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Simultaneous actions without conflicts

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larienna
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I am trying to design a system where all the actions of the players are taken simultaneously. Some actions does not create any problems but others could create conflicts. My basic idea is that a player can perform any action within it's range of influence that is determined by the cities and heroes. All the hexes surrounding them are part of the player's influence range. But even with a system like this, the influence range of players can overlap, so 2 players could perform actions on a target which are inside both players area of influence.

One solution I found is that I could give a unique value to each city and hero token. The token with the highest value would always have priority. So for example, if 2 cities control the same area, the city with the highest value have access to that shared hex. Heroes always have higher values than cities. So in the previous example, the player would have to mobilise a hero in the area to temporarily gain control of the hex. Else, it can always be possible to negotiate with other player to get access to the hex.

First I though that this mechanic would be hard to apply, but since the priority value could be placed directely on the city/hero token, it would be easier to compare since the values would be side by side.

What do you think?

Soulmate
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Restrictions

I am not sure how the priority value would work. If each city would have a different value, I see some problems (although I don't know if you took care of them).
First of all, The highest ranked city or hero could not be beaten in those overlapping areas, giving that city or hero a dominant position. Secondly, I wonder if each player has his/her own city or hero tokens? If they do, a problem might be that some players having more benifitial values than other players, outbalancing f the players. Finally, how many cities or heroes does a game have? It may be confusing too see all those numbers on the game board.

Knowing no further details of your game, I have two other possible solutions too fix the overlapping areas. One is forbidding players to take actions on overlapping areas (altough this could bring problems in the game design). The other one consists of skipping all actions preformed on the same tile. This could bring some other tactics to the game: "Should I play this action on an overlapping tile for a better result, but having the risk of skipping the action entierly, or should I play safe?"

I hope these ideas helped :)
Good luck with your game

rtwombly
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Joined: 01/17/2009
The question I would need

The question I would need addressed is, what triggers the action to take place? If the actions happen automatically as soon as a certain phase begins, perhaps you could build the phase leading up to the action in such a way that there cannot be overlap.

For instance, you might have a rule that all cities be built at such a distance that they can't overlap with one another (ala Sid Meier's). Since the heroes are presumably mobile pieces, you could then state that whatever mechanism the player has for moving them around should continue (or iterate) until no overlap of like values exists. Or, you could forbid the hero from moving in such a way that a collision occurs. For instance:

**[r7,2]***{b7,1}***[r6,2]**
[]=city, {}=hero, *=hex, r=red player, b=blue player, numbers are (influence, range)

In the scenario above, the hero {b7} could take no more than one step to the left, since two steps would take him inside the influence of city [r7,2], which has an influence equal to his own (7) and a range of 2. {b7} could walk right up to city [r6,2] however, since that city has less influence than he does. In this setup, [r7,2] would be free to act, as would {b7}, but [r6,2] could not take an action, as it is constrained by {b7}. Hope that makes some sense.

I sympathize, as my current design started out as an attempt at a simultaneous action Civ, but has since devolved into alternating simultaneous and turn-based phases. It's very difficult to incentivize simultaneous actions such that no player has an insurmountable advantage, but all players are motivated to optimize their choices, without scripting gameplay.

Maaartin
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Joined: 05/15/2011
It can work nicely, I think

Soulmate wrote:
First of all, The highest ranked city or hero could not be beaten in those overlapping areas, giving that city or hero a dominant position.

In case this is a problem, I think I could offer some solutions:

  • 1: Let the players secretly choose not only the tile and action, but also the invested power. The power could be either added to the value of the hero/city or it could be the deciding factor. In order to make it a bit fair, let only the winner pay the invested power. This is actually a hidden auction, and IIRC larienna really loves auctions. :D
  • 2: Use some RPS-like system instead of linearly ordered values. This is actually very simple and fair. Use numbers between 0 and 10 and imagine them arranged clockwise on a wheel. Let A lose to B if the "clockwise distance" from A to B is less the clockwise distance from B to A, e.g., 1 loses to 4 (clockwise distances: 1->2->3->4 distance 3, 4->5..->10->0 distance 8). The formula is simple: Compute B-A, if it's negative add 11, if it's less than 6 then A loses, otherwise it wins. Generalizing it to another odd number of values should be trivial. The computation is surely not hard, but people may be too lazy/stupid/young for it.
  • 3: Even simpler, use a classical RPS system together with the numerical values. Give precedence to the RPS system and use the numerical values as tiebreakers only. Now, numerically greater values are still better on the average but each hero/city wins in at least 1/3 cases and loses also in at least 1/3 cases.

Soulmate wrote:
Secondly, I wonder if each player has his/her own city or hero tokens? If they do, a problem might be that some players having more benifitial values than other players, outbalancing f the players.

Yes, but the player owning the strongest token can be penalized w.r.t. to lower valued tokens e.g. like in Ra, page 3.

