General Erfworld Rules Discussion

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General Erfworld Rules Discussion

Postby Nihila » Sat Jul 24, 2010 1:46 pm

In this forum, there are a lot of games and rules, and I thought it might be a good idea to have a thread to just talk about rules. This is for people to post any ideas, thoughts, and criticisms, with the eventual purpose of having a set of rules that is the Ruleset Of Everything (in Erfworld). Obviously, this will take a long time, as the actual rules are still being revealed to us, but I hope that we, as Erfworld fans, can enjoy the process of guessing at the rules.

I know that some games are attempting similar things already, but this thread is not about actually starting a game, "just" about the rules that a "perfect" game might have.

I am not an expert on game design, in fact, probably the opposite is more true, but one way to evaluate a full ruleset would be along the following criteria:
1) Creativity: In the comic, we see many unit types, from Dwagons to Doombats and from Siege Towers to Spidews. Anyone playing an Erfworld game should have the chance to create their own units.
2) Balance: Generally, at the beginning, no side should have any greater chance of winning, and more specifically, any unit better than another should have a longer time to produce and a greater upkeep than the weaker unit.
3) Loyalty to the Comic: Really, this is the biggest one. The rules should allow for all the units we see in the comic, with all of their abilities intact. With the exception (possibly) of Arkentools, the comic should be the guide to the rules, and direct statements (statements that are not subject to interpretation) from the comic should overrule all objections.

So, any ideas are welcome, especially ones which form mechanics for things that have not been introduced in any other part of this forum, like the recently revealed fact that Level 5 cities can specialize in one zone, but even repostings of other games' rules would be great to have here.
"The Infantrymen of Erfworld have nothing to lose but their chains. They have Erfworld to win. Infantry of all sides: Unite!"--Kawl Mawx, Master-class Moneymancer
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Re: General Erfworld Rules Discussion

Postby BLANDCorporatio » Sat Jul 24, 2010 2:33 pm

Heh, nice idea. My issue is with number 3.

Erfworld started as a supposed world operating under TBS logic. It grew less and less so as those constraints proved bothersome for story flow.

You can argue about the relative nature of time till you're blue in the face, Erfworld is at best weakly turn-based. Also, action rules, meaning what you can do "off-turn" and such, are confusing- this is a statement of fact, backed by discussions in the reaction threads.

So if I made a ruleset for a TBS, I'd ditch loyalty to the comic as a requirement, funnily enough, and require more flavour consistency as in units.
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Re: General Erfworld Rules Discussion

Postby Chris Goodwin » Sat Jul 24, 2010 2:55 pm

Thank you!

I'd actually like to see fidelity to the Rules As We Know Them (and note also we don't know all of them... I really wish Rob would throw us a bone here and there!). It seems to me that the characters in the comic have followed the rules pretty religiously.
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Re: General Erfworld Rules Discussion

Postby BLANDCorporatio » Sat Jul 24, 2010 3:02 pm

Ah-ha. Ah-ahhahahaha!

Right now, the most recent posts in the reaction thread to the most recent page are debating various theories about the nature of time in Erfworld.

No, time-related rules were NOT followed religiously in the comic itself. This would make loyalty to the rules a very difficult, I conjecture futile, endeavour. So, aim for some subjective notion of similar flavour and be done with it.
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Re: General Erfworld Rules Discussion

Postby Chris Goodwin » Sun Jul 25, 2010 12:23 am

IMO, the time related rules make perfect sense from the standpoint of gamers sitting around playing a game. And, for instance, Charlie's use of the Turnamancer's End Turn spell makes more sense in that context (he's sitting around watching the other players table-talk about how many units they'd need to take this city, and moving their pieces around the map, and the Charlie player says "Okay, I have this spell that says 'you may cast this at any time' and now is any time, so..."). BLAND, I'm not sure if that's what you were talking about specifically, and if not I'm kind of curious as to what.
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Re: General Erfworld Rules Discussion

Postby BLANDCorporatio » Sun Jul 25, 2010 4:06 am

Chris Goodwin wrote:IMO, the time related rules make perfect sense from the standpoint of gamers sitting around playing a game.


