Thursday, July 14, 2011

If I understand this correctly, for most D&D based games (including Castles and Crusades), there is very little strategic or tactical decision making in the game outside of resource spending. It is, as I understand it, a game of resource allocation and expenditure. Of course, there is some strategic and tactical decision making to be done prior to combat (spell lists for example) and during combat (when to use magic or abilities) but it seems to me, the immediate tactical or strategic decision making are left lacking. And, now where the decision making leaves off, chance takes over. A lot of chance.

Actually, as I write these ill formed thoughts I am beginning to back down but, as with any Troll, I will forge ahead with my line of thinking.

Take chess for example. This is a game all about strategy and tactics. There is no chance. No dice rolls, no nothing except strategy and tactics. Then take the card game War. In this one, it is all chance. If played properly, once the deck is dealt, the game is decided, its just getting there. Its all chance in the deck shuffle.

So the RPG generally lies somewhere in between chance and strategy. My gut tells me it is mostly on the chance side (I readily admit I could be wrong). At the very least, on the micro scale a lot of results depend upon a simple roll of the dice. A d20 at that. Each number having an equal chance of coming up. There are saving throws, to hit rolls, damage rolls, hp rolls, stat rolls etc. all of which are chance. Not even averages

Now, I prefer more strategic and tactical decision making in my games. In fact I weigh heavily on that side. I do not want that strategy to rely on resource management either (nothing personal Mr. resource management), rather, I want it to be a combination of resource management and strategic thinking.

On the other hand, the more strategic thinking that goes into a game, the more time gets consumed in the game making those decisions. I do not believe that complexity is a necessary companion of strategic thinking (again chess) but time does seem to be.

In real life (or so it seems) strategic or tactical thinking occurs in micro-seconds for boxers, soccer players, ultimate fighters etc.I mean these guys make strategic and tactical decisions all of the time while playing or fighting and they do it fairly quickly. Ring fighters do it especially fast.

So, how does one reconcile that in game?

Well, I am not sure. However, I have put together a small system based upon averages. I think it is intuitive and allows for several basic tactical stances which alter rolls each round. Suing averages is allowing me to make incremental changes to die roll to reduce mathematics and general stances to avoid getting locked down in particular skills and abilities.

Anyway,I have rambled on and need to do something. 


Joshua said...

That seems to assume that everything in an RPG boils down to combat; I don't think that's true, even for pure dungeoneering D&D.

Ronin78 (Gaming Ronin) said...

I would love to see the system you worked on.

Rikitiki said...

Hmm...I remember our group when we played through "Ravenloft" (the original module) -- strategy? tactics? Oh yeah! Strahd had killed our cleric and taken back that one holy symbol that'd kill him and hidden it somewhere in the castle. We ended up killing him with an illusion -- now, that took strategy and tactics.

For me, any game that involved even a modicum of ROLE-play .vs ROLL-play used strategy and tactics. Outwit the town guard, use available objects to best advantage (terrain, dungeon dressings, a thrown halfling, etc) -- all those seem to me strategic and tactical .vs chance. Sure, there is the chance of did it work/didn't it work...but good ROLE-players minimize that by good ROLE-play.