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Time Travel meets martial arts

7 replies [Last post]
Joined: 11/05/2015

Hey All,

I've had this idea percolating for about a year now. The premise is: a cooperative, or quasi-cooperative, game where players take the role of monks who view war as an art and seek great honor in battle- not only are players able to fight like the Jackie Chan they always wanted to be, but they posses the ability to go back in time and alter outcomes in a fight. Didn't punch that one Orc quite as hard as you wanted? rewind. Wanted the roundhouse kick to land a little higher? rewind.

I imagine players gaining hands of different actions (punch,kick,duck,block,etc) and playing against enemy/monster cards. These actions can chain into combos, and/or certain moves must be preceded by others (to uppercut one must have first ducked)

I've thought of fighting taking one of two routes: 1, enemies have preset "moves" of their own, that a player must consider as they choose they're own actions, or 2, enemies do a set amount of damage, and the longer it takes to defeat them the more damage a player takes (probably will stick with the second initially since it is simpler).

Enemies will come it "sets," so there will be a boss with a certain number of minions. A game will be playing through 1 set, with each set being a different enemy with different conditions (similar to Catacombs, but with card actions instead of flicking actions).

The time travel aspect will be similar to prince of persia: sands of time. It will be a "rewind" mechanic that requires "energy" or some resource to manage- the farther back you go the more energy is required and consumed.

Every turn (or two turns, three turns, etc.) a new wave of enemies comes. The tension comes in balancing not being overwhelmed, while trying to achieve "style points" (terminology pending), handling a growing backlog of "past" while trying to effectively handle "present"

I also am going to introduce a variable role mechanic with powers that can do things like change a whole set of actions from the most recent turn, or reach farther into the past and change only 1 action, or a amplify action(s) in the past, or add benefits to the present (better attack, defense), gain "energy." etc. i also want to add a role called the "storyteller" who can add modifiers to actions in the past (giving more "style points" but not any damage/strength/defense/or action changes)

The main road block I'm stuck on is how to create a "timeline" that is easily visible and changeable. It doesn't seem quite as easy as just laying cards out as they are played, because there needs to be a way do differentiate between an active enemy and a "dead" enemy- and potentially ways to record a "jump" back in time. And there needs to be a way to differentiate between player actions- and since this is a cooperative game, everyone having their own separate timeline seems clunky- plus if one player wants to help another player fight an enemy- there needs to be a way to differentiate between player actions.

Any thoughts? Does it seem like an interesting idea? should I scrap it? change it?

Mechanic ideas for the timeline?

Midnight_Carnival's picture
Joined: 06/17/2015
I don't think you should scrap it.

But you have a whole world with characters and a good story line going, there is a lot of potential, I think you should make a movie of it instead. As for the time travel mechanic. You claim that it costs a resource but you haven't told us how you acquire this resource.

I can't suggest anything regarding your timeline right now, sorry, haven't had my morning coffee yet, but regarding whether it is an interesting idea or not: you know it is. As ideas and the premise for games go, that's quite good, but it comes down to implementation.

That's why I suggest writing a story, drawing a cartoon or comic, making a movie if you can. I don't doubt that the game will work, but I know that designing games can be frustrating(!) and I want to hear more about your time-travelling monks.

Joined: 11/05/2015
Acquiring energy

Thanks for encouraging the idea. I wish I could do a movie! Or at least pay more capable hands to do so. I could see a story coming out of this.

As far as the energy component- I made a passing comment about it- right now it is gained through the variable roles- so every role will give a certain amount of "energy." Like a fighter role might give just 1 "energy", a time-traveler role might give 2, a unique role might give 3 but no other special ability. This would be a resource you can stockpile.

As a side note, the roles thematically are "schools" in the monks order. Kind of like praying mantis/crane/tiger/dragon styles in kung fu. But specializing in certain types of time-travel fighting.

Joined: 02/07/2016
Cards as Timeline

I think your timeline could be as easy as laying out the cards of a battle in the order they were played. The monster/enemy cards won't change from the way they were played once "time" backs up , but the player pulls back their cards and plays them out again in the order they want. It would be like they jumped back and can now anticipate what is going to happen. The results of each round are recalculated based on the player's new cards or new card order.

