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Made in us
Longtime Dakkanaut







Hello Dakka:

Over the last few months, I have been working on a general-purpose system to handle assorted issues I have with many game systems out there: Whether its IGOUGO being "I Go, you kill time on Tinder," whether its randomized activations (be it a die-bag ala Bolt Action, or "do you act?" rolls ala Epic or Hail Caesar), or "reactions" being free or otherwise a separate subset of actions independent of normal actions.

The system I'm working on is, as far as I've noticed, relatively unlike most others out there. The closest thing out there might be Tomorrow's War but even that comparison may fall flat. Currently, what I have is:
-Each player gets a variable (depending on army) amount of Tactical Points (TP) per turn.
-Each unit may perform a maximum of 2 actions per turn. An action is either a single Full Action, or a Move&Rapid Action.
-A unit may perform up to 2 actions when Activated.
-Although normally you may only Activate one unit before your opponent Activates a unit in turn, you may spend TP to Retain the Initiative. Activating a consecutive unit costs 1 TP, activating a unit after that costs another 2 TP, activating another unit on top of that another 3 TP, etc.
-When at least one unit in your army would be affected by an enemy unit's action, one unit in your may Interrupt, preempting that action by performing *one* Action. The nature of this mechanic is fairly intentional, as Interrupts trigger on intent to attack rather than intent to move, but Interrupting isn't based on a separate "Overwatch" action, the intent is to prevent the game from bogging down into a Mexican Standoff ala 2e 40k.
-In either case, it costs a TP to activate or interrupt with a unit that has already taken an action this turn.
-Interrupts may be Interrupted in turn, resolving themselves in a LIFO manner of preemption. Preempting an Interrupt will cost a TP for every second level in the stack. When interrupting, you may only attack the topmost unit in the stack.
-Should an Interrupt result in a unit being unable to attack its original declared target (example: A tank drives in the way, preventing line of sight), the unit may subsequently change targets to one of the units responsible for losing its original target. This retargeting may also be Interrupted.
-Bringing in units from reserves also costs TP.

I've done some basic testing so far, and so far things are looking promising. Although I haven't formatted the ruleset in as concise a manner as I want, the system has been surprisingly fast, and you almost always have meaningful play decisions even if it isn't your turn. The "Interrupt" system is innately meant to make Activations more economical for actual actions. Thus, there is a fine balance between going for an "all out" attack, saving TP for mutually supporting maneuvers (bounding overwatch, etc), or bringing in reserves. However, there are a few quirks I am debating a solution to:

-Currently, the game is based on "one unit targets one unit" and "one unit interrupts one unit". Although this works ok enough at skirmish level, it gets clunky if you have squads (and multiassaults), AOEs, etc. One thing I have contemplated is allowing multiple units to interrupt on the same tier of a stack, but only one unit may attempt to attack, and that attacker is the only unit allowed to Interrupt.
-With consecutive actions, should the same unit be allowed to activate twice before your opponent gets to activate? As an example, let us suppose an APC uses one action to move into position, and ends its Activation. The player spends 1 TP to activate a second unit. The squad inside disembarks and fires its SMGs. The player now spends 3 TP (2 for Activating a 3rd unit, 1 because the unit already took a 3rd action) for the APC to move again. Currently, I am leaning towards "no" but I would like to hear your thoughts.

My tests have been admittedly fairly barebones, with a dummy game being two teams each of 10 human-equivalents (Dark Vengeance Chaos Cultists), each acting as a solo model, and both players getting 6 TP per turn. As for scaling, I am imagining that in addition to the "common" pool of TP that can be used by the army as a whole, characters can each have their own pool of Hero Points that can be spent by the character, or as an ersatz TP for the Hero's unit.
   
Made in us
[DCM]
Infiltrating Prowler





Portland, OR

This is very similar to the system we use in our skirmish game Code Zero with some slight differences. It is a Players Alternate Activations with an Action/Reaction system that can be described as 'stack-based' if you are MtG player or 'chain' if you are a WoW TCG player. Originally that was how we developed it was a form of TCG but then applied it to miniatures gaming.

Players have Activation Points which is determined by their units. Heroes which are generally one single model generates 1AP and a fireteam (consists of 3-5 models) generates 3AP. These Activation Points are used to activate units which will let them do two short actions (move + shoot) or one long action (cautious move). During the 1st Activation, it creates a priority window which the opposing player can spend 1AP to basically steal the initiative. That lets them activate 1 unit, upon which the 1st Activation also creates a priority window (very similar to MtG and multiple instances stacking). Then we resolve activations backward, first in, last out process.

