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Redstone - Please help me flesh out my battle mechanics.

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Three
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Mock Layout
Attacking
Pivoting
Swap
Turning

I'm working on an alternate version of a game I made a while back, which was an arena battling cardcame in lieu of Summoner Wars. In this version, instead of stats, characters attack values are represented by numbers on the sides of their cards.

For the purpose of this mockup "HP" and classes aren't shown. The art I made are stand-ins of each character for now. Circles represent "1" and squares are "5". So two squares and a circle make "11".

The "Mock Layout" image shows the standard setup. Each player takes turns placing one of their character cards until a grid formation is made, then choose who goes first. Character cards will be double sided, with the only change being the color border to designate ownership.

Each player can take up to three actions during their turn. They can move, attack, or use an ability card (not shown here).

To attack you need to be adjacent to an enemy; adjacent meaning any numbers that connect as shown in the "Attacking" image. The smaller number is subtracted from the larger number, and the difference is taken out of the target's HP as damage. Any damage that would be 0 or lower becomes 1 instead. Normally a character can only attack once per turn.

A character can move up to 3 spaces per action. "Spaces" are represented by the sides of any card, shown in the "Pivoting" image. Pivoting is a standard move, but you can also swap places with an adjacent character if both cards belong to you, shown in the "Swap" image. Swapping counts as having moved both characters 1 space. Normally a character can only move a specific character once per turn.

"Turning" is the last aspect of movement. You can turn a character in place, or while they are pivoting/swapping. This way you can turn to a side of your card with stronger numbers. Turning in place counts as movement, thus you can only turn up to three sides per turn, per character. When pivoting/swapping you can turn up to the number of spaces you're moving (ex. In the "Pivoting" image you could turn up to 3 times).

Thanks for looking. Sorry if my explanation is a little long winded...I'm looking for feedback on these specific mechanics while I'm working on more placeholder artwork and ability cards.

Side note, none of the numbers shown on these cards are representative in any way of the final values of each character. Classes play a huge part in how numbers are distributed, and none of that is really shown here. I can post more about it later.

Thanks again. 3

Gabe
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This reminds me a lot of

This reminds me a lot of "Sellswords."

You should check it out and see if it gives you any ideas:

https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/159868/sellswords

Three
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I'll check it out to know

I'll check it out to know what to avoid. I've actually never heard of this game before...On closer inspection it doesn't look too similar to what I'm trying to make at least on the mechanics side of things.

What I'm trying to make is a 4x4 squad building / skirmish game, where a lot of the preparation takes place outside of the game by customizing teams with different abilities / items.

The Odd Fox
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Sellswords

I see the connection to Sellswords as well, as that was my impression from your post. Mechanically this is very different from Sellswords, though I think that's a game you should become familiar with as you will likely get a lot of false comparisons.

I really like your game thus far, knowing what little you've shared thus far. I think I'm following how the battles would work, though if you made a quick mock up of the game and recorded a video of the basic mechanics it might be easier for me and others to give you some ideas on what seems to be working and where some changes could be made.

I do think a small number in the circles and squares would be helpful as the number system, though simple, is not intuitive. I'm sure anyone would get used to it quickly but a simple number or dot system (like dice) could improve that. I like the idea of tiles being double sided. Will players draft these characters? It initially seemed awkward that cards would be moving around the battle field in the way you described, however, as I've thought about it more I think that could make for an interesting battle.

I hope to hear more!

Three
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Drafting

I want to make a more involved demonstration, but I'm still very early on in the branstorming phase. The ability cards play a huge part in battles, but I'm still trying to work that out. A lot of games with numbers on the sides have roots in Triple Triad, so I can see the comparisons there. Games like Eminenc and Permia come to mind. I think what really does it are the red and blue borders I have on the test cards.

Earlier versions (when it was more of a miniature battle game) had a drafting mechanic, but here I want you to pre-build your team similar to how you would make a deck in a TCG. I didn't touch much into it here, but every character can have up to 4 ability cards that the player keeps on the side. I might want some kind of drafting mechanic there.

When you mention a dot system improving things did you mean rolling a die for each side, when combat starts?

The Odd Fox
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Clarification

Sorry, I should have been more clear. I just meant you could use dots similar to pips on a die represented in the shape image to show the value of the shape. I'm not sure it would need to change, I'm just recognizing I would like to be able to quickly survey the battle field and be able to read the attack values more quickly and easily than what the shapes alone may afford.

