Archive | September, 2013

Squad Combat v1

17 Sep

This is a new version of the squad combat rules, and is the result of a lot of playtesting and quite a bit of discussion. You can see the old rules here.

I’ll be adding some downloads for demo decks, or at least card files you can use to mock up your own decks in the near future.

Overview

Each player controls 3 characters. The object of the game is to be the last player with characters alive. You attack your opponent’s characters using attack cards, respond with edge cards, and use action cards to manipulate the game state.

Card Types

Characters

Characters start the game in play. They have the following stats:

HP: The amount of damage a character can take before succumbing to death. If a character ever has a wound value/damage greater than or equal to its life, flip it face-down. It is considered dead and any Death Effect it has remains in play until the end of the game.

Energy: A resource characters spend to perform actions.

Dice Pool: The amount and facing of dice the character starts the game with and receives each time they refresh their dice pool. For example, a character may have a Dice Pool of “34R”, meaning they have one die facing 3, one facing 4, and one randomly rolled.

Refresh: The amount of energy it costs to refresh this character’s dice pool.

Trait: A skill or identifying category of abilities.

Actions

Actions are cards that are played for some effect. They take your action, passing the turn to your opponent. Actions have the following stats:

Trait: Used to determine if this card is eligible to be played. You must control a character who matches the trait on the card to play it.

Cost: Characters must pay a card’s cost in order to use it. Costs can be expressed as energy and/or dice. See “paying costs.”

Effect Bar: The bottom of the card shows an effect that happens when attached to a character. For attacks, this is usually some amount of damage, but it could be other effects.

Attacks

Attack cards are considered actions, although not all actions are attacks. After attacks are performed, if they failed, they are discarded. If they hit, they are attached to the character they hit. Put the card up-side-down under the character so that the Effect Bar is showing.

Edges

Edges are cards that can be played anytime the card itself states it can be played. They do not take your action for you turn. If it does not have a restriction on it, it may be played at any time. After an edge has been played and taken effect, it is discarded.

Setup

At the beginning of the game, each player places their three characters in a row in front of them. They then shuffle and cut their decks, and each player draws 5 cards.

Players then set up their characters’ dice pools from left to right.

Dice

All dice in the game are six-sided. When you roll a die, the value it rolls is stored until spent or otherwise altered.

Turns and Phases

Randomly choose a player to start. Turn order then proceeds around the table to the left of the first player. After turn order is determined, the first player is given an action phase. They may play any action card from their hand, or use an action printed on a card they have in play. After the first player takes an action, each other player gets an action phase, in turn order. After all players have received an action phase, the order repeats, starting again with the first player. Play continues until the end of turn conditions are met (see below.)

Any player may, instead of taking an action, pass. If a player passes their action, they may not receive actions again during this turn (but may still play edges.) If all players pass, the turn ends.

At the end of each turn, each player may then discard up to two cards from their hand, then draw up to their hand size (default 5.)

Performing actions and edges

To perform an action, attack, or edge you must first have a character who is eligible to play the card. They must have energy remaining to pay any energy costs (if any), and they must have dice on them equaling or exceeding the dice cost of the card (if any.)

After confirming the costs are met, you must also match traits. A character must have at least one trait on their character card that matches a trait on the card being played. If they do not, then they are not eligible to play the card.

If the character can afford the costs or the card and matches a trait with the card, announce you are playing the card. Pay for any costs the card may have, then resolve the card. Unless specifically stated, actions and edges are discarded after resolution.

Refreshing Dice

Characters spend the dice on their character cards to pay for costs and abilities. If a character runs out of dice, or you do not like the values of the dice currently on the character, you may take an action and pay the character’s “dice refresh” energy cost to add that character’s dice pool to the character. Then, remove dice from the character until they no longer have more dice on them then their dice pool value.

EXAMPLE: Character “Jimbo” has 1 die on him and has a dice refresh cost of 2 energy as well as a dice pool value of “RRR.” If Jimbo has 2 energy you may, as an action, spend 2 energy to roll 3 new (separate) dice. Then, since Jimbo’s dice pool value is “RRR,” or 3 random dice, you choose any 3 of the 4 dice associated with him and keep those 3 dice. The other die is removed.

Paying Costs

When a character pays a cost for a action, edge, or ability, that character must spend energy and/or spend dice from their dice pool.

Energy costs are depicted as a number inside a diamond <X>. In order to pay an energy cost, that character’s current energy (their total energy minus their burden/spent energy tokens) must be equal to or greater than the energy cost of the card. Once this has been verified, place spent energy/burden tokens on the character equal to the card’s cost.

Dice costs are depicted as the face of a die (represented by [X] in notes.) To pay a cost in dice, the character performing the action has to remove a die from their dice pool that meets or exceeds the value of the die on the card.

Some costs may have multiple types. For example:

<3>[1] – Means the performing character must pay 3 energy and spend 1 die of any value.

[2][4] – Means the performing character must spend two dice, one with a value of two or greater and one with a value of four or greater.

Attacking

When you spend an action to play an attack card, perform the following steps.

1 – Choose a character you control who shares a trait with the attack, and pay for the attack. That character becomes the attacker.

2 – Choose an enemy character to be the target of the attack. This character becomes the defender.

3 – The defender has a chance to play a reaction. This can allow the defender to dodge or block the attack.

4 – If the attack is not interrupted by the defender’s reaction, it hits.

After the attack, all missed/negated attack and reaction cards are discarded.

Deck Building

Trait Characters must match the action’s trait in order to include that action in your deck.

Example Demo Deck Setup

1 Character

1 Character-specific card

5 Trait-specific cards

4 Generic cards

1 Resource card

Example Demo Deck Setup

3 Characters

3 Character-specific cards

15 Trait-specific cards

12 Generic cards

3 Resource cards

Example Set Setup (90 total cards)

10 Characters = 10 cards

1 Character-specific cards per character = 10 cards

5 Character-specific cards per character = 50 cards

4 Generic cards that fit with the character, but can be shared with others ~=~ 20 cards

2 Resource cards

DESIGN NOTES

Traits

Basic:

Alpha – Best at dealing damage. Atk ratings are low, and often negative.

Beta – Small accurate strikes, with high atk ratings. Dice are not always necessary to hit.

Charlie – Midrange attacks. Sometimes has edges to bolster attacks.

Specialties:

Delta – Typically costing more than fair for their damage (duno why I wrote that, seems obvious) delta attacks excel in taking energy and dice away from their targets.

Echo – This trait specializes in healing. Few, if any, attacks.

Foxtrot – Attacks in this trait are inefficient. However, actions and edges in this trait can raise the character’s defense and redirect attacks to them.

Gamma – Strikes with this trait typically add, reroll or increment friendly dice.

Numbers

Here are some average numbers that we’ll be working with for the initial prototype.

Energy: I would guess the average energy cost for an action or attack to be 4 (assuming no other costs), and the average energy value on a character to be 7-9. We don’t want players running three 9-energy characters and taking twice as many actions as their opponents, though. Energy should be used more for activated abilities and edges.

Dice: 3-4 seems like a good number for dice pools, with 4 energy to refresh. Larger dice pools should cost more to refresh, and dice pools with fixed numbers should cost more too. Dice should be use more for attacks.

HP: 12-15 is midrange, I would worry about going any higher than 18-20.

Damage: I would imagine that 4 is a pretty median hit, although cards with 1-2 damage better have something else going for them.

General Mechanic Ideas

Death Effects: When a character is dead, it still provides some small benefit. It would be easiest to show this on the back of the card. We still want the opponent to know what the death effect is before the character dies, though. Death effects should be common knowledge and players should be able to look at them at will. Additionally, death effect actions or edges should usually require discarding cards, as it will give the player controlling the dead character a way to channel the trait cards that they cannot use anymore.

Damage Token Cards: Certain effects might want to produce (perhaps recurring) damage without attaching itself to the character. In these cases, it might be useful to use damage cards (think MTG Tokens Cards–not real cards) that can be attached in its stead. This would be difficult to proxy, though, unlike the MTG Tokens Cards. This concept could also apply to buff effects.

Heal X: Remove any damage card from target character if that value is X or less.

[Trait] Resistance X: All damage on this character of this trait is reduced by X. If this would reduce the damage value to 0 or less, it becomes 0 and remains attached.

[Trait] Hardened X: All damage dealt to this character by an effect of this trait is discarded instead if that damage is X or less.

Power Up: A character may take one if its dice and increase its value by 1, to a maximum of 6.

Power Down: A character must take one of its dice and decrease its value by 1, to a minimum of 1.

Stun X: Remove 1 energy from target character. [typically on attacks, if hit]

Suppression: A token that prevents a character from recharging; cleared at start of round?

Switch: Switch 2 character positions; in case we care about that

Overcharge: Add an extra die to a character, even if it would go over their maximum

Correction

17 Sep

Correction is a board game that I made for a design challenge about making a game focused on the one-word theme of the same name. Correction is a fairly abstract piece-moving game with strong chess influences.

Soon I will be adding a video showing off the newest complete edition of the game, with a tutorial on how to play.

prototype_1

Above: The most recent prototype of Correction. One of each type of piece is assembled, from left to right: green pawn, orange knight, green spearman. (click to enlarge)

While the graphical design of the game wasn’t paramount, and merely an afterthought to getting the game in a playable state that I didn’t feel ashamed to show off, I am very happy with how my first foray into laser cutting/etching acrylic went. I would recommend everyone interested in board games look into their local makerlab/fab lab.

Rules 1.01

Updated September 12th, 2013

Correction is a two player abstract piece moving game that takes familiar concepts, like a square grid playfield and piece capturing, and adds an interesting resource management and denial system.

Possible Cosmetic Changes

Title = Suppression

Theme = strong abstract laser-etched acrylic shapes

Rules

Objective

The objective of the game is to move one of your pieces into your opponent’s side of the board, or “spawn row.”

Setup

Correction is played on a 6×6 grid. Each player has 6 pieces of their color: 4 Pawns, 1 Knight, and 1 Spearman. There should also be a pile of Denial Tokens for players to share.

Starting the game

Randomly decide which player will be the first player. That player starts the game as the active player, while the other player starts the game with one Denial Token. No pieces start on the board.

Taking a turn

During the active player’s turn, they can Spawn pieces, then Move pieces. Spawning is optional and can be skipped, but phases must be taken in that order.

Spawning

The active player can perform the Spawn action by placing between zero and two of their pieces on their Home Row, which is the row closest to that player. Pieces cannot be spawned if they were captured on the previous turn. For each piece the active player spawns, the inactive player gains one Denial Token. Spawning pieces is optional.

You cannot spawn a piece if it was captured the turn before. You can note this by laying down pieces that are captured, and standing pieces lain over this way after your spawn phases.

You also cannot spawn a piece if you do not have any more pieces for it. Each player has one spearman, one knight, and four pawns.

Moving

The active player can either (1) move all pieces they spawned this turn or (2) move a single piece they did not spawn this turn. Pieces can only be moved according to each pieces’ movement rules. Each player must make a move on their turn.

Movement Rules

There are three different pieces in Correction. None of them can ever move backwards.

Movement diagrams show how the pieces can move (green squares) and capture (red crosses). Capture squares that are not also green mean that the piece can only move to that square if capturing an opposing piece.