The caveat is that you can only Activate up to 2 units (hero or fireteam) in this fashion without any negative effects. If you continue to activate then those units gain Fatigue status, which gives them some negative modifiers. It is a risk vs rewards thing, so there is more risk, but it lets you pull units out of situations where they might be getting pincered or flanked, also lets you actually do a feint or have a unit be bait.

There is also another priority window in which units can 'react', that is after the 2nd action for their activation. However this is a limited priority window, so you could not spend an AP to activate a unit in response who has their full actions. It doesn't cost AP, but does let you respond by doing a Snap Fire in response to someone shooting or moving into LoS or Evade in response to a unit firing.


Overall a great system. It sounds complex at first if the players have never played MtG but once you understand the windows you can do react and how the activations resolve, then it clicks into place. After a couple turns with a newer player it clicks in quickly and gameplay is fairly fluid. One player designating their action (move, shoot) and then opponent declaring a reaction, if any. It definitely creates a very chess-like gameplay where one unit can directly or indirectly affect another unit especially when playing with varied objectives.

 
   
Made in kr
Ork-Hunting Inquisitorial Xenokiller






your mind

I am averse to at single unit acting more than once in a single turn thpug I suppose that a fatigue mechanic might make up for that. A phase system allows units to perform different types of action during different phases and these might be exploited to perform the same sort of action twice in a turn at the expense of tactical points. Something like that seems OK ... I like your idea of using tactical points to retain initiative during a turn but how do you mitigate imbalanced quantities of units on either side of the table? Did I miss that part when I quickly read your initial post?

Personally I liked the old overwatch counter mechanic much better than the way that overwatch is handled in 40k these days.
As for your stack mechanic it seems to be a good idea. I can see how it helps to reinforce the overbearing weight of numbers that mass infantry should represent for example. Seems to make things more difficult for smaller forces but maybe this is the way that things should be in many contexts.

This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 2017/10/12 05:51:14


   
Made in us
Slicing Orb of Xandros






SoCal, USA!

Using a MtG-like stack is fine - certainly no worse than any other system.

IMO, this works OK for small skirmish.

Question, can I save points for next turn? In other words, if I do a bunch of quick little turns, can I pile up points for a HUGE turn later?

-- 9k Craftworld Tian-Bing Eldar
-- 7k Ragnarok 1st "Einherjar" Imperial Guard
-- 4k Knights Sovereign SM
-- 2k Pale Templars CSM
-- 2k Ordo Lucifer =I=
-- 1k Sisters SoB
-- 4k Solland's Ghosts WFB Dogs of War 
   
Made in us
Longtime Dakkanaut







 JohnHwangDD wrote:
Using a MtG-like stack is fine - certainly no worse than any other system.

IMO, this works OK for small skirmish.

Question, can I save points for next turn? In other words, if I do a bunch of quick little turns, can I pile up points for a HUGE turn later?


Hmm, interesting. While testing out the system, I went with "No", simply because I could easily see things devolving into a standoff for the first few roundw until one player accumulated enough points to pull off a giant betastrike. That said, I could see certain armies/units/characters being able to replenish TP during their turn under certain conditions, or being able to save limited TP for X actions, but the core system would make TP "use it or lose it" from turn to turn.
   
Made in us
Slicing Orb of Xandros






SoCal, USA!

To me, a big reason to use such a system is to balance short term vs long term. If someone wants to try and build that huge beta strike, then they are foregoing gains in the early rounds. They are risking an early loss for a later win. That is a good risk-reward system.

But, if you're not doing that, then the game is no longer interesting.

-- 9k Craftworld Tian-Bing Eldar
-- 7k Ragnarok 1st "Einherjar" Imperial Guard
-- 4k Knights Sovereign SM
-- 2k Pale Templars CSM
-- 2k Ordo Lucifer =I=
-- 1k Sisters SoB
-- 4k Solland's Ghosts WFB Dogs of War 
   
Made in us
Longtime Dakkanaut







I mean, it *can* be tested. But given that there is still risk versus reward in balancing "consecutive activations" versus Interrupts, versus staggering out your turn (be it Interrupts or split Activarions) to react to enemy maneuvers, versus counter-Interrupting, I would imagine there is enough decision-making as is.

What I am more concerned about is anything that turns the game into a standoff, be it "2nd ed" Overwatch, or shticks like the 4th Positional Relay (aka the Ninja Tau gimmick) that attempt to make a win without actually fighting.

