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Changing a fundamental mechanic

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X3M's picture
Joined: 10/28/2013

I would like to change a certain mechanic that has been bothering me for 5 years now. It is a relatively "unused" mechanic until now. Well, since it bothers me so much. I didn't use it much.
I also would like to mention that this post might be a bit vague.

Regarding a wargame (that has been mentioned before here). Where the normal weapons have a continuous range of damage. The first 3 weapons as example in a 5 types of armor game.

The lightest weapons have a relatively effect:
1 - 1/2 - 1/3 - 1/4 - 1/5 etc.
Followed by:
1/2 - 1 - 2/3 - 2/4 - 2/5 etc.
A medium weapon would be:
1/3 - 2/3 - 1 - 3/4 - 3/5 etc.

It is a perfect balance once you write out all the effects. And can be expanded into an infinity number of different weapons and armor.
I will call this part A.

Of course we have air units and underground/underwater units. To reach them, it is a simple yes or no to the weapon. The weapon can only reach 1 dimension in a sense.
There are solid rules for when an unit can reach more dimensions. Since the dimensions are limited.
But it is also noteworthy that there are again just as much weapons against a certain dimension than there are different dimensions. Also a perfect balance.
This is what I call part B.

However, the mechanic that doesn't fit in. Is one that takes place in part A, yet as if it is part B. Meaning, it is a yes or no, against just 1 armor type.
The special weapons part.
We have dog bites/ snipers/ bunker busters/ etc.
For example, a dog bite would only hit infantry. For this the weapon total effect is smaller then other weapons.
But with a game expanding as if it is MtG. A limited weapon quickly becomes imbalanced and obsolete.

To give an idea of how the weapon decreases relatively in effects, compared to the standard arsenal:
1 type: 100%
2 types: 75%
3 types: 61% (current)
4 types: 52%
5 types: 46%
6 types: 41% (dune variant)

That was for anti infantry. Other types have other percentages too.

I could go to infinity. But that creates great imbalance. For now I had the rule, that a special weapon would be worth only 50%. Meaning, a anti infantry weapon that is special, is twice as strong.
I have 3 types in the very first game. This means that a special weapon overall is 61% above 50%. Even with 4 types, there is still no problem. However, with 5 types or beyond. It is sure that the special weapons are not going to be used at all. Especially if it is a yes/no situation. Where with each additional type gives an extra "no". This from a discrete playing point of view.

[ I also got a complete list of balancing rules for myself regarding this. Just to make sure my game keeps balanced for a long time. But I just know it is going to crumble. ]

How to solve this?
There are 5 possible solutions.

1 - Should I change the rules regarding special weapons?
Some sort of an infinite list again, but less damage when further of the target armor? But what about something that really has a yes or no type like a dog bite? A dog bite can't do 1 damage against a vehicle, let alone a tank.

2 - Should I rebalance the costs of units with special weapons? When expanding the game? Simply saying, in this game, the unit now costs ... due to 60 % effect, another only 40% effect.
This would result in a lot of changes over time. Not to mention, the number of units in one group would increase. Thus they need to be included. On the other hand, the different effects between the different special weapons can now be treated separately.

3 - Drop the special weaponry and add an extra factor against new types of armor? This for all weapons.
Now I only have a number 1 for infantry, 9 for certain vehicles, 36 for certain tanks etc. But then also implementing organic/mechanic, small/large etc.
That doesn't feel right since there might be more mechanics then organics in the game. Which is again an imbalance. The number of units of a certain type is limited to keep the balance going as well. So saying that a player can build more of a certain unit is out of the question.

4 - Of course, the last solution is simply to swallow this imbalance. I still have the option of combining a special part to the basic part. Thus a dog bite remains 100% special. But a sniper or bunker buster has a part normal with a part special. But then again, I feel like they are weaker in comparison to normal units.

5 - 5th option is to completely dropping the special weaponry. No dog bites. No bunker busters. And the sniper simply is as he is right now. Super effective against walls of wooden fences and barracks. Which makes no sense :). Unless the story is, the barracks die when the instructors inside die. And the sniper has a burn effect due to impact. There is also a situation that snipers beat a single tank. -.-

So, what would you suggest me to do? Something completely of the bat is also welcome. Who knows, one of you might have a brilliant idea for me.

DifferentName's picture
Joined: 09/08/2013
Fun > Math

Some of what you said went over my head, maybe because I don't really play war board games, but as far as game design goes, I don't recommend going for a mathematically perfect balance. Special units with unique abilities add a lot of fun and variety. You still want to make sure they're not too weak or powerful, but you can do this through playtesting, not by doing math to infinity.

It sounds like you're trying to make the math of a dog match up with the math of a sniper, because they're both special units. But they work in much different ways, like their speed and range. Having big differences between the special units is what makes them so fun, and opens up interesting tactical options.

