Monday, May 07, 2012


I've been working on and off on a few tabletop games. One is called "FIGHT" and I thought I'd talk about it a bit, half to see if there are any opinions on it, half to clear my head.

If we say that most tabletop RPGs are like the computer RPG, then FIGHT is like Street Fighter: it is about beating people up, tag-team style.

The core idea of FIGHT is that you aren't choosing what to do every round. Instead, you choose which enemy you will fight, for how long, using which style.

I'm trying to keep the explanation pure and short, so here it is:

The style you choose will be a better or worse match against the enemy's style. It's a kind of rock-paper-scissors-esque situation. The key here is the sliding commitment.

See, if Anna decides to commit to three rounds of combat against Barry using a specific style, then she will keep using that style for three rounds. If Barry only committed to one round, in round 2 he can switch his style to a more effective one, taking into account the style Anna is using and will still be using for another two rounds.

Short commitments are a lot better for picking the best style and not getting pummeled... but long commitments earn you powerful momentum points, which can be spent to radically increase your power and do special moves. The first round of any sequence earns no momentum, and every round after that earns one, regardless of whether you're winning or losing.

So after three rounds, Anna will have 2 momentum, and Barry will have a maximum of 1, assuming he went for 1 round and then 2 rounds. Anna could use this momentum to launch a devastating assault on Barry in round 4. Is it worth letting Barry outmaneuver her in rounds 2 and 3?

These choices are made more complex by the variety of styles and style modifiers available and your skill in whichever ones you have, as well as things like terrain, heroes who are available to switch in or assist, enemies available to do those things...

When coordinating your commitments with other players, you get to start to have a bit of fun.

See, you don't have to always be fighting. All battles are one-on-one, but that doesn't mean all characters need to be in battle. As long as at least one player is fighting, everyone else can choose to go into reserve or fight as they prefer.

Units in reserve regenerate 1 HP every other round, but more importantly they are available to use their assist move or switch out. All of these things require that you understand when which characters are going to be in reserve or fighting, and against what enemies.

This may sound slightly familiar, and that's because it is. This is inspired by modern fighting games.

There are some old "fighting game" tabletops such as Street Fighter, but they have a lot of limitations. It's hard to engage multiple players simultaneously, they progress round-to-round, frequently have an extremely complicated move set to work around, and they're just bulky and clumsy in general.

Also, the modern fighting video game is quite different from the old fighting games. The modern fighting game almost always features a tag battle, where managing your tagging/assists is almost as important as actually fighting.

So this game aims to be a bit smoother and sleeker, better suited for teams of players and strategic conflicts.

Yeah, that's a lot clearer than the stack of mechanical details I was slogging through before writing this.

No comments: