# Fleet Combat Mechanic

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Toa Lewa
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Joined: 10/31/2013

I've been working on a space themed fleet combat game called Skyward. I haven't worked on it for awhile, but I recently pulled out my initial ideas, and I was completely disgusted at my overly complicated battle mechanic. Here is the mechanic:

Attacking

Determine which units make successful hits

• Determine Evasiveness of defending unit
o Roll Evasive Die
o Add die value to Ship’s Evasiveness

• Determine attacking unit Accuracy
o Roll Accuracy Dice
o Add die value to Ship’s Accuracy

• If Accuracy value is greater than the Evasiveness Value, it is a successful hit

Determine damage

• Determine defense of unit
o Roll defense die
o Add die value to unit’s defense
o Add support value to unit’s defense

• Determine attack value
o Roll one attack die per successful hit
o Add dice values to total unit attack value
o Subtract shield penalty value for any hits that hit defending shield from attack value.

• If Attack value is greater than the Defense value, the unit’s armor level is decreased by 1 and damage is taken.

A little to complicated huh? Now I can think of many simple combat systems to use, but I want the system to support accuracy and attack strength. For example, a fighter will have a high accuracy, but it will have a low attack strength. In contrast, a capital ship will have low accuracy, but it will have high attack strength. Does anyone have a mechanic in mind that supports accuracy and attack strength but is still inherently simple?

Keep in mind that players can attack with many ships at once and target the same unit. When units attack together their strength is combined.

questccg
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Joined: 04/16/2011
Okay my thoughts

Keep the two rolls (Accuracy and Evasiveness). So if you roll a 6 in Accuracy and a 3 in Evasiveness, you have 3 successful hits (6 - 3 = 3).

You may find that ALL THOSE EXTRA STATS (that you think are good on paper - suck in playtesting)... You want to simplify the gaming experience and doing all kinds of additions will make the game *heavy* (and boring - too much mathematics).

2 Dice rolls is ELEGANT and you have a simple outcome. If the math went the other way, the opponent would evade the attack and therefore 0 hits...

Now for *damage* calculation. The basis of it should be the number of HITs. The number can range from one (1) to five (6-1). So 5 is a very aggressive attack.

I would GO BACK to a dice solution:

1. Roll 1 dice for each hit (one for attack).
2. Consider using a CUSTOM dice here... (it could be good)

So let's say, the number of hits are like a series of attacks. They can be successful, unsuccessful and countered! So let's say 3 are a success, 2 are failures and 1 is a counter.

Now for each success the defender loses 1 Point (Caused by 1 damage point). Each failure cause 0 damage and each counter causes the *attacker* to lose 1 Point!

Too many stats will make your game too complicated. Trust me, I have playtested Magic: the Gathering's combat and reworked my own combat system (which is different from yours) and the mathematics have to go. Comparing TOO MANY NUMBERS leads to BOREDOME. People will HATE having to compute TOO MANY numbers.

Keep it SIMPLE and go with dice rolls... Again if you don't believe me, playtest the game for 30 minutes and tell me if all that math is really worth it. Your game is about battles - not mathematics...

questccg
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Joined: 04/16/2011
To explain what is happening

So you first roll 2 dice - if the defender rolls higher, the attack stops. Otherwise the number of hits are computed from one (1) to five (6-1). This mechanic uses two (2) standard d6s (You could use 1 RED dice for Attack and 1 BLUE dice for Evasiveness).

Next from a pool of five (5) CUSTOM dice, select the number of dice matching the above calculation (number of hits). The custom dice are 3 hits, 2 misses and 1 counter (These could be custom WHITE d6s).

Each hit or counter causes 1 damage point.

People who like DICE will LOVE this mechanic... It's random - but works with odds. Nothing wrong with some randomness (IMHO)!

