Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Adeptus Titanicus: Assigning Value

So it's come to the nitty gritty of implementing the design choices that I've made, for a first draft of something that people can play. What are those design choices? In previous articles I explained that I had decided to go with a bit of a hybrid between the Space Hulk design I had ginned up (here), and the card-based features of the semi-original design that borrowed heavily from Triumph & Tragedy, and Tactical Assault's Combat Cards. So here's the skinny:

Game Set-Up
Adeptus Titanicus is a game for two or more players. Before playing, the players need to set up a battlefield, construct strategy decks, and decide on the Titans that will constitute their forces. The players will also need a measuring stick or tape denoting inches, and ~20D6.

Setting up the Battlefield
The players need:

  • A 1'x1' playing area for each player involved.
  • 50% of that area in terrain (buildings, woods, etc), 50% of which should be 2" or shorter, 25% of which should be 2"-4", and 25" of which may be up to 8" tall.

Setting up the Forces
Each player needs:

  • A Titan model mounted on 60mm bases (Reaver and Warlord) or 40mm bases (Warhounds), with a datasheet.
  • A Strategy deck for that model.
  • A pool of dice for that model.

Players agree to a points-level at which the game is played. These points are used to balance the type and state of the Titans, their crew, their available strategy cards, and available dice.

A Titan datasheet records its crew complement, its armament, and its current state. The Titan's crew complement describes how its Strategy deck may be built, and which Strategy cards may be played on it.

At minimum a Titan must have a Commander, an Officer, and an Engineer. Different classes of Titan may have additional crew, such as extra Officers, Engineers, Pilots, and Gunners.

The Titan must also have its current state specified for the beginning of the game, including weapons, amount/type of ammunition, damaged/destroyed components, so on.

Each Strategy card includes the name of the Strategy, its Titan requirements (crew, loaded weapons, sufficient power, etc), its dice cost (value of dice required for 'success'), and the outcome of successfully employing that strategy.

The pool of dice for each Titan is also purchased. At minimum a Titan must have at least 1D6 in its pool.

The Action

Once the game is set up, the Titan-vs-Titan action can begin, where players manage their Titans, crews, strategies, dice pools, and position to achieve victory.

Beginning the Action

Players secretly bid a number of dice from each Titan's dice pools. The cumulative value of these dice constitutes each Titan's Initiative. Players begin play by placing the Titan with the lowest Initiative anywhere on the board first, and working their way up to the Titan with the highest Intiative. Titans may be placed anywhere on the board, and in any position. Once all Titans are placed, the players begin playing strategies.

Playing Strategies
Strategies are played not by players taking turns, but in the order in which Initiative was determined when beginning the game. To play strategies, players:

  1. Begin the turn.
  2. Reveal a strategy card from the deck of each Titan on a Titan by Titan basis, in order of highest Initiative to lowest Initiative.
  3. Pay the dice cost on the strategy card, again in the order of Initiative, from lowest to highest.
  4. Determine the result of the strategy card according to whether the dice paid meets the cost of success, or failure. Results include the Titans changing position, orientation, their current state, returning strategy cards from their discard piles, adding dice to their dice pools, and changing their Initiative.
  5. Discard the strategy card to the Titan's discard pile.
  6. Discard dice spent on the strategy card.
  7. End the turn.

Note that some strategies will allow a Titan to act twice, or more, before another Titan. For example, a Titan (A) with Initiative 9 plays a strategy, followed by a Titan (B) with Initiative 8 that plays a strategy the success of which increases its Initiative to 10. Assuming that there are no other Titans in play, then Titan B will be the Titan with the highest Intiative, and play another strategy card. This is intentional, as it balances the opportunity cost of increasing a Titan's initiative.

In addition, the complexity of the system is intentional, since the number of elements in the game, the dice, cards, crew, weapons, shields, and so on maps favourably to the small number of Titans actually in play.

I'll follow this up with some initial stabs at strategy cards, and Titan datasheets.

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