Age of Titans v0.0

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Age of Titans v0.0

Postby Nnelg » Fri Jul 13, 2012 12:35 pm

Ok, so I've found a focus for this thread! Scroll down just a bit and you'll see it.

Original OP:
Spoiler: show
Right, so...

I've discovered a strong urge to build my own Fantasy TBS game system. I've seen what's been done already and I really like the look of it -in fact it's become part of the inspiration. But I'd do it a bit differently, and possibly will sometime in the near future. It depends, I have a bad track record of abandoned 'big idea' projects stretching all the way back to my to my childhood; but I've been constantly improving, so who knows?

Anyways, I personally don't care what becomes of this. For me, the pleasure's in the process. Although, that doesn't mean I wouldn't want to play the actual product of my imagination; if anyone else is actually interested in using the stuff I come up with then let me know!

The idea of the thread is that I can dump all the raw creative products here so I can clear my mind for more thought, and possibly even get some feedback. I really should keep an index of the thread up here on the OP, but again I'm not really sure I have it in me to keep up with it. We'll just see what happens then, I guess.
Last edited by Nnelg on Fri Jul 20, 2012 11:28 am, edited 5 times in total.
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Re: Systemizing the Game - Thoughts and Questions

Postby 0beron » Fri Jul 13, 2012 12:41 pm

You may also want to look at these General Rules and these Rules on Magic. The link you posted originally shares a "common ancestor" with these rules, which are what is currently being used in the Erfgame 3 playtest. Our goal has been to make them as accurate to the comic as reasonably possible, so they're gradually being updated as we test them and receive new info from the comic.
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1. Concept Overview

Postby Nnelg » Fri Jul 13, 2012 1:50 pm

So, the first thing that I like about that system I found here (and I really wish I could figure out who the author is so I can give him due credit) is the customizability of each side. I had actually already considered something similar to this, at a time when I was considering adapting a very obscure game called Infinitron for Erfworld.

The biggest difference between these two systems is where New Erf (is that the right name?) uses a series of templates off of which minor modifications can be made, Infinitron is completely freeform. I believe a synthesis of the two is warranted : sides could have several "archetypes" to build off of, (mainly for convenience) but the stats are determined differently. Instead of just being able to add a few points wherever, an excel spreadsheet can take care of making sure everything's balanced.

But these calculations -yea, the very stats themselves- depends completely upon how combat operates. This is where my design will be most unique, I believe.

Due to how the games I usually play operate, I feel the need to separate out accuracy, penetration, and damage, among other things. I had a few ideas on how to distill the essence of this while keeping the actual number of stats to deal with down to a minimum, but few have any real promise. The one I currently think has the most merit involves actually changing the number and/or size of the dice rolled.

Lastly, there's the Casters. I think the best way to handle magic is to make sure there's a lot of overlap. Take, for instance, illusions. Obviously foolamancers have that down completely, but that doesn't mean they have to be the only ones with it. So, I'll give portions of the illusion spell arsenal to carnymancers, weirdomancers, signamancers, thinkamancers, and anywhere else it makes sense. Similarly, C3 (command, control, communications) shouldn't be the sole domain of thinkamancers: I'll give it to hat magicians, changemancers, signamancers, and mathamancers as well. Heh, maybe even rhyme-o-mancers... In this way I hope to make all casters worthwhile, not just the obvious ones.


Ok, so there's a few things I skipped, and nothing I really fleshed out in-depth, but at least I've got this out of my head. Now I can start thinking specifics...

EDIT:
I'll respond as soon as I've skimmed through these rules you've sent me, 0beron.
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Re: Systemizing the Game - Thoughts and Questions

Postby Nnelg » Fri Jul 13, 2012 2:08 pm

0beron wrote:You may also want to look at these General Rules and these Rules on Magic. The link you posted originally shares a "common ancestor" with these rules, which are what is currently being used in the Erfgame 3 playtest. Our goal has been to make them as accurate to the comic as reasonably possible, so they're gradually being updated as we test them and receive new info from the comic.

Then there's the biggest difference in philosophy: I've decided not to worry about encapsulating the specifics of Erfworld, just so long as I manage to capture its "essence", if you know what I mean.

To that end our systems will vary quite dramatically in two specific cases. First off, the magic system, in which right now the system you forwarded is heavily unbalanced towards the few caster types we've seen "on-screen", so to speak. In contrast, I would stretch the limits of every possible interpretation of a name to make sure that every 'mancer was useful.

