Monday, 17 February 2014

Titanomachia: Weapons!

Having decided on a general notion of handling Titans with tokens, and not necessarily with cards, I need to revisit the notion of the round/turn sequence, stat out some Weapon systems, and figure out whether I really really really need separate Munitions and Weapon systems. Last things first, I'm enthusiastic about separate Munition and Weapon systems because it means that weapons can share munitions, and worried because players will naturally gravitate towards the optimal combinations. Plus, as separate systems I can keep Weapons and Munitions having the [Armour, Score A, Score B] format.

Originally I had Weapons with Range and Area of Effect, and Munitions with Rate of Fire and Power, which is totally wrong. It should be Weapons with Range and Rate of Fire, while Munitions carry the Power and Area of Effect, from a purely representative notion. I think I need to add what was previously Type and Orientation to this set of numbers, with Type restricting some combinations of Munitions and Weapons, and Orientation restricting the weapon's ability to put Blast markers on the board. Type and Orientation would also work nicely for Sensors (Target markers) and Shield Generators (Shield markers).

It's worth talking about connecting Type to Area of Effect, with the Type affecting how the score of Area of Effect is interpreted. I'm thinking some sort of blast type making the Area of Effect a square, so AoE1 on a blast-y-type weapon would be one squad, AoE2 would be 4, AoE3 would be 9 and so on. Let's call that HE, because that's cool. AP would be a line directly away from the Titan, player's choice where there's not a clear path, but requiring adjacent or diagonal squares.

In terms of Adeptus Titanicus weapons we have (classic names in brackets): 

Classic Weapons
  • Gatling Blaster (Autocannons)
  • Melta-Cannon (Multi-Melta)
  • Rocket Launcher (Multi-Launcher)
  • Volcano Cannon (Defense Laser)
  • Laser Blaster (Lascannons)
  • Turbo-Lasers
  • Quake Cannon (Macro-Cannon)
  • Plasma Destructor (Plasma Cannon)
  • Plasma Blast-Gun (Plasma Gun)
  • Vulcan Mega-Bolter
  • Inferno Gun
  • Chain Fist
  • Power Fist
  • Las Cutter
  • Wrecking Ball
  • Power Ram
  • Hellstorm Cannon
  • Plasma Annihilator
So let's step up a couple of levels here to the turn sequence, and then back down to Weapons and markers. The Crew system consists of Armour, Skill, and Stamina. In the previous iteration the Skill score was the maximum number of cards that a player could hold in their hand, and the Stamina score was the number of cards a player could recuperate per round. 

Turn-wise I'm imagining a kind of round where players take turns activating systems using the Crew system. The notion here, I think, would be one crew-point per system. And what's to stop a player from activating all at once? Nothing, I think, except for the fact that the player going second would then be able to walk around their now static opponent. Whether this actually works depends, of course, on what a player can do with their systems. Which brings me back to Weapons, Munitions, Shields, and Target markers.

Shooting a weapon is going to require a crew point on both the Weapon system itself, but also on an associated Munitions system. The trick, I think, is going to be defining which Munitions can be associated with which Weapons so that you don't see the Range and Rate of Fire of a Gatling Blaster being combined with the Power and Area of Effect of a Volcano Cannon. In part this is because the latter is a laser and the former is designed for solid munitions. I think that we would have to see Munition systems designated as [Insert Weapon Name] Munition System, or "Volcano Cannon Munitions System" in case of Munitions systems associated with Volcano Cannons. So the advantage would be that, for example, one crew point can be used to man a Munition System used by two Weapon Systems, with the disadvantage being that having that Munition System destroyed would deprive both Weapon Systems of the ability to deliver Blast Markers.

