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Simple battle system idea

6 replies [Last post]
Joined: 05/08/2010

I had the idea of making a very simple single player board game RPG as a way to pass the time (both in spending the time creating it, and just playing it when bored). The plan is for it to be fairly fast paced, and tipped in favor of the player, so that it is just a fun dungeon crawl-like romp to pass the time.

Anyway, without getting into too many details not related to this post, I wanted to come up with a simple battle system. I don't want to worry about comparing a bunch of stats, lots of dice rolls per turn, etc. I want a mix of randomness with a little bit of strategy. This is the system I came up with.

The player's actions are based upon the cards in his hand. He can hold up to five cards in his hand at any time. When an enemy is encountered, the player plays a card and rolls a die. This is repeated for each turn until one of the two dies. Values on the player's card and the enemy's card are compared to a single D6 that is rolled. Depending on the values, attacks either connect or are evaded. After the turn, the played card is discarded. Once the player holds two or less cards in his hand, he may draw additional cards from the top of his deck until he has five cards again.

Example of a player's attack card:
Thrust (Name of the attack)
DMG: 4 (The amount of damage done if an attack is successful)
MISS: 1, 2 (If the value of the die rolled is in this sequence, the player's attack misses)
DEF: 6 (If the value of the die rolled is in this sequence, the player defends the enemy's attack)

Example of an enemy card drawn from the encounter deck:
Orc with a nasty sunburn (Name of the enemy)
HP: 9 (The number of hit points the enemy has)
DMG: 3 (The amount of damage done if the enemy attack is successful)
ATK: 1, 3, 6 (If the value of the die rolled is in this sequence, the enemy's attack is successful unless the number is also in the sequence of player's attack card's DEF)

If the following number is rolled, the result is...
1 - The player's attack misses, and the enemy's attack hits
2 - Both the player's and enemy's attacks miss
3 - Both the player's and enemy's attacks hit
4 - The player's attack hits, and the enemy's attack misses
5 - The player's attack hits, and the enemy's attack misses
6 - The player's attack hits, and the enemy's attack is defended against.

There would be multiple variations of the values for different versions of the card. For example, another thrust card may only do 3 damage, but have a DEF value of 1, 3, which would only allow the example sunburned orc to land an attack if a six was rolled. There would also be a variations of the values on the enemy cards, making certain attack cards either more or less useful against that particular enemy card.

As the player leveled up, he would choose additional cards to add to his deck. These could be more powerful attacks or modifier cards that could be played along with an attack (such as a defense card to increase the chance to defend, or to boost the amount of damage done on a successful attack).

So, the basic sequence of a battle would be:
1. Play a card
2. Roll a die
3. Adjust hit points accordingly
4. Go to step 1

Any thoughts? This is my first attempt at coming up with a battle system. I think the only games I've ever played with any kind of a battle system were Risk and Battle Masters. And that was a long, long time ago.

Jean Of mArc
Jean Of mArc's picture
Joined: 04/21/2010
Battle System

Hey skeeman,

Thanks for sharing your ideas!! I like that you want to make an RPG battle system that isn't too complicated. I find that a lot of potential RPG players are turned off by the complexity of playing. I myself have only really gotten into video game RPGs because they take care of those details for me. So I appreciate that you want a "simpler" RPG for people to play.

Also, your suggested battle system was well-articulated; I had no problem understanding how this worked.

A few thoughts about your engine:

1. First, I kind of like that the results of the battle (who hits, who misses) is determined by rolling a single die, rather than constantly rolling one for each.
2. I don't quite understand why the player has a "miss" value, while the creature has an "attack" value. As far as I understand, the miss value is just the opposite numbers of what an attack value would be for both. Wouldn't it make it simpler if BOTH the player and creature only had an attack value, and all other values were misses?
3. I'm a little concerned that, as it stands, there might always be an "obvious choice" when playing cards. Ie, you always want to choose the card that has the highest percentage of hitting with the highest percentage of defending in every attack. I guess you could argue that different "damage" values of these cards could sway the vote between "should I risk dealing more damage, but less of a hit chance or guarantee a hit but deal less damage?" However, I would recommend giving the player a few more considerations when choosing a card. I find I get easily bored with a game if the choice in any situation is too obvious and there are not many advantages/disadvantages or costs for making a given decision. Maybe you want it that simple though.
4. Different ways that I can think of off the top of my head to add more considerations:
- Maybe before the player enters an area, is able to take a look at the different kinds of creatures that he MAY encounter. Then he has to select a "weapon" which has a different set of cards associated with it. He must use this weapon while fighting in that area. A weapon is represented by a certain deck of set cards. So basically, if he chooses one weapon, he will have 3 or 4 different "cards" to choose from, which will show up over and over. If he chooses another, it will be a different set.
- Or, the player could battle a few creatures at once, but whatever card he selects must be used on all of them. That way he has to consider more options, making an "obvious choice" harder to calculate.
- Or the different moves could have side-effects, which are another consideration for the player. For example, one card could be high damage and high accuracy, but if could say "if you miss, the enemy gets another chance to hit you for which you cannot defend". So this provides an extra risk for the player to consider. Or maybe there is a card that is unlikely to hit and doesn't deal much damage, but "if you hit, the enemy is poisoned" or something like that.

