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dice combat - 2 problems

17 replies [Last post]
Fhizban's picture
Joined: 01/11/2009

image a really simple dice combat system using custom dice.

attacker rolls and counts ATK symbols while defender rolls and counts DEF symbols. is the attackers total higher, a hit is landed (lets not take damage calculation into account here). the number of dice rolled is currently the same for both players as is the distribution of symbols. lets say 5 or 6 dice per player.

now on to the problems:

1) health tracking
currently an additional component is used to track health. each player has about 5-6 points of health, thats exactly the number of dice we use.

it would be WAY better if we use the actual dice to track health as well, removing dice when losing health etc.

BUT, this creates a runaway leader syndrome and a quite dangerous one: once you start losing dice (aka health), your chances of landing a hit or defending against hits are getting terrible low.

any ideas?

2) more ATK/DEF symbols
I wanted to add just a tiny bit of extra complexity to this. maybe having 2-3 (not more) ATK/DEF symbols in total. actually just having 2-3 ATK symbols would be enough and DEF could be just one.

my vision was to add some kind of RANGE or FIGHT STYLES to the system. having 3 ATK symbols would allow a simple R-P-S system to be integrated. personally i would prefer a range system with CLOSE attacks, RANGE attacks and maybe MAGIC attacks (the highest range).

but, im lacking the right idea HOW to integrate these additional symbols into the rest of the simple system without breaking it.

any ideas?

thanks guys!

chris_mancini's picture
Joined: 05/01/2015
Why not include a Health Die

Why not include a Health Die for each player? Whatever your threshold for damage may be (6 points, 10 points, 20 points) there is a die that can work for you. This keeps the game entirely dice-based, which is nice.

The real issue is with the game itself; it currently sounds entirely luck-based, with no strategy or player decisions to be made. Just roll and hope you score better than the other guy. What you describe with the additional symbols could quickly encroach on Dice Masters territory, so be mindful of that. Nothing wrong with borrowing from a game, but that's one heck of a juggernaut to go up against for people's attention and money.

Maybe taking it in a push-your-luck direction, where players may choose to strengthen an attack or defense, bank a die to power up a magic spell, or potentially fizzle out their "mana" and lose a die to reroll on that turn. I like the notion of a really fast combat dice system, one which seeks to replicate the speed and fury of battle...perhaps you can use yor dice to "destroy" your opponents dice AS they roll them? Some mechanic where players are able to steal or neutralize an opponent's dice, depending on the roll?

Fhizban's picture
Joined: 01/11/2009
hi chris, thanks for the

hi chris,
thanks for the quick answer!

regarding randomness: I did not tell you the whole story, just spotlight on the two problems im struggling with right now.

and actually I do not really care if someone already has invented something or not. I dont plan to copycat Dice masters or anything.

dice masters is the product range that started with Quarriors right?

back on topic:

health die. OK. Had this idea myself, but: now we have one additional component that has absolutely NO USE besides tracking health. hmmm....

jonathanflike's picture
Joined: 03/09/2016
Maybe you could ...

Hmm maybe you could add a second-wind system in the dice where if you roll that symbol you can get a health (die) back to keep the runaway leader thing at bay. The only immediate issue I see with this is that if someone consistently rolls that at full health or it becomes difficult to finish someone off. It may rubberband the game just right, but I'm just speculating and probably would need a playtest. That would eliminate the need for a separate health die.

Fhizban's picture
Joined: 01/11/2009
@jonathan: thanks, good idea

@jonathan: thanks, good idea actually - im thinking about it.

my 2 cents on the health subject:

A. Extra Die
Use a extra die to symbolize player health, but that die also serves another function throughout the game. maybe there are 2 symbols on it: the actual health plus a recovery symbol that shows the dice you can recover per turn or the health you may recover each turn. this way the die would serve a double usage (although just a book-keeping one).

another idea would be to roll that die at certain times together with the other dice as well. this could result in special effects etc. BUT, you have to memorize your health total in order to turn the die back to the right face after rolling again (not so good).

B. Dice as health
using all dice a player has to symbolize the health total seems to be the most elegant solution to me right now. but this is really difficult to get right in regards of balancing.

there are ZONES in the game. so another idea would be that a "damaged" die gets placed in the "wound" zone. this effectively lets the players track their health. now, when rolling you would still roll ALL your dice: in the "normal" zone as well as in the "wound" zone. sadly this makes this elegant system much more clumsy than it has to be.


X3M's picture
Joined: 10/28/2013
Far fetched suggestion ahead!

What if you have coloured dice? Simply replace the "green" dice with "red" dice.

You could even slip in some adjustments for each colour. For example, the red die having 2 to 7 instead of 1 to 6. Or something different.

Fhizban's picture
Joined: 01/11/2009
I should have mentioned that

I should have mentioned that the game uses a single card per player as well

1 card + 5-6 dice per player - thats all components

@X3M nice idea, but the dice are colored already with varying symbols :-(

JewellGames's picture
Joined: 06/03/2012
Can you give me an idea of

Can you give me an idea of the icon distribution? Is there a reason its attack/defend system instead of higher combat total wins (and deals 1 damage)?

I assume rolling only 1 die at a time is out of the quest versus all dice at once?

