I was going to upload the file, but none of the file types I tried, including the one for paint, worked, so this is going to be a long, long, long post. Be forewarned. I don't even know if the board will let me put that much. Anyway, what follows is my thought process and results of creating a card game based on Erfworld. The basics: It's two cities across from each other, with two hexes of field in between, both hexes adjacent to both cities. Popping units takes shmuckers rather than turns. Some basic units can be popped with only shmuckers. Units that are in any way advanced require cards. Cards are also needed to upgrade your city, and you have cards that represent spells purchased from the magic kingdom. Combat is simultaneous damage, based on sixths. You can roll boop-loads of dice, or a few dice, or no dice. It depends on which rule set you follow. It's very much in beta, if it's even that far along. Ideas, evaluations, and the idea is to get this to where it needs to be in order to be produced, if they really want to make a card game. And since my wonderfully rendered depiction of the battle space in paint could not be uploaded, allow me to describe the zones of the battlespace. Four hexes, two cities and two fields. City on top, field hexes connect to the bottommost edges, and another city on bottom, connected to the fields by its two topmost edges. Hexes are further divided into zones, which units can move between without expending move, even when not on turn. Fields have a center zone, which connects to each other zone in the hex. Two zones on each face of the field hex, which can assault the next hex over. Hexes on one face are also connected to each other. So, because each field hex faces three other hexes, they have seven zones: On center, two facing the other field, and two facing each city. The cities are divided into five zones. Two wall zones, a front gate, a courtyard, and a garrison. The gate and walls are on the side of the city facing the fields, with the gate in between the two wall zones. Front gate is in the center toward the field hexes. One zone from each of the field hexes can assault the front gate. Each wall zone is connected to the other zone from the adjacent hex. Front gate is connected to both walls. Front gate and walls connect to the courtyard. Courtyard connects to the garrison. And that's it, unless flying ends up being introduced. In that case, each hex also has an airspace, which connects to each other zone in the hex other than the garrison in cities. (They've finally gotten around to building everything-proof roofs in the card game). Airspace also connects to airspace in adjacent hexes. And with that, let us begin...
Erfworld Card Game:
First decision: Collectable or single issue? That is, are we doing the whole “Gotta Collect ‘em All?” thing, or is this a case of “You buy a game, and that’s more or less it?” Given the fact that this is going to be a side project, I’m going to go with non-collectable. Collectable has more long-term profit capacity, but I don’t think that’s what we’re going for. My thinking is that we have the “base purchase”- which includes two decks, and possibly a game board. It doesn’t work with the card game thing all that well, but my feeling is that we need some way of having board position, and having it matter. Deciding where to move things matters too much to Erfworld for this to be a single battlefield free-for-all like magic. And, before I forget, you can also get more decks, all by themselves, so you can have many-player games.
Actually, yes. Yes, this thing is played on a grid. Not enough has been shown about specific combat mechanics for them to be dominant in this game. Nearly everything I do there is going to be made up. So we need more mechanics, which means we need movement to matter. I was initially leaning toward switching from hexes to squares, but I’ve changed my mind. Partially because I don’t want to change much, and partially because squares means that you’ve got corners in addition to walls. I want to be as close to the feel of open field as possible. So, hexes. That costs us a bit in terms of possible size- the cards need to fit on the hexes, and we also lose that corner area of the board.
How big is it going to be? Obviously move is going to be much lower- there’s no way we can accommodate mounts with 50+ move, which seem to be readily available, if not overabundant. My first thought with squares was 10x10. I was thinking that we needed the board not to be too huge-because that limits the potential audience. Then I realized that, in a practical sense, people who buy this will be fans of the comic already, and will not have any issue clearing off their tables if they want the thing that badly. So our size constraint is actually based on what we can fit in the box.
I thought of the having a bunch of hex grids that can fit together, and then derided that idea as impractical, since we’re going to have cards on the grid, and more moving pieces that can get disturbed is going to be a pain in the ass. But the idea of having an adjustable board size and randomizable terrain is actually really appealing. In fact, yeah. Let’s go with that. Somehow the logistics of creating interchangeable pieces isn’t working very well in my head, but making strips of hexes, some straight, some at an appropriate angle, seems like it should work reasonably well. Include some sort of perimeter thing to hold it together? Have the bottoms be really…Crap, what’s that word? Non-slidable. High friction coefficient. Like rubber. I still see problems with this, but they should be minimized by taking the obvious step of making them 2xX strips, rather than 1xX as I was originally thinking, for some reason. Maybe even 3xX, or something else entirely. Spend some time on it if it looks like it’ll actually happen. 3x3, 4x4, does that work well? That does lead to corners, though. Anyway.
So, they set up the field, more or less at random. Put out as many pieces as they want, which in a practical sense will probably be all of them in the box, even if they have to clear out everything in the living room to do it. The field will be hexes, each with terrain, which will affect move, anyway. I just realized that being able to see the terrain on distant hexes kinda negates lookamancy, but a good chunk of magic is going to be useless no matter what I do. And now I’ve got a tough decision. Are cities cards? (Remember those?) Or are cities just part of the grid? Obviously they can’t move either way, which argues for part of the grid. But they’re also going to have a lot of information, and they will change as the game progresses. Given what I’m thinking about combat mechanics, that argues powerfully for them being cards. In fact, yes. Yes they will be cards. Our first cards are cities, and unlike the other cards (which, unless I change my mind, will be the traditional shape) they will also be hex-shaped. They may also have the sticky-grip bottoms. I would argue for that, in fact. When cities are upgraded (or downgraded, or sacked), their card is replaced with a different one, representing their new state. So maybe not the sticky bottoms, since there’s going to be a lot of them.
