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Old May 9th, 2020, 06:33 PM
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Smile Competitive video game inspired by Heroscape

Hello all! It's been several years (a decade maybe?) since I've made a post as I am evidently the ultimate lurker. My friends and I have been playing Heroscape since 2007 and we always do our best to keep up with anything new happening with the game, including the excellent customs our fellow Heroscapers have created!

I'm here to find out what any of you may want to see in a video game that is in the same vein as Heroscape. I've been learning to work with Unreal Engine for the past few years and have worked on somewhat of a basic framework for the game, but I'm now trying to focus on more of the specifics.

As a competitive person both in games and sports, a (mostly) balanced, competitive game is what I'm interested in creating. That doesn't mean things like single player scenarios or custom map building are out of the question, but they are things that have taken a backseat compared to the higher level 1v1 gameplay. I think Heroscape is a fantastic game and is still my favorite PvP board game ever; I love doing plenty of theorycrafting, teambuilding, and testing, but in terms of balance and variety it's a little lacking when it comes to competitive armies. My boy Erevan Sunshadow is my guilty pleasure unit, but I can't deny the fact that he doesn't bring much to the table when comparing him to similar costing units. Now, the beautiful thing about video games today is that they allow us to tweak things like stats and point costs if we really need to, while data such as win percentages and army lists can be utilized to further monitor balance. We're also able to do things that could be difficult/impossible to have in a board game, such as a temporary fog of war.

With that all being said, what would you, my fellow Heroscapers be interested in including?

For example:
  • Are squads required for your enjoyment, or do you think a common / uncommon / unique hero only game could be just as fun?
  • Are alternate objectives such as "buff camps" ala MOBAs like League of Legends or alternate win conditions like capturing some neutral area for a certain amount of time or destroying the enemy's base exciting?
  • Does the idea of each player banning a certain number of units in ranked army drafting sound interesting?
  • Do you like the idea of 2 out of 3 games in a match with a "sideboard" of units that could perhaps help you win your bad matchups ala Magic the Gathering?
  • Are there rules such as height advantage that you would tweak? Perhaps you would enjoy the addition of status effects?
  • Does keeping the order marker system but allowing more than just the figures with order markers on them to move some number of spaces each round sound reasonable to promote faster games?
  • Would an AP (Action Point) system such as the ones found in XCOM or Phoenix Point be a welcome change instead of the simplified Move -> Attack system that Heroscape uses?

I could honestly go on with these examples but I know I've already taken plenty of your time if you happened to read all of this. The bottom line is that I want to make a game for the people, one that would not replace Heroscape but that could be somewhat of a spiritual successor to it that has fun and deep gameplay elements. If the idea of a game like this sounds good to you, if you like any of the possible examples or even have reasons why you wouldn't like those inclusions, or if you have any ideas of your own, please feel free to comment and let me know your thoughts. In the meantime I'll be working on the game!

Thanks, fellow 'Scapers!
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Old May 20th, 2020, 11:16 AM
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Re: Competitive video game inspired by Heroscape

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Originally Posted by Reinhart_x View Post
Are squads required for your enjoyment, or do you think a common / uncommon / unique hero only game could be just as fun?
I think squads bring a lot to game design. In a video game you could do uncommon squads, and squads with life (Arena of the Planeswalkers did this successfully in my opinion).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Reinhart_x View Post
Are alternate objectives such as "buff camps" ala MOBAs like League of Legends or alternate win conditions like capturing some neutral area for a certain amount of time or destroying the enemy's base exciting?
I think it's good to have a variety of game modes and win conditions. These sound cool.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Reinhart_x View Post
Does the idea of each player banning a certain number of units in ranked army drafting sound interesting?
Maybe. There are a variety of draft formats out there right now that all sound better than this to me, but I haven't tried this. See the Favorite Formats thread.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Reinhart_x View Post
Do you like the idea of 2 out of 3 games in a match with a "sideboard" of units that could perhaps help you win your bad matchups ala Magic the Gathering?
Sure, but see the Favorite Formats thread.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Reinhart_x View Post
Are there rules such as height advantage that you would tweak? Perhaps you would enjoy the addition of status effects?
I would let height advantage also add 1 range. And maybe make it so that shooting uphill is -1 range.


