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(Poss theme change?) Sea Skirmish - A deduction card game

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JewellGames
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SEA SKIRMISH

Rules | PnP Cards | PnP Cardbacks

richdurham
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values and depth

Nice card-adaption of the classics.

Is it safe to assume that each ship of the same type has the same value?

Also, I know it's a nano/micro game, but it feels like it could some more long-game depth. At the moment, the guessing game is disrupted after a ship is sunk, or else a player might be able to sink one after the other. The downside of this is that the long-game is also disrupted and the only choice remains to start over with a Search. In other words, I think a player could use an important choice.

I admit this does look like the perfect place to have "ship abilities" that you can activate in exchange for voluntarily damaging one of your ships. Ship abilities that do what?

Maybe....

  • Ask the exact sum of two cards.
  • shuffle your hand
  • undamage another ship
  • search AND Destroy on one turn.
  • Next search response is how far away the guess was, not higher or lower.

Stuff like that?

ElKobold
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Usually I don't like

Usually I don't like mini-games, but this one sounds fun.
Perhaps playing world of warships is to blame :)

P.S.: have you considered not changing the value of the damaged ship? That way an opponent would gain additional information after a successful attack. I.e. "i know that one of your cards is a damaged "6". So I might want to seek it and finish it off instead of a more blind guessing.

It will also speed things up (not sure if it's needed though).

JewellGames
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Thanks guys!

Thanks guys!

I do like the idea of more choice and abilities if I can find an elegant way to balance them and fit them in. Would you just have them as additional actions or abilities on the unused cards etc?

Currently, the values are inversed, Battleships have 1/6,2/5,3/4,4/3,5/2,6/1 where the first number is the undamaged value and the second is the damaged value. I kind of snuck the rules link up at the top of the OP if you want to see the cards.

Yes, having the same value may work even better than inversing them. The relational values almost seem arbitrary if there are a few cards that overlap values anyway right?

Should I just change it to these values? Any better idea or distributions?

AC: 0/0,7/7
BS: 1/1,2/2,3/3,4/4,5/5,6/6
CR: 3/3,4/4,5/5,6/6
DR: 1/1,2/2

richdurham
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Variation and deduction

JewellGames wrote:

AC: 0/0,7/7
BS: 1/1,2/2,3/3,4/4,5/5,6/6
CR: 3/3,4/4,5/5,6/6
DR: 1/1,2/2

I don't think you need multiple values for each ship. The deduction is reset each time you lose a ship, and the shuffle with the 6421 DOES allow all the number combinations up to 10 when summed. Perhaps if the card distribution was weighted to allow more 1s so if a single 1 is eliminated from your hand, you don't end up with just even number sums?

JewellGames
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I'll definitely need to test

I'll definitely need to test value distribution.

If I wanted to add abilities what I could do is when a warship is sunk, you flip the card and it remains in your hand until you play the ability then it's finally discarded. So even though you just lost a warship you are granted a one time ability.

Aircraft Carrier
Shuffle your hand.

Battleship
Have your opponent tell you if your Miss needs to be higher or lower.

Cruiser
Take an extra Search action this turn.

Destroyer
Take an extra Destroy action this turn.

Step in right direction or a step in wrong direction? I'm trying to KISS. I wanted a microgame I could play entirely from my hand without requiring a playing surface.

ElKobold
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JewellGames wrote:I'll

JewellGames wrote:
I'll definitely need to test value distribution.

If I wanted to add abilities what I could do is when a warship is sunk, you flip the card and it remains in your hand until you play the ability then it's finally discarded.

That might not be the best solution, since you want players to be in control of when they use their abilities. Triggering them on destruction would depend on the opponent instead, so not much strategy there.

I believe the idea was to voulantary 'damage' your own ship. So what happens is you risk by making your ships easier to destroy, but gain some special action in return.

What's interesting here is that if the specials are tied to the number, activation of specific action would give your opponent additional information. Like, "hey, he has this '5' in his hand since he just used an ability associated with that number, so maybe I need to try and finish it off now".

So it brings more deduction in the game. Which I believe is a good thing.

JewellGames
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Whoops

I totally missed Rich's suggestion of ability activation by damaging your own ship! Very nice. True that using a specific ship type or value could reveal more information to your opponent which helps with the deduction. I do like having abilities tied to that.

Another idea is a universal "cost" of rotating ANY card in your hand to obtain further intelligence on either a Search or Destroy action.

On a Search (when your guess is wrong), if you rotate any card in hand, the opponent must tell you the exact sum instead of just higher or lower.

On a Destroy (when you Miss), if you rotate any card in hand, the opponent must also tell you whether the card's value is higher or lower your guess.

Not sure whether those are strong enough to justify taking damage.

ElKobold
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I think abilities tied to the

I think abilities tied to the ship's class would be more fun and thematic.

JewellGames
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Ok, how about this...TAKING

Ok, how about this...