Let us now imagine the game starting. The players put out the hex grid system, which will, Titans willing, remain stable throughout the game. Then they distribute the cities for each side. My thought is that they each take city cards of certain levels (1-3, in my mind, with city level 0 representing a razed city), flip them all upside down, chose a certain, predetermined number of them, and place them, still upside down, around the board in a reasonable attempt at randomness. In practice, we’ll need protocols in the likely event of people attempting to take advantage of this process. So, first of all, there can never be a path shorter than two hexes between any two cities. (In other words, it always takes at least three move to get from one city to another.) That, alone, should suffice when people aren’t feeling like trying to get an early leg up. When they are, I guess have two parallel lines of hexes be designated no-mans land, and each player must put their cities on their side. We might want that, anyway. Imperfect, but it lets us change cities around.
Alright, change of plans. That sounds awesome, but I’d guess that the level of production isn’t going to allow for much that’s that awesome. This needs to be cards only. So, what setup are we going for? I like the idea of having cities, and defensive bonuses, since it’s so integral to Erfworld, and makes for more interesting strategic interplay. So we’ve got each player with at least one city, and at least one clear space between them. Do we want more? I really like the idea of having the game represent a campaign between sides in Erfworld, where capturing cities gives you an advantage in what would probably be a battle of attrition, most of the time. But I don’t really think that the card game will allow for that level of interplay. So the card game will detail the battle between two cities that are close together.
I was going to leave it with just the one hex in between, but I really don’t like the linearity implied. Erfworld is clearly about linearity on some occasions, such as the incident with the bridge, but even broken down, there needs to be ways to get around things. I also wanted three hexes, in a line perpendicular to the line between the cities, but I don’t think that works with hexes. Two can work, and five can work, but not three. Are we limited to what hexes can do, though, since there’s no board? Squares that can connect diagonally can pull that off. Actually, no. I like having a way of going around, but the fewer battlespace areas, the better. And it’s nice to stay true to the original in some way. So that’s our battlefield: Each player has a core area, their city, and between them are two field hexes. Each city connects to both field hexes, and the field hexes connect to both cities and each other. Each zone will basically just be space on the table, with no visible boundaries. Needs some space, and maybe a ruler or something to make a dividing line, but since the people who will buy this will be enthusiasts anyway, it should work.
How are units created and summoned? I don’t want to make the game consist of too much waiting around, so I think I’m going to make a major change in the mechanics of Erfworld. Cities don’t produce units directly, but rather produce shmuckers. I like the word shmuckers, although I keep wanting to spell it with a c before the h. Units cost shmuckers to create, and many, especially more powerful units, cost shmuckers in upkeep. Each side will start with yea many basic infantry units, and infantry units can be popped during your turn without needing a card for some shmucker cost. Basic infantry has no upkeep, because there’s going to be a lot of them, and really, just, no. No. Actually, wait. Boop. That might make basic infantry really, really broken. Just sit back an let your opponent starve to death. Alright, then, we’ll have a sliding scale of upkeep. Below yea much costs nothing in upkeep, yea much to um much will cost x, um much to wow much will cost x+y, and so forth. Easier bookkeeping. Actually, here’s the idea. You pay x shmuckers for each group of 8, except the first one. So you’ll see a lot of 8-man formations, just as in real Erfworld. I’m glad to get that out of the way, since I didn’t really feel like doing a group bonus. And you start the game with 8 basic infantry, lets say. Alright, so we’ve got basic infantry covered without needing any cards yet. Will they level? I’m gonna say kinda. Things won’t level in combat, because that would be really hard to figure out, and it shouldn’t be that large of a factor in a single battle, anyway. No, units get levels in the following ways:
1) They’ve got a level when they’re popped, which it says on the card. Basic infantry will be level one, other units will be level whatever I think is cool.
2) They can be promoted. Powerful units will have cards with more powerful versions of themselves. You can play either of them for their shmucker cost. You can also play the stronger one after the weaker one, leveling them. You subtract the cost of popping the weaker one from the cost of popping (almost added an extra O, oops) the stronger one to get the shmucker cost of leveling. There will also be generic “Level Up” cards costing yea many shmuckers that give flat bonuses. (By the way, I see cards which have multiple printed versions having cool abilities that are different for each level. And, before I forget, you make up for the card disadvantage of two versions by having the higher level version keep the skills it had at lower levels, which should be different. And, I suppose, you can play the weaker versions after the stronger. It doesn’t replace the stronger, but it gives it the weaker versions abilities, and costs half as many shmuckers. And bonuses to the same thing don’t stack.) And, finally, I think, maybe you can also create, say, training areas, so that basic infantry can spend yea many turns and yea many shmuckers to gain a level. That’ll need counters or something. We should get an endorsement deal.
And you draw cards, same as other card games. And you can pop units that you draw. I’m going to put the cards into categories now. They are:
1) Units: Detailed above. Mostly.
2) City Modifiers: Alter your city in some way. Training areas as thought of above, defensive bonuses, increases to shmucker output, lord alone knows what else. And repairing your city will cost only shmuckers, as in the game. Leveling will require a card, though. This I have decreed.
3) Spells: Spells purchased from the magic kingdom. Do we want to have having a caster be a requirement for these? No, no I decided we don’t. Yes, you probably couldn’t get them in Erfworld without a caster, even remembering that you can buy the casting and support plan, because you still need to make the deal, which means you need someone to go into the magic kingdom. But that’s going to be a bit of a wonky requirement in a game that should feature plenty of casters. And it makes it much easier to draw a really awkward hand and just get screwed over. That shouldn’t be as much of a problem as in other games, because of basic infantry and the presumably higher time to draw things, but still. Getting mana screwed sucks, and getting caster-screwed would be even worse. This category also includes level upgrades mentioned above.
And I think that’s it. All we need now is the combat system…
First question: Can randomness be a part of it? I’m an example that shows that not all Erfworld fans have d20’s, but it’s difficult to imagine an enthusiast not having access to d6 or coins. But is it a good idea? I’m leaning towards no. Although there’s obviously a large amount of randomness in Erfworld’s mechanics, I see these games involving large numbers of units, and I really don’t think people are going to want to roll 30 dice to see how one round of combat goes. So it’s gotta be static, which gives an edge to the calculator-like among us. So sue me. My idea for basic mechanics is this: Each side in the conflict calculates their damage total, and then they inflict it on each other. Each player distributes their damage however, and then both players remove croaked units. Rinse and repeat as desired. Actually, lets go back to randomness. I’m liking the idea of limited randomness. Basically, a system where most of it is stable, but you could still roll a few dice, depending on the situation. Here’s what I’m thinking.
