More defending player involvement

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Roscoe
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More defending player involvement

Post by Roscoe » Tue Jun 26, 2012 8:47 pm

For the purposes of this discussion the "defending player" is the guy whos turn it isn't.

What do you guys think about more defending player involvement in the game? In my view this is one of the things that makes Infinity so different, players always feel like they have some level of control whether its their turn or not. Lets look at 40k, (haven't read 6th edition yet) even though its strictly turn based the defending player is still given something to do with all the armour saves you end up rolling.

I think this is something that Dark Potential is really lacking in at the moment, as soon as your turn is over all you do is remove models waiting for your turn again. I know we don't want to copy games like Infinity but a bit of defending player participation would really help the game. It keeps both players engaged in the battle, and adds another dimension to tactics.

Here's what I would suggest:

Defending Player Reactions

There are a number of reactions that the defending player can make in his opponents turn, these allow the defending player to better react to what his/her opponent is doing in their turn. Broken units cannot perform reactions. Reactions include:

Take Cover - If a Shooting attack is declared against a defending unit it may choose to take cover this grants the unit +1 defence against any shooting attacks until the start of the opponents next turn. However units taking cover cannot move in their following turn this means that move or shoot weapons cannot be fired if the unit is taking cover.

Counter Charge - If a charge is declared against a defending unit it may choose to counter charge. A counter charge may only be performed if the defending unit spends a command point and passes a morale test at -1 modifier. Upon a successful counter charge move both units equal distance so that they are in close combat. Close combat attacks from both units are then resolved simultaneously.

Return Fire - If a shooting attack is declared against a defending unit it may choose to Return Fire. In order to attempt this the defending unit must spend a command point then make a normal perception check against the enemy unit if successful the defending unit can make a shooting attack at -2 to hit. Both shooting attacks are then resolved simultaneously. Units using return fire are limited to 1 RoF per model participating. I would recommend a special rule disallowing some weapons from using return fire: cumbersome, slow target acquisition, any name like that will do. Move or shoot weapons cannot return fire.

Rout - If a charge is declared against a defending unit it may choose to rout this gives the defending unit a free move D6" directly away from the charging enemy unit.
However the defending unit is automaticly destroyed if any of the following occur:
1. The charging enemy unit is still within charge range the defending unit.
2. If the D6" move takes the defending unit off the table.
3. If the D6" move takes the defending unit into base contact with another enemy unit.
If the defending unit is not destroyed it has successfully routed and is now Broken.

A unit can only perform one reaction per Reaction Phase.

Fluff Justification

Take Cover - Fairly obvious this one but the unit immediately hits the deck after coming under fire to make better use of cover or to present a smaller target although this leaves them bogged down under enemy fire so they cannot move. It also makes it impossible to fire larger heavier weapons that need to be set up such as sniper rifles and rocket launchers.

Counter Charge - This is pretty much just combat ready but I think it will get much more use as a reaction rather than an action. This mechanic is supposed to represent the brave reactions of models who see their bloodthirsty enemies barring down on them and their reaction is to defiantly charge right into the fray.

Return Fire - This mechanic is to represent a unit who comes under fire and quickly identifies where the shots are being fired from to quickly snap off a few shots in the enemies direction. This is fast reaction shooting so the shots are not well aimed.

Rout - This mechanic represents a unit that sees the enemy charging at them and loses all courage, perhaps the squad leader yells for his men to run. Routing is dangerous for the unit as it can easily end in the whole unit being cut down. Even if successful the unit is left shocked and out of breath. In gameplay terms Broken.

Suggested Special Rules for Reactions

Dauntless - When attempting a Counter-Charge units with the Dauntless special rule do not suffer -1Mr. (Perhaps this should confer a +1Mr instead)
Faction Specific Rule for Bandits, Bioformed, Salvagers.

Centralized Intelligence - When a unit is targeted by an enemy charge or shooting attack a friendly unit within 6" may choose to make a reaction instead of the targeted unit.
Faction specific rule for Salvagers.

Target Acquisition programs - A Reclaimers suit can have on board target acquisition programs that give firing solutions to the user. This unit ignores the -2 Sh penalty for return fire.
USR for some elite Reclaimer units, maybe elite Salvager units. Maybe a few other units such as some Corporation characters etc.
Last edited by Roscoe on Wed Jul 04, 2012 3:18 pm, edited 5 times in total.