Feel free to let me know what you think! You may not like it, it's just a suggestion *based* on what you asked (Too Complicated? No this is pretty straight forward and you have an awesome POOL of dice for damage). Yahtzee is popular because people roll many dice...

Your game could have that same intensity (with the 5 dice pool of custom dice)!!!

Note: The number of hits can be seen as a *structured* attack - like phases of an attack. Some attacks are DIRECT (and only 1 custom dice is used) and others can have several phases to an attack (such as 2, 3, 4 or 5 custom dice are used). Each phase is vulnerable to a *counter* attack (which is cool - because it gives the defender odds to score some hits also!)

questccg
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Joined: 04/16/2011
Lowers the amount of HP

Also these two mechanics allow for simple *damage markers* to be used to keep track of each unit's health... This is important if you have several units and want to be able to *preserve* health during multiple turns.

In my game, I don't keep track of health. Like Magic, in my game it needs to be an all-or-nothing proposition.

I think I like the *flexibility* to have damage counters and do so in a *simple* way...

Just something else to keep in mind!

questccg
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Joined: 04/16/2011
It works *AS-IS*

The only problem is you may wonder: "What stats am I going to have?"

Because the combat systems works "AS-IS". So the hits can be 1 to 5 (based on the previous roll of 2 dice). So it works all nicely with the previous step. BUT if you introduce more stats, it *breaks* the mechanics.

So thinking about stats, if you want to distinguish between a Capital Ship vs. a Fighter, the first thing that will be different is the amount of HEALTH (damage that can be taken). A Fighter may only get 2 HP and a Capital Ship may get 6 HP. What this means is the Fighter can be destroyed in ONE turn but the Capital Ship requires TWO turns to destroy.

The second stat is *mobility*. So movement of the ships should be different. Not sure if you want the smaller ships to be faster or the big ones?! But there is definitely another stat your ships can have.

Another stat is *cost*. Basically what it COSTS to produce/build the ship. The Capital Ships take more credits than the Fighter Ships... So far that's already 3 stats... I'm sure you can think up more that are relevant to the game itself... They don't necessarily need to be applied to the Combat mechanics.

questccg
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Joined: 04/16/2011
Another solution

I can come up with *another* solution which could use MORE stats:

1. Each spaceship has 2 combat stats: Attack and Defense.
2. The attacker rolls X number of custom dice (Based on his Attack value). I would use Attack values of one (1) to five (5). Custom dice are *similar* to the other solution - but different: 3 offense, 2 defence and 1 direct hit.
3. The defender rolls Y number of custom dice (Based on his Defense value). Again use Defense values from one (1) to five (5).
4. Rolls that are *direct hit* either by the attacker or defender COUNT as "direct hits" (causes 1 damage point)
5. Rolls that are Offense for the *attacker* are kept and compared to the *defender* Defense. The number of hits are computed once dice are *paired off*. So when an attacker's Offense is matched to a defender's Defense, both dice cancel each other out. Do this pairing off and then the remaining dice are hits.

Personally I like the first solution better... But this mechanic uses TWO (2) more stats: Attack and Defense).

Again you have dice pools of up to five (5) dice you can use... And there are two (2) players rolling (so 10 dice in all). That's a lot of dice to go crazy over!!! :P

pelle
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Joined: 08/11/2008

Guess you are talking about space fleets, but the best (only) example I can think of that manages to make detailed ship combat results without overwhelming annoying procedures is Tokyo Express. You have different decks of cards for different types of ships attacking, and when you attack you just draw a card and look at it to see what type of damage is done depending on what the target is and how powerful guns you are attacking with and at what range. Not that I have played that many fleet games (space or naval). I love how the cards also provide for special effects like possibility of killing admirals or starting fires on target ships as seen in the photo below:

http://boardgamegeek.com/image/348563/tokyo-express

Kroz1776
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Joined: 10/09/2013
Streamlined Down

To streamline your original idea, you could have each ship have their evasiveness stat, then the attacking ship is the only one to roll a die to see if they hit. Then you roll for damage. I know this does lower the defensive player's interaction but it does streamline it a bit.