First off, life. Life is going to be pretty low, since it’s not going to regenerate after your opponent has gone, so keeping track of it will be irritating. The basic level is going to be 1, which will cover basic infantry, and most other infantry in general. I’m guessing the highest life total in the game will be five or six. Life will probably be renamed hits, since I’m pretty sure that’s what the Erfworld mechanic is called. But there’s also defense! Many (most?) units will have no defense. Units that do have defense will have a defense ranking. Whether it just gets called by its number or by #/6, I don’t know. But that number will be a block chance. So a unit with defense 1 will block 1 time out of 6, 2 will block 2/6, etc. A defense of 6 would obviously be problematic, but I don’t think the mechanics would allow it. I’d want to limit the amount of leveling a unit could do, and I don’t see anything boosting just the block chance. Just to be safe, game automatically caps defense at 5. After writing this bit, I looked a Bogroll’s defense and realized “no way does Erfworld’s defense mechanic work like this, Bogroll is one point from max defense. But, oh well. I mean, move is going to max out at three, so whatever. Damage will also be measured as sixths as well. This number will be higher, and can go into multiples. This will be the “Combat” Erfworld mechanic. And my idea is this. You can:
a) go ahead and roll all of those things. That won’t be popular, but whatever
b) add up attack for the whole stack, assign damage on the probabilistic ratios below, and roll any remaining fractions and defense. I feel that the player should be able to choose from between procedures a and b at their convenience, unless the participants have agreed ahead of time to follow procedure c, which states:
c) add them all up and then round the fractions. Round down, I guess. Or up. You can decide.
A few notes on choosing: I want both players to be able to switch between a and b for their own units at will, to represent different ways of doing things in battle. This might turn out to be broken, but I doubt it. I do, however, think that procedure c needs to be chosen before the game starts, and remain that way for the entire game. For a few reasons. One, I feel that the major reason to chose c is because you don’t have any dice at all. Two, switching from c to b feels more…sleazy than switching from b to a. If the rounding won’t go your way in c, you can switch to b with no cost. The worst that can happen is that what would have already happened still does. Switching from b to a (I see procedure b as being the most common mode of playing the game) gives you a chance to win even when you’re outmatched, perhaps even badly outmatched, but it also swings the other way. Your overmatched scouting group might be able to take out a strike force, or it might get beaten so badly as to not even scratch the opposing forces. Three, procedures a and b feel like they differ in how they chose to approach the battle- do they act wildly and unpredictably? Do they act conservatively, in accordance with standard practices? Procedure c, by contrast, feels like a change in the underlying mechanics- the world just works differently, and you can’t change that during combat, or at all.
And, for convenience, we’d include some helpful probability factoids. It takes:
7/6 damage to deal 1 damage to a unit with 1 defense
9/6 damage to deal 1 damage to a unit with 2 defense
2 damage to deal 1 damage to a unit with 3 defense
3 damage to deal 1 damage to a unit with 4 defense
6 damage to deal 1 damage to a unit with 5 defense
And for procedure a, you roll for the attack of your units. I’m going to shake things up a little and say that high numbers are bad. You roll, and if the roll is less than or equal to your units attack score, you generate 1 attack power. (For attack equal to six, you don’t roll. Same for all multiples of 6. For attack greater than six, take the multiples of six out and roll for the remainder. As examples:
A unit with 8 attack automatically deals 1 damage, and then rolls. If you roll a 1 or 2, the unit deals an additional 1 damage.
A unit with 37 attack automatically deals 6 damage, and then rolls. If you roll a 1, the unit deals an additional 1 damage.)
For defense, each time damage is directed at the unit with a defense score, you roll. If you roll a number less than or equal to the units defense score, that damage is negated. And damage can be applied one at a time, so you can see the outcome of defense before you apply other damage. The players might want to write down their attack totals and then take turns or something.
And that’s more or less the combat.
And I’ve changed my mind again about the bonuses. You do get a bonus for being in a group. A stack gets a bonus to total attack power equal to the number of units in the stack, need two to stack, max bonus 8. And, obviously, out of 6, which I won’t write any more. Now, there are two mechanics I want to discuss. Battle formations (basically, what stacks can you make, can you use more than one stack) and overwhelming. I’m going to deal with overwhelming first, because I know where I want to go with that. Overwhelming is where you have an attack power that is greatly superior to that of the opposing stack. When you overwhelm, rather than having both stacks deal damage at the same time, the overwhelming stack deals damage first, you remove croaked units, and then the overwhelmed stack recalculates damage and deals it. I got a long way before I realized that I had failed to mention two very crucial, basic facts.
One, you only get a chance to overwhelm when the stacks first engage. If you succeed, they remain overwhelmed. That is, rather than many rounds where each side does damage at the same time, you have a round where the overwhelming stack damages, then unit removal that follows a round, then a round where the overwhelmed stack deals damage, then unit removal, then another round where the overwhelming stack deals damage, then unit removal, and so on. The nature of overwhelming means that this isn’t likely to go on all that long. The second will be placed below.
Now, then, how do you go about overwhelming? First of all, it’s going to be random. You have to roll dice in order to overwhelm, so if you’re playing by procedure c, you can’t overwhelm. Second, your attack total needs to be twice that of the opposing stack in order to overwhelm. Third, overwhelming isn’t something you need to declare ahead of time, it just happens (so, say, if you’re playing procedure a, don’t worry about saying “This is an overwhelm attempt”, just figure the attack powers and then deal with overwhelming).