Crazy9
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Re: More defending player involvement

Post by Crazy9 » Wed Jun 27, 2012 1:26 am

I agree with this i had a similer idea floting round for combat ready and more TMO's
after I say them in the rules units have a basic set of Reaction rules and the normal TMO while tatical squads IE squads or sole's would be designated as tatical would have a more expanded TMO's like action befor movement giving units more fexiablity but costing them a command point to do it of course my idea was that reactions can only be used if a unit declars an attack on the unit that can use a reaction hope that wasn't confusing :( ... oh well sure you got the idea

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Re: More defending player involvement

Post by AkimboJonesx21 » Wed Jun 27, 2012 5:58 pm

These defensive actions are great and I like the idea of defensive player involvement.

Take Cover should have a +2 Defense boost instead of +1 to justify the use of a coveted Command Point and lack of movement next turn.

Counter Charge would be a great replacement for Combat Ready, but I do not like the Morale Check for some reason.

Return Fire and Routing is good and the breaking when routing is an amazing addition to running away so your units don't get decimated.

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Re: More defending player involvement

Post by Wiouds » Wed Jun 27, 2012 7:04 pm

The problem I have his that the current rules encourage players to be defensive so what would happen if defensive get more powerful?

Roscoe
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Re: More defending player involvement

Post by Roscoe » Wed Jun 27, 2012 7:46 pm

Well we are in alpha and are not really playing with a complete set of rules here, scenarios alone could well force play to be much more aggressive.

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Re: More defending player involvement

Post by cymruvoodoo » Wed Jun 27, 2012 10:48 pm

Honestly, I think that if you look at each of these options I think they run a substantial risk of failing the "is this ever likely to be a good option?" test much the same way as Suppressive Fire sort of always did and as some of the early alpha rules did before Matt rewrote them.

Take Cover - It's a nice idea and it does seem reactive but it's a negligible defense with a limitation which means you're never that likely to pick this as a good option in a game where scenario gameplay is important. If the defense bonus gets changed to something more significant then I think it encourages units without move-or-shoot weapons to 'turtle' since even with the scenarios, at the moment "just kill them all" is still a viable option. Now, that also needs some work, but it's another thread entirely. Furthermore, Take Cover is essentially just a universally available version of Dug In and making a redundant-but-worse version of a special rule universally available is poor design.

Counter Charge - This is a good one, actually, except that it is pretty much just a better-and-more-complicated version of the new Combat Ready rules. See above, but with the caveat that making things more complicated in a game rarely makes them better. I think this one ought to stick around as a unit special rule for melee units from the Bandits, Bioformed, and Salvagers, though.

Return Fire - Just not a good idea. It makes units which are already good at shooting significantly better for the low, low cost of a CP and a perception test. The entire thing thus hinges on the unit's perception, and if it's good at shooting, odds are its perception is going to be pretty good as well.

Rout - The mechanics you have listed here don't seem to make sense quite. What I do understand of them means that I would never bother with this option. I would much rather tie up the charging unit in a turn or two of melee and then let the rest of my army maneuver and operate in peace. Giving a unit which wants to be in CC a free space to move into within my lines and willingly breaking my own unit? No. This goes to the head of the "not going to get used" list.

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Re: More defending player involvement

Post by dragon1010 » Thu Jun 28, 2012 12:56 am

id have to agree with cymruvoodoo on this one. there are only a couple situations i would ever use these rules, and they are so situational that they wouldnt be worth adding in as universal special rules.
armies i play: tyranids (14000 pts), marines (4000 pts) orks (1750 pts) eldar (4000 pts) ig (3000 pts) lizardmen (2500 pts) high elves (3000 pts) cryx (100 pts) blindwater congregation (50 pts) trollbloods (25 pts) Legion of Everblight (50 pts)

Roscoe
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Re: More defending player involvement

Post by Roscoe » Thu Jun 28, 2012 11:24 am

Thats interesting, in playtesting I found they did actually get quite a lot of use, but I am only one playtester and although I try not to be biased there is obviously always the risk of that with mechanics you make yourself.