X3M's picture
Joined: 10/28/2013
Fun > Math, that is true.

Fun > Math, that is true.
However, math needs to be as high as possible too, to get fun high enough. The math is my job.

What you are mentioning has been taken in account from the start. The difference in speed, range, durability/agility and accuracy do not affect the issue. And in general, there is one formula that works for several expands.

The reason that I am posting this, is because the fun is decreasing when using the special weapons. Playtesters say that they feel a certain unit is to powerfull or to weak.
I want every unit to be useful, no matter what version.
With 2 types, the special weapons are over powered and the only ones staged, on the field, once the players notice this power.
With 3 types, there is a good balance. Players try out any thing. And any thing works well. So they keep using any thing.
However, the game is designed to expand to 4 types or beyond. But then the special weapons are weaker. Clearly after adding a fourth type, the special weapons are gone. No one likes to use them because they don't really add to the game from this point.

It is truely only the damage output of these weapons. Not the range, nor the speed, or any other factor. That has influence on the game. I did do one other play test with the damage being about 3 times higher while having 4 types. Results are some what of a balance in the use of units.

Off screen, I had one other suggestion from a buddy. Mathematical speaking, still not a solution. But a good target. Of course with viewing the play tests.

Option 6 - When using a number of types in the game. Any special weapon can have an extra factor. Thus all costing the same. You simple do double or tripple ammount of damage. Depending if we are facing 2 or 3 types.
Although a type could have any number. So I need to see how much this affects the math.

larienna's picture
Joined: 07/28/2008
I am trying to figure out how

I am trying to figure out how your system works but actually have no clue.

Could you post 2-3 sample units with their stats and some skirmish example between those units. Indicate which stats is used with which die roll and how the computation works.

The Chaz
The Chaz's picture
Joined: 11/20/2012

a) The math needs to be behind the scenes. Yes, it is a ton of (essential) work, but the development and balance should be as invisible as possible. Just let the game play without a bunch of references, tables, charts, and looking up rules.

b) Echoing the sentiment that this question is not clear in the least (!)... It sounds like we have unit types that are weak/strong against weapon types, regular x-y range, and then altitude (z). Most weapons can only fire +/- 1 z. If that's the case, then the altitude is a lot like that of Canvas Eagles.

Joined: 07/03/2013

Although I read your post, I am just as clueless as the above. However, let me share what I learned from the Kobold Guide to Game Design.

In MtG, we find that some cards are just downright better than others, whether they're cheaper to play or they come with an added ability. This means that a pro gamer would eschew the one over the other. Most of the time.

However, for a player that is going to use a lot of that type of card, having two with similar benefits is great: they can have more available to them!

The math needn't be perfectly balanced for the game to be as fun or popular as MtG. I suppose that's what I'm getting at here.

Now, to try to solve the problem:

Having played RtS games for a great portion of my childhood, I noticed a pattern: most games utilize a rock-paper-scissors approach to specialization. Take Age of Mythology for instance: you have pikemen, cavalry, and archers, essentially. The pikemen beat cavalry, the cavalry beat archers, and the archers beat pikemen. You don't need a review of how that works. Most troops deal a fair amount of damage to any target, but get a bonus to a specific unit type. But then you get the counter units, which deal less damage to any unit overall, but did immense amounts to the right unit type. They still cost the same amount to build, but they got a 5x bonus to damage against the ideal target, making them super awesome when deployed correctly.

Starcraft 1 handles things differently. They have unit sizes, small, medium, and large, with guns that are small, medium, or large. When calculating damage, large guns dealt smaller damage to smaller targets, but against a big target, the damage was immense. In that way, they were able to classify all units, regardless of the sheer number of strange alien creations in existence. When it comes to cost, often it was decided by unit type rather than damage. Let's face it, a massive hulk with a lot of health can be saved a lot for use against the proper enemy a lot easier than a glass cannon.

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

Another method that comes to mind is a technique I recall (perhaps incorrectly) from the old Marvel Super Heroes RPG.

Long story short, there was a matrix comprised of -on one axis- different classes of effectiveness, and -on the other axis- a chance of hitting. The chance of hitting was subdivided into up to five different possibilities: definite miss, low level hit, adequate/mid-range hit, critical hit, or devastating hit/kill result.

With this matrix, you could do the following:
- classify the strength/armour of different targets
- classify the strength of a particular attack
- determine the chance of success for a particular weapon/attack strength versus a target of variable strength

In that system, a weapon's range could also be determined. For example, Class A weapons would be for close combat only. A slingshot would have Range B. A common rifle would have class E or so range. A missile that can accurately hit targets miles away would have Class T range, or what in MSHRPG terms would be an abstract term, something called "Shift-0" or "Shift-X." I can't remember exactly, but I hope you understand my point.

Area of effect is also accounted for with this system. For example, within Range A a firecracker has Damage Class F, but at range D it has Damage Class B.

