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Girsanov

Turn Based Strategy/Tactic : Start with army or allow building units?

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Game : small turn based strategy/tactic game. currently only 1v1. small map : around 15x15 square grids maximum. expecting each player to control about 10 unique units or less. I am considering two options : 1) Players start with a pre-made army, Warhammer 40k style. 2) Players build his army ground up. Anyone know Dreamblade? You get some simple resource every turn and uses it to bring in units. Any comments regarding the two systems? Pros? Cons? I think 1) makes for a cleaner and quicker game, where players get right into the action. But 2) gives player more strategic choices regarding what units to bring into a battle in a given situation.

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I like pre-made army before

because in option 2) a strategy game becomes a "memorize shortcut and build stuff faster, then own enemy with lots of units with little strategy"

Personally, I think 2) takes away the "strategy" from it, but that's just me, I don't like the building aspect, I like controlling a fixed number of army and place them in strategic locations and use appropriate strategy to maximize their strength.

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OP is talking about turn-based games. Speed doesn't matter in TB.


I generally prefer games which have a fixed squad that is built prior to the match, because these types of games are typically focused more on the balance of units and offer a wider array of uses for each unit, giving a greater tactical depth to the gameplay. Games where part of the strategy is when and where to create new units typically lack in comparative tactical depth.

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What is the win condition?

My gut feeling is that since the map is very small and the players immediately come in full contact, it is not likely that a "start from zero" resource gathering system would offer many viable build orders. If so, it is needless complexity and would hinder balancing while not adding depth.

I would prefer not to go with totally fixed armies either. Rather, maybe the player could be given a small army and a bunch of "army points" a la WH40k. He could buy units with the points before the match, or save some points in order to buy reinforcements during the match.

I strongly differ with Polarboy on resource-gathering games in general. I think they are more strategic in nature, because the players must be so mindful of timing. For every given resource, you get the choice of immediate strength, or (through economy and teching) more strength later. This keeps the players constantly evaluating and guessing the other player's whole footing, trying to see where their weak points will be in the future, and typically targeting the opponent's strategy rather than just solving individual tactical situations.

A reinforcement system would bring some of the same depth and timing into this game, since it's also strength now (deploy immediately) versus more strength later (getting to modify your unit mix *after* you know more about what your opponent is fielding). The positive feedback is not as hardcore because resource accumulation is generally exponential while unit R/P/S tends to be linear. Reinforcements also soften the potential problem of a double blind army selection ending up in one highly specialized army hard countering another highly specialized army, since you can at least reinforce with the appropriate counter unit.

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What about giving players points when they just started the game, which can be used to customise not only his armies, but other options as well, for example tech, buildings, cities, defences, etc. Increases the options available to players making it less predictable and much more interesting.

The downside to this is the difficulty in balancing the points system.

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The pre-made army version and build-your-army version are totally different games, really. Personally, I would prefer the first, but that's just me.

There are a couple hybrids one could try. You could have all army creation be in setup, but allow the player to choose what kind of army to have. Or, in the second game, give them a small starter army but allow them to build it up further. I'm actually dreaming up a game like #1, except that your army is persistent between games/battles, and you can upgrade it based on money or resources earned in victories. Just something else to think about.

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I believe if you are going for a tactical turn-based game, 1v1, on a small map, then there should be no in-battle unit production. I think it just takes away from the tactics aspect- I much prefer to focus just on tactics during this kind of battle.

As others have said it makes great sense to still have the strategic aspect of army building, but just have it separated- before matches start.

This is pretty much what we're going for with our first game.

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It depends on what you want to emphasize in your gameplay.

Premade armies will focus entirely on your tactics with the armies.

If you allow custom armies, that will shift some emphasis to army composition.

If you allow armies to be built during the game, that will shift some emphasis to economic and production factors (like build orders).

The first option is the easiest to balance, and gives you some things you can do to make interesting challenges (play this map using only infantry/etc.)

The second option gives customization, but runs the risk of a poorly designed army being game over from the start.

The third option runs the risk of too strong of a positive feedback loop making the game effectively over in the first 2 minutes, but cuts down on the risks of the second option to some extent.

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I think a good medium between being able to buy your army during a level and starting off with a pre set army, is to have a small "core" army pre-set, then have a points buy army (you get to spend points to build an army) before the level starts with the option to have as much points spare to buy re-enforcements during the level, however, during the level you can only spend a certain amount of points each turn.

This way players can choose how much they are going to risk in an initial buy, because they might not buy units that are very good against the units the other player buys (this is my biggest problems with a points buy before the level starts - as it is a luck thing to chose the right set-up of units rather than a skill/gameplay issue), but if you leave some points left over you can adjust that during the level, but you can't just spend all of your points in a single turn.

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They buy-in system is neat. It adds some of that "hustle-to-deploy" that RTS often enjoy, but it makes it optional. You could build a good army, either for general purposes or built to counter what you expect your opponent to field, or you could start with a skeleton crew, scout out the enemy and then call in the perfect force to secure victory, assuming you can hold your landing zone long enough for them all to arrive.

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