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Reverse Engineering in my hobby game

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X3M's picture
Joined: 10/28/2013

While it seems to work decently for the RTS. And there we don't really have issue's with stupidity. I wonder if this holds true for my boardgame.

It regards my hobby wargame to begin with.
I reverse engineer the stats. Meaning, I begin with a basic design. There will be a cost, calculated linear. For the units that is.

But then, the factor between the body and weapon are considered. Based on this, the lowest value will get a buff.

Let me give some examples first, before asking the question.

A normal infantry unit has a body of value 50 and a weapon of value 50. The total cost is 100. And the factor of the body/weapon is 1. There is no buff.

A grenadier has a body of value 40 and a weapon of value 160, the total cost will be 200. The factor is 4. We take the square root of this. And multiply the body value by it. So, in a sense, the grenadier will have a body of value 80 instead.

A wall has only a body of value 50. No weapon. The factor is infinite, but this factor would be placed on the weapon. Which is 0. So, it remains 0.


The question regards the specialists. Actually, the glass cannons.

I got a little list of units that would cost the same. They are going to cost 1300 each. And are in a sense relatively strong.

Body - BodyReal - Weapon
650 - 650 - _650
490 - 630 - _810
400 - 600 - _900
320 - 560 - _980
260 - 520 - 1040
130 - 390 - 1170
_90 - 330 - 1210
_50 - 250 - 1250
_20 - 160 - 1280

As you can see, the body value declines fast. But the feeling that I have around these glass cannons is weird.

When the weapon value reaches above 1200. The extra damage isn't much. We go from 1210 to 1250 (+40) and then 1280 (+30).
The Body value is -40 and -30. But the BodyReal value would be -80 and - 90.
While declining fast. In the last step, the design value goes from 50 to 20. Or a -60% decrease.
The BodyReal value would actually only losing 36%.

Another way to look at this is:
90 to 330 is a factor 3.7
50 to 250 is a factor 5
20 to 160 is a factor 8

This still feels wrong to me. Does it feel wrong to you?
You could imagine that the weapon value divided by 10 is the actual damage in the game.

What do you think? How should I encourage players to pick the last design and not the one 2 prior.
Should I find a way to increase the damage value as well? But by how much?

questccg's picture
Joined: 04/16/2011
Glass cannons being what they are ... Might matter?!

So in that TABLE you go to 20 / 160 / 1280. If this is a Glass Cannon, I would continue DOWN to the closest of 1 HP for the Body AS POSSIBLE. Why? Because to me a REAL "Glass cannon" should have 1 HP and the maximum Weapon Damage.

Doing some more analysis, I get the following VALUES:

_10 - 114 - 1290
__5 - _80 - 1295
__1 - _36 - 1299

That "1 HP" Body vs. BodyReal vs. Weapon Damage makes the most sense to me... As it amounts to the minimum value of the HP component (Body) and we can compare with the BodyReal which is 36 ONLY.

If I was operating with "Glass Cannons", I would use those values.

Furthermore, I don't think it should be a choice. When you CONFIGURE a "Glass Cannon", the Body should be "1 HP". The weapon factor is conditional based on the overall scoring of the "Body + Weapon", in this case 1300 Points (COST).

How you came up with "1300" Points is unknown to me!?

But I think that it's worthwhile to discuss what the value for the Weapon is in relation to the Body.

In simpler terms, the Body of a Glass Cannon should ALWAYS be "1 HP". There is no "configuration". Glass Cannons are what they are and there should be rules to support HOW these units are DEFINED.

Again I don't know why the value of "1300" was chosen as the COST of this unit, I could have instead say "1500" Points and I would get:

__1 - _39 - 1499

I would summarize therefore that the "1 HP" remains a CONSTANT and that players may CUSTOMIZE the "DAMAGE FACTOR" of the "Weapon".

So my conclusion is that perhaps you should have HARD CODED values for BODIES according to the Unit and work out the "DAMAGE FACTOR" ahead of time to see what produces the "correct" Body + Weapon TOTAL (which is the COST of the unit).

This would be my approach: HARD CODE the BODY and work out the "RealBody" from the preset "Weapon" value (or Damage Factor being the total amount).

