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Author Topic: Bar Top Wargaming  (Read 13399 times)

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Offline Scrasamax

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Bar Top Wargaming
« on: December 08, 2011, 12:38:46 PM »
I'll spare you the details why but I started working months ago on a super simple intuitive table top wargaming system. It was intended for an audience of gamers, both pen and paper and console/PC to play under adverse conditions, aka sleep deprivation, exhaustion, unfamiliarity with the system, and under the influence of alcohol. The game was never completed due to distractions when I had sit down time with people i consult in person over such matters. And in the end, it was a moot point because the bar added a karaoke machine and there was drunkeness and bad singing instead of any semblance of gaming.

Core concept:
You have a 'character' on an index card. This character is nothing more than a small block of stats and a class, with a few keywords.

The character has equipment and ability cards attached to them. This ranges from weapons, special attacks, magic abilities, special armor and equipment, and game altering abilities. These item/ability cards have keywords.

Thus the players, controlling a character, form a combative team ala GI Joe, or any other ensemble action series. Battles are fought against generic enemies. Each enemy kill garners the player points. These points are used to upgrade their core card (each core class had three skill levels, basic, Improved, and Advanced, or Regular, Veteran, and Elite). They could be used to buy different cards and such, such as swapping a machine gun for a laser rifle, or increasing a magic power card.

Now the main idea was that instead of constantly upgraded one basic character, you would accumulate points and upgrade your core character card. You would start off with a basic infantryman, but could get enough points to purchase a Summoner, Lin Keui ninja, SOLDIER from FF7, and a variety of other advanced and elite core classes.

The whole thing is tied together by the Keyword system. If a core card, equipment, or special ability all have the same keyword, they can all be used together. Advanced characters have more keywords, while basic characters have one or two at the most.

Some sample keywords:
Command - linked to special abilities, such as calling in artillery strikes, bringing in fast reinforcements, (add 10 basic infantry to combat party, these are expendable henchmen) to big heavy things like air dropping in tanks, or providing helicopter gunship support for x number of turns.

Power Armor - attached to certain weapons and systems that can only be used by power armor troopers, such as heavy powered melee weapons and heavy weapons.

Para-Psychic - Attached to special abilities that are not ritual magic, such as special attacks utilized by combatants (Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat special attacks, combos and ending moves)

Orgone - attached to magic powers, spells, and summons.

And there are plenty more than can be used.

The idea is a rapid passed game of characters fighting and killing enemies just slightly faster than they are being killed. A squad of marines wipe out an alien bug swarm, loose half their number, but 'meet up' on the battlefield with another smaller group consisting of a few more experienced troopers.

On a side note, a character that gets killed might net the player half of their invested points back, to add to their point pool.


Stout Lagerale of the Dwarven Guild
STR: 4 | END: 4 | CON: 4 | DEX: 2 | CHA: 2 | INT: 4

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Offline Chaosmark

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Re: Bar Top Wargaming
« Reply #1 on: December 09, 2011, 06:40:49 PM »
This sounds like a rather interesting game. Very reminiscent of Munchkin, the way you describe it. I'd like to hear more about this.

Some thoughts:
  • Do the players each have their own library (deck) of cards to use to upgrade their character, or does everyone have to pull from a common pool?
  • How much freedom do players have in customization? Can they pick anything from their available cards, or are they restricted to cards drawn from the deck?
  • Furthermore, are they restricted to just what comes with the core set of cards, or can they make their own cards entirely (following basic guidelines, of course)?
  • Is there a DM of sorts who handles the opponents like in classic P&P RPGs, or is it more like munchkin, where you draw a card from the encounter deck of monsters?
  • Terrain? Environmental effects?
  • Persistence of characters between one game to another?
P(A|B) = P(B|A)*P(A)/P(B)

By the power of Bayes!

Acolyte Lithil Darkheart – Level 1 Necromancer
STR: 1 | END: 2 | CON: 3 | DEX: 3 | CHA: 3 | INT: 3

Current guild quest: --

Offline Scrasamax

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Re: Bar Top Wargaming
« Reply #2 on: December 11, 2011, 08:50:18 AM »
The players have access to a basic library or gear and abilities, I have had a revelation on this. Rather than the index card system i've been playing with: laminated cards and a small reference/gear book. So, there isn't an artificial scarcity or rarity, or propability system in place. If you want the over under automatic grenade launcher flame thrower and you have the points to buy it, you've got it.

Players have full freedom of customization, the only limits are points and keywords. If you cant afford it you cant have it. And if it isn't available to your class, you can't have it.

They will be restricted to whats available in the core set, there shouldn't be any need for custom weapons. The weapons section is going to be exhaustive (101 guns you say, Excellent)

There is a DM, or it could be played in a versus manner where the opponent plays from a different set of keywords/faction. In the moderated version, there are basic outlines of encounters, that would be based on points and specific numbers of enemy units, such as introductory levels being a squad of enemy infantry, all basic weapons, and one commander, or a trio of enemy battle armors, all with the same general multipurpose weapon

Terrain and environment are completely optional

Persistence of characters is possible, if you are running a campaign that spans more than one sitting, and there is the option that rather than run a character until they get killed (and there should be a high mortality rate) you can retire them to the reserve to pull out and equip later, such as for whatever reason, you get a Firebat marine elite, but its a ranged battle, you can retire him, recycle his gear cards for points and add to your pool and buy a new character. The next time you roll up into a bug hunt or bunker buster mission, you can dust him off, get some new gear for him and roll out with an elite character. The gear cycling isn't mandatory but it is soemthing that comes to mind. When a character is killed, you can get back half of the XP invested into them to buy the next character. Again, there is an intentionally high mortality rate built into the game.

