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In need of some IDEAS concerning a "Battle" System

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questccg's picture
Joined: 04/16/2011

Hello All,

While some of you may have read about one of my games entitled "Crystal Heroes" (CH) ... I recently took that game off my shelf and re-played it to see what my impressions were with the game from about 3-Months ago (Like in Early December).

Well I played the game... And found it "boring" TBH.

It just was not as EXCITING as my Prospector Expansion for Splendor. That game is well balanced and the additions add to the FUN but don't overwhelm the core game that Splendor is.

Getting back to CH...

I made some BIG decisions:

1> I would make the game Bilingual (English & French).

2> I would remove as much as the TEXT as possible and focus on SYMBOLS.

3> I modified the Scoring Mechanic to a sort of Mini-game of Tic-Tac-Toe.

4> I changed the look & feel of the default Template to make the cards seem a bit more attractive and ... well I am please with the results.

5> I "simplified" the Actions and used the Orange Crystals to indicate the number of Action a Player may take on his turn (as seen above...)

6> I removed the Reference pads (4x) since the game has been simplified.

7> I removed the "Stat Paths" and the Clear Acrylic pieces... Just too costly to produce and too many required by the game AS-IS. Both removed.

8> The number of Actions is simple: Battle, Move, Collect, Warp, and Scry. With these five (5) actions the game is "streamlined" and follows a much more direct sequence of play.

That being said... And shown too (Hahaha!) I'm trying to figure out a "Battle" System for the game, now that the "Stat Paths" have been removed.

I was thinking about using dice and initially chose standard D6s... But given some time to "reflect" a bit, I ordered standard D10s from Chessex with four (4) different colors: Red, Blue, Yellow and Green.

The de-facto colors in the GAME already as "Crystals" and go as follows:

A> Red = The yearning for Food and/or Hunger.

B> Blue = The yearning for Battle and/or Bloodlust.

C> Yellow = The yearning for Wealth and/or Treasure.

D> Green = a wild dice to mix with the other three (3) dice.

So my initial ideas were to have a MATCHING dice mechanic. Like "Red = 3", "Blue > 2" and "Yellow < 8", Green is a wild match and can replace any of the other DICE (Red, Blue or Yellow).

This SIMPLE pattern matching dice rolling is SIMPLE and with 1,000 possible combinations (10 x 10 x 10), PLUS the "Green" die for Wilds... That seemed to have a bit of something GOOD.

I know many gamers like determinism. And this is how CH was BEFORE with the "Stat Paths" (fully deterministic). It was BORING. You just compare and if you are stronger, your unit wins. Plain and simple... but much too BORING!

The problem with this NEW SYSTEM is that it is only ONE-SIDED:

1> Either you use the values from the Attacking Unit OR

2> You use the values for the Defending Unit.

Both are BORING. Somehow I would need to ADD some kind of FLAVOR that would imply that BOTH the Attacking AND the Defending Units would have some kind of INPUT when it comes to a BATTLE.

How??? That has yet to be determined.

If anyone has any ideas, comments, questions, feedback that you want to SHARE, please feel free to let me know what you think.

Many thanks!

questccg's picture
Joined: 04/16/2011
I'm waiting on...

@The Professor (Joe) to share with me his own personal thoughts about the dice and how combat should be handled. I had another "mini-game" in mind but ... Joe feels that it is too complicated for kids aged 12+ to understand.

He said that he would do some playtesting and see what he can work out as a "Battle" System given that he thinks it's best to keep it as simple as possible.

The Professor wrote:
I would strongly recommend a straight d20 with a handful of modifiers.

We'll have to wait and see until Joe gets a chance to do some Development work and playtest the ideas he already has in mind...

I agree ... Something SIMPLE yet effective with enough variance to support a LOT of different units and cards!

It's a bit of a "tall order" at the present time. Since I used "Tic-Tac-Toe" as a Mini-Game ... I was thinking that "Poker Dice" might be another "Mini-Game" that could be possible.

But Joe feels like kids aged 12+ won't have enough background to comprehend "Poker Dice" and since we are trying to streamline the product this may not be the best approach or solution...

Anyhow we'll touch-base with @The Professor again and see what his playtests have revealed and how he'd like to proceed!

questccg's picture
Joined: 04/16/2011
Here's what I mean

Here's a sample of the "Bard" demonstrating how the use of a D20 could look like.

