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StarCraft II the Board Game

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Joined: 08/07/2013

Starcraft II the Board Game

A map that has a layout reminiscent of Lost Temple. The map is divided into square hexes. Modular board with terrain features such as rivers, forests and cliffs.

Economy Phase:
Each Faction begins with a hand of 6 Control Cards, or 8 Control Cards if you are Zerg or Protoss.

Worker tokens are placed at Mineral or Gas patches in order to Mine or Gather that particular Resource. High Yield Minerals count as twice their amount. Harvested Resources can only be processed by a Base within at least a distance of 3 hexes.

To build Buildings or expand into further Resource Nodes, a Worker has to be placed in the Active Employment Area, from the Worker Pool. You can build as many Buildings, Bases, Units, Workers and Upgrades as you want, as long as you have enough Workers working the required amount of Resources, with any Building or Base being purchased requiring the movement of an available Worker to the Active Employment Area, to show it being occupied with the task and unable to be diverted to another one. A Base must first be built at a Resource Node, before further Buildings can be added within that region, which includes Defensive Buildings like Spine Crawlers and Photon Cannons. Terrans though have the versatility of being able to build anywhere, allowing them to fortify a position before expanding. Defensive Buildings have their own Stat Cards, denoting the Damage they can inflict, and the Armour resistant to the Damage they can sustain before being destroyed.

You can use your Resource two ways, either to expend them to draw additional Control Cards, called in this way Research, and might also require you the purchase of certain Buildings first, or to purchase that particular Unit, Research, Upgrade, Building or Base, adding them onto your Faction Sheet Interface, to show what particular Units are purchasable by you, and as a record of the advancement of your Faction's technological state and level. The purchase of new Units gains for you the Stat Card for that particular Unit, delineating certain values and special rules for that Unit purchased: Damage, Armour, Range, Speed, Reflexes, Energy, and Cost, and Ground or/and Air Attack Capability.

An explanation of how the statistics listed in a Stat Card works this way: the Damage value refers to how much Damage it inflicts in a single attack, which is subtracted from the Armour of the target enemy Unit. Damage Counters to record the amount of Damage suffered and inflicted before the Unit is completely destroyed, is used by placing them on the Stat Card of the enemy Unit. Range refers to the number of hexes the target Unit must be within, for your Unit to be able to attack it. Speed refers to the number of hexes in distance your Unit may move, when mobilised over the map. Reflexes is a very important feature, that will be explained in greater clarity, later. Energy is only relevant to those Units with Special Abilities, reflecting the amount of Energy they have in the casting and usage of their abilities. Cost refers to the amount in Minerals and Gas those Units require, in order to be purchased. And the last statistic, Ground/Air Attack Capability refers to whether the Unit can attack ground only, or is able to attack air Units too.

Protoss Units have the Racial Trait, Plasma Shields, which is a statistic that only they have, separate from their Armour, these Shields having to be reduced and damaged first, before Armour health level can be subtracted. Plasma Shields may be regenerated, but Armour may not, unless you are Zerg, with their Regenerative Healing Racial Trait.

There is one final statistical attribute, being the Energy Cost of spells and abilities. A Terran Ghost for instance, may have an Energy capacity of 5, and the use of separate abilities like Cloak and Snipe requires different Energy Costs, for Cloak being 1, while with an upkeep of 1 for the duration of the Cloak, and Snipe might have an Energy Cost of 2.

Military Phase:
All actions taken during the Military Phase are decided by Control Cards, drawn from the Combat Control Deck. New Cards can be added into the Control Deck through researching technologies and upgrades during the Economy Phase, of which find their use by the initiation of any Military Conflicts through the encountering of enemy forces by opposing sides. In such a case, depending on who is the Attacker or Defender, they draw a corresponding amount of Control Cards, 3 for the Attacker and 1 for the Defender.

Combat Control Cards include Move, Attack, Focus Fire, Overwatch.

Move your units according to their Speeds. 1 Speed equals 1 hex.
Each unit can only move once, unless otherwise stated in its special rules.

Attack a single model within Range of your unit's weapon. Each unit can only attack once, unless otherwise stated in its special rules.

Attack is done this way: Damage of your unit, which is displayed in its Stat Card, subtracts from the Armour of the targeted enemy unit. The damage done is the difference, of which Damage Counters will have to be placed on the Card of the target unit, denoting its remaining vitality or lifespan. A single Stat Card represent the vital hit point values for all units of the same type, of which the Armour acts as the lifespan, with Damage being substracted from the Armour value, having it reduced to zero signifying the death of a single unit of that particular type.

Logistical Phase:

(These are my bare few general ideas, which will be added on in time to come, laid here now for your scrutiny and aid in improving and further refining the mechanics of the game. Hopefully we will get to sell it too.)

Joined: 01/30/2012
Should an RTS become a tabletop game?

It sounds like you have thought a bunch about how to capture in a boardgame most/all of the aspects of a computer game, which is commendable. However, with all of the detail, I feel like potential players (and buyers) may just want to play the actual computer game.

