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Return of the XP

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X3M
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Not sure. But I think that XP could return to the game.
But in the form of replacing an unit with a stronger one.

Think Risk/Axis&Allies/ASL.

Either way. I used to have players adjust one of the 4 main statistics of an unit.
Other statistics where never included.

It was very clumsy and very detailed. Eventually, I got to a point where XP was saved up and only spend once a player returned to the point of where the units where created.

Still, adjustments to stats was tracked on the same little whiteboard pieces that also tracked the damage the units received. Meaning, 2 or more cards per unit... which is very clumsy.

Now I was thinking of having a new design being chosen once the units return. It could even be done on creating a new unit.

The new design is the same unit, but several stats are increased. Not just speed, range, damage and health. But also the damage multiplier, accuracy, projectile attributes and body attributes can be changed for the better. Perhaps even a salvo could be changed or the size of the same unit.

***

The big problem is. What is a good multiplier of the stats? I mean, a normal unit is worth 100% and costs 100%.

If I require players to gain 10x XP before upgrading this unit. How much power would this unit gain?

Many games have a weird system. And I am not sure what factors work best for my game.

Obviously, cheaper units require less XP.

I don't want to make the XP costs too cheap, because then many units would be getting the upgrade. I rather have these units become hero's.

On a rewarding side not. I think that different designs of the same costs would be neat to implement. Having a thematic upgrade.

I will not be doing ranks though. Because all players will probably start skipping ranks. But the hero variants on the other hand could hold a specific job.
Meat/Fodder, Support, Specialist. Those jobs that are normally done by different units. Can now derive from the same type of unit.

My favorite example would be the riflemen. Where some would have more health. Some would do more damage. And some would start working as snipers. And some for hit'n'run units.

Melee units can't increase their range.
Buildings can't increase their speed.

***

I guess the 2 things I like to have your oppinion about would be:
- How much XP is required to level up? And how much would be the factor on the stats be on average?
- Is having multiple designs to choose from a good idea? If so, how many?

So, you guys have an oppinion?

terzamossa
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Hi X3M

I never asked you,
how long is your planned playtime?
You can have different ways to introduce things in a game, checking if they fit with the targets you chose in terms of complexity/playtime etc is a good way to choose among them.
Anyway, I think that only you can answer your questions...by playtesting different options. In general, if upgrading one unit is easier than buying another one (in terms of cost of resources and time) then the upgrade should be below 100% (e.g. get 1.5 multiplier to damage, or HP...with movement would be different as 2 units move as fast as 1, but is movement that relevant in the game? As exciting to players? Most of them would go for firepower probably, so maybe it is pointless to make things more complex adding other options (I guess, I don't know of course, testing with many people is the only way to know!)).
Not knowing that much about the game, It seems to me that having single units go back to base to be upgrade may be a massive waste of time, it might make the game slower and pause the exciting bits. If this is true you definitely wouldn't want that (unless your game is played over 3 weeks campaign and you have some base time at the beginning of your session?)
Maybe you can find ways to upgrade things without slowing down the pace? Possibly without adding different mechanics but just making something already in place better, in an intuitive way?

FrankM
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Physical pieces

Depending on the kind of pieces on the map, you can use status markers for the XP upgrades.

For tabletop miniatures, colored disks under the base may work.

A red disk for hero-level damage, a blue disk for hero-level health, etc.

The bonus (or final stat) conferred by each disk can be right in the unit definition.

The player can add two disks at 10XP and a third at 20XP.

X3M
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Game speed

A 1 AP combat will remove 1/3th of the pieces of that battle. Regardles of size of the army. 36 riflemen, 6 tanks. Or in the public version, 6 riflemen, 2 tanks.

The players roll for hits. Then remove the health and pieces.

Duration of a game:
- Full campaign; 1 to 2 weeks (4 days of max 6 hours).
- Forwarded base; 1 to 6 hours.
- Only an army; 20 to 120 minutes.

The XP would be for the forwarded base and the full campaign games. Moving back to base would be on a side note. However, new units too can get the same XP. The XP is a separate resource in my game. Often an entire army returns home, seeing as how all of them are going to get upgrades. That was done in the old version 2 years ago.

So the reinforcements could be an upgraded version.

Army sizes:
- Full campaign; 7 to 21 squads.
- Forwarded base; 3 to 9 squads.
- Only an army; 1 to 3 squads.

