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Combat mechanic for AI needed

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questccg
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I am working on a five (5) player cooperative game... That pits players against a level encounter. I have "creep" mechanics in place... But no AI combat.

The AI could use dice or not. Monsters have a damage they can inflict... And vary in health...

But I don't have a combat mechanic per se.

If any of you Designers can share other games with various combat mechanics that would be great...

Feel free to share your most interesting and effective combat mechanics.

Cheers!

X3M
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Thinking of a completely new combat mechanic?

First question would be. Is the battle to the death right away? Or is there health tracking?
Second question. How many stats do you want as a minimum to have influence on the combat mechanic?
Third question. Is it an arms race, or do you want somewhat RPS in there, even if it is only based on numbers?
Last question. How many pieces are we talking here? Or are there only cards. Is there teamwork. The size of the game if you will.

Nicklypuff
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Two possible ideas off of the

Two possible ideas off of the top of my head. First there is Heroscape’s combat system where attack value and defense value tell you how many attack dice and defense dice you roll in a given attack. This is a pretty straight forward combat system that also gives variability.

Another possibility, inspired by a combination of VS System and Gloomhaven is to have simultaneous combat between attacker and defender. So the idea here would be to have a stat modification deck for both the player and the AI. Then when an attack is made, both the attacker and defender reveal a stat modification card. This card could be something like +1 Attack +1 Defense for the player and the AI draws a +1 Attack and +0 Defense Card. Now say we have a hero character with 3 Attack and 3 Defense versus a monster with 4 Attack and 1 Defense. So simultaneously you’d apply damage. So the hero has 4 Attack and the Monster has 1 Defense, so the attack does 3 damage to the monster. Meanwhile the monster has 5 Attack and the hero has 4 Defense so the attack does 1 damage to the hero. This kind of system would also speed up gameplay in a game with five players because its likely a hero and monster will be in combat multiple times during a turn. If you wanted to add more complexity to it, you could have support actions where if a character is adjacent to a friendly character then they can either choose to support as their action (or AI generates it as the monster’s choice) or it could be a static effect and it could be applied in a variety of ways whether it is the one initiating the attack getting Attack bonuses and the one being attacked getting Defense bonuses or an even more simplified version where characters get +1 Attack and +1 Defense for each friendly character they have adjacent either to themselves or the target they are engaged with, whichever makes more sense for your game.

questccg
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Answers to your questions!

X3M wrote:
First question would be. Is the battle to the death right away? Or is there health tracking?

I would want health tracking. Battles go for several rounds, each player taking his turns and the Monster responding afterwards (immediately after each player's turn). But Monsters need to be beefier and have like 30+ HP to several 100s.

There are "CREEP" mechanics. For example a Monster may have only 30 HP and a +5 creep modifier. What this means is for every level, he gets +5 HP. So a Level 2 of that Monster would be 40 HP. A Level 10 of that same Monster +50 HP so 80 HP...

X3M wrote:
Second question. How many stats do you want as a minimum to have influence on the combat mechanic?

HP, Damage and some kind of To-Hit stat too... Not sure 100%.

X3M wrote:
Third question. Is it an arms race, or do you want somewhat RPS in there, even if it is only based on numbers?

Not sure about RPS... Yes I had "Melee-Ranged-Flying" and "Piercing-Blunt-Magical". But I was not sure how to use either of these RPSs...

X3M wrote:
Last question. How many pieces are we talking here? Or are there only cards. Is there teamwork. The size of the game if you will.

It's only cards and it is from 2 to 5 players cooperative.

X3M
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Just brainstorming here, very very basic ideas

Well. I am an advocate of d6.
If every player has 1d6. A 30 health monster could be defeated quickly with 5 players.
Teamwork should go through cards as well. But perhaps only as choice.
If there is teamwork. A plus one on each die that can work together. Thus 2 extra damage for 2 players.

A simple roll. Then subtract the armor of the monster for only one die. Special monsters could block more dice. Other monsters can block with better armor.

Damage is d6 plus level of the player. Minus the armor of the monster. RPS effects could be as simple as plus 1 against the right targets.

Fodder shots could be used as distraction. Even if it rolled 1. Thus bad weapons are the distraction.

Distraction players might get hit first. Some monsters will have weapons to hit multiple targets.

Gow much damage the monsters do? Perhaps the exact same mechanic. With a difference that players have less health. Thus disctraction tasks have to be planned. Also. Healing should be ised. But taking the attacks down by 1 die.