Take cover - this got a lot of use in scenario gameplay with defending and holding objectives that sort of thing, it was tried with a greater cover bonus but we found this was too much of an incentive to make the game static, something that im sure people agree we don't want. As for solos with move or shoot weapons turtling with this, no this would not happen as move or shoot weapons cannot shoot if they choose to take cover.

I also think it is sufficiently different to dug in:
Dug in = +1 Df in cover
Take Cover = +1 Df when activated regardless of cover, unit cannot move in their next activation, meaning move or shoot weapons cannot be fired.

Tactically I think they have different uses take cover is good for holding objectives or trying to give a unit that little boost to survival (which we found really good in the foraging party scenario). That is if your willing to sacrifice their next movement. - ooooo tactical choices. This does not use a command point.

Counter Charge - Yeah this is just combat ready but I really do think it works better as a reaction than as an action. I know the rules are slightly more complicated but compared to games like 40k I don't think we have yet reached the saturation of rules complexity. @CymruVoodoo good idea with the salvagers/ bioformed/ bandits, although personally I would like to see a rule saying they don't have the -1Mr modifier when counter charging.

Return fire - I think its important to remember here that with both return fire and counter charge there is an element of risk, first you have to spend a command point, then you have to pass a perception/morale test which if you fail is yet another command point (or more), of course at that point you can cut your losses and just accept the loss of a command point. Then in the case of return fire you shoot with a -2 modifier which we found often requires a command point to really be effective.

My point is that we really didn't find return fire to be OP, it really is a massive gamble to try and pull it off, true it does favour units with high perception but I think that's a good thing and perception needs to come into mechanics a lot more. If other playtesters find it to be OP there are changes that can be made such as -1 to perception or -3 to shooting. (I should clarify that move or shoot weapons cannot return fire so no need to worry about the snipers ridiculously good shooting and perception combo).

Rout - This was probably the most used out of the reactions (probably due to armies used) but routing from an assassin and leaving it out in the open to get shot to pieces was a very good tactic, sure you break a unit in the process but that unit generally pulls itself together easily at the end of its next activation. Routing from a unit leaves the charging unit very vulnerable in the following round as commonly they left are out in the open.

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Re: More defending player involvement

Post by dragon1010 » Thu Jun 28, 2012 1:33 pm

i guess my first post wasnt as thought out as it shouldve been.

the problem i find with return fire is that that unit has the potential to fire twice as much as other units for the cost of a command point. its almost like having overwatch on units, which was scrapped. maybe its just the way it works now, but this is the one that i am the most worried about becoming quite op.

countercharge seems a little too powerful for use by everyone. though its not a bad idea at all, it should be more restricted or limited.

with more thought take cover would be useful at times. just be careful that if the bonus is more than +1 then the cost should be more than your movement.

rout seems a lot like the flee charge reaction in warhammer fantasy. you dont see it used very often, but it is used. the worry that i have with it is that in dp it is mostly a shooting game as of now, so this might be a way of a shooting army avoiding cc all together. id have to see this one used in a larger game to see if id like it or not. im still on the fence on this one.
armies i play: tyranids (14000 pts), marines (4000 pts) orks (1750 pts) eldar (4000 pts) ig (3000 pts) lizardmen (2500 pts) high elves (3000 pts) cryx (100 pts) blindwater congregation (50 pts) trollbloods (25 pts) Legion of Everblight (50 pts)

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Re: More defending player involvement

Post by cymruvoodoo » Thu Jun 28, 2012 7:00 pm

You know, my two rules when thinking about games and games design are generally stated as:

1. No traps for new players (also more briefly stated as the "No Gotcha!" rule)
2. If you're going to make rules to allow something to happen, make them as broadly available as is a) appropriate and b) possible.


Given number 2 above, what I have to say is going to sound a little odd, I admit, but go with me here anyway. I think that the problem with the majority of these suggestions is that they are things which might make really cool or useful unit special rules but which, as general or core rules, are a very bad idea.

I know, crazy talk, right?