For example, unit cards that are covered in different stats may be appealing to some, but I think there is certain point where the average gamer just says "too much". For the Protoss units, you'd be looking at 9 different stats/icons per card, many of which would be tracked by physical tokens on or nearby the card.

There are some people, somewhere, who would love to play the game you described. However, I suspect that a lot more players would rather see a simpler version. Unfortunately, I don't have any good ideas for reducing the amount of stats you need, or how to track them more elegantly. I think one way to start making changes would be to ask "what makes one race feel/act differently than the others without simply being a change in numbers/stats?" Ultimately, I feel like being tied to the Starcraft universe could be a limitation.

Also, I think it almost goes without saying, but I believe you'd have to get some kind of agreement or permission from the folks who own/made Starcraft before you start cashing in on their brand.

questccg's picture
Joined: 04/16/2011
werhner wrote:...Also, I

werhner wrote:
...Also, I think it almost goes without saying, but I believe you'd have to get some kind of agreement or permission from the folks who own/made Starcraft before you start cashing in on their brand.

And Blizzard has already invested in a Collectible Card Game: Hearthstone. So I *strongly* doubt they will be interested in a simplified version of their RTS.

I know you probably really LIKE "Starcraft II"... But do like TBone has done, forget the branding and all the races and create your OWN game.

Best of luck with YOUR game!

Joined: 08/07/2013
Thanks for the swift response!

Thanks guys for responding and offering constructive criticism. I do imagine making an entirely new franchise with my ideas, but somehow, I feel it is more fitting for these mechanics to apply to a board game version of StarCraft II. I understand too, the troubles with having too many Statistics to follow and note, but I can't see any other way of implementing it. Also, some of the ideas here that I have, can be applied to another game design idea of mine, that is based on the Space Pirate War RPG custom map from the first and original StarCraft computer game. At the moment it is called Space Drama or Space Cowboys, probably the latter. Space Cowboys is a game about completing guild missions and earning credits to spend on military hardware, and finally beating and destroying the opposing Space Pirate faction.

Any input or ideas for my work will be greatly appreciated. At this point, I am more interested in making a StarCraft II Board Game with certain influences from the StarCraft the Board Game that is already out by Fantasy Flight Games. To me, it is the best board game I have ever played, at least until I implement my rule variants to it. In this sense, it is the best board game I have ever "designed", and it has become quite a fashion with me, that most of my creative works have been implements and editions to established works and franchises, like Warhammer 40,000. I can show you guys some of what I have done with StarCraft the Board Game, if you want, mainly to do with refining the Leadership Cards.

Also, if any of you are interested in working on an original work with me, add me on Facebook, my name in full being Calixtus Ashley Wee.

ElKobold's picture
Joined: 04/10/2015
My 5 cents.

So you are making a boardgame starcraft. Fair enough. But starcraft is not about stats or hp tracking. That you would need if you were to make Diablo.
Starcraft is about builds and micro. So this is what you should imitate. The rest you can safely discard if it harms gameplay.

Using damage markers is not a very good idea, unless you plan on having 3-4 units per player max. And even in that case, I`m not sure if it's worth it.

Here's an example of how it can be done without tracking of hp and such.

Use cardboard markers. On one side you have undamaged unit. On the other side you have unit that have taken damage.
For protos flip all units that have taken damage back to the undamaged side at the end of turn, to represent the shields replenishing. For zerg do the same, when they end their turn within certain radius of a friendly building.
Terrans flip 1 unit for each nearby worker.
If the already damaged unit is damaged again - remove it.

Now about builds i've mentioned. SC is heavily based on the stone-paper-scissors principle. Here's how that can be done:

Give units offensive and defensive properties, represented by an icon on their token (Don't use more than 2 on one unit!)

A marine (basic unit with properties 'weak' and 'quick fire') attacks a stalker (shielded) and removes it's shield. Now the other side of stalker card has armored property. So marine's second attack from his quick fire property can't damage the stalker at all. Because weak property = armored units ignore weak attacks.

A marauder, on the other hand (with property armor-piercing) attacks a stalker, which lost it's shield, and kills it.

Zergling would be 'squishy' (removed instead of being flipped, unless attacked by weak attack), but have 3 attacks.

Also, i would not use cards for the combat. Star-craft is not about randomness - it is more chess-like and competitive. The approach described above would work without cards.

Also, as mentioned above, consider renaming units and inventing your own races if you even consider publishing. This is not needed if you only going to play with friends, of course.
You don't have to make a boardgame starcraft, when you can make a 'Boardgame sci-fi 'RTS' with three distinct races' :)

Good luck!

Soulfinger's picture
Joined: 01/06/2015
Calixtus wrote:TAt this

Calixtus wrote:
TAt this point, I am more interested in making a StarCraft II Board Game with certain influences from the StarCraft the Board Game that is already out by Fantasy Flight Games. To me, it is the best board game I have ever played . . .