I was thinking that the upgraded unit would be like 3 to 5 times stronger? The XP needed somewhere along the lines of 9 to 25 times???

IDK, I am more worried about the XP needed compared to the upgrade the unit receives.

I am not planning to have multipe levels. Since players would micro the hero's. So, one upgrade is all they get.
Although, if there are several paths for an unit to take, that would be an option. I will give you guys an example:

Rifleman; costs 1, health 5, damage 1, accuracy 5, range 2, speed 2
The rifleman is a basic unit that is well balanced in armor and damage.

Upgraded variants:
Rifleman with excellent markmanship; costs 3 (but you pay 1 and XP), health 10, damage 4, accuracy 4, range 3, speed 2
The markmanship rifleman is a supportive type.

Rifleman with heavy armor and a second rifle; costs 3, health 25, damage 2, accuracy 5, range 2, speed 1
The heavy rifleman is a meatshield type.

Rifleman trained for faster movement and close combat; costs 3, health 10, damage 1, accuracy 6, range 2, speed 4, has a melee for secondary weapon, a vibration knife; damage 4, accuracy 5, range 0
The close combat rifleman is a well balanced version with a strong melee weapon. Great for hit and run tactics.

***

I hope you guys can see the fun that XP can bring.

This is what my guys do:
They send the army to be trained, back home. Or build a new one. They spend the XP on either the meat/support combination. Or they get that hit and run squad for covert ops.

Now, if the costs equals the XP.
How much XP do you think should be added??

terzamossa
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I see

since there are reasonably long campaigns, adding a way to upgrade your units can work well.
I also liked what you said on those units which now are just different ones but that might derive from a "common ancestor". This means that on day 1 of the campaign, everybody only has to learn the game with a few different types of units and then, only when they are comfortable with the mechanics and can understand how all the parameters affect the game, can start differentiating units.
I do see the fun that XP can bring but once again I can't answer on how much XP should be added...way too difficult without playing, I'd just say something random :)
What I can say is this: I guess XP is gathered by destroying other units...this means that if a player is getting an advantage, they will also be able to unlock upgrades faster and then it will be even easier they keep winning. Basically it can snowball to an exponential winning/upgrading/winning-again/upgrading-more with one player getting massive advantage on the other and eventually nobody really having fun (as it would be too easy for one and too hard for the other).
So if you use XP as a reward, make sure to reward those parts of the game which guarantee more fun but are not necessarily advantageous to win (or even the opposite...e.g. if all your tanks are annihilated in a suicidal attack, the next ones you build can be upgraded...this way if something catastrophic happens, there is a silver lining to balance).
Alternatively, you could guarantee a new upgrade (players choose which one) at regular intervals of time/turns, you don't have to track XP for everything, players might get a certain amount of points to spend. You lose the reward side of it but guarantee some balance and avoid that one side gets too advantaged with respect to the other.

X3M
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You got a point

It does snowball at a certain scale. So, if I do this, whatever factor I choose. It should be less than the average RPS factor. Which is 3. And thus the upgraded version should be factor 2.

What if I don't track how much units a player kills. But actually, how many units a player looses?
That way, addapted units can enter the field after.
And the snowball goes like a ping pong ball now.

Example:
Player A has a lot of rocket soldiers.
Player B has a lot of combat tanks.

The rocket soldiers outrange the combat tanks. And the combat tanks are also a bit to slow to come close enough for return fire.

Now, these combat tanks die. But the losses will count as XP, that can be used on any unit.

A choice could be a combat tank that is very fast and able to crush infantry more effectively.
Or a choice that the combat tank is slightly faster but a lot more range.
Or a choice is that the combat tank will have heavier armor and more health plus an anti infantry gun.

This would also get players to:
- A. Not attack their enemies, because the enemy might be able to adapt. This might cause an impasse.
- B. Attack their own in order to get XP to get that satisfying adaptation anyway.

X3M
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The other thing

Durability of a squad is often -33% per combat.
3 battles can be done per ONE squad per round.
When on equal terms: 11 battles are needed on average.
This is 4 rounds.
1 round takes about 10 minutes.

If I multiply the health and damage by 1.5. And this is a full squad. Then...
Only 3 battles are needed for the upgraded army to defeat the normal army. And the survival rate is about 2/3th. Or only 1/3th has died. In other words. This army is now 3 times more effective.