Great questions!


Stout Lagerale of the Dwarven Guild
STR: 4 | END: 4 | CON: 4 | DEX: 2 | CHA: 2 | INT: 4

Tentacle Tentacle Sanity Schmanity

Offline Chaosmark

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Re: Bar Top Wargaming
« Reply #3 on: December 11, 2011, 10:33:51 AM »
Excellent! I'm truly loving this game idea more and more.

Gear
I'm thinking this could bog down the speed and fun of the gameplay if not handled carefully. After all, how often do we advise GMs and players alike to know the relevant rules for their situations and characters, so that they don't waste ten minutes looking up the appropriate rules in the manual?

I do like the overall concept of a centralized equipment manual, however (as much as I'm a TCG fan, I think it would detract from this game). And so, while I'm sure any group worth it's salt would likely just write down such things as needed, why not include a few dozen laminated cards with relevant stat blocks already printed and ready to go? Then they can just write on it with a sharpie, then wipe it off when done using that piece of equipment. "Make the common stuff easy, and the uncommon stuff possible."

Weapon Stat Block Example
Quote
Name: ____
Attack Power: ____
Special Effects: ____
Point Cost: ____
Keywords: _____________


Scenarios
I'm thinking it would be wise to include a handful of basic scenarios with the game, so that players get the feel for playing without having to come up with their own balanced fights (which is unlikely for those new to the game). Managed or unmanaged, it would be extremely helpful to just have a few "setup and fight" games. These would be good for extensive playtesting as well.

Ideas:
  • Bug Hunt -- Swarms of cheap, disposable units.
  • Hold the Line -- Set number of 'waves' of new mobs that must be defeated one after another.
  • Bunker Buster -- A group of heavily defensive mobs working in tandem that must be defeated.
  • Assassination -- A huge swarm of mobs, impossible to defeat; players have to kill a single target. (Variant: the target doesn't appear until later rounds)
  • Outbreak -- Combination of Bug Hunt and Hold the Line, players also have to avoid being infected. Infected units eventually become hostile.

Terrain and Environment
I'm thinking these would best be handled as simple modifier bonus cards (with a few exceptions where appropriate).

  • Rainy day/Damaged lighting -- lowered chance to hit/reduced damage. (truly dangerous in Bug Hunt and Hold the Line)
  • Fortified position -- reduced damage taken. (excellent for Hold the Line)
  • Volcanic heat -- constant damage every round. (better work quickly!)
P(A|B) = P(B|A)*P(A)/P(B)

By the power of Bayes!

Acolyte Lithil Darkheart – Level 1 Necromancer
STR: 1 | END: 2 | CON: 3 | DEX: 3 | CHA: 3 | INT: 3

Current guild quest: --

Offline Scrasamax

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Re: Bar Top Wargaming
« Reply #4 on: December 12, 2011, 07:09:20 AM »
I have had the same idea about the laminated cards, but rather than a blank gear card, a blank character card, and one of the things it would have on it would be the weapon stat block. I would probably have room for two weapons (ranged and melee) as well as the class, attack and base melee damage, armor etc. Ideally I don't want a player to have to write down more than 10 pieces of information.


Stout Lagerale of the Dwarven Guild
STR: 4 | END: 4 | CON: 4 | DEX: 2 | CHA: 2 | INT: 4

Tentacle Tentacle Sanity Schmanity

Offline Chaosmark

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Re: Bar Top Wargaming
« Reply #5 on: December 12, 2011, 08:07:30 AM »
I had been thinking that the core game would also have some basic class-character cards preprinted, to promote quick gameplay. The unfortunate thing about 'cards' is that they're small. Is unlikely that much could be fitted on an index-sized card (especially if there's a picture on it, which there should be for preprinted cards; people like eye-candy). Hence my thoughts about blank equipment cards, which would then attach to the main card. Are you thinking more like a character sheet?
P(A|B) = P(B|A)*P(A)/P(B)

By the power of Bayes!

Acolyte Lithil Darkheart – Level 1 Necromancer
STR: 1 | END: 2 | CON: 3 | DEX: 3 | CHA: 3 | INT: 3

Current guild quest: --

Offline Scrasamax

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Re: Bar Top Wargaming
« Reply #6 on: December 12, 2011, 10:26:54 PM »
I'd like to see the blank character cards to be about 5x7 or the size of a zebra printer output label.


Stout Lagerale of the Dwarven Guild
STR: 4 | END: 4 | CON: 4 | DEX: 2 | CHA: 2 | INT: 4

Tentacle Tentacle Sanity Schmanity