Wednesday, April 25, 2012

And now Maybe Something Different

I  bought a table!  I am actually considering buying another one because having a table and a couple of chairs means gaming ANYWHERE!  Of course this is silly and unessiary but I like to consider all possible avenues.  I don't spend long considering the obviously bad ones but you know what I mean. 

In other news I settled on a card based mechanic for the hero game.  I love the cards in Sekigahara and I love them in Malifaux.  Mostly though the thing that pushed me over the line is the fact that with dice hero on hero combat is going to be boring.  Heroes can blow up building, throw tanks around, summon the undead, dig mile long trenches, dig mile deep trenches, transport troops, and all these other wonderful things.  But when one punches another it is going to be some roll of a dice and consulting the chart.  There is no drama in that.  With cards we have a much greater option for how this is going to work.

The computer hacking game wasn't a joke.  I wanna do that.  It made realize something though.  The Hero game which needs a name is actually pretty easy to design.  I mean there isn't a lot of leg work to it.  Even if it was a skirmish based stradegy game you basically set up some parameters then fill them in.  Then you run a play test find what works, what doesn't.  Fix what doesn't and then test again until you get everything working.  It is a little hard but it isn't like there is a some MASSIVE set of problems that needs to be solved.  While the computer hacking game... that's different entirely.  Lets pretend for a moment that it is going to be a competative deck building game with two different decks, like the original netrunner.  Even that would nessesitate coming up with draft rules, mechanics, resource gathering and manipulation.  The whole nine yards.  Doing a deck building game+ worker placement game?  Well that is just plain old challenging.  Not insurmountable though.  I might wanna play more Lords of Waterdeep and Tribune though.  I have a very good sense of how different card games both collectable and draftable work but less so of worker placement games.  I've played all three of the games listed but never quite from a "well how does this game work?" standpoint.  Maybe some more worker placement games would be nice but I don't wanna own any more...well okay I do want Lords of Waterdeep that game is fantastic.  Puerto Rico is also an interesting canidate for how I want the corporate side to work. 

Much like I did for the hero game I need to write up a design document and start fiddling things out.  That's the other thing is that this game is going to require that I make a large number of end user components whereas the hero game doesn't.  That's interesting. 

Part of me is worried about how to publish this but I guess I should actually make and playtest and have everything good to go first.  Everything else can follow later assuming I get that far.  I think I will though.  I have a good feeling about this project.  It feels right in all the correct ways and so it might end up being permanently in play test with only my friends playing it.  Well, who cares!  This is being made because ASL is being a jerk.  So I am okay with this.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Design Notes 2

Conflict Resolution in an Age of Conflict:

I am thinking of using a ratio system similar to ASL's close combat resolution.   This would still use a chart, but it would keep the chart small and it would be easy to eyeball.  Moreover when simulating defensive powers it could be a simple matter of making the people's always roll on one ratio set.

The problem with this?  I have no idea how to design/balance this.  Of course I have no real idea of how to balance a chart either so either way I am kinda stuck here.  AJ would be the best person to help with this also I am sure I can rustle up some web sources.

It really is the only thing I can think of.  I wish people would upload issues of Stradegy and Tactics to the internet so I could have a broader base of information to work with.  A base to-hit number is out because it is incompatable with super heroes.  SO I need to get a better handle on how to calculate and use ratios.  Once I do that I should be able to move on with coming up with stats.

The ASL ratio table goes from <1-8 to >10-1...

Oh hey I think the best way to do the randomizer factor is to use cards A LA Sekigahara.  However, making cards is annoying and I don't think it will work for this game so I will use dice instead.  ALTHOUGH cards produce an interesting set of options.  Let's kick that idea around for a bit.

Okay first and foremost lets base it off of the standard 52 card deck just for ease and simplicity.  We could do this Malifaux style where each unit has a certain set of stats like attack and defense.  The cards would also be used for moral resolution, initative, and every other damn thing.  Best of all we can control card draw based on the objectives held and used.  This frees the players ever so slightly from the yoke of straight up randomization.  The biggest downside is that it would be yet another component when we could just as easily use dice.  If I did use cards I would have to find a way to make it quick.  I mean it is a hex based game where a hero can swoop in and decimate whatever he wants.  So I don't need that intricate of a mechanic.  Still the cards in Sekgahara are engaging and interesting.

It is an interesting problem but it does combo well with the heroes.  The heroes abilities can be used to mess with the card values or the number of cards flipped or both.whereas the dice a little bit more static but potentially faster.  There is also the question of what to do with the face cards.

I need to seriously think on this some more.  I also think that before I can come to a proper decision I am going to have to sit down and define what I want each unit to be able to do and then figure out which tool would be the best way to implement this.  Cards are indeed quick and visual and that is a good thing.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Apparently my Notebooks Are All Full

I have two 70page spiral bound notebooks with me and both are full of stuff.  It is always gratifying when I fill a notebook but it is annoying because what I am about to do works better for me when I do it on pen and paper.  Oh well.
Super Game Brain Dump.

