Skirmish Game Design - An Ongoing, Open Discussion - 8/12 Solo Gaming & Narrative Campaigns

Punktaku

Un-Dis-Honored, Non-washer of Minis
Honored Tribesman
Apr 4, 2017
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Is this about the size you were thinking about, @Mad Robot ? It’s from an air purifier…. Maybe it still is one? That dark speck is a mini.
8478DA8D-B965-4A05-93CF-F01225C7BAB6.jpeg
 

cronevald

Gang Hero
Jun 5, 2016
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I have been commenting about this a lot in the last months but the 40K crowd much rather want to lurk at ground level with their minis. Maybe fear of heights is a thing in wargaming? :)
This goes back to the original '90s game. For me one of the most amazing things about Necromunda was how well it introduced 3d multi-level play to what had previously been largely 2d gameplay with 3d tools. I think it's part of the reason the game has always stuck with me.
 

Biggle_Bear

Gang Hero
Nov 1, 2017
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Back to the topic of game design, though. What does everyone think of the idea of a system that scales to the relative proximity?

It's a convoluted concept, but bare with me.

Do you know how in Necromunda pistols have great hit bonuses for short range, to represent their ability to turn quickly? What if the terrain was very compact, such as tight space hulk like corridors. The only chance to shoot is in overwatch where there are minuses so to improve your chances you choose a pistol. Making a more thematic movie battle.

Technically the rules are already in n95, but the usual terrain kind of excludes such things occurring. But is the concept of short range and long range shooting interesting to people?
 

Biggle_Bear

Gang Hero
Nov 1, 2017
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As a frequent player of Pen and Paper RPGs, I’m more used to S M L range bands.
Although that is also in ORB. Heavies are able to shoot from turn 1. M is the basic weapon ranges. Short is pistol and charging ranges.

I never gave it much conscious thought but I really like that dynamic and how it interacts with maneuvers and terrain. It has me thinking of how one could code that into games.
 

Mad Robot

Maddest of Them All
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Mar 11, 2015
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www.madrobotminiatures.com
My question for you all today is about gaming aids. This is anything from tokens and counters, to cards, to a game-related app for your phone.

I know their use is dependent on the goals of the game designer but how do you view them as players?

Are these things a distraction? Do they help to draw you in? Are there any specific examples of games that use them well...or not?
 

Punktaku

Un-Dis-Honored, Non-washer of Minis
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I appreciate the idea of tokens, but I never seem to use them. Except maybe the overwatch one from ORB…I tend to just make notes in the margins of my roster or on a scratchpad.

I’m not a fan at all of card decks for miniatures games. The Special Events deck for ORB/Outlanders wasn’t horrible but there weren’t a lot of them, and they were 100% optional.

Warsenal makes some cool tokens for Infinity, but I just like their look. I have no use for them.
 
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Wasteland

Gang Champion
Apr 7, 2018
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My question for you all today is about gaming aids. This is anything from tokens and counters, to cards, to a game-related app for your phone.

I know their use is dependent on the goals of the game designer but how do you view them as players?

Are these things a distraction? Do they help to draw you in? Are there any specific examples of games that use them well...or not?
One of my fondest video games right now is Age of Wonders: Planetfall. It tracks around 30 (maybe even more) buffs & debuffs expressed in status effects visualized with icons. Tabletop gamers don´t have icons but tokens at their disposal and I love them. Granted you can´t track thirty effects in a tabletop game but a few should be possible such as the classic being on fire or knocked down.

Other tabletop games like Rumbleslam go even further and offer around five to six different tokens. This is crucial as just having a 50/50 status of either being injured or staying healthy is B-O-R-I-N-G. There should be more things to consider what could happen to a mini.
 
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Ardavion

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Nov 22, 2011
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Regarding gaming aids:

Unless you can only take a status once, having a radial dial that clicks up and down, like the wound trackers you can get or the bases of HeroClix minis (which I also like for allowing damage to be represented in terms of altered performance, for models that inflict more damage the lower their health etc), is much better than having an increasing pile of tokens around a model, or on the "character" sheet potentially blocking important text for the model, or written on said sheets that leads to erasing and rewriting, eventually ruining the sheet of paper.

I'm cool for having tokens, which help indicate different effects, just not so many as to clutter the board or be in the way.

One approach might also be to have holes around a model's base, into which coloured pins denoting how much of a status is present could be inserted; it would be a different "gimmick" and would make for a tidier game board. You could even have a certain never of holes per fighter type, which allows them

An app certainly helps; playing Gloomhaven with the app, for example, is much easier than having all the monster decks (which control the enemy logic for the turn, per enemy type) out on the table.

For reference, I've played Gloomhaven scenarios with at least six different types of enemy all doing different things every turn, with different initiatives. If you make a game with lots of moving parts and logic to how it works as a base level, an app is a godsend. It also tracks experience and money picked up (I think? We usually just used the coin tokens for that, since they're placed in the hexes on the board anyway) in addition to statuses.