The First "3" in the Bullseye indicates a player's Attack (meaning how many dice rolls he gets to defeat the unit) and has a SKILL-based Attack, the "10" is the Points he must equal or get greater during his rolls and the Last "3" in the Coin indicate the amount of Loot that gets dropped when this unit is defeated.

@The Professor also mentioned some kind of "Modifiers" and that's something we have yet to discuss ... But if it affects the design (and it probably will...), we'll take on that challenge when we get to it!

Cheers all...

questccg's picture
Joined: 04/16/2011
Something simple to add that doesn't require pages to document!

And so I have been "contemplating" the so called "Modifiers" that @The Professor says he would complement a standard D20 roll. Since it needs to be SIMPLE and not require pages to document, I went with an RPS-3 which is pretty straight-forward:

Power => Skill => Magic => Power

What this means is that any one unit must be in one of these three (3) categories such that we can resolve combat using a single D20.

So let's say our "Mike Operetta" is a "Skill" unit with "3 Attacks". And he is combating "Snap Magix" which is a "Magic" unit ... He would BENEFIT from a "+2" dice roll modifier. And if "Snap Magix" has a Defense of "12" this would mean that the roll would have to 10+ to defeat "Snap Magix"!

Right now I am only thinking about "Positive Modifiers" and so only "+2" when the RPS-3 is followed.

Note #1: I have updated the "Bard's" sample preview with the Bullseye which represents SKILL and is what the "Bard" primarily has in terms of "extra dexterity".

I worked extra hard today to try to IMPROVISE with this RPS-3 and what could be the type of "Symbols" used for each RPS category. I came up with these three (3):

  • Burst: Power and Physical Combat

  • Bullseye: Skill and Dexterous Combat

  • Star: Magic and Intellectual Combat

That's what I have for now ... And I LIKE it so far...

Note #2: I think it might (I said MIGHT) be possible to have a "-1" Penalty if the RPS-3 is inverted. Of course Power vs. Power, Skill vs. Skill and Magic vs. Magic are all ZERO (0) evenly matched.

But in the case where our Wizard "Snap Magix" (Magic) vs. our "Bard" (Skill) this would be a "-1" PENALTY to the Wizard's rolls and he would need to get an "11" or higher to beat our "Bard".

Something like that might be reasonable too...

Nothing over-powerful ... Just some simple modifier to create a bit of VARIABILITY in the design of the "Battle" System!

questccg's picture
Joined: 04/16/2011
I honestly think that the RPS-3 is ENOUGH!

So we have some various Combat Modifiers (based on a SIMPLE RPS-3) and the number of rolls is determined by the Attacking Player while the NUMBER to roll greater than is determined by the Defending Player. The RPS-3 plays into those rolls with either a Positive "+2" roll or a Negative "-1" roll (or ZERO if same class of unit).

That should be enough.

I'll see what Joe has in mind, he's aware that I want to simplify the design just a bit ... Because 16 pages to read to play this "simple" game is just too much.

I want to trim it down to MAYBE(!) 10 pages. Even that is a LOT... We'll have to wait and see what comes of the design (and the rulebook) once everything is reviewed and confirmed as being "Good to go"!

questccg's picture
Joined: 04/16/2011
Here's another sample card... The first one with Magic on it!

Here's a sample of the "Phoenix" demonstrating how the use of a D20 could look like with the NEW "RPS-3" that I introduced earlier today.

I think this is important because it adds a BIT of "variability" ... Granted not a whole lot. But my impressions is this is ENOUGH for now while I continue to work on the design to ensure it's streamlined sufficiently and it is simple but elegant to play.


Joined: 09/06/2017
Alternative RPS names

I find the following names: melee, ranged and magic are more intuitive.

(melee => magic => ranged => melee)

Feel free to disregard, use or improve upon.

Good luck with your game.

questccg's picture
Joined: 04/16/2011
Let me clarify a bit...

Fri wrote:
I find the following names: melee, ranged and magic are more intuitive.

Actually to be more precise what you are suggesting is from Magic: the Gathering!

And it is Melee => Ranged => Flying => Melee.

I went with PSM (Power, Skill & Magic) because it's different and yields more units which have SKILL rather than RANGED. Like a Thief with Daggers... "Max Agony" is an OUTLAW and a Human... But he's not to be trusted... He may NOT be a complete VILLAIN yet... He's definitely not a HERO! Hahaha.

So Max is a Skilled user of Daggers and Blades. As such he is one of TWO (2) units (You've seen the other: the Bard) that are SKILL based. And THREE (3) MAGIC based. Leaving SEVEN (7) POWER based ... Because most Humans and High Elves are STRENGTH class units...

