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Subject: Avoiding Effect Conflictions rss

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mario velardita
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I'm designing a card game in which there are a lot of different effects. I am having trouble figuring out what to do if two effects happening at the same time conflict each other.

For example:

A player has 2 hit points left.

Two cards are in play on the table.

Card A says that at the end of his turn, he LOSES 2 hit points, which would bring him to 0 and effectively killing him.

Card B says that at the end of his turn, he GAINS 2 hit points, which would bring him to 4hp.

Does the player lose 2hp, die, and lose out on gaining 2hp because he is dead? Or does he gain 2hp, bringing him to 4hp, then lose 2hp, leaving him alive at 2hp?

I know a lot of card games use chaining and resolving them in reverse order, but what if both cards are already on the table and aren't chained together in any way and their effects just activate at the same moment.

I would like to do it in the least confusing way possible, because I'd like to avoid people arguing over what effect should take priority.

Thanks for any help, I could really use some.
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Chris Leger
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One straight-forward way is to number all the cards and use that for the ordering - either smaller numbers take effect before larger, or opposite.

Another way, depending on the available effects, could be to apply all negative/detrimental effects before positive/beneficial or the opposite.
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Dylan Posthumus
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plixik wrote:
I'm designing a card game in which there are a lot of different effects. I am having trouble figuring out what to do if two effects happening at the same time conflict each other.

For example:

A player has 2 hit points left.

Two cards are in play on the table.

Card A says that at the end of his turn, he LOSES 2 hit points, which would bring him to 0 and effectively killing him.

Card B says that at the end of his turn, he GAINS 2 hit points, which would bring him to 4hp.

Does the player lose 2hp, die, and lose out on gaining 2hp because he is dead? Or does he gain 2hp, bringing him to 4hp, then lose 2hp, leaving him alive at 2hp?

I know a lot of card games use chaining and resolving them in reverse order, but what if both cards are already on the table and aren't chained together in any way and their effects just activate at the same moment.

I would like to do it in the least confusing way possible, because I'd like to avoid people arguing over what effect should take priority.

Thanks for any help, I could really use some.


Have positive effects be the priority in your rules. So positive effects all resolve first, then the negative ones come into effect.

Or the opposite way around to make it more challenginglaugh
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John Harley
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Putting a unique priority number on each card lets you define what happens by design. This is probably the easiest.

OR

Race for the Galaxy let's the affected player choose to activate his consumption factories in any order, as long as at the end of the consumption phase, all actions that Can happen, Do happen. (However, because the player chose to activate things in a particular order, he can preclude some actions from happening because he has no goods left to consume.) This can be an interesting design opportunity.
Here's an example: you have another card that says, "At the end of my turn, I may either Consume this card for +2 Hitpoints, OR, After an effect applies, apply the Opposite of that effect three times." So then if the player only has 3 hp left, will use the Inverter after playing the enemy effect. If he only has 2 HP left, he will need to take the +2 heath just to survive.

A NOTE
Actions with deferred effects are always a bit risky in Design because players relentlessly forget them and then it causes rollbacks, or requires extra components. This problem persists even in a digital version since the player may not remember why the computer is applying an effect. So if you have a card that gives 2 hp played at the start of the turn, consider allowing it to happen immediately.


Hope that helps
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Chris D
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Magic solution (if it has not changed recently) to multiple triggers is that triggers controlled by the active player goes on the stack first, in whatever order he desires, then triggers controlled by the other player, who can choose the order the same way. This has the effect that the non-active player's effects are resolved first.

In my opionion letting the players choose is the simplest thing rules-wise, unless the game has many things to track that would lead to too much AP.

Numbering all the cards may be cumbersome if there are many cards (good luck if you decide to change the order at a later point) and I feel it's not really elegant, also if you have expansions later you have to deal with that in some way (see the marines expansions in Space Hulk: Death Angel – The Card Game, for example).

A middle ground solution could be to decide some priority tears, and then let the player arrange them as he wish for the same tier (either by rules, ie "all healing effects first, then all damage effects" or directly on the cards with a priority number).