That said, I like all the proposed alternatives; I just wanted to propose solutions to the outlined problems.

pelle
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Joined: 08/11/2008
Maybe even simpler: If a

Maybe even simpler: If a player want to take an action in an overlapping area, he places a face-down token there of some kind describing the action. After the simultaneous phase/turn is over you randomly draw one token from each overlapping area, applying the result, discard the other tokens.

Sounds a lot simpler. But without knowing the details of your game it is difficult to say how good it would be.

Of course even simpler is to simply make sure cities/heroes are balanced/located in ways that there is no "overlap" but only areas that are under the control of one and only one player. You could include tokens to use to mark the borders.

larienna
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Comments to your replies

Quote:
Knowing no further details of your game [...] But without knowing the details of your game it is difficult to say how good it would be.

Here is the latest picture of the prototype I made.

http://bgd.lariennalibrary.com/uploads/Mainsite/GameIdea/GameIdea2010032...

Quote:
I am not sure how the priority value would work. If each city would have a different value, I see some problems

Simple, I have a city with 12 your city has 18. you have priority. If I place my hero with value 32, he has priority.

Quote:
Secondly, I wonder if each player has his/her own city or hero tokens? If they do, a problem might be that some players having more benifitial values than other players, outbalancing f the players.

Yes and no, let just say that the values would have been distributed evenly between players. So All players would have weak and strong values.

Quote:
Finally, how many cities or heroes does a game have? It may be confusing too see all those numbers on the game board.

I am not sure yet. Maybe around 8-12 per player, and 4-7 per NPC. Great total of 48-95 cities on the whole board. Each player will have between 5-8 heroes in average. Consider that all cities/heroes have only an influence range of 1 hex. So a target hex can be overlapped by at most 7 units.

Quote:
One is forbidding players to take actions on overlapping areas (altough this could bring problems in the game design).

Another idea that I just had is that overlapping cities hexes could be locked. But if you move a hero in the area, the hero has priority over the cities. But If there is 2 hero then the hex is locked again. I could also use fleets and make sure it's the number of items that has priority (ex: a player with a hero, city and fleet has priority orver a player with a city and a hero)

Quote:
The question I would need addressed is, what triggers the action to take place?

The first part of the turn is the "Individual actions" where players move their heroes to increase their influence range. It's during this phase that players not happy of the unit placement could decide to engage the enemy in battle to gain control of certain areas.

When the influence range of the players has been resolved, the players can now simultaneously perform a series of actions in a certain order all at the same time. Some actions has no impact on other players (ex: grow a city) while some actions could have an impact (ex: colonize). But since the target hex to colonize must be inside a player's range of influence, then there is no conflicts.

Quote:
For instance, you might have a rule that all cities be built at such a distance that they can't overlap with one another (ala Sid Meier's)

Right now, cities cannot touch each other. I intended to use the overlapping mechanic to determine what can be attacked by a player. Still attacks are managed in a difference phase because they actually change the area of control. Area of control also made sure that there can only have 1 unit in each hex, so no stacking is actually possible.

Quote:
This is actually a hidden auction, and IIRC larienna really loves auctions. :D

(^_^). Unfortunately, there would be too much overlapping situation, having a mini auction would take too much time.

Quote:
Use some RPS-like system instead of linearly ordered values. [...] Even simpler, use a classical RPS system together with the numerical values. Give precedence to the RPS system and use the numerical values as tiebreakers only.

This is actually a good idea.

Quote:
If a player want to take an action in an overlapping area, he places a face-down token there of some kind describing the action. After the simultaneous phase/turn is over you randomly draw one token from each overlapping area, applying the result, discard the other tokens.

There is too many action to actually have action tokens like in games of throne or starcraft.

-------------------------------------

Right now, I think that counting the quantity of tokens around an area would be much more easier to implements. Ties are still possible, maybe another mechanic could become a tie breaker.

Maaartin
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Joined: 05/15/2011
Nice

larienna wrote:
Another idea that I just had is that overlapping cities hexes could be locked. But if you move a hero in the area, the hero has priority over the cities. But If there is 2 hero then the hex is locked again. I could also use fleets and make sure it's the number of items that has priority (ex: a player with a hero, city and fleet has priority orver a player with a city and a hero)

That's nice, determining the priority by simply counting the items is the fastest and probably best overall. It may solve nearly all conflicts and so it's much easier to find a solution for the remaining ones.

Even making no action in such a case should work. Using numerical values should be fine as well, the effect of the greatest number is no more that important.

larienna wrote:
I am not sure yet. Maybe around 8-12 per player, and 4-7 per NPC. Great total of 48-95 cities on the whole board. Each player will have between 5-8 heroes in average. Consider that all cities/heroes have only an influence range of 1 hex. So a target hex can be overlapped by at most 7 units.

You could give priority to the unit occupying the hex. So I'd go for

  • First count the items.
  • In case of a tie, give priority to the central unit, if any.
  • Otherwise compare the numbers.

You could even allow equal numbers: When a tie can't be resolved, then no action is taken (this should be fine since it doesn't happen often).

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