The second basic point it took me way too long to figure out I needed is that if the attack of the overwhelming stack drops below twice that of the overwhelmed stack, overwhelming ends. In procedures a and b, this means that if the overwhelming stack rolls an attack that is less than twice the attack the overwhelmed stack rolled for the previous round, overwhelming ends. In c, it means that if the calculated attack of the overwhelming group is less than twice the calculated attack of the overwhelmed group, overwhelming ends. Basically, the overwhelming stack attacking triggers a check, and when the attack isn’t constant, use the last performed attack of the overwhelmed as a measure of current attack. When overwhelming ends like this, rather than having a round where just the (formerly) overwhelming stack deals damage, both stacks deal damage. The overwhelming stack’s round is replaced by a normal combat round.
All right, so how does it work? It works, I think, like this:
When combat between stacks qualifies for overwhelm, you must first calculate the overwhelm score. Or some other fancy name, call it whatever you want. If you qualify for overwhelm, you automatically have a score of 2. If you have 3 times the attack of the other stack, you have an overwhelm score of 3. 4 times the attack, a score of 4, and so on. You roll, and if you roll less than or equal to your overwhelm score, you overwhelm. Two things I’m wondering about, that I think will be options for people to decide on. Thing one, which I think is good: Overwhelming should never be certain. Also, a higher overwhelm score should always matter at least a little bit. So here’s what I’m thinking. Basically, you get as many overwhelm rolls as you earn, and each roll can’t use more than, say, 4 points. So, basically, a roll of 5 or 6 automatically fails for that overwhelm roll. If you have an overwhelm score of more than 4, those points go into additional rolls. So, if you have an overwhelm score of 7, you get one roll where if you roll 4 or lower, you overwhelm. If you fail, you get another roll, and if you roll 3 or lower, you overwhelm. And so on, and so forth. If you don’t get it, just go with overwhelm score/6, overwhelm score 6 or greater automatically overwhelms. You can do that with procedure c, come to think of it.
The other I think is less of a good idea, but I want to put it out there. Basically, you can attempt to overwhelm even when you don’t qualify. My idea is that when neither player qualifies for overwhelm normally, a player can declare something, lord alone knows what, and both players have a chance to overwhelm. The declaring player gets a 1/6 chance, the non-declaring player gets a 2/6 chance. If they both overwhelm, it’s like nothing happened, and you can’t do it again, because come on. Basically another way for outmatched units to win, at least some of the time. Maybe restrict it so that the declaring player can’t be overmatched by more than half his attack? I dunno.
Anyway, I just thought of something that should bring me into the other thing I mentioned way up there, which is retreating. When its your turn, you can retreat, although you need to leave the hex to do so, I feel. Actually, that makes move greater than 3 relevant. I think I like the retreating mechanic. It’s not that powerful, though. My thought is that after a combat round (after the overwhelmed stacks round if overwhelming) you can retreat. Retreating, I decide, will always work, although it is costly. Costs one move, for starters. It also gives the non-retreating stack a free round of attack, although it does half damage. (Just calculate damage normally, and then cut it in half. Roll if the attack isn’t even. Round if you’re playing procedure 3). This is my first mechanic where it really matters whose turn it is. Yay!
Alright, now there’s two issues that will matter for the card game that are easily answered in Erfworld. Issue one: Maximum stack size. Issue two: Can combat involve more than two stacks at a time? Issue two needs to be dealt with first. Okay, I guess my idea is like this. First, we’re going to divide the hexes and cities up a little. I’ve got a little diagram, done in MS Paint. Real classy, and you can definitely tell what sort of artist I am by looking at it. Anyway…
The decision implicit in the diagram is this: You can have many stacks fighting at the same time, but no stack can ever be engaged with more than one stack. The diagram divides the hexes into seven zones: One center zone, and two zones for each hex it boarders, so that a hex in Erfworld would have 17 zones. We’re not going to be that complicated, though. Center zone connects to all other zones in the hex. Each of the two zones bordering another hex (or city) connect to each other. The two zones bordering other hexes or cities also connect to the zone in the other hex directly across from them. Cities are slightly different. Facing the two hexes are two zones of city wall, as well as the front gate. All three of these zones connect to the courtyard, which connects to the garrison. The front gate connects to a zone in each of the adjacent hexes, and the two wall zones each connects to the other zone in the adjacent hex. One big change from Erfworld is that you can cross zones even if it’s not your turn. And if I introduce flying (which I really feel like, but which I’m still not certain of) there will also be an airspace zone in each hex and city. Airspace connects to airspace in each connected hex. Airspace also connects to each zone within its hex, with the exception of the garrison in cities. Yes, a major departure from Erfworld, but in the card game, the garrison has a magical roof that repels all attacks, so you’ve got to go in through the courtyard. I imagine that flying units will end up being more useful as snipers than as dedicated invasion units, anyway.
A stack enters a zone and then battles with the enemy stack in that zone. Additional allied units cannot then enter the zone- stacks are set once they begin combat. A stack can retreat from their zone and stack with allied units in another zone that are not engaged in combat. Allied units in the same zone automatically stack. When battle is happening in two (or more) zones at once, each round of combat occurs simultaneously in each. Just cycle through the zones that are fighting. For this purpose, a round is when both sides have dealt damage, so if you have overwhelming going on, a round concludes after the overwhelmed stack deals damage, or after the overwhelmed side is destroyed. It takes one round to move from one zone to another. If one stack retreats to another zone, you deal retreating damage during that round, but cannot move in that round. You can reengage on the next round, though. Unless that stack moves again. I was worried about how to deal with the possibility of just retreating around the zones of the hex ad infinitum, and was trying to come up with some way to deal with that when I realized that I already had a freaking retreat mechanic in place. You retreat one zone, you take retreat damage. The enemy tries to reengage you, and you can either stand your ground or retreat again, taking retreat damage again. This makes it more expensive to retreat to a different hex if you’re deep in, more expensive to stack up with allied units that are farther away, and means that you can’t just run around to delay the game. Actually, now that I think about it, it’ll just be one round to join allied units if they’re moving, too. So the second point above is kinda stupid. Still, I like this setup.