On the board, spaces that a piece can move into are denoted by dots, where squares they can capture into are marked with an X.

Capturing a piece means that you move to a space already occupied by an opposing piece. The opposing piece is removed from the board.

Pawn

The Pawn can only move or capture diagonally in front of it. It is a slow piece, but numerous!

Spearman

The Spearman can only capture one or two squares in front of itself, but it can also move one space to either side. Each player only has one Spearman.

Knight

The Knight can capture in an L-shape in front or to the side of itself. It can move diagonally forward one space or in an L-shape to the left or right of itself. Each player only has one Knight.

Denial Tokens

At any time during the game, a player may spend their Denial Tokens to disrupt their opponent’s movement or pieces. Players have two ways they can do this.

Move Denial

In response to the active player moving a piece, the inactive player may take one of their Denial Tokens and place it in the space the active player is attempting to move into. That move is now invalid, and the active player must return the moving piece to its original square, and make a different move with that piece. If no valid moves remain, that player must select a different piece to move. This may be performed as many times as the inactive player has tokens to spend.

A player cannot place a Denial Token into the spawn row to block a move.

When a player places a token onto the board to deny a move, the token blocks all movement into that space this turn. After that move is completed, however, That piece is treated as an empty square for moving Pawns into it. (Knights and Spearmen can never move into these squares as long as the token remains there.) The next player to move a Pawn into that square “recovers” the token in that square, and adds it to their supply of spendable tokens.

Piece Denial

When a piece has just been moved, the opposing player may spend 3 Denial tokens to remove that piece from the board. When this happens, the active player is allowed to select and move a different piece. This “banishment” is done as the move is declared, before the active player’s piece lands in that square. This can prevent a piece from being captured if the destination space is not empty.

Janus Gate

17 Sep

Download here

Janus Gate is an Unreal engine game that I made with a team of four other students while in the Game Design program at Full Sail University.

The game’s general premise and base mechanic is that it is a top-down shooter, but everything you do is recorded to be played back against you as an enemy. Each level consists of many waves, where you have to kill every iteration of yourself so far through the level without letting any of them hit you with an attack, or let any of them escape the level. Early waves start out simple, then the intensity of the game rises dramatically, and every errant shot and extra twitch the player has becomes another issue for them to deal with the next wave.

Here is the Trailer for the game, and the presentation which we submitted to the project.

If you’re interested in trying it out, use this link to download the most recent stable build.

http://www.joshuamalone.com/JanusGate/

Squad Combat – Old

6 Sep

This is an outdated document, but I wanted to leave it around so that the changes between it and the new one are more apparent.

You can see the new set of rules here.

Rulebook V 0.5 (DOC 26.5 KB)
While this is a card game project, the rules require a bit of bookkeeping, with both counters and dice on each character in play. This would make it a welcome canididate for videogame adaptation.

As of August of 2013, I’ve been playtesting this game more stringently and looking at the main mechanics with a few like-minded design friends. Hopefully we’ll have a few demo decks mocked up soon, and I’ll provide a link to them here.

Overview

Each player controls 3 characters. The object of the game is to be the last player with characters alive. You attack your opponent’s characters using attack cards, and use action and edge cards to improve your position.

Card Types

Characters

Each player has a party of 3 characters. Characters start the game in play. they have the following stats:

Life – The amount of damage a character to take before succumbing to death If a character ever has a wound value/damage greater than or equal to its life, remove it from the game.

Energy – A resource characters spend to perform actions.

Dice Pool – The amount of dice the character starts the game with and recieves each time they refresh their dice pool.

Dice refresh – the amount of energy it costs to refresh this character’s dice pool.

Traits – skills the character is proficient with.

Actions and Attacks

Actions are cards that characters use to attack opponents and perform other effects. Attack cards are considered actions, although not all actions are attacks. Actions have the following stats:

Trait – Characters must match the action’s trait in order to perform it.

Cost – Characters must pay a card’s cost in order to perform it. Costs can be expressed as energy, dice or card discards, and sometimes in more than one of those types. See paying costs.

Attack actions have the following additional stats:

Hit modifier – this determines how easy or hard it is to hit with this attack.

Damage – This value shows how damaging the attack is, and how much of the target’s Life is eliminated by it.

After actions and attacks are performed, they are discarded (assuming the attack does not hit a character.)

Edges

Edges are cards that can be played anytime the card itself states it can be played. If it does not have a restriction on it, it may be played at anytime. After an edge has been played and taken effect, it is discarded. Edges have the same stats as actions.

Setup

At the beginning of the game, each player places their three characters in a row in front of them. They then shuffle and cut their decks, and each player draws 5 cards.

Players then roll dice equal to each character’s dice pool value and place those dice onto each character. Do this one character at a time, and in order from left to right. /* This is to keep things fair. As long as players are declaring which character they’re rolling setup dice for, it doesn’t really matter. */

Randomly decide who takes the first turn. Turn order then proceeds around the table to the left of the first player.

Dice

All dice in the game are six-sided. When you roll a die, the value it rolls is stored until spent or otherwise altered. You may keep track of each character’s values on a sheet of paper (or sheets of paper placed over/next to each character.) Make sure both players can see all dice values easily.

Turns and phases

At the beginning of each turn, the first player is given an action phase. They may play any action card from their hand, or use an action printed on a card they have in play. After the first player takes an action, each other player gets an action phase, in turn order. After all players have received an action phase, the order repeats, starting again with the first player. Play continues until the end of turn conditions are met (see below.)

Any player may, instead of taking an action, pass. If a player passes their action, they may not receive actions again during this turn (but may still play edges.) If all players pass, the turn ends.

