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Handling multiple changing numeric values on a board

6 replies [Last post]
Joined: 10/10/2018

Hey all,

As the title of this post suggests, how does everyone handle recording numeric values changing on a board, specifically when you have a number of numeric values that keep changing as the game progresses.

The most obvious answer is to use tokens, which IS possible for my idea but that would mean a lot of tokens and the tiles move around meaning the tokens would have to keep moving as well.

Here is a visual representation of my question;

The numbers on the left are attack and the numbers on the right are defence. Lets say someone plays a card to weaken the defence of this monster by 2 on all sides. I could easily have a small die or token to represent this. But if the monster has defence weakened on one side and attack increased on another side and so on then it becomes a bit more tedious and takes away from the real strategy of the game. Also, there will be multiple units on the board with different changing values.

What are peoples thoughts on this and do any other games handle this really well?

let-off studios
let-off studios's picture
Joined: 02/07/2011
Cards with Sliders or Dials

Have you considered cards with sliders? Maybe dials?

I'm thinking something like the Flood Meter in Forbidden Island would work for both Attack and Defense, on the left and right sides of a card or mat, respectively.

Dials are in a number of games, but Betrayal at House on the Hill or the combat dials in Scythe come to mind immediately.

I had initially thought that a scheme featuring tiles with two numbers on each side (one right-side-up, the other upside down) could accommodate four different numbers, or even a square tile or card with numbers printed along each edge, that you rotate so that the active value is the right-side-up number along the top edge. That can sometimes seem fiddly, though.

Joined: 06/09/2017
sliders sounds like the

sliders sounds like the solution. you can buy small book mark/ paperclip things that have an arrow and clip onto cards perfectly (or use a paper clip for prototyping).
another completely over engineered solution (if cost and size aren't an issue) would be to make the card double thick and add 4 small dials. i dont think its worth doing but would make a nice addition to the "luxury" version

Joined: 10/10/2018
Hey guys thanks for the

Hey guys thanks for the suggestions.

I have had a look at each one and put a lot of thought into how each would work but unfortunately i dont think these solutions would work so well.

As for the flood meter it would be too hard to use to manage so many different units at once.

Dials would be too big for the tiles as they are only 2x2 inches.

Sliders would run into a similar challenge like the dials but COULD work it just would be too much on the card and so many numbers near each other might get a bit confusing.

The best solutions i've thought of without putting too much clutter are by simplifying the attack and defense increase/decrease capabilities by making them last for 1 turn, meaning players wont have to actively be changing values around as the game progresses and will only need to remember numbers while the turn is in play (a turn being both players taking actions).

I could also make this work by having attack and defence being changed simultaneously and having a + and - above and below the values with the player placing a 1,2, or 3 token on the + or - for each side affected. If ALL sides are affected they just place the token in the centre or something (would have to play around with spacing for each tile element).

Joined: 01/30/2012
Is it helpful to have different values for each side?

Does your game benefit significantly from having lots of different monsters, each of which have unique attack and defense values, and not just overall, but for each of its four sides? There are lots of digital games that don't have that level of granularity, and there is a computer keeping track of those stats.

How many monsters do you envision being in play on average? What is the maximum that could possibly be in play? Having more than a handful could open up the game to analysis paralysis where players seek to optimize their move by being in an advantageous position (the monster's weaker side) to lots of monsters. Unfortunately, if players have a lot of movement options, and must therefore analyze lots of different positions near monsters, this optimization can take a human a long time.

One compromise might be to ditch the individual trackers for each monster's 4 sides and go with a card that has two sides. One side has the normal attack/defend values, while the other side presents degraded (or enhanced) attack/defend values. The card gets flipped over when certain conditions are met.

Alternatively, could the board or map that the monsters are on communicate different attack/defend values? For example, if a monster is in a field adjacent to a forest, then it gets -1 Defend on its side that faces the forest, and regular Defend on the other three sides that face other field squares? Attack values can function similarly.

john smith
Joined: 06/26/2017
I work with

I work with strategy/wargames. If you can allow for changing values you can have a much more satisfying and in depth game. But today's generation balks at anything like that as being "complex".

You'd be best to move to some sort of electronic game to handle anything relating to combat in any depth. Strategy games have to be so watered down that any attempt to capture in depth combat is impossible to do. Designers are just too restricted by the "complexity" thing that jumps up from potential players to be able to use those kinds of mechanisms anymore.

Joined: 10/10/2018
Thanks for the input

Thanks for the input guys.

I've decided to simplify it a bit and have units have values on 1 to 3 sides depending on the level of the unit with most being 1 or 2. There might be some cards that will allow a unit to attack using their values on other sides but it would be temporary.

Likewise, to avoid confusion i've decided to have any semi-permanent increases or decreases be handled by +1/+1 tokens or -1/-1 tokens, while any increases or decreases on individual sides will be strictly on a per turn basis so that once a turn is over the values return to normal.

In regards to analysis paralysis, this is a hard thing to avoid especially in games like this. It is only a 2 player game though with players ideally taking a short amount of time to make an attack or given time to formulate a strategy.

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