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Combat resolution: Avoiding death system

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larienna
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It's for a warfare combat resolution. I decided that there will be various unit types that will duel each other. The way the units are matched up is not important for what I am going to explain below. The result of the duel will make the players lose "Life Point" from their army track.

I was looking for various combinations of mechanics to determine which unit will win. The first idea that came to my mind is for a mechanic I used in a RPG like game. Armor was used differently than in traditional RPG. Instead of reducing the amount of damage, a successful armor roll reduced the damage by half. The second idea was to solve the problem of "which weapon is stronger than others?". In a warfare, archers for example will probably make as much damage as spear mens. So the type of weapons does not really influence the number of people that are going to die. Finally, since each battle would have many duels, I needed something that gets resolved fast. So for example, I did not want players to add and subtract values, I wanted something that could easily get resolved in a glance.

So I came up with a new approach that I find particularly interesting which I called: Avoiding death. By default, your unit dies, now you must try to avoid death. So the whole system would work with saves. For example, players would have armor saves, roll 1d6 <= to your unit's armor value, to avoid death. Armor level for different type of unit is much more easy to identify in a warfare. Even some unit names refers to the armor level (ex: light cavalry vs heavy cavalry).

It might be possible for the attacking unit to have multiple attacks. For example, you could have swash bucklers that can do a preemptive pistol attack and then fight with their swords, or have some cavalry have a charge attack and sword attack. In that case, the defender will have to save for both attacks. So the number of attacks the opposing unit has is equal to the number of dice you need to roll.

If I really need stronger attacks, I could make players rolls D8 and D10 (or D6+1 and D6+2), but I think this will be too much.

Armor rolls, would not be the only roll that can be done, here are the other type of rolls:

Avoid: Some special ability or spell effects, could make you avoid completely an attack (make you survive). This could be the case of spells like "Blur" or "invisibility". In that case, if you save against avoid, your unit survives no matter what are the other results. A minority of units will have the possibility to avoid attacks.

Resist: There will be special status effects like Paralyse, confuse, weakness, poison and death that could be avoided with a successful resist save. Again, not all units has special status effects.

Block: Some units will have tactical advantages (ex: mobile, flying, teleport ). If the unit fail his block save, the player lose an additional "life point" as a routed unit. Routed units count as killed unit for victory conditions, but it is possible to rally them back into battle.

In overall, when the units to duel are matched up, each player roll his dice and see if he survives. The only thing the player need to check on the opposing player's unit is the nb of attack the unit has and if it has special status or tactical abilities. But by default, the players could roll all the dice and ignore the results of some die if for example, there is no status ability, or roll additional dice if there attacker has multiple attacks. Of course, each type of roll will use dices of it's own color so that you can roll them all at once.

What do you think?

Does it makes sense that all types of attack have the same kill potential?

Maaartin
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To me it looks like you're

To me it looks like you're removing one simple operation at the cost of making a dragon as strong as a rat. Depending on your units it may be fine, but you were speaking about heavy cavalry and I'd expect that a cavalry attack should be stronger than many others.

You want to use the expression 1d6 <= armor, but is this really that much faster than 1d6 <= armor - attack? In this formula, the standard attack strength would be zero, stronger units would have attack 1 or 2 maybe. For such units, the RHS could get zero or negative, meaning that the target can't survive... you may dislike it, but isn't that realistic?

I like the extra rolls for double attacks and for special abilities.

I don't have much experience with dice throwing ('cause I really hate it), but as far as I remember throwing dice takes much longer than the subtraction of two small numbers. The fastest combat resolution I've seen is in dorn, but it uses hitpoints and most probably doesn't suit you, since it's deterministic.

larienna
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Quote:You want to use the

Quote:
You want to use the expression 1d6 <= armor, but is this really that much faster than 1d6 <= armor - attack?

Yes it is, because I need to look at my opponent's card/sheet to read the information and make the calculation with my unit's stats. In the system above, all the rolls are done relative to the unit it self. The only exception if for the number of dice to roll or if certain rolls are active. But like I said, it can be resolved after the roll.