Outcomes were determined with a %dice roll.

For example, take a combat knife. Say it has an attack class of A. Class A weapons will only result in hits against certain types of targets: class A, B, or C. When up against a target with any of these classes of armour (like an attack dog, infantry, or even wood objects) it may hit and cause damage. However, when something has Class D or above armour or hardness (steel plating, concrete blocks, etc.) there would be limited or no effect of a combat knife versus that target.

Then you can look at something like a rocket-propelled grenade. It would have Class F capability, which can hit and damage targets with armour/hardness ranging from A all the way to H. Also, since the range of damage is so great, those of armour/hardness levels of A, B, C, and D will very likely suffer catastrophic damage/kill results very easily when a direct hit is concerned.

Might something like this work? I can imagine an attack table could be used as a reference, answering many of your questions.

larienna's picture
Joined: 07/28/2008
Quote:The math needn't be

The math needn't be perfectly balanced for the game to be as fun or popular as MtG. I suppose that's what I'm getting at here.

One of christopher alexander's rule (Roughness) state that imperfection is more elegant than perfection.

My idea is that is you can balance unit stats mathematically and give a special ability to each unit which are roughly balanced, and Your game will be balanced. Do not balance stats aganist special abilities.


Now I am talking in the void since I don't really know what it the problem.

When I played Dai Senryaku Video game, each vehicle had a list of weapons which had various properties. Some could attack ground, sea, air or submarines.

There were categories of units:


For each unit type, each weapon had an efficiency value in percentage and each weapon had a firepower value ranging from 1 to 5.

So you could know that for example, a tank cannon, was more efficient to hit VS vehicle and had a stronger firepower (more damage). But the machine gun equiped on the same tank was more efficient versus infantry but had a lower firepower.

I hope that information could help you.

X3M's picture
Joined: 10/28/2013
Wow, a lot of replies. Thanks.

Obvious the question was to hard since there is almost no back ground explained. I am bad at that sort of thing. Sorry for that.

I tried to keep it fundamental to the damage value's only. I guess, I should rephrase it first.


-I am looking for the best way to apply special weaponry in my game.
-I would like to see these special weapons used just as much as normal weapons.
-My normal weapons already have a RPS effect. I guess special weapons should have a very sharp version of this RPS effect.
-Range/Speed/other modifications have notching to do with this problem.

@ ruy343
Yes, MtG has imbalances. Even though a lot of people like the game. In my region, it is... ehm, gone? This due to the imbalanced fact. Where I am from, people stopped liking the game. And the shop closed the doors.

Regarding the RTS games. I do have the RPS system already in place. I was just looking for a way to implement special weapons.
The one you described is very familiar with me. However, in a game that gets expanded constantly, a bonus versus target disappears into the background. Eventually a player has better options in countering certain units by using normal weapons instead of the special.
It is that problem too that I am facing.

Players don't use the special weapons when I provide them with plenty of choices.

Ok, the damage values that I use in a simple way:
This is an example of the first game.

anti infantry is 1
anti vehicle is 9
anti tank is 36

The corresponding armor is also 1, 9 and 36.
The health is simply 3 times the armor count, 3, 27 and 108.
The lowest value counts when comparing damage and armor. Thus resulting in:
anti infantry against the 3 armor gives 1, 1 and 1
anti vehicle against the 3 armor gives 1, 9 and 9
anti tank against the 3 armor gives 1, 9 and 36

The costs of these weapons are 50, 150 and 300.
In other words, a player often has 6 anti infantry, 2 anti vehicle and 1 anti tank weapon.

When you shoot a tank with anti infantry, you only do 1 damage. You need 108 shots. But regarding the costs of this weapon, thus using 6 rifles. You need only 18 rounds.

When you shoot infantry with an anti tank weapon, you once again only do 1 damage. You only need 3 shots. But with the costs of the armor of infantry, the opponent has 6 of them. Thus you need 18 rounds again for defeating them all.

If you have your weapon exactly on target, it is 3 shots and 3 rounds.

The special weapons are not added yet.
I guess a special anti infantry weapon has 2 times 1, 0 and 0
A special anti vehicle weapon has 2 times 0, 9 and 0
And a special anti tank weapon has 2 times 0, 0 and 36

The bonus of x5 that you mentioned. I have x2 with the current design as you can see.

With the special weapons you only need 1,5 rounds. Or an infinite.

Special weapons are worth the while since a dead squad can't harm you. So if it dies twice as fast, it only returns half of the intended damage.
However, not being able to harm other types. It results in using them only when the situation arises (2 types, 1/2nd of the time, 3 types 1/3th of the time.)
When we add more and more types, these situations become less and less.

@ let-off studios
The table that you mention. I used that before. But looking up on a table caused a lot of trouble. Thus I devised the mechanic as described above in this post. 2 numbers, a damage value and an armor value. The lowest is the true damage.