Status effects would be cool in a video game.
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Originally Posted by Reinhart_x View Post
Does keeping the order marker system but allowing more than just the figures with order markers on them to move some number of spaces each round sound reasonable to promote faster games?
Not sure about this one. Heroscape games are pretty quick already, and would be even quicker with some parts being automated.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Reinhart_x View Post
Would an AP (Action Point) system such as the ones found in XCOM or Phoenix Point be a welcome change instead of the simplified Move -> Attack system that Heroscape uses?
Yeah! I love move + attack for a board game, but I think something like the 3-action economy from Pathfinder 2 (the roleplaying game) would be a welcome change.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Reinhart_x View Post
I could honestly go on with these examples but I know I've already taken plenty of your time if you happened to read all of this. The bottom line is that I want to make a game for the people, one that would not replace Heroscape but that could be somewhat of a spiritual successor to it that has fun and deep gameplay elements. If the idea of a game like this sounds good to you, if you like any of the possible examples or even have reasons why you wouldn't like those inclusions, or if you have any ideas of your own, please feel free to comment and let me know your thoughts. In the meantime I'll be working on the game!

Thanks, fellow 'Scapers!
Sounds cool to me. Would love to get updates on your progress; alphas, betas, etc.

Your custom probably has too much Defense.
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Old May 20th, 2020, 07:17 PM
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Re: Competitive video game inspired by Heroscape

Not too familiar, but Wartile has been having success doing a Heroscape-like video game but I’m not sure if it’s PvP or even competitive or difficult. It may be more of a scenario/campaign game.

Not really sure what i WANT to see. I think it’s more of a “I’ll know when I see it”.

FWIW Wartile seems kinda meh, so don’t do what they did probably? Idk
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Old May 20th, 2020, 07:19 PM
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Re: Competitive video game inspired by Heroscape

Tabletop Simulator comes pretty close

C3G can be played with official Heroscape, but it's not recommended.


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Old May 22nd, 2020, 10:31 PM
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Re: Competitive video game inspired by Heroscape

Quote:
Originally Posted by capsocrates View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Reinhart_x View Post
Are squads required for your enjoyment, or do you think a common / uncommon / unique hero only game could be just as fun?
I think squads bring a lot to game design. In a video game you could do uncommon squads, and squads with life (Arena of the Planeswalkers did this successfully in my opinion).
I absolutely agree, and this was only asked since I've been having a bit of trouble with getting the squads to work in the setup I have going right now and was worried I might have to go in a different direction, but I'm making progress and think I can get them to work! They do indeed really broaden the spectrum in terms of figure design as well as depth of mixing solo and squad units when building armies.

Quote:
Originally Posted by capsocrates View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Reinhart_x View Post
Are alternate objectives such as "buff camps" ala MOBAs like League of Legends or alternate win conditions like capturing some neutral area for a certain amount of time or destroying the enemy's base exciting?
I think it's good to have a variety of game modes and win conditions. These sound cool.
Right on! I always loved how glyphs promoted movement and certain order marker decisions, and I believe adding alternate win conditions can only make the game have more strategic depth as your army could focus on a single type of victory condition or maybe stick to being well rounded.

Quote:
Originally Posted by capsocrates View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Reinhart_x View Post
Does the idea of each player banning a certain number of units in ranked army drafting sound interesting?
Maybe. There are a variety of draft formats out there right now that all sound better than this to me, but I haven't tried this. See the Favorite Formats thread.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Reinhart_x View Post
Do you like the idea of 2 out of 3 games in a match with a "sideboard" of units that could perhaps help you win your bad matchups ala Magic the Gathering?
Sure, but see the Favorite Formats thread.
I've now read the thread and there's some good stuff in there! One of the best things about Heroscape is all of the formats that are available. I see that you're into 2v2 and 3v3 and I admire your taste! I've played so many of those with my Heroscape crew that I have plenty of experience with them and wow, those games can get intense (or be total blowouts ). I really want to make at least 2v2 work if I can. As for other formats like Reverse the Whip and such, as soon as I can get the standard game figured out and working properly I would love to throw in some formats like these. I've gotten into MtG over the last 5 years and draft is my favorite format in that game, so naturally I'd love to have it in here too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by capsocrates View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Reinhart_x View Post
Are there rules such as height advantage that you would tweak? Perhaps you would enjoy the addition of status effects?
I would let height advantage also add 1 range. And maybe make it so that shooting uphill is -1 range.