Sometimes you will ignore dices this way. For example, If I have a blur effect that makes my unit avoid all attacks if I roll 1 or less on 1D6, then all roll the dice, look for that die first, if the results is a 1, I ignore all other results.

Quote:
To me it looks like you're removing one simple operation at the cost of making a dragon as strong as a rat.

Well 1 dragon and 1000 sword mens will probably have similar attack powers. The dragon will have 2 attacks where the 2nd is the breath. But for the tails/claw/bite attack strength, it is equivalent to 1000 soldiers. So the how big the creature is does not really matter because it is counter balanced in quantity which is generally not the case in a RPG where you can have a lot of 1 on 1 battles.

simons
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All units the same strength?

I think you might be on to something with weapons having similar kill potentials. It is certainly an interesting idea. However, there was one thing I missed here: Are all units going to be the same strength? Is it possible for me to have a unit of 500 soldiers? And if so, what happens when that unit attacks your dragon? Would you have to look up something on a table to say, "Hmmm... 500 soldiers are strength 1, a dragon is strength 2, therefore I will roll X dice and need a Y, while you will roll..."? That seems like it could get a wee bit complicated.

Also, I'm a little confused about the mass-combat aspect. If I do have my 1000 soldiers fight your 1000 soldiers for a couple rounds of combat, what would the resolution look like? If I do well and you do poorly, will I have 1000 soldiers and you have 0? Or will I have 750 and you have 250 (and if so, what will happen next round)? Or will there be enough dice rolled that everything will mostly even out?

Simon

larienna
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well let just say that 1 unit

well let just say that 1 unit of pikemen consist of thematically 1000 soldiers is comparable to a unit of dragon which is composed of 1 dragon. A unit does not have HP, its alive, or its dead. So you will not have a situation where half a unit will fight a full unit.

Now, for my combat system, the idea was pushed further. Your Army has a certain number of HP what ever is the number of unit type you have. So you could have a fight where 5 different unit type fight against 1 unit type but both sides has the same HP.

The combat system will make duels of unit. So for example, one of unit A,B,C,D,E will duel against the only unit Z of the opposing army. The idea behind this is to make sure different quality of armies can fight without any conflicts. A 5:1 unit type is not a 5:1 in army strength. There is still advantages to have multiple unit types.

When a duel match is done, you roll the dice according to the mechanics explained above. If your unit dies, you reduce the HP of your army by 1. Some attacks could make the unit rout. In that case, you reduce your Army's HP, but the points are placed in the rout section. If an effect un-rout units, it will go into your army's HP. This is the only way to "Heal" your army. Else it would required some sort of "raise dead" spell.

When an army run out of HP (By death or rout), the opposing player wins. So you never need to keep track of wounds for each unit type, all the unit types are always at their full potential for the battle. The only exception is the special status effect (Poison, Paralyze, Death, Weakness, Confuse) these effect stay on the unit type, and the next time that unit type will fight, it will receive the effects until removed. So if you have many unit types, you have less chances that an affected unit participate in a duel.

I hope that it now makes more sense.

I started to design some units to see if it could make sense and make sure I have enough variety of stats of special abilities since I need to design a lot of units. Up to now, it does not seem so bad. I'll have to make some combat test to see how the game flow.

questccg
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Not sure I follow the discussion 100% but...

I hear that Yu-Gi-Oh! cards are designed to be ALL or NOTHING. Either you have "enough" attack power to kill a creature or you do not. Don't quote me on this... However I believe that is the general concept. It simplifies the game for younger players to be able to more easily enjoy the game.

simons
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I think I see what you mean.

I think I see what you mean. Part of my earlier confusion was that I thought this would be a Warhammer-scale game, rather than a Risk or Axis & Allies scale game. Now I get why you want such a quick resolution.

