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Attribute movement (war games in general)

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X3M's picture
Joined: 10/28/2013

Most games have attributes to their units.

The ones that I am using are:
- Air
- Ground
- Submarine or Subterrain

But what if an unit can change in attribute during the game?
I would like to see 2 ways in my game:
- Like a submarine surfacing for 2 reasons. Being safe from deep sea mines. Being able to shoot those long ranged missiles. Then diving for 2 reasons. Being safe from any surface unit. Being able to place its own dreaded deep sea mines.
- Like a jumping mech. Easier movement on the board. Being safe from any surface unit that might stand to close to the path of movement.

How would you make this simple and fair?

john smith
Joined: 06/26/2017
Movement in wargames is

Movement in wargames is derived by the speed of unit or vehicle. By taking the scale of the map and the amount of time a turn represents, you use something likes this to get the movement in spaces for board game or inches or centimeters for miniatures games.

Battletech uses a land movement a jumping movement and aerial movement for Land Air capable mechs. Pretty simple. You just use the movement rates noted for the mode of travel you are in. Same with submarines, surface speed or submersed speed

For three dimensional space just notating the altitude our depth should be simple without added rules.
Subs: Surface depth shallow depth or deep depth
Air: Low Altitude, medium altitude or high altitude

So if sea mines can only be laid on the surface then any submarine listed as shallow or deep depth cannot be attacked by them.

A mech jumping can just be said to be aerial for its movement path that turn. The player can move "over" any ground unit in that path. Submarines can move under surface ships in same manner.

Markers can be made up to note the current altitude or depth.

X3M's picture
Joined: 10/28/2013
Well, I am not sure about

Well, I am not sure about putting a number on how deep or high an unit is. Terrain itself has height too. Units follow that and only have 1 of the 3 attributes.

A switch in attribute can be simple.
Plain, plain on ground.
Submarine under water, submarine on water.
Things like that to indicate their state.

I got the jumping idea from battletech. But never played the game. I didn't know they used a mode for that. I am starting to believe that is the only way for me. But it would be fair.

What about constant switching in attribute during a move? Should it cost speed points?

john smith
Joined: 06/26/2017
I believe switching should

I believe switching should cost movement, in reality it would cost movement or speed to do. I would think there should be some cost in making the switch for players to consider.

The Original battletech from back in the 80;s was very much a miniatures wargame with sci fi theme and used all the common wargame standards. Like any other game involving aerial and naval combat, battletech had a altitude notation for its aircraft. It also had depth notation for its submarines and mechs. The board had elevation of terrain marked on each hex. You used water to cool your mech so the depth you were at was required to be known for cooling, movement and combat purposes. Some terrain was to high to jump a mech over like a a City on a high mountain four example. These terrain elevations were noted by level and number. IE Level 2 depth.

But just using the words "Low" "medium" and "High| would work the same as battletech use of level 1,2 or 3. or Low and high and 1 or 2.

X3M's picture
Joined: 10/28/2013
If I make the change cost a

If I make the change cost a movement point. Then I can't really have 2 different speeds for the same unit.
Example, a slow infantry unit that can be fast when activating its jetpack.

So, either have the unit have the same speed in all places.
Or, have it consume separate movement points.
Maybe a mix, like having 2 on land or 6 in the air or 1 land AND 3 air. The player has to choose in that regard.

I also plan on structures that can have 2 attributes. The SAM site from c&c could be sub. And only surfaces when air is around. Its speed it technically 0.
So making the change cost a movement point. I don't know. If it doesn't change attribute, it doesn't make sense if it suddenly moves 1 place.

How about this?
Attribute change points.

Forced, for the jumper, weight 1 each.
The jumper will have 1 movement set.

Free in choice, for anything that can be in either state by the players choice, weight 2 each.
An unit can have at least 1 and use it during its move. Once the attribute changes, movement is compared to what is allowed. So if an unit could walk 2 and fly 6. It would walk 2 and fly 4 more. The other way around is fly 6, then land. But no more walking.

Perhaps allow for a 2 walk AND a fly of 6. Bringing the total on 8.
Or perhaps setting a maximum, in this case 6. Which allows for a walk of 2 after flying only 4. But that cpuld be replaced by 2 walk AND a fly of 4 with a total on 6.

