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In search of a proper defense mechanic

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Squinshee
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In my game, if a player manages to successfully attack (the mechanics of how this occurs is irrelevant) that player may choose to target the opposing player's hero or a minion that player controls (to win, you must reduce your opponent's hero to 0 HP). If a player chooses to target the hero with an attack, the opposing player may choose to defend the attack with a minion they control. I have three potential systems for defending with minions that each have their pros and cons, but none of them seem to be a proper fit. Here are the three options:

1) A defending minion recieves all damage from the attack

This makes the minion take all damage from the attack. What I don't like is that it doesn't move the game forward, as no damage is done to the opposing hero. I should test to see if rollover damage should be applied to the opposing hero, as that would help progress the game.

2) A defending minion has a DEF value, and if it defends, it reduces the damage the opposing hero recieves by the defending minion's DEF value. That minion recieves no damage.

This system progresses the game forward, which I like, but makes minions more resilient, which could lead to clogged boards. Naturally, a higher DEF value is always better, but it's wonky when a minion has 0 DEF. Can it defend? If it can, does it recieve all damage?

3) A defending minion has a DEF value, and if it defends, it recieves damage equal to its DEF value, and the remaining damage is dealt to the opposing hero.

This system works well mechanically, as it moves the game forward and slowly kills minions, leading to less potential for clogged boards. However, it has the same issues as #2 in regards to 0DEF values, but it also has weirder implications. Generally, you're evaluating its DEF value in relation to its HP. If a minion has 5HP and 3DEF, that minion will be able to defend two attacks of 3 damage or more twice. If that minion has a DEF value of 2, it could defend three attacks that deal 2 or more damage. Therefore evaluating a minion's defensive capabilities becomes unintuitive - a larger number sometimes isn't ideal.

Those are the three systems I have been able to devise. If any of you guys are able to think of something that I haven't, that'd be absolutely terrific.

X3M
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While pondering about your

While pondering about your choices.

I don't like that the total defence of a team is used. Which is often the case with your choices. While 0 DEF sounds problematic to the system. A maximum DEF is the real "clogger".

Have you considered, dividing up the damage as equal as possible. With the minion taking the highest? Meaning that 11 damage is 6 for the minion and 5 for the hero.
Now, to allow this, you still can use DEF. But DEF is once again, very useful in this case. So, I would suggest, giving a penalty as well to the defender, if (s)he uses this option.

Either, add +1 to each damage. Or use piercing damage, thus +1 damage to any target, regardless of DEF. This means that if you divide the damage amongst 10 targets. 10 times the DEF is used. But 1 health reduction for all.

You have the numbers for your units. Play a bit with them with this idea. And let me know what you think??

As a bonus, you can design units that have a bonus, when the defender decides on dividing the hits. Splash effects :)
Or a weapon that forces to get multiple targets.

Squinshee
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I like where your head is at,

I like where your head is at, but I don't think that would work. And maybe I wasn't totally clear on something: only one minion is allowed to defend an attack, so all of the damage can't be totally soaked up.

There's also an opportunity cost while defending - it taps the minion, preventing it from contributing its dominance value. At the of the each turn, each player sums their untapped minions' dominance values. The player with the higher dominance increases their dominance meter by 1. Each hero has 3 dominance abilities, each of which cost 1, 3, or 5 points from the dominance meter. These are intended to get stronger in effect the more points they require.

Therefore, the defending player has to decide if they want to defend, which could put them in a position where they don't win dominance that turn. Or they let the hero take all the damage to keep minion(s) untapped.

It might be important to note that attacking a minion also taps it..which reminds me why I don't like #1 from my three ideas: let's say you successfully attack and choose to target the opposing hero. That player then chooses to defend with a minion. That minion takes full damage and taps...which is absolutely no different from if you decided to target that minion with the attack in the first place. By targeting the hero, you actually give your opponent more control to mitigate the negative effects of an attack. That's not good.

Having the defending player divide the damage gives them too much wiggle room for choice, especially if there's a lot of minions on board. There are also attacks that allow for multiple targets, at the choice of the attacker.

Zag24
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It depends on the meaning of

It depends on the meaning of DEF. Is that armor, or dodging ability, or what?

If DEF is armor, than it makes no sense if he takes more damage the more armor he has. Is minion's armor something that I have to invest in, that I might otherwise have spent on myself? If that's the case, then the armor really needs to help.

If I'm attacking a hero and his minion jumps in the way of the attack, unless it's some AoE attack, I expect the minion either to absorb the whole attack or to die trying. I suppose the spear or bullet could pass non-fatally through the minion and then hit the hero, but a sword slash, for instance, would have to cut him in half before any damage happens to anyone behind him.

How about this: The minion's DEF subtracts from the hit's damage. The minion then takes at most half of his remaining hit points, which are given to him and also subtracted from the hit's damage. IF there is any damage left, it goes through to the hero.