Maybe you could have a TABLE with 3 PRESETS of the Body/Weapon. Like:

Infantry #1: 50 HP - 50 HP - 50 Damage, COST = 100.
Variant #2: 40 HP - 50 HP - 60 Damage, COST = 100.
Variant #3: 60 HP - 50 HP - 40 Damage, COST = 100.

Instead of FULL CUSTOMIZABILITY, only allow 3-Variants for each UNIT. This induces a CHOICE and makes it FEEL like there is more going on under-the-hood and that players are make the decision as to what their UNITS will be and how they will perform ...

Something like that. I get it the COST is PREDEFINED. I just don't KNOW or UNDERSTAND why it is "1300" instead of say "1500"?!?! And it varies per unit. How do you establish those value (COST), that IDK.

So your problem about choosing the RIGHT "Glass Cannon" is irrelevant. With a HARD CODED "1 HP" Body (only one variant) that suggest 1299 Weapon/Damage and the Infantry unit shows three (3) possible variations.

Furthermore, since this is a Board Game and not an RTS or Video Game; making there be some VARIANTS makes sense but FULL CUSTIMIZATION is a LOSS of TIME. You could say this could lead to "Analysis-Paralysis" given that the players don't know WHAT(?) they should choose.

Simplifying the process with a FEW (3 MAXIMUM) variations on the units, leads to a version which ALLOWS SOME customization but offers a LIMITED amount of choices instead of AP.

That's all I got for now. You need to realize that in Board & Card Games, it's more about CHOICES and NOT FULL CUSTIMIZATION. I can picture the Infantry example with three (3) VARIANTS make 100% sense. And it could matter in the case of what is the better choice for the units that I am facing off against.

Again this is my conclusion with regards to your Board Game and not the RTS Video Game. Video game can allow more customization, it's easy in that platform. But in a Board Game, you should ALWAYS work with LIMITED CHOICES and simple to understand VARIATIONS of the UNITS.

Again that's how I see it. You may feel differently.

Cheers @X3M!

questccg's picture
Joined: 04/16/2011

In the case of a Video Game... I doubt players have enough TIME IN-GAME to customize EACH UNIT when they "Build it". Sounds more like an OUT-OF-BATTLE context where the players can "tweak" and "customize" the various units.

There is only one serious CAVEAT with this concept:

questccg wrote:
You can have inferior units for the opponent you are battling against. Since it varies per GAME, you may choose to customize in such a way which is INFERIOR in terms of Opposing UNITS which may be configured and tweaked in such a manner that your units are WEAKER...

Your Deck might have been masterfully crafter but in it and itself, your Deck has a specific METHOD of play. The game is won on the merits of the Deck-Construction rather than the ACTUAL PLAY of the Deck which could be like Mana-Screwed or Mana-Flooded or not getting the right cards at the right time. All RANDOM factors which are due to the CARD DRAWING from your Deck.

I see a SIMILAR FLAW with FULL Body/Weapon customization.

Again it's not an IN-GAME activity. While you are playing your RTS... You don't have TIME to CUSTOMIZE each UNIT for a specific BUILD up of units. And your preset choices may be inferior to your opponent's selection.

So it's like bringing the WRONG Deck to a Duel. As simple as that...

Again maybe the VARIANT idea could work in the RTS as well. Why? Because when you BUILD you could have 3 choices of the units you want to build. No Analysis-Paralysis and it's NOT the end of the world if your units are weaker in some sense to your opponent's army.

All you need to do is REBUILD and this time with units that can COUNTER the enemy's troops. While this method could be an IN-GAME SELECTION, I don't see HOW it would be possible to have FULL CUSTOMIZATION DURING PLAY... That my friend would lead to Analysis-Paralysis.

OFF-LINE and/or OUT-OF-GAME, makes some sense... But I shared with you the PROBLEM with brining the wrong troops and being stuck with them during a battle you might not win because of HOW(?) you customized your units.

So maybe CUSTOMIZATION is not the GREATEST idea... Maybe offering VARIANTS IN-GAME is a better method of playing and offering variability to the players.

