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Interpretation for a RPS-like unit triple

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Maaartin
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Joined: 05/15/2011

In my first game, I'm using (among others) 3 military unit types working on the rock-paper-scissors principle (i.e. the first type has an advantage when fighting the second one, etc.). I don't want to keep it abstract, so I'm looking for some interpretation.

I can't use the triple cavalry-bowmen-pikemen (like in Age of Empires; the cavalry overruns the bowmen, the bowmen shoots the pikemen before they can attack, the pikemen stop the cavalry). These 3 unit types of mine are all the same in all other respects and I want to keep the bowmen and the cavalry for the extension, so I'm looking for something else.

Is there a triple of non-ranged weapons/units working the way I need? In either historical or fantasy context (there's no theme yet, the mechanics works fine already).

emxibus
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Joined: 10/24/2008
Ideas

You could do it by armor/speed class. In my gladiator game I have light, medium, and heavy gladiators. Medium has an advantage over light, heavy over medium, and light over heavy.

You could use weapon types: pike, long sword, and mace.

You could use experience: recruits, veterans, and elite.

Maaartin
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Joined: 05/15/2011
Details needed

Thank you for the answer.

emxibus wrote:
You could do it by armor/speed class. In my gladiator game I have light, medium, and heavy gladiators. Medium has an advantage over light, heavy over medium, and light over heavy.

This would IMHO imply different prices of the gladiators (heavy need more resources). But this could be ignored.

emxibus wrote:
You could use weapon types: pike, long sword, and mace.

I'd favor something like this, but could you give me an explanation why it works. I need it both in order to make it sound plausible and in order to make the people remember it.

emxibus wrote:
You could use experience: recruits, veterans, and elite.

I don't see how this could work. The more experienced always wins - at least in all games I've seen they do. Could you elaborate?

emxibus
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Joined: 10/24/2008
Since you liked the weapons

Since you liked the weapons idea best (I would agree) I'll start there. Here is one explanation, and I'm sure there are others that would work. Just like paper beating rock, you can give any explanation and generally people will go with it.

A soldier with a mace would be able to quickly get in close to a pikeman and neutralize the pike.

A longswordman, while not as fast as the maceman or pikeman, has a weapon which is effective at any range and is able to cut and stab while the mace cannot.

A pikeman being faster than the longswordsman can keep him at bay until an opening presents itself.

As for experience always winning, if this were true then the Spurs should have beaten the Grizzlies in their NBA playoff series. But with that said, I see your point, generally experience does win if all other things are equal. I'm just throwing things out there for discussion. Maybe change recruits to seasoned troops and go with the youth/strength over old/experienced.

Elite beats Veterans
Veterans beat Seasoned
Seasoned be Elite

Maaartin
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Joined: 05/15/2011
One more unit

emxibus wrote:
Since you liked the weapons idea best (I would agree) I'll start there. Here is one explanation, and I'm sure there are others that would work. Just like paper beating rock, you can give any explanation and generally people will go with it.
For me, paper beating rock is not an explanation, just a mnemonic for an unreasonable rule. But a good one.

emxibus wrote:
A soldier with a mace would be able to quickly get in close to a pikeman and neutralize the pike.

A longswordman, while not as fast as the maceman or pikeman, has a weapon which is effective at any range and is able to cut and stab while the mace cannot.

A pikeman being faster than the longswordsman can keep him at bay until an opening presents itself.

I like this, thx a lot.

emxibus wrote:
As for experience always winning, if this were true then the Spurs should have beaten the Grizzlies in their NBA playoff series. But with that said, I see your point, generally experience does win if all other things are equal. I'm just throwing things out there for discussion. Maybe change recruits to seasoned troops and go with the youth/strength over old/experienced.

Elite beats Veterans Veterans beat Seasoned Seasoned be Elite

This sounds usable, too.

Somehow I forgot that there's one more unit, not participating in the RSP circle, i.e., having neither positive nor negative bonus against any of the three units mentioned above. So I need macemen, pikemen, swordsmen, and one unit kind. Any idea?

larienna
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Joined: 07/28/2008
In my game, I was also

In my game, I was also thinking of using something like a RPS system. In my case, the RPS only defined which units got first strike ability.