TAKING A TURN

On your turn, you can complete one of two actions; Search or Destroy.

Additionally, you may activate one warship capability per turn. Point to one of your own cards to activate that warship's capability.

....

By doing this, you reveal to your opponent what type of warship a card is (based on its capability) but it doesn't reveal its specific value. The distribution of warships could be changed to 5/4/3/2 with the most common warship having the weakest capability and the least common having the strongest capability.

ElKobold
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I think it would do even

That will probably also make more sense thematically.

But I think it would do even without pointing.
But damaged warships CAN'T be activated.

So if i`m saying i`m doing Battleship action, you know that i have at least one "5" in my hand.

If you manage to damage it and I`m still using it - that means I had at least two of them.

JewellGames
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Next Step

Thanks.

Ok, so the next step is a) determining 4 different balanced warship actions and b) determining the distribution of warships and their associated values.

ElKobold
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I would go with something

I would go with something very simple.

Ex:

Battleship: Broadside: If you hit an undamaged ship it is discarded.
Carrier: Recon: May guess twice when attempting to search.
Cruiser: Firepower: May guess twice when attempting to destroy.
Destroyer: Smoke screen: Discard any ship card and draw a replacement.

killerkilroy
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Fun idea

Sounds like a lot of fun, and you've already gotten a ton of great ideas. I'm worried about end/late game play. If one player only has two cards left and one or more of them is damaged (meaning their opponent already knows their type), it devolves into a 50/50 guess of which card in hand is which. With one card it's either a guaranteed win if you have more cards, or a race to guess the right card.

I'm trying to figure out if it would be possible to put two values on each card, remaining the same for full health and damaged sides. Maybe one on each edge of the card and you sum the neighboring values.

For example: Card A has a value of 1/6, card B has a value of 2/7 and Card C has a value of 3/4. The value of an A+B search would use the 6 from A and the 2 from B, totaling 10, but a sum of B+C would use the 7 from B and the 3 from C.

Another idea related to the above: perhaps each class of ships could have values that sum to the same number, and each class sums to a different number. (e.g., destroyers' values all sum to 9, but each card uses different addends).

Maybe that adds too much complexity to an otherwise simple game. Plus it adds the problem of how to Destroy an enemy ship. Do you call out both numbers? High/Low? Pick a side? Just spit-balling.

JewellGames
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A solution to the value

A solution to the value distribution issue is to have a slightly larger footprint of 20 cards and reduce the value variance by one.

1/2,1/3,1/4,1/5
2/1,2/3,2/4,2/5
3/1,3/2,3/4,3/5
4/1,4/2,4/3,4/5
5/1,5/2,5/3,5/4

I probably would change the rule so a hand is NOT shuffled after taking a hit.

One issue with 20 cards is that it leaves 10 unseen cards, but I am not sure whether using a turn to interact with those cards is worthwhile.

What are your thoughts?

killerkilroy
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I'm assuming you're referring

I'm assuming you're referring to mathematical distribution and not the physical placement of the values. I don't think (though I could be entirely wrong) that there's a requirement for this mechanic that values be evenly distributed or on a curve of some kind. All they are for is obfuscating the identity of the card being played.

The problem with NOT shuffling your hand after a hit is that your opponent now knows exactly which card is in which position in your hand. Depending on how/if you resolve the "Destroy" action in relation to a different layout, this could present the same problem my original idea was trying to combat.

JewellGames
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Well there is two ways to

Well there is two ways to look at it with the current game rules. If the values have the current distribution then if I hit a 6, it'll rotate to a 1 or 3 so its almost a gimme for the opponent on their next turn. That is why I had the opponent shuffle their hand afterward. The only downside it it resets any other deductions that have been made up to that point.

If the cards had 4 possible values after being hit it wouldn't be so obvious. So if you hit a 1/X hit, it would be rotated to a 2/3/4 or 5 which isnt quite so obvious.

Another option is completing drop the undamaged/damaged mechanic and instead its one hit and done.

For example:

16 cards - 1/8,2/7,3/6.4/5,5/4,6/3,2/7,8/1 x2

Each player gets 6 cards and 4 are unseen.

Actions would be Search (same), Destroy (same except when ship is hit its discarded so no more rotation), and Change Formation - Rotate a card in your hand.

ElKobold
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JewellGames wrote: Another

JewellGames wrote:

Another option is completing drop the undamaged/damaged mechanic and instead its one hit and done.

Not that! It's the coolest part!

JewellGames
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I am just not sure how to

I am just not sure how to keep the deductions you have made without letting the "damaged" side be a freebie because its obvious what the damaged value is.

So I can keep the damaged/undamaged but then shuffling must stay and deductions somewhat reset.

ElKobold
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JewellGames wrote:I am just

JewellGames wrote:
I am just not sure how to keep the deductions you have made without letting the "damaged" side be a freebie because its obvious what the damaged value is.

So I can keep the damaged/undamaged but then shuffling must stay and deductions somewhat reset.

