12 July 2017

Iteration 2: Hero Plus Minions

This is related to the idea I posted the other day, where this one turns into a combination of card and skirmish game. You pick out a hero and then you get a handful of cards unique to that particular hero. If you're playing the Dwarf King, you get cards about how your dudes are really resilient, and cards that make the Dwarf King good at fighting. If you're playing the Elvish Sorcerer, you get cards about throwing fireballs and having had really good planning. And so on.

And then the other half of the cards come from the units you select. Units have a cost, and come with their own special cards. Some cards might only boost their own powers, but some might have unique benefits. Some cards benefit their entire team, or part of it, or maybe care about card types.

I imagine, especially, a low cost Peasant unit that only does a little bit of something- maybe the Peasants just have a card that says "Discard this card and draw another card," so if you have an army of Peasants they're not doing much, but it leaves more room for your Hero to do stuff all the time.

All the heroes and all of the cards have their own health, armor, and damage values. They also have a range, which just tells you what row they can attack from. Everybody's in two rows- frontline or back. Ranged units can attack into the frontline from the backline, where they are mostly protected from harm. It's difficult to attack the backline, but backline units always have minimal health so they need to be protected. On your turn, you can play a card and attack with any of your units that aren't exhausted. [1] Units that are in combat deal damage to each other equal to their attack values minus the other unit's armor. Health is not replenished except by special effects. Armor applies to each attack- if you are attacked for 3 four times and you have an armor of 2, you take 4 damage. If you took all 12 damage at once, you would take 10 damage.

Play passes back and forth between the units. Each slain unit is worth its cost value. Heroes are worth their supply value (the currency you buy units with). [2] The side with the most points at the end of the game wins. The bigger the difference in score, the more one-sided the game was.

Other Ideas:
Scholars card that has really good card draw but sucks in actual combat.
A monstrous creature that has negative cards that must be played, and then their other cards are excellent. Balancing the risk of having dangerous creatures around that can turn on you... Probably cost 6-8 or so, the Dwarf King and his pet dragon makes for a pretty cool encounter on its own.
Clerics/Paladins that are good melee warriors with a strong heal. Probably just 2 sets of doubles: A card that heals a little and draws you a card, and then a card that heals everybody without the card draw. Cost 4.
Horse Archers unit that can negate an attack while dealing minor damage, making engaging them frustrating to deal with, plus cards about removing enemy resources. Cost 3 maybe?
Heavy Knights who have a big benefit from additional heavy mounted allies, making a valorous charge, plus they have cards about making all their attacking allies better if they're not attacking. Probably cost 5 or 4.
Backline archers that do more damage with other archers. These guys should cost 2, I think, they are effective but taking too many is risky.
Ranger unit that can shift between front or back line, with their ability cards split between defensive frontliner and aggressive backliner.. Cost 1, but he's got two cards.
Berserker unit that gets stronger when it's alone and outnumbered. (like "Berserkers gets damage bonus minus two for each friendly frontline unit," and "Berserkers gains X armor for the turn, where X is the number of enemy frontliners," and then something where they take damage to land a big attack.
Militia- are frontline, but can attack from the backline with a card. Their other card heals them, since there's never a shortage of Militia. Cost 2
A real dwarfy dwarf who likes other dwarfs. Maybe a captain or something. He comes with its own sub-unit of two dwarfs, who do not have cards. Cost 3 or 4.
Dwarf warriors because you have to have them. Cost 3, they can look at the enemy's cards and gives everybody armor for a turn if you're being attacked.
An elf captain, this guy is 1 more than the Dwarf Captain because he's more of a solo hero. Has a team attack buff, a personal defense buff, a decent AoE attack, and something else.
These are elf commandos, so they have a good attack but bad armor. They have evasive cards though.

This is mostly brainstorming for my own benefit, but if anybody reads this then hopefully you can see what I'm talking about, lol

[1] Exhausted units can't attack. Exhaustion mostly comes from special effects- it's not like tapping in Magic where you tap to attack and all that.

[2] Heroes have 10 supply value by default, but there's no real reason they can't have less.