If that were true, then talking would be a free action, not limited to Thinkamancer juice.

As for Charlie and that abomination that I will not name, it was at least suggested, in keeping with reason 2 balance, that you could not cast it at any time. Just what conditions are needed is left unspecified.

But turning Erfworld into a bout of Magic the Gathering, with byzantine turn rules, cancerously growing card inventories and eternal balance issues, is an obvious no-go. (Disclaimer: I did not play MtG. I did read a bit about it to know that it's not the thing for me.)

Apart from that, time is flowing real-time whenever armies meet. If you'd start going through the comic and look at time behaviour, you could maybe add enough rules to catch them all. But again, why bother? To wit:

ZombAnsom captures Ossomer under a hail of quadrupled arrows. These damage some units, including Jack. Then, ZombAnsom comes with an idea during the arrow attack- getting to ground. I suppose you could add a tactical roll that would allow a commander to come up with an idea in the middle a battle to reduce damage. But would it apply to battles in every conditions?

Ansom again, ariving in the nick of time to rescue Jillian- battles are definitely either real time or so multiple-round as to be painful to roll for.

Wanda battling Ansom, then getting rescued by Golems. Well, somebody was off-turn then, either GK or Ansom, but they could both pass from air to the courtyard well enough.

The Golems ambushing the Marbits: now this could just be the usual retaliation or ambush behaviour you see in TBSes, but I recall those ambushes being quite controlled (chosing when to attack or not) and deliberate. Then of course was the 4chan poop explosion. Was that off-turn too?

So remember, units can move off-turn (with some limitations), and cast off-turn (with some limitations).

You could patch rules for all those situations, but why do so? Especially since the rules of Erfworld are revealed slowly, my take on them is ignore, and go for similar flavour. Fantasy, pop-culture reference laden, TBS.
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Re: General Erfworld Rules Discussion

Postby Chris Goodwin » Sun Jul 25, 2010 3:28 pm

BLANDCorporatio wrote:You could patch rules for all those situations, but why do so? Especially since the rules of Erfworld are revealed slowly, my take on them is ignore, and go for similar flavour. Fantasy, pop-culture reference laden, TBS.


Got it. My take on them is almost the same, except that I'd rather follow them where possible, but ignore them when necessary. If it costs more effort to follow a rule than it's worth, then ignore. In a hex-and-counter game, the talk-talk rules can be ignored pretty safely.
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Re: General Erfworld Rules Discussion

Postby Nihila » Wed Jul 28, 2010 3:09 pm

Yeah, Chris's evaluation of rule-making:
Chris Goodwin wrote: If it costs more effort to follow a rule than it's worth, then ignore. In a hex-and-counter game, the talk-talk rules can be ignored pretty safely.

looks good.

Er... I've only participated in one Erfworld game so far. So, overall, is there any ruleset which works particularly well or is very comprehensive, so we have some idea of what to work off of?
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Re: General Erfworld Rules Discussion

Postby Chris Goodwin » Wed Jul 28, 2010 10:42 pm

Nihila wrote:Yeah, Chris's evaluation of rule-making:
Chris Goodwin wrote: If it costs more effort to follow a rule than it's worth, then ignore. In a hex-and-counter game, the talk-talk rules can be ignored pretty safely.

looks good.

Er... I've only participated in one Erfworld game so far. So, overall, is there any ruleset which works particularly well or is very comprehensive, so we have some idea of what to work off of?


I don't have a particularly broad or deep knowledge of board wargames, but I did discover something very light called CGME (CounterMoves' Generic Microgame Engine). It's maybe 4 pages, public domain, and more or less a framework for creating a wargame. It provides simple combat and movement systems with some variations, and expects you to provide the rest (which, conveniently, we happen to have plenty of).

Edit: I meant to link CGME. It can be found here.
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Re: General Erfworld Rules Discussion

Postby Nihila » Mon Aug 02, 2010 4:08 pm

Well, I'm not sure that that's the greatest engine for Erfworld. It's hard to describe, but some of the details seem... off.

