21 October, 2015

Fast Combat

One of the issues I've aimed for in my game design is a fast system of combat that doesn't feel overly abstract. It's one of those design aspirations that sits like a Holy Grail, just out of reach but seemingly tantalisingly close. It's only when you try to actually achieve it, that you realise what a fools errand it is.

I think the closest I've come to this is "Ghost City Raiders", and that's why this system is the basis for my current revisit of the concept for "System 4". Choose a stance at the start of the round, compare potential strikes with defensive openings, anything unblocked strikes get through and damage is dealt with a randomised comparison of attacker's strength/skill/weapon-level versus defender's resilience/armour. I touched on the same concept in "Zen Flashback Battle Zero", but as a kung-fu/anime game that one is designed to be slow and drawn out...the battles there are simply a framing device for the world development and the construction of the backstory that led to the fight.

The problem is that the fundamental design methodologies for "Ghost City Raiders" and "System 4" are quite different, so the various ways I've tried to integrate them just haven't really worked... And where they have connected together, they do so in a clunky manner that slows things down, thus working against one of the key things that both systems strive for.

I've also been having a bit of trouble differentiating combatants and their styles of fighting, but this may have been resolved by more thoroughly looking at Wyrd's "Through the Breach" RPG, which is based loosely on their "Malifaux" miniatures game.

If anyone has other game systems I should be looking at, where combat is fast, not overly abstract, and narratively interesting, I'd love to hear some thoughts.
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