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Battle mechanic using RPS and 10/3/1/ system

4 replies [Last post]
chris topher
Joined: 06/09/2010

I have a game which requires a simple but effective battle mechanic. I want some element of strategy to it but nothing too complicated as it's just a side to the game, not the whole game.

In my game each player starts off with say 9 "health" (represented by tokens/cards). As they go through the game they may encounter things which cause them to lose a health etc, but the more health they have the faster they can move. So if you have 9 health you can move 3 spaces as a time, 6 health 2 spaces, 3 just one.

Along the game it may happen that you need something that someone else has got, so you need to confront them and have a battle. I've been searching for a while now for some nice, clean effective way to have a battle using what I have in the game already rather than having to introduce other components. I already have the health component so I want to incorporate that into the battle.

A RPS mechanic is very attractive but I need to add a layer of strategy to it. So I saw an article posted in this forum (link below) about the $10/$3/$1 system and thought that I could morph that system with my health mechanic.

Let's say you have 7 health, I have 5, and we go to battle. My initial thought was having Rocks cost 1 health, Scissors cost 3 health and Paper cost 5 health....? But each time I try to imagine this happening in the game my head explodes tyring to think of peoples motives and mindset.

In the game if you lose all health you have to drop everything and go back to the start, so this is a major pain in the ass but I'm worried players will simply go all out to do all this. But then sometimes going all out is not the best situation because the other player may think you're going to do this and counter with something that requires less health.

Driving me crazy.

I'm hoping I can get some other people to enter in the discussion and shed some light on it.. will it or won't it work? Is it fundamentally flawed or holy crap amazing?

Pastor_Mora's picture
Joined: 01/05/2010
fundamentally flawed crap

chris topher wrote:
My initial thought was having Rocks cost 1 health, Scissors cost 3 health and Paper cost 5 health

I think you mean that the other way around.

But anyway, the RPS mechanic has not much strategy itself. Its more like a luck mechanic. That is maybe why each time you try to imagine this happening in your game your head explodes tyring to think of peoples motives and mindset. There is not much logic to it. Much less strategy.

1) Say you have just 4 health, now you can only choose from 2 options (paper or scisors). If you are fighting a 4-health opponent, what would you choose? LOL ;)

2) What if you just have 2 health (just paper)? You are good as dead then, eh? I'm prettty sure nobody will play you a rock!

3) Say you face off a player with 1 health (just paper) and a player with 2 health (just paper also). Boy, that could go on for a while!

If you leave me with just two choices, I'll say fundamentally flawed crap.

Keep thinking!

Taavet's picture
Joined: 08/15/2008
A combination perhaps?

Maybe just adjust the values?

Players must be able to choose either Rock, Paper or Scissors in order for it to work.

So, what if instead choosing the proper item over your opponent gives you +2, and you can wager up to 4 health with a minimum of 1? Ties go to the player with the advantage. Rock advantage over Scissors advantage over Paper advantage over Rock. You would have to limit the amount of health that could be wagered so that a 9 health player couldn't always just win over a low health play even when they don't choose the right thing. Maybe cap the battle at one plus the lower health? Where X

DARE the Vegetable
DARE the Vegetable's picture
Joined: 06/13/2010
The "cost" thing is crap

Yeah, the paying to attack is a crappy thing, for the same reason stated in previous posts. On the plus-side it would make players do the cinematic thing of fleeing out of battle, which is (in my opinion) somewhat dramatic and giggle-worthy. But even then the mechanic is still there and if your players are not "out of the box"-thinkers the option of retreating may not be so obvious to them.

If it's a real fight to the death you want, which should be the case since the players want each others items, I say switch it around. Instead of players betting their health to attack, have them choose the benefit of attack. So instead of Rock requiring 1 health, Scissors 3 health and Paper 5 health, have them deal varying ammount of damage. For example the Rock would deal 5 damage to the opponents health, the Scissors deal 3 damage and Paper deal 1 damage.

This would make the game much more offense-oriented and if so you should not have the players reset everytime they die, because that would be a lot. Maybe have them go back to square 1 but let them keep their items and upgrades (or whatever your game has got). Then have the victorious combatant take the one item from their inventory he/she wants.
Overall this makes for a more eventful and fast game, though potentially less strategic unless you introduce some other element.
Hope this'll help ya :)

richdurham's picture
Joined: 12/26/2009
I agree with the Vegetable.

I agree with the Vegetable. Let's apply a couple of Pastor_Mora's astute examples to this new formula.
(1 dmg=paper, 3 = scissors, 5 = rock)

1)Starting on the low end, with 1 health fighting another player with one health - you can still choose any option, so it's a simple RPS game, one round, to the death. Sadly, this is very luck based. RPS works as a psychological "strategy" mechanic only over a series of rounds against the same opponent.

2) What if you have 2 health, against someone with 1 health? Now your options are still full, as are your opponents - although his defense is still totally luck. He knows he dies on ANY hit, so he has no indication of what to do (although he is even LESS likely to pick paper, since he won't win outright that way).

For two players with lots of health, like 10, they could go on a few rounds and build a psychological case against the other player. Especially if a player can call a retreat with a partial loss of their goods.

Now, if players have multiple characters, and these characters have equipment that gives them one-off resistances to certain throws, or extra damage to certain throws, then you can try to position these characters to attack appropriately. Now you have Fire Emblem.

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