On another note, I found some canon about Level 5 cities' popping abilities. In First Intermission 40, 23 turns after TBfGK, it is said that
It was for that reason that the city had been popping only infantry since he became Chief Warlord. Ansom had been wasting its output on Gumps; Father had a hands-off policy where decisions of the Chief Warlord were concerned. But twelve stacks of eight Pikers and eleven stacks of six Stabbers had now popped since Ansom fell. Given present circumstances, that was surely worth more than seven Gumps.


So, a Level 5 city can pop either one stack of eight Pikers or one stack of six Stabbers per turn.
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Re: General Erfworld Rules Discussion

Postby Chris Goodwin » Mon Aug 02, 2010 6:47 pm

Nihila wrote:Well, I'm not sure that that's the greatest engine for Erfworld. It's hard to describe, but some of the details seem... off.


For just the basic version, I agree. The supplement includes some additional optional rules which would prove directly useful, namely hit points for units (they apply them to "alpha units" but we know all units in Erfworld have hit point values). And I am planning on adding to it. :)
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Re: General Erfworld Rules Discussion

Postby Nihila » Tue Aug 03, 2010 7:00 am

Well, if I read the combat rules right, each unit can only fight once per turn. That strikes me as wrong, somehow.
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Re: General Erfworld Rules Discussion

Postby Chris Goodwin » Tue Aug 03, 2010 12:32 pm

Oh, sure. That's one of the things that would be changed. CGME is openly incomplete, and is intended to be used as the basis for other rules. My plan is to break combat up into rounds; combat ends when one side or the other is croaked, or under a known set of alternate circumstances (parley, attacker has movement left and leaves, defender is in their own city zone and leaves).
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Re: General Erfworld Rules Discussion

Postby Chris Goodwin » Wed Aug 04, 2010 1:33 am

I've written up my own preliminary set of rules, available through Google Docs here. I'll start another thread to discuss them if people want to, and if this isn't the appropriate thread.
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Re: General Erfworld Rules Discussion

Postby Nihila » Wed Aug 04, 2010 6:22 am

Nitpick: In a three-hex lake (presumably shallow), the dwagons can only be attacked by flying units. There are no rules for limited casting or leadership.

Other than that, looks pretty good.

Edit: Oh, and two more things. I think that Kaed's game has a pretty good rule structure, maybe the rules could be based off of that. Axemen could just be a kind of Stabber, after all. Also, in the comic, "Heavy" is not listed as a special. Perhaps it should describe a unit which has doubled the base HP of a unit template, or added more than 5 HP to a template, or something similar.
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Re: General Erfworld Rules Discussion

Postby Chris Goodwin » Wed Aug 04, 2010 5:17 pm

Nihila wrote:Nitpick: In a three-hex lake (presumably shallow), the dwagons can only be attacked by flying units.


I'm going to go out on a limb slightly and say that they can be attacked by flying units or (when in the same hex) terrain-capable Archers. When we see dwagons attacked by Forest-capable units, they're archers. That would generalize to Water-capable (either natively or e.g. on a boat) Archers when fliers are over water, Forest-capable when over forest, or Mountain-capable when over mountains.

There are no rules for limited casting or leadership.


Coming soon... it is a work in progress. :) Also needed are income from cities, farms, and mines, as well as how to level up cities and other terrain, as well as stack bonuses in combat, as well as.... ;)

Edit: Oh, and two more things. I think that Kaed's game has a pretty good rule structure, maybe the rules could be based off of that. Axemen could just be a kind of Stabber, after all. Also, in the comic, "Heavy" is not listed as a special. Perhaps it should describe a unit which has doubled the base HP of a unit template, or added more than 5 HP to a template, or something similar.


I've been going through the others for ideas. "Pop points" came from one of them (whose I'm not exactly sure).