But I think that you have a point in there. I guess you mean that a special weapon will be having a list of damage values on its own. Thus perhaps I should think of that and then simplify it?

@ Larienna
Regarding your second post.
The special weapons are not special abilities. With special I mean that they do extra damage against one type compared to normal weapons.

@ Larienna
Regarding your first post.
I can post some simple battles if you like.
However, I hope you are satisfied if I only post the numbers regarding outcomes?
Or would you rather see the complete process of a beginners battle? And what actions they take?

I think the last.


---> For any one else. This is a very long section. Only worth reading if you are interested. But it has less to do with the problem.

1 round battles to give a general idea.
Where one is slow
and one is fast.
And one is very fast.

Since they are very basic, there seems to be a lot of useless randomness at first glance. More advanced battles are supplied with event cards. In those you have a bigger impact with a smaller amount of randomness.

The stories are that both armies are standing right next to each other. There is no movement possible. There are no terrain influences. In those cases, the shortest range actually shoots first. Normally, you attack someone from a distance.

Example 1
***18 Rifle Infantry and 12 Grenadiers against 6 Battle Tanks***

Only the statistics that are worth mentioning for this example:
Rifle Infantry has
1 damage
1 armor
3 Health
2 Range

Grenadier has
9 damage
1 armor
3 Health
1 Range
And has a durability of 6/4th. Thus an extra dice roll for determining a hit on a grenadier. 4 or less is still a hit.
And has an accuracy of 3/6th. Thus an extra dice roll for determining a hit on an opponent. 3 or less is still a hit.

Battle Tank has
36 damage
36 armor
108 Health
2 Range

Note worthy is
that the Battle Tank actually only does 1 damage against any infantry unit.
The shortest Range goes first when fighting in range.
The infantry player places the rifle infantry in front of the grenadiers. The rifle infantry serve as meat shield. The grenadiers are still in range to add to the fight.

Only 1 round.
Grenadiers shoot first. There are 12 of them. 12 dice are used to see how many hit. First the accuracy round: 532534653253 is thrown. 3 or lower will remain.
6 dice remain.
Now a normal miss/hit/critical hit roll is applied.
1 or 2 is a miss, 3 or 4 is a hit and 5 or 6 gives a double hit.
254235 is thrown. The number of hits remains 6.
The damage is 9 for each Grenadier. Thus the total damage is 6 x 9 = 54 damage on a Battle Tank. 54 health remains on this Battle Tank.

The rifle infantry and the Battle Tanks may shoot. This goes simultaneously.
Both only have the M/H/CH throw.
18 rifle infantry throw 18 dice: 262626352213413145; 15 hits.
6 Battle Tanks throw 6 dice: 344251; 5 hits.

The Battle Tank obviously only has an extra 15 damage. 39 health remains.
A total of 5 damage against the rifle infantry means that 1 will die and another one has 1 health remaining.

Example 2
*** 24 Grenadiers against 8 Grazers (Humm-Vee/Ranger hybrid) ***
Grazer has
1 damage
3 multiplier (3 shots a round)
9 armor
27 Health
2 Range

Noteworthy is that a grazer normally crosses around on the map.

Only 1 round.
Grenadiers go first.
24 dice. Accuracy first, 3 or lower is a hit:
26151164; 10 hits.
MHCH roll: 1636325623; 11 hits.
11 x 9 is 99 damage. With only 27 health. 3 Grazers die and 1 is heavy damaged. 9 Health remains on that one.
Still, 5 are remaining.

Its their turn now.
5 Grazers with 3 bullets each is 15 bullets.
This time the durability of the grenadiers has to be taken into account. 4 or lower is a hit.
36161; 10 hits
MHCH roll: 6164543636; 14 hits now!
With only 3 health each. 4 Grenadiers bit the dust. One remains with 1 health.
Overall, the Grenadiers did a better job. But a good reminder is that the Grazers could actually out range the Grenadier in general. The Rifle Infantry often pose a bigger threat.

Example 3
*** Just 1 Rocket Launcher against 1 Rocket Launcher ***
The Rocket Launcher has
36 damage
2 multiplier (2 shots a round)
36 armor
108 Health
6 Range
And has an accuracy of 5/6th. Thus an extra dice roll for determining a hit on an opponent. 5 or less is still a hit.

Both players go at the same time now.
First an accuracy throw:
A throws 31; 2 hits
B throws 65; 1 hit
Now the MHCH throw:
A throws 46; 4 hits!
B throws 2; 0 hits!

A wins without even dying. B dies completely.


Now, regarding the special damages in these examples. Especially the first one. You can tell that if each unit would have a yes or now effect. The grenadiers are worth the least in the first example, yet the most in the second. In the first they would do 0 damage, in the second they would kill of 7 out of 8 grazers.

