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Combat Focus & Action Chain, Continuous combat mechanic

4 replies [Last post]
Joined: 12/12/2011

I previously posted some thoughts on making a bluemoon inspired CCG, was given some good advice, and designed a game of my own rather than a recreation of Mtg.

What I have...
You start the game with 3 zones of focus, offensive, special, and defensive, and 3 focus counters on each zone. Once per turn you can move a focus counter from one zone to another. You don't ever gain focus, you just manage where your focus is going. You can only play cards if you have enough focus in the right zone according to the card's requirement. i.e. a powerful attack might require 6 offensive focus.

I'm also utilizing an 'action-chain' system in which the cards you play over the course of a round remain in a line and have effects representing the current actions you are taking in combat. Those of you who have played UFS might get a better picture what I'm talking about visually.
Cards have a number value on their left (chain limit) and either an open or locked 'value' on their right (chain continuation). A card cannot be played if you already have more cards in your action chain than the card's chain limit, while if a card has a locked symbol on the right, then it ends your chain and no more cards can be attached.

When cards are attached to the chain, some may have an immediate effect, an effect to boost or modify subsequent cards, or even a delayed effect. There's more that can be incorporated or course, but I don't want to put the carriage in front of the horse here.

What I'm trying to figure out...
Basically, I'm very intrigued as to how the above system can be turned into continuous and active combat. Players can chain together attacks, defensive maneuvers, techniques, stances, weapons, etc.
One idea is to have every card have an attack and/or defense value so the total in your chain are applied to a 'combat resolution' step of your turn to see if you take or deal damage. In this way, you'd have to balance special abilities and raw power in order to come out ahead in combat. (similar to blue moon in this way)
Another option is to have specific cards that can be used for attacks or blocks.
Alternatively there might not even be damage or hit points, but rather an 'upper ground' mechanic that players struggle to obtain before delivering a final blow (which can only be done while you have a certain amount of advantage/upper ground/momentum etc.)
Lastly, perhaps combat is split into separate fights instead a continuous one. The longer a fight lasts, the more exhausted players might get (represented by the loser of the fight discarding more and more cards from the top of their deck). Players continue trying to apply greater force to the current fight, and whoever wins the fight gains the 'upper hand'. This would require players to decide if they have a chance in the fight, because if they continue the fight, stall, and lose, they not only give up the upper hand, but they discard cards from their deck which running out could be an alternative losing condition.


James Rex
Joined: 12/10/2011
I like the concepts you're

I like the concepts you're bringing, here's what I'm thinking you might try to do:

I would probably separate your phases into two different things: a setup phase (where you get to play your non-combat cards like stances and weapons), and a combat phase (where players actually play attacks in a continous fast manner). For examples of what I like for fast combat, check out Lunch Money.

I like the idea of each card having a basic attack/defense and then having cards specifically for attacking or defending. This would give players choices in terms of playing the right stance or saving it for another attack.

Be wary if you implement mechanics based on already having an advantage. I know if an opponent has the advantage, and he's just going to have more options while I have less, I'd have less fun. Strategically well-played come-back cards are more fun.

Your last example kind of reminds me of that old card game War. Play with some variation of that for combat, maybe?

Good luck!
James Games

Joined: 12/12/2011
Thanks! I like the two

I like the two different phases idea.
Perhaps you'd have your front action chain, and your back support chain. Cards you play in your front chain work as attacks and blocks while cards you play in the support row might influence the combat row. This would allow players to be able to actually fight a combat while still working on their deck's strategy.

I didn't explain the 'advantage' idea very well.
The idea there was that you'd have to obtain the upper hand and then in some way deliver a killing blow. Your options and card capabilities don't increase, you are simply in the position to win the game while your opponent would have to take back the upper hand in order for them to be capable of winning through combat.
If you've played bluemoon, it's similar to that game in that you have to win consecutive 'battles' in order to win, not just deal an amount of damage.

As for the war comparison. I see how you got that, but I think that also was from a lack of explanation on my part.

So if a player initiates a combat, they play their attack cards, etc. and put the top card of their deck face down into their 'conflict' zone. At the beginning of each player's turn, if in combat, that player puts a card from the top of their deck into their conflict zone. After a winner is determined for a combat, the winner may look at all cards in their conflict zone, pick one to put into their hand, and shuffle the rest back into their deck. The loser puts all cards in their conflict zone into their discard pile.

I'm also trying to figuring out how you might be able to win the game simply from outlasting your opponent through sheer strength of defense.

My goals for combat are currently...