In some ways, this sounds like the opposite of how A&A does it. It A&A, each unit has an attack value, and if they can roll that high, they kill an opponent. It assumes all units have essentially the same defense (with some caveats). In your game, it sounds like each of your units has a defense, and has to roll above that to survive. You assume all units have essentially the same attack (with some caveats). Does that seem like a fair assessment?

So, I'm still trying to picture your 5 on 1 example. If if you have 5 armies (say, with 1 attack each), and I have 1 army, how will that work? Will I make 5 savings throws, and each of your armies make one? Or will you pick who has to pass their savings throw? That seems like it has the potential to get complicated as the number of units increase. If it is 2 on 5, would that mean you choose two units to be hit? Could you assign both of those attacks to the same unit (although, perhaps if you made the rule that attacks need to be distributed as evenly as possible, maybe it wouldn't be too much of a problem)? Or would it somehow need to break into a 2 on 1 and 3 on 1 fight?

Simon

larienna
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other clarifications

Quote:
I hear that Yu-Gi-Oh! cards are designed to be ALL or NOTHING. Either you have "enough" attack power to kill a creature or you do not.

I know yugioh, Duel masters also use the same technique. The reason why I do not want to use a deterministic system is that you could get in a certain unit configuration where it is impossible for a player to win because none of his unit can match his opponent unit's. In duel masters, one of the solution was that the destruction of ennemy unit was not the primary goal to win. You could win without winning a single battle.

Quote:
So, I'm still trying to picture your 5 on 1 example. If if you have 5 armies (say, with 1 attack each), and I have 1 army, how will that work? Will I make 5 savings throws, and each of your armies make one? Or will you pick who has to pass their savings throw? That seems like it has the potential to get complicated as the number of units increase.

Another thing I might not have clearly explained is that there is a separation between armies and unit types. Unit type is centralized for your whole empire. A player could have 5 unit type: Swordmens, crosbowmens, cavalry, ROcgues and catapults, while the 2nd player could only have Cavalry. The amount of unit type is not proportional with the number of armies on the board. In fact, the unit types represent the quality of your empire wide army.

The armies are actually pawns that could could move on the board. These represent the quantity of the your empire's force.

When an army is engaged with another army, they both receive a fixed amount of HP regardless of unit types. There is also no quatification of unit types (Ex: 1 army = 1 swordmen + 1 crossbowmen ... etc). So your crossbowmens could fight and die 5 times in a row and there will still be crossbowmens available.

unit types = quality of army = combat potential
Armies = Quantity of armies = number of places you can attack or defend in a turn.

Cities have defensive armies by default, no need to manage them. Only campaign armies are managed. To give you an idea, a player will have in average 3-5 army pawns, so it is very different from Axis&allies where you can have units in every area.

-----------------------------------------------------------------

I am still giving some thought about the deterministic system. My greatest fear for now is to have a unit impossible to destroy. The 2nd problem is that status effect like poison would always work.

A partial solution would be that you must always have your basic unit in your army. So if for example a player has a spearman and invincible unit in his army, there could be 1 change out of 2 that spearmen will fight in a duel, giving the opportunity to the opponent to make some skill, but once out of 2, he will fight an invincible unit. There can also be spell that could be used to power up unit, so these will become essential to win the duel.

As for the special status, maybe they take effect if a unit did not successful kill it's opponent. So it will be some sort of drawback the enemy players get for not dying. This will prevent the unit from getting affected all the time.

I'll keep thinking, there might be a solution for a deterministic system.

larienna
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I am giving more an more

I am giving more an more thoughts to a deterministic system. I have realized that after a duel, the following outcome can occur:

Unit dies
Unit rout
Enemy advance on tactical track
Unit get paralyzed, confused, weak, etc.

This kept me thinking that it could be less than likely that a unit will be so strong that it will evade all effects to be truly invincible. So I was thinking that since there could be multiple outcome possible and a unit cannot be immune to all effects, then a deterministic system might be possible.

In that case, it will probably need to create an ability system of opening and resistance which I currently partially done. (Abilities that counter other abilities). A random example, If a unit has 2 attack , for example swash bucklers has swords and pistol, both attacks will have to be prevented to avoid death.

