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Subject: Doom Co-op rss

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Jack Reda
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Ever since I started playing Doom, I've played more games with my kids than with grown-ups, and with the kids I have to be the Invader (and I tend to pretty much destroy the kids, no matter what advantages I give them). So, I wanted to have a way to play Doom as a totally cooperative game- it wasn't too difficult to devise, but I did create some decks of cards on Artscow to handle some of the set up for areas and randomization for the game.

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Decks are available here:
http://www.artscow.com/gallery/playing-cards/doom-coop-invad...

http://www.artscow.com/gallery/playing-cards/doom-co-op-setu...

The way the Cooperative game works is by using maps that have randomly assigned contents. I created several maps using Doom Edit, and instead of placing the Invaders and other goods on the map, I just put numbers.

External image


In these scenarios, the Marines have a digital readout of the base, so they know generally where to go... but they don't know what's in the unexplored areas, nor where the key cards are (other other scenario items, like the Self Destruct Turn Off).

When you enter an area, you draw an Area Setup card. Whatever is listed as item 1 on the card is placed where the 1 is on the map, and so on (so using the Set Up card above, you would place Zombies on spaces 1, 2 and 5, an Imp on 3, shells on 4, etc.).

If an area of the map is numbered above 10, you simply re-use the card (1 is 11, 2 is 12, etc.). The cards were created specifically to be re-implemented in this way. Some cards have an X on one of the numbers, which means that area does no progress beyond the X on the Area Setup card.

Doom Co-op has its own Invader deck. Each turn, the Marines go first, in clockwise order, and when they all have had a turn, the top card of the Invader deck is revealed. Follow the instructions. Most cards help the Invaders (making them more aggressive for a turn, or challenging the Marines). Some cards do help the Marines (or at least give them some options). Invaders always attack the Marine closest to them (or in case of equal distance, the Marine whose turn would be next). In the example image above, you have a Spawn card (which calls for the Invader to spawn on a specific space- those most just spawn out of Line of Sight- always closest to the level exit), an Invader card that creates trouble for the Marines, and a card that can help the Marines.

Since none of the Invader cards have Scatter charts, I created a special one for use in Doom Co-op:

From gallery of The Warp


When you miss, consult the chart and first find on the top row, the number of spaces you missed by. Then consult the first column and check your yellow die result. The intersection is the result of your scatter.

Finally, Doom Co-op uses a Health Pool, rather than assigning a health amount to each Marine and having them respawn. When you play with 3 Marines, the pool of health is 50 points. Whenever ANY Marine takes damage, the combined pool is reduced by that amount. If you reach zero, then the Marines lose. This number can be adjusted to make the game harder or easier, or if the number of Marines changes. We now tend to play with 4 Marines, and we drop the pool down to 42 (easy to remember).

On the maps, there are spaces with ? icons. I have a set of cards for these spaces included with the Area Setup deck. They are Key cards and other Scenario items. Before playing, check the map for the number of ? spaces, and select that many of the corresponding cards. Ensure you have the proper key cards for the scenario, and then add in either specific other cards, or add in some at random.

The Area Setup deck also includes 2 types of Set Up cards: Those with black borders are for "normal" play. The Set Up cards with red borders are for Nightmare difficulty. Even when playing Normal, I tend to use a Nightmare Set Up card for the last room of the level so that the challenge is amped up there at the end.
_________________________________

So, hopefully a few of you players out there will take a crack at Doom Co-op, and better yet enjoy it. I'll be making a set of cards that includes the Doom expansion, and certainly suggestions are always welcome.

Jack
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Matthew Holley
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This is all remarkably cool!
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Very interesting. Sort of like HeroQuest in play (obviously not difficulty, though). It will cost around $30 for both decks through Artscow. Not too shabby for custom cards!
 
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What a fantastic idea, and already so fleshed out! I'm going to have to give this a go with my sons!

Excellent work!
 
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Looks awesome! thumbsup
 
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Regarding the spawn card shown above, what happens if the marine can't move south?
 
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Jack Reda
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Whenever a figure is unable to move due to something new spawning in, it takes the damage again, and moves in a random direction to the first unoccupied space. Not the most elegant rule, but it's better than stacking bodies.

I tend to order my Artscow decks when they are on sale (which so far has been pretty regularly). They tend to run about $4.99 or $5.99 including shipping. I ordered my Doom Co-op decks along with 20 other custom decks for various games- it was a nice large order for a very reasonable price.
 
