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Simultaneous move tabletop game

4 replies [Last post]
Joined: 09/21/2012

Hello everyone!

For quite some time I'm fascinated with simultaneous move games! This involves simultaneous action selection AND simultaneous resolving of the actions / moves.

I want to use this concept in a tabletop army setting (e.g. Warhammer / Lotr etc.). The idea behind this is that battles should be dynamic and that I do not like to just sit there and wait until my opponent did all his actions without the chance to react in "realtime".

Every game with simultaneous action selection I found very nice because you are always involved in the game and never have to wait for others (the same holds true for >2 player games).

For the case of a tabletop war game (what is the correct description here?) I find the following two points most challenging:

1) Many units -> many orders -> time consuming / slow
If you want to have the possibility to order your units and given that you have a decent amount of units, simply giving orders (no matter in which form) takes time. Compare Xwing for this...

2) Interaction of moves
This is maybe the most rewarding thing and where the action and excitment will (hopefully) happen. It is also the hardest part to design. What happens when unit's movements intersect. What when more than two units intersect. Should units have two kinds of orders - a movement order and additional a "mode" which determines what happens when they are attacked / close to others? Examples would be "charge" "skirmish".

I will leave it at this for now. I'm sure there are more challenges and I also have some further ideas. But before that I would be happy to hear what you think of the idea in general. Can this be fun? Will it be too complex?
I hope I can develop this idea further. Or at least give someone some ideas so that he can include this in his game. Or maybe there are games out there that actually do this?

Thank you all for your input!

Tbone's picture
Joined: 02/18/2013
I needs to be done correctly or its a bust...

The idea is always a fun and interesting one but you have to set restrictions and sometimes strict guidelines so players aren't at each others throats about who got to a certain position first.

I actually tried a hybrid in one of my games that turned out pretty well (the game is currently a backburner game but the mechanic still is intriguing).

You could split the game up into two modes or states...

1) Non confrontational, building up, macro, resource management, etc etc.

2) Combat, collision, player vs. player, micro, unit manipulation etc etc.

Number one would be done all at the same time. Where each turn everyone would go at once. Now before you bark at me, this isn't purely REAL TIME but there is virtually no down time in this section. If you wanted you could make this real time and have players go at their own pace without turns but this would cause for mis calculations and running throw the deck (if it were to be a card based game).

Number two would then be if someone were to want to move a unit and/or initiate an attack. Players would then stop and each take turns. In my set up players who didn't care for positioning units could still do macro but in a turn by turn system. This status would only go on until a player passed/macroed twice and the game would go back to a "real time" status making a hybrid system.

Now, this has had minimal play-testing but for the most part it was very solid. But I guess it depends on if you are using miniatures, cards, abstract components, etc.

Hope I brought some insight!

Radio Prime
Radio Prime's picture
Joined: 04/22/2014

You could borrow from Game of Thrones Board Game.

It has simultaneous player movement by having players place markers facedown on their units at the same time and then afterwards all players reveal their markers and resolve each markers dictated action in priority order e.g. movement , defend, etc. Main thing for this being alot of player actions are kept secret and resolved at the same time and markers move groups or singular units. Also areas that units move around in are vague lots of space instead of square units.

There is another game I cannot remember the name of that has players move 1 piece at a time and then passes to the next player but units can have reaction skills based on whether the player made a unit go into "overwatch" and then depending on its line of sight and range it can take a reaction.

Similar ideas can be found in the Xcom games and board game and I think Gears of War board game.

lewpuls's picture
Joined: 04/04/2009
Entirely simul?

Game of Thrones boardgame isn't entirely simultaneous. It's an attempt to provide the fully-simultaneous system of Diplomacy without requiring anyone to write anything down.

That's the rub, gamers nowadays don't want to write things down. RoboRally uses cards, but that's for just one piece.

If you're not familiar with both Diplomacy and RoboRally you may want to look into them.

Joined: 03/11/2015
How simple are you thinking?

If you're thinking of a tabletop game like warhammer or LoTR, I don't know how simple you can (or need) to make it. Generally the people who play those type of games (myself included) are looking for something complicated and realistic, and aren't too worried about reading the 600 page rule book.

I'm working on something similar, but on a smaller scale. In trying to keep it simple but simultaneous I've found that you need to keep the orders simple, but specific. I've done that by tightly restricting the number of orders you an give, and for speed of writing I've provided abbreviations for each order. The problem with Game of Thrones is the vagueness of the orders, because it requires players to make decisions even after the order is revealed. I think writing is going to be necessary.

Another aspect you could add to keep the game moving and give a real time feel would be time limits on the orders phase. Think "general trying to run around giving orders to a large army doesn't have enough time to reach them all". If the time limit were set that you couldn't really give all the orders you needed to in the set amount of time it would make players prioritize their units and objectives, which could add a potentially cool and chaotic dynamic.

As for your specific question about when units intersect, I think thematically they would pretty much always fight so you could call it a charge. I can't see enemy units colliding and being confused about what to do,

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