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Tower defence – The base mechanics, how I am doing it.

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hzfreelancer's picture
Joined: 07/19/2013
Tower Defence Rondel
White Attacker Stats
Tower Defence setup

Introduction (This is a long post)

The time of Tower Defence (TD) boardgames seems to be upon us. The number of “TD” games that being announced at the moment seems a little ridicules and a good number of them don’t fit my personal definition of TD. So, below is my take on the genre converted to a board game. There is a good reason why TD is done on a computer. Many parts of the game become seamless because the player does not need to do the accounting in the game. In a board game all those things that the computer is so good at doing for you need to be done manually by the players. Everyone knows that accounting sucks fun out of games and so there are some significant issues in that respect to overcome. Eventually, I settled on a couple of games that I could combine to make a competitive Tower Defence game.

For a full design history check out my BGG blog

Game Mechanics

It is tricky to pick the name of the game mechanics but I will give it a shot.
Deck building
Point to point movement
Simultaneous play
Other tower defence type stuff that doesn’t fall into a category

The Game as it stands

At the moment the current point of the game is to be the last man standing which introduces a player elimination problem (developing a point system to overcome this). The current flow of the game goes:

1. Attackers Spawn
2. Attackers Move
3. Towers Fire

The game is broken up in to 12 rounds for every cycle and every 6 rounds there is a buy phase and every 12 rounds there is an income phase, as shown on the rondel (see attachments).

There are six different gem types (blue, purple, orange, yellow, green and red) and the rounds on which their colour shows up are the rounds those gems activate/shoot. So red gems only fire on rounds 3, 6, 9 and 12.

At the beginning of each round players flip over the number of cards from their deck as indicated by the player draw track. If a card says blank then that card does nothing (this is a good thing) if the card has a colour on it, then an attacker of that colour spawns at the start space of your track. After this all the monster/attackers move forward, according to their move speed. Damage is tracked the same way as Castle Panic.

At the current time there are 5 different colour attackers: white, blue, green, yellow and red. Each attacker has 4 attributes: life, speed, damage and mana. In most cases each attribute for each attacker can be upgraded. You can upgrade the life, speed and damage attributes of the attackers that the other players are drawing and the mana of the attackers that you are drawing. You can see an example of attacker stats in the attachments.

Life: When attackers spawn they spawn with the amount of life listed. The first number is the default value and the second is the upgraded value.

Speed: When attackers move they move the number of squares shown. They move the first number normally and the second number when upgraded.

Damage: When an attacker makes it to the “End” space. The you loose the number of lives shown. The first number normally and the second number when upgraded.

Mana: When an attacker is killed it goes to your trophy stockpile. During the buy phase each attacker is worth the amount shown on its card and can only be used to buy cards and for upgrading attackers. Any shortfall can be made up with mana but there is no change given. The attackers are worth the first number normally and the second number when upgraded.

Rounds: This is a relic mechanic, once used for spawning but now replaced with the much better card draw. I need to update the cards...

Gems and Towers
Towers by themselves do nothing. They need to be filled with a gem. The rondell above shows six different gem colours. Each colour has its own specialty:

-Blue generates mana every buy phase
-Purple is knockback (not slow as that would require more tokens, accounting, etc)
-Orange is longe range
-Yellow is damage
-Green is chain hit (not in the same space)
-Red is splash

Each gem type has three levels with each level increasing at least one of damage, range or specialty. There is also the possibility of having towers with a secondary gem that adds its specialty to the primary gem.

Range is worked on a square radius, or diagonals are counted as only one space away.

Buy Phases

You collect mana from blue towers the starting with the player with the most lives (incase of a tie, most mana. If still tied, the most, in number, trophies) you buy cards, towers, gems, upgrades, etc. When you buy attacker cards for other players you move along the income track. Every four spaces increases the amount of income you earn in the income phase by 50 mana.

The Setup

See the attached picture to match numbers. The picture was taken near the beginning of a game.

1. Gem, mana (Monopoly money), tower and attacker stockpiles
2. Attacker card stockpiles. Like Dominion the number in each is adjusted for the number of players.
3. Attacker stats. Each player has their own.
4. Life track and trophies. Each player has his own.
5. Gem stat player aid
6. Draw and discard pile
7. Tower cost, income and card draw track (in this picture you can pay to increase the draw rate of other players, but I am playing with this mechanic a bit at the moment).
8. Player track. There are a few white monsters about to do some damage.
9. Left over mana, ready for the next buy phase.

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