So, a factor of 1.5 means an winning result factor of 3. This is for only one skirmish. Of course more enemies might approach and an injured army will be less effective.
Now, how much should this player have lost, in order to get such army, do you think?

On a side note. RPS factors in the game can be compared. And has whole numbers. 3 and 6 is used a lot.

I did some math and discovered a formula to determine the end result of one skirmish.

The results are:
Factor - Winning factor
1.0 - 1
1.1 - 1.34
1.2 - 1.75
1.3 - 2.27
1.4 - 2.90
1.5 - 3.66
1.6 - 4.56
1.7 - 5.62
1.8 - 6.87
1.9 - 8.32
2.0 - 10

I think personally that having lost 5 times your squad. Means it gets a factor 1.5. Then the end result effect of this upgraded squad is 3.66. Which is lower than 5(losses)+1(costs).

X3M
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The test

Going to test a factor of 2. Since that is an easy factor to work with.
The end result would be 10 for a 1 on 1 game.
But RPS will simply overpower this 2.
Also, the 10 would be more of a 4.
So the table in the previous post isn't that good. It misses a reduction factor. The end result factor there is only for the first battle tbh.

So:
Factor 2.
XP factor 5, meaning you need indirectly a total of 6 times the costs.

If a rifleman costs 1. You need to loose 5. To get one that is twice as strong in some regard.

terzamossa
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X3M wrote: - A. Not attack

X3M wrote:

- A. Not attack their enemies, because the enemy might be able to adapt. This might cause an impasse.
- B. Attack their own in order to get XP to get that satisfying adaptation anyway.

A is a bit of a risk and would make the game slower...though people still need to eliminate units to win (right?) so maybe the only thing that could happen is that some less useful unit is spared (e.g. the last survived tank of a group of 10, not able to do much damage anyway). If nobody wants to destroy this tank, the player who has it is even happier to sacrifice it in a cool suicidal mission attacking everything it can with it until its put down. It has to be tested, but it could work fine.

B. Probably the rule should say that you get XP only when the enemy destroy your units. Thematically "hero units" should come from the population growing braver through the examples of their dead soldiers and wanting revenge...(you could call XP revenge or social awareness). To be fair you destroying your own troupes should have the opposite result and create pacifists and internal contrast (thought I realise this is not a political game, but you see my point I guess).

X3M
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terzamossa wrote: B. Probably

terzamossa wrote:

B. Probably the rule should say that you get XP only when the enemy destroy your units. Thematically "hero units" should come from the population growing braver through the examples of their dead soldiers and wanting revenge...(you could call XP revenge or social awareness). To be fair you destroying your own troupes should have the opposite result and create pacifists and internal contrast (thought I realise this is not a political game, but you see my point I guess).

Oopsies! Forgot to mention that in this case, both sides fire. And it still costs AP too.

We had this Action in an older version. That would have been.... a year or 2 back. I took it for granted.

Either way, you put down heavily damaged units or unwanted ones. But they certainly will shoot back and have a will on their own. Another player may even control them like walking away or make it harder to do with Event Cards.

So, mostly some players only do target practise on walls or defence buildings.

X3M
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Point A

Certainly will have this effect...

I need something to change this effect.

FrankM
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Friendly fire, eh?

X3M wrote:
terzamossa wrote:

B. Probably the rule should say that you get XP only when the enemy destroy your units. Thematically "hero units" should come from the population growing braver through the examples of their dead soldiers and wanting revenge...(you could call XP revenge or social awareness). To be fair you destroying your own troupes should have the opposite result and create pacifists and internal contrast (thought I realise this is not a political game, but you see my point I guess).

Oopsies! Forgot to mention that in this case, both sides fire. And it still costs AP too.

We had this Action in an older version. That would have been.... a year or 2 back. I took it for granted.

Either way, you put down heavily damaged units or unwanted ones. But they certainly will shoot back and have a will on their own. Another player may even control them like walking away or make it harder to do with Event Cards.

So, mostly some players only do target practise on walls or defence buildings.

"Flash! Take cover! Incoming friendly fire. Sorry, we had the coordinates wrong!"

"No worries. But in about a minute, prepare for incoming friendly return fire!"

X3M
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Something like that :)

While euthanising is allowed. Most players shoot their walls and/or unused buildings.
You might be interested in the more logical list. As of why you shoot your own.

X3M
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3 logical reasons for shooting your own

3 common uses for XP gaining on your own stuff.

