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Scaling Power-ups

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RixFix
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Joined: 01/06/2015

Hi guys and gals!

I've been working on an RPG board game lately and I need some help.

It's a push-your-luck type game where you explore a dungeon that has different level area's. Low level has easy enemies but low rewards and crappy loot, high level has challenging enemies but good rewards and valuable loot. So far, there are 3 levels. Loot are items that can be used for a bonus effect (IE 'Potion' to recover HP) or sold for more money.

Players become better at defeating enemies by upgrading their equipment that they buy with the money they are rewarded. (Weapon, Support Item, Armor and Accessories) This way they can take on the stronger enemies.
Items that players can buy are displayed in a 'Market' with 4 open equipment cards on the table.

So there are two elements that need to be scaled along with the strength of the player: the equipment and the loot.
Now, the most obvious way to do this is having different equipment and loot decks and more markets that contain ingcreasingly powerful items. This has one undesirable effect though: your table becomes cluttered with different decks and markets laying around. Cards everywhere! I really want to avoid this!!

I need help with finding a better, more space-efficient way of having more powerful items in this game. I've considered making Items "stackable" so you just add more stuff instead of replacing it with better stuff (much like a tableau-building board game), but that has issues as well. (and it's not really realistic when you're running around wielding 4 swords and 2 armors). What other ways are there???

I would really appreciate suggestions or references to existing game systems!
Thanks!

questccg
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Joined: 04/16/2011
I don't know if this will help you ...

However while reading your message, I got a *FLASH*. It's maybe because SillyKid has got me bombarded with Manga artworks with his "Golem Academy" that I get this idea...

Here's what it is worth:

You play a party of Adventurers. You NAME each adventurer and there are 5 different characters (why 5? Let me continue...) Each pile of cards consists of one character's "abilities" (Attack, Defense, Special Attack, etc.) It's a Deck-Building game, where each time you choose a pile and since we don't want them all over the table, five (5) seems like a reasonable amount.

So instead of the good *old* I get a "Two-Handed sword", a "Battleaxe", or a "Magical Potion", each card can have a standard attack and maybe a special effect (you could have offensive and defensive cards).

As you play in the dungeon, you earn different abilities/attacks and from your hand you can decide which character you will launch an attack on a particular turn. You could have a certain AP amount which is determined by rolling a bunch of d6s (people love dice - ask HPS74, all his games are made with custom d6s!)

You can choose to build your deck as you see fit. If one player wants more to be a Mage, well he can buy cards from the Mage pile. Another player wants to be the Cleric, he can buy cards from the Cleric pile.

This is different from your Market concept - Agreed. But there are soooo many of those dungeon crawl games that you really need to do something very different. I think a Deck-Building aspect where you build your team might be interesting...

Just some ideas - it's okay if you don't like the concept. Just wanted to throw out the *FLASH* I got when I thought of what you were designing and Eminent Domain... (Seth loves the free publicity!) But seriously I think it could work.

Instead of the game being a TCG or CCG, it could be collectible in MODULES or game sets - that's what I am working with "Tradewars - Homeworld"... I am too busy with that game to work on another DBG that is Fantasy... Each module can be for another character/class (so you can CHOOSE which 5 characters you want and you get the cards for that character...)

Again just more ideas... I know this doesn't directly address the OP - but you may like some of these ideas - who knows!

Best of luck with your game!

Update: Just a few other comments. How you build your deck matters because a Warrior might be balanced between attack and defense, a Mage might be attack-heavy and a Cleric might be defense-heavy. And you can of course have all kinds of classes as I already mentioned for expansions/modules...

RixFix
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Joined: 01/06/2015
Thanks a lot for your

Thanks a lot for your elaborate reply!

I've been playing with the idea of deckbuilding, mostly because of Mage Knight, that has an excellent way of combining RPG with deck building. However my preference doesn't go to designing a deck building game.

Your idea of playing as a PARTY of characters actually gave me inspiration to a new idea:

Instead of buying equipment and items for 1 character, you buy/hire more characters! All characters have their benefits, one contributes to the offense, one contributes to the defense (some do both), some have special abilities like healing, others give more power to certain types of characters etc. etc. a lot is possible!

This way you avoid that "running around with 4 swords and 2 armors". The further you get into the game, the bigger your party becomes and if you play it right, you can get combo's between different characters and get more value out of the individual characters. I will definitely play around with this concept!