At the end of each turn, remove all spent focus counters from characters in play. Each player may then discard up to two cards from their hand, then draw up to their hand size (default 5.)

Performing actions and edges

/* The gist of this section is that every card is performed by a character. This means that you must always match traits to a character you control in play to play a card, and that character must have the available resources to pay for that card.*/

To perform an action, attack, or edge you must first have a character who is eligible to play the card. They must have energy remaining to pay any energy costs (if any), and they must have dice on them equaling or exceeding the dice cost of the card (if any.) You must also have additional cards in your hand equal to or greater than the card’s discard cost (if it has one.)

After confirming the costs are met, you must also match traits. A character must have at least one trait on their character card that matches a trait on the card being played. If they do not, then they are not eligible to play the card.

If the character can afford the costs or the card and matches a trait with the card, announce you are playing the card. Pay for any costs the card may have, then resolve the card. Unless specifically stated, actions and edges are discarded after resolution.

Refreshing Dice

Characters spend the dice that start the game on their character card to pay for costs and abilities. If a character runs out of dice, or you do not like the values of the dice currently on the character, you may take an action and pay the character’s “dice refresh” energy cost to roll a number of dice equal to the character’s dice pool value and add them to the character. Then, remove dice from the character until they no longer have more dice on them then their dice pool value. /* think of the dice pool value as a hand limit for each character */

Paying Costs

When a character pays a cost for a action, edge or ability, that character must spend energy, spend dice from their dice pool, or that character’s controller must discard cards (this cost is being paid for by the character, but the player may discard any types or traits of cards.

Energy costs are depicted as a number inside a diamond <X>. In order to pay an energy cost, that character’s current energy (their total energy minus their burden/spent energy tokens) must be equal to or greater than the energy cost of the card. Once this has been verified, place spent energy/burden tokens on the character equal to the card’s cost.

Dice costs are depicted as the face of a die (represented by [X] in notes.) To pay a cost in dice, the character performing the action has to remove a die from their dice pool that meets or exceeds the value of the die on the card.

Card costs are represented on the cards as a /*card icon? We’ll use “C” in notes/rules */ To pay a card cost, the character’s controller discards a card.

Some costs may have multiple types. For example:

<3>[1] – Means the performing character must pay 3 energy and spend 1 die of any value.

[2][4] – Means the performing character must spend two dice, one with a value of two or greater and one with a value of 4 or greater.

Attacking

When you spend an action to play an attack card, perform the following steps.

1 – Choose a character you control who shares a trait with the attack, and pay for the attack. That character becomes the attacker.

2 – Choose an enemy character to be the target of the attack. This character becomes the defender.

3 – First the attack may choose and spend a die from their character, then the defender also has the option of spend a die from their character. These are called the attack die (for the attacker) and the defense die (for the defender.) If a player declines to play a die, treat it as though they played a die with a value of 0.

4 – Add any attack or defense modifiers to the attack and defending dice (including the attack modifier on the attack being used.) these are the attack and defense ratings.

5 – If the attack rating is equal to or greater than the defense rating, the attack hits and wounds the defender. Place the attack underneath the defending character with the wound/damage value at the bottom of the card exposed /* it’s like enchanting a creature, but you place the card upside down, and the wound/damage is where P/T would be on a MTG creature */

Missed attacks are discarded.

RFG Mod – Class Design

6 Sep

Red Faction Guerrilla is both a game that I have significant exposure to, having worked on the project, and a game that I greatly enjoy. Here’s a set of classes for a hypothetical multiplayer system using the Red Faction: Guerrilla engine and many of the mechanics within it.

Rigid System – “Progression Variants”

Players choose a class when they start the match, and are open to changing their class throughout the matches. We will use a leveling system to track the player’s overall progress, and have a separate level for each class the player plays. As the player progresses through the levels in each class, they’ll unlock new classes that modify the initial classes. Leveling the general level will unlock nonfunctional unlocks, and eventually unlock all variant classes. Even though the variant classes may share some of the same mechanics, they are not necessarily the same type of gameplay.

Example: The player is level 1, and chooses to play as the Recon. After reaching general level 2, he unlocks a new XP bonus event. When the player reaches Recon level 5, he unlocks the Tracker class. There are two classes that unlock off of each primary class.

Primary Classes

Recon

Archetype: 90% – 100% health, 110% speed
Equipment: SMG, Thermal imaging scope
Description: The recon is equipped with thermal imaging gear that allows him to locate enemies through walls and across the map. His thermal imager must be held in place of his weapon, and he is somewhat vulnerable while using the imager.
Unlocks: Level 5: Tracker class
Level 10: Comsat class
Level 20: “Master Recon” badge

Ordinance

Archetype: 150% health, 70% speed
Equipment: Large weapon, pistol
Description: The ordinance carries a large weapon with devastating power, but cannot fire the weapon while moving.
Unlocks: Level 5: Sniper class
Level 10: Destroyer class
Level 20: “Master Ordinance” badge

Grunt

Archetype: 120% health, 110% speed
Equipment: Assault Rifle, shotgun, grenades, hammer
Description: While the grunt seems to be the plainest of the classes, their strength lies in their versatility. A grunt spawns with a full complement of weapons, including a hammer for brutal melee kills or slow methodical destruction.
Unlocks: Level 5: Brute class
Level 10: Skirmisher class
Level 20: “Master Grunt” badge

Builder

Archetype: 100% Health, 100% speed
Equipment: SMG, Repair Tool, Remote mines
Description: The builder class is equipped with the valuable repair tool, capable of rebuilding walls and securing control points. He is also in possession of a few remote mines to destroy opposing points or to set traps.
Unlocks: Level 5: Support class
Level 10: Commander class
Level 20: “Master Builder” badge

Variant Classes

Each level 5 variant class unlocks its corresponding level 10 class at level 5. I know that sounds complicated, so take this example. If you get a Recon to level 5, you unlock Tracker. Recon level 10 unlocks Comsat, so Tracker level 5 unlocks Comsat as well. It just facilitates unlocking classes without having to play one of the primary classes all the time.