Ok, I’ve figured out what the field is, how it’s divided, how you move around it, how you stack up, how you split stacks (move some units to different zones), implicitly answered the question about maximum stack size (there isn’t one), how you fight, what happens if you try to stop fighting, how you summon units, how you get units to summon. I think I’ve got most of it right now. There’s still a few issues, though. Those issues are archery and using siege to assault cities. How do you actually do these things?
Alright, first things first. There’s no melee combat involved in trying to take a city until the walls come down. Siege units within the adjacent zone attack the wall, and ranged units (units with the archery special) can snipe at units in the adjacent zones.
I’ll abruptly change topics and get archery out of the way right now. A ranged unit can use a ranged attack against any zone in their hex other than theirs, as well as against the adjacent zone in another hex during an assault on the walls. For the purposes of an archery attack, all units in a stack form an archery stack, which is treated like a stack of its own, although the units are still in their original stack. They get a group bonus, the same as a melee group bonus. They only get leadership bonuses if the unit providing leadership has the archery special as well. A ranged unit applies their combat (attack) stat to both archery attacks and melee attacks, although they will probably have lower combat, in general. Also, they don’t run out of arrows. There’s no way that’s going to work. OK, so an archery attack has been launched at a zone. The damage has been rolled/calculated, and now things change a little. If the zone is inhabited only by enemy units, it functions like a regular attack, attacker divides the damage however and croaked units clear off. Then there’s the question of what to do if there are units in the hex already engaged in combat. I’m not quite sure how to do “friendly fire” damage, and there’s probably no really optimal way to do it. One way is to just get rid of it, deal damage whether or not there’s friendly units to hit. I suspect that this will make archery way too powerful, so I don’t like this solution. What I think I’ll do is divide it. In the event of an archery attack aimed at a zone with units from both sides, the player launching the attack gets 2/3 of the damage, and the other player gets 1/3 of the damage. As earlier, calculate, then divide. Both players roll/round if not divisible by 3.
And, finally, city walls. I don’t know how this works in Erfworld, but I know that you need siege, and that having units on the wall helps. So here’s how it’s going to be. Each section of the wall has Hits. Attacking units with the siege special attack the wall as a stack, like archery. As with archery, only leadership with the siege special applies their bonus. Units on the walls engaged in reinforcing the walls protect the walls by giving them damage reduction, the only instance of damage reduction in the game. The amount of damage the wall would take in a round is reduced by the attack of the units engaged in protecting it. These units do not receive leadership bonuses of any kind. This is because I want defense to be powerful, but not too powerful. I don’t like the idea of the optimal strategy to be sitting back and waiting for your opponent to kill himself attacking you. Game would be boring. And before I forget, you can only attack a city during your turn. Just so you know. And although units without move can assault the walls, they cannot then enter the city.
Ranged units from both sides can launch attacks on each other. Ranged units from the defending side do not count for the purposes or reinforcing the walls if they’re attacking enemy units. An attacking unit with both archery and siege can only do one or the other. Units on the wall receive a defensive bonus. I imagine this bonus being 0 for a level 1 city, 1 for a level 2-4 city, and 2 for a level 5 city. As always, defense caps at 5, no matter what.
The front gate is probably going to be what gets broken through. I think that it’s going to have lower Hits, and units from both adjacent zones act together, attacking as one stack, although not for the purposes of leadership. You can create multiple archery stacks to attack both zones, but one archery stack can only attack one zone at a time.
When the walls fall, the attackers can then assault the city proper. The gate/walls are still a zone of the city, although they have fallen. It’s just rubble now. Attacks proceed as normal.
And, finally, winning/losing:
This is actually a tricky question to me. I don’t think that there are going to be rulers/overlords in this game, so that’s out as a win condition. As I see it, there are two options:
1) You win when all opposing units are croaked.
2) You win when you take your opponents city.
I think I’m going to go with option two, with a whole host of modifiers, although obviously if condition one is met, you win. First, you can’t just go for the garrison, although it’ll probably be a good idea, since fragile units with powerful specials will be there. You have to hold the whole city. Second, you have to hold it for a turn. If opposing field units manage to take back their city (or yours!) the game keeps going. Although, again, they need to hold the whole city.
Actually, wait, crap. Hmmm…
Alright, one thing I should have probably specified a while ago is that even units that would normally be on autopilot on Erfworld don’t have to attack things. If they’re in the same zone, they do, or if they’re on either side of the city wall and have archery, they do, but not otherwise. (I should specify now that the walls and adjacent zones in the other hex have special rules. You can have archery shooting at each other across hex boundaries even when there’s no assault on the walls, although it has to be your turn to initiate such a battle.) So it is possible for opposing units to share a hex, if not a zone, if neither player is willing to initiate combat. So it is possible for turns to pass with part of a city under control of one side, and part of the city under control of the other. The side which gets the cities shmucker output is the side which holds the garrison. If the garrison is taken, you also seize that players treasury. At that point, the player who holds the garrison maintains two separate treasuries, one for the captured city, and one for their home city. They will probably want to spend that treasury out, if any opposing units remain in the field. It should be noted that the treasury is frozen while there are enemy units within the city or attacking the walls (you can’t repair the walls while they’re under attack) except at the beginning of your turn. It should also be noted that you can’t spend the treasury of one city repairing or upgrading the other, and that units popped using a cities treasury pop in that city. Just some things to keep in mind, especially for multiplayer. Which reminds me, I’ll need maps for that. Or we’ll just make people make their own.
So the game concludes when all but one player has lost. You lose when one of two conditions are met:
Condition 1: You have no units
Condition 2: Your turn starts with you not holding a garrison, and ends with you not holding a garrison.