Well, you can have "Shuffle your hand". An ability of a Destroyer. And make it most common ship type.

Then you will have to choose between having better chances at searching/destroying, or shuffling your deck, to mess-up with the opponent's calculations.

JewellGames
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Viable?

Is there a viable way to produce laminated cards or have a built in dial that allows for variable numbers? If so, here is an idea...

Each player gets 4 cards - Aircraft Carrier, Battleship, Cruiser, and Destroyer.

The Aircraft Carrier can have any values between 1 and 7.
The Battleship between 1 and 6.
The Cruiser between 1 and 5.
The Destroyer between 1 and 4.

During setup, players mark their cards with an undamaged and damaged value so the combinations are different every game.

I could have a Battleship with 4/4 or 5/2 or 1/3 etc.

The actions would be:
Search (same as now)
Attack (same as Destroy now)
???

Then once per game a player can perform an ASW (anti-submarine warfare) action and shuffle their hand which basically resets an enemy's deductions.

One interesting thing with this system is if I sink your AC for example, I now know that none of the values in your hand can be a 7 anymore.

evansmind244
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JewellGames

Just a thought would be to make the cards Octagons or perhaps Pentagons so each card could have up to 8 numbers. You could also make the back of the cards broken down into up to 8 colors or symbols which would give the opponent an idea of what position each card is in: Search or Attack. Using an Octagon the Search numbers would be 8,4,2,6 and the Attack numbers would be 3,7,1,5. If the opponent see's that a card in the search position he know's its one of 4 even numbers, and if its in the attack position he know's it one of 4 odd numbers.

JewellGames
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Update

I have updated the rules in the OP. Some of the changes include:

Added new method of determining the start player.
Shuffling your hand is now a conditional action only available after taking a hit.
Clarified that guesses are based on the upper half values only.
Increased the card count from 14 to 20:

1/2,1/3,1/4,1/5 - Patrol Boat
2/1,2/3,2/4,2/5 - Destroyer
3/1,3/2,3/4,3/5 - Cruiser
4/1,4/2,4/3,4/5 - Battleship
5/1,5/2,5/3,5/4 - Aircraft Carrier

The images have been updated.

I am still looking for an elegant way to possibly implement one time use abilities. Damaging your own ship to activate an ability may too harsh of a cost. I could use the remaining cards in some way as long as its obvious that they aren't part of your fleet.

JewellGames
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Update

I have updated the rulesheet and added it and the PnP cards to the OP above.

HPS74
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I'm liking the look of this

I'm liking the look of this Gregg :)

kos
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Single use abilities

JewellGames wrote:
I am still looking for an elegant way to possibly implement one time use abilities. Damaging your own ship to activate an ability may too harsh of a cost. I could use the remaining cards in some way as long as its obvious that they aren't part of your fleet.

One option:
- Get rid of the "damaged" rule; one hit kills.
- Each ship has a single use ability.
- When you use it, rotate the card in your hand.

Another option:
- The spare cards are dealt face up in the middle.
- To activate an ability from your hand, you must flip a matching card in the middle face down.
- If there are no matching cards in the middle then you can't use that ability.

Regards,
kos

JewellGames
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Solution

I have come up with a solution. Every card has a submarine command displayed in the center of the card.

During setup, players are each dealt 8 warship cards. They will keep 5 in hand as their fleet, and then lay the other 3 face down in front of them.

The submarine commands on the 5 cards in your fleet are ignored but the commands on the 3 cards you laid down ("in the water") can be used alongside actions during your turn.

Some examples:
Play this prior to an Attack. If your Attack hits an undamaged warhsip, it instantly sinks it!
Play this after a successful Search. You can Attack both of the warships you found.

Tedthebug
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Defensive capability?

Perhaps some instant abilities could be defensive? E.g. If you have a carrier you can play early detection to avoid an attack because the spotter plane saw the submarine. Things like this may need single use only though

JewellGames
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Update

Long Overdue Update:

Rules | PnP Cards | PnP Cardbacks

  • I changed the name from Seeker to Sea Skirmish.
  • I stripped the game of any special abilities or powers for the base set.
  • I increased the total number of cards from 20 to 30 - 5 combinations of each of the 6 ships.
  • I got rid of the ASW action AKA rearranging your hand.

Here is what the cards currently look like:

let-off studios
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Other Themes Possible

Considering you've removed the special abilities from the cards, are you open to other themes? The game and artwork look fantastic, but the ruleset doesn't seem too locked-in to the naval battle theme at the moment.

If you were going to consider different themes for this little gem - particularly for younger audiences - what could you imagine as a good fit?

JewellGames
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-

I haven’t really considered any other theme that fit the mechanics so I’m always open to ideas.

Edit: With my "go to" theme always being dungeons, here is a quick mockup of a dungeon themed version of the game. This version of the game only has 22 cards.

Click the image to see it in full-size.


Edit2: Another Quick Demonstration

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