Jump to content
X3M

Creating a board game based on RTS games.

Recommended Posts

What am I doing?:

I am working on a little project at home. I am simply trying to convert a basic RTS game into a board game. If successful; I could turn all kind of RTS games into board games. (Warcraft, Starcraft, Supreme Commander, Warzone 2100, Command and Conquer, Dune 2/2000/etc.) I can even create completely new ones. Easier said then done. If the units are converted into pawns, so has the field of play or map as you will to be turned into a board. Real time disappears and can only be simulated by playing the turns simultaneously. The game that comes the closest to what I want to create would be Axis and Allies.

What has been done?:

Basic balancing (army versus army) has been done, tested in a program, tested on paper, tested with my cousin. Prize calculation, Armour, Damage, Number of shots per turn, Range and Speed are correct balanced. Also the number of different units for balance has been decided, with 5 variables it goes up, really quick. So limiting these is required before making a new "universe" to play in.

What I need to do:

Deciding on how the units will behave. In other words, a deeper determination on how the rules are put together for correct play. I want to put in as much possible strategies as possible.

So now I simply need to work on possible strategies and the object or rule's, that my board game requires for allowing such strategies. This will help me in deciding the main type of board game I am creating. I got the choice out of 5 and each require a different set of rules to get strategies done.

Simple Example:

A simple example would be fighting at a choke point. In RTS games, units tend to attack in small numbers at a time at choke points. On a board it would be exactly the same, an entrance through a mountain. Only allowing fewer units in the small regions, and of course lots of units in a big region. Although on a board game players see this coming and wont fall for it. A defender can simply put a wall behind a choke point and secure that spot. Important for me to keep in mind is, not to put to many choke points on the board. Of course I allow air and extreme ranges to deal with these choke points. These kind of units are going to be a little bit more expensive.

Difficult Example:

Applying Meat and Support. In RTS games, you always put in front those, who can take a lot of damage. And put in the back, those who do a lot of damage. Now, how to make sure, this goes fair and square in a board game. If the board game resembles a normal RTS game like Dune2, then it would be 1 unit per square. You simple put the meaty ones in front, the weaker ones in the back where they still manage to do some damage on the front line. If the board game resembles Risk where you may only attack 1 region away and you have lots of units in 1 region. Then I need to apply the difference in range "inside" a region. Meaning, the more range a unit has, the better it gets protected by others. Between the Dune2 type and the Risk type, there are 2 combinations of these. And then it gets really complicated.

What I would like to see:

Now my question is, can you think of other common used strategy's in RTS games. And tell me about it?

I do have a list with 16 common used strategy's. Yet putting them here, does not trigger new ones. Maybe in a month or so, I post the complete list and tell how I deal with them for in my boardgame(s).

  • Upvote 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That's cool. I keep meaning to buy some army men and plan out a semi-balanced game system, but it just hasn't happened so far. I don't have any strategy tips :( though building a balanced force that plays to each unit's strength while fortifying against the enemy opponent is the most basic. One thing I remember from E:BFD is that a common strategy (during the single-player, anyway) is to build up a defensible base, then move out to conquer. I played Terrans in the original StarCraft very similarly, and that seemed to work well for me.

Can you tell us more about the battle physics? In other words, how do you determine moves/turn, or special abilities per turn, etc? Do you still have a buildup phase and resource collection?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have in mind, some sort of Risk map and play. On that map you are going to place miniature army and base. The regions will most likely be in hexagon format and different in sizes. About 60 to begin with. Maybe I will design bigger/smaller ones later on. There will also be ridges, water and impassible mountains. Maybe even more types of terrain. I want to design in such a way that every region has a limit on army units and base. Expensive units take a lot of space. The map should have the possibility for many, many different tactics. Not just attack and gamble. I want the turns preferably to be simultaneously. But how to properly do that, I don't know yet. There will be no special abilities, except healing (negative damage), repairing (negative damage), gathering resources ("damaging" resources) and maybe, just maybe a thief ("damaging" gathered resources from the enemy). I don't know if you consider mines and other suicide units to be a special ability. Further more, my design allows 6 health on any unit or structure. I need to think out a good way to keep track of health. Or I just add another dice into the gambling part.

How playing the basic game would look like (multi-player):

I suggest 3 players or more.

