+ Common Core Concepts +

Monday, June 16, 2014

+ Engine War power generation +



+ Continuing from the previous inload about Engine War(+noospheric inload link+: http://apologentsia.blogspot.co.uk/2014/06/concept-inload-engine-war-zoggin-eck.html), I thought I'd write a little bit about the power generation system of the game – mainly as an excuse to post the cool Gary harrod artwork at the top of this post! +


+ Basic thoughts +

+ When writing any rules, I aim to strike a balance between character and simplicity. My personal preference is for very abstract and hands-off mechanics; so that there's maximum freedom for putting your own interpretation on the events, and minimum space for confusion or complexity. 

+ For example, while there's a lot of pleasure in long tables of mutations or weapon malfunction effects, they do slow down the game, which can make things drag. Besides, however many D1000 tables you write to explain the effects, you can never quite match the creative possibilities that a simple 'hit' result can entail in the player's imagination. 

+ However, in a game involving only three or four models, there needs to be something to do. Warmachine is fantastic for balancing complexity (managing the 'Focus' system) with a clean ruleset. It was an obvious source of inspiration. 


+ Differentiation and initial approach +

+ Imperial, Ork and Eldar forces fight very differently in Epic: Armageddon. They share common rules, but also have a few well-picked unique rules that help create the flavour of the army. As mentioned in the earlier post, I didn't want to have just one basic system for the different factions; but for each to work differently; so I worked out each type simultaneously.

+ In Warmachine, a Warjack can (mostly) be given a maximum of three Focus points per turn. This works nicely, as that's generally not quite enough to do everything you want to do, which makes for an interesting resource management system. In Engine War, I wanted to get a similar balance of not quite being able to everything you want to do. 

+ The game differs from Warmachine in that the models are creating their own 'power', rather than drawing from a single leader – a process that tends to mean you have to have a hard limit to allow for the fine balance of Warmachine

In Engine War, a typical model have far more weapons than the typical two a Warmachine model has; so more power is needed for each model. Typically, a War Engine of the Battle Titan class we're looking at initially will generate between three and six useable power a turn; with the orks having a much greater variance, and the Eldar a hard limit. 


+ Imperial Titans +

Power generation During the Control phase, generate power for your War Engines as described.
Plasma reactor: Generate 1D3+2 Plasma counters during in the Control phase, if the Plasma reactor system is not crippled. If this system is crippled, the War Engine generates no Plasma counters.
+ Imperial Warlord Titans (the basic Titan) will use these Plasma Reactor rules to generate Plasma counters; which can then be spent in various ways. (When I add the other Titan types, I'll adjust the general rule to be generic, and add the specific number to the Titan type rules – smaller Reavers will generate less, for example).

+ This system works in a very similar way to the Focus mechanic. The Plasma system can be used to improve the aiming of weapon fire, fire additional shots (from suitable weapons), increasing damage and regenerating shields, amongst other things. It's the most basic of the systems. 

+ Unlike Focus, not all of the Plasma Counter will be removed at the end of the turn. Instead, they will overcharge the void shields, and potentially provide a reservoir of power for the following turn. There'll be a 'safe limit'; above which the Titan will start getting overheats and problems. This will hopefully create a balancing act between holding plasma enough to protect yourself and act as insurance against an unlucky low roll the following turn; and using the plasma to cause more damage, regenerate shields and generally be useful.

+ Damage to the Titan's plasma reactor will result in a drop-off of power and the safe limit. Eventually, I'll add rules for critical damage – and the amount of plasma left in a generator will affect any resultant earth-shattering kaboom! +

+ Eldar Titans +

Infinity Circuit: Generate 3 psi-counters during in the Control phase, if the Infinity Circuit system is not crippled. If this system is crippled, the War Engine generates D3 psi-counters.
+ More reliable than Imperial's roiling plasma reactors and ork's atomic boilers, Eldar Titans draw power from the warp via the the Titan's Infinity circuit. The Infinity circuit acts as a safety valve to the warp. For important cultural reasons, the Eldar are very wary about making use of the Warp, so always operate within very tightly-reined safety limitations. Should the Infinity circuit become damaged, it collapses the link – so there's never the risk that the system will cause a warp rift. 