The other case is the combat system. Probably. It'd help a lot if the combat rules were actually in the rulebook...
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Re: Systemizing the Game - Thoughts and Questions

Postby 0beron » Fri Jul 13, 2012 2:13 pm

That New Erf 0.39 (the rules you found originally) and the New Erf Beta 1.0 (the ones I linked you to) are both derived from a earlier set of rules which I believe has since been lost because (one of?) the main author(s) disappeared with the original document, however I believe Kaed was involved with their creation.

The 0.39 Alpha was adapted from those original rules entirely by Twoy, whereas the Beta 1.0 is currently being developed primarily by Kaed, Exate, and myself.

EDIT: In response to your comments, yes the Beta 1.0 (or Erfgame 3) is still a work in progress and we're aiming for accuracy to Erfworld. The magic is actually a bit of a weak point that we'll be writing as we go, most of those spells are suggestions or what have you.
As for combat, that is totally Kaed's territory so it hasn't be written down yet, so I can't help you there. I do believe however that it is very similar if not identical to those rules you cited in your first post.
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Re: Systemizing the Game - Thoughts and Questions

Postby Nnelg » Thu Jul 19, 2012 7:32 pm

Ok, I've got a new idea!


I was thinking about what's fun about Erfworld, and I realized that the mechanics don't matter. It's the feel of things that really counts. To that end, I've decided to adapt a streamlined classic system, tossing anything that conflicts with it.

List of things features of Erfwold:
Spoiler: show
  • Customized sides: keep
  • Hexes: keep
  • Upkeep: undecided
  • Casters: keep (in 'expansion')
  • Levels: scrap & rework
  • Hits: scrap & rework
  • Variable damage: toss
  • 8-limit Stacks: toss
  • Fog of war: scrap & rework


The systems I'm adapting are those of Samurai Swords (aka Shogon) and Axis and Allies, both venerable light wargames, with a hefty dose of modern 'LtWG' concepts thrown in. One positive side effect of this is that my system would be suitable for printing 'hard copies' of; as such I'll occasionally be speaking of it as if it were.

Combat is simple. Each unit has an attack and a defense; it gets to roll a 12-sided die in combat, and rolling under the appropriate skill number (eg attack when attacking, defense when defending) results in a hit. Hits are allocated by the side receiving them; most units can only take one hit but some can take more. Combat is simultaneous, with the exception that ranged casualties are taken off before melee gets to attack. Things get more complex when air units come into play, but it shouldn't be too difficult.

For ease of bookkeeping, every hex with units in it must be marked, with some exceptions. However, other sides will not be able to see the stack's contents unless the hex is scouted. Sides will not get specialized scouts by default.

I'm going to leave magic for an 'expansion' after the basics are down, however I already have plans for it. Each branch of magic has a deck of 'spell cards' with various effects printed on them, most of which are not unique to a single school. Each caster has a separate 'hand', replenished at a rate of one card a turn to a set maximum (but no side can have multiples of the same caster, so all cards can be put together). Each card has a juice cost printed on it, limiting the number that can be played per turn. Spell cards can also be converted to scrolls at a tower, which can be sold to (or bought from) the magic kingdom, or put in caster's inventories.

Something I'm considering adding is tactics cards. They'd work like spell cards, except with warlords instead of casters. They wouldn't belong to specific warlords though, and as many as you want could be played on the same warlord in the same turn. Tactics cards would require certain levels of warlords to activate them, and some (most?) might have different effects at different levels. You'd get to choose which one you wanted, of course.

Predictamancy can finally find a practical form within a deck-based system...


So, who'd like to help me develop this? All I need to start the first playtest is a way to make and post a cheap map image. (And of course some players!)
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Re: Systemizing the Game - Thoughts and Questions

Postby Nnelg » Fri Jul 20, 2012 1:22 am

Ok, so I'm going to start with just a basic list of units. I'm taking these straight out of Samurai Swords and changing the names, we'll see how it goes. None of these can take more than one hit for now, we'll worry about that later. Also, they have the same attack and defense values; that can be fixed later as well.

  • Caster: Ranged, 6.
  • Archer: Ranged, 4.
  • Warlord: Melee, 6.
  • Knight: Melee, 5.
  • Infantry: Melee, 4.
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Re: Systemizing the Game - Thoughts and Questions

Postby LTDave » Fri Jul 20, 2012 4:19 am

I'm a big fan of classic Shogun and Axis and Allies. Great games. I tried using Shogun rules in one of these games before - with Ranged and Fliers hitting first, followed by melee units. See the "Rise of Nations" thread for that system. I think it would definitely work.

