea that the number of cubes influence battles since handling cube count is part of the strategy of the game, but it needs to be used differently.

Idea of solution

The main idea would be to make the amount of cubes change the behavior of the die instead of reducing the number of die rolled. So for example, a unit could kill on 1, rout on 2-3 and miss on 5-6. But if there are 4+ cubes in the battlefiled, 5-6 triggers another effect like paralyzing an opponent die roll.

This mechanism reach another idea of always hitting, once you have the cube requirement. It also promote the idea of "How you hit" instead of "if you hit" because you always hit when you have the cube requirements. The "how you hit" concept seems to increase the depth and theme of the game.

What do you think?
Other suggestions?

FrankM
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Joined: 01/27/2017
Factors that affect dice effectiveness

There are two basic routes to take here if you always want to roll the same number of dice, and an infinite number of varieties on them.

The first allows more flexibility, but adds components and complexity: the resources dedicated to the battle affect which dice your roll.

Cubes Result
1 roll the pathetic white dice
2-3 roll the slightly less pathetic yellow dice
4-6 roll the respectable orange dice
7-10 roll the nice red dice
11+ roll the awesome black dice

The different dice would vary in what faces they have, but a given face would always mean the same thing.

A variation would be to use the cubes to "buy" certain dice, using the pathetic dice as filler (cost 0).

The second method is a bit less flexible, and requires a lookup table, but means always rolling the same dice.

Here the six sides would be reasonably abstract (for a prototype, just numbers), and the number of cubes would tell you which row to use in the lookup table

Cubes 1 2 3 4 5 6
1 Wound Wound Rout Rout Miss Miss
2-3 Kill Wound Wound Rout Rout Miss
4-6 Kill Kill Wound Wound Rout Rout
7-10 Special Kill Kill Wound Wound Rout
11+ Special Special Kill Kill Wound Wound

And the "Special" result could vary depending on the unit types in that particular battle.

In either system, you can allow modifiers to the change the effective number of cubes in a battle. For example, dug-in units get an extra "level" when defending (2-3 cubes treated as 4-6).

larienna
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Cubes represents units. The

Cubes represents units.

The suggestions above will create the syndrome that as cubes reduces on each side, casualties will reduce making the combat resolution take an eternity.

So far, players has 3 units with unique stats where each die is matched to the unit. Originally, the nb of cubes unlocked units for the battle allowing to roll an extra die.

But now I am thinking to roll a fixed number of dice, but maybe change the results of the die (the special power). It's the more convenient I could think of so far.

Each unit could require a different number of cube to unlock it's ability.

X3M
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Maybe this suits your game

I am unsure/forgetfull of how many cubes you allow.

I think it was 8?

Combat is possible when you have 1 to 8 cubes.
So, how about a fixed amount of dice? Just like in Risk.
But this time are modified 1 by 1 when your number of cubes increases?

Even if you have 1 cube, 2 dice are always there?

e.g.
A die can roll:
miss, miss, rout, rout, hit, hit * special, special, special, special

1 cube will have both dice like that.
2 cubes will have the red die increase in 1 level.
3 cubes will have both dice increase in 1 level.
8 cubes will have the red die increase in 4 levels and the other die in 3 levels.

There is a decent chance for the cubes to hit. And this will not change. The only thing that will change is that the miss is slowly replaced by special. Eventually even a rout will be replaced by a special. And with 8 cubes. You have:
Red: hit, hit, special, special, special, special
Other: rout, hit, hit, special, special, special

This still requires a table. But you can use normal d6 now.

I have no idea if this was of any help.

FrankM
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Joined: 01/27/2017
Cubism

larienna wrote:
Cubes represents units.

The suggestions above will create the syndrome that as cubes reduces on each side, casualties will reduce making the combat resolution take an eternity.


This could be a feature rather than a bug, especially if the inclusion of "rout" implied that battles ought to take more than one turn. What's needed is a limit to how many times the players throw the dice (such as a stopping rule that battle ends if both sides miss twice in a row).

larienna wrote:
So far, players has 3 units with unique stats where each die is matched to the unit. Originally, the nb of cubes unlocked units for the battle allowing to roll an extra die.

