Final Post

New Years Day 2018, fin.

Everything has a course For me this Blog has run it's course. It's time to close the door. I have a few thoughts about why  now i...

Sunday, May 1, 2016

A Sliding Scale: Reducing the math lag, round to round.

Back to Loot-Box A-Go-Go though this will likely be my last post on this subject (excluding  actual plays) for a while.

The comments on my last post  had me thinking about  math, the nature of our brains and what we choose to ignore or include when playing.

Prepare for a digression:
On youtube there is a video I did awhile back for my friends introducing old school car wars. In that video I straight up FORGOT THE RANGE MODIFIER ON ATTACKS.
WHAT? that's so basic to the game?
Worse yet, I know that rule. I can quote that rule. I'm not Car wars expert or anything but I  played a good deal of it over the years. Even if it had been years since I had played it.

My point being  when playing a game, or in that case setting up a 20 year old game, trying to read the rules again, and getting a webcam to hang nicely from a chandelier. Things slip.

I decide what I wanted for Loot box is a way to  reduce that "slip."
A streamlined way to visually manage modifiers for combat. I'm not writing a simulation game, I want a game that is fast, wherein people blow things up and salvage the remains. IT's more like genre emulation.  This is not high concept stuff, it's get together with the  friends and enjoy some gaming stuff. Hence in my mind any fiddly bits should be hidden behind a design fig leaf*.

My as yet untested plan:

The Difficulty track: Not going to win any  competitions in the looks department.

The long and the  short of it:

  • The character's base skill roll target for combat actions  goes in the center box.
  • Any bonuses from gear are added to the Base skill roll target.
  • When combat crops up and player declares an action (usually an atack, but it could be anything.)
  • The player starts at +30. 
    •  Puss 30 is the perfect situation. You are standing still you took aim the target is not moving and there is a bird sitting on your shoulder tweeting ballistic info in to your ear. Mathematically it's the  same as getting a +6 bonus in D&D which is better but not vastly better than advantage in (5th ed). Or like a Coup de grace in older versions.
    • As I have said on the blog before I'm not a head over heals for balance guy. As long as everyone is using the same rules, and things stay consistent that's balance for me. I don't mind if the players hit  their targets more than they miss. 
  • The player looks at any  negative influence to their atack first.
  • For each negative influence they slide down the scale one place.
    • Were you shot at this round? .. -1 space on the scale.
    • Did you move before you fired? -1 Space on the scale
    • Did your target move before you fired? - 1 on the scale
    • Is your target in cover? -2 on the scale.
    • and so on.
  • The player then looks at any advantages they might have.
  • For each advantage the player  can identify they move up one square on the scale.
    • Did you  use more than one fire rate on one target? +1
    • Did you aim +1 per Ap used to aim
    • Do you have higher ground? +1
    • and so on.
  • Once the square is determined the modifier in your square is applied to the base skill roll target and the attack roll is made.
That's using too many words to say, "You  look at your in game situation get a modifier and then add or subtract 10, 20, or 30."

In my own testing, ( I ran a couple really brief combats last evening)  it went very fast. Of course I'm the  guy who  wrote it so there is no proof in that pudding. Also in what limited testing I did I ended up on the negative -10 square most often, the Skill Roll Target Square second, and finally the  +10  square third most frequently. I found achieving that +30 required that I got the drop on a target and aimed. How it should be. Again my little set ups last night were super brief and limited, not a complete sample.
I put the difficulty scale and the basic modifiers right on the character sheet so a player can easily track their difficulty action to action. And that same player can also easily change his or her skill roll target when they find new attachments or weapons.

My hope is in further testing it will prove to abstract some of the fiddly combat modifiers I was working with down to simple +10's / -10's. 

Next I have to go through all the Burn chain abilities and skills to make sure there are no 5% or 10% modifiers hanging out there anywhere that need to be nipped.

Some games need each and every little thing to be represented. Loot Box-A-Go-Go isn't that game. This is after all soft serve ice cream cone soft, soft science fiction. This sort of abstraction will not be  game breaking as long as it functions as I plan..... Of course I have had ideas blow up in my face a time or two.

Next time we play we will run with this and see how it goes.
I'll report on it then.

-Thanks for reading.

(*Best metaphoric sentence I have ever written, proving once again what a horrible writer I am.)