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Movement Mechanic Needs Work

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juggler5
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Joined: 01/20/2012

Hi Fellow Designers!

I'm working on a game called "Bull Rush" right now, and I need help with one mechanic. Basically, the theme is that players are running from a stampede, and the first to get to safety wins. Every turn, the stampede moves on the hex map, each bull individually.

The way I have it right now is that each turn, every individual bull (13 total) moves half the distance to the nearest player, rounded up, straight ahead. It's works pretty well, because it makes the stampede always be right behind (sometimes even ahead of) the players, never having any straggling bulls, but it can be tedious to individually count each and every bull's distance to the nearest player.

I had thought of just making a uniform number that they all move every turn, but that presents a level of predictability I don't like. I want the movement to be more erratic and unpredictable, but I also want it to be easy to figure out, without having to individually count for each bull.

Thoughts?

Telc
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Joined: 09/21/2012
hmm, complicated, but the

hmm, complicated, but the game sounds fun!
do you need 13 bulls or could you just reduce the number?

still thinking...

MarkKreitler
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Joined: 11/12/2008
Divide and conquer

Let each bull be either red, green, or blue.
Each turn, roll one die of each color to determine how the bulls of that color will move. For example:

1-2: Trot (move forward 3 hexes)
3-4: Charge (move forward 6 hexes)
5-6: Rush (move 1/2 the distance to the nearest player, rounded up)

(Don't take my distances literally.)

For extra flavor, make custom dice and use symbols instead of number ranges to identify movement rules.

While at first this appears to make movement too random, thereby eliminating strategy, you can use it to bias groups toward favored behaviors. For example, red bulls might tend to trot, but occasionally charge, making them "usually" safe, but very dangerous otherwise.

Tob
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Joined: 09/13/2012
Zeno Alert

juggler5 wrote:
... every individual bull (13 total) moves half the distance to the nearest player, rounded up, straight ahead

Isn't this Zeno's Paradox?

Do you intend to have the possibility of bulls catching (trampling, goring etc) players? If the bulls only move half the distance to the nearest player, how can the bulls catch up to players?

If a player moves zero hexes, do the bulls stop?

A slight variation on MarkK's suggestion would be to base a swarming algorithm around an alpha bull. The rest of the herd does what the herd leader does. Only have to model the behavior of one bull and the reset follow.

MarkKreitler
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No Zeno

Tob wrote:
juggler5 wrote:
... every individual bull (13 total) moves half the distance to the nearest player, rounded up, straight ahead

Isn't this Zeno's Paradox?

Not quite. The "round up" condition allows the bulls to reach their target.

A swarming algorithm is a cool idea...

M.

Tob
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Joined: 09/13/2012
Sure seems problematic

MarkKreitler wrote:
Not quite. The "round up" condition allows the bulls to reach their target.

How so?

If I am 2 hexes from a bull and I move two hexes, I am now 4 hexes away. The bull then moves half the distance toward me, or 2 hexes. I am still 2 hexes away. I move 2 hexes and am now 4 hexes away again. The bull moves half the distance toward me, or two hexes. I am still 2 hexes away. I move 2 hexes and am now 4 hexes away again. The bull moves half the distance toward me, or two hexes. I am still 2 hexes away. I move 2 hexes and am now 4 hexes away again. The bull moves half the distance toward me, or two hexes.

The bull can never catch me. That, or I am missing something critical here.

Suppose this time I am 2 hexes away from a bull. I elect to not move any hexes. The bull moves half the distance toward me. I moved zero, so zero divided by two equals zero so the bull doesn't move.

MarkKreitler
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We're both 1/2 right

Tob wrote:
Suppose this time I am 2 hexes away from a bull. I elect to not move any hexes. The bull moves half the distance toward me. I moved zero, so zero divided by two equals zero so the bull doesn't move.

In this case, the bull moves 1 hex because that's half the remaining distance. If you move 0 again next turn, the bull will move 1/2 a hex, which rounds to 1, which means it catches you. This is what I meant by the rounding making it different from Zeno's paradox.

Tob wrote:
MarkKreitler wrote:
Not quite. The "round up" condition allows the bulls to reach their target.

How so?

If I am 2 hexes from a bull and I move two hexes, I am now 4 hexes away. The bull then moves half the distance toward me, or 2 hexes. I am still 2 hexes away. I move 2 hexes and am now 4 hexes away again. The bull moves half the distance toward me, or two hexes. I am still 2 hexes away. I move 2 hexes and am now 4 hexes away again. The bull moves half the distance toward me, or two hexes. I am still 2 hexes away. I move 2 hexes and am now 4 hexes away again. The bull moves half the distance toward me, or two hexes.

The bull can never catch me. That, or I am missing something critical here.

You're right that, in this case, the bull never catches the player, but this is also not Zeno's paradox. In Zeno's paradox, the period of time over which the moves occur shrinks in each successive move, but in the above example, each turn represents the same amount of time. I admit, though, that I didn't think of this case when I wrote my original reply. Good thinking on your part.

Mark

Telc
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Joined: 09/21/2012
Well since the bulls are

Well since the bulls are hunting every player I think they move randomly and so you can be caught by the side... but maybe to get rid of the problem one could go for "half the distance +1".
I LOVE the idea with the different colored bulls which have different behavior! But I imagine having every bull move individually is what makes this game actually fun... depends also on the board and on the other rules of course...