Step one come up with a better name.  That's a big one.

The point of this post is to come up with some design goals and ideas of how to implement them.

1) Keep the base rules simple.  That is keep the terrain rules easy to understand, make shooting resolution easily done in one to two dice rolls, avoid using a chart, all the basic rules should fit on a double sided 8.5 by 11 piece of paper.

2) Troops should be useful.  I hate games where toopseses because obsolete almost immediatly.  Make it so that when a hero has a choice between going after some grunts or a super heavy tank it is a difficult choice.

3) Keep the base units simple and defined:
3 Troop Types
Stealth Operaters
Cape Killers

2 Tanks
Superheavy Tanks

2 Fast Support
1 Transport
1 Attack Craft

2 Artillery
One poking

4) Make it so that the game can be played without the supers though might might be a little bit generic/bland

5) Do we want the game to be ASL style scenario based where we can test and balance certain senarios or DIY malifaux style senarios.  I am thinking a synthasis of both.  I'll mediate more on this in a bit.

6) Decide on Map size early!  This will be important for defining movement rates and ultimately how quickly the game will play along with senario types and sizes.

7) Decide on Superhero effect.  I want these guys to have a big, defining effect on the battle field but how big is to big?  Once we have the games skeletol frame work down then will will be able to get to work on that.

8) Counter size?  I am thinking popsicle stick maybe balsa wood.

9)  Keep the setting loose and generic for now.  We can ramp the game up once it gets going similar to ASL/Battletech.  Keep the basic game with lots of senarios, then add onto the basic game.

10) Remember that this is only the start.  Keep it simple, easy to tinker with, and then you will have unlimited expandability.

So back to 5.  I am starting to think more and more that a series of predefined senarios is going to be the best rout.  This gives me as the designer so much control over things like game balance and hero balance that I can define all the troops for both sides to letting the players fiddle around with ideas for what they want or don't want.

It also lets me control the heroes, the effects they can have on the battlefield and the sort of balance involved.  Once I am more comfortable with the senario design we can move on a bit.  One important thing with senario design in a game like this is VARIETY.  We have so many options.  So lets take a look at the basic skeletol frame work.

-Capture the flag
-Take and Hold Objective
-Destroy Stratigic Object
-Transport Object
-Eliminate All Enemy Forces
-Hold Out (my favorite)

 We can also have sub objectives.  One thing I really want to do is to have cross objectives.  This happens a lot in Malifaux and I love it.  So one side is just trying to Transport and Object from one area to another.  The other side is trying to Take and Hold an Objective.  They still have to stop the transport or they risk loosing.  Similarly if they do stop the transport but don't hold the objective they might not win.  The idea is that there is ALOT to do in every senario and the heroes can help with that but as mighty as they are they can't be everywhere at the same time.  THAT'S the most important thing.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Lunch Time is the Right Time

I've been tired recently. That is the only way to put it. It seems like no matter what some rediculous thing will end up happening causing my sleep cycle to be interupted. Then I got depressed recently. It lasted for about a week and a half and it was throughly miserable. Its over now though I still feel a bit rickity. Rickity is a really fun word. I think it is increadibly creepy. Now that the fog has lifted I am not sure what I want to do with my time now that it is my own again. I've been doing some serious thinking about Advanced Squad Leader and trying to find a way to where we can play it more fully without having to devote our lives to it. I am thinking a series of cheat sheets printed up on 3x5 index cards. I can get enough information on the cards so that they will be useful but not so much that it will become rediculous. Best of all we could have little "decks" of information that are easy to reffrence and which will contain links to the relevent rule book sections.

I am thinking things like certain terrain rules, certain charts, how to do that funky boarder movement, expanded CC charts, special rules for ordinance and vehicles, and stuff like that. Stuff so that we will have as little to remember as possible so that we can focus more on the game. I also want to make special senario card that we can keep in front of us that will have fillible information such as ELR, country special rules, and any I dunno hidden information that normally gets written down.

I think the best way to do it is to pick a really complex senario with LOTS of elements and then gather together everything I need to know to play it and figure out the best way to organize the cards. For example rules for snipers take about 1/2 a card. So what would I put on the other half? What would I put on the back. Fire is another example but a little bit easier because I can bundle in the rules for smoke, and fire spreading and stuff like that. Reduncancies aren't a bad thing as I think it will cut down looking for information. Like I definitly want to have a card that lists everything a generic MMC/SMC can do and how to do it. That's everything from movement to fire lanes, to smoke granades.

I think once this is done the transistion between starter kit ASL and ASL proper is going to be much smoother and it will be nice because we will have a set of clear, informative play aids instead of devoting our lives to memorizing rule books. This will be especially important for terrain, I know I will want at least one card for buildings, and another for elevation, then one for each of the specialized terrains.

This needs to be done otherwise we are going to have a very difficult time enjoying the game as it is meant to be played. Anyway lunch time is ova.