Hitpoints in Big Games
So I’m trying to organize a 4 person game of Dinosaur Cowboys, which would be incredibly fun. It would also be the first match I’ve played with more than 2 people total.
I think the rules will hold up just fine. Activation was written from the start with larger games in mind, so besides having to re-roll a few ties (or use a larger dice to avoid that) it will work okay. Posse building, combat, etc. should translate well into a 4 person game.
The only concern I have is one small facet: Hitpoints. You see the base 8 HP sounds great, until you have two more players shooting at you. If you look at my past games you can see a few cowboys that met an untimely end in a single attack or shot, and that was just against one player.
Regardless of whether this game gets off the ground, I’m going to add a note (probably in the Standalone Game section) about multiplayer battles along the lines of:
For each additional player beyond two add +2 HP to every entity in your posse (for example +6 HP for a 5 player game).
In other words with 4 total players a basic member would start with 12 HP instead of 8 HP. This should make for a bit more of a tactical game since everything will live longer, and doesn’t throw off IP costs since HP is on a flat cost scale.
Speaking of multiplayer battles I was thinking a fun objective would be a series of dinosaur eggs around the map and a big, unaligned T-Rex in the middle. Whoever holds the most dinosaur eggs can vaguely control the T-Rex. As usual an objective that does something beneficial will actually motivate players to capture it, similar to what I did with the fight for the cannon.
Variant Rules – Shooting Position and Aimed Shot
Currently the combat modifiers table has 10 entries: Armor, In Melee, Short Range, Long Range, Movement, Cover, Crossfire, Elevation, and Charge. Sounds like a lot eh? Well in practice it isn’t, since you basically check range and the target’s armor and roll to attack.
What I struggled with when I first wrote the rules was whether to include Crouch and Prone as alternative shooting stances. In the end I decided it would add too much additional complexity, especially with tracking who is in what stance. But a recent sampling of the classic Jagged Alliance 2 game (thanks to the v1.13 mod) made me reconsider it as a Variant Rule.
Also along that line of thought is the idea of an Aimed Shot. Basically you don’t Move at all and declare you’re using an Aimed Shot, which then gives some positive effect.
The problem with both of these Variant Rules is I don’t want to just have them modify RMC. Crouch -1 RMC, Prone -2 RMC, Aimed Shot -1 RMC is simple enough, I guess. But it’s also extremely bland.
What I think I’d do instead is leverage Critical Hits, similar to how Surprise Hit is handled (when shooting at a targets back you get a Critical Hit on 10+ instead of 12). Perhaps Aimed Shot could reduce the Critical Hit chance by a further 1. So just doing an Aimed Shot would mean you Critical on 11+. Aimed Shot from behind (Surprise Hit) would be 9+ to Critical. Crouch could be a further 1 and Prone would be 2. So Prone (+2), Aimed Shot (+1), Surprise Hit (+2) would be 7+ to Critical!
Anyways I think I’ll leave Crouch and Prone out for now, but I’m going to add Aimed Shot in there.
Anyways I’ve been doing some further edits and clarifications of the rules. Not changing any core mechanics or anything, instead just editing or cleaning up certain aspects that might be confusing. I find revisiting the rules after an extensive break helps since I can look at them with fresh eyes, and then see how some sections can be confusing.
I also want to add the old images of weapons into the rules somewhere (probably before the description section).
Then the above changes around multiplayer games and Aimed Shot. Basically what I’m saying is I’ll probably have a v1.2 release sometime in the distant future.