And I'm sry but I have to post this for the Zeno thing (choose z): http://www.pippinbarr.com/games/letsplayancientgreekpunishment/LetsPlayA...

If you need playtesters count me in any time! :)

Tob
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Joined: 09/13/2012
Round up

MarkKreitler wrote:
We're both 1/2 right

And since .5 rounds up to 1, we're both 100% right!

MarkKreitler wrote:
but this is also not Zeno's paradox.

True, but we don't induce critical thinking serving answers on silver platters.

The apparent problem with this mechanic is that the bulls will never catch or get ahead of the player. I say "apparent" because we don't actually know if the bulls are intended to catch the players although it is sort of implied, otherwise it's just a footrace between players.

I suggested a swarm mech earlier, but after re-reading Juggler5's comment...

Juggler5 wrote:
but I also want it to be easy to figure out, without having to individually count for each bull.

...I think it would be too much since there would be considerable computation for each bull. One other thing we don't know is the shape of the play area. Is it a ring with players in the center trying to reach the perimeter? Is it the neighborhood streets of Pamplona? Is it a race track?
My point being that the intended path of the players will dictate the behavior of the bulls; e.g. if the play takes place in a ring and all players move in different directions, which player(s) do the bulls chase?

As for herd movement, the suggestion you (MarkK) made is probably the most convenient. It could even be further narrowed down into a quasi-swarm mech in which one alpha bull replaces the three color coded bull types. What the one leader bull does is what all bulls do, either trot, charge, or rush. Each turn, roll for the behavior of the lead bull, move ALL bulls accordingly.
The possible downside to this is that the bulls will always maintain a static shape of the herd. Not necessarily a bad thing per se, but could create problems close to path edges or obstacles. It could occur that the movement of the alpha bull forces bulls on the edges/flank of the herd off the map or into obstacles. Solving this could be as easy as taking them out of play or moving them to another position in the herd.

-----
Unrelated thoughts include considerations of the name of the game. I was under the impression that a "bull rush" is a type of reed plant found in marshes. Can't call the game "Bull Run" though either lest one risk the ire of Civil War gamers feeling misled.

juggler5
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Joined: 01/20/2012
Thanks for the ideas!

Hi Friends! Thanks for the good input! I do like the color-coded dice rolling mechanic. I'll give that a try. With regard to the discussion of (close to, but not quite) Zeno's Paradox, I should have mentioned one thing: Players can move individual bulls as well. They have an action point allowance that they can spend, and/or draw a card and move a bull along a randomly selected path, based on card draw (all the cards have a unique movement path on them). After all players have resolved actions, all bulls move forward, whether or not they were moved via players' actions. That way, there are no stragglers.

Tob
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Joined: 09/13/2012
Wrench

juggler5 wrote:
Players can move individual bulls as well. They have an action point allowance that they can spend, and/or draw a card and move a bull along a randomly selected path,

What is a player's incentive for doing so? If the movement is random, spending a point and drawing a card could lead to the player getting himself trampled. Why would a player take that risk?
By extension, which bulls are controlled by players? If players have a choice, why is the movement random? If the choice is random, why isn't the movement predetermined?

Also, how does this prevent stragglers? If the herd is moving all at once and at the same speed, no bulls are falling behind. If you meant player stragglers, how is that possible without those players getting trampled by bulls?

kos
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Joined: 01/17/2011
Alpha bull and player intervention

The Alpha Bull (or 2 or 3 alpha bulls, depending on what you want) would probably work. Originally I thought that the static shape of the herd would be a problem, but given that players can move individual bulls during their turn it would still result in an unpredictable herd.

Imagine a rule where the alpha bull moves 1/2 the distance to the nearest player and all other bulls move exactly the same as the alpha (unless they hit an obstacle). Then some players might deliberately move the alpha bull to the back of the herd, which effectively speeds up the entire herd... Fun for all to be had (except the players at the back!).

Regards,
kos

juggler5
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Joined: 01/20/2012
Tob wrote:juggler5

Tob wrote:
juggler5 wrote:
Players can move individual bulls as well. They have an action point allowance that they can spend, and/or draw a card and move a bull along a randomly selected path,

What is a player's incentive for doing so? If the movement is random, spending a point and drawing a card could lead to the player getting himself trampled. Why would a player take that risk?
By extension, which bulls are controlled by players? If players have a choice, why is the movement random? If the choice is random, why isn't the movement predetermined?

Also, how does this prevent stragglers? If the herd is moving all at once and at the same speed, no bulls are falling behind. If you meant player stragglers, how is that possible without those players getting trampled by bulls?

All these questions have been answered in my rulebook. Since I was only looking for help with that one specific area, I didn't describe my game to the extent that these points would be addressed. I merely gave the info necessary to work on this rule. I appreciate all this food for thought, though!

Tob
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Joined: 09/13/2012
Cool!

If you've got it covered you can ignore my annoying blather. I'm just really curious because I love the idea behind the game and want to play it already. Let me know when you need playtesters!

juggler5
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Joined: 01/20/2012
Playtest Opportunity

http://www.bgdf.com/node/7146

Let me know if you want to help out!

-Stephen

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