Here's the thing. I think that we run the risk of, while not actually "trapping" players per se, creating situations where players have to look at a list of options and go... "whut?" Let me give you an example. Very recently I was playing a new skirmish game rules set. It is going to remain nameless for now since I am going to be criticising it. The problem with this set of rules was that the rules were very very flexible - so flexible that they ended up bent back on themselves in odd places. It was possible to move six different ways, including crawling, walking, trotting, running, climbing, and sprinting, but there was a six-and-a-half way hidden in the rules for when you tried to do anything with rough terrain. Then there were three different positions your model could be in, prone, kneeling, or standing. I suppose we're lucky the rules didn't include sitting and tippy-toe. And then when all of that was sorted, there was the question of shooting. Each different stance presents a different base chance of hitting, then there's a laundry list of things to check including range, how the target moved, how you moved... after a while I started wondering if we were just playing the simplified version and whether the full version of the rules included the sun position that turn, wind angle and strength, and whether my gun was properly sighted or not. Despite the fact that there were only 3-5 miniatures on the field in a 4x4 space it was one of the slowest playing games I think I've played. I was almost glad I didn't have much experience in the game because it gave me an excuse to sprint to positions in cover where I didn't have targets and so didn't have to think about shooting. When you went to take a shot there were two full turns' worth of things to keep track of (how had the other model moved, what stance was he in, etc) and then a potential seven step checklist and calculation before I could even roll the dice. God forbid I actually hit, because then the numbers were completely divorced from reality (reverse the percentile numbers, that tells you where you hit, then the absolute value of the difference between the integer values becomes another number you modify by a multiplier you take from the hit location table) and keeping track of damage was befuddling.

Now, on one hand, it's just a bad system. But on the other hand, I think that we're close or right at the point of saturation of _meaningful_ options. When I look at the options put forth in this thread and the options mentioned in your "more shooting options" thread I am confronted with a whole lot of things to remember as being possible. Then when I think about them, I find myself asking every time "is it really meaningful relative to what the rest of the system already does?" I mean, I get that it could make, from a mechanics perspective, a difference - if the unit has some CP nearby, shooting at them is likely to be dangerous and so you've got to think about what level of risk is acceptable.

From a "what is this representing" perspective, however, I question whether Return Fire and these other options (including the "more shooting" options from the other thread) are going to create the right feel of gameplay. When you consider each of these options I feel like if they're adjusted to be worth doing then they're actually going to be overpowered and otherwise they're just violating my Rule 1 - they're trap options for players who haven't thought it through all the way more often than they're helpful.

So, to conflate these two threads even further and sum up:

Return Fire - feels a bit too "anime" with the hopping around spraying fire at everything and looks like it will either be over or under-powered depending on the numbers involved.

Counter Charge - Brilliant Unit Special Rule, maybe with a new name like Pack Hunter or Aggressive? Better reserved to allow factions to feel special, I think.

Take Cover - I think I misread it at first, after your explanation I still don't like it because I feel like it's a player trap but it isn't as much of a duplication of Dig In as I'd thought (I had assumed you could only Take Cover if you already had some sort of cover)

Rout - I still think it's just too much of a player trap. You're only better off routing than staying in melee if 1. you weren't prepared to get charged, 2. your unit is significantly better at range than in melee, 3. you have a nearby commander with sufficient CP to get the unit unbroken in a hurry, and 4. you have sufficient resources to handle the charging unit in your next turn so that they cannot continue to threaten your lines.

Quick Fire - I think this is again, like counter charge, a great Unit Special Rule option but I think that it's too properly "military" for most of the forces in Dark Potential as I understand them. Having sufficient presence of mind to move-fire-move and still be effective at both is actually incredibly difficult since it requires a degree of body co-ordination and sense of space that people don't often have without special training.

Volume fire - This assumes you've got ammo to spare, which I think is a faulty assumption for Dark Potential. I don't think it's necessary to have any kind of "spray and pray" to work pinning mechanics in, either. So, if pinning is absolutely necessary, let's work it in on just getting shot at normally, because that by itself is pretty effective.

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Re: More defending player involvement

Post by Roscoe » Thu Jun 28, 2012 10:08 pm

I think I understand what you mean Cymru. We don't want a list of rules as long as your arm that are highly situational that don't really bring much to the game.

I don't really think we are at saturation of rules just yet, many other miniature wargames have more extensive and complex rules than what we have right now including some of the big ones.

So if the question is are they really worth putting in the game? Will the added complexity to the overall rules be outweighed by what it brings to the gameplay?

Well I can only answer that from one playtesters point of view.

I found reactions to be worth it, there is no ambiguity in their use, not if one player is on a "Reaction Phase" even newbies aren't going to forget they can use reactions.

