21 January, 2012

Hell on Eight Wheels: Eight – A Unified Core Rule


Before we go much further, a new blanket rule will be instituted to help pull the various mechanisms into a more unified concept.

The highest card wins, as long as it is below the relevant attribute for the action. If two skaters are comparing cards and one skater plays a card higher than their relevant attribute, the other skater wins; but if two cards are played higher than their respective skater’s attributes, the higher card wins.

On the negative side, this means I’ll need to reconfigure some of the rules that we’ve looked at so far. On the positive side this mean that once a player understands one part of the game, they’ll have a general understanding of all parts of the game. It also simplifies a few things, and makes them quicker to play through without needing to add figures together to determine results.

When we apply this rule to the concept of skater speed and distance moved, the mechanism now changes to…

Skaters have “Speed” and “Strategy” attributes, and they have a “thrust” (name subject to change). A player should aim to place as high a card as possible in the “speed” and “strategy” categories without exceeding the relevant attribute values. As long as they place a lower card in their speed, they gain a number of forward movement actions equal to the card rank (each forward movement action pushes the skater a number of sections equal to their thrust [walk = 1, run = 2, sprint = 3]). As long as they place a lower card in their strategy, they gain a number of strategic movement actions equal to the card rank. If the speed category is allocated a card with a higher rank, the skater overexerts themselves and risks suffering a penalty to their speed attribute for the remainder of the jam. If the strategy category is allocated a card with higher rank, the skater becomes confused with the potential options available (and risks suffering a penalty to their strategy attribute for the remainder of the jam). If both categories are allocated cards with higher rank, the skater risks immediately falling over (and possibly causing a cascade of falling skaters).

When we apply this rule to the concept of conflict between skaters, the mechanism remains basically intact because the fundamentals of the hit mechanism are based on the targeted combat model. But the notion of conflict results and damage can be applied to the strength statistic…

1)      Active skater moves. If the active skater moves into the threat zone of another skater, a block opportunity arises. At this point, the active skater becomes the defender, while the skater whose threat zone has been invaded becomes the attacker. 
2)      Attacker and Defender compare their respective strategy scores to determine how many cards they may draw and play. If the active skater has entered the threat zone of two opposing skaters, the opponents add together their strategy scores against the active skater. If the active skater has entered the threat zones of skaters from both teams, they must resolve the conflict sequence before any opportunity for an assist or whip.

Respective Strategy Scores
Adjacent Track Section
Gap of 1 Track Section
Defender more than 3 Higher
Attacker 1 Card
Defender 3 Cards
Attacker 1 Card
Defender 3 Cards
Defender Higher
Attacker 1 Card
Defender 2 Cards
Attacker 1 Card
Defender 3 Cards
Attacker Equal or Higher
Attacker 1 Card
Defender 1 Card
Attacker 1 Card
Defender 2 Cards
Attacker more than 2 Higher
Attacker 2 Cards
Defender 1 Card
Attacker 1 Card
Defender 1 Card

3)      Cards are played for the assault and the defence. Both players may play cards from their hand instead of the cards dealt at this time to the skaters (this gives the players a stronger element of strategic play).
4)      Once cards are revealed, each skater involved in the block/conflict may draw an extra card by risking a foul. When an attacker does this, they exchange their attack card with a random card from the top of their deck. When a defender does this, they discard one of their defence cards and replace it with a random card from the top of their deck. In either case, if the new card has a higher rank than the replaced card, a foul is performed.
5)      If (once cards have been finalised) the attacker plays a card with a suit unmatched by the defender, then the attack gets through. Comparison of card ranks determines how savage this attack is. The attacker uses the rank of their successful card (if they are lucky enough to have two successful cards they may choose the card used), the defender uses the highest card rank below their strength attribute.
6)      If the attacker’s card is higher than their strength, they risk a fall (and possibly starting a fall cascade).
7)      If the attacker’s card is higher than the defender’s, they inflict an injury to the victim’s targeted attribute. If the victim has already suffered an injury to this attribute, it becomes more permanent. A victim suffering permanent injuries to two attributes is rendered too injured to continue play.
8)      If a fall is risked, the skater must draw a card with a value lower than their strategy attribute to avoid falling. If a fall occurs, anyone in the threat zone of the falling skater now risks a fall.
9)      If the active skater still has moves remaining, they may continue their movement around the track.

Any more complicated rules come in the form of special abilities available only to skaters who possess the relevant skills or traits.

For example, one trait might provide the ability to cause a fall risk rather than applying damage to an opposing skater. One trait might provide the ability to adjust a card’s rank up or down by a single point when involved in a specific type of action. Another trait might allow an extra card to be drawn when a specific action type is being performed.

Traits such as these would be limited throughout the game, mainly possessed by veteran skaters who have developed their own special skating techniques, or available under certain circumstances if members of the team engage in a specific play formation.
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