Monday, 30 July 2012

Combat Mechanics Showcase: The Battle of Bamajeda

In my last post I talked about combat mechanics, and what criteria must be followed to make a good gamebook combat system. I also promised to post a micro gamebook showcasing my try at a "perfect" system. After a few quick (admittedly slightly rushed) editing rounds I am ready to present to you The Battle of Bamajeda! The Battle of Bamajeda is very short; it serves only the purpose of demonstrating my combat system, i.e. if you are looking for a shocking story line you'll have to wait for my Windhammer entry. TBOB is actually part of a larger gamebook I am writting; The Battle of Bamajeda is just one of the combats that I thought would interest you, so I set it apart for you to preview.
I would love to have as much feedback as possible, tell me how I did in following my own criteria, as well as how well it satisfied your combat system standards. What should I do to improve it? How close is my system to, and how can I make my system into, the perfect combat system? I want YOU to leave YOUR comments!


  1. See my comment on your "My Works" page.

  2. I haven't had a chance to play this one yet because I don't have a deck of cards. At first glance, reading over it, though, what I love is the choices that you can make during the combat. If you're able and willing to take 5 or 10 sections to run the combat, allowing the player to move between them representing physical movement or strategic decision making, it seems that the combat experience can be much more exciting and involved. I might experiment with that technique in future gamebooks of my own. Probably not Windhammer, because the 100 section limitation is already so tight, but in some of the digital formats I'm working with there isn't that kind of restriction.

    Another thing you might want to check out is the Warlock's Bounty android game. I've been playing it recently, and it uses a magic-card style system for resolving combats. A 2nd edition is in progress right now, which I think will make some real improvements, but the system now already shows it's potential.

    I'll leave more detailed comments once I've had a chance to actually play it. The main thing I want to say now is just... if you choose to make a prop, such as playing cards, mandatory, be aware that this will cause a certain percentage of players to just not do that. Sometimes it's worth it; the people who are really interested will play anyway. But my experience, for example, was to open it up, see that the playing cards were required, not have them, and call it a day. If I weren't a gamebook author and enthusiast, I probably would have stopped there. As it is, I'll just have to come back when I get a deck.

    I'm not saying it's wrong to require a prop like that, but it definitely has its cost.

    Happy gamebooking! Off to post my thoughts on Emancipation now :)

    1. I would love to see others experiment with their own versions of the movement and strategic choices I used in The Battle of Bamajeda. I haven't seen many other gamebooks that offer this, so I encourage all gamebook writers to try it out :)

      I've heard of Warlock's Bounty before, but unfortunately I don't have android :( it looks really interesting though! Also have you heard of Arborell's Torchlight gamebook system? It uses cards as well, though to create the dungeon rather than for combat.

      Indeed that gamebook would not appeal to the entire population of people who aren't much into the gaming aspect of gamebooks. The target audience for that gamebook was for the gamers and people who like to try out new game systems. I don't think there's anything of appeal in The Battle of Bamajeda for people who are interested in story as opposed to game. I'll keep that in mind for when I'm writing future gamebooks. For now I've already written a large chunk of the gamebook TBOB is being expanded into, so I'm not going to let go of the cards for that one :p

  3. i think cards/standard dices is not limiting the potential readers market by a lot, since most of the people that will be interested in a game book would be...gamers/RPG players in the first place. the bottom line is, type of readers you aim at? veteran hard-core rpg lovers/gamers/gamebook addicts or a more casual reader type?

    since i myself aim for the first type, i really liked your battle system. i build my own system on cards and standard dices, though it's different it might share some similarities on using the card "memory" factor.
    it's really interesting and different, what you did. gives the battle a poker-like sense, when you actually need to carefully plan which cards you'd spend in order to build a certain "hand" for later use. some systems, like the one i plan atm, gives the reader the option to make certain decisions and then uses the random factor to decide the outcome/gives the player the ability to effect the random factor. you actually took the random factor as a restricting window for the player's options.

    i really liked it! the first game-book i wrote was about 20 years ago, when i was 13, and i used multi-sections to describe the final battle against a mage(he cast many spells according to his hp level and got more dangerous the lower he got) - but i didn't used the movement factor in battle. that's great thinking, my friend!

    as for some feedback on what i thought might be a weakness:

    * quickness: it was really hard for me to choose which abilities to use. i found myself thinking over and over again, which got the battle going longer then it might need (that might be what you intended for in the first place, so it's also a strength).
    * realism: i personally think that the randomness factor should be deciding stuff like if i SUCCEEDED doing something or not(with addition for some base stats), and not if i COULD do it at all. if i know 10 certain spells, why should a card decide which ones i can use at a certain point?

    that being said, i still understand your thought process behind that system and i still like it a lot, since, from a strategic pov, it makes the battles much more interesting and unexpected, but still with a sense of control the player's got.

    keep up the good work! :)