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How many "MOBA" style games are there?

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Three's picture
Joined: 08/31/2011

It's safe to say that most people online are familiar with at least one MOBA game. League of Legends, Heroes of Newearth, DoTA, Awesomenauts (New one!), (Infinite Crisis..*cringe*), etc.

I've read a lot of threads with people presenting their ideas for a MOBA board game too. It's what got me started on trying to make my own. While I was doing my research I couldn't find too many MOBA like board games online. Maybe one or two. Are there any you guys know of?

kpres's picture
Joined: 04/20/2013
Multiplayer Online Battle Arena

The Google tells me that MOBA stands for Multiplayer Online Battle Arena.

War games have been around for a long time. Risk is the blandest flavour. You can get into stuff like Axis and Allies or Twilight Imperium for greater depth and longer game length, or you can go all-out and spend 2 weeks worth of evenings painting your miniatures and 3 months reading the rule book to finally start playing Warhammer.

These games take a lot of dedication. Some parts of the game would be so much better when automated, and it shows. I played an online version of Risk and games lasted ten or fifteen minutes because the computer automated the dice rolling.

Some games go from the board to the internet. One game, however goes from online to the board: Civilization. I have not played it, and probably never will, because games with rule books scare me. I need a rules brochure or a rules insert, not a tome ;) One of the great benefits of playing these types of games online is that the game guides you through the whole process. You don't need to become a lawyer to play League of Legends online, but you would need to study a huge rule book to know everything there is to know about a League of Legends board game.

Joined: 07/12/2012

Risk is not quite a MOBA.

To be perfectly honest, you might be better served asking this question on boardgamegeek - since it's full of... board game geeks...

Joined: 09/07/2011
There aren't any as far as I

There aren't any as far as I know, and believe me, I've looked. There are a lot of inherent issues with trying to make a MOBA board game: you need a larger number of players than is usually acceptable (6-10) to truly capture the feel of the game, there is a lot of micromanaging that's not involved with any specific player (creep waves being the hardest to successfully abstract in a way that feels good), you have to have an interesting way to "itemize" any character based on the current game-state (doesn't necessarily have to be an item shop, as games like Prime World have shown, but any option here tends to involve long lists or charts that would immediately alienate a lot of players and represent a huge barrier of entry since there's no way to efficiently present all that information in a tabletop-friendly format), and the list goes on...

I also tried to make a MOBA board game back in college, and while it was playable and felt just like playing LoL, getting to level 2 took an hour and a half. I'd limited the level cap to 10 expecting the game to take longer, but not THAT much longer... This was entirely due to the fact that the way to gain experience in these kinds of games is by killing "creeps": I thought that having larger blocks representing the entire wave might work, with the player gaining experience and gold whenever the wave lost a certain amount of HP, but even then there were four different waves to keep track of each turn. The players are attacking them, they have to attack each other, and usually a wave has to spawn before the current wave is destroyed. When does the wave spawn, how do you keep track of that, how fast do the waves move, what happens when the new wave joins the remnants of the old one, etc...

The other big issue I ran into was dealing with the fog of war. This is a problem any board game has, but with MOBA-style games it's a large part of the strategy. As I'm sure you know, ganks are really important. Having a "jungle" area between lanes is absolutely necessary, and in order to capture the same feel vision has to be limited there. I wasn't ever satisfied with anything I came up with, and while the mechanic I settled on to start playtesting my MOBA game was sufficient, I wouldn't say it was good.

If you can figure out a way to keep the feel of the genre while removing creep waves entirely, and find an easy way to deal with the fog of war (hint: there isn't one... >.<) then you've got a good board game on your hands. I just don't know how that's possible. The MOBA genre relies too heavily on those mechanics of gaining levels slowly by killing little minions that are waddling down their respective lanes at set intervals, and hiding in the brush/jungle waiting to strike against an opponent who's overextended. These are both mechanics that work really well for video games but can't translate to the tabletop very well.

There's a good board game to be made mimicing games like Bloodline Champions, where champions don't level and just beat up on each other until one side wins, but that's not quite the same experience that you'd get from a MOBA.

In any case, though, I wish you better luck than I had.

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