But now I am thinking to roll a fixed number of dice, but maybe change the results of the die (the special power). It's the more convenient I could think of so far.

Each unit could require a different number of cube to unlock it's ability.


This could be very thematic. You'd need a default option, probably treating the Special as a Kill, but then have various other options depending on the cubes currently engaged.

Not knowing the exact setting, some made up ideas:
2 cavalry cubes: use 1 Special to Kill a Rout'ed unit
2 artillery cubes: use 1 Special to Wound two enemy units
3 infantry cubes: use 1 Special to Rout two enemy units

let-off studios
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Streamline to Avoid Stalemate

larienna wrote:
The suggestions above will create the syndrome that as cubes reduces on each side, casualties will reduce making the combat resolution take an eternity.

But now I am thinking to roll a fixed number of dice, but maybe change the results of the die (the special power). It's the more convenient I could think of so far.

To prevent your stalemate situation you describe, I'd maintain the same ranking - and thus the same number/type of dice or the same ranking on the lookup table, and then allow the Attacker to choose to continue an assault or retreat.

Since you're abstracting the combat, then it's not essential that a single throw of the dice necessarily represents a single unit of time - like the passage of one hour of combat, for example. You can describe all dice throws during a combat add up to the end result of the combat, no matter how many throws it takes to either resolve it or cause the attacker to retreat.

An alternative is to have one throw of the dice be considered one attack/sortie, and the action is resolved for that round/turn. This is much more brutal, in a sense, but it can allow for a re-assessment afterward for additional conflict dice rolls.

larienna
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Quote: Not knowing the exact

Quote:

Not knowing the exact setting, some made up ideas:
2 cavalry cubes: use 1 Special to Kill a Rout'ed unit
2 artillery cubes: use 1 Special to Wound two enemy units
3 infantry cubes: use 1 Special to Rout two enemy units

Another details, cubes are homogenous. So a player have lets say 8 cubes, all unit types mixed. Having more cubes could allow for example cavalry to charge since now they have enough horses to act ( with the new idea) but there are no cavalry cubes.

Quote:

This could be a feature rather than a bug, especially if the inclusion of "rout" implied that battles ought to take more than one turn. What's needed is a limit to how many times the players throw the dice (such as a stopping rule that battle ends if both sides miss twice in a row).

[...]and then allow the Attacker to choose to continue an assault or retreat.

[...]An alternative is to have one throw of the dice be considered one attack/sortie,

It could be a feature, but not in my game the way it's geared. Because players gets a certain amount of actions and cube placement according to a selected role for the turn. Each combat roll requires an action. So if I need more combat rolls to win, then it requires even more actions.

Also, if both sides have similar amount of cubes, it is more likely to lead to a stalemate. Finally, it will also take more time to resolve.

As for the routing, after all combat actions has been spent, routed units will come back into the territory. There could be other status than routed like weakened, paralysed, etc. Or it could all be considered routed.

Another idea is to keeps units as they are. Always roll 3 dices, but maybe 2 special abilities can be triggered when having X or more cubes. Abilities that could be also randomly triggered like if you have a pair of value.

The reason why is because I am worried that hitting all the time with all 3 dices could give predictable combat results. In order to avoid this, I would need a lot of other status than "rout", but by thinking about it, there might not be many options and only keep rout and kill.

---------------------------------------------

Now by thinking about it, this system could lead to other behavior that could be wrong like attacking with 1 cube and rolling 3 dice. But I think I somewhat solved my own problem since you do not move units to attack. You do all your attacks first, then your move. So your units must be positioned, hold for a turn, then attack.

It would be possible that let say on your turn, a territory has only 1 of your cube left and you say "the hell let's sacrifice it" and roll 3 dice to do the maximum casualties. That could be abusive.

But still, on another hand, the AI could do the same thing. Since once a territory will be conquered, rebels will spawn which will be 1 or 2 cubes that will also roll 3 Dice so potentially doing a lot of damage.

I guess testing is the only solution to know how the dynamic works and if it could really lead to abuses.

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