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Visibility - balance problem

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X3M's picture
Joined: 10/28/2013

That's right, visibility balance.
This is my old Yeller.

There are a lot of rules regarding visibility. But I have been spending a lot of time. Simplifying the summary of this.

And perhaps it is best to deal with the parts of the problem, one at a time.


I use a hexagon board with 7 different terrain types.
There are also combinations of these 7 terrain types, resulting in 28 different terrain in total.

For easy game play, important numbers are printed on the hexagons.

One of those numbers is visibility. 0 to 6 can be printed. And this is also a die roll.

Of course, 0 and 6 themselves don't need a die roll.
In fact, if even one 0 is to be found between 2 hexagons. The entire dice feast is cancelled.

On average, the visibility is 5/7th for each hexagon. All normal weapons have this, and I have given them the weigh factor of 5...?


The problem lies in the effect of the visibility.
At a distance of 1, the effect is 5/7th.
At a distance of 2, the effect is 5/7 x 5/7 = 25/49th.
At a distance of 3, the effect is 125/343th.
It grows exponential!

The basic game uses this effect. And is "balanced".

When I add different weapons for different visibility. The balance is gone.

I could talk about air, sub terrain and sub marine weapons. But they have their own dimension if you will. I think, the best example would be the rail gun.

This weapon ignores all terrain effects.
And thus has a weigh factor of 7. Or 140%
However, the true value over distance would be:
1 - 1.4 - 1.96 - 2.74 - 3.84 - 5.38 etc.

Then we have a sonic wave. This weapon looses energy over distance. And could have a minimum weigh factor, that is 1. Or 20%.
1 - 0.2 - 0.04 - 0.008 etc.

These 2 are the most extremes. And I think that if I get these 2 balanced in weigh. About 90% of the advanced part for the game is saved.


I immediately figured out that range is part of the balance problem. More range is better and has a higher weigh factor. For the normal game, this is "balanced".

But this same balancing technique doesn't work for the advanced weapons.
Simply multiplying with the factor of 1.4 or 0.2 on top of it, doesn't work. I know I need to work exponentially.
But after doing that, the game lacks balance.
I thought I did it right. But I am missing something.
Thus far, I also tried using the exponential numbers. But then the ranges in between caused imbalance.
Then I tried using the exponential numbers for each range individually and used an average.
But that didn't work either.

What am I missing?
Or how do I have to think?

Joined: 06/07/2016
As I look at your issue, the

As I look at your issue, the first thing that flags for me is the exponential progression of things. I assume every player isn't "mathing" it all out, and that rather the exponential nature of things is reflected in the dice roll.

Furthermore, it appears your problem is not with the math, but with the relationship between visibility and weaponry, and this problem is most plainly visible in the new set of advanced weapons you've created. Is this summary correct?

Without more info I'm going to take a guess at some other game mechanics. This is a wargame, correct? The weapons must roll to hit their enemy, and I wager visibility factors into that a's a restriction on the shot, as a dice roll that is required before a shot can be fired. Likely you must roll equal to or under the visibility rating of each subsequent tile you wish to shoot past. And the weight of the weapon factors into this somehow?

As u mull the problem over, it seems to me that unless the new advanced weapons have some quality of special rule or ability they should function alost exactly the same.

Has it been play tested? If not you may be getting caught up in the math without cause. If it has been tested can you describe what didn't work about it? Maybe I misunderstood the initial problem.

X3M's picture
Joined: 10/28/2013
Your summary is correct. And

Your summary is correct.
And yes, it is a war game. Along the lines of C&C meets Starcraft.
Every weapon is indeed treated the same way in rules. In fact, I do not use special rules limited to one weapon.

Players can compile their own army as if it is MtG in that regard. Every unit is limited in numbers.


It has been play tested with some simple choices at first. Limited to one choice at first to see a global game play.
It gives the game more of a "HaHaa!!" feeling at some points.
Which is something we liked a lot.

While at first, the choices where limited to one unit design. But as time progressed, having multiple designs in one army showed that these weapons are actually overkill.
Something that we haven't seen since the last removal of imbalance of the basic game.

Clearly I failed somewhere in "calculating" the "balance".

I tried to nerve it too, with a bit help of weigh factors. But then the designs amass showed amass weakness. After tweaking some calculations, the range showed overkill and weakness along the same line. Or vice versa. But that only results in using 50% of the designs. And thus only the overkill designs are used by players.

The new weapons used amass should be equal in all ranges, compared to a basic army.


If I go even further back into the basics of my game.

All factors in the game serve a double purpose. They are strong and weak at the same time. This also counts for ranged weapons.

