As mentioned before, the part of the game that scares and excites me the most is the combat system. In any self-respecting boardgame/wargame/skirmish, players should really enjoy fighting with their characters and staging epic clashes between bitter rivals!
The combat system, whether is a range or melee one, should give to the players a nice balance between realism and timing, a fact that as you may imagine is not easy at all!
As a game designer, you may start to try to reach an incredible amount of realism, adding tables, charts, bonus and malus to represent in-game any kind of ability or fighting situation, but the result might not be as expected when the players spend half an hour just to see if a character hits the opponent!
On the other hand, simplifying too much the mechanics could give you a fast and thrilling pace, but it may trivialize the many differences between the characters and their unique weapons and inner abilities: if the combat system is just "roll a die and you hit with 4+" for sure it's easy and effective, but what about the uniqueness of deploying a brutal Orc, rather than a sneaky Elf?!
I confess that I tried many different combat systems, and still I'm searching for the perfect one: unfortunately, the only way to find it out is to...try! Often, many ideas that I have in mind seem interesting, but once brought into real life, they just don't work.
So let's give a look at the combat system that I'm developing, still to be polished and properly tasted, but I think it's promising.
THE WELCOME TO LAS VEGAS SYSTEM
How to perfectly represents the unknowns of a melee? After all, I thought, when two warriors fight they don't say to the opponent their next moves*, but the thrilling part of the fight is the risk: you have to predict your opponent's moves and carefully choose when to attack or when to focus on the defence.
I wanted to recreate this kind of "combat gambling", imagining a combat system that handles melee fights this way:
•There are three different types of dice: Red die (Attack), White die (Defence) and Black die (Feint).
•At the start of a melee, each character involved have 5 dice to roll (obviously, special abilities, weapons, spells etc. can modify the number of these dice) and can decide freely which assortment of white and red dice to use, according to its combat strategy: it can choose, for example, to roll 4 red dice and a single white one, for an unscrupulous assault, or it can choose a more balanced strategy rolling 3 red dice and 2 white dice. Moreover, of these 5 dice, a single one can be a black die. It's up to you to choose the best combat dice set according to the characteristic of your warrior, your strategy and, of course, your opponent!
•The combat is resolved simultaneously (so the two players roll their dice at the same time) and, as you may imagine, the selection of combat dice is secret: you will know the assortment of your opponent's combat dice only after they are rolled!
•Each type of die, as you may imagine, resolves a specific effect: with red dice, you try to hit the opponent and do damage; with white dice, you try to protect your character from your opponent's attacks; with black dice, you try to mislead your opponent with a feint.
•After having rolled all the dice, it's then easy to resolve the fight:
1) a white die "block" an opponent's red die if its result is equal or higher than that of the opponent (so a white die that makes 4, block a red die that makes 1-2-3-4, and so on)
2)if there are no white dice to block a red die, it hits the target.
3)The result of a black die can be added to that of a white or red die, at the choice of the player that controls the character.
This is, in brief, how this system resolves the melee, I think it's somehow elegant and funny, and above all it is easy to learn and