All right, just a few more things to wrap up. Leadership, it seems clear to me, boosts combat by the stated number (and remember the #/6) of each unit that receives it. There’s no purpose to “commanders” in the card game, so it’s just warlords. A warlord has a leadership score, which applies to all units in his stack. In addition, the side has a chief Warlord. I’m going to say that you start the battle with one warlord in addition to your basic infantry, so that guy starts as chief. You can promote any warlord you summon to chief when you summon him, and change your chief warlord at any time that none of your units are attacking, or when your old chief warlord croaks. The chief warlord, in addition to giving the normal bonus to units in his stack, gives half of his bonus to allied units in his hex, and 1/3 of his bonus to all other units on his side. In the case of partial bonuses, always round down. We don’t need fractions of fractions. These bonuses don’t stack with each other, obviously. I’m dropping the bit about also applying to units in the capital city, or however that worked, because that seems overpowered. And I don’t think that the chief warlord should be cowering in the garrison.
OK, I think that more or less covers it. I’m going to do some examples below. Each type of caster (that makes any sense in the context of the card game) will be its own rule subset, with a score associated with it. So you’ll have a croakamancer, which will have a croakamancy score, which is how many croakamancy-related things they can do each turn. And the card types have been simplified to:
Units (Things that fight)
City (cards that don’t fight but stick around, generally modifying your city in some way)
Spells (Don’t require a caster, cards that do something and then go away, although you might have the card stick around to show what happened, such as with level cards)
Unit: Basic Infantry (token)
Special: More basic infantry can be popped for 100 shmuckers each
(Inherent ability for a side, don’t actually need infantry to do that)
Token means it’s not a normal card that you draw, it’s a card used to represent your infantry. Maybe with a certain number of counters on it to show how many there are, rather than representing infantry with a card each. This game is really going to need counters. And you pay 20 shmuckers upkeep for every 8 basic infantry you have, except the first. So if you have 8, no upkeep, if you have 11, 20 upkeep, and if you have 80, 200 upkeep.
Actually, I’m just going to go crazy on the counters, and say that there are also level counters. Increasing level beyond where the card starts has the following effects:
+1 Hits/2 Levels
+1 Defense/4 Levels (and again, defense can’t go above 5, no matter what)
Additionally, units with the leadership special gain +1 Leadership/2 Levels
And, finally, in a departure from Erfworld, upkeep does not increase with level.
And I’m going to get more city and game start details out of the way. You start with a treasury of 50,000 shmuckers, and your city generates 1,000 shmuckers a turn. Your city starts as a level 1. Cities generate an additional 300 shmuckers per turn for each level. City walls have 20 hits/city level, and the front gate has 15 hits/city level. Repairing one hit of a city wall costs 50 shmuckers. Leveling your city requires a card. You also have a (very) basic training mechanism inherent in your city. I like the idea, but I’m starting to think that the application may end up being really irritating/sloppy. My idea is that your basic training system can initially level a unit up to level 2, by having them spend turns in the garrison, unable to do anything. Or, rather, you can send them places, but it interrupts (and completely wastes) their training so far. My thought was that it takes, say 2*Level turns in there for units to level, where Level is the level they’re getting to. The other limitation is that you can only have one “class” leveling at a time, a limit of 8 units per class, and no level diversity-the whole class has to start and end at the same level. Keeping track of that seems irritating, though. More counters, I guess. Take one off every turn until they’re done. Or just get rid of this idea.
Anyway, more cards.
Unit: Basic Warlord (token)
Upkeep: Token Tier 3 (See below)
Special: Leadership: 1
And now I’m starting to wonder how it is that we’re going to have it be reasonable for a card to summon more basic units. It’s probably not going to be as much fun if we can’t have a bunch of different types basic units in addition to a variety of commanders, but you need a lot of the basic units, which generates card disadvantage. You can have them summon a bunch, but how do you break them up? Ok, I guess my idea here is this: We have a whole bunch of different types of token cards. Like, almost a dozen. And they do what I was saying about the infantry earlier. Each card has yea many counters on it, representing how many additional units of that type are in that stack. And you divide them by level, if they’re different levels. Not only do we need counters, we need at least two very distinct types of counters. Actually, we need three. We need level counters, unit counters, and hit counters. Level is additional levels, Unit is additional units, hits are hits the unit has taken. And, just to specify, hits are removed from your units at the start of your turn. Red counters for hits, I suggest. Other than that…well, it’s something to be figured out. Oh, jeez, and I didn’t even come up with a way of dealing with wall damage. Hell with it, that goes on paper. They need a sheet to keep track of their treasury anyway, the hits left on the walls go there too. So, I guess we need more tokens…
Ok, I had all tokens costing the same for a minute there, and that’s clearly dumb. We need heavy infantry, maybe some fliers, all sorts of things, eventually. So now there are tiers of Tokens. Tier one costs 150 each to pop, and costs 25 per group of 8 in upkeep. Tier two costs 250 each to pop, and 50 per group of 8 in upkeep. Finally, Tier 3 costs 500 each to pop, and costs 10 each in upkeep. This will probably need to be fixed later, or just scrapped in exchange for individual costs/upkeeps, but it should do for a start.
Unit: Ranger (Token)
Upkeep: Token Tier 1
Archery Units gain +1 Combat/2 Levels
+1 Move/2 Levels, and
+1 Hits /3 Levels, instead of normal level bonuses
Unit: Digger (Token)
Upkeep: Token Tier 1
Unit: Heavy Infantry
Upkeep: Token Tier 2
Unit: Siege Engine
Combat: 0 (Units with combat of 0 do not gain combat with levels.)
Upkeep: Token Tier 3
Special: Having this unit in stack grants up to 8 other units in stack the siege special
And that’s what I’m coming up with as far as tokens, for now. Casters now. A caster has Special: Their Discipline #. The number is their juice, which refills every turn. We might need juice counters, too, or they could just remember. Their juice is referred to as (discipline) points, and is used to perform the action of that discipline. Finally, casters gain 1 discipline point for each level they gain, in lieu of gains in combat.