Short ranged weapons are to be used up close. Units need to move closer.
Medium ranged weapons have a small advantage compared to short ranged weapons.
Long ranged weapons have the same small advantage compared to medium ranged weapons. But they have the most disadvantage by terrain effects. And are limited in where they stand.

The short ranged weapons beat the long ranged weapons, through weigh factors. Only when using fairly normal maps. I got a natural RPS system here.

And perhaps this system is cracked when using the "new" weapons. After all, the higher the range, while ignoring terrain. The more damaging the unit is until a short range unit is close enough to return fire.

Joined: 06/07/2016
OK, I think I see where the

OK, I think I see where the breakdown is. You've got a mechanic, visibility, which I assume indicates line of sight and could be influenced by things like terrain (buildings, mountains etc) or weather effects (fog etc). But there are weapons that ignore these rules like an earthquake gun or an indirect fire missile.

So the next question is, what's the balance mechanic? Most war games have some sort of point buy system to balance things. Alternatively games like MtG have a cost per card to play (mana). If you are looking for balance, then maybe simplify is the answer.

Here is what I mean- keep visibility, but it now applies as a geometric modifier rather than exponential. So for each tile separating add 1 to the visibility penalty, which is rolled 1 time per shot. So if I wanted to shoot at someone who was 3 tiles away I would have to rI'll under a 4 to make the shot.

Then apply an activation cost to a gun. Give each player a number of energy points eacheck turn. Something like a machine gun (low damage, mid range, susceptible to visibility) has a low energy cost to fire. Something like an earthquake cannon (let's say it's low damahe, mid range, but ignores visibility) has a higher energy cost to fire.

I don't know if any if that helps. The big downside is that there isn't a lot that is original about that mechanic.

X3M's picture
Joined: 10/28/2013
At least you try to help

A linear point reduction system on visibility. Strangely enough, I have that for when units shoot upwards.
However, it would make the problem either easier or harder in case of visibility. Time will tell.

I think I get what you mean. When using a linear system. I can simply use a simple bonus to this system. Where units ignore the terrain one time only. Thus where -1, -1, -1 would give a roll of <4. The weapon that ignores terrain would get <5.
Not only that, but it would reduce dice rolls too.

I like the simplicity. I like the fact that visibility expands just a little bit. And will consider this option.


Of course, I could reduce range itself with the factors. Meaning that a double wall of rocks, reduces range with 6 every tile. A range of 15, would now have range of 3 after passing 2 tiles.
No dice at all needed.
The basic system would completely change as well.

I have to get to terms with it, that the old system might to perish, I guess.


Today I also had the idea of having the basic factor applied. Yet allowing this factor being applied only once. Meaning that an unit that ignores all terrain effects. Will be able to do this only once.

1 tile of rocks? Let's ignore them.
2 tile's of rocks? Tough luck!

Although the sub marine can only shoot through water. I can't say, this unit does this only once. Thus it still possesses a problem.

Joined: 06/07/2016
I have often found in my own

I have often found in my own game design that simplicity yields the best result. Players tend to grasp it quicker, and the game moves a little smoother. Hopefully the simple approach works for you! As you say, time will tell.

Good luck with it, and let me know how it works out for you.

X3M's picture
Joined: 10/28/2013
Will do

I worked out the first option. Since it looked simple.

I created an explanation of the mechanic.
I created some tables.
And had some comparisons with the old version.
Of course, how the different ranges are compared to each other.

The whole package was emailed to my friends.
Most already shot down the mechanic. But are willing to play 1 round with these rules, this Saturday.

One of them mentioned. That it would make the problem worse. Where the "infinite"-"logarithmic" decline would be stronger, compared to the linear decline.
And he asked how familiar I was with the Sum of things.

I don't know for sure what he meant with that. But he will explain it this saturday.

The week after, the other option is in turn.

Joined: 06/07/2016
That's a lot of big math

That's a lot of big math words. Never being one for math, I'd have just dropped the ideas into the game and play tested solo, since "logarithmic" is to me just 11 letters that may have been accidentally typed by a monkey and just happen to be pronouncable.

X3M's picture
Joined: 10/28/2013
Play test results

I got an explanation of why my balance method didn't work in the first place. Where all possible weapons reach a limit number. The one who doesn't is the weapon that ignores all terrain. It's limit is infinity.

This explains a lot to me. However, it also shows that I need to rework on it.


The play test result was awful.
We all suffered tunnel syndrome in the game. There was less freedom and even less strategy.
A simple game of fast units only. This shows how good the Basic game was to begin with.

It also shows how much limitations the "weaker" weapons will have. And how much stronger THE BEST weapon will be. This all, simply by accuracy.

The only plus side was that the game wasn't illogical.

So this mechanic still has potential.