+ At the end of the turn, the psi-points are bled away. Eldar Titan shields don't work on damage resistance or amelioration; so there's no need to hold onto power.

+ In game terms, this means Eldar Titans generate less focus than the others; though this is balanced by the fact that their basic stats are better, and also that Eldar Titans have fewer weapons in general, so less need to use power points to activate them. The system is also generally more reliable than the Imperial or Ork systems; and won't result in a catastrophe that damages nearby friends. This becomes important when you see the interaction between holofields (which encourage the Eldar player to bunch up). 

+ On the other hand, while it means Eldar Titans will almost always be able to do what you want, they're never going to surprise you with being better than you expect – exactly as a haughty space elf might deign to help you. 

+ This system is much simpler and cleaner than the others; and this is in part because Eldar Titans will have to concentrate much harder on manoeuvre and rationing their power in the movement phase. +

+ Ork Gargants +

+ Right, these are more complicated than the others! This is for a number of reasons:
  1. Ork technology is less refined and sophisticated (though no less advanced or capable) than the 'pink species', and I wanted to capture the sense of tinkering that should warm the heart of any good mek.
  2. I wanted to introduce a risk mechanic. Gargants will require far more micromanagement, but with the reward that they will be far more puissant than an equivalent Titan. However, that'll need to be balanced against the threat of overcooking things, which'll make the Gargant far worse than the equivalent.
  3. I didn't want ork tactics to be one-dimensional. Since their weapons are typically shorter-ranged than Imperial or Eldar guns, I wanted to ensure that the ork player had some interesting and fun choices to make in the early turns.
  4. Gargants tend to have lots and lots of secondary weapons. I wanted to ensure that the ork player had the potential to fire them all; as well as their primaries.
+ So, there's the reasons; here's the execution: 
Atomic Furnace: Nominate a number of undamaged Furnace boxes in the Control phase, then roll an number of D3s equal to the number. Generate a number of Steam counters equal to the result. For every undamaged Furnace box not nominated, remove a Steam counter. 
Steam counters are not removed during the Maintenance phase. If the number of Steam counters exceeds the Threshold at the end of the Control phase, roll on the emergency vent table for every point over the Threshold.
+ For reference, an undamaged Great Gargant has six furnace boxes, and a Threshold of twelve. This provides a few interesting calculations. An undamaged Great Gargant can potentially generate 18 Steam Counters; but would then have to roll six times on the emergency vent table (tune in next time for information on this) – virtually guaranteeing that the Gargant will blow its boilers, start a load of fires and lose all of its Steam Counters.

A more wily Warboss will order the riggers to generate from just four Furnace boxes; which will get him 6 Steam Counters on average (4 x D3 = 8 - 2 for the venting boxes). +

+ Steam Counters will build up – i.e. they won't be removed at the end of the turn – which will prove at the heart of maintenance. After a surprising high roll one turn, the Gargant commander might generate from just two furnace boxes; generating 2D3 and bleeding off 4; for a net gain of 0. 

+ At the start of the game, the Gargant commander will be able to use Steam Counters to boost his Power Fields and movement; keeping his defences up as he closes with the faster, longer-ranged Imperial or Eldar opponents. As he closes, Steam can be diverted to the multiple secondary gun decks to allow them to fire a blistering broadside; plus to boost the primary weapons' power. Ork guns are going to have fairly unimpressive stats, so they'll be well-advised to use the atomic furnaces to boost their power. On the other hand, they'll have far more guns as standard than opposing Titans, and access to more potential power; so close-up, they should be intimidating.

+ If that sounds scary to potential Imperial or Eldar players, the fire mechanic should provide some relief. I'll look into this a bit more next time, along with more information on defensive systems. +

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