I am thinking 5 different kind of weapons for the 5 players. Also 5 dice in different colours. One black one for the monster that might be rolled multiple times. Or one of the coloured dice is going to be used.

The RPS is only one or 2 bonus against certain monsters. Or the armor might not even work of that monster.

Lightning hurts metal monsters and can go through steel shields of hero's.
Water hurts earth monsters and can hiy multiple hero's. It also can reduce multiple armor monsters to one time armor reduction.
Fire is the same as water in mechanics. But is effective against plant monsters and wooden shields. It also might nullify wooden projectiles.
The last 2 weapons are either blunt or sharp. Blunt is effective against earth monsters and perhaps metal monsters. Sharp will obviously harm the plant monsters.

Monsters that are meat? They are kinda not effected by rps mechanics.

Not magic based. But alien/scientific based. Air is for example left out. A water gun is much more feasible.

questccg
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Some more ideas

Nicklypuff wrote:
Two possible ideas off of the top of my head...

My "ideas" borrow from both your games. These are just some "basic" ideas... But could evolve into more "precise" combat mechanics.

So let me explain:

1. The Monster has 1 custom d6 per player. If there are 5 players, the Monster has 5 custom d6s. If there are 3 players, the Monster has 3 custom d6s, etc.

2. Those custom dice have as follows: 2 Blanks, 2 Shields and 2 Swords. Blank means that the Monster does nothing and that player can do things such as heal/protection auras, use items (non-combative actions). A Shield means that the Monster will Defend from an attack (ie. a player will attack the Monster). A Sword means that the Monster will Attack one of the players.

This is a bit like in Heroscape (I believe). Except the dice are used a bit differently. No worries... The idea behind the custom dice is to determine the Monster's "AI".

3. In addition to these custom d6s (1-5)... There are two (2) STANDARD d6s (2d6). Here's where I'm not 100% certain.

While you could have a TO-HIT value like 1-7 (58%)... This is currently my "TO-HIT" mechanic. Each Monster has a TO-HIT he needs to ROLL when defending and attacking. Some Monsters may be easier to attack and harder to defend from (Offensive Monster); the opposite is hard to attack and easier to defend from (Defensive Monster).

It's not the MOST "creative" solution/mechanic. But it may work... IDK.

X3M
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Some comment

questccg wrote:
1. The Monster has 1 custom d6 per player. If there are 5 players, the Monster has 5 custom d6s. If there are 3 players, the Monster has 3 custom d6s, etc.
This is a good idea, since it balances out between the monster and the players. However, the health of the monster will lack behind to the amount of damage. Maybe a factor to this would do as well? Like 2 players, 2x X health, 4 players, 4x X health.
The only benefit from a larger group of players is the more balanced damage output. So the damage out put should balance on the amount of health that a monster will get.

This X will be filled in later once we know the outcome of the rolls.

questccg wrote:
2. Those custom dice have as follows: 2 Blanks, 2 Shields and 2 Swords. Blank means that the Monster does nothing and that player can do things such as heal/protection auras, use items (non-combative actions). A Shield means that the Monster will Defend from an attack (ie. a player will attack the Monster). A Sword means that the Monster will Attack one of the players.

Is this globally the direction you want to go?
It sounds like it is the ai for both player AND monster.
The hint is given in the blanks.
Once the shield is initiated, will it block, or reduce the damage? What about some return fire? Or is it a one way ticket?
Once the sword is initiated, you need to roll for the damage. And does this mean that the player is automatically in defence?

questccg wrote:
3. In addition to these custom d6s (1-5)... There are two (2) STANDARD d6s (2d6). Here's where I'm not 100% certain.

While you could have a TO-HIT value like 1-7 (58%)... This is currently my "TO-HIT" mechanic. Each Monster has a TO-HIT he needs to ROLL when defending and attacking. Some Monsters may be easier to attack and harder to defend from (Offensive Monster); the opposite is hard to attack and easier to defend from (Defensive Monster).


When rolling ≤7 for the attack, does it mean it has to roll 8 or more for the defence to be successful?

Also, when I look at this list (which can be inverted for the opposite effect):
≤4; 17%
≤5; 28%
≤6; 42%
≤7; 58%
≤8; 72%
≤9; 83%

I don't think you are going to use the extremes pretty much. So it would be 6 and 7, you might add 5 and 8. But those are already in the range 1:3.
And 4 and 9 are in the range of 1:5.

