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Rock-Paper-Scissors = Power-Technique-?

11 replies [Last post]
Joined: 04/13/2010

I'm trying to construct a new combat system for a fantasy game. I want to have three different types of combat-moves, each type beating another type much like Rock-Paper-Scissors.
My ideas are:
Technique beats Power (paper beat rock)
Power beats ? (rock beats scissors)
? beats Technique (scissors beat paper)

My Question to you bright minds out there is what to call the "?" above. Or does anyone have any other setup for the rock-paper-scissors problem. Maybe other words than Power and Technique?

I do not want the words limited to a certain type of weapon of the type Sword beats Axe beats Lance beats Sword.
"Power" is a ultra-aggressive combat move dealing great damage, but crude in its refinement
"Technique" is a more elegant way of combat, but which is not as powerful
My thought was that when "Power" attacks "Technique", Technique dances away and puts the dagger in the side of Power.


Brykovian's picture
Joined: 07/21/2008
What about "reaction" or

What about "reaction" or "ingenuity" or "creativity" or "anomoly" ... which would be a way of either doing things differently than the norm or just allowing for creative reaction during battle.

This would be beat by power, because it's hard to be creative when the big double-handed war hammer of doom is being brought down on your head ... but will beat technique since it has the ability to sense and reacte in a way that a classically trained battler would not be expecting ...

Or, maybe something else. ;-)


Pastor_Mora's picture
Joined: 01/05/2010

I don't know if it messes with another part of your system, but I'll use Magic. So, you get

Wizard (Magic) beats Thief (Technique)
Thief (Technique) beats Fighter (Power)
Fighter (Power) beats Wizard (Magic)

In a thief character, this 3 attacks could be:
Power (backstab)
Technique (throwing knife)
Magic (poison)

In a fighter character:
Power (two-handed sword)
Technique (brawling)
Magic (fast retaliation)

In the wizard character:
Power (fireball)
Technique (paralyzing darts)
Magic (shocking grasp)

Fighter wins power ties, thief wins tech ties and wizard wins magic ties.

Anyway. Keep thinking!

fecundity's picture
Joined: 07/28/2008
I'm not sure what you use as

I'm not sure what you use as a third between Technique and Power, because every combat move is (in some sense) Technique. What if you make it Dodge, Power, and Feint? A dodge evades the power attack and slips in a knife. A powerful blow ignores the feint and hits anyway. A feint makes the dodge go straight into the real attack.

As a reference, the game Dungeonquest has three combat moves: Leap Aside, Slash, and Mighty Blow

Slash beats Leap Aside
Leap Aside beats Mighty Blow
Mighty Blow beats Slash

fecundity's picture
Joined: 07/28/2008
I'm not sure what you use as

Oops - double post.

Joined: 04/13/2010
You are right that

You are right that "technique" is not a very good name...
Instead I was thinking of renaming the three categories to "Type of Technique". Your idea with dodge-power-feint was good, but I would like each technique type to encompass both defensive and offensive moves. The Type of Technique should just describe in what manner the defensive/offensive is performed.
This is a new suggestion:

Power Technique beats Elegant Technique
Elegant Technique beats Rapid Technique
Rapid Technique beats Power Technique

not a 100% satisfied with the names, so feel free to come with more excellent suggestions!
Thank you!

larienna's picture
Joined: 07/28/2008
Your model looks close to

Your model looks close to advance war which label it's 3 ratings: Technique, power, speed if I remember correctly.

Joined: 11/05/2009
Have a look at this
NativeTexan's picture
Joined: 03/04/2009
Take a look at Revolution!

Take a look at Revolution! from Steve Jackson Games:

It's not a battle game, but it does have a very interesting diplomacy mechanic that has a distinct rock-paper-scissors design element.

Force beats any amount of blackmail.
Blackmail beats any amount of money.
Higher quantities of money beat lower quantities of money.

What is especially interesting is that your decisions from a previous round impact your available influence tokens for the next round. Which has a very interesting balancing mechanism and provides some strategic depth.

Again, not a battle game explicitly, but you can probably find some interesting inspiration from there.

Joined: 04/13/2010
this was a very interesting

this was a very interesting link for me!
it seems like this guy is thinking along the same lines as me i.e. making a strategy game based on rock-paper-scissors (RPS) that is not totally random.

My end-goal is to introduce skill into the RPS-game (in a Fantasy setting). If two players duel, the most skilled player's character should win the majority of times because that player makes the smartest moves.
To include skill in the RPS-game, players need to get some information about other players' possible moves.

Hence, my rules must somehow limit what a player can do and the other players must be able to predict his options. I'm not sure how to do this...

The cards are either a R, P or S but will also have a value. This value decides how many hits it will include if winning when using this card. Maybe the players must show what 3 cards that he can play. Or maybe each played card will have a limitation on what card can be played after it?

The Div
Joined: 04/16/2010
An extra move

I did a rock-paper-scissors system once, but with a fourth attribute tagged on. Mine was with monsters, but basically I had:
Hydra beats Pegasus
Pegasus beats Chimaera
Chimaera beats Hydra

but then:

Dragon beats Pegasus
Chimaera and Hydra both beat Dragon

This probably doesn't help with naming your moves, but it adds depth to the mechanic I think.

dnjkirk's picture
Joined: 07/22/2008
Ahhh, yes, the good old days

So in Japanese, there is a saying called 剣道の三殺法
(The Three Things to Kill in Kendo)
一つ:竹刀を殺す (one, kill the sword)
一つ:わざを殺す (another, kill the technique)
一つ:気を殺す (another, kill the spirit)

Thing is, nothing kills spirit but greater spirit, so I guess it doesn't apply :)

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