My second mechanic try out. Regarding a simple subtraction on Range. Showed some better results in the play test this morning. Also, having no dice rolls was a great help. But the utopia was short lived.
Some >very< illogical events where found.

In fact, I started building Howitzers in the front lines of my base. Just right behind mountains. Normally they have a range of 9 and 0% damage behind mountains. With the new mechanic they have 3 range and 100% damage behind mountains. Anyone taking the passage would say "this mechanic is even worse".

So, that one hit the bin even harder.


Lessons learned. Solutions none.

Someone made the remark of:
Long range is OP in an open map. And the maps are designed to work against this in a yes/no principle.
What if you work out a formula, pretending there is no terrain at all? I guess, that is for next week.

After all this, we played a normal game without advanced weapons and without advanced propulsion systems. Trying to get our heads out of the pondering. But agreeing that the basic game is at least balanced the way it is.

Joined: 06/07/2016
OK, I re-read the OP, and I

OK, I re-read the OP, and I think I need more information.

So the basic game works. Can you describe exactly how weapons work with an example? (Eg- tank a fires gun 3 hexes and thus is how it's resolved...).

I think I need to grasp the basic game before I can dive into the mechanics of advanced weapons that don't work. Is there a basic rule book I could look at?

X3M's picture
Joined: 10/28/2013
mcobb83 wrote:OK, I re-read

mcobb83 wrote:
OK, I re-read the OP, and I think I need more information.

So the basic game works. Can you describe exactly how weapons work with an example? (Eg- tank a fires gun 3 hexes and thus is how it's resolved...).

I think I need to grasp the basic game before I can dive into the mechanics of advanced weapons that don't work. Is there a basic rule book I could look at?

The rule book is a mess right now due to maintenance. But...

It is rather "easy" to say how combat itself works.
Tank A (let's have 9 of them) fire their guns 3 hexes away.
That means there are 2 hexes in between.

If notching blocks. They do full damage to whatever they target. In this case, 9.

If the 2 hexes have something to block projectiles. Than a maximum of 2 rolls are used to determine the accuracy. 1 roll for each hexagon.

If the first hexagon is for example, a small forest.
It has a roll of 4/6th.
And if the second hexagon is a dense forest, it has a roll of 2/6th.

If we are to pretend that there are 9 tanks here firing. Than 9 dice are used for the first roll.
First we roll 4 or less to continue the hits.
Any 5 or 6 is removed.
Let's say, 6 dice remain now.
They are rolled again for the 2nd hexagon. This time having to roll 2 or less. Any 3, 4, 5 and 6 are removed.
About 2 dice remain.

Only 2 times the damage is removed from the enemy.
To get an idea of how much it is, any unit has 3 health. And an attempt like this is only made when the remaining dice could be 3 or more. This due to the fact that we want to snipe out units.


But that is not what OP meant. The OP part is in; if you are able to move closer or not, to the enemy with long range weapons.
In an open map, the debris of terrain is 0. This means that a long ranged unit can fire multiple times during a round before the enemy is closer. And it is shown in math and during game play, that the short ranged units are dead before they are close enough.

Those 9 tanks?
If we are to have player A with 9 tanks that are with default range.
And player B has "6" tanks (slightly more expensive) with long range.

Than player B could be shooting 3 times on A before A is close enough.
Without debris, this is 3 x 6. Or 6 tanks of A dead.
Then we end up with A having 3 and B having 6 tanks, before the real battle starts.

Now, if the debris as described in the first example is used. Than B still can shoot 3 times. However, 2/9th remains of all projectiles. We now have 3 x 2/9 x 6 = 4 projectiles.
In other words. A has 7 to 8 tanks remaining compared to the 6 of B.


This forces players to plan their formations.
In open fields, you use the required units with long range.
In "closed" fields, you better use fast units with short range.
If an open field stretches 3 hexagons wide, you use range 3. If an open field stretches 7 hexagons wide, you use range 7.

I hope this has given more insight to the game. And how player use the numbers.

Joined: 06/07/2016
Ok, so when using the

Ok, so when using the advanced weapons, having a gun that a) ignores the debris and terrain effects or b)has very long range throws the balance of the game off.

Are guns like this common? The first solution would be to limit the number of weapons with those effects so that only a small fraction of each team could have one. That way you haven't got a bunch of weapons with range 7 or more sitting in one place blasting the crap out of much shorter range tanks.

Another alternative to balance is to add a new effect to the game -- a card or something that allows an air strike or a missile strike that would allow a player a chance to even the odds by getting their own attack that would ignore range or terrain.

Other than that, I'm not really sure how to resolve the issue...I will let you know if I come up with any other ideas.