You start out with a "construction yard". You need to get resources from different places, so you build towards those places. You need to keep in mind that your structures need to stay protected, and you want to be able to move through your own base (maximum space).

For army units you need to construct barracks, factories etcetera. You also need to research to get to the more advanced ones. Of course it's smart to start building defences, which are cheaper. Later on you want to get movable army instead since the enemy will get ranged units. Ranged beats defences, think siege tank versus cannon/sunken. Close to the ridges, water and mountains you want to get some AA. Air units will try to get in from all kind of different angles. Eventually you will try to outsmart your opponent and start conquering more resources. You will start using nukes or other super weapons. Best way to win is to ally up with 1, and betray him/her later on. Maybe I put a limit on the resources, so there can be an end battle. Maybe I allow players to gather dead stuff as well, so killing a region might become rewarding.

Playing a mission would look like:

1 player can play, maybe more.

You start out with whatever is required for the mission. You also place on the designated zones, the units and structures for an imaginary friend/opponent. Then you start to play.

An example would be, destroy a certain structure, yet you have to get passed by defences. Then all you need to do is hit a hole in the defences. You might loose units, but another army which is fast, should get through the hole very fast, for the main objective. It's up to players to think this out. It would be more like a puzzle. And the enemy will most likely out power you if you want to destroy them all.

Another example would be, catch the Bike. 1 player runs away with the bike for an amount of turns. And the other player tries to catch the bike and destroy it.

I could simply copy missions from games. And I have thought of some of my own.

Steps for how I balanced my game:

With only the Armour and Damage, the game is perfectly balanced. My own version would get at least, Infantry, Troopers, Bike's, Trike's, Quad's, ATV's, Light/Medium/Heavy armoured tanks, and at least air. Maybe water units, hoover and ridge jumpers. Anyway, my first version will just be Infantry and Troopers. Anti Infantry weapons are good against Infantry, anti Trooper weapons are good against Troopers.

Adding multiply weapons on 1 unit, will make the support units slightly better in average. Yet more expensive, and is still doomed in wrong situations.

Adding range will created cheap and expensive units, one of the usefulness of adding range is; the cheap ones will serve as meat for the expensive ones.

Adding speed will create a bunch of problems for designing. One of these problems is; the insane amount of possible different units. My first version would get 2313 different units if I would add them all. I rather have like 8 or so. I still need a clear vision on this.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Trying to get a good map, yet I failed until now.

I decided on making 2D now. 3D later when I have worked out everything and have the room at home.

First I worked on hexagon tiles with various programs. This takes way to much time to do it correctly. I created 2 different kind of tiles, yet I wanted to have combinations of them as well. Seems to be very hard to make it look good.

Then I decided to make a field in Excel with only the lines. It looked well, and the hexagons could be turned 60 degrees and still fit perfectly. So I decided to go with this.

I ripped a map from SC2, removing everything, except the land itself. So in basic, no minerals, gas, anti rush rocks, start locations. Exported map image, as large as possible. Changed this image into bitmap.

Went back to my so well looking hexagon field. Pasted the SC2 map picture. Added more hexagons. Then I thought, lets see how it looks if it gets printed. I noticed the tiles where to large in width. Made them smaller, yet keeping the hight. The print would look good now, but on screen it looks like $%^&. So I made a red highlighted note to myself on my logging page.

Printed 1 page for a test run. Now the hexagon fields indeed fit perfectly, but are still 9% to wide compared to the hight.

It seems I still have work to do in getting the right sizes. Once succeeded, I can use the hexagon map for all kind of maps. INCLUDING Dune maps ;)

The map I created at this moment is about 1,5 x 1,5 meters in total. The hexagon fields are a bit to small in size for their function. I want to make bigger ones as well.

If anyone has better ideas or experience, I like to hear.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have played the game to test some basics. Some really nice results are showing up. According to these I changed some rules and balancing.

Further balancing resulted in complex usage of units. The same type of units, yet with different ranges, speeds and number of bullets per turn are now all needed to win fights. And it's balanced.

So I tested it on 2 types, it works wonderfully. The main result:You can't win with just support, and you can't win without support.