One player must initiate combat, after which it is continuous through turns until the combat is won/lost
Offensive decks will have the potential to deal more damage and do so faster than defensive decks
Defensive decks have the potential to delay or prevent damage to themselves and win by 'exhausting' their opponent
Give enough advantage to initiating combats that two defensive decks would not avoid initiating.

Also keep in mind 'damage' is ambiguous right now. I'm more worried about the interactions than the end result.

Cogentesque's picture
Joined: 08/17/2011
Heya Nomad, I have to say

Heya Nomad,

I have to say with my (limited) knowledge I haven't played anything like this - but love the idea :)

I was SO happy when I read your first paragraph btw (Going to make my own not remake Magic) I went "YES!" and did a fist pump. Well I didn't but would have done, had I not had a cup of tea in my hand. More a kind of stunted head nod.

Anywho, it sounds lovely - love the chaning idea. I think for a system like this, the main parts of the game (balance / fun / mechanics) will be in the detail.

You could hvae defence tracks that nullify some of the enemies cards within their corresponding track - so defence @ chain number 3 could "nullify" their attack at number 3. There would have to be some dissadvantage or other - but perhaps if they got the trigger card (you were thinking about a "FIRE!" kind of card) if they manage to defence on that card, they take damage half rounded down or it nulls out the whole attack.

You could do an alternating SINGLe line perhaps with both players chaining up their punches and counter punches in turn. You or your opponent can then end combat wehenever you want - kind of a push your luck thing perhaps? Id oponent plays a "GET READY FOR DRAGON KICK!" card, then YOU play a dragon kick card, you could steak the bonus for it instead of the opponent.

You could perhaps change your OPPONENTS focus - so they have to work around the limits you give?

Defence could perhaps work so it counts as negative points. So if me and you play, I slap down a combo chain of say 10 damage, but your awesome defence comes in at -14 - perhaps if that happens then the (-4) turns into counter abilities - thereby allowing either straight counter damage or perhaps a free attack run chain from the person that managed to counter. Or perhaps use any one of there "super counter!" cards that does something massive.

Or perhaps each card has damage, its modifiers and text and what not on it, also a "defence" and "break" value. Showing how easy that card would be to break (eg: punch through / counter etc) . So some high end attacks could be easy to break - shown by the positional thing perhaps - each card having to rank up next to the opponents line (your "swan dive splash" would have defence of 3 but Damage of 10. Luckily I played my "jab" card, damage of only 2 but a break value of 5) of course this would work really nicely with any preperation cards: "Turtle Stance - The next chained card will have a defence of +5". The opponent would know then "Oh shit, big things coming" and react accordingly.

sounds fun man.

I would happily play this game :)

(personally I would like it more as a boardgame not a ccg or lcg but it still applies!)

keep my updated k? hope i've helped


Joined: 12/12/2011
New Notes

I've been mulling over the ideas in my head and I've encountered a few problems I see that need solving before I figure out combat simulation.

The focus requirement is the main thing I like about this idea, but I also see it as potentially causing the most problems. As I have it, changing back and forth between focus from turn to turn would be very inefficient and so you'd have to build your entire deck to run off the same 'set' of focus or you'll be splitting your game plan and end up with turns where you can't play anything.
One way to fix this is to allow players to start the game with their focus spread as they wish, and the 'refocus' step allows players to rearrange their focus however they'd like. I like this idea as it turns the focus requirement on cards into a deck building challenge more so than an in game worry. You can refocus each turn, but if you don't have enough cards in your deck that can be played with the same focus assignment, then you will have weak turns, so similar deck building restrictions remain.

@ Cogentesque- I like your break idea. That could work and might end up (in some form) in the combat system. I could even see that becoming a key factor in combats.
Perhaps you only play cards during your own turn, but they have to remain in play until the beginning of your next turn to 'resolve'. So opponents have the opportunity to break or disrupt your chained cards in order to reduce their effectiveness or prevent them entirely.

Also, unless I'm mistaken, you seemed to be talking about this game as 'I play a card, you play a card' etc. The intent was that on a player's turn they finish their chain, then their opponent makes a chain. Chains would either resolve as the cards are played, or at the beginning of your turn after they're played. I think it could work either way, and I'm not 100% on either, but I just wanted to make sure we're on the same page.

Also, to touch on Support/Combat.
I had a thought for the support chain.
While the combat chain is made each turn and renewed each turn, a player's support chain would remain in play. You could willingly discard cards from your support chain in order to make room for other support cards, and there would be more flexibility in placing your cards into the chain. The only catch is that after you place a card into your support chain, any 'illegal' cards are immediately discarded.
This would create some strength for the use of 'non-action' cards and give more flavor for potential styles/stances, etc.

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