X3M's picture
Joined: 10/28/2013
Please allow me to correct

Please allow me to correct your first paragraph.
If a weapon ignores debris AND has long range. Then it is imbalanced.

Just having long range is a good choice in open parts of the map, but not in the closed part. There we use short ranged weapons. This is balanced.

But once we use an advanced weapon ignoring debris. The closes part is also "open". This seems to be unbalanced.
I don't know if you have played Starcraft or another RTS, but imagine zerglings (fast running melee units) running towards marines (ranged units). The marines probably survive this in the open field. But when the zerglings have cover by tree's. They get closer to the marines unharmed. And then they win.

Now, if marines would have advanced weapons. They would ignore the tree's effects. And wack the zerglings any way.
Other reasons when short range is better than long range are:
- Different types of armor. A mixed army can protect the most useful units. (Some Event Cards counter this again)
- The short ranged units can move again, during the firing of the long range units. This, gives according to the rules a penalty to the long ranged accuracy as well.
- The order of firing when both players shoot at each other are starting at the lowest range. This means that if possible, range 0 goes first, then 1, then 2 etc. This allows for trying to get as close as possible.

Luckily, the first 2 effects remain. Even if the advanced weapons are used. But aren't enough for balance when we do use advanced weapons.

Joined: 06/07/2016
Ah! So the issue is that the

Ah! So the issue is that the Advanced Weapons (ie- Rail Gun) are either too overpowered. Having long range and the ability to ignore terrain, which is the sole mitigating factor of range, gives something like the rail gun unfettered supremacy on the battle field. You've got multiple turns to shoot at an opponent where they are unable to shoot back.

I see a few solutions-
1) stick with basic guns. Unfortunately not a good answer as it limits your game.
2) grant certain units faster move speed, so that they are able to get into effective range twice as fast, thereby giving the big advanced guns fewer turns to shoot at them.
3) Limit the number of advanced weapons each side can field.
4) Give units a 1-use only force field that is effective against all weapons. Make the force field use have to be declared when the shot is fired, and give it a miss chance. For example- player A announces he's firing the Rail Gun at Player B. Before any effects are resolved, Player B announces he's using his force field (which can't be used any more that game now). The force field can either stop the attack, or confer a x/7 (where x is whatever number you want) cover.
5) instead of being able to avoid all cover and terrain, what about a 50% cover reduction? If a hex has a 2/7 cover, drop it to a 4/7.

Really, with the issues you have described, I think the problem is not in the gun. Every war game has some sort of a massive powerful gun. Nor is the problem in visibility. If you are looking for balance, it is one of the other game factors that needs to be altered to achieve balance.

X3M's picture
Joined: 10/28/2013
Exactly. I think you

Exactly. I think you understand the core of the problem now.
Finding that one balance trick that will solve for all the different advanced weapons, is what I seek.

I am thankful that you take your time to understand the problem. And provide possible solutions. You are a great help.


Is the most valid answer right now. But that would be giving up. I know there is a solution to the problem. I still have to find it though. I just have to keep on trying. A war game without balanced air units is just not a war game to me.

Meanwhile, I am working things out on paper. "What if there where no terrain effects at all?". What would be the balance then for the basic game? Then I could see, "what would happen if the terrain is introduced after that".
The difference between the 2 games is the balance I seek for giving to the advanced weapons and advanced propulsion systems.

Kinda inverting the problem. But hoping it sheds some light on the issue.


Glad you mention this.
The current game has this: The faster units are there, to have a better deal with the 'normal' long ranged units. Still using the advantages of terrain though. Instead of having 3 rounds of fire, they only face 1 round of fire. And then they are still strong enough to defeat the enemy.
A natural RPS here: Melee+Slow > Melee+Fast > Ranged+Slow > Melee+Slow

The advanced propulsion systems where supposed to deal with the terrain as well. And as if they are the chosen ones to deal with advanced weaponry. However, due to the fact that they can't use terrain as coverage when facing the advanced weapons. These are not cost efficient compared to the basic units for the same job. All that advanced propulsion achieves is hiding in the mountains for the basic units.


Limitations are an option. Kinda along the lines of, having these weapons count double. Thus only 1 set is allowed. But the problem is only halved this way.


The way how you described it is a bit much of a hassle. But is the same idea as me talking about the cover behind a different armor in the previous post. It makes use of RPS system in the game. [[If you like me to explain how this RPS system helps protecting units, I am happy to explain]]
However, against OP weapons, this effect is less. And kinda as point 3 points out. The problem is only halved.

You have given me an idea here.
I could give all the advanced propulsion systems an extra agility factor against advanced weapons only. This means that 2 players need to have a twin relationship in their armies. One has the movement and the other one the weapon.
Needs to be worked out. But it made it to the try-out list.