It's just a bit of variance to show-off what will be available in the FUTURE!

Note #1: Rangers, Thieves or Bards all share the traits of more "Dexterious" style of combat. It doesn't mean that all ONLY use RANGED forms of attacks. Some are more deceptive like Thieves and they can perform actions like "Backstabbing" or "Stealthy Movement" and subterfuge, etc.

A bit of more reasoning why I chose "PSM" over the MtG version (or something closer to it...) I wanted my OWN RPS-3 which did not seem to infringe on some of what MtG gamers are used to.

And this is a KIDs game... 12+ years of age. I'm not focusing on older gamers even if kids CAN play with their parents ... I'm not forcing this kind of way of playing the game. I want the KIDS to enjoy on the FUN as the primary concern of the game.

There are plenty of AD&D adventures for Teens and Adults to partake in... That I want to streamline CH into something a bit more Kid-friendly!

questccg's picture
Joined: 04/16/2011
More on the PSM RPS-3

Well the "Clerical" Class of units is considered "Magical"... So don't be surprised to find a High Elf with a two-sided Mace using "Skill" as it's form of "attack". Indeed physical and spiritual are usually at odds ... But that's like saying that a Priest should be a "physical" class unit ... But we all know that "Priests" are NOT physical... And that the "Clerical" Class is maybe more "Magical" than we perceive it to be.

At least that's my perspective.

So my "Zealot" High Elf "Yre Blessing" (as in Higher Blessing...) is a magically focused unit even if she is using a mace in the picture. Being in balance with nature, water, flora and fauna (much like a Bard) ... Puts these units in a very special class indeed.

It's hard to CHOOSE a definite category ... But I'll go with "Yre" as being a Skill-based character/unit.

Note #1: With this note let me recap what I have:

  • 2 Wizards and 1 Phoenix as "Magical" units.

  • 1 Bard, 1 Thief and 2 Zealots as "Skilled" units.

  • 3 Fighters, 1 Crusader and 1 Duke which are "Power" units.

For a total of twelve (12) units per player and the game allows for 2-Player or 4-Players modes of play. I'm okay with this as this is the way the game was and still is designed. I'm just looking for a bit more VARIANCE ... And there will be other "specific" units that are SKILLED (like the Bridge Troll) or MAGICAL (like the Lich King) ... etc.

Too bad the artwork for the entire game is beyond a reacheable goal.

In any event... At this present junction, the goal is to IMPROVE upon the design and make it SIMPLER yet more functional (the word FUN ...CTIONAL) I say this because the old game required too many things to be explained. Yes it was SIMPLE to play (too simple) and NO I was not happy with the game in its current form...

Needed a bit more TLC ... And some attention to improve the overall experience...

We'll see soon enough, as I re-work the game to the next level. Cheers!

larienna's picture
Joined: 07/28/2008
When designing a rolling

When designing a rolling system, you have to determine how many variables you have as input, and what do you want as output (victory, push back, defeat, etc).

The most common rolls are linear rolls, for example a 2 variable roll would be:

roll 1 die + x > y

The distribution is linear, you will get into automatic success or automatic failure depending on the range of rolls and modifiers.

You can use polynomials, this allows adding more variables, and avoid impossible range.

Roll X dices, > Y, need Z success.

Rolls can be contested (one player vs the other) or one sided, 1 player vs the target.

If you don't roll often, I particularly like polynomial rolls. I used this in my Lord of the rings confrontation variant. You can adjust the Y value according to unit stats, or according to the game behavior (more or less chaos, more chaos is less strategic but easier to play with kids)

Yes, the roll can be based on the attacker or the defender. As explained in another thread, any weapon almost have the same potential to kill.

Else you can use rock paper scissor rolls, you need a way to handle ties.

questccg's picture
Joined: 04/16/2011
Okay... So I'm experimenting a BIT

What I have:

3D10s: 1 Red (Power), 1 Yellow (Skill) and 1 Blue (Magic).

I wanted the DICE to be LOCKED or RE-ROLLED as per the STAT on each Tile's STATs. So what I mean is this:

Bullseye (Yellow) = Skill. If you have a "3" that means you will LOCK the "Red" (Power) and "Blue" (Magic) dice and be allowed to ROLL the "Yellow" (Skill) dice three (3x) times to beat the opponent's DEFENSE value (3 to 30).

But I was THINKING(?): It might be cool to have some kind of PRESS-YOUR-LUCK type of "feel" / mechanic.