I also think that "Twilight Imperium" would make a great Erf game, just with space ships turned into Fantasy units. If there's anyone here who'd likea game of TI, let me know. It's a classic as well.

I like your idea of tactics cards, and for that I refer you to "Castle Risk", a massively underrated board game, or "Empires in Arms", yet another classic but this time extremely complicated board game.

When it comes to maps, look for "Hexmapper" in the google, or what's the name of the better one? Yeah - "Hexographer".

I admire your determination to KIS,S. When you have a system going, I'll try and play.

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Re: Systemizing the Game - Thoughts and Questions

Postby The Colonel » Fri Jul 20, 2012 5:10 am

Do want!
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Re: Age of Titans v0.0

Postby Nnelg » Fri Jul 20, 2012 9:37 am

Right then, so I've (almost) decided on a name for the system and am looking at Hexmapper for the mapmaking. I'll use it for the basics, then export the image for hand editing. There's a few things I want that I can't do in it; for instance, hexside rivers. Thankfully this only needs to be done once; afterwards I'll keep a raw image file and add the 'counters' fresh every turn. Hm... Actually, maybe I can just use paint...

I've realized this system implies a few things, though. First, it means all garrisons will be implicit, so the GM doesn't have to keep placing them every turn. Second, that structure ownership will be shown via a flag box that's easily refillable with a new color. Corollary to this, every side must choose one solid color to represent them. Think Civilization or Alpha Centauri; we'll be using shields like those.

Every City and Army will have one letter associated with it, and the GM will keep records based on this. This does put a limit on the size of a scenario, but I'm thinking that's a good thing. I'd like to make a game that can an interested group could print out and play in one weekend. Also, it'd be easier to allocate an array for; the holy grail of this project is for someone to be able to host a virtual game by using their PC as a server, with players (including the host) able to take turns via direct connect. I know (not personally) a few developers who might be willing to give advice on this that I can mail to, if and when the project gets up and running. Actually, it might turn out to be prerequisite...

As for the counters themselves, I think it would be fun for everyone to design their own army counter. Possibly their city image as well, if I find an easy way of handling changes. As long as they're content with 16-bit color and a set pixel size, it'll be fun. If the programming portion gets far enough, they could do individual units too.


Hm... Actually... That gives me an idea. Does anyone here know a good graphics program that'll let you overlay two or more images? If I could put the map on one layer, and the counters on another, it'd save a lot of trouble.
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Re: Age of Titans v0.0

Postby MarbitChow » Fri Jul 20, 2012 10:00 am

I encourage you to download Gimp 2.8 (click); place the map as layer and then create a layer for every counter. Autocrop each counter layer. You can quickly reposition the counters by simply dragging them around the map. The Darkness Rising illustrations are done with it and it saves a ton of time.

If you go that route, you can easily create a custom city icon for each player, and just swap them in and out as cities change hands.
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Naming the System

Postby Nnelg » Fri Jul 20, 2012 10:04 am

Right, so I think I know how the name should basically go. I want it to reflect how I believe something like this would have been the system In The Beginning, back when the Titans had a direct hand in Erfworld. (Eventually, power creep set in and everything started to require massive amounts of micro, so the Titans made Erfworlders capable of handling the micro themselves.)

So, I've come up with several names of this theme, but none of them quite sit right with me:
  • Age of Titans
  • Erf of the Titans
  • Titan's Erf
  • Titans of Erf
  • Age of Arken
  • Old Erf
  • Erfworld: {any other title} (I'll only use Erf's proper name if Rob and Xin officially endorse it)
  • New Erf: {any other title} (likewise, I'll only use New Erf's name with the sanction of its creators)
  • Erf Lite
  • The Titans of Ark

Hm... Actually, I just came up with that last one now, but I think I'm liking it...
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Re: Age of Titans v0.0

Postby 0beron » Fri Jul 20, 2012 10:10 am

I believe that in the interim, Rob has no issue with the use of Erf-related names. He has stated multiple times that he encourages fan-work. If however you reach a point where you plan to publish this beyond the Erfworld forums/community, especially for profit, then you definitely need to contact him for permission, regardless of what you name it.
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Re: Age of Titans v0.0

Postby Nnelg » Fri Jul 20, 2012 10:21 am

0beron wrote:I believe that in the interim, Rob has no issue with the use of Erf-related names. He has stated multiple times that he encourages fan-work. If however you reach a point where you plan to publish this beyond the Erfworld forums/community, especially for profit, then you definitely need to contact him for permission, regardless of what you name it.

I know, I'm just being over-considerate of the issue. I don't even want to make it sound official if it really isn't. I'm completely fine with using "Erf", "Arken____" or whatever specifically because it's cool with the authors.