If you enjoy that game then you may be interested in FFG's upcoming Forbidden Stars. As I understand it, the game play is based on their StarCraft board game but set in GW's Warhammer 40K property.

Noimage's picture
Joined: 04/01/2015
Can't be that complicated...
Joined: 08/07/2013
Any inspiration of suggestions?

So you guys got anything of interest and relation to what I have come up with? We might get to sell this! They say work for your passion, I say earn with it. Any ideas will be welcomed. I know as it stands, the amount of statistics to keep track of is a bit overwhelming. I believe we can do without Energy, as a source of mana to draw from when using your abilities.

questccg's picture
Joined: 04/16/2011

Is this your FIRST board game that you are designing?

I wonder, because if you have played board games like Heroscape, Settlers Of Catan, Eminent Domain, Dominion, King of Tokyo, Bretrayal on the House on the Hill, just to name a few, you will notice that the games are much simpler than your average video game.

ElKobold makes a good point when he talks about "damage" and how to keep track of it. Sure a computer can keep track of over 200 units at a time, but like ElKobold said, keeping track of more than four (4) units via damage tokens is HARD and a very clumsy way...

And so you need more ORIGINAL mechanics to make the game more fluid. ElKobold proposes an interesting idea about damaged vs. undamaged units... Still creating a MOB of units will not be possible, it will be HARD to keep track of which units have moves and which ones have not...

So when you go about designing a game that is UNIT-INTENSIVE, you need to make a lot of compromises. Things like "you can only move 5 units per turn" is an example. Typically wargames also have this challenge - I would look to those to see how they handle having more than say 10 units.

It could be something simple like "flip" the tile (to the opposite side) to indicate that the unit has taken its actions. But then you cannot use
ElKobold idea of using the reverse to indicate damage. It may be possible to have damage tokens 1 to 5. If you reach the threshold of that unit (say the max damage is 4), when you are damaged a fourth (4th) time, that unit is destroyed. Damage tokens can be easy to produce.

Things like this - is what you should be thinking about - when even ATTEMPTING to design a game about a video game...

ElKobold's picture
Joined: 04/10/2015
Good points on activation, Questccg

Now, when I think about it, I would use area/hex map for the purpose of moving units.

I.e. I would use hexes for ranges and such, but for activation I would use the "activate only units in one area per turn" rule. That way one could have a lot of units, but actual activation would only trigger a part of them. That would also make winning through sheer numbers more difficult.

And yes, I agree with the advise you're giving to the TS -

The core of the game mechanic shouldn't copy the PC game. It must be much easier to handle and should have as little things to keep track of, like HP, energy etc as possible.

Don't copy the game mechanics of a PC game. Copy it's "feel".

Joined: 08/07/2013
I understand

I understand, and have actually been further inspired to some cool ideas. The controlling of your units depends on your hand of Control and Command Cards. Basically, they detail directives of which to control and act with your units, and which they are supposed to follow. Simple actions like Move, Attack, etc., have certain limitations as to how they apply, given one action can only be assigned to the control of one unit. My idea of using Stat Cards and the placing of Damage Counters on it to keep track of the accumulation of damage to units is actually based on Magic the Gathering's creature mechanism of having two prime values to show the strength of a creature, its Power and Defence. Mine, although having several stats more displayed on the Stat Card, is actually not as unmanageable as you guys have suggested. After all, it works with Magic. I will have about 6 of the same type of basic units, the ones that rely most on numbers, with 3 for the more powerful units. If that's how many units that need to be tracked, I don't think it will be too inconvenient or laborious.

ElKobold's picture
Joined: 04/10/2015
In Magic HP of units is only

In Magic HP of units is only relevant during one turn in most cases.
And almost always only changes during blocking. Where it would either live or die. So players don't have to track it really, since at the end of each turn the damage is removed and if one plans to finish-off the creature he would usually do it immediately, so no tracking is necessary either.

There are, in fact, no actual damage counters as such in MTG.

But all in all, it's your game. Do as you see fit :)

X3M's picture
Joined: 10/28/2013
A very common used mechanic

A very common used mechanic would be action points.

This way, every player is limited to a number of actions per round. But you also prevent the chaos that is brought by "tapping" every unit.

Further, with action points, you sort of copy the APM that is used to declare a part of a players skill level. And you can keep the players in a more simultaneous style of play.

I have for example, a limit of 6. With some upgrades it can become a bit higher. And certain actions cost 2 or 3 points. Bottom line, players rather use the points against each other defensively that offensively. But with the use of Event Cards, they use them rather offensively.

By using limits, you keep the game going.
When allowing each unit to do something in 1 round. You pause the game.

But it depends on the mechanics that you are using. So you still need to think about your own variant if you want to use this mechanic.

Joined: 08/07/2013
I call it Reflexes

I have that same idea in the game, but I call mine Reflexes. Works similarly along the lines of Action Points, with some other effects.

I have decided on only 4 statistics altogether: Damage, Armour, Range, Speed. This simplifies things to a bare required minimum. Anybody with ideas please contribute.

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