It is balanced. But imagine that the first example occurs more and more. While the second one occurs less and less. While the game is expanded with more choices of units.
In a way, I should turn that 7 into a 8 dead grazers. But only if the game is bigger.

DifferentName's picture
Joined: 09/08/2013
Big Numbers

Those are very big numbers for a board game. 18 attacks to destroy one thing seems like an incredibly long time. How do you keep track of all that damage?

larienna's picture
Joined: 07/28/2008
Simple question, is it for a

Simple question, is it for a board game or a video game, because I doubt you could use such system in a board game.

Reminds me of Traveller where you needed to roll 1D20 for each bullet shot by your machine gun each round.

X3M's picture
Joined: 10/28/2013
this game is still mainly a hobby

Players actually like it. I know that a fodder squad uses a lot of dice while there is not much random any more. But small difference are still a kill or not. 11 or 12 means 3 or 4 dead. In the long run, this small luck grows.


The damage is focused on one unit at a time (in the front line). Once an unit dies. It is gone. And the remaining damage goes to the next unit.

1 unit remains damaged. But this damage is written on my miniature "whiteboard" pieces. Just as big as the unit. And placed on top. The next round this unit can hide behind others. But when one of the players has the right event card, this unit quickly bites the dust too. The big units are often the smallest pile or cards, but have the most whiteboard pieces after a couple of battles.

18 is indeed long, but that is bad pitting. It is still allowed though. The fast one is 3. With 1/3th of your army destroyed: It goes very fast. I noticed how players await for the right event cards to have a good fight. Only then they move in. So the game progresses fast until that time arives.

Further, that 3 and that 18 is based on a squad worth 600. Most squads are worth 3600. Thus we have a 6 times faster result if it comes to death count. 2 dead/round to 3 rounds needed to destroy one thing.

Players often target the right regions. Only chokepoints show the slow pace. The fastest wars are the "specialists" against "specialists". A squad of snipers against snipers. Or as above the rocket launchers against rocket launcher, often result in one party dying completely.

Unless..., the specialist does 0 damage to a certain unit. I am still troubled by that.


I did some mathematical research to special weapons. My buddy suggested creating a formula for players to use on before hand. Just like how I am mapping the problem.

I am posting this here since he might read it as well.

I don't know yet how to make the rule understandable for new players. It is dependable on the types that are going to be used. So I will be needing to create a "simple" formula for the players to use. Will that do? I don't know.

Saying that for each type, the extra factor is one higher will only result in overkill.

- Players need to know which weapon will be relatively the weakest. (The one with the lowest or highest value)
- Then they need to calculate the average "relative" damage.
- Then it is 1 divided by this average damage.

If a weapon is special. The relatively damage will be multiplied with an extra factor. With one type, the factor is obviously 1.
And with the types 1, 9 and 36. I will be getting 2, since the average damage of the weakest weapon is 0.5.

- There will be a lot of rounding. Preferably upwards. This poses a problem again. Especially the medival variants where we have little differences in types. 16 and 25 for example. The factor only is 1.11. Not a number to round upwards to 2.
- There are also going to be fights where each army has its own types. For example, 1, 9 and 36 against your 1, 16 and 81. In that case; Has each specialist its own factor? I guess so.

The formula?:
Square root of each type.
1, 9 and 36 become 1, 3 and 6.
Then calculate the relative damage.
Where 1/1, 1/3 and 1/6 are the damages for the 1. Gives 1.5
1/3, 3/3 and 3/6 for the 3. Gives 1.83
1/6, 3/6 and 6/6 for the 6. Gives 1.5
1.5 is the lowest number, dividing with the number of types, which is 3. 0.5 remains.
A factor of 2 is needed to get 1.
A special weapon is multiplied by 2.


I rather set up a chart of some kind for the players. But that one would eventually be huge -.-

X3M's picture
Joined: 10/28/2013
@ Larienna For a board game

@ Larienna

For a board game (a hobby none the less)
The players use a little bucket with a max of 36 dice. The dice are thrown in a box. Each roll reduces the number of dice for the next roll. The last roll could increase the number. Well, there wont be a roll after that one in most cases.

An average of 3 rolls, there are reports of 9 rolls. There are also simple 1 roll battle's.

Sorry for double post.

larienna's picture
Joined: 07/28/2008
My issue was more with

My issue was more with this:

***18 Rifle Infantry and 12 Grenadiers against 6 Battle Tanks***

I have a problem physically seeing how the board would look like.

I imagine that his is only 1 skirmish, not a whole battlefield. So how do you keep track of 18 rifle infantry and 12 gradiers on the same space. With tokens, that would make a stack of 30 tokens.

If a token has multiple units, then pre-multiply your values and divide by 10 to lower the value ranges. Keep track of values for a group of units instead of individual units.