Choices, choices. Gona sleep on it.

let-off studios
let-off studios's picture
Joined: 02/07/2011
Chopper Strike

john smith wrote:
For three dimensional space just notating the altitude our depth should be simple without added rules. [...] Markers can be made up to note the current altitude or depth.
One of the most novel ways I have seen altitude (or a lack thereof) noted in board games is in Milton Bradley's Chopper Strike from the mid-1970's. It was essentially checkers, but on two boards: one about 8 inches above the other. Pieces from one board could capture pieces on either board if they moved juuuuuuuust right.

I think a similar system - though unwieldy - could be used for a game where units can shift between different modes of transport. If I used Chopper Strike as an example, then it would be like having a helicopter that could freely move between the land-based board or the air-based one.

Incidentally, this was the first board game I had ever seen with custom d6's.

X3M's picture
Joined: 10/28/2013
Starting from scratch. Structures first?

Maybe I should start from scratch.

Everyone knows this iconic defence structure, right?

It pops up from the ground when air units are nearby. It is also weaker in armor at that moment.
I want something similar, but then an "untouchable" version. Thus sub terrain in that case.

I have something called "transform". Where one design can transform into another. (Siege tank, Brood war) It costs 1 AP. Making it less effective in the turn where it transformed. I never really made designs for this, so I am still unsure about extra weight costs.

Not transforming but moving into a different shape?

So basic, I want to make an alternative to "transform".
There would be a demand for extra weight.
Either by movement or alternate forms altogether.

Just like how attacks allow players to choose a weapon if the weapons allow this.
So would movement allow players to choose a body.
The weapon could change alongside with the body altogether.

Same weight rules
I am thinking about a +33% in weight for the body. Or at least a +33% with the cheapest configuration.

What I mean is that if a structure goes from sub to surface. The attribute changes. But since moving units will be having a different factor for, for example the air movement. Any other body property could be altered.
Just like how certain weapons can be chosen by the player. So would the attribute.

If the sub version costs 600 and the surface only 300 . Than the total cost would not be 900, but 700 instead.

The transformation would be movement costs.
Transforming back would be movement costs.
The weight would always be with weapon included, to prevent abuse of the rules.

This is only the "transforming" in the form of movement. If it would include real horizontal movement. Only one of the 2 forms would be allowed.

So a player would first "transform" then move. Or first move then "transform".

I don't see jumpers fitting in this profile. Since they would change twice during movement.
What would be a good rule, befitting jumpers? Fitting in the rule that I described above?

X3M's picture
Joined: 10/28/2013
Completely simple now

I should stop pondering.
And simply starting to scrap.

This is what I am going to do:

I keep transformation in. This mechanic worked fine.

For the non transformation mechanic.
I will not allow an unit to move for 2 attributes. There is a still and moving part.
If the moving part ignores objects, the weight is naturally higher.
If the moving part changes attribute, the weight also gains an extra 33%, just like how weapons have this weight.

X3M's picture
Joined: 10/28/2013
Change in attribute when attacking

I still have issue's for when an unit or structure attacks.

How would this work in the fine details?

Movement is done completely. The change in the body and movement are linked. It can even have a different armor value. It is just all about making the movement cost different than the ground state.
It can be more expensive for a safe move.
Or cheaper for a risky move, but it is cheaper.

However, changing the body while attacking gives different issue's.
My precious Sam-Site's. They could be weaker in armor when attacking. Which should make them cheaper???
But the weapon is not linked with the body that way.

So I guess that a complete unit is the body+weapon. And consider this to be the ground state. So, attacking is a ground state.
So, when the unit doesn't attack, it should receive the modification in armor and/or attribute. And thus calculated that way.

I'll give that a try.

X3M's picture
Joined: 10/28/2013
Almost done.

I think I figured it out now for the biggest part.
Thanks for all the suggestions.


The changes that an unit can have with transformation is everything. Except the basic armor value. Because these directly indicate health as well.
Durability/Agility are the only other values linked to health that can change. Because these are a die roll.
This is also true for the alternate attributes.

I don't like players to calculate how much health an unit has left.
Example is 180 and 75. The player needs to use calculators on this one for sure.

X3M's picture
Joined: 10/28/2013
(Maybe) final notes

By re-designing the weapons for the choices.
Additional weapons as choice cost more AP.
If a weapon can change in "dimension" by choice, then the costs are increased by 50%. But there will be no additional damage, no other changes, and no additional AP.

The same can be done for movement.
Agility or Durability change can be applied on standing still versus movement.
Armor cannot be changed.
Being able to move through certain terrain can be changed.
Being able to move through another "dimension" can be changed. But no extra costs here.
If moving through another "dimension" by choice is allowed. Then the same is sort of applied as with the weapon choice. Both choices need to be worth exactly the same. The total cost is only 50% increase here.
So it will be durability/agility versus movement through certain terrain.