Meat units can be used amass, yet support can be used for taking out incoming units. Even on a small scale, it's a huge difference in results. I placed some results in a 7x7 diagram. And it shows that the best army is 50%€ meat and 50%€ support. However, for beating 67%€ meat and 33%€ support, you can best use 83%€ meat and 17%€ support instead of 50-50%. So a choice for buying units has to be made as well. Worst choice would be just having only support units, they can never win if a player has spend all resources on the army. However, if an opponent has less units, the support units gain more advantage in comparison with the meat units. Eventually this leads to a 100%Hp survival of the support, while the meat always receives some damage. So, support is great for choke-points.

I tested these theories also on 3 types of units. And it is still balanced.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I haven't been following your project closely but it is truly impressive. I'm not much into board games so I might ask some stupid questions right now :)

I'm not sure if I understood whether the resulting board game is real-time or turn-based. And if it's real-time, I'd like a simplified explanation of the mechanics :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Real time is almost not possible with board games. It proves to be very hard. Since this game is also very chaotic at certain moments. Real time would be a very slow time.

 

Thus the entire game is a "same time" now. No need to hurry.

The only things that players need to be fast with is cutting in when they want to.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for a detailed explanation :) Heh, looks like the game master is going to have a lot of work to do here, uh? ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks.

Yes, I have to do really a lot of work here.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for a detailed explanation :) Heh, looks like the game master is going to have a lot of work to do here, uh? ;)

This post is old now. The game master has indeed been kicked out. Yet to keep some feel of real time, I kept in master turns for income and production, and sub turns for moving and combat. Players now play terrain by terrain by their choice. No need for keeping track of 300 units, only need to keep track of 61 terrains or more, which is easily done with terrain numbers and 2 boxes for each player and 1 main box for empty terrains. Another addition, units have moved or not is keeping tracked with the terrain tracking. Moving or attacking is a choice, and it balanced the game further.

Going back on this.

I played the game now several times. Me (tactical) and my cousin (chaotic yet effective) had the following conclusion:

- Chaotic players are not suitable for the game, this includes beginners and players who move everything and attack as much as possible. The game-master would be keeping track of over 300 units every turn, whether they move/attack/sit idle.

- Clashes with movement can be abused by 1 of the players by not allowing another one to move in. To counter this the other player has to move to different area's. Which in turn can be countered as well. This is very bad and both players have to keep guessing. It's frustrating and I am guessing people will not like this game if it's still possible in the future.

- With attacks, the confusion rises. Although the game master has everything on paper. he/she still has to have a good overview of everything, including the previously mentioned moving phase. Roughly estimated, we needed about to check 100 units each turn if they where allowed to attack or not. It was hard to keep track of this. We tried tapping the little cards which presents the unit every turn, every unit; tiresome. We tried a movement counter; it went on and of every turn, every unit, very tiresome. Divided every area in 2 halves, left for "did move" right for "didn't move"; confusing since the units who just moved in still participated in the attack as a meat shield.

- In overall, if each player thinks about his/her own actions, they fail to see if another player acts correctly. Meanwhile, the game-master would not be allowed to make mistakes, since this will upset other players as well. They will only notice the mistake when it's to late and everyone knows the plans for upcoming tactics of other players. So with a mistake, a replay of the attack phase would be needed, which can't occur since everyone will be knowing everything at that point. The game-master must really be a master in the game. Not every family has a nerd like me.

So,... what now?... (smiley time)

Dumping the "Real Time" part and go back to Turn Based? With a no need for a game-master? cry.gif

Or find new and better ways to play a turn, with or without a game-master? ???

If I go to turn based, the following will change dramatic;

- early advantages should be encountered with sufficient distance between the starting bases. Not really an issue so far. undecided.gif

- first players has largest army after buying, yet the second player can easily decide on buying the right pieces. cry.gif Unless a player is only allowed to place new units at the end of a turn. police.gif

- stealing money of other players greatly diminishes, a good player will have none at the end of a turn. With real time, the money is earned but not spend yet, so more to steal. But not with turn based. cry.gif

- No movement clashes with possible abuse.

- The player in turn decides the order of attacks.

- Everyone follows every action, no game-master needed.