If you want unit to weaken when damaged, take a look at "Skirmish Advance", a remake of advance wars as a board game. Each unit double sided, the 2nd side for damaged units has lower values than the full strength side.

X3M's picture
Joined: 10/28/2013
The board is a hexagon field.

The board is a hexagon field. Each hexagon has a side of 4 cm. And the units are 2 x 2 cm cards with a picture on it. I don't use things like Risk like pions/tokens etc.

It might sound strange. But the pile of cards is sufficient to play with. Of course we have group cards as well for those units that give a lot of units. We are using that technique for about 2 years now.
A group card with a miniature white board. Where the whiteboard has written a N=##. Meaning the group card contains N units of that kind.

When some die and another one leaves the group cos of the damage. N is simply reduced.

I don't know of a better way to track stuff, since I am not an expert in game designs. This was the best I could come up with.


***18 Rifle Infantry and 12 Grenadiers against 6 Battle Tanks***

On a board with over 60 hexagons. Only 2 hexagons contain these units.

One hexagon has a Rifle Infantry group card with a white board on top. Plus a Grenadier group card with a white board on top. And the 5th card is the owner colour.
The other hexagon has a Battle Tanks group card with a white board on top. And the 3th card is the owner colour.
8 cards in total.

After the battle, both piles also contain a single card of the damaged unit. Plus another whiteboard. And both piles have an action point on top now.
14 cards in total now.

I did not use a prefix number of group cards like, 6 or 10. Since this would be to much hassle. Having a white board along where N is written down served us much more.
The pile of Battle Tanks is often one with each separate. Since they take damage and are on their own with their own damage tracker.

I hope you get the general idea now.
And just 2 sides for an unit doesn't work for the game.
Of course if you know a better way. Please let me know.

larienna's picture
Joined: 07/28/2008
Manipulating those cards

Manipulating those cards should be pretty annoying. It is sometimes annoying with tokens, I coul not imagine cards.

Does you game implies hidden information, are the cards placed face down?

Instead of a color card for ownership, can you not make colored unit cards?

Do you really need to be able to keep track of 18 riffle men. What is the advantage you get by keeping track of 18 instead of 1 or 2.

If 18 is important some how, I use an idea for another of my game where you controlled fleets of ships, but could not manage to have 1 ship = 1 token/card all the time. So smaller ships like destroyers came in group of 5. When the unit got damaged, you flipped it's side and now only 3 were available.

So for example, if you want your 18 infantry to fit on 1 token. You can have 18 on the full side and 9 on the damage side and use those values in any computation you need.

X3M's picture
Joined: 10/28/2013
Yes, it was indeed annoying

Yes, it was indeed annoying handling them in the beginning. However, I made them 1.2 mm thick. This means that you can pick up the pile including the one at the bottom. I call them cards since I don't know the exact word for a thick cardboard piece to play with.
The size of the hexagons also help. There is plenty of room to have 3 piles.

Hidden information is possible by turning the cards up side down. However, my game mechanics are in such a way that hidden information wont last long. Thus I do have the possibility to use both sides of a card.

Colored cards was an option in the past. I had to choose for giving the player colour, or the type colour. I went with the type colour for faster recognition when watching a pile. The reason is also that with a pile of cards for 3 players is still usable for 6 players.

The number 18 is very important for strategy. Better yet, a normal squad has 36 if it comes to Rifle Infantry. As described before. 1 Group card with a N on a second "whiteboard" card is also 18. Players know that they simply have to multiply 18 with M (= multiplier =1 regarding rifle infantry) = 18 for the number of dice that are fired.
I do have to remind, that an infantry unit has 3 health.
A simple flip wont do as if it would have only 2 health.
If you know something for 3 health, please let me know.

But then again, health of 27(3*9) and 108(3*36) is also in play. How to track that?

All that I use is paper and plastic. I used to play with folded paper for counting health. But that got damaged really quickly. And it required to much handling.


Regarding special weapons. I did compile a list of type combinations and the highest factor. Just like how my friend suggested.

Those that are a round number or can be decided with dice are extracted from the list. 1,333/1,5/2 etc. I have a lot, really a lot of different combination options. But I am still facing the fact that expanding means a change in information.

The best way to implement this is designing the special units in the same way as normal units. With the exception of the "Special" or "S-" tag to the weapon.

A sniper has M=6 But could have M=3+S3

There are now several options for the players:
- They can ignore the S tag and use the units as if they are normal. Meaning the S part can hit any thing, including inlogical situations like a group of dogs beating a super heavy tank.
- They can apply the S for all the units. And look up in a chart which factor the player may use. I think it is better to apply this factor for a combination of designs. Thus one for a Duniverse, one for a RAverse, one for a KKNDverse etc. And also make it so that it is a round number any way. So no 1.3333 where the player has 1 normal dice and 1 dice with 2/6th a chance that it is a hitting projectile.