So a minion has 10 hit points and 3 armor:

Hit for 9: armor abosrbs 3, minion absorbs 5 (and is not at 5), hero takes 1.

Hit for 11: armor absorbs 3, minion absorbs 3 (half of his remaining 5), hero takes 7.

Hit for 7: armor absorbs 3, minion absorbs 1 (half of his remaining 2), hero takes 3

Squinshee
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I totally agree with you, DEF

I totally agree with you, DEF should always be a GOOD thing. That's why I didn't like #3, in addition to its general awkwardness.

Let me get your idea straight. The equation would be:

Attack Damage - Defending Minion's DEF = "Raw Damage"

Defending minion receives "Raw Damage" up to a maximum of 1/2 it's current HP

The hero receives damage equal to: "Raw Damage" - Damage dealt to defending minion

If that's correct, that's a really interesting way of accomplishing this, but I fear that it's overly complicated. I had to really wrap my brain around it - not exactly the feel my game is going for, which is intended to play pretty quickly. I'll see what one of my playtesters thinks about it - he's always the first to yell "too complicated!" if he sees me doing something that requires too many steps.

let-off studios
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Eliminate DEF for Minions

Have you thought how the game would play out if Minions had no DEF value, but could still soak attacks?

For example, when a player is faced with an attack, they have two options:
- the Hero takes the damage, minus their DEF value
- sacrifice a Minion

This represents the Minion "leaping on the grenade" to save the Hero.

Minions are reduced or the Hero takes damage. It seems both of these outcomes move closer to the end state of the game. Do you think it would be too drastic?

X3M
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Zag24's idea is actually a

Zag24's idea is actually a good one. And not that complex either.

Not only is the damage reduced by the defence of the minion. It is then halved by the minion's current health. And the other half goes to the hero. Which in its turn removes with its own defence.

However, to get things going. I would suggest that the total health of the minion is considered.
This means that it would go as following:

So minions have 10 hit points and 3 armor:

Hit for 9: armor absorbs 3, minion absorbs 5 (and is now at 5), hero takes 1.

Hit for 11: armor absorbs 3, minion absorbs 5 (half of his original, but probably another minion), hero takes 3.

Hit for 7: armor absorbs 3, minion absorbs 4, hero takes 0

A minion could have died. It depends on how you build on your mechanics further. If you force the wounded minion to do its job, it will die. While the hero remains taking damage. Altough it is less.

Squinshee
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Heroes do not have a DEF

Heroes do not have a DEF value, just minions.

Your idea would certainly progress the game state quite a bit. I guess what I'm trying to ultimately balance is minion synergy and how fragile/sturdy their presence is. Minions interact highly with one another, creating synergies that help you win the game. If they die too quickly, you never build an "engine" of minions. If they die too slowly, they have too much presence and are too much of a determining factor in victory.

I might be at a stage in the design where I have to tweak values based on how I feel the games should play out. This is totally new territory for me - my designs have never been in a cohesive enough state to tweak based on feel.

Sorry if it feels like I keep shooting ya'll down :( I do really appreciate the input.

Squinshee
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I think that idea works best

I think that idea works best if minions don't have a DEF value. For example:

Player successfully attacks for 4 damage and targets the opposing hero

Defending player chooses to defend with a minion that has 4HP, taking half of the damage, thus reducing its HP to 2

The opposing hero takes the remaining damage, which is 2

I like this a fair amount more. Minions' defensive capabilities are relative to their total HP - the higher their HP, the more time they can defend. It eliminates a DEF stat which is good in my book. If I incorporated this, I'd make all attacks do an even amount of damage for the sake of simplification.

:)

X3M
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Don't worry about shooting

Don't worry about shooting down. The possibilities in this genre are so widespread. That everyone can give suggestions. And only 1 might get through adjusted to the taste of the designer.

Minions kinda work as DEF for the hero in the way how you described it. And it is a simple, rarely used concept.

Since you have decided on what you want to do. I advice, do a play test yourself, right now. While it is fresh. Before you consider letting others play test for you.

JewellGames
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Have you seen SolForge? It

Have you seen SolForge? It uses minion "lanes" which focuses the combat on minions with the ultimate goal of damaging the heroes.

Zag24
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Squinshee wrote:I guess what

Squinshee wrote:
I guess what I'm trying to ultimately balance is minion synergy and how fragile/sturdy their presence is. Minions interact highly with one another, creating synergies that help you win the game. If they die too quickly, you never build an "engine" of minions. If they die too slowly, they have too much presence and are too much of a determining factor in victory.

This is the key concept, and it will be very hard to balance without a trick.

The trick I'm suggesting is that the more minions you have, the more expensive it is to get more. (So if I have very few minions, I can pretty cheaply get to a lowish working number. Even if I already have a bunch of minions, it is still hard for me to get to an overwhelming number.) Without this gimmick, you will have a serious runaway leader problem. With it, you can tweak the differential cost so that it is not too hard to keep players in the area where you want them to be.

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