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CardName: Deeper combat system Cost: Type: Pow/Tgh: / Rules Text: Discuss ways to improve Magic's combat system. Including how to give players more strategic and tactical control. Flavour Text: Set/Rarity: Conversation Common

Deeper combat system
 
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Discuss ways to improve Magic's combat system. Including how to give players more strategic and tactical control.
Created on 28 Apr 2014 by amuseum

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2014-04-28 18:19:38: amuseum created and commented on the card Deeper combat system

Let's face it, Magic's combat system is not as intricate and tactical as other CCGs. (e.g. I keep hearing L5R has a great combat system.) When a defender puts up even a slight hindrance for attackers, players bemoan about stalled game states. Why should they feel this way?

Fact is, offense and defense are both important aspects of combat. But in Magic, defensive strategies are scoffed at and declared unfun. Whereas in other CCGs, setting up a strong defense is usually important part of the game. However, that doesn't stall the game because the attacker has much more strategic and tactical options than what Magic provides.

So do you think Magic needs a revamp on the combat system? If so, how? How different should it be from current system?

L5R system is: Players secretly opt to add cards from their hand, to add to their combat value. Once someone declines, combat happens - high value wins, loser (or both if a draw) dies; cards bid in are discarded. There's instant-equivalent too; of course. It's not really that complex.

Players bemoan a stalled state because, well, it's a stall. They can look at the state, see it's not worth them attacking; and the opponent can see the same thing. Done well, it leads to tension - done badly it leads to repeated turns of doing nothing.

So there's maybe room to improve that.

Though - It tends to stall most other games too - that's kinda the point of a defence - you want to stop your opponent :)

The system as it is is kinda in the middle, complexity-wise.

One thing players usually want is a way to target which creature gets attacked. But then, they also want to b able to decide which creatures jump in the way and block.

Maybe explicit rows of creatures - with range? So you have to break through, and nearby creatures can come to defence but if you can catch a attacker on their own, you can smack them down?

Something like, umm, wyvern, maybe? (Which borrowed heavily from Stratego)

L5R sounds like the Taunt mechanic I made for Magic. it's a minigame like clash.

other games have defense, but it's only magic where players complain about them being unfun. netrunner, the corporation can only build defense, not offense. guardians, shadowfist, units attack and defend the terrains/sites back and forth without any feeling of facing an insurmountable stalled state.

there needs to be more avenues of attack, not just "i attack you. block?". then on the opposite side, any blocker can block any attacker (notwithstanding abilities). that's why attacking is disadvantaged in Magic and hence defensive cards are unpopular.

yes spatial division and placement of units would be the most obvious idea. where and how you place units, and how to break through or find holes in such an arrangement of units.

another idea is ordering and pairing up combatants. this adds more elements of surprise, bluffing and reading opponents mind. guardians, each player chooses a unit from the stack, and compare the units. do this until one or both stacks have run out. (it should be noted that in guardians, units are always face down except revealed this way in combat. after combat they face down again. hence surprise and bluff and good memory.)

these are some of the things i want to do with Terrains. creatures fight over control of these terrains. there are benefits to controlling and destroying terrains, but not crucial to overall path to victory. that is, you can still go for the throat and attack the player directly. just like you can ignore planeswalkers.

Honestly, it sounds more like you should be interested in designing a new TCG than trying to force all of your ideas into Magic.

From what I remember of my group's experience of L5R, it composed of nothing but giant ground stalls. I wasn't a fan. Maybe it got better over time, or we were just unlucky with the cards we chose to run. Maybe not.

I agree, it's a problem. That said, I think most of the problem disappears if you add "This creature can attack" and "This creature can block" as keywords, instead of assume that all creatures can do it... and infrequently include both keywords on the same creature. That way, if there's a groundstall, it's mostly the players' fault for building their decks with tons of defenders. If you went with this route, fight would probably pop up more often as a third choice, and 'hide' would probably start to creep on cards that actively avoided fighting.

Games would naturally be faster, which is what you want? Depends, I suppose. The truth is, Magic was never intended to be a multi-player game. The whole groundstall thing has more to do with taking a two-player game and opening it up to more players. Somethings going to give.

Magic is generic and open-ended enough that it can incorporate any idea. It's just that combat is not as exciting and deep as it could be.

As for designing a new TCG, a couple of ideas have floated in my mind. Actually surprised nobody has taken up on those genres. One of them is really popular as computer video games; the other is really popular in pop culture. Now that you spurred me on, I might try to come up with some basic rules and even test cards.

PS I have created a 5-suit poker game for Android and it's really addictive. Now I'm trying to force that idea onto a CCG.

It can.. but some things are harder to bolt on than others. A while new combat mechanic would likely be either parasitic or require a LOT of reworking old stuff.

Not impossible, but difficult.

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