Sorry, but this one doesn't work. I would still seek balance. But then with different numbers. However, if I miscalculate. The imbalance is once again 50% :)
If I where to take all possible solutions. The problem would be reduced a lot (0.5^3). Perhaps that is a way to deal with this.

And by expanding my possible solutions list. There might be a golden combination in there too.


If you are wondering what happened to Ranged+Fast. Let's just say that these buddies are very situation specific. And when taken of guard, bite the dust almost instantly.
Of course the advanced propulsions + advanced weapon on these, means a godlike unit at the moment.

Joined: 06/07/2016
The one other solution I can

The one other solution I can think of kind of ties into #3. That is that most of the wargames I know (my experience is mostly Warhammer type games) operate on a points system, where the run of the mill guy runs (for example) at 15 "points", then the same guy with a big gun might run 45 "points". Mounted on a medium vehicle, that same weapon platform might now be 120 "points", and then when found on a super heavy, super durable vehicle it might go up to a total of 260 "points".

If there is a cost attached to the gun, higher cost means more balance. If I want a tank with an advanced gun, I might expect to have a much higher cost than the same tank with a standard gun, which would result in my being outnumbered, sometimes by a large margin.

This is inherently balanced. If you have one guy who has a 7 range rail gun, and he can put out 1 shot per turn (at this point I have no idea about damage dealing ability), and we assume then that Mr. Rail puts 1 point of damage on 1 target each turn, then we also know that vs say 4 tanks with 3 hit points each, it would take Mr. Rail 12 turns to kill them all. If these 4 tanks can begin firing normal guns at range 3, and they begin at range 7, then we know that they begin to open fire with 3 shots...

Mathematically you could follow this down the rabbit hole if you wanted, but you begin to see that scarcity can be used to create balance in a situation where balance can not be found in the weapons themselves.

Joined: 03/02/2014
mcobb83 wrote:So the issue is

mcobb83 wrote:
So the issue is that the Advanced Weapons (ie- Rail Gun) are either too overpowered. Having long range and the ability to ignore terrain, which is the sole mitigating factor of range, gives something like the rail gun unfettered supremacy on the battle field. You've got multiple turns to shoot at an opponent where they are unable to shoot back.

Sorry, I haven't read the whole thread, pretty much just this and OP's confirmation.

I think you're answering the wrong problem if you have one weapon type that is over-powered, so you're trying to think of mitigating defensive options. It leaves the game with no decision tension if one weapon is clearly better than the others, and the game just becomes a race to who can start production on the killer weapon, first.

As an aside, why would a railgun ignore terrain? It still can't shoot through a hill. A grenade, on the other hand, can be lobbed over a hill, but has less range than the railgun on flat terrain. This provides some interesting decision tension: Do I get grenade launchers and try to manipulate the opponent so that most battles are on rough terrain, or do I get railguns and try for flat terrain with good line-of-sight?

Some random thoughts:
Railgun can actually change the terrain to be more favorable, because you're essentially mowing down the trees with it.

"Digging in" can change the terrain to be less favorable for the opponent, because trenches act as benefit only to the people in them.

Lasers could be even more extreme than railguns. They have very long range, but are even more hampered by terrain (and can't affect it).

X3M's picture
Joined: 10/28/2013
Zag24 wrote: I think you're

Zag24 wrote:

I think you're answering the wrong problem if you have one weapon type that is over-powered, so you're trying to think of mitigating defensive options. It leaves the game with no decision tension if one weapon is clearly better than the others, and the game just becomes a race to who can start production on the killer weapon, first.

That is, what happens. Yes.
The thing is. We have ourselves a set of weapons.
And we can have the exact same weapons that get this X-ray effect, partly or complete. Those with the X-ray effect, even though more expensive. Are either OP. Or the balance has tumbled where a certain Range to Range is OP and the rest is UP.

Zag24 wrote:

As an aside, why would a railgun ignore terrain?

Aka, the super gun. Just a word. The real railgun is weaker than some other weapons. But it was a symbolic name. We still have the shockwave gun. And as you put it, the lobbed projectiles. They sure kick everything. They ignore terrain types and higher altitude of terrain.

And the description of how players want to play is a good one. Sure you start building one type of weapon to lure enemies towards the other terrain. While you save up some reserves. Then suddenly, you shift to the other weapon, amass. And attack ASAP.

Zag24 wrote:

Some random thoughts:

Each random thought that you mentioned. I like them. But, bin there, done that...
I do/did have plans for them. And I am glad that someone else is on the same line of thoughts regarding the possibilities.
Imagine any RTS. And there is something I got from that RTS and tried putting it into my game.