Status effects would be cool in a video game.
I have actually been considering this myself! Well, I didn't take into the account the uphill shooting, but the extra range on height certainly! I was thinking perhaps bonus attack damage when at height advantage while adjacent, or bonus range when non-adjacent. I'm not married to any one idea in particular but the height advantage adding range is pretty much a lock.

As for the status effects, they seem like one of those things that would have been sweet in Heroscape but were too much of a pain to track. Sure, there are certain figures that have abilities involving markers and whatnot, but temporary slowness or things of that nature are just way easier to deal with in a video game.

Quote:
Originally Posted by capsocrates View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Reinhart_x View Post
Does keeping the order marker system but allowing more than just the figures with order markers on them to move some number of spaces each round sound reasonable to promote faster games?
Not sure about this one. Heroscape games are pretty quick already, and would be even quicker with some parts being automated.
That's a fair point. Games should be moving at a faster pace than the board game and most games aren't too long. If they are, maybe that's because you've got an exciting, down to the wire game on your hands!

Quote:
Originally Posted by capsocrates View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Reinhart_x View Post
Would an AP (Action Point) system such as the ones found in XCOM or Phoenix Point be a welcome change instead of the simplified Move -> Attack system that Heroscape uses?
Yeah! I love move + attack for a board game, but I think something like the 3-action economy from Pathfinder 2 (the roleplaying game) would be a welcome change.
I hadn't seen Pathfinder 2's 3-action system before you brought it up, but this is quite a bit like what I was thinking. Sometimes you don't want to move and would like to attack twice instead, or maybe you don't attack and move twice, not to mention other abilities you might have access to. It even opens up possibilities such as sacrificing a unit in order to give additional actions to another unit for a turn. It's one of the points of Heroscape I believe could do with an upgrade so I'm with you here in thinking it'd be a welcome change in a digital game.

Quote:
Originally Posted by capsocrates View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Reinhart_x View Post
I could honestly go on with these examples but I know I've already taken plenty of your time if you happened to read all of this. The bottom line is that I want to make a game for the people, one that would not replace Heroscape but that could be somewhat of a spiritual successor to it that has fun and deep gameplay elements. If the idea of a game like this sounds good to you, if you like any of the possible examples or even have reasons why you wouldn't like those inclusions, or if you have any ideas of your own, please feel free to comment and let me know your thoughts. In the meantime I'll be working on the game!

Thanks, fellow 'Scapers!
Sounds cool to me. Would love to get updates on your progress; alphas, betas, etc.
Thanks for all of your input @capsocrates it's very much appreciated. I will be updating as progress is made and there will definitely need to be plenty of alpha/beta testing and input for all sorts of things so when I get to that stage I'll make that known and I'll be sure to give you a heads up!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sir Heroscape View Post
Not too familiar, but Wartile has been having success doing a Heroscape-like video game but Iím not sure if itís PvP or even competitive or difficult. It may be more of a scenario/campaign game.

Not really sure what i WANT to see. I think itís more of a ďIíll know when I see itĒ.

FWIW Wartile seems kinda meh, so donít do what they did probably? Idk
Haha yes Sir, Wartile is kinda meh, even if they did do a great job with the presentation. Unfortunately it's just like you said, only meant to be a scenario or campaign single player game. I played the demo a couple years ago and the game is actually cool-down based and is almost closer to an active battle system like a Final Fantasy game. Sadly, it was only similar in looks. Don't worry, I'm not planning on doing anything gameplay-wise that they have!

Quote:
Originally Posted by IAmBatman View Post
Tabletop Simulator comes pretty close
It sure does, Batman! Heck, that's the primary way I play Heroscape nowadays! (Still need to find the time to try the Google Docs version...) Somewhat related to that, even though my goal is to make a new Heroscape-adjacent game, if possible I would love to be able to bring the original Heroscape game to my framework at some point! That would be quite a bit down the line though so long live TTS and OHS!
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  #6  
Old May 22nd, 2020, 11:37 PM
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Re: Competitive video game inspired by Heroscape

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Originally Posted by Reinhart_x View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by capsocrates View Post
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Originally Posted by Reinhart_x View Post
Are there rules such as height advantage that you would tweak? Perhaps you would enjoy the addition of status effects?
I would let height advantage also add 1 range. And maybe make it so that shooting uphill is -1 range.