Not sure HOW(?) to do this ATM... So I'm just pitching the IDEA and see if anyone can help me out with this CONCEPT???

All help is appreciated and any feedback, comments, questions, etc. are welcome and I'll take the time to address anyone's concerns.


questccg's picture
Joined: 04/16/2011
Some further thoughts ... Along what could be POSSIBLE???

Okay so clearly the goal is to HAVE 3D10s. And you have the following:

  • 1 "Red" Power D10.

  • 1 "Yellow" Skill D10.

  • 1 "Blue" Magic D10.

That's all cool and works GREAT with the "Crystals" in the game (sort of not 100% but sufficiently to work...)

But I have the "Chaos" Crystals and I have the following PYL idea:

  • 1 "Purple" Chaos D10.

And what does it do exactly??? I'm glad you asked... This dice is rolled BEFORE by the OPPONENT. If ANY of the THREE (3) Basic D10s rolls that SAME "Value" the attack immediately FAILS ("Pure Chaos"!!!)

Why? Let me continue to NOW explore the PYL...

If your a Magic-User and your can ROLL the "Blue" Magic D10 "3x times" each ROLL you make is a RISK that it matches up with the "Chaos" Crystal...

Something LIKE THIS...?!

The issue that I am having ... IS that while you ROLL MORE TIMES this increases your RISK (like in a PYL scenario) ... There is no STOP before it is too late. Because if after "3" tries you FAIL to do the sufficient amount of DAMAGE... Well your attack FAILS anyhow.

So why would you just not ROLL until you reach HIGHER than the opponent's DEFENSE value... There is no REASON to STOP until you BEAT it or FAIL...!?

This is still embryonic and I want to think more about this "Chaos dice"... And see if there is a WAY to have a TRUE "Push-Your-Luck" mechanic.

It could be in RELATION to the "Reward" ... IDK. Still embryonic and needs to be determined better (how and what) for the most part. I think some kind of defensive dice by the opponent so that they can have some kind of EFFECT on the BATTLE (aside from just trying to beat their DEFENSE value...) seems to have some kind of VALUE TBH...!

I'll have to ponder these ideas some more. To see where they can lead...


questccg's picture
Joined: 04/16/2011
Alternate Victory and ... Something MORE!

So the "Alternate Victory" Condition in "Crystal Heroes" (CH) is collecting THREE (3) "Chaos Crystals" (Purple ones). That could remain as a Victory Condition but collecting ONE (1) or more ... Means you get to use the "Chaos Dice" (Purple one) to somehow affect the battle.

Like I said, I'm not yet sure HOW(?)

Instead of getting the "Chaos Dice" from the START, you would need to EARN it via a "Chaos Crystal" (at least ONE). And that goes for any and all PLAYERS. If Player #1 has one (1) "Chaos Crystal", he can use the "Chaos Dice" but Player #2 has none, they may NOT use the "Chaos Dice" until they too EARN "AT LEAST" one (1) "Chaos Crystal".

Still thinking about the HOW...

questccg's picture
Joined: 04/16/2011
Perhaps it could be BACKWARDS too!

Rather than drawing "Chaos Crystals" (Purple) from the pouch after winning a "Conquest" (eg. Battle) maybe it should be via the "Chaos Dice" (Purple) INSTEAD.

This means that when you ROLL the "Chaos Dice" (Purple) you FIX that VALUE.

For example: if I roll a "3" on the "Chaos Dice" (Purple), it means that the VALUE "3" will result in the DEFENDING player earning ONE (1) "Chaos Crystal".

This would mean that EACH "extra" ROLL you do... IS AN EXTRA RISK of rolling the FAILURE value...

This is TRUE Push-Your-Luck in that the more tries you get, there is additional RISK that you roll the undesired value ("3" in our example). The ALTERNATE method of Victory still would EXIST ... But it would RELY LESS on LUCK a bit. Because it's 100% LUCK when you draw a "Chaos Crystal" (Purple) from the pouch.

This way the PLAYER has some kind INFLUENCE in determining IF he gets a crystal or not. Granted I AGREE 100% that it is STILL "Very" Luck-Based. Just LESS than drawing from the pouch.

It still doesn't FEEL "right". Why???

Because I think it should be the OTHER way around:

You earn a "Chaos Crystal" (Purple) from random drop and then you can use the "Chaos Dice" (Purple) and it should END the opponent's ATTACK "Chaotically"! With this arrangement, it means that the "Chaos Crystals" have a DOUBLE effect.

