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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 13:55:49


 
   
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.

 
   
Made in us
Longtime Dakkanaut







 Dark Severance wrote:
 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.


What I think I will do, in order to simplify things is:

-A unit may declare its intent to attack against multiple units simultaneously. While this happens, all players that are "incidentally targeted" are temporarily allied for purposes of being able to interrupt. Each player targeted may have one unit in a given level of the stack attack in an interrupt. (So "free-for-alls" are more risky, due to the potential for temporary alliances).
   
Made in us
Plaguelord Titan Princeps of Nurgle






Jacksonville, NC

I like the idea of stack based minitures systems, it somewhat reminds me of Warmahordes where activation priority was extremely important. This also allows for interesting counter play in that you can see what an opponent may be trying and counterplay, much like chess.

However, I think the way you've explained it is kind of convoluted and confusing.

1) What actions are considered "full actions" and what is a "rapid action"?

2) Interrupts sound a lot like the Magic equivalent. However, I would recommend you need a set list of "interrupt actions" and how they are triggered. I.e. if a unit is charged, the opponent may spend a point to overwatch as an interrupt if they did not fire the previous turn (risk vs reward)

3) What happens when your TP runs out? Does it go to the next turn or do you have to wit until your opponent spends all his points too?

4) "Banking" points, as pointed out earlier, would feel a bit gamey and encourage gunlines and less counter play. I'm guessing the idea here is to make the game more interactive and interesting each turn? Maybe certain units will allow this to make armies varied (such as "this player may hold 2 TP until the next turn"), but making this a general rule I feel would be a bad idea.

5) I would limit how many activations are allowed before the opponent gets to go. As well, your first activation should cost 1 TP to encourage the game moving forward and the use of points.

6) Allocating how many points an army receives for whatever will be tricky. If you do it on a by-unit basis, it encourages low model count spam. if you do a blanket policy armies will have to play off strengths, but it discourages creativity. Maybe you can do a blanket points total and then certain models add to this number?

These are just a few ideas I had reading this post. Its an extremely interesting concept. I actually like turn based games where you are limited actions, many board games use these concepts, because it prevents the boredom of waiting for someone else to do a billion things.

Newly returned to 40k, Nurgle! 
   
Made in us
Longtime Dakkanaut







 Zid wrote:
I like the idea of stack based minitures systems, it somewhat reminds me of Warmahordes where activation priority was extremely important. This also allows for interesting counter play in that you can see what an opponent may be trying and counterplay, much like chess.


Thanks, the use of ATB and a "resource mechanic" were partially cribbed from WMH. I wanted activation order to be strictly player-influenced rather than randomized like other AA systems.

 Zid wrote:
1) What actions are considered "full actions" and what is a "rapid action"?

A Rapid Action is an action that can be used by itself or immediately after making a Move Action. This usually means melee weapons, or certain "assault" weapons (pistols, shotguns, etc). Since melee weapons grant an extra 3" of extra "lunge" movement, this means move+melee is analogous to charging.

 Zid wrote:
2) Interrupts sound a lot like the Magic equivalent. However, I would recommend you need a set list of "interrupt actions" and how they are triggered. I.e. if a unit is charged, the opponent may spend a point to overwatch as an interrupt if they did not fire the previous turn (risk vs reward)

Not gonna lie, I did crib the idea for a stack from Magic. Interrupts are simply taking one Action instead of 1 or 2. The main reasons I didn't want 2e/SWA Overwatch (Stand still, trigger when enemy enters LOS) is to discourage gunline camping.

Note that since my last post, I figured out how to resolve scenarios where an attack affects multiple enemy units, whether they belong to one player or several.

 Zid wrote:
3) What happens when your TP runs out? Does it go to the next turn or do you have to wit until your opponent spends all his points too?

You can still activate single units at a time or Interrupt with units that haven't taken any actions that turn. If you run out of TP, yet you still have units that have only taken one action each, tough luck. Call it "Incompetent Command" if you will

 Zid wrote:
4) "Banking" points, as pointed out earlier, would feel a bit gamey and encourage gunlines and less counter play. I'm guessing the idea here is to make the game more interactive and interesting each turn? Maybe certain units will allow this to make armies varied (such as "this player may hold 2 TP until the next turn"), but making this a general rule I feel would be a bad idea.

Effectively, yes. Things like "Banking points," gaining them from accomplishing certain in-game feats, etc. are more for individual armies/special abilities, rather than the core engine IMO.

 Zid wrote:
5) I would limit how many activations are allowed before the opponent gets to go. As well, your first activation should cost 1 TP to encourage the game moving forward and the use of points.

Interesting. I will need to think more on this. There is currently no hard limit on how many activations, just an incrementing cost for consecutive activations. So:
-No TP = 1 Activation
-1 TP = 2 Activations
-3 TP = 3 Activations
-6 TP = 4 Activations
-10 TP = 5 Activations
This is in addition to any other CP cost modifiers of course. Since TP are also required for counter-interrupting (being more than one level on the Interrupt Stack), or bringing in Reserves, it's an inherent paradox that ironically helps penalize alphastrike-play.

That being said, making every Activation cost at least 1 TP base does sound interesting too, if only as an implicit cap against extreme MSU. My only concern would be the need to inflate the amount of TP both players get per turn, as I want it to be something trackable by marbles/tokens (ala Warmahordes Focus/Fury) instead of requiring a spreadsheet (ala Starfleet Battles Power Units) I will probably test this out though.