I also like Pelle's suggestion. It kind of reminds me of Mansions of Madness where you draw cards to see what happens.

Toa Lewa
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Joined: 10/31/2013
Custom Dice

I'm thinking about using something similar to your second suggestion Quest. I think I will use custom dice like what are found in Heroscape or Risk Battlefield Rogue (defending dice will have four blank sides and two block/evade sides and attacking dice will have three blank sides and three hit sides). I will use the attributes of attack and defense. Like you said, the attack and defense values would determine how many dice the player rolls.

I still want to utilize an attack strength attribute, and here is my idea. Certain units could have specific attack dice that they roll. Stronger attack dice could have sides with multiple hits on them, and weaker attack dice could have less hits. For example, a capital ship attack die could have a side that deals four hits, and a fighter only has sides with one hit on them. Come to think of it, I could still use an accuracy attribute that is automatically incorporated into the dice. More accurate ships could have dice with more hit sides. For example, a fighter could have an attack die with five hit sides and only one blank side. However, the fighter can only deal one hit. In contrast, a capital ship could have a die with five blank sides (low accuracy) but have a side with 4 or 5 hits (high damage). What do you think?

questccg
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Joined: 04/16/2011
I'm not sure I get it

BUT the reason I stated using *custom* dice is so that you have MANY of the SAME custom dice. It's CHEAPER that way to manufacture (sorry - I always try to lower the cost of making a game - it's a habit).

Having 1 custom dice for this type of ship or another custom dice for another ship, doesn't really work. It's going to be expensive. Especially if you produce 1 dice for each type... Moulds are expensive for dice. If you have 10 of the same dice in a game and order 1,000 units of your game, that's 10,000 dice. Should be cheap.

But custom dice for one-offs is going to be very costly.

Toa Lewa
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Joined: 10/31/2013
Dice Stickers

Quest wrote:
Having 1 custom dice for this type of ship or another custom dice for another ship, doesn't really work. It's going to be expensive. Especially if you produce 1 dice for each type... Moulds are expensive for dice. If you have 10 of the same dice in a game and order 1,000 units of your game, that's 10,000 dice. Should be cheap.

But custom dice for one-offs is going to be very costly.

Maybe it wouldn't be as expensive if the players were responsible for putting stickers on the sides of the dice. This way the dice could all be the same and save on manufacturing cost. This is how the game Risk Battlefield Rouge did it.

questccg
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Joined: 04/16/2011
Good idea!

Toa Lewa wrote:
Maybe it wouldn't be as expensive if the players were responsible for putting stickers on the sides of the dice. This way the dice could all be the same and save on manufacturing cost. This is how the game Risk Battlefield Rouge did it.

Okay that makes sense... using stickers. I guess you will need to include instructions as to HOW to stick them, since there will be several different types of die. However this should reduce the cost of manufacturing (using stickers)... That gives you the flexibility you are looking for!

X3M
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Joined: 10/28/2013
If you are unsure that

If you are unsure that players are able to place the stickers correctly.
You still can let it happen in the factory before hand?

ruy343
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Joined: 07/03/2013
Questccg was on to something

Though I would approach it differently. I like the idea of static evasiveness and an attack dice allowing you lots of hits. However, I would then allow ships with weaker weapons (like fighters) to roll 4-sided dice, while bigger ships that land hits roll bigger ones (like 2d6 a hit or d12s). The little ships hit the big ships pretty often this way, but they don't deal much damage (and you can have an "armor" ability that reduces each hit by one damage, or lowers the dice by one size category (instead of a 6-sided dice (d6), roll a d4; or instead of a d4, flip a coin).

This would be a fairly simple system that allows for you to toy with a lot of simple mechanics (as said before). Armor, accuracy (add +1 or +2 to an accuracy roll), evasion, vulnerabilities, etc.