Are there going to be enough circumstances in which reactions are useful? I have found that there are, it really helps that there are some better ones that require CP and some which just excel in some situations. Certainly in my playtests they got a lot of use.

Does it add to gameplay experience? This is one I can say a definite say yes to, it keeps both players engaged in the game at all times and really stops the game from getting boring for either player from start to finish.

I find it really adds a another tactical level to the game, not only are you thinking about what you and your opponent are going to do in your turns but also in your Reaction Phase.

As for what its representing and such:

Return Fire - Im really not an anime fan this was completely not what I was trying to achieve, it actually stems from a military tactic, squads that come under fire do not want to bunker down as if they start doing that they run the risk of being suppressed and flanked. As soon as the enemy position is identified they want to start snapping off shots in that direction as soon as possible even if its un-aimed fire. Perhaps Reaction Fire would be a more suitable name. Perhaps limiting the rate of fire to 1 per participating model would also be a good addition.

Counter Charge - I think counter charge opens up many possibilities for varying it to make factions feel special.

Take Cover - I disagree about it being a player trap, there are only 4 reactions and if there is a dedicated "Reaction Phase" its not hard to memorise what the 4 reactions do.

Rout - We found in gameplay that routing was primarily used when a CC oriented unit charged a not-so CC oriented unit that was supported by nearby troops.

Quick Fire - I think the point of quick fire is not that its representing units able to fire while moving in an extremely effective military fashion but rather a unit running while popping off shots in the general direction of the enemy thus the -2 to hit. There could always be USRs for units allowing to ignore penalties associated with quick fire.

Volume Fire - You may be right about pinning or perhaps the pinning element should be scrapped. I find your point for why units wouldn't "spray n pray" a bit incoherent with other points you have made. You say these are troops without military training and thus we can assume are not as disciplined as many modern day soldiers. Therefore less inclined to be disciplined enough to focus on ammo conservation in the heat of battle. (This is something that takes awhile to drill into recruits.)

Ill try and sum up why I think these changes add to gameplay. If anyone has played the RTS video game "Halo Wars" you will know that it gets boring fairly quickly you will also know that it is an extremely simplified RTS game system there is one resource to manage and an easy to understand rock-paper-scissors style counter unit system.

On the other hand if we look at "Starcraft 2" there are multiple resources to manage and a far more complex system to counter units. The complexity of its gameplay is one of the things that makes it so tactical the player has so many options to hand picking the right ones is a challenge. "Halo Wars" on the other hand has tactically limited options.

In miniature wargame terms the more tools we give a player the more tactical and creative they can be. Im not saying we should over complicate the game or put in rules that are not going to get regular use, but I really think we need more options than what we have now if Dark Potential is to be the highly tactical game we all want it to be.

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Re: More defending player involvement

Post by cymruvoodoo » Fri Jun 29, 2012 10:26 am

You've made some really solid points there. I think that on the whole, I can't disagree that you are correct when you say that some of these are very conditional but would be useful in the situations for which they are designed. I also must agree that keeping players as involved in the game as possible is an ideal goal.

I think that where we disagree really is that I'm not sure giving players a reaction step in the activation of the opponent's units is a good idea. I do agree, as I've said, that keeping players involved is important, I'm just not sure that forcing them to play during their opponent's turn is the right answer. It might be better to try and keep the overall pace of the game very high and allow them to always be fully in control of their pieces when they're playing. I suppose that on the whole, I'm worried that if you add reactions like these to the game it will slow the pace of the game down as the active player now has even more to consider as far as risks and so will spend longer on each movement or action.


A few small points:

1. It doesn't take military training to conserve ammunition when you know your supply is short, especially if that's the only conditions you've known all your life. There are many examples of being stingy with the shots from various eras of the American frontier, for example, when shot and powder, or cartridges, had to be packed into the wilderness from back east and people had to learn very quickly how to be stingy with the rounds when doing things like hunting otherwise they'd have none at all.

2. While I completely agree that we are not yet at the complexity or saturation level of many other games available yet, I think there are two very important things to keep in mind. First, everything we have right now was developed with just two of the final six factions available and there will inevitably be expansion as the rest are brought online - we need to leave room for that. Second, isn't it a good thing to stay well under the rules bloat of currently available games?