So thanks again for your ideas, I might implement the idea mentioned above, but I'm curious as to what other people can come up with :)

EDIT: This doesn't solve the problem of LOOT becoming more valuable over the course of the game without having multiple loot-decks. (not saying it's out of the question, but I really want a more elegant solution).

questccg
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Joined: 04/16/2011
You misunderstood

I would COMBINE the decks into the DBG piles. No more loot than what you can buy. And let's say your deck has like Dominion copper, silver and gold. Each card from the table has a BUY amount, so it costs money to buy that card from the table.

Like a "Cleric - Heal one player by +3 HP" would cost 1 Gold and "Cleric - Heal yourself by +5 HP" would cost 3 coppers (or 1 silver). You could have a chart 3 copper = 1 silver, 2 silver = 1 gold.

This would be like having a Magical Potion or perhaps more precisely a Heal SPELL that would have a similar effect.

I'm not certain how you would "BUY" money cards (perhaps you earn them by defeating monsters - like Skeleton: "get +1 copper or Draw +1 card from your deck". Or something like that.

Note: this would mean you need to BALANCE having money to buy cards and have tactic cards for combat...!

McTeddy
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Joined: 11/19/2012
Few thoughts. #1) Multiple

Few thoughts.

#1) Multiple "Levels" on each card.
Each card can multi-function as ALL three levels. The facing of the card will allow you to track what level you have. For example:

Divide the card into 4 triangles with a X. The top part is the Name, Right side is Lv 1, Bottom is Lv 2, and Left is Lv 3.

So when I defeat a LV 1 monster, I draw the card and then place it onto the tablet with the LV 1 side facing me. This could either be one character who had 3 strengths, or just 3 different items depending on rarity.

#2) Single Treasure stack with multiple decks.
- - -
You can always stack all the treasures into one pile. So that at the top is bronze cards, middle is silver cards, and bottom of the deck is gold.

This will start off dealing the lowest value cards during the early stage of the game. Eventually you'll reach the silver cards which will be more powerful and may still contain some weaker items also... and by the end of the game the powerful GOLD items.

Or if you have a certain point where more powerful monsters start appearing such as "Reached world 2" you can always move the bronze cards to the bottom of the deck to "Level up" the deck.

- - -
3) Draw until a valid card is found
Betrayal on House on Haunted Hill has single stack of house tiles and you need to draw until you find a valid card. This IS an option.

When you defeat a bronze monster you'll draw a card and if it's value is higher than the monsters reward, discard it and draw another. Otherwise you keep it.

That said, this could lead to an irritating situation that may or may not be welcome...

If you defeat a GOLD level monster and draw a BRONZE level healing potion... it IS a valid draw. This means that higher level monsters just have a CHANCE to get more powerful monsters.

- - -

Or you could always do other options like drawing multiple cards and picking the one you want. A weak rat forces you to take the item you draw, but a dragon lets you draw 4 cards and pick the item of choice.

While it's less balanced... it is fast, easy and does the job.

ElKobold
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Joined: 04/10/2015
Make loot multiply player

Make loot multiply player stats. So the more powerful the player becomes, the more powerful the items will be.

So "Double hero strength" axe, instead of "+2 strength" axe.

This way you will only need 1 deck for items.

Orangebeard
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Joined: 10/13/2011
Add level value?

Could you simply add the player level to the value/cost/stats of the item?

RixFix
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Joined: 01/06/2015
Thanks for the comments! I

Thanks for the comments! I really appreciate it!

I'm now working with the following:

There is only 1 market and it has the whole range of strong and weak equipment in it. After each round of play the market cycles, so the card to the right is discarded and a new card is added to the left. When a player buys an item, cards move to the right and a new card is added to the left as well.
This basically filters out the weapons that are too expensive in the start of the game and it filters out the weaker weapons towards the end of the game (maybe the weaker items aren't shuffled back into the market deck when you have advanced further into the game)

What this also adds is that players can aim to buy a stronger weapon in the beginning of the game, but it will take them a lot longer to get that amount of cash (and with some bad luck the weapon he wants is cycled out of market by other players)

Though there are somem problems with this system:
That there could be a situation where only the best items are drawn early game and only the weakest items are drawn late game, but maybe some additional rules could fix that.

About the Loot: I've been considering in higher level area's players can draw more Loot cards and choose 1 so they are more likely to draw a valuable treasure or the item that they need. Additionally players may learn skills and abilities that increase effectiveness or value of Loot.