Having this S- addition does not take away the fact that snipers still blow up barracks. -.- In fact, they get stronger regarding the new rules. In KKND Snipers blow up tanks as well :).

Perhaps having organic/mechanic tags is better in a way. But then I need to do the same. Design one list of units and structures. Then decide on the factor. Limiting certain units to certain combinations is not what I am looking for. I still would like to see different RTS universes pitted to each other.

X3M's picture
Joined: 10/28/2013
For now

I want to prevent a TLDR post.
So I try to keep this one short.
And I will try to keep things simple.
I was being way to complicated.
Now I am searching for the right words.
Categories just like what Larienna suggested.

I did think of new rules regarding special weaponry. Using the old methods. (The factor changes with a list of combinations, it is already play tested today and works fine) But that means that Barracks could be destroyed instantly by dogs. Didn't know that dogs could do such mayhem :D. So I have been digging down in my history of other mechanics.

What if I simply keep structures separated from the rest. Meaning that all the units with a "S-" tag simply do 0 damage against structures as well?

Now, as counter part for the Bunker Buster. I need to tell the player that, that particular weapon does 0 damage against moving units.

Of course the "S-" tag is now insufficient.
I need 2 tags for the targets.
And 2 tags for the weapons that are specialized against the targets.
I am not talking about Organic/Mechanic
But more of a ..... and Structure

What would be the proper word to describe that what moves around? "Unit" is not the proper word?

Of course the weapons would be getting something along the lines:
Instant/Slow? That won't do. That makes no sense.

I am just looking for the right words here.
A weapon that does less damage against structures and other armor types. But more against one target is....
A weapon that does less damage against moving targets and other armor types. But more against one target is....
And then I have Structures.
And .... moving targets.

My english isn't perfect ;)

X3M's picture
Joined: 10/28/2013
A great Success?

I have added a new way to my game for using "special"/"specific" weapons.

At this moment I am testing this for 3 types of armor:
-> low, medium and high.
I didvided these types into 2 groups:
-> units and structures.

For the current set of armor/weapon types. The "specific" factor is 3 (it was 2). And when I add more types, it will be 4 or even higher.

I simply indicate the "specific" with S-# where # is the number of dice that are going to be specific against a certain target.
If the weapon is specific to be aimed at structures, the tag is SS-#.

So, not only is the weapon specific at units or structures. But also at low, medium or high.

With a factor 3, there still seems to be an overkill though. However, this only happens at very specific situations.

If you have Snipers, you need to have an Event Card to give them enough focus for aiming at the infantry, who are hiding behind walls.

When this is done, the Sniper will not kill 0.83 (walls), but 3.33 Infantry units. (Used to be 2.5 Infantry units. And before that 1.67)
To be precise in dice, 3 dice for a normal attack plus 9 dice that are only used against Infantry.

The same goes for attack dogs. However, they do not even have a normal part of their jaws. So they can only kill infantry. If there are walls or other units, they are completely useless now. Just like in the game Red Alert. But they have become cheap though :)

During play testing however, players still rather wait buying them until they have saved up certain Event Cards. But by then they might as well use the Event Cards on their normal units. Which are 33% effective at that point. (While "specific" units can be 100% effective)

How could I encourage players to use the "specific" units even more?

Joined: 07/03/2013
What if...

What if you had places you could capture on the board that awarded you with special units, and you couldn't build them on your own? On a randomly generated board, if you throw on a building that represents a k-9 training facility or something, if you could capture it and prevent it from being destroyed for long enough, you get a free attack dog unit.

I guess what I'm saying is that you could make the special units something that happens only once in a while, and can give you an edge for completing a secondary objective, rather than something in your general roster. Think of it as a "neutral unit" that can become yours if you complete an objective (like taking and holding ground). The Lord of the Rings, Battle for Middle Earth video games did this with taverns that you could capture with area control and thereafter could train units that didn't count against your unit cap, and you could also get some special units if you were to get an unlockable power to use.

Other objectives might be to raid an arms cache (transforming your unit into a random counter unit), or to take a point at the top of a hill to radio in for air support (letting you get a helicopter or something).

X3M's picture
Joined: 10/28/2013
That might actually work. The

That might actually work. The free unit thing.

That way players are encouraged to get free units.
In a way forced to get them.
And they still can use them when needed.


I was also thinking about another option. But while writing it down here. I have the feeling that I might as well discard it immediately.

Please tell me what your think.
And I hope you understand what I am posting here.

In the game there are already several ways of spending Action Points(AP). Some cost 1, some cost 2, some cost 3 etc.
In the game there are also Event Cards. One of them is also copied for AP to be spend on. Called Assault, however using the card means a cheaper assault than using purely AP.

I also have Flank and Back Door cards that enable players to attack from another side. This is important since you want to reach weaker units. Or you want to hit units that would receive a lot of damage from your weapons. It is those 2 cards that could make "Specific" units very deadly at the "rare" moments.

