Game Design Concepts Continued…

So looking back to the Playtest_1 version of the Leviathans rulebook (dated April 10th, 2008), it’s fascinating to see how somethings remained relatively unchanged through 5 iterations of the rules (the 5th is in one final playtest, so what will publish will be the 6th), while others have radically changed.

As I began the core work on these rules I really wanted to try and eliminate as many dice rolls as possible, while also providing an “iron-sides” aesthetic. By that I mean a banging away at each others armor with no results visible through one or two or perhaps even three hits and then you suddenly find the weak spot and you penetrate and do damage (this would also have the added benefit of not needing to track the wearing away of armor).

So as of the first iteration the entire game was based upon D10s.

For example, the 3″ Gun Battery looked like this: 8 hexes (Maximum Range), 0 hexes (Minimum Range), 1D10 (Damage Dice), 1D6 (Location Dice), Fire AT Will or Fire For Support (Types of Attack).

For the modifiers to the attack there were 5 of them. Positive Modifier: Silhouette, Target Damage. Negative Modifiers: Attacker Damage, Target Movement, Armor.

What that meant for game play, based off of my design goals as I mentioned above, is you’d go through the following format to see if you hit/damaged your target.

1. Check Firing Arc for the weapon

2. Check range to the target (i.e. if I’m firing the 3″ Gun BAttery mentioned above the target has to be at 8 hexes or less).

3. Select the Damage Dice (1D10 as noted above)

4. Select the Location Dice (D6 as noted above)

5. Roll both dice in what’s called a Breach Roll.

6. Find the Slot (a place occupied by weapons/equipment on a ship) corresponding to the result of the Location Dice.

7. Modify the Breach Roll for all 5 applicable modifiers (as noted above) and then compare that result to the Breach Number in the Slot as indicated by the Location Dice (as noted above).

8. If the result is less than the Breach Number nothing happens (the ironsides aesthetic). If the result is equal to or greater than the Breach Number then that Slot is destroyed.

That’s pretty much the basics of combat for the first iteration of the rules. Now considering the Breach Numbers on most ships are in the double digits the concept of a single 3″ Gun Battery destroying a Slot is almost non-existent unless you really start stacking up some good modifiers. However, you’ll note under the Types of Attack that it can Fire For Support, which means that all gun batteries of the same size that are able to target the same ship (i.e. are in range and are in the same firing arc) can bed combined to increase you’re chance of hitting/damaging the target.

Then again you could just use a bigger gun, such as a 12″ Gun Battery that fires 3D10 Damage Dice and 2D6 Location Dice (meaning it can potentially destroy two Slots in one salvo) or even an Aerial Torpedo that has 4D10 Damage Dice…course those aren’t direct fire weapons, so I’ll delve into the fun of torpedos at a future date.

Now while the initial playtest was well over a year ago at this point, I do remember that the core of what I was trying to accomplish worked very well. But at the end of the day…I just wasn’t happy that there still was so much adding and subtracting and referencing charts. So while I folded in all the playtest comments over the next month or two and sent out the next iteration of the rules I kept bashing my head against the wall of how to achieve all my design goals and make the game even more elegant by eliminating a lot of extraneous adding/substracting along the way.

See ya next duty shift.


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