I was thinking that it would be something to leave Munitions out of close-combat weapons, but then it occurred to me that giant power-fields and whatever else needed to make a close combat weapon a little less ridiculous at the scale of a Titan would probably need capacitors and other munition-equivalents in order to avoid the effect of being equivalent in mass and toughness to their targets, making the notion of giant robots punching each other about as exciting as jellyfish boxing. Well, anemone-wars can be pretty exciting so long as you can compress the days they take into minutes, and jelly-fish sting like bitches, but the notion is to have widgets moving around on a board, and if Warhammer 40,000 proves anything it's that the background can be re-written to justify any game mechanic you want, even one with the opposite effect. It is, after all, a war-game and not a simulation.

Part of the point of Blast markers is persistence, so that one player can lay down some Blast markers, and the other player may have to move through them. Shield markers, right now, are placed in the squares beside the Shield Generator system that's making them, and if on the board can be placed up to its Coherence away from the Shield Generator system. They persist until they stack with Blast markers, and enemy Shield markers. I think that they should move when the Shield Generator system moves, maintaining relative position. So they persist until moved off the board, or something?

Likewise I think Target markers should persist until either they stack with Blast markers, or enemy Shield markers, making Shields important to interdicting enemy Target markers as well as enemy Blast markers. Rather than moving with the Sensor system that produced them, I think that the Target markers should be static, as in they're assigned to a particular square until they're moved, with an unlimited range. The number of markers that a Sensor system can distribute is Acuity, the value of the markers is Gain, and it costs a Skill point to rejig your Target markers. Target markers combined with Blast markers multiply the Power of the Blast marker by the Gain of the Target marker, making lighter, high-rate-of-fire weapons more useful, and heavier weapons freakin' deadly.

So I think, to perhaps repeat myself a round consists of players taking turns allocating Skill points from their Crew systems, with a null-option being that a player does not allocate Skill points, so they don't have to exhaust their Skill points where Stamina necessarily needs to be lower than Skill since it adds that many Skill points at the beginning of each round. The risk is that if the other player follows with the null-option, then the round resets. Persistence of Blast markers, however, will be turn to turn, so a Blast marker persists for the following turn, which may be in the next round.

Which, having covered concepts like rounds and turns, and persistence of markers, I feel like I should address the notion of stacking as well as adjacency. Stacks of Systems including a Crew system would be Titans, with the other parts being modular because the opportunity to pick up Systems on the battlefield seems like a feature. I think I'd want a special System, the Chassis or whatnot, that would take up multiple squares on the board - remember we're working with a board here. It depends on damage here, because there's the option of having the first, top System marker on a square affected by a Blast marker which works nicely with stacking Shield markers on top of each other and on top of System markers. That avoids complicated rules like figuring out damage against everything in the square unless Shields stack, etc.

Thinking about it, it might be something to have Area of Effect weapons with a score of 0 affect the first marker in the stack, and have Area of Effect essentially work vertically as well as horizontally, so Area of Effect 1 affects an additional marker in the stack from the first, and AoE2 affects two additional markers as well as three other surrounding squares. AoE0 is going to be for stuff like Vulcan Mega-Bolters, with AoE3 being for stuff like Missile Launchers.

It's also interesting to group weapons according to type, so like the lists of weapons adopted in 40k at the end of 5th edition (Grey Knights) and in the 6th edition rule-book to help players understand how blanket "Immune to [Insert Type Here]" rules applied. These types would apply to a notion of Blast markers having a path, much like how pieces in Chess can only move insofar as they're not blocked by intervening pieces.  and I have the notion of direct fire, or the lowest number of squares between a Weapon system and the squares it would like to place the Blast marker(s) in. This would be the basic notion of being able to place Blast markers in positional-relation to Weapon systems, rather than leaving the conceptual space empty. Other concepts would include weapons like a Rook with a right-angled path of movement, weapons that can jump intervening squares entirely to cover weapons like Psy-Lances and Warp Missiles, weapons that cavitate, jumping between or alternating between squares on their way to the target and so on.

Anyhow, this is already too long and behind schedule. Next post will be a first draft of weapon and munition stats.

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