Edit: I forgot, in your example, another solution is also that effects that adds or remove health are resolved simultaneously, and you apply only the result of the sum (either positive or negative).
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Trevyn Hey
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BoardGameGeek » Forums » Board Game Design » Board Game Design
Re: Avoiding Effect Conflictions
No_Frets wrote:
Edit: I forgot, in your example, another solution is also that effects that adds or remove health are resolved simultaneously, and you apply only the result of the sum (either positive or negative).


This was my thought. It seems straightforward enough and allows for application of the whole effect without complications.
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Jayson Stevens
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plixik wrote:
Does the player lose 2hp, die, and lose out on gaining 2hp because he is dead? Or does he gain 2hp, bringing him to 4hp, then lose 2hp, leaving him alive at 2hp?


"Check for death at End Of Phase"
This means that timing on these kinds of effects is no longer an issue
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Tommy Occhipinti
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When multiple things happen simultaneously, the current player chooses the order in which they resolve.

I think that is the simplest rule, and it is what I use.
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Nick Tringali
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I also think this is the best way to resolve it. So in this case, the net HP is 2. As long as they have >0 HP at the end of the turn, they're fine.
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mario velardita
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Thanks for all the suggestions everyone.

I agree that letting the active player decide the order and take priority is the simplest and best way to deal with it, so I will be going with that.
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Jonathan Tullsen
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If you want it to be harder, then say all negative effects happen first.
If you want it to be easier, then say that all positive events happen first.
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Herc du Preez
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So in summary

Timing issues can be resolved with:
1) Active player chooses order. (e.g. Race for the Galaxy consume powers)
2) The Stack (ala Magic the Gathering)
3) Number the cards, lower numbers happen first (e.g. Death Angel the card game)
4) For numeric values, add them together and apply the result. This doesn't work as well for non-numeric changes)
5) Negatives first then positives or vice versa. Again only for numerics unless your other effects indicate what is "positive" and what is "negative".
6) Hybrids, mixing two or more of the above together to create...a monster!

And the winner is....1! *applause*

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B-Rom
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Although this may send a shockwave through your current design - I would make every effort to clean and streamline this process you've described. Some of the suggested offerings while working very strictly within your existing system may just be polishing a turd. Rule-referencing-what-trumps-what-mathlete-parties can sometimes lend themselves to slow moving rounds and phases to resolve simple things.

Obviously you can totally disregard this, but I would at least take a moment, and a hard look, and see if perhaps a bit of re-evaluation/restructuring is in order for your baby.

One example to get your juices flowing would be to get negative and positive conditions off the same track - they could be using different mechanics.

So negative condition cards always happen at the top of a player's turn: "If a player begins his turn with this card in play then they take damage/drop an item/lose a turn/etc"

Positive cards like a "Heal" are played/discarded by the player to negate an ongoing effect that is in play.

So on a players turn - if say poison is in play they will take a point of damage when their turn begins - unless they can negate the effects by discarding an antidote card.

Just wanted to expose you to a small harmless dose of different approach radiation.

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Christopher Todesco
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vaale wrote:
I also think this is the best way to resolve it. So in this case, the net HP is 2. As long as they have >0 HP at the end of the turn, they're fine.


"Net effect" is fine as long as the effect is quantifiable, but what happens if one or more of the effects are not quantifiable? For instance, one card says "Destroys any non-magic armor" while another card says "Adds 'magic' to armor".

If you're married to the idea of a whole unbalanced slew of effects (a la Magic) then you are probably better going with a "players choice" method. Any priority system is going to be fiddly. However as B-Rom is suggesting, if you're having to make exceptions and patches to the system, it suggests a different design might be a better approach. You're invoking Race for the Galaxy, but that game is often cited as one of the best examples of carefully balanced design in the card game world.

Another simple solution is to have the timing dictated by the cards in a non-ambiguous way-- i.e. have the +2hp effects happen at the beginning of the turn, and the -2hp effects happen at the end. Careful planning like this and your players won't even have to worry about which goes first because it'll be tied naturally to the turn order.
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