Status effects would be cool in a video game.
I have actually been considering this myself! Well, I didn't take into the account the uphill shooting, but the extra range on height certainly! I was thinking perhaps bonus attack damage when at height advantage while adjacent, or bonus range when non-adjacent. I'm not married to any one idea in particular but the height advantage adding range is pretty much a lock.
I like the idea of non-adjacent attacks *only* getting +1 range from height advantage. It would make range a little less powerful.


Quote:
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Quote:
Originally Posted by capsocrates View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Reinhart_x View Post
Would an AP (Action Point) system such as the ones found in XCOM or Phoenix Point be a welcome change instead of the simplified Move -> Attack system that Heroscape uses?
Yeah! I love move + attack for a board game, but I think something like the 3-action economy from Pathfinder 2 (the roleplaying game) would be a welcome change.
I hadn't seen Pathfinder 2's 3-action system before you brought it up, but this is quite a bit like what I was thinking. Sometimes you don't want to move and would like to attack twice instead, or maybe you don't attack and move twice, not to mention other abilities you might have access to. It even opens up possibilities such as sacrificing a unit in order to give additional actions to another unit for a turn. It's one of the points of Heroscape I believe could do with an upgrade so I'm with you here in thinking it'd be a welcome change in a digital game.
Note that more powerful effects (like double attacks, spells, etc.) require more than one action to do, and doing multiple attacks typically results in a growing attack penalty for each subsequent attack in the same round. These are both important points of the game's balance. Frequently that third attack (at a whopping -10) is less appealing than some alternative action, like intimidating someone, casting a 1-action spell, drawing a potion, moving away so the opponent has to spend an action catching up to you, etc.
They also don't give *everyone* attacks of opportunity. Only some characters have them, which I've noticed makes the battles more fluid as people move around with less fear of getting hit.

Your custom probably has too much Defense.
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Old May 24th, 2020, 03:45 PM
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Re: Competitive video game inspired by Heroscape

In the battle sim/grand strategy game series Dominions (which has a handful of similarities to HS, notably combined arms combat), some units have the trait called “Ambidextrious .” This trait reduces the penalty for multiple attacks.

To convert a similar concept, something like the EI (who have double attack) might have less of a penalty for attacking a second time. Maybe even letting them have a partial move plus 2 attacks per turn?

A rules change I could see working would be limiting the amount of wounds you can do at range if you can’t see the “head” of your target. Maybe special attacks/alternate attacks/spells/etc wouldn’t be restricted. Hard telling.

Being able to hotfix units is also awesome.

Status effects would be cool, as long as you don’t go overboard.

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Old May 25th, 2020, 02:04 PM
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Re: Competitive video game inspired by Heroscape

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I like the idea of non-adjacent attacks *only* getting +1 range from height advantage. It would make range a little less powerful.
That's definitely the goal as I don't think ranged characters would suffer too much from that, especially since they're still getting a little something in the range boost.

Quote:
Originally Posted by capsocrates View Post
Note that more powerful effects (like double attacks, spells, etc.) require more than one action to do, and doing multiple attacks typically results in a growing attack penalty for each subsequent attack in the same round. These are both important points of the game's balance. Frequently that third attack (at a whopping -10) is less appealing than some alternative action, like intimidating someone, casting a 1-action spell, drawing a potion, moving away so the opponent has to spend an action catching up to you, etc.
They also don't give *everyone* attacks of opportunity. Only some characters have them, which I've noticed makes the battles more fluid as people move around with less fear of getting hit.
This totally makes sense in my mind; it's as if the attacker is somewhat tired from the first attack and so the second and subsequent attacks wouldn't be as strong/accurate therefore doing less damage. I always enjoy thinking of the game in a somewhat practical sense, even if we are fighting in a fantasy universe. It's nice that a system like that is not only there for balance, but also provides a reason to use a variety of actions.

I have been considering the attack of opportunity situation for a while now and have been leaning towards not everyone having one as you brought up. That allows for certain units to have those attacks be a boon that they can provide to their team over other units, like how only certain units have engagement strike abilities in Heroscape. So you could still set up a screen as becoming engaged when moving adjacent is still a thing, but maybe take units with attacks of opportunity if you want to keep them locked down or scared.