3. I think Return Fire sounds fine as a name and if it were explained as a sort of "anti-suppression" measure it does make sense. However, again, it sounds like a very trained military response which I think is thematically inappropriate for a majority of the factions. Also, why do it if it's so limited? You're just blowing through CP that would be much better saved for when you don't have penalties you don't need to have.

4. I think I have not explained myself well when discussing what I call a "player trap" - It's not that the rule itself is hard to understand, it's that it looks to me like an option which is sub-par compared to just taking your lumps and being free to shoot or move-and-melee in your own turn without penalty. I'm just not sure +1 defense is going to be enough to make a difference on a statistical level. There are plenty of anecdotal examples which can be manufactured or given but on a mathematical level that +1 defense only makes a difference if the shot's chances of success were marginal in the first place. Let's look at a few situations:

a) Where Did They Come From? - no cover, 4 defense, -3 from the range, shooter is at a net RA rating of 15, be that a small squad or solo - ignoring the question of number of hits possible from RoF for now, that shooter is at an 8 or less to hit. If you then Take Cover, the shooter is at a 7 or less to hit. That drop does mean that you've lowered the shooter's odds from just over 70% to just under 60%. Still more likely to get hit than not, about the best effect of Take Cover in this situation is that you've reduced the number of hits likely to ensue if you're being shot at by a machine gun, or a squad with rapid-firing weapons. More on that later.

b) In The Jungle - medium cover (-2), 4 defense, -3 from range, shooter at RA15, now the basic shot's odds are 6 or less to connect in the first place, and 5 after you Take Cover. That drops the odds of getting hit from 40% to just under 30%. Now, that looks pretty good, and the RoF which can connect with you is at most 3 hits, so that's great, except your squad is essentially voluntarily pinned.

c) Ooops. - no cover, 4 defense, -1 from range, shooter at RA15, the odds of getting hit at all are just over 90% since the shooter needs a 10 or less. You can Take Cover to make that just over 80% odds but really you might as well just put your hands up at that point.

Looking at it, the real value of Take Cover seems to be diminishing the possible number of hits from high RoF attacks since Take Cover will only provide you with an extra ten percent benefit as far as getting hit in the first place. At this point it becomes a subjective value judgment as to whether 10% is enough or not and I think the problem there is that the value of being free to move is not a subjective value judgment but an objective one. Perhaps I am being pedantic but I feel like the value of the simple things like moving are often overlooked (and undervalued) by players and options like what you've suggested for Take Cover help make that so.

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Re: More defending player involvement

Post by Roscoe » Sat Jun 30, 2012 7:56 am

I understand that adding a reaction phase will most likely make each turn take more time as a result of more happening in every turn, but you could argue that less turns are required to get the same amount of gameplay, this would most likely come into play with the introduction of scenarios.

The thing is at the moment we don't know how long a game of 1st edition Dark Potential would really be, by introducing reactions it could end up speeding up the game as less turns are required to have the same amount of gameplay. With reactions it may only be necessary for most scenarios to be 3-4 turns long, one things for sure if game turn length was cut down there would be much greater focus on movement in a players turn to accomplish scenarios, this certainly seems like a good thing to me.

So would the combination of reactions to enrich gameplay while shortening scenario time down be a positive thing? I would say so, but I need to do more playtesting in order to give a definite answer on this.

In response to your points:

1. I think the problem here is that we don't really know how much military style training the soldiers of each faction are given or if they have had enough time to develop their own effective tactics (the Taliban have developed effective warfare tactics without any military training.) We do not know how short on resources they actually are, I remember a thread awhile ago discussing the availability of weapons and ammunition in a post apocalyptic environment, I wont get into the discussion here but my point is that resources like ammunition may be easy to find whereas resources like food may be hard to find, we simply don't know until we have some more official fluff available.

Besides in relation to volume fire there are always going to be situations where combatants are going to be willing to expend large amounts of ammunition, for example if a X'Lanthos assassin materializes out of a wall in front of me im going to empty my magazine into it regardless of if that's the only magazine I have. If im dead I cant use my ammunition.

2. There will undoubtedly be some expansion on the rule set as more factions are brought online yes but not much, what we are doing here is getting down the core rules. Faction specific rules will be very limited. At least I hope they will be.

3. Again the lack of knowledge we unfortunately have means we do not know to what degree military training is apparent among the factions or what sort of timeframe they have had to develop their own firefight tactics.