Three
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Dots

Ah, I could do something like that. All of the graphics I'm using now are just placeholders. Also, regarding card borders, cards don't flip in this game because there is now change of ownership. I was thinking when a character's HP drops to 0 you'd place some kind of marker on that character to show it was knocked out. KOed characters aren't removed from the game, and can't be moved. They stay in place so there are no "gaps" created when you'd remove said card.

BHFuturist
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humm

The movement as described reminds me of Hive:

https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/2655/hive

The title asks for help with the combat mechanic.

So, half of combat would be deterministic as a value comparison between the two touching sides of the cards/tiles. Then card play is added?

I like the ideas you have put out so far but would love to hear more about the combat resolution mechanics you are thinking about. I feel like we are missing the other half of the combat mechanics and that makes it hard to evaluate how things might work.

Can the attacker take damage when attacking?

Do all players draw from the same deck for the cards or do they have their own decks?

How will hit points be tracked? Tracking such things in a unit heavy game can be a real chore.

Do the classes add a rock-paper-scissors mechanic to combat or is it more about what cards can be played for that character?

I look forward to hearing more. Maybe if you give an example of how combat works now it might help us to understand that part better.

@BHFuturist

Three
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Additional Information

Yeah, I think it's more necessary to explain the card play mechanics in some regard after reading your questions.

Ability Cards

What you assemble is less of a "deck" and more of a loadout. You know how in Mage Wars: https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/101721/mage-wars-arena you create a spellbook for your mage, and you can look through it at will in game? It's the same here, only each character can have up to four (AC) Ability cards. A character can only have cards from their matching class and/or from a "generic" pool of cards. I'll go into depth about each class later, but for now just know that there are six sets of AC's. One for each class and one for the generic pool that any character can use.

Following that there are three types of (AC)'s. (P) Passive Abilities stay in play at all times, and don't need to be activated. (A) Attack Abilities have a numeric value, and attacking with them works the same as attacking normally plus whatever added effect it might have. Using an (A) replaces your adjacent side when attacking for that attack. (E) Effect Abilities can deal damage or spread status (more later).

Activating an (A) or (E) spends an action unless otherwise stated, and using an (A) counts as that character's one attack per turn. To limit spamming some of these cards have the "Cooldown" keyword, meaning you can't use it during your next turn. Additionally some (A)'s and (E)'s have numbers on their sides too. These represent how many times that card can be used before it's removed from play. Max usage is "4". Each time you use that card you would turn it to indicate the number of times it's been used.

Ability cards are public knowledge. To designate which set of cards belong to which character a character marker is kept with each separated set. So ideally the player would have twelve cards in sets of four, with a token to designate which character is using it.

I'm considering the idea of giving every character at least one "iconic" ability printed on their card. If that were the case then characters would have three additional (AC)'s instead of four.

Classes

Both of your questions regarding classes were correct in some regard. The main way I'm going to balance the game is through number distribution, with values between 1-10. Each class hovers in a set range of numbers. Most of the classes hover close to "5" but two take the extreme.

Walls: Usually have high numbers, making it hard to deal significant damage using numbers 5 or more.

Breakers: Usually have low numbers. They're very specialized in dealing massive damage to walls, but struggle with numbers closer to "5".

Mages: Have middle numbers, but low HP. The Mage class has a lot of (E) cards to choose from, and can deal direct damage to multiple characters with them. The trade off being this damage tends to be low.

Rangers: Have middle to high numbers, but moderate HP. They have a lot of (A) cards that let them attack any single character either directly or by choosing which side to attack, without being adjacent to them.

Squires: Have mostly 5's. Their cards spread status and can buff/nerf ally numbers.

With this system it's not necessarily a bad thing to have a low number. To answer your question attacking characters don't take damage themselves. No matter who has the higher or lower number damage is always the difference between the highest and lowest number. I was toying around with the idea of having numbers that change value base on their color, or have additional effects.

For example, a "blue" number might raise by 2 when attacked. Or a "black" number could deal damage to the attacker, and so on. What do you think of this idea?

Status

Status effects are pretty simple here. I only have three in mind...those being:

Stunned: Can't attack until the end of next round.

Rooted: Can't move until the end of next round.

Blinded: Can't activate AC's until the end of next round.

I could add more, but those were the core three on my mind. These would all be represented by counters/tokens you would put on the character card.

In one of your other questions you asked how will hit points be tracked. Some TCG's come with damage counters in numerals of 1's, 5's, and 10's. I could do something like that, or have damage dice. I think a smart use of tokens would be better personally.