I could think of spending AP on an attack like that one. Even though this spending should be too expensive for the normal units. It also should mean an advantage for the "specific" units.

As a result, players will start rearranging their forces into more pure ones before dealing with the "Specific" units. Perhaps this enables players to open new strategies?

The only issue remains, how much for a Flank attack in AP?
+1 extra AP on top of the basic AP? Means the attack is twice as expensive. In other words, no matter what damage is done. In the total round, it will count as 50% effect. But the bonus is only about 150%. Thus the total effect will be 75%.
For the "Specific" units, this bonus is "300%". Thus the total effect will be 150%. Spending more AP would mean that the total effect will drop below 100%. Thus it would be of no use to the player.

This sounds logical at first. But when I expand the game with more types. The "specific" units are going to do more damage on target. This because the chance that the right target is selected will be less. Not only will the 2 AP be "cheaper" when used on "specific". The 2 AP also are cheaper when used on any unit. So the only choice then is increasing the AP costs for Flank, together with the "specific" bonus.

- Would players understand rules that are variable from one version to another?
- If I say that "specific" units have a bonus of 3 x the dice in one version. But 4 x the dice in another. Would they understand that? (my friends do, but do others?)
- The same goes for the Flank option. One version costs +1 AP, in another it is +2 AP.

X3M's picture
Joined: 10/28/2013
Well, solution is simple.

So many tldr posts back then. Let's add another :)


Just want to let every one know. I got a very easy and simple system now that completely replaced all that garbage above. No real calculations. Just a table that players can set up at the start of a game. In most cases. They get the information on before hand. However. Down here I explain how things go.

If you start reading, thank you. Please keep in mind. The explanation of this gets it's own manual pages. For players to read once they already have played with special weapons.


Special weapons that are type special work with a simple code now. Players can easily determine how effective a weapon is. And the good news is that if a game has only, for example soldiers, the, for example sniper is less effective.

It works like the following:

We take note of all the unit types.

Soldiers, vehicles, tanks, light structures, heavy structures, bunkers. Etc.

We put them in a 2 x X table.
In this case, X = 3 wide.
We got 6 types.

Units: Soldiers, vehicles, tanks
Structures: light structures, heavy structures, bunkers

When we have a sniper with an anti soldier bullet. And the score is for example 5. Well, there is 6 points to distribute in this table. 5 is the max on soldiers. So we have 1 left. This last point is halved, 0,5 goes to vehicles and 0,5 goes to light structures. The sniper has no effect on tanks, heavy structures and bunkers.

If we remove the tanks and bunkers from this list. We have only 4 points to distribute. Now, the sniper is only worth 4 against soldiers. And has no effect on any other type.

If we add to these 6, 2 more types. The sniper has 8 points to distribute. 5 to soldiers, 1,5 to vehicles and 1,5 to light structures.

The max of 5 can also be altered to 2 to infinite.
And when a game has only soldiers, the maximum is simply 1.

It might seem odd. But with less types. The game automatically make soldiers weaker, since they can take less cover behind other stuff.

With more types, snipers can blow up vehicles with more ease. The primary RPS system is also still in effect. So in the best case, 5 on soldiers and "1,25" on vehicles.

You cannot say that a sniper has a max score of X on tanks, while having a damage type against soldiers. It is always a combination.

The sniper bullet can also be combined with normal bullets.

In general we could say. All weapons are special with a score of 1.


A "code" tells the player what to do. The following is in the manual:

- S stands for targeting Units and Structures in equality.
- Su stands for targeting Units and ignoring Structures.
- Ss stands for targeting Structures and ignoring Units.
- Sus stands for targeting Units and Structures, but units have priority. And the Structure behaves as the very next Unit type.
- Ssu stands for targeting Units and Structures, but structures have priority. And the Unit behaves as the very next Structure type.
- A number can be added for the maximum multiplier that can be used to fill up the box. This number is more then 1. When this number is not applied, you use the maximum possible multiplication.

The previous sniper example would get S5-1.

A new example could be Sus3-9.
Units with 9 armor are the priority target. When there are for example 8 types. 3 are targeted on the armor 9.
5 points remain for distribution. Since it is Sus. Units take priority above structures. We have lighter and heavier units?? In that case, 2,5 to a lighter one. And 2,5 to the heavier one.
If we have only lighter units because 9 armor is the heaviest in the game?? In that case, 3 points go to the lighter unit. Now 2 remain, which go to a structure that has armor 9.


I intend to use good round numbers for basic games. And telling the players on before hand what the effects are of a weapon. But for multi-player where they bring their own designed army, the players have to determine the distribution themselves.

The manual also will contain example boxes. Where the priority is shown. Then the distributed points.


Now, english is not my first language. So if any one has questions or suggestions. Please let me know.

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