:)

So, pro's and cons. I already spend weeks on the previous rules. So suggestions are welcome.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think it's hard to judge without seeing all of it in action, but I'd venture a suggestion anyway: what if you keep it real time (which is the defining part of your project as I understand it) but limit the number of units to a feasible figure so that it won't be a calculating / attention nightmare to keep track of all them? Say, less units but they're generally more powerful and stay longer, maybe even gain experience as the game progresses. This has cons too, but maybe it'll be more easy to maintain game play that way.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That is a good question MrFibble. And at this moment (15-8-2014) the real time aspect is reduced to 6 actions per player per round.

You only keep track of 1 or 2 squads at a time. While any squad could be selected. And battle's are still simultaneously. So the game is a "same time" not a "real time" .
 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Check out this link dude.

Both Warcraft and Starcraft are already available as boardgames. As for getting a good real time like mechanic I have to say I liked what they did with Horus Heresy.

Don't let this stop you though, new boardgames are always welcome. I too am busy "re-skinning" the good old Assault on Hoth boardgame into a 6 player space fleet boardgame. I'll publish this as a free print & play when I'm done.

Keep going on it mate!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This post is not to old, but in addition I would like to add the fact that trained units with range, can actually be protected by the same type units which stand more in the front. This way they are protected and still can make the "kill" in order to gain more experience. In contradiction, the enemy can try to aim for that trained unit with Event Cards.

I am way to busy with my house and work right now. On top of that, I am addicted to Minecraft. AND on top of that, my parents are on a vacation, so I am looking after their home as well. :|

However, I have found some time to work something out with experience points. Just one hour ago ^ ^

It does not work well yet. All units need to get the same factor in getting stronger. For the time being, increasing health works good and increasing the number of bullets works mediocre.

Increasing speed and range of the units works bad, very bad. A basic unit with 2 speed and 2 range, ends up with 7 speed and 7 range. Which means, is a doubling of statistics. I find it ridiculous, and I am pondering if I shouldn't remove speed/range increase from the game?

Yet I would like to have long ranged units to gain just a little bit of extra range. O well...

This is what I got:

Sorry you guys, I have been asked to remove this.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Currently working on the creation of C&C dawn/ C&C RA1 units. Printing the little pieces on paper. And pasting them on cardboard for durability.

A little example is of course my favourite unit:

Cc_nod_buggy.PNG

And they all are placed on the board like this one. The pieces can be placed in a box.

I wished, I could place a picture of my work until now. But I am rather noob in this. I don't even understand how people upload pictures. Do I need an account somewhere?

I am also testing balance possibilities with 4 buggies vs 3 hum-vee's. Both armies worth €1200. The buggy has a range of 2 fields with a speed 7 fields. The hum-vee has a range of 4 fields with a speed of 6 fields. There are currently 3 possibilities when I alter armour and damage:

Buggy wins with €338 out of €1200.

Hum-vee wins with €393 out of €1200.

Hum-vee wins with €519 out of €1200.

What would you prefer?

EDIT:

After some carefully testing, I noticed that the lightest armour version for the Hum-vee. Total rape, complete total rape against the buggy and against all infantry. The buggy and hum-vee are supposed to be anti infantry. But I know what I did wrong. I am to focused on trying to created replica's of existing games. The Ranger from RA1 indicates that the buggy and hum-vee are way to cheap. They need to keep the speed, yet also need to be able to win against anti infantry based infantry. If they are only good in attacking light armoured structures, they are no good at all. I was thinking, increasing the prizes for the buggy and hum-vee makes them more anti infantry and less durable against tanks. Moreover, they become more useful against the light armoured structures.

What do you people think about the fact, that I am not going to be loyal to the prizes for games?

Buggy could become €350 or €400.

Hum-vee could become €450 or €500.

My aim will be that the hum-vee will only be more expensive to the fact that it has slightly more armour, correct?

My primary aim was to have them have the same weapon, just like in C&C. But that would mean that they both would only fire once a turn. And then the hum-vee would have the win with €154 out of €1200 against buggies.

If no1 object, it will be like that. Both only 1 shot. Buggy 150 armour, hum-vee 200 armour. hum-vee twice the range, yet only 6 speed instead of 7.

Edited by X3M

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A short one this time:

Trying to create balance to already existing games is hard. Sometimes you get results, very surprising results, but also certain feelings that players had with those units, is gone. The little example I had with the Nod Buggy and Hum-Vee. There was only one possible combination of statistics for the 2 of them. One slightly stronger then the other one. Yet huge differences if it came to fighting something different then just rifle infantry. Their major purpose became a fast attack vehicle capable of killing wandering lonesome infantry. That only occurs in RTS computer games, not on board games.

