Skip to Content

Need ideas for simple battle mechanics (Resolved)

10 replies [Last post]
Joined: 09/18/2010

I have recently started developing a cardboard game based on gods and creatures from mythology and folklore. It includes ancient Greece, ancient Egypt, the Sumerian civilization, the United Kingdom, the Slavic civilization, ancient China, ancient Japan, the native American tribes, India, Judaism and Christianity and the Scandinavian nations. Each of the aforementioned will be played on different separate boards.

The game begins by choosing the board on which the players would play, afterward choosing one of the eight historical (or mythological) heroes available and all of the players would start on the same designated square, with 10 stones, representing their life points (when all are lost, the game ends for the specific player). The aim of the game is to reach the designated final square and fight the last boss (god).

The game path won't be straightforward, there will be different routs players can take. There will also be traps and obstacles along the way (i.e. fires, lakes, blockades, landslides, etc.). The chosen character will be represented with a card, but the player will use a game piece on the board itself.

Gods, creatures and items will all be depicted on cards. When you land on a battling square, specific for gods and creatures, you would draw a random card from either the god or creature deck and fight the corresponding foe. Most of the items will also be based on mythology and folklore (i.e. Shield of Achilles, Ankh, Golden Fleece, etc.), but some will be basic magical items (i.e. salamander skin, invisibility powder, underwater breathing potion, etc.). Some items can be bought from vendors along the way, others can only be found from specific enemies.

The currency of the game will be clam shells, which I have personally collected (I like diving :D). They're about 800, so I think they would suffice.

My problem right now is thinking of battle mechanics, which are not too hard to implement. I've thought about dice, coins, stats, spells, even roulette (O_o), But none of them seem engaging or easy enough to use. I need simple combat mechanics, considering that the opponents are on cards and you have 10 life points. I'll still ponder over it, but if anyone can lend me a hand on this one, it would be really appreciated!

Joined: 12/15/2009
If this game is for purely

If this game is for purely personal consumption, how about something physical like a dartboard? Each enemy shows a target region of the dartboard and a number of darts. If you can't hit that region using that many darts, you lose a life point. Easier enemies have bigger regions and allow more darts.

Joined: 09/18/2010
Darn, I knew I was forgetting

Darn, I knew I was forgetting something. No it isn't for personal consumption, It is played between 2-8 people. And the dart thing, I think that's way too far from the game's original conception... although, it's not a bad idea for a dart game.

What I'm really thinking about is implying the card-depicted enemies and the life point system and making something out of that. It needs to be something simple, though, so it doesn't waste too much time on a particular battle.

But I think I've got it, a topic here gave me the idea. Basically, you throw several dice and compare the numbers between each die for example - you have 4,5 the opponent has 5,6 - 4<5; 5<6 = you lose 1 life point, you repeat that until either the player or the opponent loses. The players can only throw two 6-sided dice, while the opponent can throw more dice (with more sides), depending on its strength. However, certain items can have an effect on the battle - some of the items will allow players to throw higher-sided dice for the particular battle (Thor's Hammer), some will defend from the opponent's dice (Shield of Achilles), some will allow the player to throw again (Crystal of the Delphi Oracle), etc.

red hare
red hare's picture
Joined: 11/09/2009
already said

your idea of having a base 2D6 which you add to with the items was the suggestion I was going to make, but you beat me to it!

Pastor_Mora's picture
Joined: 01/05/2010

How do you manage downtime in an 8-players game? What do the other 7 players do when you are rolling all those dices? (aside of rolling for defense themselves)?

I like the effort you are showing in the theming of the game, but I'll would use god abilities linked to the space in the board, opponent encountered, buildings/fortifications present, game turn (era) or whatever the like. Else, I'm imagining the next Risk Godstorm variant (with twice the rolls!).

Keep thinking!

Joined: 04/18/2009
I want to know more about

I want to know more about what you have added, creaturs and gods, from the scandinavian contrys... =)

InvisibleJon's picture
Joined: 07/27/2008
Bags of tokens and player-created randomness.

SethDawnstrider wrote:
My problem right now is thinking of battle mechanics, which are not too hard to implement. I've thought about dice, coins, stats, spells, even roulette (O_o), But none of them seem engaging or easy enough to use. I need simple combat mechanics, considering that the opponents are on cards and you have 10 life points. I'll still ponder over it, but if anyone can lend me a hand on this one, it would be really appreciated!
There are lots of randomizer options:

• A deck of cards,
• a bag of tokens,
• secret player decisions,
• very precise timers,
...and so on.

Two that I think fit your game's theme nicely are a token bag and secret player decisions.

Token Bag:
Imaging a bag of tokens. It always has five white tokens in it. Other tokens are added to and removed from the bag, depending on what the challenge is (Monster, Quest, Feat of Strength (or Bravery, or Knowledge). The challenge tells you what colors of tokens and how many to add, and what the effect of each one is. Your character's skills and helpful items determine the number of tokens you get to pull.

