Combat is a centerpiece of the game's 'cards and combat' foundation.
As mentioned in an earlier post, Cards & Combat is a casual adventure sandbox game, and in order to make the gameplay accessible to a wide player base the combat needs to be simplified, but, in order to retain seasoned players combat also needs some degree of tactical agency. While I could go into the basics of dice rolling and perk modifiers, let's skip over it and look at:
MY APPROACH TO ENCHANCING SIMPLIFIED COMBAT
- Simplified Combat 2.0. In this game combat rolls boil down to a few simple ideas: you can attack, the opponent can defend, if the attacker wins then their opponent is knocked out and misses a turn (there is little more to it though).
To spice us this basic formula characters were assigned perks, NPCs may help defend or attack you, game mode rules were designed to encourage cooperation over combat (at times) and most importantly - Cards are designed to be played in a way that spices up encounters and balances out the chances of you being KO'd. I was conscious that we had to do everything we could to keep the game from being a series of encounters and knock outs... that would get stale quick. So I spent time developing specific game mode goals for characters that mean combat isn't necessarily the best choice of action during every round.
- Palatable Stakes. In this game combat isn't a matter of defeating an opponent and removing them from the board, in Cards & Combat it's better to think of combat in the same vein as Blood Bowl - where players are downed for a short period if they're bested. This puts a short pause on a Player's actions that allows others on the board to incrementally progress. The idea is to make it so that the punishment for failing combat isn't too harsh and doesn't massively slow the flow of play.
- Combat Etiquette. While you could try to fight everyone you encounter, it's not always that simple. Sometimes it's better to maintain a truce, flee through a sewer, lure people into a trap, wait to strike at the right moment or use a combination of perks and cards to maximize your offense.
- Game Mode Features. Finally, different game modes offer different combat opportunities and challenges, from power ups and bosses to rule variations and new cards. And with game mode specific goals, sometimes the 'card' portion of the game is more useful than the 'combat' portion.
With an overview of the game concept and play elements next up we'll look at the in-game interface/controls. For initial development the program we've chosen is Tabletop Simulator.
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