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Using the pay to succeed mechanism in war games.

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larienna
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NOTE: This has nothing to do with pay to win mobile games.

I recently acquired and stated to study the following game.

Greater east asia co prosperity sphere
https://www.boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/238026/greater-east-asia-co-pros...

Its very surprising how few pieces the game have and still have a lot of depth. Now one of the problem is that because there is not that many dice roll, the luck of the game is not counter balanced by a large amount of rolls. The second problem is because there is not a lot of units, I cannot use the law of average (sum the unit str and divide by 6, then roll the remeinder) again to counter balance bad luck. So this is why I thought of using the pay to succeed mechanism.

The pay to succeed mechanism is generally used in adventuring game. I first designed it in a dungeon quest variant. The rule is simple, if you fail a roll you can either B) accept failure and get 1 experience B) spend the difference in experience to succeed. So if your TN was 3 or less and you roll 5, you can gain 1 exp and fail or spend 2 exp and succeed.

I thought that this mechanism could be used in war games as well. The biggest thematical difference is the scale of the game. Originally, in adventure games, the EXP is focused on a single character so it could make more sense that EXP acquired pays off later. On the other hand, a war game can cover a whole theater. Making it less likely that exp from failure on a battle front actually help another battle front to win. It could lead to "lose un-important battles" to harvest exp and spend it on important battles.

This is why I am not sure if this mechanics is thematically appropriate for war games. Ideas to reduce the exp harvesting effect could be:

- limit the amount of exp that can be acculated.
- the amount of exp spend per roll to avoid auto successes by spending a large amount of exp.
- I could force spending exp before rolling, leading to wasted exp spendings if good rolls occurs.

What do you think?

Jay103
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Don't make it exp at all, in

Don't make it exp at all, in a war game. Make it military spending.

Maybe each player starts with $10m (or whatever units are appropriate), and gets $1m per turn. Then you can spend in $1m increments similar to what you have for exp. If you run out of cash, too bad.. should've saved some for an emergency.

(obviously you could also gain cash other ways, if that enhances your design)

let-off studios
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Resources, Logistics, Opinions

Never played this game (or many real-world wargames), so unfortunately my experience is rather limited.

I agree with Jay103, depending on how realistic a model you're trying to achieve. It does seem to me like allocating funding would be a way to sort this, but if I recall correctly, WWII was not known for its armies to collect "plunder" as they attacked.

Rather, their home bases produced capital or materials, and it was about distribution through the network. Interrupt the network, and the resources were delayed, diverted, or even stranded, unable to effectively assist.

Even if you applied your XP concept to generals/commanders, they were limited to their mobility. If you have a four-star general (or whatever) in the Pacific theater, there's no way that next turn that same general could assist forces in the continental European campaign.

Out of your three options, let me comment:

  • Option 1: I don't recommend limits. That seems arbitrary and/or fussy to me.
  • Option 2: Sandbag a dominant player, making it more expensive to apply a greater bonus.
  • Option 3: I totally support this. It's relatively realistic, and presents an interesting choice for the player. This seems doubly so in the game that you describe: when rolls are relatively rare and there's a lot riding on a single outcome.
Jay103
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let-off studios wrote: Even

let-off studios wrote:

Even if you applied your XP concept to generals/commanders, they were limited to their mobility. If you have a four-star general (or whatever) in the Pacific theater, there's no way that next turn that same general could assist forces in the continental European campaign.

Skype!

bottercot
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EXP to Commanders?

Obviously, knowing very little about your current wargame model, this may not be of much use, but what if you gave EXP to individual Commanders? Like, have a way to differentiate Commanders/Generals, and track EXP individually by Commander, so that if you want to use EXP you would have to transport the Commander to the battle you desire? Their experience in battle is specific to themselves, and they are only useful when they physically take part in the battle.
The hardest part, of course, would be keeping track of EXP for each Commander, but I'm picturing something almost like the tokens in Axis & Allies, kept under the figure on the board, and "compressed" using different colored tokens to represent more EXP.
This may not completely remove the "farming" problem, but it might make it more of a hassle, having to bring Commanders to "minor" battles to increase their EXP, then transport them back to the action to be of use. I'm not sure what the full dynamic could be, maybe this is what you want to happen, but it's just something to think about.
Also, are you thinking EXP is gained by winning a battle? I understand the idea that if, say, you were to gain 3 EXP by winning a battle, and you only need to spend 2 EXP to make it a success, of course the player would always pay to win. But what if you only gained EXP if you win a battle without spending EXP? Again, just a thought. Maybe that's already what you had planned.

bottercot
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Completely just realized

Completely just realized @let-off studios already mentioned commanders. I currently see no problem with the limited mobility of Commanders. Isn't that the point? What exactly is the problem with that? I think the entire advantage of using Commanders to track EXP is that they stop you from being able to "farm" EXP one place and use it in another. That seemed to be the main problem in question.
I, personally, don't see the problem, but maybe you could explain.

larienna
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Quote:Don't make it exp at

Quote:
Don't make it exp at all, in a war game. Make it military spending.