And, something that needs to be dealt with, since casters get their own special combat round, what happens if two casters meet in combat? Answer: One or more of them will probably die in short order. They can both use their abilities as much as they want in that timeframe, and if that makes them and half the units on both sides croak, then that’s what happens. I will mention that Healomancers get the benefit of the doubt, so they can respond to damage dealt before it actually kills things.
Unit: Wanda Firebaugh of FAQ
Upkeep: 500 Shmuckers. 10,000 to pop
Special: Croakamancy 7
Croakamancy is most commonly used to uncroak a fallen unit. Uncroaking a unit requires croakamancy points equal to the units hits. An uncroaked unit does not decay in the same fashion as uncroaked in Erfworld, but it does not heal damage as other units do. A croakamancer can heal uncroaked, for one hit per croakamancy point. Uncroaked have no upkeep cost. A croakamancer must be in the same zone as the croaked or uncroaked to uncroak/heal them. Croaked units depop (removed from play) after the turn in which they were croaked. Again, not quite like Erfworld, but I don’t want useless cards laying around- too easy to make mistakes. Maybe croaked units are flipped upside down or something. A croakamancer also has offensive spellcasting abilities. A croakamancer can use their croakamancy points to deal damage, at a rate of 1 hit per point. Defense does not apply. This damage is done in a separate time frame from normal combat, before normal combat begins, and does not interfere with their ability to fight normally. They must be in the same zone to deal damage. Finally, croakamancers act as warlords to uncroaked, giving a leadership bonus equal to their croakamancy score divided by 2 to all uncroaked in their stack, and equal to their croakamancy score divided by 4 to all uncroaked in their hex. Round down in both cases. And this leadership formula applies for all casters in cases where they give leadership bonuses.
Unit: Sizemore Rockwell
Upkeep: 600, 14,000 to pop
Special: Dirtamancy 9
Dirtamancy has two major functions. First, is construction. Simply having a Dirtamancer in the city gives a 10% reduction in the cost of wall repairs and city upgrades. A Dirtamancer can use a Dirtamancy point to repair two hits of wall, or to remove 50 shmuckers of the cost of a city upgrade (applied after the discount). A Dirtamancer can also created golems. A mud golem costs 3 Dirtamancy points, and acts as basic infantry with the addition of the siege special. A rock golem acts as heavy infantry with the addition of the siege special, and costs 6 Dirtamancy points. A metal golem is described below, and costs 9 Dirtamancy points. Golems have no upkeep cost, and Dirtamancers give a leadership bonus to golems.
Unit: Metal Golem
Upkeep: No upkeep, costs 3,000 to pop
(Also my first noncaster, nontoken card, although for Metal Golems created by Dirtamancers, we’ll need some blank/adjustable/whatever tokens.)
Unit: Vanna of Unaroyal
Upkeep: 600, 12,000 to pop
Special: Turnamancy 8
Turnamancy follows the precedent of Dirtamancy, having two major functions. First is the reduction in costs of playing units. A Turnamancer can reduce the cost of playing a unit by 200 shmuckers for each Turnamancy point used. A Turnamancer can also turn enemy units to their side. There are two basic methods of doing this. A Turnamancer can do a mass turning, which attempts to turn all opposing units in the zone with level and hits no greater than 1. Each unit has a 3/6 chance to be turned (roll for each). This ability costs 3 Turnamancy points. This ability can be used to attempt to turn all units with level and hits less than or equal to 2 or 3 as well. In those cases, it costs 5 and 8 points, respectively. A Turnamancer can also do a guaranteed turn of a single unit. The cost of this ability is equal to the targets level. Both of these abilities take place in a special round before combat commences. Units still have upkeep, and receive no leadership bonus from the Turnamancer. Casters (and chief warlords?) are immune to turning. (Trying not to make Turnamancers too overly powerful, but does having a selectable warlord be immune go too far? It does make some sense that the chief warlord would be loyal, though. Actually, I’m going to go ahead and say that they just cost twice as much to turn, and are immune to mass turning, even if they’re low enough level.)
Unit: Ace Hardware
Upkeep: 400, 9,000 to pop
Special: Dollamancy 5
Dollamancy, in the card game, is concerned solely with the creation and healing of cloth golems. Small cloth golems act as basic infantry, and cost 1 Dollamancy point to create. Basic cloth golems act as heavy infantry, and cost 3 Dollamancy points to create. Large cloth golems are described below, and cost 6 Dollamancy points to create. Gargantuan cloth golems are described below, and cost 10 Dollamancy points to create. A Dollamancer can also heal cloth golems for two hits per Dollamancy point. Cloth Golems have no upkeep. Dollamancers give no leadership to cloth golems. And, yes, I noticed that I gave the bigger golems siege, but not the smaller ones. This was intentional, although very changeable.
Unit: Large Cloth Golem
Upkeep: Zero, costs 3,000 to pop.
Unit: Gargantuan Cloth Golem
Upkeep: Zero, 9,000 to pop
Unit: Lloyd of Jetstone
Upkeep: 550, costs 13,000 to pop.
Special: Dittomancy 8
Dittomancy is a combat oriented discipline. A Dittomancer can double a warlord (or casters) leadership bonus for a turn. This costs 1 Dittomancy point. A Dittomancer can also double the attack power of a stack he is part of for a single round of battle. This can be used to overrun, and should be, to allow for the survival of the Dittomancer. As always, calculate, then double. This ability costs 2 Dittomancy points. An attack can be doubled multiple times, but the cost of doing so doubles each time. So, for examples, quadrupling an attack requires 6 Dittomancy points, an octuple attack requires 14, and so on. A Dittomancer can also duplicate a summoned token unit, for the cost of 2 Dittomancy points.