Fhizban's picture
Joined: 01/11/2009
@Jewell: Im not ready to post

@Jewell: Im not ready to post the whole rulebook (rule-sheet) yet...but I do my best to explain:

Its basically a cartoon fighting game where each card represents a players character. the dice come in 6 variations, called "elements" - much like fighting styles.

there are 3 icons in total (currently): ATK, DEF and JOKER. the 6 dice have different setups.

Fire has 4 ATK, 1 DEF and 1 JOKER
while earth has 4 DEF, 1 ATK and 1 JOKER
and so on

each fighter consists of 5-6 dice of varying elements (usally 3-4 different elements).

the reason for the ATK/DEF system lies in the turn structure. plus, there are various things that are carried over to the next turn like building a defense, setting dice aside for energy, recovering used-up dice etc.

the crux if: if you spend all dice now to attack, you wont have that many available to defend yourself on your opponents turn.


PS: the cards are 350 µm plastic poker sized cards (scratch free, water resistant, die rolling resistant) - at least thats how I envision the games components

Fhizban's picture
Joined: 01/11/2009
ok, a brainstormed solution

ok, a brainstormed solution of health tracking and health in general

along the lines of @jonathanflike's idea:

A. we agree on using the actual dice as health indicator
B. to fight the runaway leader problem, dice can be recovered
C. in the same way you roll ATK or DEF symbols, there must be a way to recover health
D. there is a third symbol JOKER used for various effects, that could be used for recovery

now - the final problem: it may not be too easy to recover health.

as damage is a luck based and rather lengthy process (roll enough ATK, roll less DEF, do damage) - health may NOT be recovered too fast

so, using each JOKER symbol to recover one health point is way too good

and, Im somehow against a fixed number (like 2 jokers for 1 health)

PS: when i say "health", it is meant to "recover one die"

ElKobold's picture
Joined: 04/10/2015
Alternatively, you could have

Alternatively, you could have variable number of successes per dice face.
Something like 3xAtt 2xAtt 1xAtt
That way someone with 5 dice can still roll 5, while someone with 3 can still roll 9.

Fhizban's picture
Joined: 01/11/2009
@ElKobold: Yup thats already

@ElKobold: Yup thats already planned, thanks anyways for pointing out.

Altogether that should work, more testing required.

Final Question: Targeting.

When you lose a die due to "damage" - how would targeting work? Hmm...

Joined: 05/05/2014
An idea: every dice represent

An idea: every dice represent 1 point of health and you remove one when you lose a fight BUT the discarded dice/health are thrown too, in a separate space, and you can exchange dice from a group to the other for free.

Then when you are losing you become more resilient. Anyway if you lose too much dice each time will be harder to win some "combat".

Then, my idea here, you can declare a suicide attack for any "combat", if you win then the game end in a draw. If you lose this suicide attack then just you lose.

Similar mechanics exist in bidding games as poker.

Joined: 04/08/2012
How about this idea

Players use 4 attack dice of d6 and 4 defense of 6d dice. All die adds upto 24 points.

Damage die:

Use a 20d. Players roll their attack , defenders roll thier defense die. Any damage hit, the defending player counts the damage and subtracts that amount on the 20d.

This attack and defense phase could be upto 1 to 4 rolls to attack or defend.

Another dice for targeting.
Use a 6d with text or pictures correspobding to body parts of target zones. 1: head. 2: chest. 3: left arm. 4: right arm. 5: left leg. 6: right leg.

Players who attack call out target of the opponent they want to target.Defending players try their best to defend that target zone.So really the attacking phase could take up to 1 to 6 times to take the target down or just injure it.

Joined: 07/03/2013
Change it up?

If I'm understanding correctly, you only have one pool of dice that you work with. What if you changed things up with the placement of dice?

Remember "Memoir '44"? In that game there are three lanes of attack (left, center, and right) that each require specific cards in order to use troops in that region. What if we took that "lanes" idea and plopped that in here?

Since it seems like you're using relatively few dice, so let's just use two lanes.

On each of your dice, there are attack and defense values as well as a swap symbol. Once you roll your dice, you may put any number of them into your attack/defense lanes, and your opponent does the same. Only dice in a given lane interact with dice your opponent controls in the same lane (no crossing). Once a dice is placed in a lane, it cannot be moved, unless you roll a swap value on your dice. If you roll a swap, you can place it into a lane and move another of your dice from lane-to-lane as well, allowing you to shift tactics.

You would need to come up with restrictions (like only getting three throws of the dice) so your opponent doesn't just sit there re-rolling stuff. Also, I would include a few minor changes, such as defense values counting for double what an attack value is worth (or having multiples gives a cumulative defense value in a pattern like 1, 3, 5, etc.) and swap values also being worth one defense.

Hope that helps

Fhizban's picture
Joined: 01/11/2009
@Masacroso: thanks, good idea

@Masacroso: thanks, good idea - im currently testing something similar.

@Stormy: thanks, just d6 in my case but thats not a prob.

@ruy343: cool idea. really nice. It does not quite fit my current project, but might be useful later on. the rule you stated works out for a war-game. mind if I use that idea lter on?

I think I gathered enough feedback for now. thank you guys!

Joined: 07/03/2013
My services are free

I don't mind if you use any ideas I place on this board when I'm spitballing like that; feel free to take (or not) my ideas as you see fit.

That said, if anyone's interested in design collaborations and such, just PM me.

Joined: 04/08/2012
I agree with Ruy

Feel free to use my ideas as well. I would not mind of collaborations either and your welcome Fhiz.

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