That's my opinion and I've presented real FACTS on how it can be real BORING or a TOTAL LOSS, if you choose the WRONG settings for your army...

Best of luck(!?) with your Board & Card Game and/or Video Game!

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

I also was working on CONNECTING "Weapons" with a "Unit" in my card game. But I too abandoned this kind of customization for reasons outside of the realm of the game itself.

My decision was based on the fact that I could NOT get AI Generated ART for "weapons". Yeah we all know what a LASER looks like. Ask an AI to generate me a LASER ... And Fnck that... Sh!t... is the end result.

So for my purposes, I got RID of the "WEAPONS" and will ONLY stick to the "Units" which I can generate ART for them. Again it's not 100%, but it's MUCH BETTER than the images for LASERS, MACHINE GUNS, MISSLES, etc. You get the idea I'm sure...

Furthermore, I decided that the game WAS and WILL BE a "Trading Card Game" (TCG).

But there were issues with how I wanted the game to SOLD. I was struggling with the 18 Card per sheet dilemma and came to the conclusion that I would MAKE my OWN Decks and Customize the Packs sold to consumers.

This leads me to think that ... Each Deck will have a STRATEGY ... But the end price would be significantly HIGHER than a normal booster pack. Why? Because with ONE (1) Pack ... You have all you need to play and there is a pre-defined Deck Strategy. Of course, OFF-LINE and OUT-OF-GAME it's a matter of figuring out what that is... And sure you can buy more than one (1) Pack but it's not like Boosters.

I'm thinking a higher price point, because of the physical effort of customizing and personalizing each DECK. Now IF you have more than one Deck and you like a certain strategy... That's where the TCG aspect comes into play:

You can TRADE several cards for a CARD to IMPROVE the SYNERGY of your DECK...!

That's why I am branding it a TRADING CARD GAME (TCG) because the purpose of customizing your DECK is from trading with other players.

So yeah, even myself, I abandoned the "Body + Weapon" concept in MY card game... Because it just didn't work for me (as explained above).


questccg's picture
Joined: 04/16/2011
Also ...

I had to RE-DESIGN the "core" of the game and figure out what are MY priorities with that TCG ... Since I got RID of "Body + Weapon" concept (which at that time I thought was very COOL and very promising), I had to re-think what was going to be the HIGH POINT of the game. Meaning what was going to be the HOOK of the game.

Much like you, I had thought that the "Body + Weapon" combination could lead to a lot of VARIATIONS and could lead to some exciting OFF-LINE customization.

But coming to the realization that I won't be able to COMPLETE and MAKE that game, I decided to re-focus the game and came up with another concept that I had suggested for another designer. What do I mean???

Well I suggested to @FrankM to think about COMBOs and how various units could interact with each other. I decided that the suggestion that I had offered for HIS game (he probably won't be using it anyhow...), I decided to apply it to my TCG and that's where I am at TODAY!

I have therefore shifted from thinking about how to CUSTOMIZE and now how to create SYNERGIES between the various units. Of course this does NOT apply to your Board & Card Game... I'm just explaining what the result and outcome was after the whole "Body + Weapon" IDEA TANKED!


X3M's picture
Joined: 10/28/2013
Several aspects, different than the RTS

Whohaaah, lots of response there!
I should addres certain aspects first.


The cost of 1300 is simply due to having nice round numbers.
I happen to know these out of my head. All numbers are powers of 2. And added up gives a number that fits an X number of times in 130.
As for multiplying it all by 10 would be due to the way of me designing the game.
1 basic health (at movement speed 2) is worth 10 in that game.

I am sure that you understand now, that the 20 value was originally like 2 health. And a simple rifleman already had roughly a 40% chance in sniping this unit. Imagine what 13 of those rifleman could do.
Now then, the modification would be 160, thus 16 health.


Most games have their units categorized like this:
Normal units are 1:1 in their stats.
Support units are 1:root("H/D-ratio").
Glass cannons are 1:"H/D-ratio".

Let's say that the ratio is 9.
The normal are 1:1, support are 1:3 and glass cannons are 1:9.