Tracker

Archetype: 100% health, 100% speed
Equipment: Tracking Assault rifle, pistol
Description: The tracker has a special assault rifle that lets him stalk enemies. When the tracker hits an enemy with a rifle round, it will place a marker over the enemy’s head. This marker stays over the enemy’s head and will always be visible to the tracker, through terrain and walls. Players friendly to the tracker will be able to see these players’ indicators through walls and terrain, but only at a short range.
Unlocks: Level 5: Comsat class
Level 20: “Master Tracker” Badge

Comsat

Archetype: 80% health, 80% speed
Equipment: Comsat pack, SMG
Description: The comsat is a field support unit wearing a special satellite observation interface. This gives the comsat the general positions of all hostile movement on the battlefield (via a heatmap or intermittent radar blips on a minimap). In addition, all friendly characters within a short distance (10 feet or so) and line of sight of the comsat also receive this information.
Unlocks: Level 20: “Master Comsat” badge

Sniper

Archetype: 80% health, 100% speed
Equipment: Sniper nanorifle, stealth pack, pistol
Description: The sniper is a fragile class with the ability to cloak for very brief periods of time, and comes equipped with the powerful nanorifle.
Unlocks: Level 5: Destroyer class
Level 20: “Master Sniper” badge

Destroyer

Archetype: 130% health, 80% speed
Equipment: Thermobaric rocket, Remote charges, Assault Rifle
Description: The destroyer class carries some of the most devastating weapons in the game.
Unlocks: Level 20: “Master Destroyer” badge

Brute

Archetype: 300% health, 50% speed
Equipment: Huge hammer or other melee weapon
Description: The brute is a melee-only class that is frustratingly difficult to kill. His melee attack carves large swaths of destruction through structures and scatters enemies like bowling pins.
Unlocks: Level 5: Skirmisher class
Level 20: “Master Brute” badge

Skirmisher

Archetype: 70% health, 130% speed
Equipment: Jetpack, enforcer (or other medium damage automatic weapon), grenades
Description: The skirmisher’s main strength lies in his mobility. A high speed and jetpack ensure superior maneuvering, but his fragility makes him ill-suited for head-on combat.
Unlocks: Level 20: “Master Skirmisher” badge

Support

Archetype: 100% health, 100% speed
Equipment: Assault rifle, shield pack, light repair tool
Description: A less dedicated version of the builder, the support class has a inferior repair tool, but his shield pack provides a health bonus to allied in his immediate area.
Unlocks: Level 5: Commander class
Level 20: “Master Builder” badge

Commander

Archetype: 100% health, 100% speed
Equipment: Assault rifle, grenades
Description: The commander inspires the allies around him, providing a small boost to nearby friendly units’ maximum health, damage and speed. Multiple bonuses from more than one commander do not stack.
Unlocks: Level 20: “Master Commander” badge

Rune System

6 Sep

Overview

A combat and magic system for an action RPG that allows the player to design their own spells and effects using runes, magical symbols the player discovers during the course of the game.

Status & Revision History

Still in progress. Nobody’s signed off on it, because it’s not actually being used in a game.

Open Issues

Discovery of rune combinations – done automatically, or logged as the player stumbles across them? Trial and error is a pain, so find another way to give them to the player. Ideally every element and action combination will yield a spell, but this may not be the case.

I’d like to give the player a choice of runes as they progress. Do they take the new element rune, or the new action rune? This creates problems where level design would want to create puzzles requiring a certain rune or combination.

Goals

Goal 1

To present freedom to the player by allowing them to create their abilities.

Goal 2

To design unique challenges that will require the player to experiment with their runes to overcome.

Main Body

The player is an outsider in a world with magical elements. Throughout his journey, the player finds runes/symbols that allow them to create magical effects and attacks. As the player explores and progresses throughout the game, they grow more proficient in the world’s magic, and are allowed to cast more complex spells.

HEALTH AND ESSENCE

The player has both a health bar and an essence bar. Health is lost when a player is hit by attacks, and when it reaches zero, the player is defeated. As players cast spells, their essence is depleted, with more powerful spells costing more essence (detailed later). Both regenerate over time, with health regenerating more slowly then essence.

As the player spends essence, they are more susceptible to damage. This could work two ways:

  1. The essence meter is split into several sections (this number may be variable on the player’s strength or the difficulty level.) Each time the essence meter drops into the section below it, the player is given a debuff that increases the damage they take. When the essence meter recovers, the debuffs are removed.
    Example: The meter is 2/5ths expended, so the player has two debuffs on them.
  2. When the player takes damage, they also receive bonus damage equal to the base damage multiplied by the percentage of the essence meter that is expended.
    Example: The essence meter is at 62% (38% spent,) so the player takes 138% of the damage that they would take with no spent essence.

These damage values could easily be adjusted as part of the difficulty level, and/or be introduced as a game mechanic and be lowered through abilities and equipment.

RUNES AND SPELLS

Runes are the magical symbols that the PC uses to create spells. The player discovers one or two runes early in the game, and can find additional runes as they progress through the game. Runes have three basic types:

  • Element runes unlock the conjuration and manipulation of elemental energy. These are used to change the characteristics of spells, or used by themselves to imbue the PC with elemental energy.
  • Action runes can be used to create powerful magic attacks and effects. While they can be used alone, their real power comes from being combined with one or more other runes.
  • Modifier runes are optional runes that must be added to an action rune to have any discernible effect. When used properly, they change the properties of the original spell.

