Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Titanomachia: What's the Appeal?

Titanomachia 9
As an idiot I follow pointed out recently before his own limited productivity dried up, there's no point in producing a product without appeal. So the darlings we're going to line up and shoot in the head with the latest (9.0) version of Titanomachia will be concepts of non-violent strategies, and non-kill objectives. Oh, and Skill markers. I really like the concept of Skill markers, but the specific implementation really telegraphed a player's intentions to an opponent, and the game wasn't quick enough to make such intentions interesting or relevant. A certain ko-positional problem plaguing Titanomachia from its earliest days was again cited. That this is the point of the game, and indeed games like it (Battlefleet Gothic, Adeptus Titanicus, Star Wars Armada), is actually beside the point; the point is to give a sense of weight and preponderance without a similar predictability.

Also, it turned out, that I was really unclear about how activations worked, or the rounds, turns, and so on. Apparently it was too complicated. Which was not an unfair evaluation, despite my attempts to make it as clear as possible, which it wasn't. I had forgotten that one subject, one verb, and one objective, and no adverbs or adjectives is what qualifies as clear writing. All adjectives or adverbs can be their own bullet points after that simple statement of a rule. Perhaps there's a point about logic and symbolic representation to be made there. So aside from simplifying the concepts of Delay, naming the concept of Effect. Why Effect? Each System has an Effect and a Delay, like Propulsion with Speed and Agility. Speaking of, I figured I'd just call the Propulsion marker the Titan. Systems activate to affect Terrain, Titans, and whatever.

So, the game sequence is back to an unbounded turn sequence, with players taking turns activating any number of systems, supposing those systems are not currently delayed (0 is every turn, 1 is every second turn, 2 is every third turn after use, etc), have not incurred heavy damage, or otherwise prevented from being activated. A Titan could activate all of its systems, for example, leaving it almost unable to act in the following turn (or unable to act if none of its Systems have a 0 delay on them).

Turn Sequence
One player activates any number of Systems on a Titan, deciding the order in which the Effects of activations are resolved, and places Delay counters on System card delay tracks.
Another player does the same, declaring which Systems will be activated (if those systems can be), resolves the Effects, and places Delay counters.

Activating Systems
Crew - Repairs damage to systems
Propulsion - Move the Titan through squares containing terrain
Shields - Adds Shields to ablate damage
Sensors - Places Terrain on the board
Weapons - Inflicts damage on Titans or Terrain in range

Combination Bonuses and Penalties
Crew gives bonuses to Delays of co-activated systems.
Propulsion gives bonuses to Sensors and Shields Effects, penalties to Crew and Weapons Delays.
Shields gives penalties to Effects of co-activated systems.
Sensors gives bonuses to Effects of co-activated systems.
Weapons gives penalties to Delays of co-activated systems.

Facing
Titans now have a facing, a front, where each square of the board, and its corners, is imagined as an octogon, that of three sides of such an octogon. Titans also have a flank, consisting of the other five sides. Attacks from the front are resolved against the System of the defender's choice. Attacks from the sides are resolved against the System of the attacker's choice.

Objectives
The first player to kill the other's Titan wins, and the game ends. A Titan is considered killed when its Crew System is destroyed (3x light damage effects, 2x heavy damage effects, 1 light damage and & 1 heavy damage, or 1 overkill).

Criticism: Isn't this just an opportunity for the first player to flank to win? After all, they can just activate a weapon to head-shot the enemy's crew compartment, as the Imperious Dictatio does in Dan Abnett's Titan comic series, when encountering a Gargant, an Ork Titan. Sure, that should be a valid option if a player can pull it off, and gives motivation for scouts like 'Raptors' to take on mainline gunboats like 'Regents.'

Note: Additional systems such as Teleporters (there's your jump-jets, D!), Active Camouflage, and so on can then be added if this works.

The Appeal
Giant 'mecha hammering the crap out of each other, both by sheer firepower, and by clever positioning and timing.

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