The app just needs to cover all the possibilities, though, which in some cases can't be done in step with the actual physical game (see Necromunda, with it's constantly evolving rules and discrepancies between books). You also need to make sure that you're coding the app to work on as many devices as possible, and be secure, and get it deployed to the various app stores, and price it to either make some money back on the investment or get people to use it over the more manual stuff in the box. Often, little card/wooden/plastic tokens are a simpler approach depending on the need.

I think the trick with gaming aids is the amount of information or game logic they convey, against the amount of space they take up. An app can hold ostensibly an infinite amount of information, for the space of a phone/tablet/laptop on a table. Tokens, generally small, convey a single piece of information for the space they take up but are transient on the tabletop - they're not always there and can be put away in a box. Cards can hold more information than tokens and can offer more in the way of random game logic, but the more specific logic per model the more card decks, and the more space they take up.
 
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Ardavion

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Nov 22, 2011
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Good one. That's what I am using for my rules. Seems like a tried and true way to go but I always thought a value system was an interesting idea.

Every model has a base value, say 3. From there each activation could present different circumstances that would either increase or reduce that value and that is what you have to work with that turn.

I never thought more about it because it seemed to cumbersome for what I wanted to achieve.
I kind of missed commenting on actions/action points:

I always had a thought of action points being tied in with weapons and equipment; weapons and equipment could have an encumbrance value that reduces the action points allowance for a model, with lower down models having fewer action points than more expensive/experienced models.

A knife is 0 encumbrance and doesn't reduce action points, but a sword or pistol would have 1 encumbrance and reduce action points by 1, a basic weapon would be encumbrance 2, and a heavy weapon would be encumbrance 3.

Actions could take a variable number of actions points based on their complexity, so moving one "movement allowance" and basic attacks could take 1 point each, and aimed shots and other "skills" could take 2or more.

Skills and other training could reduce encumbrance for certain weapons by 1 or reduce costs for skills by 1, i.e. "flurry of blows allows for an additional basic attack action whenever this model spends at least one action point for a basic melee attack; this attack is performed with the weapon used in the first attack, does not cost an action point, and only one such additional attack can be made per model per turn."

This would mean that models might need maybe 3/4 action points as a starting value, but could earn more via experience or lose them via injury. It would provide incentive to not kit models out with lots of weapons or overly powerful weapons, since someone with a metal pipe (or trained in martial arts) could run up into melee and repeatedly swing at your tooled up to the nines shooty dude who can barely move or react.
 
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Punktaku

Un-Dis-Honored, Non-washer of Minis
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It’s a weird thing, accessories. Like, I really dislike the idea of cards in a mini game. But i have no problems with cards in a card game. For example, “Here to Slay” has card effects for buffs and debuffs that you just slide under the character cards. No problem. But if I had character cards (kinda like the new Necromunda) and had specific cards I could put under or around them to represent effects, it would drive me nuts because it’s a mini game!

I do understand that that’s not exactly a reasonable stance….
 
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Ardavion

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It’s a weird thing, accessories. Like, I really dislike the idea of cards in a mini game. But i have no problems with cards in a card game. For example, “Here to Slay” has card effects for buffs and debuffs that you just slide under the character cards. No problem. But if I had character cards (kinda like the new Necromunda) and had specific cards I could put under or around them to represent effects, it would drive me nuts because it’s a mini game!

I do understand that that’s not exactly a reasonable stance….
You've never played Gloomhaven on the tabletop, then 😅

The characters have a "board" that you play your active (in play, gives you your actions for the turn) cards at the top, discarded (used) cards to the left, and lost (can't get them back, even after after a rest, unless you have a special card that lets you recover lost cards) cards to the right.

There's no explicit place for continuous effect cards, but I tend to put them above where the active cards get played.

It's essentially how you play your character, cards being placed around your character board.
 

Mad Robot

Maddest of Them All
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You've never played Gloomhaven on the tabletop, then 😅

The characters have a "board" that you play your active (in play, gives you your actions for the turn) cards at the top, discarded (used) cards to the left, and lost (can't get them back, even after after a rest, unless you have a special card that lets you recover lost cards) cards to the right.

There's no explicit place for continuous effect cards, but I tend to put them above where the active cards get played.

It's essentially how you play your character, cards being placed around your character board.
I've seen other games use actual small "boards" for each member of the warband, specifically Core Space. You can use little plastic pegs to add values to different stats on the card. Personally, something like that is a turn off.

But, this is not just about me. For the rest of you, is it just a matter of understanding the tools and how to use them? I suppose it depends on whether you like the gameplay, that might make things like extra cards and accessories easier to stomach.
 

Ben_S

Hive Lord
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Too many cards and counters puts me off, though I do find it easier to use some small counters (or dice) on the board to track things like wounds or other statuses (broken, out of ammo, etc).