Rune Examples

The player has four runes. Fire (element,) strike (action,) orb (action,) and mob (modifier.) If the player casts the fire rune by itself, it will imbue the player with the fire element for a short period of time, allowing them to withstand fire damage, and damage enemies that are in close proximity.

If the player combines the fire rune with the strike rune, using the spell will cause the player to attack while channeling fire energy through their weapon, increasing damage dealt and setting enemies on fire. However, if the player chooses to substitute the strike rune for the orb rune, they will be capable of launching flaming meteors towards their adversaries. Adding the mob rune to the fire/orb combination will allow the player to launch smaller meteors at a faster pace, targeting multiple enemies.

SPELL CREATION AND RUNE SLOTS

When the player first starts the game, they will only have 1 rune slot, and will not have the ability to combine runes. Each rune slot earned/unlocked throughout the course of the game allows the player to add another rune to each spell they create. Unlocking a rune slot allows all the spells that player makes to consist of an additional rune.

To create a spell, the player enters the spell creation interface, located in the pause menu. Here, there is a section that contains all the runes that the player owns, along with empty slots for each spell button (see controls) the player has. The player creates spells by selecting a rune from those he owns, and places it in one or more empty slots. Runes the player owns can be used in different rune combinations simultaneously.

The player assigns each rune combination to a key on the face of the controller. While the player has the rune trigger held down, pressing any face button will allow the player to use the corresponding rune combination. If the player has more than 4 rune combinations, they can press the shoulder buttons to cycle through different sets of runes (there will be a maximum amount of rune sets the player can have. 3?)

There will be some sort of system for identifying rune combinations that the player has used before. Additionally, there should be some way for the player to stumble across valid rune combinations without having to try all the combinations available to them. Hopefully, all rune combinations that use 1 action and 1 element rune will yield a valid spell. Also, modifier runes do not always extensively change the spell, and can be used without worrying about invalidating the spell.

Preliminary Rune List

Element Runes

  • Fire
  • Ice
  • Earth
  • Darkness/void
  • Light
  • Arcane/energy

Action Runes

  • Nova: Creates an explosion, with the center of the blast at the PC’s feet.
    Example: Ice + Nova will create an explosion of cold magic, damaging surrounding enemies and freezing them to the ground.
  • Projectile: Throws a medium sized projectile at a target.
    Example: Earth + Projectile will launch a boulder at the target, damaging them and pushing them backwards.
  • Strike: Attacks fiercely with the PC’s melee weapon.
    Example: Fire + Strike will cause the PC’s weapon to burst into flame while striking with it, causing increased damage and setting the target on fire.
  • Trap: Leaves an area on the ground that will interfere with the enemy.
    Example: Light + Trap will leave a flare on the ground, illuminating dark areas and disorienting nearby enemies.
  • Throw: Grabs a close enemy and throws them.
    Example: Darkness + Throw grabs a nearby enemy with dark tendrils, absorbs some of their life and gives it to the PC, then throws the enemy at others for additional damage.
  • Blast: Causes a fan-shaped array of the element to damage multiple enemies at closer ranges.
    Example: Arcane + Blast will summon a wall of arcane energy, damaging enemies as it projects, and blocking projectiles and spells that strike it.

Modifier Runes

  • Haste: This rune allows the PC to cast much faster and in many cases, remain moving while casting more powerful combinations.
    Example: Haste + Strike + [any element] Will cause the PC to make attacks while flipping over and diving under enemies.
  • Mob: This rune turns a rune combination into multiple slightly smaller effects, often capable of hitting different enemies.
    Example: Mob + Throw + Darkness will grab several enemies, and pull them towards the PC, bashing them into each other above the PC’s head, then tossing them down.
  • Charge: This rune is almost the opposite of the Haste rune, allowing the PC the stay put and charge an effect to increase its properties.
    Example: Charge + Nova + Ice creates the same explosion of magic as described above, but charging the effect will make the explosion radius larger, the freeze duration longer, and allows the spell to successfully freeze targets that may have been immune to the weaker spell.

CONTROLS

Here is the proposed console control scheme.

  • Left analog – Move character
  • Right analog – Move camera
  • X/square – Weapon attack
  • A/cross – Jump
  • B/circle – Item
  • Y/triangle – Contextual action
  • LB/L1 & RB/R1 – Cycle through runesets
  • RT/R2 – Rune cast mode
  • LT/L2 – Block
  • LT/L2 + A/cross – Dodge/roll
  • RS/R3 – objectives/quests
  • LS/L3 – Center camera

System Interaction & Scope

This is the main combat system for the game, and will interact with most others in some way. It is fairly open-ended, and can be scaled relatively well. If we want to pull it back, we can design the system as secondary to the player’s physical attacks, and create less runes. If we want to expand the system, we can require the player to use the rune abilities to defeat many enemies, and incorporate puzzles into the levels that force the player to use runes to pass.

Discipline Requirements and Reviews

Issues, risks, and special requirements identified by design for other disciplines should be put here. Additionally each discipline should place their own comments within these sections to maintain that history.

Untitled “location” CCG

6 Sep

Untitled CCG
Rulebook V 0.3 (DOC 87.0 KB)

Basically, this project is a game that I’m looking at as a closed-system card game with a card pool that players can customize their decks from.

Why “customizable” instead of “collectible”?

Well, because the chances of this game getting to a publisher and getting printed are so astronomically low, you can’t really collect it.

The idea is that each player may use ANY of the cards in the set to construct their decks. This has the unintentional effect of making the game more competitive and fair, because each player has the same pool of cards to work with.

The “Every CCG has this Somewhere in the rules” Rule

Every game has this, and we’re getting it out of the way right now.