The mowing down terrain is a special mention, that plan is in the fridge for a year or so. That idea was cool. But didn't fit the progress of the game back then. But yeah, Warcraft 2 had it. :) Why not my game? The thing was, that terrain itself was still being developed.

How it would look today?
Water to dry up.
Rocks/mountains to be demolished.
Tree's/Bushes to be burned.
Snow/Ice to be melted.
Desert and Grass to be asphalted.

With all of that, the basic long ranged would become OP. And the advanced weapons would become obsolete :D

X3M's picture
Joined: 10/28/2013
How did I miss this?

Well, after long debating with myself and some friends. I stumbled on some obvious things. They where all right under my nose.

Terrain types and altitude effects. Are 2 different factors in the game. They work entirely different.

Terrain types:
Seems that I missed the hint that I had given myself with propulsion systems.
There we have the factor based on position AND movement.
While I was trying to balance on Range only. I had to include the melee. Which counts for 3 Range itself.

For our math lovers:
I did something along the lines of
1.4*R +3
But it had to be
1.4* (R+3)

The Yes/No method sure helped a lot in this.


Lobbing over higher terrain is a different factor. And somehow it will be around 2. But I still need to test things out for this one. I guess it will be a yes/no situation for sure as well.

But now I need to invert the costs calculations.

I did something along the lines of
2* (R+3)
But it probably will be
2*R +3


I feel that I am on my way again. It is only unfortunate that this was a triple hiatus. That is 2 months of not doing anything with it in hope that an idea might pop up.

X3M's picture
Joined: 10/28/2013
Some weeks ago, but some

Some weeks ago, but some weeks after this last post. One of my play testers. Simply said. 1/3th accuracy for each terrain type.
While the factor would be 0,6. This 1/3th accuracy for each terrain type. Would mean that at a range of 2, the number of hits would be reduced to 1/9th already. A normal unit with accuracy of 1/3th, would not have this expanded over range. And the cost factor would be 1/3th, not 0,6.

This was a very Obvious hit in my face. And I am happy that it happened. The rules, no matter how I apply them. Are abusable (if that is a word).

Time to change it completely.

From now on, just like the movements. The worst effect will be applied. This means that the factor will be applied just once.

The only down part to it is that a big forrest will reduce the accuracy to 1/3th. Never less.

I have achieved better balance.
I also can return to the simple factors of 0,2 to 1,4. They simply make more sense now.

Joined: 06/07/2016
Good to hear you solved your

Good to hear you solved your problem!

Now, on to the next one, right? I find thats what happens in play testing.

X3M's picture
Joined: 10/28/2013
After 4 play tests

Thanks. But I am not there yet.

I have reduced the number of rolls by an average of 3. That's... about 1-2 minutes less time per player per aggressive action.

A simpler plan can be conducted from watching the board.
I don't know yet: It will be either more, or, less analysis paralysis.


The basic game has changed too.
It is easier to shoot through snow and forest fields with basic weapons. From any percentage to 67% and 33%, is a lot. However, the rolls matter again. Because, rolling 1/3th for 36 dice. 5 times in a row. [Facepalm]

This will change some scenario's that I have written. So, I got a long play test schedule ahead. To make sure everything works sufficiently. Overkill needs to be reduced.

The manual is still a mess. But I will only change it when I am absolutely sure the first quarter "Through terrain types" is tested to a green light.

I planned the check list from hard to easy:
Through terrain types. <--- I am still here
Lobbing over terrain.
Homing projectiles.
Faster to hit projectiles.

X3M's picture
Joined: 10/28/2013
Next step?

So far, the influence of terrain types: Looks good.

So, meanwhile, I can start with some fresh brainstorming on the lobbing over terrain. The artillery units.

Lobbing over is the same as shooting upwards and then have the projectile come down again to land.

- Units that have to shoot upwards will have a range reduction of 1 for each height.
- And an accuracy roll of 5/6th for each height that it has to climb.
- The same is applied for the artillery units.
- The minimum range for artillery is currently 3. Lobbing over 1 height between the artillery and the target at range 2.

The accuracy is something uniform at this point. Normal and artillery weapons, both will reach everything. But to get a decent factor on artillery, this too will have influence on how much better an artillery will be compared to normal weapons.

I have seen my mistakes with the terrain types. So, I need to find a better way to apply artillery.
Perhaps scrapping the accuracy?
Or at least give it a noticeable, one time factor?
The range reduction is also a variable number, depending on the board. This too should be changed?

What do you think?
How would you apply artillery effects in a war game?

Joined: 08/21/2015
artillery spotting?

I'm coming in a bit late, but here's what I think on the artillery subject (for what its worth).