There is already a production mechanism. And it makes no sense that you gain money for failling in battle.

Quote:
depending on how realistic a model you're trying to achieve

It's a fictionnal WW2 setting. So basically, only the type of equipement and units from WW2 is used.

Quote:
Even if you applied your XP concept to generals/commanders, they were limited to their mobility. If you have a four-star general (or whatever) in the Pacific theater, there's no way that next turn that same general could assist forces in the continental European campaign.

You have just given me an idea.

Quote:
Obviously, knowing very little about your current wargame model, this may not be of much use, but what if you gave EXP to individual Commanders?

It seems somebody else had the same idea while I was typing.

I wanted to use the do 3 actions per turn mechanism. Now those 3 actions could actually be the 3 generals of a players. And each general could acquire it's own EXP track. So a general with a lot of experience could be sent in a battlefield you really want to win mean while less experienced generals might be placed on less important battlefields.

I am not sure of the "how mobile" are the commanders are. In WW2, you could easily take flight to another area of the battlefield without any issue. So maybe on your turn, you place your generals where ever you want.

Choosing your general for an operation will be a kind of "bid" of how much EXP you expect to need for the operation. Instead of experience I could call it karma since it raises and drop constantly.

larienna
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Quote:But what if you only

Quote:
But what if you only gained EXP if you win a battle without spending EXP?

Exp might not be the best word. Maybe I'll use karma because yes experience would also be acquired when you win. But that favorise the winner, not the lose.

The idea is to counter balance bad luck by offering a resource in compensation.

Jay103
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larienna wrote:Quote:Don't

larienna wrote:
Quote:
Don't make it exp at all, in a war game. Make it military spending.

There is already a production mechanism. And it makes no sense that you gain money for failling in battle.


Oh, well if you want that exact mechanism, where you get +1 for a loss, sure. I just assumed you wanted a pay-to-win mechanic in general, which is why I suggested +1 per turn as income/tax revenue/budget/whatever, not a failure reward.

bottercot
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larienna wrote: So maybe on

larienna wrote:
So maybe on your turn, you place your generals where ever you want.

This reminded me of the mechanics of Star Wars: Rebellion. At the beginning of each round, the two players alternate placing Leaders around the map, either to take part in missions or to lead armies. Perhaps you could be inspired by how they do it, but I'm not sure how much there is to take from there.
Experience makes a little more sense than Karma, I would say. Experience is gained by winning and losing battles. Karma isn't exactly a tangible, or even real, thing. To include it in a wargame might seem a little out of place compared to Experience.

Tim Edwards
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Depending on the theme: The

Depending on the theme:

The god(s) of war gives credit for victories on the battle field.

Cash in on your credit by asking for favours when you've rolled badly.

larienna
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Quote:Experience makes a

Quote:
Experience makes a little more sense than Karma, I would say

The only illogical thing about experience in this case is that the resource can be spent and lost. People would expect experience to remain permanently.

Quote:
This reminded me of the mechanics of Star Wars: Rebellion

I have rebellion. In this case, each leader has different stats which can be an option. Maybe more like specialties in naval, air and land forces. Giving rerolls or +1 with those type of units.

Quote:
The god(s) of war gives credit for victories on the battle field.

Cash in on your credit by asking for favours when you've rolled badly.

Well in that case it's the opposite: the God of wars have pitty on you when you loses and gives you a favor as compensation.

On BGG some people suggested limiting the spending to 1, because apparently war gamers does not really like to have automatic victory. So in that case, if you miss the roll by 1 point you can spend exp/karma. It could be an interesting mechanism.

let-off studios
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Before, Not After

larienna wrote:
On BGG some people suggested limiting the spending to 1, because apparently war gamers does not really like to have automatic victory. So in that case, if you miss the roll by 1 point you can spend exp/karma. It could be an interesting mechanism.
Personally I'd suggest you force the player to make the choice before the roll. To me, that seems more interesting. It makes the points more valuable, and victories at times much more hard-won and significant. If you can just "tack on" the +1 to push you over the edge, that seems like a no-brainer action, as opposed to a choice.