The type of units/structures that are able to "pop-up". Are not possible in a passive way.
However, I am allowing the transformation to be "free" of turn if used in combination with something else.

The transformation is only done after all other reactions are done (with exception of a counter transformation). And the transformation will not be automatically be undone. This means that after transforming and doing the attack. The unit/structure will remain "weaker" for the time being. Until the player is able to transform again.


The second transformation will cost more AP. The sequence goes as following:

Turn 1 (A is in turn)
Player A performs transformation. +1 AP.
Player A performs an immediate attack. 1 AP.

Turn 2 (B is in turn)
Player A is weaker for the time being.
Player B performs something.
Player A performs transformation again. Old AP is 2. Transformation is +1 AP. Thus this would cost 3 AP.

After 2 turns, the total AP would be 5. I don't like this. Perhaps simply removing the old AP from this transformation? In the meanwhile, player A is still allowed to perform another action that will pay the old AP if present. Then it would be 3 for the same squad. Or only 1 for the same squad while another squad pays its own AP.

X3M's picture
Joined: 10/28/2013
Quantum mechanics; walls ATTACK!!

Long post ahead, sorry. But I leave it here for my own administration :)


There is one thing left: Pop up units/structures.
As a passive ability?

I got the suggestion of looking at walls. And what they can do during an attack.

Since walls need to be part of a squad that forms its own cover formation. It also does so when attacking.

In a sense, walls actively attack.


To see if a passive change is also possible during an attack. I simply need to consider 2 possibilities.

The unit/structure is attacking.
The unit/structure is not attacking.

When the unit/structure is attacking, it will use its weapon. Or both body and weapon.
When the unit/structure is not attacking, it will use only its body.

Only when the unit/structure is attacking, it can have a changing body.
As you can see, the reason for a weapon are both in the attack.

So there can be a difference in the body. But never ever in the weapon.

Costs are calculated by body + weapon.
In case of the walls, we only have the body for the costs.


I guess that both versions need to be calculated. Then take the average cost. And the only thing that can change are the statistics of the body:
Durability/Agility, Speed, Propulsion and Attribute.

I must pretend that walls can have a change in all 4 of them.

Is a clear reason to change. Kinda like; shields up/shields down.

Used during a movement. So if a wall is part of an attack and move action at the same time, it can actually move? It costs at least 3 AP.
There are jumper versions of walls that have very cheap movement by a weak durability. And when being still, it is back to its normal durability. This costs 1 AP. But afterwards, it will pay more AP during the same round if it has to be part of a bigger squad.

-Propulsion, maybe the walls can be carried over water. But this aspect is that of a jumper. So a pop up and jumper in one is the only option for propulsion to change.

-Attribute, maybe the walls are thrown in the air or something weird like that. Again, an aspect of a jumper.


I start by considering a wall. It does 0 damage. But...this wall will attack.

Costs = Body + Weapon. But in this case, only a Body.
Let us assume, it normally has a durability of 4 (6/4=150%) and an armor value of 100, the speed=0 has factor 0,6, it costs 90.

A normal wall costs 90 and has the same body if it doesn't attack or does attack.

Let us assume, that the durability can change by attacking an opponent.
A weaker version has durability of 6 (6/6=100%). The wall costs 60.
A stronger version has durability of 1 (6/1=600%). The wall costs 360.

Version A has;
Body 90 and Body 60. Average 75.
Version B has;
Body 90 and Body 360. Average 225.

"Attacking" costs an Action Point. The player has only 7.
There is depletion possible before others have their AP depleted.

Version A does worse when spending the Action Point. Why spend it? The only reason is that it cannot actively protect any other unit that attacks from that same spot, without spending it. It is cheaper, and more of an object that blocks enemy movement. Which gives me the idea of walls that can only block movement. But cannot be used well in an attack or defence. The most extreme would truly be 50% of the costs of a normal wall.

Version B is clearly stronger when spending an AP on it. It could actively defend itself by attacking back. And thus raise its shields. If the player decides to not spend an AP on it. It is a sitting duck. In a way, these too can be almost 50% off, compared to normal walls. That would be version C.

Version C has durability 6 and active durability 1.
Costs are 60 and 360. The average is 210. Which is 58% that of it's maximum.

Getting somewhere this time.

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