It makes sense to apply a range penalty (and possibly an accuracy penalty too) when shooting with a direct fire weapon at a target on higher ground, but I wouldn't treat indirect/artillery fire as if it were climbing then dropping. I would suggest including some sort of artillery spotting mechanic. If there is a direct line of sight between the artillery and the target, it
could be handled as for direct fire, only considering the net difference in height between the two. If there is no direct line of sight, the player with the artillery could designate a second friendly unit that is closer or has a "better view" to spot for the artillery, and accuracy would be calculated as if firing from the spotter. If no unit has a "good" line of sight (I can't advise what threshold value to use at present), then either artillery could be highly inaccurate, or simply unable to attack that target, depending on which works better.

You could try to enhance realism by making the spotter unit lose some abilities while it is acting as spotter (an obvious possibility being that it shouldn't move in the same turn - sort of like the ghost and nuke in Starcraft). Also, you could make the first salvo very inaccurate, the second one less so, and the third and later salvos as accurate as if from the spotter, if you wanted some additional realism.

I hope that helps


X3M's picture
Joined: 10/28/2013
As for now. I am trying to

As for now. I am trying to simplify things.
Having such a thing as spotter would over complicate things, no matter how cool it sounds. That is to say, in balancing the game, it would be over complicating.

It helps me balancing the game if I apply the balance factor directly to the damage that might occur. I can't do this with spotters, since there will be a ton load of variation for the artillery.

Sorry. Besides, shooting through any type of terrain doesn't require a spotter either. So having a spotter at this point doesn't make sense at all, unless I change the entire game.

You did give me an idea. But I need to test it. It can be found in the new "rules" section.


I made the mistake with my terrain types.
That the accuracy was stacked exponentially.
Even linear didn't work! Nor did any other mechanic where the effects where stacked.
So I turned it into a worst factor, is the only factor.

Knowing what direction I could go. I think the list of rules could be as following now.

Currently new rules:

A - Units that have to shoot upwards will have a range reduction of 1 for each height.

B - And an accuracy roll of (6-height)/6th. So any unit will be unable to fire that high. Unless the units from that spot will be shooting too. Than it is 50% chance that the inaccuracy doesn't work.

- A and B are applied for the artillery units as well.

- Lobbing over ability would be x2. Since the number of terrains that can be targeted is twice as big now. However, one other factors is to be dealt with if we want to keep this good looking factor 2. And that is where you come in Andrew.

- You made a point with the net worth of terrain height difference between artillery and target. I think, this is the "better" inaccuracy for the artillery, instead of whatever it is lobbing over. Only rule A remains original,... and realistic. This also makes artillery closer to their X-ray cousins, if not, the same thing now.

- Reducing the inaccuracy by height can become a different ability for normal and artillery units. This one goes on the might-do list. And I suspect, it will be an easy and fun one to do :)

Not a rule, but a fact for the game:
- The minimum range for artillery is currently 3. Lobbing over 1 height between the artillery and the target at range 2. Targets that are at height +1 or less, are all possible. But the +1 height will have an accuracy of 5/6th.

I am constantly thinking about this picture:
I hope that I am using the right one as guide.

This weekend, I am 30 version 1.3
So play test will be the week after. :)

X3M's picture
Joined: 10/28/2013
One part reached "completeness" another is once again...trouble

The last playtest with terrain types only; has been concluded...for now....

But I am struggling with the artillery rules.

The range reduction is what troubles me. If I don't use range reduction. Than the above rules work well.
Also the factor 2 is perfect.

The range reduction is a stackable effect upon the accuracy reduction. With a maximum of -6 for the accuracy, reaching 0 at a point. Range reduction will not go beyond this 6 either, obviously.


I need idea's on how to deal with the range reduction.

Range reduction by the height of the highest mountain in between?
Range reduction by the net difference between attacker and target? Just like the in-accuracy?

By logic, I think, the first one applies reality.

But then, by logic. Would it not mean that the in-accuracy on artillery should be determined by the height of that mountain as well?

Joined: 06/07/2016
The real life range of an

The real life range of an artillery piece is measured in miles; having intervening terrain (even mountains) reduce that isn't really accurate. In reality, it is probably more likely to hit the mountain. What if it had an accuracy reduction equal to height of intervening terrain, coupled with a miss effect so that when you fire artillery, even if it misses the intended target there I'd a chance it hits something on an adjacent hex?

X3M's picture
Joined: 10/28/2013
Perhaps the word Artillery is not correct.

I often have that problem, that I am using a word that doesn't really fit the description.

Balistics would be a better description. Since these projectiles are to lob over mountains. Right?


What if it had an accuracy reduction equal to height of intervening terrain

This is already the case. I was talking about the range reduction. That one is causing some trouble.