(Also, the Star Wars TCG about 8 years ago used the first part of the mechanic pretty well without the idea of rolling damage for hits, but the players were able to target the ships/units/characters they wanted with each shot, so you were able to take out units that had accuracy pretty easily (because they were often weak fighters).

Toa Lewa
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Joined: 10/31/2013
Here is what I'm thinking of

Here is what I'm thinking of know. I'm thinking of utilizing a system where the accuracy and damage are automatically dealt with in the die roll (like I mentioned in my last post). Each ship type will have a correlating attack die. When its time to attack, the player rolls one die correlating die.

Here are my ideas for the custom dice:

Fighter 5 hit, 1 blank
Bomber 2 hit, 3 hit x 2, 1 blank
Corvette 4 hit x 2, 3 blank
Frigate 3 hit x 3, 4 blank
Destroyer 2 hit x 4, 4 blank
Cruiser 2 hit x 5, 4 blank
Capital Ship 1 hit x 6, 1 hit, 4 blank

questccg
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Joined: 04/16/2011
Toa Lewa wrote:Here are my

Toa Lewa wrote:
Here are my ideas for the custom dice:

Fighter 5 hit, 1 blank
Bomber 2 hit, 3 hit x 2, 1 blank
Corvette 4 hit x 2, 3 blank
Frigate 3 hit x 3, 4 blank
Destroyer 2 hit x 4, 4 blank
Cruiser 2 hit x 5, 4 blank
Capital Ship 1 hit x 6, 1 hit, 4 blank

Corvette and Frigate have 7 outcomes. That won't work on a d6.

Toa Lewa
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Joined: 10/31/2013
Thanks for noticing that

Thanks for noticing that Quest. Here's the revised stats.
Fighter 5 hit, 1 blank
Bomber 2 hit, 3 hit x 2, 1 blank
Corvette 4 hit x 2, 2 blank
Frigate 3 hit x 3, 3 blank
Destroyer 2 hit x 4, 4 blank
Cruiser 2 hit x 5, 4 blank
Capital Ship 1 hit x 6, 1 hit, 4 blank

questccg
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Joined: 04/16/2011
So...

You don't like the FIRST *dice* mechanic... I guess not enough stats for it... But I will keep it in mind, it's pretty interesting that the two dice rolls give way to up to five (5) other dice rolls. I also personally like the *counter* mechanic which gives the opponent to strike an attacking ship. With a maximum of 1 damage point per dice (total of 5 damage points), it keeps the stats simple for the Health Points (or damage markers)... If you don't mind, I'll keep that mechanic for another game... I like the idea of rolling up to five (5) dice to determine damage. It reminds me about dice-intensive games like Yahtzee!

As for the stats you have cited, you'll need to balance them with game play. My guess is that you will be only rolling one (1) dice at a time with the stats you have cited (like 3 hit x 3 = 3 damage points). Rolling more may lead to unbalanced attacks...

My first dice mechanic idea has no stats, just dice rolling. So what I was thinking is that it would be like something of *altering* stats (bonuses or penalties). Say for example the roll is 5 vs 2. That would imply 3 hits. I could have a penalty saying -1 hit (Hull Plating) which would then mean 2 hits (instead of 3). Or re-roll bonus that says, re-roll up to 2 damage dice (Enhanced Targeting)... Giving you better odds of scoring more hits! Things like that...

I have not yet come up with a game concept that would use LESS stats... Even my current WIP uses stat-based comparisons. It's not fundamentally complicated, it's like comparing 2 numbers, Attack versus Defense. If your Attack is higher you defeat the opponent. If one Starship isn't enough to overpower his opponent, you could combine two (2) or three (3) starships. Obviously the game is balanced because both players roll the initiative dice... The victor of that roll decides how combat will get resolved. And it's a fair *reverse* mechanism in regards to defensive assaults (where the defender has the initiative)...