Lots of cards specify behavior that is contradicted by the rules in the book. If a card contradicts any of the rules of this game, the card takes precedence.

Card Types

All cards, regardless of type, share similar information. All cards have a typeline, which displays basic information about the card (like “Character- ninja” or “Modifier- weapon”). With the exception of locations, all cards also have a cost and resource row. The cost of the card, located in the upper right hand corner, shows how many resource points are required to pay for the card. The resource row indicates how many resources the card provides when it is played as a resource.

Character cards are used to attack and defend locations. A character card has three main stats: Attack, which represents the character’s power in combat, Defense, which represents the amount of damage the character can withstand, and Skill, which represents the character’s influence, trickiness, and all-around importance. If a character ever has damage on it equal to or greater than its defense, it has received “lethal damage” and is destroyed.

Location cards are the objective of the game. Each location has two main stats: Skill, which symbolizes how difficult the location is to seize, and Victory points, which represents how long it takes to control the location. Location cards are printed in a landscape style, so they are easy to recognize. Locations are never included in a player’s deck.

Modifier cards are played on other cards to change their attributes. The typeline of the modifier card will let you know what card type it modifies. If the modifier card is for a character (like in the example layout), the stat bubbles will show you what stats it alters. A character may only have 1 modifier of any type played on it at any one time. If you play a modifier on a character that already has a modifier of that type, choose and discard 1 of them.

Surprise cards represent events, disasters, interventions, combat strategies, and random happenings. Unless the typeline of the surprise specifies a phase of the turn, you may play a surprise anytime, even during an opponent’s turn. When you play a surprise, follow the instructions on the card, and then place it into its owner’s discard pile.

Asset cards are used to represent people, places and things that assist you in your undertakings. They usually give you or your characters passive abilities, or they may cause interference for your opponents.

Zones

Each player’s side of the board is divided into several sections, or zones. Some of these zones are “visible.” For more information on card visibility, see the glossary.

  • Deck – A player’s deck is face down to one side of the playfield. It is not visible, and no player is allowed to look at the contents of any player’s deck. If a player’s deck ever runs out of cards and a player is required to draw a card, they reshuffle their discard pile, and place it face down as their new deck.
  • HQ – A player’s HQ, or Headquarters, is where they play their characters and assets. Cards in both players’ HQs are considered visible.
  • Hand – While not part of the table per se, it is still considered a zone. A player’s hand is not visible, but a player may freely look through his own hand.
  • Bank – The bank is where a player places resources belonging to him. The cards in his bank are not considered visible for play purposes, but they are face up, and any player may look through them.
  • Discard pile – The discard pile is where a player places surprises once they are resolved, and where spent resources go to be reshuffled into the player’s deck. Cards in the discard pile are considered to be visible, and any player may look through any player’s discard pile.
  • Void pile – The void pile is a face down pile of cards to the side of the discard pile. Destroyed characters, modifiers, and assets are placed in the void pile. Cards in the void pile are not visible, and no player is allowed to look through or reorder any void pile.

Deck Construction

Each player must construct a deck with a minimum of 40 cards. There is currently no maximum deck size. A deck cannot contain more than three copies of any one card (some cards may have abilities that alter this rule).

In addition to the 40 card “Main Deck,” each player must also bring 3 different “Location” cards to the game. You’ll probably also need a handful of tokens.

Objective

The objective of the game is to capture the majority of the locations in play. You do this by sending characters on missions to take the locations, and defending against your opponents’ missions.

Resources & Paying Costs

//It is important to note that these resources are currently placeholder, and will be finalized when the setting is added.

Every card in your deck has the potential to produce resources. At the very bottom of the card, in an upside down line, are resource symbols. The six initial resource symbols are:

  • $ – Money
  • @ – Technology
  • ! – Power
  • Ω – Omega
  • Α – Alpha
  • # – Magic

When you play a card as a resource, place it in your bank, upside down, so that the resource row is displayed. Cards played as resources are treated as though they are blank in all other aspects, and their type becomes “Resource” (they do not have a title or any other stats). Multiple resource cards can be stacked so that only the resource line is visible, to make counting resources easier.

When you are required to pay a cost, take a number of resource cards from your bank whose total resources equal or exceed the cost, and discard them. If a cost contains specific resources, you must use resources of that type to pay for it.

Example: If a card costs “3$,” it means that to pay for it, you have to discard a total of 4 resources, and at least 1 of them must be of the type “$”. You cannot pay for more than 1 card or cost with 1 resource card; cards and costs must be paid for separately. If you overpay for a cost or card, you do not get those overpaid resources back. Cards or effects that reduce a card’s cost may never lower it below 1 resource. If an effect states “cards you play cost 1 less.” Remove a non-typed resource first, and if there are no more non-typed resources in the cost, choose and remove a typed resource from the cost.

Stat bonuses

Some cards and effects will give your characters additional stats. Attack is abbreviated as Atk, Defense is abbreviated as Def, and Skill is abbreviated as Skl. If a card gives a bonus to more than one stat, it will be displayed in this format: ±Atk/±Def/±Skl (Example: A card that gives +2 to Attack and +2 to Defense will have the abbreviation “+2/+2/+0”) Any stat increase granted by a surprise or ability is temporary, and only lasts until the end of the turn.

Abilities

Many characters and assets in the game have abilities. Abilities are effects that are activated when you pay a cost. The costs and effects are separated by a colon. For example, an ability that reads “2: Draw a card” Would require that the controller pays 2 resource points as the cost, and the effect lets him draw a card. Abilities, like surprises, can be played at any time, but you may only play each ability once per turn.