I am using this picture as a reference:
Imagine a mountain between the attacker and target.
As you can see, the higher the mountain, the shorter the distance that the artillery can reach. With the same power output.

-I think, that I have to use the range reduction by the mountain itself. This is the most logical thing to do.
-The accuracy will be linked to the net difference in height. If the enemy is placed higher.

With these parameters. I need to create a table. To see how the factors will influence the game.

The problem can be expanded with the following.

1. By logic; Lobbing projectiles ignore terrain types in between.
2. By logic; Lobbing projectiles have to climb at least 1 height for this.
3. By other rules; Lobbing projectiles have 50% influence from a targetted terrain if the enemy decides to hide. After all, the projectile goes into this terrain. And this terrain has influence on the "vision".


I need a lot more simplifying.
Perhaps adding height terrain to the table of 7 terrain types? But then, this balistic property is going to be a heavy factor.....increasing by terrain height.

Hmmm.... to bad, that I can't work on it right now.

X3M's picture
Joined: 10/28/2013
Crunch, crunch, crunch!

The simplifying of ballistics and integrating them into the terrain types has helped me a lot.

Not only that, but the range can be higher than the minimum range. The ballistic ability is only for how much higher the artillery can lob over. But these exceptions will be rare.

From last post:

Point 1
Is now a choice. If the bonus is not chosen, the weapon will be of a very weird design. Malfunctioning target finder ballistic? Anyhow, a very rare weapon if not chosen. Thus I expect the ballistic weapons to start out as "all" ignoring.

Point 2
Discarded on advice of a friend. Also fixed by the renewed login in point 1.

Point 3
This, is only the case if the bonus of point 1 is not chosen. Just considering it as a rain of fire.

The list of most used factors looks as following:
1,0 Normal weapons
0,2 Water only weapons
0,8 Sub terrain weapons
1,2 Sub terrain weapons that crush through debris
1,4 The super weapons
1,6 The first ballistic weapon with minimum range of 3.
1,2 The first ballistic weapon with minimum range of 3, that has this malfunctioning target finder.
1,8 The second ballistic weapon with minimum range of 4.

Testing needed.


When the target is placed higher. No matter what the weapon. The accuracy is lower. This is now an entire new section on itself.
Self-propulsion weapons will be able to reach higher without much distress. Higher in the form of better accuracy. This can for all I know, only be a new separate factor. (V2/V3-Launchers)

Calculations + testing needed.

Who still reads these? :)

Joined: 05/11/2010
I have skimmed the thread and

I have skimmed the thread and see that you have solved some of the problems the overpowered weapons were causing. But I don't see any kind of in-game limitation of weapons being proposed, only out of game (making it cost more or limiting to only having one in the army).

Artillery has 2 problems: it takes time to aim, and it might not hit where you want it to. What about making artillery have a chance to land on a square adjacent to where it was aimed? A good counter to artillery is to not clump when approaching, or to get close because then they might hit their own units!

Another possible downside to high level attack units is cooldown. In RTS games (which you seem to be inspired by) a very often used balancing technique is to make better things take longer. Your high level units may need to wait 1 turn after acting to give the opponent more time to try and get through. This gives tension as the player facing those tough weapons has time to anticipate the devastation they may wreak in the future.

In other words, you don't need to capture all of your balance in your core mechanics - don't be afraid to add a few extra mechanics (without going overboard) in order to make a richer game experience that also helps with balance.

X3M's picture
Joined: 10/28/2013
I like the way, how you are thinking.

saluk wrote:
I have skimmed the thread and see that you have solved some of the problems the overpowered weapons were causing. But I don't see any kind of in-game limitation of weapons being proposed, only out of game (making it cost more or limiting to only having one in the army).

It's true that a part is solved right now. I had no time this week to do the rest though.

As for limiting to one in the army. That idea was only a temporary solution to test things out in play tests. But of course I want my players to have an whole army of the "now not so" "overpowered" weapons. I still need to test some more though.

The main problem was, in the effects by the terrain types. That seems to be solved at the moment. Thus all the possibilities that I gathered are being skimmed through one by one.

The problems named in this thread. Where the ones left to solve. Other solutions are actually other parts to the game. You have named a lot that I already have planned or worked out.

Except for 2.
- The inaccuracy and thus hitting another region. That one will not do. It is far to complicated to balance. And I rather not even touch it.
- Time to aim, has been covered in several ways. The only plan that hasn't been worked out yet in this department is the "negative" cool down.
I have 3 other mechanics that cause "time to aim":
-- Deployment
-- Action Point consuming super weapon (with penalty)
-- Negative Homing Missile effect

You are right on the spot of this game being a close resemblance to RTS. It's simultaneously turn based though.

Thank you for responding.

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