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using the "War card game" mechanic for combat resolution

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larienna's picture
Joined: 07/28/2008

Probably most of you know the card game "war" played with a regular deck of cards. It's not very strategic since there are zero decisions in this game. It is the stacking and shuffling of the cards that determines the winner. I know there is also another similar game where you draw a card, choose one of the 3 stats and compare the values. The basic concept of both games is that cards duel each other.

Now, I wanted to resolve my warfare by making various duels. When 2 cards fight together, there will be a series of random mechanic that will determine the winner. That is not important for this post. What I want to find is how to determine which card fight which card.

I also thought that I might want something that get resolved fast. This is when I though of the "war" mechanic. I could use exactly the same rules and the randomness of the duel will make sure that the stacking of the deck does not determine the winner.

But I came up with a similar system a bit more sophisticated that adds a bit of decisions. Here are the rules


On the first round, each player draw a card and duel. The card that wins stay in front of the player.

Then the turn alternate from one player to another. The first player draw a card and look at it. He have 2 choice, attack the top card from the opponent's deck (like the original rules) or attack a card face up into play. So now, if you draw a strong card, you can attempt to disable or destroy cards already played instead of fighting against the unknown top of the deck.

If a player run out of cards, the player which still have cards in his deck play each of them until he deplete his deck. So his leftover units can attempt to kill extra units in play. This gives an advantage to the player with the largest army. If one side is annihilated, the other side wins. If both side have cards into play, proceed to tactical victory.

Each unit will have a tactical level value. This is the capacity of the unit to capture or attack strategic areas. You sum up the strategic value of all the cards in play and the player with the highest value wins.

Some cards will have special abilities that will disable/paralyse/neutralize enemy cards. These cards are weaker when they get attacked and they do not could in the tactical combat sum.

The will also be a rock-paper-scisor relation to know if your special ability is effective. For example, if you have fear and I have poison attack, I follow the RPS relation according to the type of ability and it will tell me that fear will be effective but not poison attack (because fear has priority).

There will also be other things than units in the deck. There could be traps or defenses for example.

Finally, with a mechanic like this it might be easier to make fights where players fight against non-player opponents since you just have to draw the top card from the deck.


One thing I am not sure is if the player should alternate turns to decide which unit they attack. Maybe only the attacker can choose to attack an open face unit. The defender will only be able to choose if the attacker's deck get depleted. This will give an advantage to the attacker and will somewhat make sense ( you camp until you get an advantage on your opponent).

For the speed, the card selection is very fast, I'll just have to make sure that the random duel resolution is not too long. I'll try 1 die roll, or 1 contested die roll at most.

What do you think?

Right now, every element of the game seems to fit in correctly and it seems to reproduce some situations found in a real warfare

By the way, I tested the mechanic with a regular deck of cards. Highest card wins and ties makes both unit die. The combat resolution is deterministic but it gives a good idea of the mechanic

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