Three
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PDF

I don't have access to video equipment that's worth a damn, so instead I can make a short .pdf rundown of a single combat round. I'll have it up soon.

Three
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PDF 2

I'm just about finished with the layout of the demo.pdf. I can have it up sometime tonight or tomorrow.

Meanwhile, I'd like to ask your opinions on how many Ability Cards there should be in this game. I'm shooting for 25 characters at least, maybe 30. There are 5 classes, and each class has it's own library of cards + a 6th library for generic use.

Since these cards will be small and won't have much text (something around 2 x 1.5in) I was thinking 5 cards per character for classes. That'd come around to 125 cards plus however many are in the 6th set.

kilmor81
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Questions

The 3 actions per player turn, can they be used on multiple characters on do you have to use them all on 1 character.

If you can use multiple characters, does that mean you can make 3 attacks with 3 different characters a turn?

If it is only 1 character and you don't manage to use up all the actions for the character. Are the remaining actions forfeited?

Are you boxed in when there are 3 characters surrounding you? You can't really pivot when 3 sides are occupied.

If you are only boxed in with 4 characters, are you still boxed in when one of those characters is dead?

In your 3rd picture, instead of moving the Bee, what happens if you move the rabbit instead? The other Blue character would have no sides facing any other character, is the move legal?

Three
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Clarification

The 3 actions per turn can be used on multiple characters. So, if you wanted, you could make 3 different attacks with 3 different characters. But the way damage works you wouldn't get far holding you ground, if your opponent is moving to exploit your weaker sides.

Remaining actions don't carry over to your next turn. No matter what you'll always have 3 actions to spend. I don't want to add Ability cards that grant more actions, because I think that'd affect the "metagame" in a negative way.

If there are only 3 characters surrounding you, and the 4th space is empty, you can pivot out. If the 4th space is occupied by another one of your characters you can swap out at the expense of that character. If one of them is KO'ed you're still boxed. From my perspective getting boxed is either good positioning from your opponent or bad foresight from the player. That'd be something I'd have to watch for in playtesting, if it turns out it happens more often than I anticipated.

In the 3rd picture the crow would still have a side to pivot on, since all 3 cards would still be connected. In game there wouldn't only be 3 cards on the board though.

kilmor81
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Question clarification

Sorry, let me clarify the last question...

According to the movement rule that i can see, characters can move as long as they have side they can pivot to.

Imagine your characters are in the shape above... If I pivot C clockwise so that it has 1 side touching B, then B and D would only have their corners touching. I would think this move would be illegal.

__A___________A
__B_____->___CB
__CDE__________DE

There is also the possibility of this happening

____E__________BE
__ABC___->____A C
___D___________D

B has 3 sides surrounded by A,C and D... you said B can get away when 3 sides are surrounded... but if B moves... then A,D and C would only have their corners touching

*sorry, couldn't get the positioning to work properly in post... how do you attach photos to your posts? LOL

Three
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Sorry for the delay!

Ah, I see what you mean now. Actually, I hadn't thought of that before. I could make it so that it's illegal for cards to "wander", ie, one card pivoting in such a way that two or more cards would be separated from the cluster. I don't know how I feel about diagonals/corners, as shown in your first example, where B and D still connect. Technically D can still pivot onto B's right side, but that would isolate E.

Thought about it a bit more. Maybe isolated cards can "snap" onto the nearest side if they're isolated? That kind of rule seems very arbitrary to me though. What do you think?

kilmor81
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What about

"Snapping" onto the nearest side would create more questions i think. Which side can you snap to? Who chooses? Is there any penalty for snapping? I think it would make snapping an actual strategy to move characters around. I don't think its good for your game though. I think you can do better than snapping.

If you NEED the monsters to be touching edges at all times, you should probably make any moves like that illegal. It adds a little more strategy and planning to the game. Maybe you can look to Hive for some examples on how to make this work.

OR.. if you think it is alright to isolate monsters, you can have the tiles played on an actual grid. Then the monsters would just pivot using the grid instead of around other monsters.

Three
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Earlier Versions

Older variants of Redstone were played more like a miniature wargame, with a board, pieces, and range/spaces factoring into positioning. It was good for what it was, but I'd prefer moving away from having an actual grid or board. At least for this version of my game I wanted a more abstract method of movement and combat to simplify gameplay / emphasize strategy. I hope it makes sense the way I explained it.

Anyway, making those sort of moves illegal seems like the better idea in hindsight.

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