09 July 2017

Paralyzing Perfection

The title is taken from this blog, Doomslakers!, which I just discovered this morning but quite enjoy.

It discusses the fear that whatever we create won't be perfect, and won't live up to the ideal, therefore it's not worthy to be shared. Or created, or whatever. You get disappointed in how your project isn't shaping up to be quite right, and therefore you abandon it.

In this vein, let me share the nugget of the idea I've been thinking about.

I haven't been playing a lot of roleplaying games [1], and so to fill the time in between working and sleeping, these days I've been playing video games instead. One of these video games is Heroes of the Storm. I'm an old hand at these kinds of games- I've been playing proto-"MOBAs" since their generation in the Warcraft 3 customs scene, and I've played nearly everything since. But Heroes of the Storm is my absolute favorite, for the time being. The characters are well designed, the different maps makes a different set of heroes stronger or weaker, and the focus is on actually playing as a team all game long.

One of the things that the Heroes team does is make a shifting rotation of minigame maps available to play. One of my favorite features two teams battling arena-style over two enormous AI-controlled warriors called Punishers. A team gets 3 points for killing an enemy hero, and ten points for killing the powerful Punishers.

Punishers spend about half their time attacking each other, and half their time attacking whatever hero is the closest to them. They are about an even match for two heroes, but can be defeated fairly quickly by an entire team. Of course, the enemy team wants to kill you and your Punisher, so it's a balancing act.

I was thinking of making a game based around similar conventions- a short team-based tactics skirmish game. I decided to borrow the action system from the wonderful Space Hulk: Death Angels boardgame, and so when you pick a hero you get three or four cards that you add to your action deck. You have 5 heroes, so you have a total deck size of 15-20. Each turn, you can move each of your heroes and you also get two actions. With an action, you can play a card or draw a card.

Heroes also have health, armor, movement speed, and attack values. A hero can move up their movement value each turn. A hero adds their attack value to the damage of any attacks they deal, and subtracts their armor from each instance of incoming damage. When they're out of health, a hero dies and comes back later. [2]

Mostly, I thought of heroes that would be interesting in this context. Such as:

Storm Priest-
    Chain Lightning- Deal medium damage to a single target, then light damage to a nearby enemy, then light damage to a nearby enemy
    Energize- Heal + bonus on next move
    Teleport- Move to a nearby location and deal damage to all adjacent enemies
Wolf Shaman- dash attack, selfheal + draw, purge effect
    Lunge- Dash and deal light bonus damage. Deal more damage if the target is bleeding.
    Adrenaline- Heal light damage and draw a card
    Purge- Remove all cards from a target and deal light damage
Dark Crusader-
    Gathering Shadows- deals medium damage to all adjacent enemies
    Drain Life- Medium range damage + self heal
    Block- Discard to reduce the damage from a single attack
Iron Knight-
    Block- Discard to reduce the damage from a single attack
    Crash- Dash and stun an enemy
    Burning Blade- Deal bonus damage and ignite enemy   
Grey Monk-
    Kick- Counter a card played by an adjacent enemy
    Flurry- Make three attacks with a single attack action.
    Adrenaline- heal light damage and draw a card
Beastmaster Sergeant-
    Hounds- heal all hounds. if there are less hounds than two, summon hounds adjacent to beastmaster until there are two.
        Hounds are fast but not tough. They deal light damage.
    Sound the Alarm- discard a card, then draw a card. an ally may move.
    Lacerate- Attack, and apply damage over time

There's still a lot of work to be done with this one, obviously enough. But it's a lot of fun writing this stuff anyways!

[1] My last attempt at running 5e failed because I am apparently unable to learn that I don't really like running 5e. Plus my group had no chemistry- everybody was laid back, and everybody appreciated the way I ran the game, but there was nobody to bounce my ideas off of!

[2] I actually haven't decided what to do about this part, honestly. In the HotS minigame, dying gives the other team points and you come back in a somewhat short period of time. The map is smallish, so it doesn't take you long to get back into the fight- you can sometimes even jump back into the same extended skirmish if both sides are playing cautiously enough.