But to each their own. I'm not one to consider myself a "wargamer."

bottercot
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Brainstorming

I agree with @let-off studios.
Here are the problems with limiting XP spending to 1:
-Lack of advantage as you accumulate XP. The only advantage to more XP is a longer lasting advantage.
-It's the same amount you gain when you lose a battle. There is no way to decrease XP gain, as the minimum is 1. Perhaps this could be fixed by making you need to pay 2 XP for +1 to the die roll.
-All Commanders give basically the same advantage. If XP is tracked by commander, it wouldn't matter much which commander you put where, as long as they have at least 1 XP.
-Again, it doesn't have a huge effect on the outcome of the battle; it's basically paying to win ties. Even then, though, the defender could just pay as well, nullifying your advantage. In other words, it's too easy to nullify the effect of XP.

Now you pointed out something interesting with XP. It's true that it doesn't really work in the way that I and yourself have conceived. However, I had an idea.
What if Commanders have the ability to level up? I realize this makes it even more tedious to track individual Commanders, but this might fix the problem.
A Commander starts out with an XP cap. Once they acquire that much XP, they can gain no more. However, every time a Commander wins a battle, they level up, increasing their XP cap and allowing them to theoretically be more helpful in battles. This may lead to a form of "steamrolling", where a Commander wins battle after battle, leveling up over and over, but they still need to spend XP to provide any advantage in a battle, so likely after a battle or two, they will have no more XP left.
Another problem is that a player may try to accumulate Commanders in one space, so that when they win a battle, all of them level up at once. This could easily be solved by limiting it to 1 Commander per space, or something along those lines.

bottercot
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Oops!

Ignore this! I somehow posted the same message twice. I'm not sure if there's a way to edit messages, but either way, since I have nothing else relating to the topic to say, I'll just discuss something else.
Your comment about wargamers not liking automatic victories had me thinking about Risk, which then made me think that this would be a cool mechanic to add to Risk. The Commander thing might really improve the Risk experience, and take away the infamous RNG that makes the game slightly frustrating to play.
Perhaps, as I already own Risk: 2210 AD, with its 5 different commanders for each player, I'll create a modified version with these XP rules implemented.
Anyway, speculation aside, you may return to your regularly scheduled discussion.

larienna
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Quote:What if Commanders have

Quote:
What if Commanders have the ability to level up? I realize this makes it even more tedious to track individual Commanders, but this might fix the problem.

The problem is that it could create a snowballing effect, unless the exp is strictly acquired on losing. In that case, you lose battles but get better, let say rerolls, from your leveled up commander.

The problem I see is that it's less granular. If the commander is a token, I could flip it on level up. Which creates only a 2 state commander (regular or leveled). I could use additional tokens to create levels up from 0 to 3 with 2 tokens. Points now have less value individually.

Another idea suggested by BGG is that instead to pay to win, you could pay to avoid losing. The resource might be supplies or morale that the opponent must spend to cancel your hit. Sometimes the cost can be high or low depending on the roll.

It could still work: as the defender you either A) accept the success of your opponent and take a hit, or B) pay the difference to prevent the hit.

Again, thematically it does not makes much sense to gain morale for accepting a hit. Maybe it should be a kind of "retaliation" resource.

Else I would need another way to accumulate those resources.

It also means that the defender might be more advantaged, so Maybe I'll have to make it easier for the attacker to win. Like give the units better stats.

X3M
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Cards

Maybe not in the direction you are looking atm.
But what if players have cards they get 1 each round.
And they may spend 1 card on situations when something fails. Increasing your roll, decreasing their roll. Stuff like that.

bottercot
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MORE Brainstorming!