I'm going to keep Heavy as a special, but it may be 0 points (or even a slight negative cost). The wiki specifies that Heavy seems to be more of a nerf than an actual special ability (can't enter tunnels, can't ride Mounts, maybe one or two other things I'm missing), and I'm inclined to agree. But I do want to be able to note it somewhere, and to me Specials seems to be the right place. I wouldn't want it to be a "Heavy units gain +X HP"; I'd rather just have the unit buy up its HP at creation.
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Re: General Erfworld Rules Discussion

Postby Nihila » Wed Aug 04, 2010 6:34 pm

I meant that no non-water capable units are shown to be able to traverse the lake.

Also, with the heavies, I meant, make it not a special, throw on a bunch of restrictions, and make the units buy the HP-if they want that much health, they take the restrictions.

Is pop points from The Battle for Gobwin Bump?
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Re: General Erfworld Rules Discussion

Postby Chris Goodwin » Wed Aug 04, 2010 7:20 pm

Nihila wrote:I meant that no non-water capable units are shown to be able to traverse the lake.


Ahhh, correct. I've changed that. Also tweaked the terrain movement rules some.

Also, with the heavies, I meant, make it not a special, throw on a bunch of restrictions, and make the units buy the HP-if they want that much health, they take the restrictions.


Oh, I get it. Something like, "Every unit with 10 or more Hits is considered Heavy." Maybe. Heavy is listed under the Unit Natural Abilities table in the wiki, which is what led me to include it.

I did find something interesting about Heavy units and tunnels. Heavy units are supposedly not permitted in tunnels, except that we've seen at least half a dozen types of Heavy units in them -- spidews, tchochkes, sourmanders, several different types of golem, even Parson himself ("counts as a Heavy") -- leading me to believe that either an awful lot of Heavy units are exempted, or that Heavies aren't automatically prohibited.

The Battle for Gobwin Bump ties unit size to hit points. 10 for a horse or twoll, 20 for a dwagon or gump, 30 for giants. That sounds reasonable to me, with a note that "units with more than X Hits are prohibited in tunnels." More than 10 Hits = Heavy and can't ride but can be ridden by units with fewer than 10 Hits. More than 20 = can't fit in a tunnel.

Is pop points from The Battle for Gobwin Bump?


Yes. The comic in several places strongly implies that cities have a production capacity, which assumedly increases with level. (see also Faq devoting "the next sixty turns of her production to popping a Royal Heir"). Points seem to work pretty well.
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Re: General Erfworld Rules Discussion

Postby Nihila » Thu Aug 05, 2010 9:24 pm

With the heavies, I am partial to Kaed's rules over Gobwin Bump's, having base templates and defining heavy as, say, "adds 5 or more HP to this", as Kaed places restrictions on how powerful units can be. If you've been following TBfGB, Huwwicanes and Demonowiths and Field Guns and Titans know what else annihilate everything in their path. Also, I think that any ErfGame really needs a GM, which an engine would support somewhat less.
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Re: General Erfworld Rules Discussion

Postby Chris Goodwin » Fri Aug 06, 2010 1:20 am

I think that Heavy is almost a matter of semantics. Is a unit Heavy because it has the Heavy Special and therefore gets +5 Hits? Or does the unit having more hits make it Heavy?

There are a couple of things I am sure about: Heavy units can't ride mounts, and that there is a definite size scale. Twolls, while Heavy, are only about twice the height of an Erfworld human. Golems, gwiffins, and siege engines seem to be a similar size. Dwagons, on the other hand, are quite a bit bigger, I'd guess a good eight Erfworld-man-lengths (say ~25 feet long), and I'd guess megalogwiffs are pretty close to that.

A thing occurred to me today. I may have gotten this from the Gobwin Bump document, I can't remember, but it seems to me a unit's attack value ought to scale up with size as well. I'm thinking a unit's Combat score can be no more than twice its Hits score, so a 1 Hit doombat could have a Combat (attack) score of 2, while a dwagon (20 Hits) could have a max of 40. You're still paying for all of that stuff with points, though in my system Hits are relatively cheap.

Oh, I meant to add an Acknowledgements section to my document. Working on that (edit: done now, also added Legal).
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