This is only my viewpoint from analysing it all.
I know that you said 1 hp for a glass cannon. It is actually roughly 1 hit for sniping it on equal value. So, a 1300 glass cannon would be a glass cannon versus a 1300 costing tank.
So, any health is possible. And players often think of the siege tank of starcraft as a glass cannon in certain situations. Just to give you an idea.


I didn't mention that players would NOT be designing their own units.

They are NOT designing the units.

I am still experimenting. And seeing this power shift. I don't think they should be designing. I will give them the options.


Your math is correct!
Just wanted to mention that.

In my bed, I thought of another way to see these numbers. In the board game the cover mechanic still holds. So, the pairs total damage and survivability also count. I meed to compare these to the original concept.
And this should show why I only adjust 1 portion of the designs.

Main objective is still having a good choice for the players.

I meed to go now. But in 12 hours (earliest) i will put the list of efficiency of the pairs.

Thus a 650-650 with a 650-650.
Compaired with for example a 50-1250 with 1250-50.


questccg's picture
Joined: 04/16/2011
OMG I got the MATH right! Hehehe. Yeah I learn too...

X3M wrote:
1. The cost of 1300 is simply due to having nice round numbers.

Okay! X number of times in 130. Still a bit weird... But anyhow...!

X3M wrote:
2. Normal 1:1, Support 1:Root("H/D-ratio)", Glass 1:"H/D-ratio".

Let's say that the ratio is 9.
The normal are 1:1, support are 1:3 and glass cannons are 1:9.

Okay! Got it...

X3M wrote:
3. I didn't mention that players would NOT be designing their own units.

They are NOT designing the units.

I am still experimenting. And seeing this power shift. I don't think they should be designing. I will give them the options.

Okay! That's good ... Because even with OFF-LINE full customization, you can still run into the "You brought the WRONG Deck to the duel" issue. Meaning you might waste time thinking you perfect your units and then when you battle an opponent, you realize all your customization vs. this opponent was WRONG.

Good. That's better... OPTIONS = GOOD, CUSTOMIZATION = BAD! We agree!

X3M wrote:
4. Your math is correct! Just wanted to mention that.

I learn from some of the stuff you post. It's not pure brain farts on my end.

X3M wrote:
Main objective is still having a good choice for the players.

Yes I agree too... The right choices should be available and that will make the game feel more OPEN too! If you have some VARIANTs and you go to BATTLE with them and the opponent just rips through them... You'll know what you need the opposite forces to counter that army and you'll have a chance to rebuild your forces and address that army (the one that ripped into your forces)...

X3M wrote:
Thus a 650-650 with a 650-650.

Compared with for example a 50-1250 with 1250-50.

I don't know if I would entertain those dualities! But anyhow feel free to express yourself and do some of that analysis. I'm not promising that we will understand everything. But at least if I have to read in diagonal, I'll do that. But I'm not sure you really WANT that. However that analysis may yield some interesting combinations too...

I can't promise we'll understand everything... But we'll try!


X3M's picture
Joined: 10/28/2013
While at work

So not asleep. But chaotic either way.

I noticed something weird.

And probably, I made some mistake somewhere in my thought process.

If you look at the 2nd option. It says 490 body, 810 weapon. And thus according to the logic, 630 for the real body:

490 x 810 < 650 x 650
630 x 810 > 650 x 650

I need to double check the RTS.

The factor should be based on some cost calculations.

I need to rework on this...

X3M's picture
Joined: 10/28/2013
Back to the drawing board...

Back to the drawing board.

Seems I made a mistake during the translation.

X3M's picture
Joined: 10/28/2013
NOT for boardgames

I just found out that the way of increasing health and/or damage. In regards to the costs of units.

AND maintaining a good balance. But also nice round figures.

Is limited to such an extend. That it is nearly impossible.

The only way is to get 50-50 units. And occasionly the simplest of support/meat designs.
Where the body ratio to weapon is 1:4 or 4:1.
Thus....skipping stuff. And designing is no fun this way.

Either way. If I use my clean calculation.
We get infinities.

If I use an average with the original cost.
We need to multiply the body AND weapon with a factor.

And if we ignore the higher value and multiply the lower value with the clean factor (which I was testing last 2 weeks). I get either over powered mid-levels. OR super support still being too weak.