MarbitChow wrote:I encourage you to download Gimp 2.8 (click); place the map as layer and then create a layer for every counter. Autocrop each counter layer. You can quickly reposition the counters by simply dragging them around the map. The Darkness Rising illustrations are done with it and it saves a ton of time.

If you go that route, you can easily create a custom city icon for each player, and just swap them in and out as cities change hands.

Thanks for the tip, I'm downloading it now. I'll get back when I'm done testing it out.
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Re: Age of Titans v0.0

Postby 0beron » Fri Jul 20, 2012 10:25 am

Hahaha, everybody on here knows none of these games are "Official". Go ahead and call it whatever you like, and "worst-case scenario" if you do ever want to publish it, you and Rob discuss the particulars and possibly change the name.
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Re: Age of Titans v0.0

Postby Nnelg » Fri Jul 20, 2012 12:28 pm

So, I guess I'll put out some strategic-level rules:

> All units are grouped into "stacks". These are not the same as stacks in the comic, so forget everything about those.
>> Stacks come in four flavors: Garrisons, Armies, Leaderless, and Broken.
>>> Garrisons stacks are implicit in defensible structures such as cities. They cost less in upkeep.
>>> Armies are units under direct command of a warlord. You have full control over these stacks.
>>> Leaderless stacks consist of field units without a leader. You can still control them indirectly.
>>> Stacks may become Broken through card affects. They must flee to the nearest city.
>> There may be no more than one stack per side per hex at the end of every turn.
>>> Merge stacks on the same hex at turn end.
>> Non-garrison stacks have a limit of eight units.
>> There is no penalty for overstacking if a card affect prevents you from moving the excess out.
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Re: Age of Titans v0.0

Postby Nnelg » Sat Jul 21, 2012 12:35 am

MarbitChow wrote:I encourage you to download Gimp 2.8 (click); place the map as layer and then create a layer for every counter. Autocrop each counter layer. You can quickly reposition the counters by simply dragging them around the map. The Darkness Rising illustrations are done with it and it saves a ton of time.

If you go that route, you can easily create a custom city icon for each player, and just swap them in and out as cities change hands.

Right, so I'm having some technical troubles getting Gimp to work. I'm thinking of taking a different approach though, which is to build the game as a module within VASSAL. This will solve the paperwork problem as well, hopefully.

Oh, and also I was going to do that thing where captured cities can produce the opposing side's units, for a while at least. So city image would reflect what units the city could make rather than who actually owns it.
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Re: Age of Titans v0.0

Postby Nnelg » Mon Jul 23, 2012 10:51 am

So, I've decided not to do anything with actually running a game myself until the first playable version of the rules is finished, if no other GM has stepped forwards by then. Instead I'll be working on the rulebook, which I've already started up on Google Docs.
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Re: Age of Titans v0.0

Postby Nnelg » Mon Jul 30, 2012 12:24 am

OK, some Ideas for magic card effects here...

If you want to help, think of all the craziest things you can think of that could possibly fit under the name of the school. It doesn't even matter if it's very specific, as I intend to build a system where cards that aren't wanted for their effects can be used as raw power or something.

Turnamancy:
"Turn the Tide" - Play when an enemy ship attempts to unload units. These units do not unload and the ship looses all remaining move for the turn.
"Turn the Tables" - Play at the end of the day. Swap chairs (and turn order) with the player of your choice.
"Turn Uncroaked" - Does damage to uncroaked units.
"Turn Down the Volume" - Dispels Rhyme-o-mancy.
"Employee Turnover" - Disband some units, but be able to pop more this turn (proportional to how long the disbanded units took to pop).
"Fumble Turnover" - Steal the initiative in combat when an enemy unit rolls the worst thing possible.
"Apple Turnover" - +Morale, -upkeep for a few units for one turn.
"No U-Turn" - Prevent the enemy from reentering the hex it just left.
"Internship" - Decrease upkeep for a mercenary.
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Re: Age of Titans v0.0

Postby Werebiscuit » Mon Jul 30, 2012 7:27 am

    "Turnabout is Fair Play" - Reverses the effect of the next card
    "On the turn" - Reduces the effect of the next card

Eyemancy:
    "An Eye for an Eye" - Played after a card effect. Plays the same effect on the player playing the card
    "The Eye's have it" - Allows player to retrieve a used card from the discard pile

There are obvioulsy a few more Eye puns with Golden Eye, Eye of the Tiger and Eagle Eyes foremost amongst them. So maybe I'll have a think on them later.
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