A new type of tabletop - wargaming

Some members of the MiniWarGaming Community wanted to develop their own game; this is the official place to do that! Keep in mind that this is not related to MiniWarGaming's own project, Primal Horizon.
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A new type of tabletop - wargaming

Post by Bardtrakias » Wed Apr 29, 2015 9:25 am

I came with an idea that maybe sounds silly or confusing, but it is quiet cool and newfound.

All of us play wargames like warmachine & hordes, warhammer 40K or fantasy and flames of war. But, think for a moment a new development into that style... Nowadays, in the gaming universe the Moba games are top of the top, including some strategy games. However, in the wargaming, 3D miniaturing community there is no such type, so I thought of modifiying the aspect of the Moba's or RPG (like Pathfinder or Dungeon and Dragons) into the world of 3D miniatures.
It is certainly going to be hard and maybe a waste of time for you, but for me it will be something innovative and new. In order to know many rules of all the games in the wargaming universe, I just started playing some of them (warmachine & hordes, warhammer fantasy, lord of the rings by games workshop) and study their concepts. All I want is to find their weak spot and exploit them as a result my game-concept will not have such cons. Despite the fact it is not a realistic way of playing a game, speaking for warhammer's rules, I will do my best to keep it as logicaly possible and balance it in the fantasy of 3D miniaturistic concept.
To summarize, I want you to tell me about your opinion on that and whether you like it or dislike it.

Here, I set a Poll http://strawpoll.me/4231723/ There are titles that I like and would possible affect my story,background and characters. I hope my idea inspires you all, and would be likeable to anyone.

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Re: A new type of tabletop - wargaming

Post by Munin » Wed Apr 29, 2015 6:00 pm

I'll save anyone who cares the step of Googling: MOBA = Multiplayer Online Battle Arena. Think Heroes of the Storm or League of Legends or StarCraft or even versus mode in Left 4 Dead.

Anyone who has played a 3-way or 4-way game of WH40K has done more or less what you're talking about here. Similarly, an Apocalypse game with multiple players on each "side" closely mimics the kind of team play you see in LoL or HotS.

I think the problems you're going to run into in really translating these concepts to the tabletop are A) scope, and B) concurrence.

Scope: Unless each player is playing a single character/miniature/unit/whatever, it quickly gets tough to keep track of things, if only from a time-constraint perspective. If it takes 20 minutes to move all of your minis on the table, it has ramifications on how long your game takes to play. But being limited to a single character (while much faster to play) limits variety, which is a drag. And from a business perspective, it limits your profitability - tabletop gaming companies don't make their money selling games, they make their money selling miniatures, something of which companies like GW/Citadel are fiendishly aware.

Similarly, you need to look at the size of the game you want to play. Do you want a small-scale skirmish game like Malifaux or Infinity, where each player only brings a handful of minis? Or do you want a company-level engagement where each player is bringing several dozen minis? Or is it going to be something massive like the Napoleonic historical wargames where people are potentially bringing hundreds of minis? Different scales of game will need different rules for handling things like terrain, for instance, so you'll need to keep that in mind as well.

Aside: From a "realism" standpoint, it is ridiculous that a WH40K Boltgun in the hands of an immaculately-trained Space Marine has an effective range of no more than 150 feet. But it makes the game playable on the tabletop, and it allows armies that are geared for close combat a fighting chance, which in turn increases variety. So now in addition to scope in terms of the number of minis on the table, you need to think about scope in terms of scale (both the minis themselves and the terrain upon which they're playing).

Concurrence: One of the things that makes MOBA play possible is the fact that everything is happening at once. But in tabletop play, that's kind of hard to make happen reliably and easily. Unless you are doing something clever like having the players secretly issue movement/firing orders at the beginning of the game turn, you are stuck with the IGO/UGO problem. And the reason IGO/UGO is so prevalent is because it's simple. Issuing hidden movement is used in X-Wing, which is kind of cool, but I don't think firing is simultaneous. It's also an extra step that slows down the game.

Example: We used to have a house rule in WH40K where we would nominate the shooting target of every unit prior to rolling the dice. It was certainly more realistic, as one unit couldn't wait until a transport was popped to fire upon its newly-exposed occupants, or pour more fire in to finish off a target that had luckily escaped destruction at the hands of a unit that had fired upon it earlier that phase. But ultimately, we found that it just slowed things down, and while it's less realistic to resolve each unit's firing sequentially, it made the game both easier and faster.

In a MOBA, the computer is handling all this crap for you simultaneously and in (almost) real time. Any time you need to do something simultaneously, you'll need to enact some way for players to do it blindly and independently of each other, and every time you do that you're slowing down the game.

Whatever you do, also give a thought to game balance. Some games do it better than others - be one of the better ones. Really delve into how your various rules interact. Do some serious statistical analysis, and make the trade-offs that players must make when creating their character/unit/army important and difficult. If you have any "must includes" or "never includes" in your character/unit/army options, you're doing it wrong.

For instance - in WH40K, a gump Guardsman with a lasgun costs 5 points. A Tactical Space Marine with a boltgun costs 14 points. But the Tactical Marine's damage output against most models is over twice as good, his survivability against most weapons is over twice as good, his close combat potential is about 1.4 times as good, he automatically rallies after having fallen back, and he is completely immune to being overrun in close combat. Oh, yeah, and he has the ability to affect vehicles if he can get a shot at the rear armor, charge into close combat, or use one of the Krak Grenades that he gets for free. By those standards alone, he should be roughly 50 points instead of 14.

Unless you are shooting at him with a Strength 6 AP 3 weapon, in which case there is almost no distinction between the Guardsman and the Tac Marine - they're both going to be wounded on a 2 and get no armor save. So one of the things that has to go into balancing the relative points cost of the two models is the prevalence of weaponry that negates their armor save, as well as Toughness/Armor value combinations that differentiate their shooting. If weapons that defeat heavy armor are really rare and/or expensive, then armor that protects from all but the heaviest of weapons should be similarly rare and/or expensive. But (to continue the WH40K example), if everybody and their brother can take Plasma weapons, Terminator/Artificer Armor should be cheap.

This sort of balancing is really hard to do well, especially if you're just tacking on new units or new special rules by whim as you go. Otherwise, every time you add a new unit or capability, you'll need to recalculate the relative points cost of all of the existing units or suffer from creeping imbalance, at which point you might as well be playing WH40K.


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