The thing I am not sure yet is if the effect should be cumulative (ex: A unit dies, another rout and another paralyze), or if the best effect get taken ( if the unit cannot die, then maybe it can rout. If routing is impossible than maybe paralyzed, etc).

In the end, a deterministic system will be much better. Player would flip cards, compare values and apply the results.

The other idea I though is that an army is always composed of 5 units. The 5 basic units are spear mens, as new units get's developed, you replaced the spear mens. So if a player produce invincible unit X, it still only have 1/5 of chance to show up. So players cannot tweak the odd by only having only less units in his army.

questccg
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Tank vs. swordman

larienna wrote:
A random example, If a unit has 2 attack , for example swash bucklers has swords and pistol, both attacks will have to be prevented to avoid death.

You can also have a "counter" which could by default subtract one of the attacks. For example: Swash Buckler has two (2) attacks, however if he attacks a knight (with armor) - he does not have to worry about the pistol attack (one less saving throw). OR something like that... If you define your "Unit Tree", you can maybe use something like in your article "Playing with Numbers" and have different levels of AMMUNITION. So a bullet is stronger than a spear, but a missile stronger than a bullet. Units only need to save against weapons they are not "immune" to...

So if a tank combats vs. a swordman, the tanks doesn't need to save! Hehehe... I can picture the poor guy trying to slash the tank... ;) But the opposite would incur the save vs. death...

But a "bomberman" unit could use EXPLOSIVES and explosives could destroy a tank. So I think what you should worry about is strength of each unit's attack. I think you might need to compare numbers...

questccg
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Then again...

Your save vs. death makes more sense with "armies"... Because there is no 1-on-1 battle, how do you figure out what unit is fighting which other unit? If you have to save vs. death, well it's like you were killed "during battle".

But in reality... In this scenario: P1 has 20 swordmen and 1 tank vs. P2 having 100 Archers. Your higher units do NOT need to save vs. death. So because Archers (=4) and swordmen (=3) but tank (=8), only the swordmen need to save. How do you expect an army of archers to defeat a tank???

Okay, so let's say your tank is now a "dragon". 100 Archers could defeat a dragon (=6)... Ya, I'm more confident now... You should use an "exponential increment" and that could allow you to "divide" what should save and what should not.

Even a dragon could not defeat a tank! ;)

larienna
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I like the idea of save on

I like the idea of save on demand. You only roll if some value exceed another. But values outside a certain range force you to roll the dice. So you do not roll the dice all the time.

Quote:
how do you figure out what unit is fighting which other unit?

Right now, the match up is randomly, but the system should be flexible enough to allow different system like "Mind games"(like in Fury of Dracula, Age of Mythology, etc). I might allow players to use the match-up system they want.

Quote:
How do you expect an army of archers to defeat a tank???

Well in a civilization game, it makes more sense that a unit has no chance to defeat a very higher tech unit because you want to force the player to progress. In my game, the variation between the units is much lower.

The first ting I though is that different outcome could occurs. If I cannot defeat your dragon, at least, I could paralyze it and kill it the next time it gets matched in duel.

questccg
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More on armies...

larienna wrote:
Quote:
how do you figure out what unit is fighting which other unit?

Right now, the match up is randomly, but the system should be flexible enough to allow different system like "Mind games"(like in Fury of Dracula, Age of Mythology, etc). I might allow players to use the match-up system they want.

Well how about the units with the same "level" combat each other and simply enforce the save.

ASIDE: Oh yeah - and a dragon could defeat a tank... By flipping it over! ;)

P1: 100 Swordmen (=2) and Dragon (=8) vs. P2: 50 Archers (=2) well you assume that the Swordmen will battle the Archers (because they are on the same level). SO FIRST you match up equal units and THEN you resolve the remaining units. In this case, all that remains is a dragon who does NOT need to save! I think this would work well...

questccg
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Another scenario

P1: 10 Barbarians (=1), 20 Swordmen (=2), 1 Dragon (=8) vs. 2 Barbarians (=1), 50 Archers (=2) and 5 Canons (=4).