I'm not sure if my ideas are making things too complicated, but I just want to make sure that even for a simple game, the player is not making a bunch of obvious decisions, since most people feel like of useless when the decisions are made by themselves.

Please post your ideas/feedback!! :)

Joined: 05/09/2010
I loved the all battle music

I loved the all battle music and all the music in ff8, I liked when you fought Edea, the sorcerasses, and Ultimicia. I also liked the music when you fight ultima weapon, and when the rockets are attacking Balamb Garden and the fmv sequence when you land on the beach on your training mission and other music that I forgot. Musically,this game and Star ocean 2 are tied in my best music in an rpg.
invoice factoring

Joined: 05/08/2010
You make a good point about

You make a good point about the hit/miss thing. I believe my line of thinking was that since the scales are to be tipped in favor of the player, that it would be more likely that he would be hitting, rather than missing. So rather than listing a longer sequence of 3, 4, 5, 6, it would be easier to just list 1, 2. But I believe you are right that it would make more sense the other way. Sure there might be an extra number or two, but it would be easier to understand two-fold because, as you said, hits would work the same for both sides, as well as that the user just has to see if the number is there, rather than ask, "is the number rolled not there?"

I figured that some of the "which card should I play?" logic would be based upon weaker attacks more often than not have a better chance to hit and/or have a better built-in defense value over powerful attacks which sacrifice defense for extra damage.

I also figured that there might be some kind of combo system. For example, an attack card that can only be played after successfully landing an attack of a certain type. Or perhaps it can be played any time, but if done after a specific attack, it does bonus damage.

Another option to make sure the player keeps a somewhat varied deck (I figure there will be a cap on the number of cards in the attack rotation), would be that attacks and monsters could be color coded. For example, a specific Orc card could be coded red and blue. All Slash cards would be coded red and yellow. Since both cards share a color, the Orc can be damaged by the attack. A Thrust card however, would be coded yellow and green. Since the Orc has neither of these colors, that particular Orc could not be damaged by a Thrust.

With something like that, the player would need to make sure they have a variety of attacks in his deck. Otherwise, he could end up on a "block, please block! and give me a good card!" run.

After I typed the thing up, I came up with a few other ideas. I wasn't even considering weapons coming into play. I figure maybe the damage rating can be a bonus applied to the weapon. For example, say you are wielding a sword with a damage rating of 3. A Slash attack would have +0 DMG, whereas a Thrust could have +1 DMG.

Along the lines of keeping things simple, at first I wasn't even considering having armor in the game. However, I figure an easy way to do it would just be to make pieces of armor (or maybe they will just be complete sets) give +X hit points to the player.

And now as I type this I think of even more crazy things to add, such as allowing loot to be color coded. For example, a sword may do less damage than another, but it would be color coded yellow. If your weapon is yellow, you can attack yellow coded monsters even if your attack card does not have yellow.

Of course, if I keep brainstorming, I'm going to negate the whole idea of a simple battle system! It's fun though.

Pastor_Mora's picture
Joined: 01/05/2010
Not trying to be negative here, but

Why are you attacking that nasty orc in the first place?

I've been DMing for 15 years now. And attack is what generally makes adventuring loose its pace. At this point, I mostly run adventures almost without dices. Will there be anything else in your game besides hack and slash?

GO RPG! Keep thinking!

Joined: 05/08/2010
Actually, hack'n'slash was

Actually, hack'n'slash was going to be a lot of it. The plan was to make a single player game to just goof around with as a time waster, but I could probably add a few other elements to it just to mix things up.

My basic plan was just that you'd basically move around through the different zones. Each zone would be a grid-based board/sheet of paper/whatever. After each movement, you'd roll a die to see if you encountered something. Each zone would have its own deck of encounter cards. The encounters would be things like monsters, quest givers, treasure chests, etc. You'd kill off the monsters to power up your character so you could move on to the more dangerous zones so you could complete more quests.

I was thinking of making something a little out there or nonsensical (think Earthbound),as I'm getting sick of generic fantasy. I was just using orcs and swords as they make for easy to understand examples.

Maybe I need to mix things up a bit by coming up with some other kind of mechanic to goof around with as a diversion. Like some kind of mini-game of sorts or something to do when in towns that could have an affect on gameplay. Like, when you came across generic enemy #23, he'd see you were the world champion apple bobber, bow to your greatness, and give you free money. I have no idea.

Joined: 01/02/2010
keep working on this

Pastor_Mora, I think you're entirely missing the point of this game. It's supposed to be a light hack and slash solitaire game. If one wants to role play on his own, he doesn't need rules, a board, dice, cards or any physical component.

Skeeman, I like this idea even though it's not a game I would likely play much; I largely enjoy board games for the social factor. What I envision is a simplified Rogue game put in board game form. I think your biggest challenge will be to create something with high replay value. This to me means you'll need a diverse set of upgrades/spells/weapons that are simple in themselves but that create various synergies when used together.

As for the mini-game, I would highly recommend dropping the idea. If you develop a fun mini-game, why not just produce it as a separate game?

Good luck and let us know how the game comes along.

PS: When I first started reading your post, the first thing I thought of was Thunderstone. It's a very flawed game, but the idea is neat.

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