- Walls. You know... no harm done, right?
- Buildings that provide more benefit by being destroyed instead of being sold
- No retreat, shooting friendlies in their back when they are weak. The enemy will not get the XP

It is that third one that worked pretty well in the old days.
But is no more...

***

What if both players get XP?

Equal?
Or should the loosing side still get more XP from it?

A third player that doesn't fight might be left behind due to inactivity.

Remember, if 2 players fight. Both will loose units and gain XP from their own sacrifices.

***

Soon we finally get together again... with a distance.
The first test would be something along the lines of a small base where only units can be trained. The base would eventually be sold of by parts to get more units. But in the past, one of our players did start shooting the buildings instead.

... he won that match too...

terzamossa
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I think all of this should

I think all of this should depend on the game you want to make:

If you want to be realistic, then yes: shooting walls or even shooting your own soldiers when they are weak, counts as practice and gives you XP (shooting your own soldiers on purpose would also give you mental issues and the certainty that they will shoot you as well once you are weak, but I guess this is beyond the scope of the game!)
Also it makes sense that a player who doesn't partake in combat doesn't get XP. but is it fun to shoot walls? Is it any close to "as fun as shooting enemy units"?

If you want to make a game that is fun and that can't be hacked by tricks (like destroying the base you are supposed to sell etc) you can forget about realism and just give N XP to all players after every Y round.
Everybody will still enjoy some progression and be happy and feel they have more possibilities while advancing the game.
Or anyway find a way to distribute XP that pushes people to do the funniest actions. I (personally) don't like when people hoard resources and never use them, so pushing players towards cool actions would be ideal.
You clearly want to avoid that idling and waiting becomes the winning strategy. So probably there should be some reward in participating in action, but nothing that destroys all chances of a slower player who doesn't do it straight away, and balancing will be tricky of course :)

X3M
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Well, we scrapped XP 2 years ago

terzamossa wrote:
I think all of this should depend on the game you want to make:

We already have a game. It is just that we try to add stuff back in that was once a big hassle. Same goes for the terrain. Which is being simplified enough to attempt another go at the 3D slash 2D board in that other topic.

terzamossa wrote:
If you want to be realistic, then yes: shooting walls or even shooting your own soldiers when they are weak, counts as practice and gives you XP (shooting your own soldiers on purpose would also give you mental issues and the certainty that they will shoot you as well once you are weak, but I guess this is beyond the scope of the game!)
The basics here are that we are mental.
The realism is long gone too. We got aliens versus knights versus sci-fi tanks versus mutated plants versus "a realistic army because it doesn't make sense at this point and fits in nicely that way".
:)
terzamossa wrote:

Also it makes sense that a player who doesn't partake in combat doesn't get XP. but is it fun to shoot walls? Is it any close to "as fun as shooting enemy units"?
There isn't much fun in shooting walls though. But we might as well leave it out. The same goes for shooting your own units and buildings.

terzamossa wrote:

If you want to make a game that is fun and that can't be hacked by tricks (like destroying the base you are supposed to sell etc) you can forget about realism and just give N XP to all players after every Y round.
Everybody will still enjoy some progression and be happy and feel they have more possibilities while advancing the game.

Giving each player XP points for other stuff they can do perhaps? More like getting XP from spending AP then?
Discarding 1 AP would give 0 XP.
Spending 1 AP for moving would give 1 XP.
Spending 1 AP for attacking would give 2 XP.
Somnething like that would really push players to do something?

terzamossa wrote:

Or anyway find a way to distribute XP that pushes people to do the funniest actions. I (personally) don't like when people hoard resources and never use them, so pushing players towards cool actions would be ideal.
I agree on this as well. And that is why I always wanted to have something along the lines of XP.
The old version was also cumulative. So if a player had like 15 XP and 5 units. Each would reach tier 3. Then the same XP on a player with 1 unit would only manage to get to tier 6.

Maybe we will have only 1 tier on top.
and it has to be based on a maximum of 14 XP per round I guess. At the end of each round, you get to spend XP as well.
Maybe even healing units with XP can come back.

terzamossa wrote:

You clearly want to avoid that idling and waiting becomes the winning strategy. So probably there should be some reward in participating in action, but nothing that destroys all chances of a slower player who doesn't do it straight away, and balancing will be tricky of course :)

Yes, the balance is now, once again, the tricky part.
XP on activity sounds much better. And I wonder why I didn't think of this before. I guess I played too much RTS.

