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COmbat mechanic question (opinions sought)

4 replies [Last post]
Joined: 09/21/2008

Hi there,

I'm slowly (oh so painfully slowly) putting together a trio of games (one global domination, naval and army battle). I've got lots in my head but not so much written down ;-)
My question is for the army game, each unit will have three stats (all are in a range of 1-5):
movement, ability to inflict damage, ability for unit to remain cohesive (it covers moral, quality of armour etc) so its pretty abstract. In combat I was originally thinking of rolling a number of d6 equal to damage rating against a tn of its cohesion, but I have had a second thought of either:
a) Rolling a number of dice equal to the higher stat against a tn equal to the lower stat or
b) Rolling a number of dice equal to the lower stat against a tn equal to the higher stat

A would even out effect of luck by having lots of dice rolls
B would give a more predictable outcome to any one combat

Which would you find more desirable, predictable outcome or wider variation both of which (in theory) would balance out over time? (or go with the original plan of always rolling damage against tn of cohesion)


Joined: 08/01/2008
instead of needing to get a particular total

you could have to get a number of 5s and 6s (for example). This would make it easier to see whether you've succeeded.

Alternatively you could use bigger dice, rather than more (d4, d6, d8...rather than 1d6, 2d6, 3d6...)

In any case I'd go with rolling a number/type of dice equal to the damage rating, with the target being the defence rating.

simons's picture
Joined: 12/28/2008
To throw the question back to

To throw the question back to you, how much do you want the game to be about strategy, and how much about luck?

I'd need to think about your question before answering. What kinds of variation are we talking about here? I guess that considering the kinds of games I tend to play, I might almost say favoring more luck (though again, only to a point, depending upon the odds).

And sorry, but what is "tn"? Also, when you say roll against the higher or lower stat, what do you mean? If I had an attack of 3 and a morale of 2, and you had 4 and 1, what rolls would be needed?

Joined: 12/01/2008
Another idea to mull over.

It looks like, at its heart, you have an offensive score and defensive score. This is more complex than having just one or the other, though I like the idea of combining the defense with morale. As a game gets more strategic, multiple stats starts to have an effect on the smoothness of play, though I also understand how a simpler systems can feel inadequate. Take Axis and Allies for instance. Units have a varying attack score, but defenses are all the same, and in reality, some units should be harder to kill. So, the game attempts to get around this by allowing the attacked to assign hits, and for better or worse, this becomes a defining mechanic of the game.

But there IS a way to retain varying strength attack and varying strength defense in a single stat. This attempts to retain some of the depth of two stats, with the smoothness of one stat, by making trade-offs in another aspect of the game. In this case, the number of custom dice needed.

Take a look at the system I describe here that relies on a single combat stat, and embeds the combat results into the dice themselves.
(There a couple of different implementations if you read the subsequent posts. I personally prefer the second version.)
I should also note that the complexity can be further reduced by remove the 'attack modes' option.

Anyway, just some ideas for you to think about.

Joined: 09/21/2008
I'll take it back a step

I'll take it back a step further....

What I had in mind was a battlefield where you had perfect knowledge but the units didn't, this is reflected by dividing the battle field into four zones, reserve, left, center and right.
You would deploy your troops and lay down a card for each zone which would allow you to move between 0 and four units (these cards would be from a common mixed stack of cards). You would lay down orders for the first two rounds, resolve the first round (move units, see who hits what etc) then lay cards for the third turn and resolve round two.
So you are always reacting to what the your opponent set in motion. So the strategy is there so I'm happy for the tatical to be a bit more random.

To answer the other Q's tn shows my mainly roleplay game history (dnd and the like) it stands for target number so when rolling dice you're aiming for particular number (and above or below depending on the system)

I am looking to resolve combat with a single roll (so no A attacks then B rolls defence) so am making a choice to describe combat at a units ability to remain a cohesive fighting force able to injure opponents, I hight cohesion will allow a unit to stay in the fight longer

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