Quote:
Originally Posted by flameslayer93 View Post
In the battle sim/grand strategy game series Dominions (which has a handful of similarities to HS, notably combined arms combat), some units have the trait called “Ambidextrious .” This trait reduces the penalty for multiple attacks.

To convert a similar concept, something like the EI (who have double attack) might have less of a penalty for attacking a second time. Maybe even letting them have a partial move plus 2 attacks per turn?
Thanks for your input! I hadn't heard of Dominions before but it looks awesome and I might have to play it myself.

I think this idea is a pretty good one and the nice thing about the ability system I'm using is it's pretty simple to tweak things here and there to create new abilities for specific units, such as allowing the regular attack and move abilities to remain on a unit like the EI while also giving them the option to have a double attack plus half their movement instead. They're also in a database so that I can just copy and paste already created abilities onto new units I'm testing in order to see how they work with them.

Oh, and the way Dominions calculates damage is *really* intriguing to me as I've been looking at many different combat calculation systems and that one is a stand out IMO

Quote:
Originally Posted by flameslayer93 View Post
A rules change I could see working would be limiting the amount of wounds you can do at range if you can’t see the “head” of your target. Maybe special attacks/alternate attacks/spells/etc wouldn’t be restricted. Hard telling.

Being able to hotfix units is also awesome.

Status effects would be cool, as long as you don’t go overboard.
As hinted at above, I'm looking into alternate damage and health systems compared to the attack/defense/life/wounds system from Heroscape. This isn't for certain just yet but I'm thinking of an HP-based system which allows for much more in terms of ranges of damage or defense, like if you were able to do half wounds or quarter wounds in HS. If you think of it in that sense, then life/wounds are more or less like HP/damage taken. Having a larger health pool leaves room for any status effects there might be to work their magic in a scaling manner, like a light poison dealing 5 hp per turn taken by the poisoned unit or a moderate poison dealing 8. I'm much more into the idea of allowing these type of things to be guaranteed on a smaller scale as opposed to something like Sonlen's Dragon Swoop randomly killing a squad unit or dealing a decent percentage of a solo unit's life total. In that same sense, healing units could have guaranteed heals using their actions points and don't have to feel bad about wasting a turn whiffing a heal, but the healing doesn't have to be a lot since it's a sure thing. It's not that we can't have things like Grimnak's Chomp; actually that's a great ability as it isn't RNG (at least the squad figure portion) and adds a nice strategic element. It's just that I believe things might be better off with less randomness while still allowing it to be there somewhat so that anyone can win any given game if lucky enough.

With all of that being said, the way line of sight works at the moment (and how it's easiest to work with) is an invisible line is drawn between the units and if any part of the defender's body can be seen then it works just like Heroscape. Now making the actual head portion of each unit be a specific thing to take into account might be a bit tricky, but I am working on a partial cover system kinda like how XCOM works where if you're behind, say, a half height barricade or something like a HS battlement, you'd get a defense bonus. I've seen suggestions in the past like limiting HS squad units to dealing a max of 1 wound each per turn, which I thought wasn't a bad idea to try out, but in an HP system I think just giving the ranged squad units an attack value less than melee squad units, which have less than ranged solo units and then of course melee solo units, should be sufficient enough. Of course, you could have an expensive melee squad unit that deals tons of damage or a really weak solo defender unit with lots of health, but I was just speaking on the philosophy as a whole. Either way, I'll have to keep testing and see if those ideas work out before deciding on anything for certain.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

One other idea I've thrown around is something that you may be familiar with if you've watched or played something like Hearthstone: hero powers.

So the basic idea is that if this were a part of the game you'd pick one of these powers to have throughout the game when building your army and you'd have it no matter what units you use. They also could work differently where some of them are passive while others are active powers.

For example:

There could be a Necromancer power where once per game you can resurrect a small or medium unit from the dead.

There could be a Commander power that grants a passive +2 to your initiative roll for the entire game.

There could be a Rush of Confidence power that allows you to reveal your order markers at the beginning of the round in exchange for a movement boost for your army for that round.

One more is a Meteor power that once per round could target any hex and deal a low amount of damage with a chance to be defended.

These are just off the top of my head and of course are in no way balanced, but you can see adding these additional powers can make even a team of the exact same units play a bit differently.
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