I like the "EARNING a DICE" vs. "GIVING a DICE".

Just not sure HOW(?) to use it. Ending the present Attack seems dumb. There is NO PYL in that.

I now have "THREE (3) WAYS" to collect a "Chaos Crystal"???

  1. First you need to DRAW one from the POUCH.

  2. Instead of scoring "2 Victory Points" on the attack CHART, you could EARN +1 "Chaos Crystal" (Purple).

  3. Lastly you need to ROLL one from your opponent's ATTACKS.

Hmm... That is VERY INTERESTING! And this makes it three (3) UNIQUE ways to COLLECT the Purple Crystals... Definitely COOL! I think this is a WINNING IDEA.

So no more "2 VPs" instead COLLECT ONE (1) "Chaos Crystal" (Purple). To use the "Chaos Dice" (Purple), you would NEED ONE (1) "Chaos Crystal". OMG that sound great. And it solves my problem with the extra SCORING (2 vs. 1 VPs).

Okay going to document this FOR SURE!!!

Cheers all.

questccg's picture
Joined: 04/16/2011
Some additional thoughts

I'm truly believing this is a GOOD "solution" for winning via the "Chaos Crystals". The previous version was so very "anti-climactic"... "Oh ... You drew your 3rd Chaos Crystal ... And therefore you WIN!" So boring there is no real excitement because it's all CHANCE.

Whereas EARNING the other two (2) "Chaos Crystals" now it's a bit of LUCK (when rolling) and smart PLANNING in the two (2) Point SEQUENCE. I just need to see how CUT-THROAT the game is with these two (2) MINI-GAMES.

The more players COLLECT "Chaos Crystals" the less the ODDS of drawing one from the Velvet Pouch. But at the same time, nobody is "STUPID" ... Everyone should also be trying to win by any means necessary.

Those are my concerns ATM. When I get the new Game Tiles in a couple of weeks, I should be good to TEST these "solutions" and see if the game is overall better.


questccg's picture
Joined: 04/16/2011
First playtest TONIGHT (with the streamlined version...)

Went pretty decently. The NEW "Battle System" is pretty decent, also the leading player won by "Chaos Crystals" in the 9th Round. Not too bad either... Overall I like that you can Battle Multiple turns given the use of an EXTRA "Action Point" (or Orange Crystal). That too worked pretty decently... Using the Orange Crystals as Action and then using the Avatars to move around and collect gems.

I like the "+1 Blue Crystal" Bonus... Works well even if you have LESS Action Points. The "4x" Action Points is pretty decent with the "+1 Blue" Bonus ... Seems to honestly get the game going.

The score was 5 vs. 4... So both sides competing to WIN. Player #1 only had ONE (1) Chaos Crystal ("Purple") and was working on getting the 2nd one (Sequence). He had a bit of Crystals ready for this... But Player #2 beat him to the punch... As they say!

I will conduct another playtest... Soon enough and report back my impressions.

One thing I've noticed... Is that I DOUBT players will REACH "10" Victory Points. "5" and we only had "3" Rounds left (10, 11 and 12). So maybe two (2) more points for about a "7" vs. "6" result... It's not a complete blowout for sure.

I'll pay more attention to this in the NEXT playtest.


Note #1:

Some of my overall impressions:

  • Tic-Tac-Toe scoring is COOL. Definitely more "flexible" too. But you still need to worry about your opponent and how Skirmishes & Collecting will affect your crystal pool.

  • Moving the Avatars is more intuitive with this "4" Action Points per Turn. And the extra Battles also helps move the game along BETTER. It's just less complicated and overall easier to play.

  • The "Dice" Battles work pretty good too. Scoring enough points per Skirmish are cool... And sometimes if you FAIL, you need to spend that EXTRA "Action Point" to combat twice on your turn. Which also is intuitive and works great!

Generally speaking everything feels GOOD. Things are simpler but have enough Meat-on-the-bone to not feel UN-THEMATIC or misplaced. I will conduct more playtests... To see how the game plays more generally ... One playtest is NOT enough but I'd see GLARRING errors or problems right away and I saw none.

So positive all around and we'll see if it stays that way!

P.S.: Player #2 got a bit lucky with his Dice Rolling too... His hotness helped him achieve a victory faster than his opponent because of some "luck". No worries the game is HIGH on "luck" due to the Crystal Drops which are 100% random: you never know what it is you'll pull out of the bag!

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