I also haven't thought much about Objectives, but I do want to avoid the game from either turning into "gunline camping", or "rocket tag." I am imagining objectives being "per turn" rather than "end of game", and extra points being awarded if said objectives owned form a "chain" to the objective closest to your deployment zone. Something like 6e Linebreaker in "concept", but representing actually effecting a real breakthrough rather than a last-turn touchdown.
   
Made in us
Slicing Orb of Xandros






SoCal, USA!

Quite frankly, you have rules challenges that are going to be tricky to balance. You want to avoid 2E Overwatch, but you allow shooting reactions. You want point-based activation, but you don't let people bank unused points.

You kinda need to decide what's most important, and the only way to do that is to write your rules and play them a bit. You may well find that it's best to do away with reactions entirely, and/or just play Igo-Ugo or straight alternation.

Spitballing back and forth over a theoretical game at a conceptual level is going to be much slower than actually playing games with purpose.

-- 9k Craftworld Tian-Bing Eldar
-- 7k Ragnarok 1st "Einherjar" Imperial Guard
-- 4k Knights Sovereign SM
-- 2k Pale Templars CSM
-- 2k Ordo Lucifer =I=
-- 1k Sisters SoB
-- 4k Solland's Ghosts WFB Dogs of War 
   
Made in us
Nasty Nob





SoCal

I handled point banking by making it an opportunity cost. If you banked points on a model, you had to use an action to do it, and that also meant it couldn't use some other actions. Then your opponent can also try to take out that model to deny those points.

   
Made in au
Homicidal Veteran Blood Angel Assault Marine




Oz

Do interrupts have a consequence on a standard turn/action? Like if i 'shoot' someone who is about to shoot my unit, does that affect the unit that just reacted if they haven't activated yet?

 
   
Made in us
Longtime Dakkanaut







 Torga_DW wrote:
Do interrupts have a consequence on a standard turn/action? Like if i 'shoot' someone who is about to shoot my unit, does that affect the unit that just reacted if they haven't activated yet?


A unit may only take 2 actions per turn, and Interrupting uses one (and only one) of the two actions. To activate (or interrupt) with a unit that has taken one action this turn costs a TP (in addition to other costs: ex, consecutive unit activations or bringing in units from Reserves).

Since an Activation lets you two actions (assuming the unit doesn't take more than two actions/turn), the tradeoff is Interrupts=less actions, or less TP to spend overall. Also, since Interrupts are based on "intent to attack" instead of "intent to move", you cannot Interrupt a unit that is just moving from one piece of cover to another. This part is intentional, and the testing has worked for small fireteams combat, but I would need to test this against "big models" too. (Something about a Baneblade or so ducking from cover to cover seems silly).

It also means you cannot reposition to "shoot better", unless you intended to Interrupt with moving&shooting a weapon that could be fired as a Rapid Action. I do need to test "multiple units interrupt on the same stack tier, only one unit per tier attacks" as the means to handle "multiunit melees" and AOEs.

More random stuff: Once those items are ironed out, I am wondering how to make the stack scalable for 3-player or 4-player games. Because why not? One thing I have done, based on recommendation, was to make "who goes first each turn" a bid. Think 40k Seize the Initiative, only the players bid TP in clockwise order. The winner pays all, the losers pay half TP (rounding up). Initiative goes to the next player clockwise at the start of the 2nd turn, but the bids can continue.

You can theoretically get a "double activation" with this system, if a unit is the last to act in the previous turn, and first to act in the turn. Unlike Warzone or other systems, I feel that tracking "last unit to act" would be more bookkeeping on top of bookkeeping, and the fairly fluid interrupt system (since you could use it for *any* full action, or move+rapid action) makes it easier to mitigate "super activations." I need to scale my tests upward though, and see if the system could scale for "giant units" or so.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2017/10/14 13:40:28


 
   
Made in us
[DCM]
Infiltrating Prowler





Portland, OR

 MagicJuggler wrote:
More random stuff: Once those items are ironed out, I am wondering how to make the stack scalable for 3-player or 4-player games. Because why not? One thing I have done, based on recommendation, was to make "who goes first each turn" a bid. Think 40k Seize the Initiative, only the players bid TP in clockwise order. The winner pays all, the losers pay half TP (rounding up). Initiative goes to the next player clockwise at the start of the 2nd turn, but the bids can continue.
There should be no need to modify the stack to make it playable for 3-4 player games, the stack is already designed with that in mind. Just like playing EDH/Commander or other multiplayer MtG games, players alternate while having the ability to interrupt. In a larger game though TP becomes more valuable because there are more opportunities to spend.

 
   
 
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