Game Setup

Each player shuffles their deck, and then allows an opponent to cut their deck. Randomly decide who will be the first player. The first player selects a location from the 3 location cards they brought to the game, and places it into play between the players, facing him. The second player then chooses a location from their locations, and plays it next to the first location, as a second location facing him. The first player then selects the third and final location from the 2 he has remaining and plays it in a similar fashion as the first. Take any unused locations and set them aside. Each player draws 7 cards. Starting with the first player, each player may elect to put any number of cards from their hand on the bottom of their deck, then draw back up to 7 cards. The second player takes the first turn of the game (because the first player chose locations first).

Turn Phases

  1. Begin Phase – Any abilities that trigger at the beginning of your turn are resolved. If you control any characters not at your HQ, return them to your HQ.
  2. Production Phase – During this phase, you have 3 production points. You may use these points either to draw cards or play cards from your hand into your bank. Each point lets you draw 1 card, or play 1 card into your bank. So during this phase, you could draw 3 cards, play 3 resource cards, or any combination of the two. Also note that some abilities and surprises have a cost of “*” which symbolizes a production point. These abilities and surprises must be played during your production phase. At the end of your production phase, you lose any unused production points.
  3. Mission Phase – During this phase, you may assign characters you control in your HQ to attack a location. You may only attack once each turn, and you may only attack one location a turn (for more information on the mission phase, see Missions & Combat)
  4. Deploy Phase – During the deploy phase, you may play characters, modifiers, and assets.
  5. End Phase – During the end phase, you resolve any effects that happen at the end of the turn. Also, all damage taken by characters this turn is removed. Finally, the active player discards down to 7 cards and the turn is over.

Missions & Combat

When you reach your mission phase, you have the option of declaring an attack against one of the locations in play. If you choose not to attack during a turn, skip this phase entirely and move on to the deploy phase. If however, you do decide to attack, follow these steps:

  1. Declare attackers – Select any number of characters at your HQ and declare them as an attacking party. Move them to any one location in play.
  2. Declare defenders – Your opponent may take any number of characters he controls at his HQ and move them to the location being contested. These characters are now the defending party.
  3. Choose challenger – The attacker selects one of the characters in the attacking party to be a challenger.
  4. Oppose challenger – The defender then selects one of the characters in the defending party to oppose the challenger. Those two characters are now considered in combat. Set the two characters aside.
  5. Defender challenges – The defender now chooses a character to challenge the attacking player.
  6. Oppose challenger – The attacker then selects one of the characters in the attacking party to oppose the new challenger. Those two characters are now considered in combat. Set the two characters aside.
  7. More challengers? – If both players have characters left in their parties that are not in combat, go to step 3.
  8. Resolve combat – Once all of one player’s characters are opposed, combat begins. Any characters that were not opposed are considered “unopposed”, and are not involved in combat. Simultaneously, all characters in combat deal damage equal to their Atk to the character opposing them. This damage is called “combat damage”. If any character receives enough damage to destroy it, it is destroyed and removed from combat. Characters involved in combat remain at that location until their owner’s next begin phase.
  9. Check for victory – Now, the attacking player and the defending player total the skill on all characters they control remaining at the location. Take the attacker’s total skill at the location and subtract the defender’s total skill. If this number is equal to or greater than the location’s skill total, the attacker succeeds at attacking the location, and places one of his victory point tokens on the location. If a player ever has victory points on a location equal to or greater than the location’s “VP” stat, the player wins that location. Locations that have been won are turned face down, and all victory point tokens are removed from them (The player that won the location may place one of his tokens onto it to mark that he won it.) No player may declare attacks against a location that has already been won.

Winning the Game

When a player captures the majority of the locations currently in play, that player wins the game.

Ability Keywords

Some cards may contain or make reference to words not previously mentioned in the rulebook. These are called keyworded abilities. Keyworded abilities are bold, and they give a card special attributes. Sometimes, space permitting, the rules for the keyword will be printed on the card in parentheses following the keyword, but in case it does not, here is the current list of keyworded abilities.

  • Mob – This card costs 1 less resource to play for every visible copy of it.
  • Unique – Only 1 copy of this card may be in play at any time. If another copy of this card is played, discard this card.
  • Limited – You may only have 1 copy of this card in your deck.
  • Gang – If this character is attacking or defending but unopposed at the beginning of the resolve combat step, you may add its Atk to target opposed character you control.
  • Shielded – This card may not be targeted by effects and abilities you do not control.
  • Recur – If this card is destroyed, place it in the discard pile instead of the banned pile. If it is discarded or KO’ed, place it in its owner’s hand instead of the discard pile.
  • Long Range – When this character is opposed by another character, it deals its combat damage immediately. It does not deal normal combat damage.
  • Toughness X – When this character takes enough damage to destroy it, if it does not have x wound counters on it, remove all damage from it and place a wound counter on it.
  • Upkeep X – During the beginning of your turn, pay x or destroy this card.
  • Giant X – This character opposes x characters, and must be opposed by x characters.

Glossary

  • Visible – Any card in play or in the discard pile is considered to be “visible.” Some cards and effects will reference visible cards. Resources in your bank are technically visible, but they have no text or attributes, other than their resource points.
  • Resource point – One resource symbol printed on a resource. There may be more than 1 of these on any given resource.
  • Resource – One card in a bank, being used as a resource. Not to be confused with the resource points that card is worth. If a card references “1 resource”, it refers to an entire card.
  • Destroy – To take a card and place it in the void pile, face down. Characters are destroyed when they receive lethal damage. Not to be confused with “discard” or “KO”.
  • KO – To take a card from play, usually a character, and place it face up in your discard pile.
  • Discard – To take a card from your hand or bank and place it in your discard pile. Resources are discarded, not KO’ed, when you use them to pay a cost.