Thursday, 8 May 2014

Titanomachia: Terrain and Objectives (Part 1)

Working on the framework laid out in the last post, I can finally return to assigning values to Terrain and Objectives. The board, as it stands, is 8x8 squares, which conveniently corresponds to the number of 4x4 squares-worth of plates on a blue baseplate (620 squares) that can form sections on its surface. Supposing that players can distribute terrain in 4x4 plates, that gives each player 32 section if they don't spend any points on terrain in addition to points spent on their Titans and Objectives. Following on from the previous post about negative space, each of these 32 sections contains a building with what I'll define as 9 levels, each level corresponding to the thickness of one plate, where three plates is the thickness of a lego brick. There's also something there for considering changes in elevation. Being able to change more than two levels in elevation would be unreasonable, I think. Where something like the Giant's Steps on Orestes, two levels or plates of elevation per step would represent the functional limit of a Titan changes elevation, so three levels of elevation or a single building level or block functions as an obstacle to movement.

On some level I'm inclined to have changes in elevation count against what MP-equivalents that Titan Propulsion Systems would allow, following the old Battletech thing of +1 per increment in elevation. On the other hand, fuck you, Battletech. The point being that in this case there should be terrain that interferes with lines of sight, and hence Target Markers and Blast Markers. Also, terrain that interferes with the Speed of a Propulsion system, depending on Agility. Just seems reasonable, somehow. Or maybe not? In the Titan comics a Warlord manages to overcome a Gargant it happens on at close range by glassing the ground at its feet and then decapitating the Gargant. Looking for that sort of drama in a game is, to my mind, unreasonable, but having a range of options the optimum of which is something that can be imagined as such.

There is an opportunity, I've noticed though, to decorate a 4x4 plate with 1x1 tiles to denote 'rough' terrain , and 1x1 plates to denote 'rubble.' And the whole point of the Agility score in Propulsion systems is to indicate something to do with agility and terrain-handling. From my notes: "Agility defines how much Terrain Difficulty a Titan can ignore when moving into a square using that Propulsion system." In addition Terrain has Interference, Armour, and Cost. The Interference is intended, I believe to affect Target Markers drawing line-of-sight through to the Sensor System from which they originate. Armour is the Terrain's ability to resist damage, and yes, there's Overkill damage from being around terrain hit by a sufficiently powerful weapon. Cost is, as discussed above, the inverse of what one would expect: heavy terrain would cost less because open lines of sight and travel are valuable. Changes in elevation can stack with the terrain's innate difficulty.

So a Battle Titan Propulsion System is Agility 1 and a Scout Titan Propulsion System is Agility 2. Therefore a Battle Titan attempting to move into a square or 4x4 plate-section with Difficulty 3 is going to have to use 2 points of its Propulsion System Speed in addition to the 1 point to enter the square, and use up its entire Speed to enter the square. Since it's an additional +1 Speed cost to enter the square from a diagonal position, we know the Titan is entering from an adjacent square. There's an opportunity here for the Titan to shed some cost where the additional Speed cost shed is a multiplier to the terrain's Armour to resolve damage against the Titan's Propulsion System. So if the player wants the Titan to move into a square that would cost 4 points of Speed and its Propulsion System only provides 3 points of Speed, then it can reduce that cost by 1 point. Where the Terrain's Armour score is 2, and multiplied by that 1 point, and the Propulsion System's Armour is 2, then that Propulsion System will suffer Light Damage, unless it's already suffered Light Damage... Which means that you can bull a path through terrain using a Titan, but doing so has a cost, particularly where that Terrain is Armour 2 or more. Even Terrain with Armour 1 like a forest, for example, isn't something you want to blunder into at high Speed. 

Meaning we can have something like the following, all 1x1:

Clear Terrain (flat tile) - 1x level
Difficulty: 0, Interference 0, Armour 1, Cost: +3

Rough Terrain (round plate) - 1x level
Difficulty: 1, Interference: 0, Armour: 1, Cost: +2

Rubble Terrain (round tile) - 2x level
Difficulty: 1, Interference: 1, Armour: 1, Cost: +2

Residential Building (brick) - 3x level
Difficulty: 2, Interference: 2, Armour: 2, Cost: +1

Power Plan (brick) - 3x level
Difficulty: 2, Interference: 3, Armour: 1, Cost: +1

Factory (brick) - 3x level
Difficulty: 2, Interference: 2, Armour: 2, Cost: +1

Military Installation (brick) per 3x level
Difficulty: 3, Interference: 3, Armour: 3, Cost: 0

So each player starts with 32 studded 4x4 plates on which they can mount terrain, although in terms of Rubble Terrain I think I'd suggest something like a crater. Time to build stuff for pictures, I think. Anyhow, each 4x4 section is a plate with pieces mounted on it to represent (and distinguish) the terrain. The exception would be Rubble terrain which would use a 'frame plate' (design ID: 64799) which is essentially a crater. A square crater, for sure, but indicative of a crater nonetheless. But back to the math: with 32 studded 4x4 plates, technically 'knobs,' means that each player starts with 512 individual pieces of terrain, considering terrain as the 1x1 bricks, and each plate being full of 16 of these 1x1 bricks.

Now these bricks on a single plate can be arranged in a 'tower' of 2 bricks by 2 bricks, and 3 bricks high, leaving what is effectively 12 Rough terrain squares on the section (where 12 such squares arranged 2x2x3 would be equivalent to 4 bricks). Given that it is this height that blocks line-of-sight altogether, where a Titan it about 2 bricks high or so depending on weapons and whatnot, it's clearly worth something to whomsoever does not want to get shot, and a cost to someone whoever wants a shot. Where 1/4 of the terrain is Rough, and 3/4 of the terrain is Military Installation. 

To be continued...

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