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2 Player War-Game Combat Mechanics

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Jerry
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I am working on a good old fashioned war game, and have finished making most of the first prototype. The board is modular, and is 24"x25" large. It has terrain built in. (Grasslands, Forests, Water)

Given most war-games have combat based around random die rolls (ie: Axis and Allies, Risk) I am trying to come up with a way to have combat be a little more strategic, and less random.

Currently my idea is that different units can shoot a certain distance. At half of their max distance, they get an automatic kill. At greater than half, they roll for a 50% chance of hitting. (Using a D6)

Quick overview of units in the game and their shooting distance. First number is move distance in spaces, second number is shoot distance in spaces.
- Infantry = 1-2.
- Transport Truck = 4-0 (Can't fight)
- Tank = 3-4
- Armoured Car = 5-2
- Attack Plane = 8-0 (Must be "on top" of enemy unit)
- Artillery = 0-8 (Area of effect attack around targeted space)
- Mine = 0,0 (Any unit on top is instantly destroyed)

Each unit is depicted by a chit. Each chit has a arrow beside the unit picture depicting which way is forward facing for the unit. That unit can only fire forwards from the space it is in.

Players will take turns moving their units around. Combat will be resolved as units move into range of each other. The player who moved the unit will have the opportunity to shoot first. If they miss, the unit that was shot at may return fire if they are in range.

A player may choose to move across an enemy unit's field of fire without attacking, but that player may choose to fire if they wish.

That is my current idea for basic combat. I'd love to hear ideas and suggestions from anyone who wants to chime in.

X3M
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The Mines!

I had a lot of fun regulating the effects of them in my game.
It all worked out in the end.

I am curious how you see them work.
Do they work?

pelle
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Other than making close range

Other than making close range fire 100% hit this sound like fairly typical simple tactical wargame rules. Just playtest and see how it works out. Try other values than 100 and see if players like that better or worse. It is very difficult for someone here to comment without having played or even seen more o map layout and victory conditions etc.

Daggaz
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With such hard probability

With such hard probability cuts (you go from no chance to kill, to 50%, to 100% with only three steps), you will really force some emergent behavior, and this may or may not be good for your game. It all depends on the other mechanics.

For example, it is already clearly optimal to have units with large range. In fact, it is game-breakingly optimal.. the decision is a no-brainer, so without mitigating factors, all you will see in blind play-testing is production of the longest range units and not much of anything else.

Another behavior that could easily come about is that, ironically, players will avoid each other. Even tho they are incentivised to attack with your rules, if they are already using the same units, they will have the same range, and this means that an attacking player would have to come into range [i]on the previous turn[/i] and so of course the other play is going to be the one to make the attack and not player 1. Nobody wants to put themselves in this position (especially facing such bad odds of the enemy going to shoot first with 50% chance of an outright kill), so they will jockey for defensive positions that will equilibrate in a stalemate, unless something else forces them to move in (or alters the situation).

So one thing you can do is soften the probability distributions, but then you are moving back towards axis and allies etc. Another thing you can do is include randomness in the form of hidden variables, ie give the players unknown boosting abilities (preferably limited in nature) or hide the unit types somehow using a fog of war mechanic, so that the players dont know exactly what they are facing until it they have engaged in battle.

OR you can keep your system, but ensure that you have a lot of interesting, but simple, overlapping mechanics that ensure a rich emergent gameplay. Chess does this.

john smith
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I recommend reading works by

I recommend reading works by Lionel Tarr, Donald Featherstone, Charles Grant, H.G. Wells, Bruce Quarrie, and Neil Thomas. All are early pioneers and have introductory books with great idea's that might help answer questions and bring inspiration. These books are old, but that should not be a deterrent from them nor commentary on their value. They are still the foundational basics of both minis and board war-games.

X3M
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Daggaz has a point there. Do

Daggaz has a point there.

Do you have visual obstruction? How about having the numbers again a long ranged individual?
How do all those compare?
Direction seems important. Does that mean that you plan players to attack from multiple sides?

I know some math to get closer to balance. And then you can work from there. But it depends on how you are planning to distribute the designs of the pieces per army.

pelle
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john smith wrote:I recommend

john smith wrote:
I recommend reading works by Lionel Tarr, Donald Featherstone, Charles Grant, H.G. Wells, Bruce Quarrie, and Neil Thomas. All are early pioneers and have introductory books with great idea's that might help answer questions and bring inspiration. These books are old, but that should not be a deterrent from them nor commentary on their value. They are still the foundational basics of both minis and board war-games.

I also thought of old games when I read OP's description of the game. Even older games than Wells even. There was a late 19th century British miniatures game called Polemos. Played on a square grid without randomness (but third edition 1891 added some fog of war hidden movement), with units firing different distances. I thought of it because I played it reasonably recently (a few months ago) in a simple boardgames version I made. And there was a Dutch war-game published ca 1819 that was almost 100 % deterministic but the designer added a few die-rolls for some special cases (not entirely different from Small World). I really love reading about (and playing) very old games and seeing how many problems (and solutions) remain the same.

Long discussion on bgg: https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1195045/old-wargameskriegsspiels/page/1

For practical purposes to solve specific problems it might be better to just pick up some modern light war-games and try out games with different mechanics to see what OP likes or not, instead of reinventing too many wheels. Not that not everyone interested in anything wargame-like ought to read at least Well's Little Wars. He was a fantastic writer and even if the game is a bit strange the rulebook is well worth reading.

john smith
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IDK, the idea of some sort of

IDK, the idea of some sort of evolution in our minds thinking is bizarre to me. Wells did the match boxes' for Double blind,and it worked. It eliminated the need for a judge. That was in the 19- teens. Yet today many sill claim you can't achieve this without a 3rd party. Then Featherstone wrote about the matchboxes in the 1950's. Many call it a innovation and credit Featherstone with the idea. There was no evolution in thought there. www.professionalwargaming.co.uk/Complete-Wargames-Handbook-Dunnigan.pdf. In it he mentions "plagiarize plagiarize plagiarize" NOT in the legal sense. Only that we end up being influenced by others work. There is only so many ways to accomplish some tasks.

So it was with the very thought of not having to reinvent the wheel that I recommend those books.

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