Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Spin-off game: Battle for Illeria

I recently posted my back-story to The Forge (www.indie-rpgs.com), for feedback and opinions on the world I have created. One person there had an interesting comment about "impending dangers," and it got me thinking about a possible spin-off game:

The game Escape From Illeria is about party level combat that breaks out after the guards in Illeria are overthrown. It happens in part because there is a lack of resources to go around. However, I have basically thus far not considered what Balthazar would be doing when he discovered that his magic lab revolted. Probably, once he figured out what was happening, and once he could muster an army, he would send that army to Illeria to try to reclaim it. However, when he sent a small army over, they probably would bring a lot of resources with them. Possibly enough to stave off starvation until the society on Illeria could get their feet under them. Between this, and the fact that now everyone on the island has a common enemy, this could cause the fallen society of prisoners on Illeria to reform.

Thus, "Battle for Illeria." This game would be more like a mass-combat game. One player would always control the armies of Balthazar. She would go to battle with a large army of ordinary troopers. They could range anywhere from basic men-at-arms (basically, villagers with swords) to elite cavalry. On the Illerian side would be a small group of independent characters. The characters would each be more powerful, and would strategically have a lot more flexibility (since the Illerians are not trying to organize an entire army), but would be vastly outnumbered. The game would cease to be played on two boards, but would have the innovation of being an asymmetric war. I have yet to see any wargames that were designed in this fashion.

Rules would be simplified for most types of abilities. Mainland armies would be squad-based, and limited by the number of actions they could perform. Illerian characters could be more complicated, since you control a smaller number of them. Lots of rules could be kept in tact, but I would need to add new rules in for things like mass-psychology. The game might also be point-based rather than level-based. I would also need to alter powers to represent the fact that everything is mass combat now. For example, in the old game, killing 1 person was worth more than doing a little damage to everyone within 3", this would have to change.

Okay, I think I'm going to need to keep this idea on the shelf for a little while, but it's been exciting to think about.


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

More thoughts on orders

So, in my last post, said I was thinking about changing the way orders worked. The more I think about it, the more I don't understand why I didn't do this earlier...

If I take it out, I lose the following situations-
a) (archer) "Shoot, I was going to shoot at your general, but then he ran into the bush. Rather than shoot someone new, I'm going just not going to shoot at all."
b) (witch) "Well, I was originally going to throw my magic arrow at that guy far away. Someone with a huge battleaxe just appeared in front of me, but I think I'm going to stick with my original choice."
c) (Player) "Wait, remind me again, if I want to cast Fast Attack, what do I need to declare? Do I need to pick a target? Let me find that entry in my 70 page rulebook..."
d) (Player) "Drat! I miswrote the order. Guess that voids my turn."
e) (archer) "Well, I was going to shoot you, but you charged me, and now I can't. However, because I was trying to, I will be penalized as if I had."

(a) and (b) would be appropriate for something like a WWI game, but not a game like this. (c) is just incredibly obnoxious. By cutting it out, I will speed up the game significantly. (d), well, it works for a game like Diplomacy, but not here. (e) is actually something I kind of regret losing, but I guess it's worth letting go.

The reason I originally made players choose actions was because I thought it would make the game more strategic. However, the more I think about it, I really don't think that much strategy is actually lost. You still need to choose who will act (as it stands, how you will divide 5 orders amongst 10 people), and when. I feel like if you're playing the game well, then 90% or 95% of the time you will already be pretty sure what your character will do when you decide whether or not to activate her.

So, the simple version sticks (at least until a playtester tells me it sucks), and I save obnoxious planning to mass-scale games.

Happy New Year!


“I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.” – Eisenhower