I was trying to see if there could be a 5 way relation system, to would make sure there is not always a unit that has first trike in almost each combat round. I like the idea of neutral unit which has no bonus/malus.

I had a thematic problem where my infantry were not pikemen. They could be swordmens, knight, swash bucklers, etc. In that case, it is hard to explain how these units could actually be effective against cavalry.

Another thing that comes to my mind is the leveled RPS. I have seen this somewhere, where each RPS has a price or power which was leveled as 10,3,1. I don't remember exactly how it worked.

larienna
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Idea of 5 way RPS Cavalry ->

Idea of 5 way RPS

Cavalry -> Archery
Archery -> Infantry
Infantry -> Support/Sneaky unit
Support/Sneaky -> Siege Engine
Siege Engine -> Cavalry

In that case, since opposition happens only 2/5 times instead of 2/3, I would do more than a first strike attack. Maybe a free attack with no reply possible.

deFunkt29
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Joined: 01/04/2011
In the tactical fantasy video

In the tactical fantasy video game Fire Emblem, there is a weapon triangle, that basically if you have the correct weapon when going against a certain weapon you get an increased chance to hit. Swords beat Axes (probably due to weight and precision), Axes beats Lances/Spears (probably because you can simply cut a spear in half) and Lances/Spears beat Swords (probably because you can attack from a further distance, and for the difficulty to block a spear). It has worked well for this video-game! Just an extra idea for you.

Maaartin
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Joined: 05/15/2011
Still looking for the neutral unit interpretation

larienna wrote:
I was trying to see if there could be a 5 way relation system, to would make sure there is not always a unit that has first trike in almost each combat round. I like the idea of neutral unit which has no bonus/malus.
So do I (and I also like the 5-way system). I recall there was just a small bonus as I started designing the game, but I quickly changed it to 2:1 advantage: Normally you need two units to kill a single unit, but a "paper-unit" kills a "rock-unit", so it's twice as effective. This may seem to be extreme, but works well due to the following:

  • There are the neutral units (having neither positive nor negative bonus).
  • There's another mechanism determining who deals damage first.
  • It's not easy to get units of specific kind (except for the neutral ones) and it's not easy to bring them where you want.
  • Killing enemy units is not as important as gaining control over specific fields.
  • Quite often, not the whole group dies.

So I'm happy with the mechanics, just the theme is a problem. I'd be actually more happy if the neutral unit was the swordsman and I had a RPS-cycle consisting of other units. As I already wrote, I need "normal" melee units here, no archers, no cavalry, since I want to use them in an extension.

deFunkt29 wrote:
In the tactical fantasy video game Fire Emblem, there is a weapon triangle, that basically if you have the correct weapon when going against a certain weapon you get an increased chance to hit. Swords beat Axes (probably due to weight and precision), Axes beats Lances/Spears (probably because you can simply cut a spear in half) and Lances/Spears beat Swords (probably because you can attack from a further distance, and for the difficulty to block a spear). It has worked well for this video-game! Just an extra idea for you.
So, there's swordsman > axeman > spearman > swordsman instead of swordsman > maceman > pikeman > swordsman, seemingly for similar reasons. The nice thing is that it makes the schema more believable (and memorizable).

Y.H.
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Joined: 07/05/2011
Maaartin wrote:So I'm happy

Maaartin wrote:
So I'm happy with the mechanics, just the theme is a problem. I'd be actually more happy if the neutral unit was the swordsman and I had a RPS-cycle consisting of other units. As I already wrote, I need "normal" melee units here, no archers, no cavalry, since I want to use them in an extension.

So neutral unit is a normal swordsman... then may I recommend 'speedy', 'sneaky' and 'heavy' for the RPS triplet?

The speedster can easily search for the sneak, but can't do much damage to the bulky heavy.
The heavy can strike the speedster down when he comes in range, but gets easily surprised by the sneak.
The sneak can await his opportunity and strike from the heavy's blind spot, but has trouble catching up to the speedster.

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