Thursday, May 8, 2008

Project Diceman

Some of you may remember "Project Swordman," a javascript based dueling game I created over the summer. Not only am I slowly working on an improved flash version of that game, but I am now also working on a dice adaptation. I realize this puts me in a completely different category of geek, and I realize that tabletop adaptations of online games should probably be left to the likes of Blizzard, but this is just one of those ideas I just had to follow through with.

For those of you (most of you) who didn't get a chance to play Project Swordman when it was operational, this is the basic setup: Two players select the power and location of their sword and shield, and once both are ready, their actions are simultaneously executed. Power is distributed between the two out of a total of ten power points. At the end of its time online I added another option for spending your points: Priority. This allowed a player to emphasize getting priority over the other player in order to deal his own damage before his opponent, and as such was only useful on potential killing blows.

The mechanics of Project Diceman are different in several ways:
  • Power levels are based on random rolls, not planned distribution.
  • There is no sword and shield placement, only power levels.
  • Priority still effects who strikes first, but also creates the potential for special moves when used with a sword or a shield (explained below).
  • In order to create more options to counteract the added simplicity of not having to place sword strikes and shield blocks, a fourth component is added: Magic.

So here's the rundown as if I was starting from scratch:

Each player has four dice representing the four combat components:
  • d4 - Magic
  • d6 - Priority
  • d8 - Sword
  • d10 - Shield
At the beginning of each game each player has 20 life. When a player reaches zero life, he dies. Each game is divided into rounds (each roll is a round), and each round into seven priority phases (stepping through 6–0).

To start the first round, each player selects only two of his four dice and holds them in his hands as if about to roll, without allowing the other player to see which two dice he has selected. Once both players are in this ready position, they both roll simultaneously.

The result of each round is determined in the following fashion:

For each priority phase from six to zero (no priority roll equals zero priority) the following actions occur:
  • If a player's priority level is greater than that of his opponent, his sword value is reduced by that difference (or until it hits zero), and he deals an amount of unblockable damage equal to the difference in priority levels or his original sword value, whichever is lower.
  • If a player's priority level is greater than that of his opponent and his shield value is greater than zero, he deals a preemptive strike with unblockable damage equal to the difference in priority levels or the amount of damage his shield will block, whichever is lower. The opponent's damage is not dealt until his priority phase occurs.
  • A given player's sword value has the opponent's shield value subtracted from it and the remaining (positive only) damage is dealt.
  • If BOTH players' magic values are greater than zero, they have the same priority level, and they have not and will not receive non-magic damage this phase, the player with the higher magic value deals ubblockable damage equal to the difference of their values.
  • If a player's magic value is greater than zero and that player has not and will not receive damage this phase, he deals unblockable damage equal to his magic value.
  • Note: All damage dealt during a given priority phase is effectively dealt simultaneously.
  • Note: If a player reaches lethal damage before his priority phase, he is slain before having a chance to attempt a draw.
Forgive me for the complexity of the wording of these rules. They're really quite simple. Swords are blocked by shields, priority can give unblockable damage using either the sword or the shield, and magic damage is only dealt if that player is not going to get damaged (which makes it only good for dealing with overly defensive opponents or for getting those last few points of damage in without worrying about shields).

I realize this system is far from perfect, but it is the best thing I could come up with that was relatively simple and stuck to the same sort of mind-game (and dumb luck) gameplay of Project Swordman. Project Swordman is still a much better game for trying to get in your opponent's head to defeat him, with the only luck being involved based on your guessing ability. Project Diceman is slightly more random, but still contains advantages for those who think they know how their opponent will play on a given round.

I plan to run the numbers on this setup more thoroughly in order to get a good graph of which combinations of dice will beat which other combinations on average (and with what odds).

If you have any questions or ideas please let me know.

1 comment:

FalyneImpetrix said...