Unit: Avogadro Watt
Upkeep: 700, 15,000 to pop
Special: Shockmancy 10
Shockmancy is even more combat oriented than Dittomancy. All of a Shockmancers abilities are useful only in combat. Their first ability is stunning. They can stun a unit for five rounds of combat. That unit does not add damage, their defense does not apply, and if they are a warlord or caster, their leadership does not apply. This ability costs 1 Shockmancy point. They can also shock an entire stack for one round. This ability costs 3 Shockmancy points. Finally, they can deal direct damage. They can use two Shockmancy points to deal 3 hits worth of damage, or they can use 1 point to deal 1 damage. Also, Shockmancers (and Croakamancers, and other casters that get damage abilities) can attack units assaulting the walls, like archers. They cannot, however, attack other zones like archers. Well, with the exception of Shockmancers, who can attack airspace in their hex, and do double damage when targeting flying units in airspace.
Unit: Pierce of Jetstone
Upkeep: 800, 16,000 to pop
Special: Healomancy 12
Healomancy is used to heal units. Duh. A Healomancer can heal (or prevent) damage. A Healomancy point can be used to prevent/heal two hits worth of damage. If a unit would take only one point of damage in that particular combat round, only one point is prevented. A Healomancer can respond to how the opponent distributes damage. And although they need to be in the same hex as the unit to be healed, they do not need to be in the same stack. So they’re pretty powerful and versatile, although their abilities are purely defensive.
Unit: Benjamin of Transylvito
Upkeep: 400, 14,000 to pop
Special: Moneymancy 7
Moneymancy isn’t going to be based on what we’ve seen of it in Erfworld, since to make the game playable, we need loads of natural Moneymancy to speed things up. So what it does instead is fill in that second step. You know, the one in between what you’re doing and profit. I want to have them reducing upkeep, but that’s just going to be way too much of a hassle to keep track of. A good sized part of me wants them using their magic one turn to increase their cities shmucker production, but that seems overpowered. This game is going to take a while, and while I worked to keep offense and defense… reasonably balanced for a beta, with a Moneymancer doing stuff like that it’s going to be way too easy to just sit back and let your opponent starve…unless they’ve got a Moneymancer too. And that’s not fun either way. So what they’re doing instead is basically generating money. They’ve got two modes of doing it, see? The first one, they take one of their Moneymancy points and they take off 150 shmuckers of upkeep that turn. Pretty sweet, huh? They can do that all they want, but they don’t want to, see, ‘cause they can do something else that’s even sweeter. They can use one of their nice Moneymancy points, and just like that, boom, cost of popping whatever goes down 200 shmuckers. Pop a unit? Bam, 200 shmuckers less. Buying a spell? Bam, 200 shmuckers less. Adding something to a city they’re in? Boom, discount. That’s their big deal, though. Can only do that for things that’re going on in their city, and they don’t like to travel, see? The big thing they don’t do is walls. They’ll build new ones, upgrade your city real nice, but they’re not big on repairing the things. Leave that the Dirtamancers, heh. Dirt or shmuckers, whaddya you think matters more?
And that’s the casters, and some peripheral units. That is, in fact, more or less it. I’m gonna add some commanders for feel, and some example spells and city upgrades.
Unit: Parson Gotti
Upkeep: 200, 2,000 to pop
Special: Leadership 2
Brilliant advice: Three times per turn, may double leadership bonus of allied warlord for one combat round. Does not need to be in same hex. Does not stack with itself.
Unit: Lord Hamster (Parson Gotti)
Upkeep: 600, 9,000 to pop
Special: Leadership 4
Contagious brilliance: Increases the leadership of all other warlords on side by 1
Unit: Wanda Firebaugh, Tool of the Titans
Upkeep: 3,000, 40,000 to pop
Special: Croakamancy 25
(I envision this as being top-tier, Arkenplier-wielding Wanda, with an intermediate step or two)
City: Let’s get this thing off the ground
Cost: 3,000 shmuckers
Increase city level from 1 to 2
(No effect if city level 2 or greater) (Also, I think I’m going to drop razing as a mechanic)
Reuse: Discard for 1,000 shmucker discount on another City card
City: Construction Crew
Cost: 5,000 shmuckers
Increase city level by 1
City: Training grounds
Cost: 3,000 shmuckers
Creates Training grounds. Spend 200 shmuckers to increase level of a unit in city. (Costs double for casters and units with leadership) Can’t increase past level 4. Actually, I think I’m going to make spending shmuckers the trigger for the similar ability I had innate in the cities up there somewhere. 200 shmuckers, double for leadership, up to level 2.
City: Great Defenses
Cost: 7,000 shmuckers
Creates Great Defenses. Units protecting walls/gate get a +1 leadership bonus to combat. (And, yes, I think I said they can’t get leadership bonuses of any kind. I guess I was lying.)
City: Unrivaled Defenses
Cost: 15,000 shmuckers
Creates Unrivaled defenses. Units protecting walls/gate get a +2 leadership bonus to combat, as well as a +1 bonus to defense. (My rule, right now, for whether things stack is to ask whether they came from the same card. If the answer is yes, they don’t. If the answer is no, they do.)
Cost: 10,000 shmuckers
Creates Bank. Increases city shmucker output by 500 shmuckers
Spell: Mass Levelling
Cost: 3,000 shmuckers
Put a level counter on each unit in your city.
(Broken? Underpowered? Awkward but exploitable?)
Spell: Warlord Summoning
Cost: 40,000 shmuckers
Search your deck for a warlord. Pop that warlord.
(Now, where did I get the idea for this?)
Cost: 1,000 shmuckers
Pop 20 Archers
(Again, how valuable are cards? No idea. Is 2,000 shmuckers for a card decent? Horrible? Way more than it’s worth?)
Spell: Options on the Table
Cost: 3,000 shmuckers
Draw two cards
Spell: Power Leveling
Put five level counters on a unit in your city.
(I think I’m going to make targets of spells be in your city, pretty much always)
Ok, I think I’m done. Other than whatever holes I failed to patch up, the only thing I feel I’m missing is exploration of the idea of offensive spells, which I feel iffy about anyway. So there it is. A potential card game. And if the board idea turns out to be good after all, the combat mechanics shouldn’t need too much tweaking.