 Zid wrote:
6) Allocating how many points an army receives for whatever will be tricky. If you do it on a by-unit basis, it encourages low model count spam. if you do a blanket policy armies will have to play off strengths, but it discourages creativity. Maybe you can do a blanket points total and then certain models add to this number?


I imagine the "number of TP" depends on army to army.
I haven't started army design yet I imagine there are three army archetypes.

First though, I want to test out "Hero Points" as a mechanic. Unlike TP which are available to the whole army, HP are only usable by the characters that have it. HP can either be spent in lieu of TP for that character's unit, or they can be used for Heroic Actions. The actual Heroic Actions bit I'm still drafting up, whether they be special actions (like * Attacks or * Actions), or Fight/Will/Fate (ala Lord of the Rings), or even like 8e unit-specific Stratagems.

If Hero Points work, I imagine the Archetypes are:
-"Professional" armies, which have a higher base number of TP, and an ok amount of HP. Think Roman Legonaires or British Redcoats.
-"Heroic" armies have low amounts of TP but high amounts of HP. They're great at individual champions or warbands attaining feats of prowess, but poor at acting as a cohesive army. Think the Gauls vs Caesar's army, Homeric Greece, Samurai, etc.
-"Mook" armies which have low TP and HP, but TP can be provided by Commanders, and TP discounts exist for performing actions in rigid sequence. Think WWI French, Spanish Tercios, Bismarck's Prussia, etc.

And depending on if the core system is solid enough, you could do other things to build on the system. Make "armywide" feats require a combo of HP or TP, or let them be used for "combo attacks," ala Chrono Trigger.

 Zid wrote:
These are just a few ideas I had reading this post. Its an extremely interesting concept. I actually like turn based games where you are limited actions, many board games use these concepts, because it prevents the boredom of waiting for someone else to do a billion things.

Thanks for the positive feedback, I'm definitely trying to cut down on that "waiting" factor, hence the use of the Stack for "OH YEAH?...(out of TP) I got nothing."

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2017/11/13 15:29:43


 
   
Made in us
Plaguelord Titan Princeps of Nurgle






Jacksonville, NC

From your original post it sounded like the TP was a way to balance turns, rather than acting like CP in 40k where once your out, your out.

To me it read like: Spend TP to do stuff, once your out your opponent finishes spending TP, then a new turn starts and your TP is back. It sounded like a mash up of chess, magic, and WMH mixed with 40k, which I like the idea of.

For example: I get 10 TP a turn, you get 12 TP a turn (lets say you run a horde army so you have more units to activate). I go first, spend 1 TP to move a unit, then 2 TP to move another unit. You go, move 3 units, so spend 6 TP. I go, I spend 1 TP to move a unit and charge one of your units, which you spend 1 TP to overwatch (I'm down to 6, you have 5). We fight, yada yada, and I pass. You spend 1 TP to charge another unit into mine, wiping my unit out, then spend another 2 TP to move the unit I assaulted back into cover (you now have 2 TP). See where I'm going?

I'd also probably have a rule that the first person for a round that spends all their TP goes first in the following round (this prevents someone from getting back to back turns). If that makes any sense?

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2017/11/13 23:43:31


Newly returned to 40k, Nurgle! 
   
Made in us
Longtime Dakkanaut







 Zid wrote:
From your original post it sounded like the TP was a way to balance turns, rather than acting like CP in 40k where once your out, your out.

It does replenish from turn to turn, and is meant to balance out activation orders. I mostly drafted up the system because I was a little annoyed that things like "Wargear" or flat performance buffs were considered Stratagems, rather than CP representing the actual ability to command and control. ("Ok, bring in the reserves! Plug that gap in the battlelines! All-out counterattack!")

 Zid wrote:
To me it read like: Spend TP to do stuff, once your out your opponent finishes spending TP, then a new turn starts and your TP is back. It sounded like a mash up of chess, magic, and WMH mixed with 40k, which I like the idea of.

Once you and your opponent are out of Activations, a new turn starts. Note that since you could use TP to have a unit do two "one activations" or double-interrupts, this could result in scenarios where you have no TP, yet some units that have only taken one action.

 Zid wrote:
For example: I get 10 TP a turn, you get 12 TP a turn (lets say you run a horde army so you have more units to activate). I go first, spend 1 TP to move a unit, then 2 TP to move another unit. You go, move 3 units, so spend 6 TP. I go, I spend 1 TP to move a unit and charge one of your units, which you spend 1 TP to overwatch (I'm down to 6, you have 5). We fight, yada yada, and I pass. You spend 1 TP to charge another unit into mine, wiping my unit out, then spend another 2 TP to move the unit I assaulted back into cover (you now have 2 TP). See where I'm going?

Yup, that makes sense. Again, I do want to test the numbers more as things scale upward. The main reason I am testing "0-1-3" TP activation instead of "1-3-6" is for tracking less tokens, as well as to emphasize the "spending Focus" feel of it all. That said, I see the appeal of 1-3-6, as you could balance it with "officers grant more TP" to prevent extreme MSU scenarios.

 Zid wrote:
I'd also probably have a rule that the first person for a round that spends all their TP goes first in the following round (this prevents someone from getting back to back turns). If that makes any sense?

It makes sense. If I go last in a turn, then first in the next turn, I could have the unit that activated last be the first to activate in the following turn. Personally, I'm kind of ok with that, as gamey as it may be, especially if there's a bidding mechanism in between turns for players to spend TP to determine whom activates first. I can definitely test your idea out though.

Again, this has been rather helpful. Definitely looking to get some more playtests in.

This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 2017/11/14 00:17:37


 
   
 
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