For example:
• I'm about to fight a Hydra. It adds two black tokens and one red token to the challenge bag.
• If I draw a white token, we miss each other.
• If I draw a red token, I take one damage, return the token to the bag, and add a red token.
• If I draw the black token, I've killed the hydra.
• I have a base combat value of 2, and a prophecy that lets me re-draw (set aside, draw, then return) a token once per combat.
• Round one: I draw two tokens: white and red. I use my prophecy to set the red one aside, draw a white, and put the red one back. My result was two white, so nothing happens.
• Round two: I draw two more tokens. I get a red and a white. I take one wound for the red token. I also put it back in the bag, along with another red token.
• Round three: I draw two more tokens. I get a red and a black. I take one more wound and successfully slay the hydra. (yay!)
• At the end of the combat, I reset the bag to five white tokens.

Note that you don't have to have multi-round combat with this system. I just created an example like that because I liked the idea of emulating the hydra's splitting heads by adding tokens to the bag during combat.

Note that you could let players "pull their punches" and declare that they're drawing fewer than their maximum number of tokens in a round.

Secret Player Decisions:
Each challenge could have a non-participant write a number (or letter, or whatever) from a specific range down, then let the challenger take a number of guesses as to what the number is. The number of guesses is usually determined by the character's skill. Guessing the exact number would be a victory. Getting within (X) would be a tie. Missing the number entirely would be a loss (with wounds, etc.).

You could do the guessing "blind" or with hints. If the basic form is blind, then hints ("Is your number higher?" "Am I within two of your number?") could be an advantage that some skills/magic items give you.

For example: I've landed on an island with sheep. You have to pick three numbers from 1 to 20, inclusive. You also get to pick one letter from A to G, inclusive. I get 3 food for each number I guess correctly. After each attempt, I have guess an unguessed letter. If I guess your letter, the cyclopean herdsman finds me and eats half my crew. I can make as many attempts as I like. My character gets three guesses per attempt in challenges like this. On my first attempt, I guess 3, 7, and 12. None are correct. I guess "A" for my letter, which is also not correct. On my second attempt, I guess 15 and use my magic stone to ask a question: "Is at least one of the numbers within two of my most recent guess (15)?". You say, "Yes." My second and third guesses are 13 and 14. 13 and 15 are correct, so I get six food. I guess "G" for my letter and, sadly, I've found the cyclops. I lose half my crew, but I also gained six food.

The bags of tokens feel thematically appropriate to me for reasons I can't completely explain. Token bags let you generate very dynamic and diverse challenges on the fly, and many players are not very good at understanding how probabilities work for token bags (while they're often pros at the odds of any given number on 2d6).

Player-generated targets feel appropriate in an "oracle / prediction" kind of way. It also encourages player interaction in a way that's more interesting than just rolling dice in opposition. It lets you have the challenger pose interesting questions and also has some of the "on the fly" flexibility that token bags have.

...and that's all I have for now.

I hope your game turns out the way you want it to!

Joined: 09/18/2010
The battles themselves are


The battles themselves are designed not to last very long (of course it depends on the player), and the moving itself doesn't take very long, since I dropped the fate card idea- you just roll and move, next player's turn, they roll and move, next player's turn... But practically, the other players (except the one that plays the monster) don't do anything in the meantime, however, they could read the added info on an item or on their character if they like or observe the route other players take or devise one of their own or devise a strategy on how to proceed best, etc. There's always something to do in the short meanwhile.

There won't be any "god skills", since you are fighting the gods and their creatures themselves. However, upon defeating an enemy you could obtain an item, that can help you along the way (depending on the monster), some items can only be found on certain squares, if no being has been told to possess it beforehand (i.e.7-leagued boots). Some can be bought.

The landscapes, the buildings and the like would all be depicted on the board, no pieces, except the player pieces, will be included, since I need to keep it's portability as much as I can.

Joined: 09/18/2010
@hulken I have added a lot of


I have added a lot of the important Norse mythological gods, including Odin, Thor, Loki, Baldr, Nott, Sol, Hel, etc. as well as some folkloric ones such as Jack Frost and Elli

A good number of creatures has been added as well, most notably Ymir, the first six Valkyries, Sleipnir, the Kraken, Fenrir, Nidhogg, etc.

The eight playable characters include Beowulf, Haakon the Good, Halfdan the Black, Magnus the Good, Sigurd (Sivard), St. Olaf, Starkad and Magnus the Strong.

I still haven't added any items of any mythological or folkloric sphere, except the 7-league boots (UK).

Joined: 09/18/2010
@red_hare Hah :D Thanks for


Hah :D Thanks for the effort, though, I appreciate it!

Joined: 09/18/2010
@InvisibleJon Your token bag


Your token bag idea seems better than the dice rolling, thanks! :)

Honestly, it is exactly what I was looking for, something simple, yet effective.

The guessing idea is good too, but this isn't the right type of game it should be implied to, since what a game like this needs is a fast pace to keep the players interested.

Syndicate content

forum | by Dr. Radut