4. In regards to take cover being a sub-par. It will be in some situations but it excels in others, it can make the difference between taking 6 wounds on a squad or taking 5, which in turn can mean a player holds the objective till the end off the game. The fact that it has a large penalty to pull off (no movement) seems to balance this out. Its another tactical tool giving another tactical option.

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Re: More defending player involvement

Post by cymruvoodoo » Sat Jun 30, 2012 8:40 am

Once again, some solid points. I think that if we're willing to say that a game of Dark Potential should only be three or four turns tops and adjust the scenarios then perhaps reaction might not be a bad thing. I still maintain that take cover and rout are both dangerous for inexperienced players in that they're listed as options but have very, very specialized/situational uses.

1. Fair point, but I would quibble that while the Taliban may not be a recognized military, to say they do not have some sort of military training is, I think, a mistake. They are, definitely, trained. It's not US, or UK, or German military training, but being trained by an experienced cadre of individuals to a particular standard and in common techniques counts in my book. However, this question, much like how much ammunition is commonly available, is one for the fluffmeister to answer.

2. I think I'd rather develop organically, with the core expanding after we see what the next two factions should look like. Now, that is looking like a matter of personal preference, so I won't insist on it by any means.

3. Yep.

4. I think that if the game length of Dark Potential is three to four turns with reactions then the harshness of Take Cover's penalty is doubly apparent. Either it means you're sacrificing quite a lot of mobility when you need it most or it means that there's no penalty at all, in essence, because you're already on the objective.

The other problem I have with it, and I haven't brought this up yet because I thought it was a secondary issue, is how does Take Cover interact with AoEs and spray templates? Does it protect against either or both of those things? Can you Take Cover against things like a gas cloud from a biological weapon? What happens when you're in a puddle of fire from a flame launcher and your movement is already spoken for? Also, what about for the purposes of other rules interactions, is the bonus from Take Cover a cover bonus? Would it trigger Dug In?

Roscoe
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Re: More defending player involvement

Post by Roscoe » Sun Jul 01, 2012 8:58 am

In playtesting under current rules I found Take Cover to get a fair amount of use, units would be willing to take the no movement penalty to gain +1Df especially as many units want to focus on staying alive and dishing out damage. Some units however may want to be on the move/ flanking/ capturing objectives.

However certainly if there are less turns and more gameplay is condensed through the use of a reaction phase then your right, movement would be a much more valuable thing, and maybe this could be the biggest step in the direction to creating the tactical, fast paced, movement focused game we want it to be. (Im assuming this is what people want from the game.) As a result this could decrease the effectiveness of Take Cover, you have a point, with playtesting this may have to be given more of a bonus to account for this.

I personally very, very rarely use a double movement with a unit but if movement is made so much more important and if I still have the option to shoot in my reaction phase the double move would become much less sidelined in favour of inflicting damage. For example I could move and use my action to move and then use Return Fire in my Reaction Phase. A result I think is that the overall killyness of the game is kept intact and it punishes static players to a certain extent.

I think we have really hit on something here, less game turns but more gameplay. So in my view here are the benefits that a reaction phase, and to a lesser extent, alternate firing modes would bring.

Greater tactical variety - I would love to see more tactics than just "where is the best place to spend command points", although this is great command points shouldn't do everything. A wider variety of options in my view makes a game more tactical. This also enables combinations of these tactical tools.

Keeping both players engaged - Having a reaction phase keeps both players engaged in the battle at all times. This, I think, is the best thing we can implement to stop either of the players from getting bored or uninterested.

More tactical considerations - Rather than just having to think what you and your opponent are going to do in the activation, you also have to consider what possibilities there are in the reaction phase.

Shift on focus of gameplay - With a reaction phase and shorter game length through less turns (scenarios would have to be designed for less turns) players have less opportunities to move troops but moving has less negative implications. The result of this is the value of movement not only increases but the detrimental affects of such things as the action move diminish. I predict the outcome of this would be a shift in the focus of gameplay from defensive play to more movement based play.

I think a reaction phase and a low number of scenario game turns would reward players who move and position their units well. It would grant the ability to move a lot and still remain an offensive player through use of reactions.

As for your concern as to the affects of Take Cover and other weapons I would suggest that take cover is just a flat increase to defence.

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