What do you guys think?

Zag24
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Joined: 03/02/2014
More loot cards

I think that the power multiplier idea only works if it locks in its value when you get it. If an axe is X2 power, then the same weapon goes from being pretty good in the hands of a novice to really great as the character gets stronger. For it not to scale, you'd have to have some way to remember what your strength was at the time you got it, and the axe only adds that much.

However, I think that there's an easier way, since you (the OP) say that you do not use the loot, you sell it to buy better stuff. The loot cards are all relatively minor amounts of money, and the tougher monsters give you multiple loot cards when you defeat them, listed on the monster card. You still have the problem of having the monsters escalate according to the push-your-luck strategy, but at least you don't have to duplicate the effect with the loot.

ElKobold
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Joined: 04/10/2015
Zag24 wrote:I think that the

Zag24 wrote:
I think that the power multiplier idea only works if it locks in its value when you get it. If an axe is X2 power, then the same weapon goes from being pretty good in the hands of a novice to really great as the character gets stronger. For it not to scale, you'd have to have some way to remember what your strength was at the time you got it, and the axe only adds that much.

Actually, that was exactly why I've suggested it.
So that whenever you pick it up, the item's power would correspond to the power level of the hero. Which is a good thing, since you won't have to bother about 1/2 of your item cards becoming obsolete.
Going to the more difficult dungeon grants more XP, hence more stats. So no need to scale items.

At least that's what the OP described in the beginning. His concept has changed since then, however :)

questccg
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Joined: 04/16/2011
No need for a multiplier

Basically all you do is have a STAT like "Strength" (1-9). Each weapon card has one (1) to three (3) corresponding "Strength" attributes like 1-3, 4-6, and 7-9. In each one of these ranges you have a "Damage" like 1d6, 2d6, or 3d6.

All you do is divide the BOTTOM of each card into those 3 sections. And this way each card can be worthwhile for anyone at anytime. How? Well let's say you have a "Battleaxe" that has the above mentioned "Strength" attributes. A *Warrior* could progress and earn more "Strength" and therefore can deal more damage using that weapon. But a *Mage* who stays very weak might only be able to wield the weapon with limited damage (1-3) = 1d6 and maybe there could be a negative modifier like -2 for all hand held weapons... So it would be 1d6 - 2. Negative damage = 0.

This is just an example, the numbers are fictitious and the range could be higher like 1-20 (like the d20 system - or something like it).

Zag24
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Joined: 03/02/2014
ElKobold wrote:So that

ElKobold wrote:
So that whenever you pick it up, the item's power would correspond to the power level of the hero. Which is a good thing, since you won't have to bother about 1/2 of your item cards becoming obsolete.

The problem then is that there's no reason to go fight tougher monsters. If you get the same X2 axe fighting a kobold that you get fighting a dragon, why would you push your luck at all?

RixFix
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Joined: 01/06/2015
Zag24 wrote:I think that the

Zag24 wrote:
I think that the power multiplier idea only works if it locks in its value when you get it. If an axe is X2 power, then the same weapon goes from being pretty good in the hands of a novice to really great as the character gets stronger. For it not to scale, you'd have to have some way to remember what your strength was at the time you got it, and the axe only adds that much.

However, I think that there's an easier way, since you (the OP) say that you do not use the loot, you sell it to buy better stuff. The loot cards are all relatively minor amounts of money, and the tougher monsters give you multiple loot cards when you defeat them, listed on the monster card. You still have the problem of having the monsters escalate according to the push-your-luck strategy, but at least you don't have to duplicate the effect with the loot.

Players actually get a choice to either USE or SELL the loot that they find. This creates fun moments in the game, where players want to keep an item even though you're risking getting killed - and then they get killed because of their greed :D

I am now testing 1 single Loot deck with 3 levels of loot in it (lets say bronze silver and gold). In the low level area's you have to keep drawing loot until you draw a bronze one. In the middle level area's you keep drawing until you draw either a bronze or a silver one and in the high level area's you keep anything you draw (bronze, silver AND gold)

I'm planning to add power-ups that allow players to look at more cards when they are looting so they have a higher chance of drawing good loot.

As for STATS that increase the effectiveness of your weapon: I don't like it. I tested a similar system before and you end up super high level players with that same little weak sword they also bought in their first turn. It works gameplay-wise, but it just feels lame. I want players to be able to buy EPIC gear with awesome art once they have the right amount of cash.

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