Thanks, I get to work on this once I got some spare time :)

X3M
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One of those mechanics

That is being praised and shunned at the same time.

I thought of awarding XP that is equal to:
- 1x the squad worth, when a player moves their units.
- 2x the squad worth, when a player attacks the enemy.

No friendly fire or whatsoever. Period.

During a game, if one of the units is standing close to whatever it is produced by. They already can get that upgrade. Which costs 10 times the costs of the unit. This will also encourage to have the multi action to be of more use. The multi actions contain moves and attacks at the same time. But also have penalties due to inaccuracy. So doing these will not only give a strategic advantage. But also early XP in a round, which can be of use.

***

Now, it is this second part that is shunned the most. Some players say that it could be abused. This because you could save up XP. And only spend on those units that are about to be attacked.

Seeing as how I see decisions as chess. You might as well attack those units first that you want to see the XP being wasted on. So another squad remains weak, which is your real target.

So, what do you guys think about this?

X3M
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Discussion with another player

Sure they can attack for twice the ammount. But a player that only moves around also gets XP.

So everyone goes in circle's. Get their XP. Get their hero units. Then they attack. And get XP from that attack as well...

So, I need to fix the rules into combat mode.
Meaning that they follow the penalty principles.

For penalties, this is normal.
But for XP gain, it gets a bit too complex now.

It was an awesome idea. But it makes me sad that it doesn't work for my game.

There has been one more suggestion. Units gaining health if they succesfully attacked the enemy. But the details of this is also a mystery.

"Bravery" points...

***

First problem I see is that one unit becomes the tank...

X3M
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Did some reading

I have read the following articles and have been thinking about my options. Just remember, my game resembles a RTS a lot. So RTS solutions to anti-snowballing is what counts.

https://gamedevelopment.tutsplus.com/articles/the-snowball-effect-and-ho...

https://waywardstrategy.com/2020/07/06/anti-snowball-design/

https://waywardstrategy.com/2017/03/03/the-balance-of-power-progression-...

https://www.gamedev.net/forums/topic/698684-rts-design-techniques/
Which lead me to:
https://magic.wizards.com/en/articles/archive/making-magic/ten-things-ev...

***

I carefully thought of new options. And most of them resemble existing features of my game. (The rubber banding exists in the form of allowing the weaker player to do extra damage)

No matter what I thought about. They all fall in one of the 3 catagories:
- Snowballing, which veterancy original is.
- Stalling, either many handling or punishing for the active player.
- Already is in the game in another form.

So, I might conclude that I should stick with the snowballing effect.

But making the slope very slight.
Meaning that I should make getting a hero something that the player needs to keep pushing.

In other words. The hero should be very expensive in terms of XP.
I guess an increase of a factor 3 is still the best. Seeing as how the specialists have a factor of 2.25 or 4 for the size.
The costs however should be a nice round 10 times the unit costs.

one of my players wrote:
What about higher tier hero's?

While I would love to have this. It would require much more handling and more rules to it as well. Not only that. But the game would be expanded a lot.

I think that a proto-type of a decend quality would also require only 1 hero for each design. By simply flipping this unit piece.

The ugly proto-type will have a simple H piece attached to it.

If this game would have a higher quality. I could allow players to gather hero units in the form of cards. So they could get different design options. But can use only one design option for when getting a hero out.

X3M
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Time to close this tipic

And head back to the terrain work.

But here is my finishing touch on the hero's.

Only 1 hero design is allowed per unit design.
This in order to prevent creeping.
The hero design will follow rules in order to prevent me making more choices.

The factor will always be 3.
The XP factor cost will always be 10.

The body factor is 3.
The weapon factor is 3.

The speed factor option will start looking at 50% more speed, rounded downwards.
It starts at a speed of 2 becomming 3 if the health allows it.
Health is depending on armor values. I do not do halves. 1.5 times 4 is not allowed. 3 times 4 however is.

The range factor option will start looking at 100% more range.
This will mean that most units will become hero support units. Including the metagame units.
Only melee units might become more of a mobile wall.

The only thing that I might reconsider is the range factor. Instead of 100%, maybe only 50%.

Towards infinity with range and speed.
The health factor will never be as low as a factor of 2.
And the damage factor will never be as low as a factor 1.5.

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