# Tactical wargame: Movement by card mechanic

11 replies [Last post]
larienna
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Joined: 07/28/2008

I am designing a game similar to Battle Master and I am using Battle Master as a test prototype for certain mechanics.

I want to design a card system that determines which unit will play that is better than the card system in battle master. I have found 2 solutions so far, you are free to comment.

In battle master, each card shows different type of units (ex: Men at arms, archers, cavalry). When the card is played, you play all unit with the matching unit type.

The problem with this system is the lack of flexibility in the army configuration which was not a problem in the original game since both sides were fixed. The second problem is that it incite the player to have the less unit type possible to make sure they can play them most of the time.

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Solution 1

My first idea is that each unit in play will have a unique ID with 3 cards that are going to be placed in a deck. Player will draw X cards and play Y cards on his turn.

X is equal to the number of units in play / 2 round up
Y is equal to the number of cards in hand / 2 round up
(ex: 10 units = draw 5 cards and play 3).

During a player's turn, playing a unit card means that this unit is going to move and/or attack.

When a unit is attacked, the defender can play the card matching the unit attacked ( if he has it) to counter-attack

When the unit dies, they cards are removed from the deck when drawn.

Some cards would have special abilities that other cards of the same unit does not have. The card decide when the ability triggers.

The problem with this system is that I could end up easily with too many cards. For example, If I want 8 races that each possess 8 unit types in a maximum of 4 copies. I end up with 8x8x4x3= 768 cards. So I was wondering if there was an easier way to do this

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Solution 2

My second idea is to have 1 card for each unit to reduce the number of required cards (8x8x4=256). The number of cards drawn and played is the same.

But now the cards would get reshuffled every 2 turns.

I made some calculations, you would play 50% of your units every turn and 75% of them would have received a chance to move or counter attack while 25% would not have been able to do anything.

Now it makes each player much more predictable because you know that if a unit has been played this turn, it won't be able to counter-attack or move again the next turn, which somewhat makes sense.

To make sure a unit does not get stuck not to be able to move at all (like in memoir 44), I was thinking of allowing to play any card to make a unit withdraw or engage an adjacent enemy. This way, the units you do not draw can still do something.

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What do you think?
Do you prefer a method over the other.

Louard
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Joined: 02/09/2010
I can see what you mean.

I can see how this system leads to the problems you are pointing out. Have you looked into one of my all time favourite games, Memoir 44?

In Memoir 44 a card that allows you to move all units of a given type is only one type of card you will find in the deck. Furthermore, such cards will always allow you to move ONE unit of ANY type if you don't have any of the require unit type. For example, the card that says "Order all Artillery units" also states "Or one unit of your choice". So these cards always give you a second, lesser option.

Furthermore, most cards aren't unit specific but will instead allow you to order a given number of units, or all units in a given flank (the board is divided into three columns).

So maybe you want to break away from the idea that cards tell you what type of unit to activate and instead think of way to mix up the way in which cards could interestingly restrict your movement.

larienna
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Joined: 07/28/2008
Memoir 44 is horrible. The

Memoir 44 is horrible. The most common bug it that you can have one of your front not being able to move at all for the whole game. I want to avoid this problem at all cost.

This is why, I gave the option of flushing any card to allow any unit to withdraw or simply engage.

simons
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Joined: 12/28/2008
Another way of doing cards

I'll need to roll your ideas around in my head a few times before I decide which one I like more. However, if you're biggest problem with #1 is too many cards, I have a thought:

What if each card, instead of actually telling the unit, just gives a number, and each player keeps track of which unit that number corresponds to. Like, maybe #1 is your general's unit, #2 is your wizard, #3 are your ogers, #4 are your orc archers, etc. Are you planning on having more than 13 units in a game? Because if not you could use a standard deck of cards.

larienna
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Joined: 07/28/2008
Not a bad idea, but now I

Not a bad idea, but now I need an additional component to identify unit X as beign unit 1.

Else, I could have a chart with let say 10 slot, place card that posses the unit info in each slot and place only the numbered poker chips on the map. The problem is now the cross referencing, you need to check the row of unit card everytime to know which unit is what.

DogBoy
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Joined: 12/15/2009
larienna wrote: In battle

larienna wrote:

In battle master, each card shows different type of units (ex: Men at arms, archers, cavalry). When the card is played, you play all unit with the matching unit type.

The problem with this system is the lack of flexibility in the army configuration which was not a problem in the original game since both sides were fixed. The second problem is that it incite the player to have the less unit type possible to make sure they can play them most of the time.

Your second problem comes directly from being allowed to move all units of a chosen type by playing a single card. If each card only allowed you to move a fixed number of units (e.g. 3), there might still be a minor incentive to have a smaller variety of units (if you had only one unit type, you'd be guaranteed to be able to move any individual unit with any card), but it would probably be lessened.

simons wrote:
I'll need to roll your ideas around in my head a few times before I decide which one I like more. However, if you're biggest problem with #1 is too many cards, I have a thought:

What if each card, instead of actually telling the unit, just gives a number, and each player keeps track of which unit that number corresponds to. Like, maybe #1 is your general's unit, #2 is your wizard, #3 are your ogers, #4 are your orc archers, etc. Are you planning on having more than 13 units in a game? Because if not you could use a standard deck of cards.

I think a simpler way would be to classify each unit as one of a limited number of basic types (e.g. light, heavy and special). A card would specify how many units of each type could be moved that turn. You'd take your turn by playing a few cards, adding up the numbers, and moving your units.

drktron
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Joined: 07/18/2010
I like solution one, except

I like solution one, except for the problem of too many cards. I like the idea of unique cards for each unit and removing them when killed. To reduce the number of cards but keep the essence of this idea is to have one card unique to each unit (with some special ability or whatever) and cards for movement/attack for each class of cards like dogboy wisely suggested. So a player could move/attack with any of their light units with a Light class card. When a unit is killed you would remove its special card from the deck. Using your numbers, for eight races each with eight unit types with a max of 4 each yields 256 special cards. Then say you had 4 classifications (say calvary, ranged, infantry, special or whatever) and you added 32 cards for each class yields 128 more for a total of 384. You could adjust the special card to generic class card ratio as needed to balance it properly. I hope this would reduce the amount of cards while retaining your original idea

larienna
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Joined: 07/28/2008
I you want to do some testing

I you want to do some testing the files are here:

http://ariel.minilab.bdeb.qc.ca/~ericp/cgi-bin/boardgame/index.php?n=Var...

Relexx
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Joined: 05/31/2010
Reduction of card numbers

Taking a leaf from one of our fellow forum members. You could have two halves to each card, each half allowing a move for an individual unit/type and colour them. Having colours for a unit/type could allow rules like "can not move the same unit/type in the next turn", or add special cards that break the written rules.

The only detraction I have to this method of movement is my memories of the rampaging Ogre in Battle Masters. He rampages up the field and does nothing due to lack of opponents. For this reason I think it is important to perhaps have multiple move options on each card.

drktron
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Joined: 07/18/2010

larienna
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Joined: 07/28/2008
Quote:i'm having trouble

Quote:

Do you have a problem viewing the page or accessing the files?

I really dont understand why it does not work. Let's try it differently:

http://ariel.minilab.bdeb.qc.ca/~ericp/cgi-bin/boardgame/index.php?actio...

Click "Board game variants" in the menu, then "Battlemasters pseudo-variant". The file link are at the bottom.

Here the direct links to the file