Each player's cards would be their own timeline. One player can jump back three cards to rearrange what they played. If it's not enough to defeat the monster then another character can jump back two cards and help out. After every jump the results of that round are recalculated.

The energy spent could represent how many cards you can back up. The more energy you expend the farther back in time you can go. You can burn a whole bunch of energy and go back to the beginning of a fight.

Evil ColSanders
Evil ColSanders's picture
Joined: 12/08/2010
What little I know of the

What little I know of the mechanics, I like. I'm not sure on the whole time travel as a theme. Forgive me if I'm overstepping, but, would you consider that you are actually filming a movie? If you can't beat the monster, you have to "reshoot" (rewind) the scene which now takes up time/money (energy). Style points would be revenue. (Better moves equal more revenue when the movie wraps up).

You'd have to now win against the monster, not run out of "time/money" to shoot the film, and have the film earn a certain amount of revenue. Then have different scenarios which have different difficulties of prerequisites to complete the movie. Just a thought.

FreedomPortal's picture
Joined: 08/24/2014
Use marker of some kind like

Use marker of some kind like a 'record' that you can readjust the game pieces following it. So at one point in time, players just need to record these markers that can be stored elsewhere. I would try the mechanic out by just making text note first.

Joined: 01/27/2017
Rewinding or Replaying?

I think you'll end up with something very much like FreedomPortal suggested, but there is a decision to make which should guide the physical components.

When a player jumps back in time, are they rewinding time (Prince or Persia, 95ers, etc.) or are they jumping back to an earlier period and playing over again (Doctor Who, Star Trek, etc.). The difference is whether going back undoes any wounds received by that character.

With what I'm calling rewinding, once a player jumps back, say, to a point four markers earlier, those four markers are removed and the player picks up whatever cards she played, and play proceeds from there. The only counters needed outside the timeline are some chits for Energy.

With what I'm calling jumping back, it's similar, but (1) the player might have to simply discard any cards that get picked up and (2) there also needs to be some distinct player card that shows what wounds, fatigue, etc. the character has accumulated. This would also show the available Energy.

Hopefully what I'm saying is making sense. If not, I'll jump back in time and try to make it clearer.

Joined: 03/26/2015
Might the wheel already exist...


In regards to the "timeline" mechanic in your game, have you ever played the recent rendition of Fantasy Flight Games's Android: Netrunner? Their setup for creating firewalls (ICE) on servers might work well as a timeline mechanic to consider for your game.

In Netrunner it works like this: the Corporate player 'installs' ICE in front of a server, a card they want to protect. The installed ICE card is played face down so that their opponent can not see the defense conditions of the card in place; however, when the opposing player, the Runner, runs against that server, they encounter the ICE defending the server, one at a time, and attempt to break through each layer to get at the installed card. Once an ICE card is encountered it is turned face up and REMAINS face up until the Corporate player removes it from the server to install alternate ICE cards.

Taking that idea to your game, what if your waves of monster cards played in a similar fashion? The game (or game master) lays out a wave of monster cards, face down. When a player chooses to fight they encounter this wave of monster cards, one at a time, hoping to break through the wave to get at a bonus card at the end. Once a monster card is encountered then it remains face up for all of the other players to see, and its defense attributes continue to stay in place so that every time a player wishes to 'run' against the wave they must fight each card, every time, to get at the bonus card at the end of the wave--a bonus that could either be a one-time grab card, or a continuous bonus for any player who chooses to spend their turn to run against that wave and attain that card. Likewise, you could have multiple 'waves' set up for players to choose to run against--easy, medium, hard, etc.--with different levels of monsters in each or a different number of monsters per wave.

Thought I'd share this mechanic as a suggestion for your timeline idea. If you've never played Netrunner it's a solid game (been around since the 90s, actually, but the new edition is superior to the original 90s version, imo), and the server mechanic for the Corporate player is a solid part of its many elements.

Best of luck to you!

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