So again here you would resolve the SAME levels first:

-10 Barbarians vs 2 Barbarians
-20 Swordmen vs 50 Archers

Then you would be left with 5 Canons (=4) vs. 1 Dragon (=8). Now depending who attacked who... You might need to SAVE.

So if P1 attacked P2, the Canon is lower than the Dragon, nothing happens.

If however P2 attacked P1, then 1 Dragon vs. 5 Canon woud imply a SAVE (by the canon).

This works if the armies are similar in grouping. However there could be an "unbalanced" case:

P1: 100 barbarians (=1) vs P2. 5 barbarians (=1). In this case it if P1 attacks P2, it is HIGHLY unlikely that the 5 barbarians will defeat 100 barbarians...!

I'm not sure how to handle the case when armies are unbalanced...

larienna
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Quote:ASIDE: Oh yeah - and a

Quote:
ASIDE: Oh yeah - and a dragon could defeat a tank... By flipping it over! ;)

Or carrying it very high in the sky and then drop it. Or drop it in the middle of the sea.

Quote:
In this case, all that remains is a dragon who does NOT need to save! I think this would work well...

Well in that case, the dragon becomes impossible to defeat. The problem is that the player will not fight a battle if there have no chance to win.

The only thing that could help is that the dragon might not show up every turn. Since unit matching currently involves drawing 1 out of 5 cards randomly, there is a possibility that the card does not show up. But that prevent me from playing the same game as a "Mind game" because the the player will always chose the dragon.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

But this discussion lead me to another idea. What prevents 1 dragon vs 10 000 000 soldiers to win is that the 10 million soldiers can group together to fight the stronger creature. This is something which is also done in magic the gathering, use a group of creature to kill a strong one.

I could use a similar system. I could say "draw a card from your deck until you can kill your enemy". For example

You draw dragon (Str 6), I draw Swordmen (Str 3). I die, but not you. So I continue to draw cards until I can defeat your dragon. I draw a 2nd card Spearmen (str 2) (3+2 = 5, not enough). I Draw a third card Archers (str 3), a total of 8 (3+2+3) defeat the dragon.

In the end, I lose 3 units and you only lose 1 unit. But in the end, you are you are not invincible, I just get more casualties.

questccg
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BOTH sides are defeated...

larienna wrote:
You draw dragon (Str 6), I draw Swordmen (Str 3). I die, but not you. So I continue to draw cards until I can defeat your dragon. I draw a 2nd card Spearmen (str 2) (3+2 = 5, not enough). I Draw a third card Archers (str 3), a total of 8 (3+2+3) defeat the dragon.

So the battle continues until BOTH sides are defeated... Interesting. Would there be some kind of penalty for the player that plays more cards??? Or perhaps the opposite, a reward to the other player? I'm just thinking that the conlfict resolution is okay... but it needs to reward the player that plays less cards.

Hmmm... Maybe you could add a GOLD VALUE to each creature. When you kill it, you get a certain amount of GOLD (or experience if you prefer). The gold could act like a currency which in turn could allow you to get other upgrades... That's just off the top of my head.

questccg
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I LIKE IT!

larienna wrote:
You draw dragon (Str 6), I draw Swordmen (Str 3). I die, but not you. So I continue to draw cards until I can defeat your dragon. I draw a 2nd card Spearmen (str 2) (3+2 = 5, not enough). I Draw a third card Archers (str 3), a total of 8 (3+2+3) defeat the dragon.

BTW I think this last concept is cool. It's simple and elegant. Add to it a reward system and you have a pretty good way of handling battles fast and easy. And like you mentionned "Players wont AVOID combat". With a reward with each kill, players will always be clashing!

larienna
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Quote:I'm just thinking that

Quote:
I'm just thinking that the conlfict resolution is okay... but it needs to reward the player that plays less cards.

In fact, there is a reward, the player's army who draw 3 cards lose 3 HP while the player's army with the dragon lose 1 HP.

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