The best thing to do is having the average with the original cost. Like what I luckily did for the RTS.


X3M's picture
Joined: 10/28/2013
8 )

So, why that 8??

I took a completely different route.
And started from scratch.

Not sure yet how players would react. But let me put down some ground rules.

The cost is still the body + weapon.
This time, the difference of the values is used.

Then....I divide this by 8.
It turns out that this gives the best numbers.
But we are not there yet.
The result is actually added to both the body and weapon. Simply an addition.

An example would be a rocket soldier having 30 body and 270 weapon points.
The difference is 240. Divided by 8 gives 30.
We add this 30 to both body and weapon. Resulting into 60 for the body and 300 for the weapon.
The cost remains 300.
These are very good numbers for me to work with.

Another example would be a grenadier. The goal is a cost of 150.
We take an initial value of 55 for the body and 95 for the weapon.
I know, I know.... these values look like shit.
But with the recalculations. I get to a body of 60 and weapon of 100. And these numbers are excellent as well.

As for the efficiency. Dividing by 8 gives a top of 106.7%. This is acceptable. And turns out to be linked to that one design of the grenadier.

For now, there are 2 interesting things happening that regard this method.

1. I need to make a table to see all my options for a certain goal cost. This is....ok. but perhaps I need to find a reverse engineering method. Either way. I just got a lot of options.

2. 100% glass cannons that initial have no health??? This is ok. After the modifying, I get 12.5% body points and 112.5% health points. The efficiency of a glass cannon is now 56.25%.

3. Rogue projectiles and walls will get the other portion added to the main.
Thus they are 125% now.
Not sure how well this goes in the balance. But seeing as how in my boardgame, walls are simply extra health. This should proof well.

4. I still need to check several glass cannon choices. I will come back on this, if it is succefull or a failure.

X3M's picture
Joined: 10/28/2013
No glass cannons???

Seems that I don't have glass cannons this way??

The minimal health is 1/8th of the total cost.
Changing o so slightly in this however only changes o so slightly in the damage as well...

When I looked at the option of "1" and "2" health. I was expecting a huge jump in the damage output as well.

This latter went much better in my original attempt game, a decade ago. Where walls are like a factor 2 instead of 1.25.

So....back to the drawing board?

X3M's picture
Joined: 10/28/2013
Applying the boost to damage instead?

Well then. I have a better idea.
Instead of boosting the health of glass cannons. What about actually boosting the damage instead?

The balance would remain the same. But the boost would increase visually.

However, 0 health or 0 damage units. Should not get an infinite boost on the other part.

That is where I blinded myself from other options.

So, I need to find a way to make the boost on the higher value. AND make sure there are no infinities.

Designing a weapon also has 1 more factor AND can be split into 2 or even 3 portions, thus more options.

X3M's picture
Joined: 10/28/2013
Maybe this will work

I looked at both weapon and body adjustment. But then I removed the body adjustment while applying the weapon adjustment twice.

Let's say, the adjustment is to the power of 2.
There are the ones that I know from my head.

Body points - Weapon points
650 - _650
490 - 1000
_50 - 2450
_20 - 2645

All round numbers, I could reproduce the entire table again. The top designs have close to 118% efficiency.
The last example of 20 health points has an efficiency of 12.5%. Which is a huge increase from the original 6%.

I need to keep in mind that having these units with some protection will increase their usefullness.

Still...going from 50 down to 20 health points. Only to gaine 200 more damage points is kinda silly? Then again. The teams of 2, where meat is defeated first, would show this:

Lower meat with lower glass cannon
2450 * (2450+50) + 50 * 2450 = 6,247,500
Higher meat with higher glass cannon
2645 * (2645+20) + 20 * 2645 = 7,101,825
Lower meat with higher glass cannon
2450 * (2645+50) + 20 * 2645 = 6,655,650
higher meat with lower glass cannon
2645 * (2450+20) + 50 * 2450 = 6,655,650

In the long run, the glassiest of cannons are better.
Maybe I should accept the midsection as how it is now. 18% is like almost 1/5th.

Which glass cannon would you choose?

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