Progressing further in recreating the C&C world, showed me that certain units are impossible to copy with the current rules that I am handling for balancing purposes. For example, I am applying the 6 hp rule. Only 6 shots needed with the best weapon to kill a certain unit. Yay, deleted section. still no complains? The Medium Tank becomes alienated if you want to copy it from the original game in statistics. Original it costs 800, that means, 800 with 4 speed/range points and gets outranged by the buggy and hum-vee. Or 500 with 10 speed/range points? Logical speaking you would keep the speed low (3) and range high (7?). Any other combination between the 800x1 and 500x1.6 is impossible. Perhaps changing the 6 hp rule into 4,5 or 8 hp rule could mean a lot of difference. I find 4 or 5 to low, and 8 to high.

6 hp was chosen for many reasons:

Yet 4 out of 5 are deleted because I have been asked to.

Since the progress in my new home is proceeding swiftly. I got my hands on some material which is of no use to anyone any more. Except me of course. Got myself some rubber slabs for creating hexagons. Which stay still laying on a table if a wind blows by. Are flexible, durable and don't rip easily. Just 3 downsides are, they are green, not coloured. And they need a number for the game. And on top of that, I need to get my hands on something that can serve as rocks or trees. Perhaps the combination of these with pasted paper?

Same goes for the units I guess. And the cards should be pasted on cardboard.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am in search for good maps to convert to my board game. Since the ones from the C&C community want an exact copy, which forces me to change some "natural laws" of my game, I have decided to try my luck here.

*Question:

Of course a Dune themed map is in order. Does anyone know a good map, preferable high definition?

Dependable on the map, I can choose to create hexagon fields, or random fields. One way or another, I want to make a Dune themed version as well.

I will be creating a number of races. Of course the Atreides, Ordos, Harkonnen and Imperial will have their own armies.

*Question:

Any more races to add? IX, Theilaxu, Fremen, Choam?

I can try to create copies, but it will not always be possible. Some examples in this are; Laser Tank cannot micro in case of incoming fire. Minotaurus has always direct hits. Sonic tank cannot fire in a straight line since every region is a map on itself. The devastator can suicide, but if an unit is multifunctional, it will be more expensive or weaker in general.

*Question:

Complete new units for the races allowed? It greatly helps balancing.

That's that for now. Meanwhile, my cousin started a new education, and has no time any more to help me. So I am doing this alone for now. I got our complete game on paper. He disliked building a base and stuff, but liked the fights. He didn't understand unit designing, yet he liked what I designed for him. So for now, I concentrate on making the fights better. And creating new units. Al-thought, there are over 10^10 units possible :) I am not going to start from lowtech and build upwards. But I create smallest and largest first, then in between.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A new problem has arisen. Some people find the combat to complicated. To be specific. Rolling the dice and the odds of hitting is what people dislike. For a mathematical reason, 20 sided dice are just as useful as 6 sided dices.

Deleted old way, because a part of it is still usefll.

edit on 6-2-2012:

scrap this :D My friend devised a better yet more classic way of determine damage. Which I of course reforged into even something better.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, to say that I'm impressed is to say little :) I think I've mentioned before I've hardly played any serious board games at all, but I'm pretty sure it's a lot of fun, so your efforts to make seamlessly flowing gameplay are just great ^_^

Oh, and I also love this "do-it-yourself" attitude, like that guy's from the other forum who built his own board, which shows a truly dedicated spirit :)

BTW, the photos on this page look just awesome :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you MrFibble. But those are only examples. My work looks like some pen scrabbles on paper at this moment.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

After discussing things with a colleague on work. I got some interesting idea's for my board game.
First of all, delete everything useful on the internet. If they don't react, they still might be stealing it.

 

Edit on 15-8-2014:

Right then, all that deleted information was impractical any way. And the game developed into something only patient people would play.

If you are missing posts, than it means that they where deleted. They showed good development. And it is a shame that I even listened to this guy. He doesn't even care any more.

 

So as advice I could give you, if someone suggests you to remove something that you have written. Keep a back up somewhere else.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If people are wondering if this project has died.

No. I actually have several working versions. And currently I work on a manual.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now


×