You're absolutely correct. It could lead to a snowball effect, yes. That is a big problem.
Morale instead of XP is an interesting idea, but hard to implement with the same rules as we've established.
Experience, alongside the Commander thing, is a fairly solid idea, but has many kinks.
I just had an idea.
What about Supplies as a resource? When you're defending, you might need ammunition, food, sandbags, etc.
The more you have of that, the longer you can survive an attack. What if armies could sacrifice "Supplies" as the resource that allows them to automatically win defenses?
The problem with this is that it still can't be tracked on a global scale, so you would still need to track it by the space. It could lead to interesting "supply line" mechanics, but I'm not sure how well this would fit into the preexisting ruleset.
Another idea: What if the attackers attack, roll their dice, and announce how many Supplies they are going to use to give themselves an advantage. This represents how much ammunition/fuel/food they decided to bring with them when they attacked. The defender can then decide, after rolling his dice, based on the total attack strength of the attacking force, whether he wants to accept the defeat, or spend Supplies to win the battle.
Some problems with this:
-It turns the game into a very statistical and analytical game, unless you instead use an "auction" system where the attacker and defender one up each other by upping the amount of Supplies they will sacrifice. More on this mechanic later; I just had a brain wave relating to it.
-Unless Supplies are somehow kept hidden to the enemy player, one side can roll their die, then make their decision based on how much Supply the enemy side has as to whether they want to try for a victory or just "throw" the battle. One possible fix for this is to make the attacker choose how much Supply they want to bring in the attack before they roll their dice.
-This may lead to many "cold war" situations. Perhaps a way to fix this would be "artillery bombards" that destroy enemy Supplies, or a cap on how many Supplies can be in one space. As another idea, it might fix this problem if the attacker, when they lose, does not lose all of their Supplies; the Supply lost by attacking is capped at 1, to encourage larger scale attacks.

Now, about the "auction" mechanic. This only works if neither side knows how much Supply the opponent has. This can be accomplished through upside down tokens with different amounts on them. This allows the opponent to have a vague idea of how well Supplied the enemy is (you could call this the opponent doing a flyover over enemy territory, seeing the warehouses, and making a vague guess without knowing how fully stocked the warehouses are).
A battle would start with a roll of dice. Then, starting with the side with the smaller number, players take turns upping the amount they're willing to spend, with the cap being their total Supply plus the number on their die. As soon as one player passes, the "auction" for victory ends, and the side that bade the higher number wins.
The last step is to subtract Supply from both sides. Each side loses Supply equal to the number they bade, minus their die roll.
As an example:
Player 1 (P1) attacks. They roll a '4'. The defender (P2) rolls a '5'.
P1 has 6 Supply. P2 has 4 Supply.
P1 starts the bid with "6!"
P2, having a good amount of Supply, can bid back with "7!"
P1 has plenty more Supply, and bids, "8!"
P2 is hesitant. With one Supply remaining, they have to hope that they can win the bid with "9!"
P1 becomes just as hesitant. If they use their last Supply, they will be defenseless against further attacks. But they push on anyway. "10!"
P2 has no more Supply, and bails. P1 has won!
Now for the cost. P1 bade 10 - 4 = 6 Supply. P2 bade 9 - 5 = 4 Supply. Both P1 and P2 lose all their Supply!
Now, a real battle may not result in complete loss of Supply on both ends. Depending on how expensive you make Supply, a typical battle might look different.
Consider all of these as suggestions, for your own benefit. I just threw all my thoughts down in the hopes that you might be able to use some.

larienna
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Quote:What about Supplies as

Quote:
What about Supplies as a resource? When you're defending, you might need ammunition, food, sandbags, etc.
The more you have of that, the longer you can survive an attack. What if armies could sacrifice "Supplies" as the resource that allows them to automatically win defenses?

I was more thinking toward this line. In that case "accepting defeat" could be explained as retreating and saving "supplies" to be used later.

Quote:
It could lead to interesting "supply line" mechanics, but I'm not sure how well this would fit into the preexisting ruleset.

Tracing supply lines to home base could be pretty possible. Not having supply line prevent you from spending supplies.

Quote:
Another idea: What if the attackers attack, roll their dice, and announce how many Supplies they are going to use to give themselves an advantage. [...] The defender can then decide, after rolling his dice, based on the total attack strength of the attacking force, whether he wants to accept the defeat, or spend Supplies to win the battle.

This could work when you compare both side's total. Here I want to roll vs the TN of a unit. So it's not a direct comparison.

according to this thread

https://www.bgdf.com/node/22356

I might be opting for having only 3 types of units: LAND, AIR, SEA. It seems that such supplies mechanism would thematically only work with land units. It could be one of the features of land units that Air and sea units don't have. But would prefer the same mechanism for all unit types.

john smith
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Quote:I might be opting for

Quote:
I might be opting for having only 3 types of units: LAND, AIR, SEA. It seems that such supplies mechanism would thematically only work with land units. It could be one of the features of land units that Air and sea units don't have. But would prefer the same mechanism for all unit types.

In traditional war games airbases often have to trace supply line like Ground units.

World War Two naval units often have logistics represented by range of ship. I.O.W how far it can go on a full tank of Fuel.

larienna
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It's not really the ranged

It's not really the ranged that I am preoccupied here but rather the idea that a player could push more supplies on a ship or plane to make it more efficient.

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