Using only 1 die doesn't make this any better.

So instead of adding up the result of those dies. How about multiplying the results?
https://anydice.com/program/314
And pick the "at most" option for the ≤ results.

You get a bit more options for the monsters. 2, +4 more between the 1:3 barrier.
≤5; 28%
≤6; 39%
≤8; 44%
≤9; 47%
≤10; 53%
≤12; 64%
≤15; 69%
≤16; 72%
Also, you might have noticed, this list can't be inverted :)
This will give the game a bit more of a "random design" feeling.

Or would multiplication be to harsh for your target audience?

In that case, use the 2d6 as each as an individual test. Placing the highest roll first. A double test if you will. The first roll would be a test on 2, 3 or 4. The second roll could be 3 to 6, seeing as how it is more of a weight to the first roll. Also, if the second roll is equal or lower, this test is valid, but light.

questccg
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I'm looking at the "multiplication"

At first I was like "What does he mean?!" And then I was like "Oh wow that IS clever!!" The multiplication is not too difficult and it offers more possibilities that addition. Addition allows for 11 values (2 to 12), however multiplication allows for 18 values... The most difficult multiplication is something like 6 x 6 = 36 (Maximum value). So that MATH is NOT too scary either...

I like have extra "values" to pad the decision. Allows for +2 TO-HIT which could in the upper echelons give a relatively SMALL "bonus" to Monsters that already have powerful stats. But with weaker enemies, that kind of small bonus can be really influential and make a *serious* difference.

So I'll think about trying to work with MULTIPLICATION and see how that goes...

Cheers!

let-off studios
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Easier to Defeat?

X3M wrote:
Maybe a factor to this would do as well? Like 2 players, 2x X health, 4 players, 4x X health.
The only benefit from a larger group of players is the more balanced damage output. So the damage out put should balance on the amount of health that a monster will get.
I'd also suggest you test out an alternative: drawing multiple opponents per encounter, or even one per player during an encounter. In the system you describe above, the enemy has only a single attack/opportunity to damage the players in a round, while they're facing potentially multiple players. By facing off a variable or equal number of opponents based on the number of players, there's more at stake in each encounter.

When a single opponent that makes a single attack each round, then there are some players who might never be put at risk. There's always someone who says, "I'll take the damage," because they're the fighter or meat shield or whatever, and the glass cannons all stay in the back, healing/buffing the meat shield. A similar thing happens if there's X amount of damage, and players need to divide it up between all players.

questccg
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Not sure if this covers it or not?

Well the custom d6s with the three (3) options (Blank, Shield, Sword) are color coordinated to EACH player.

So if three (3) players are playing and their colors are: Red, Green and Blue... This means that the Monster will roll the Red, Green and Blue custom d6s.

Then the attack can proceed in LOGICAL order: players attack FIRST, players defend NEXT and lastly, players do non-combat actions (such as Buffs, Heals, use of items, etc.)

So each ROUND, what happens will be different. You CAN'T ALWAYS say: "I'll take the damage..." because it depends on each player's dice color and how the AI Monster rolls.

This means that everyone is at RISK of being attacked... Perhaps this slight variance makes the game MORE "challenging"!

Let me know if this makes sense and addresses your issue.

Note #1: The "order" in which players go can vary and is part of the decision process taken by players. So maybe one "Blank" goes first to "Buff" a player who will be attacked... But first the attackers go on the offensive to see if they can defeat the Monster before it has a chance to retaliate against some of the other players, etc.

Note #2: Again with regards to the "order" of play. An important fact to remember is perhaps this round, you know the "Blue" Player is going to be attacked. And your "Green" player has a "Blank"... The "Green" player can EITHER go BEFORE (To Buff/Protect/etc.) or AFTER (To Heal/Cure/etc.) but not both.

So again this is difficult choices and can alter the outcome of a battle significantly. Therefore I propose that this mechanic offers a wide variety of choices and adds significant strategic depth.

questccg
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I am also planning...

To use a "Munchkin" mechanic with the PLUSES ('+') and MINUSES ('-') and give each Monsters an "Adjective" and a "Comes From" attributes.

For example: "The Fiery" + "Mimic" + "From the Void"

The idea is to inject two (2) cards in a three (3) card COMBO to add sometimes some more "toughness" and give each Monster special abilities which can alter the way a Monster behaves on the battlefield.

There would be thirty (30) of these three (3) cards (so 10 of each). And they are sort of linked with the "Campaign" in question.

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