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I imagine one could use the scatter chart to determine a direction to move in.
On a similar note, the scatter chart seems to presuppose that you missed the attack by not rolling enough range. What happens if you got the range but rolled a miss?
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MurrayL wrote:
I imagine one could use the scatter chart to determine a direction to move in.
On a similar note, the scatter chart seems to presuppose that you missed the attack by not rolling enough range. What happens if you got the range but rolled a miss?
The first row is all results from a rolled miss... the number of spaces missed by is determined by how far away the space was that you were trying to hit.
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Great - thanks!
 
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Excellent! I've been waiting for this ever since you posted the teaser pictures. I look forward to giving it a go.
 
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I have an idea... That is probably hard to implement...

Area Descriptions; If you could somehow include descriptions of the hallways, areas and rooms Ala Tibs RanDoom, I'd be blown away. I'm not spoiled though, this is awesome enough as is - and it would be a lot of writing probably.

Thought 2 - Do areas stage up in difficulty at all? In other words the First few areas of a level have light to moderate monsters and equipment, and later into the level the big guys (and guns) come out? I could see this being done with three or four piles of Area cards, sorted by how hard/rewarding the areas are. As more areas are discovered new areas have to be drawn from progressively harder piles, this insures that the last room will be quite a battle - and not an encounter with zombies and trites.


Great work, and again, I look forward to it. I always end up as the invader being the one who knows the game best, and this will get me on the other side of the table for once.

 
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I've ordered the decks (using a coupon no less!) and I'm looking forward to playing. Do you have the maps you've made available in electronic format?
 
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I've thought about the area descriptions- and I could do a set of cards that have these. It's a matter of how much do people care that the cards would also be random and you'd be seeing cards over and over after several plays, generally with no linear story (though I could do sets of numbered cards that at least have a linear quality, and players could use, for example, Set 1's cards [8 cards in numbered order, corresponding to an 8 area Scenario]. The downside is that you'd have a finite number of "scenarios"- though the upside is they wouldn't necessarily use the same level layout. I'll think on that...

Areas do stage up in difficulty to a certain degree. Several of the Scenario levels I've made simply have more numbers deeper into the level... so depending on what Area Setup cards you draw will really determine how hard it is (since you are essentially doubling up on the first things listed on the card... most cards have Invaders in the first few slots, so it's more of whatever that is). I always use the Red-bordered cards for the last room of each level, so there's at least a big bump up in difficulty for the level's climatic battle.
 
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Ben Kuhn
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I can't see the Maps anywhere, am I missing something?
 
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I haven't uploaded them because I'm having a weird issue with Acrobat- basically, it isn't making PDFs for me. But creating levels from scratch with just numbers in each area is a snap with the Doom Edit application. It takes me about 15 minutes to do a level.
 
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XmenDynasty wrote:
I can't see the Maps anywhere, am I missing something?
His Artscow decks are just for the Invader Co-op deck and the Setup deck. The maps are his own design and he hasn't shared them yet.

edit: Oops, too slow by 10 min.

@ The Warp:

Have you tried freeware like PDF Creator? It shows up as a printer that you can select and it allows you to print to a PDF file from any program (photo editors, spreadsheet apps, word processing apps, etc.). It's a little more low-res than I would like but it's a quick and painless option.
 
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I use CutePDF to do my pdf transformations. Works as a printer, and I've had no resolution problems with it. It's free for private and commercial use too!
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this looks really good. Thank you for making it!
 
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This looks absolutely fantastic!

2 things:

1) How is it balanced? Did you test? Or is it still being worked on?
Also, one of the problems with Doom is the length of time it takes to play a single map. If I would make shorter maps, could I use the following area / health pool schedule?

Number of Areas: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Health pool (with 3 marines):7 14 21 28 35 42 50

Another thing, I see that you put some cyberdemons on area setup-cards. What happens if that's the first area I set up? Has that situation come up yet?

2) How do you play the monsters? Especially trites would be tricky, since they could use the vents.


But this is really mind-blowingly fantastic, I must say! I've been thinking a while now how to improve Doom, and adding coop (without frags, I hate frags!) and speeding up gameplay were my 2 main concerns. Now I can just use your system, it seems perfect for my gaming group!
 
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Well done, this looks really great and clearly a lot of work has gone into it!

Shame it has a price tag on it though, would've been nice if you'd uploaded it to blogspot or something instead.

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The Rocketman wrote:
This looks absolutely fantastic!

2 things:

1) How is it balanced? Did you test? Or is it still being worked on?
Also, one of the problems with Doom is the length of time it takes to play a single map. If I would make shorter maps, could I use the following area / health pool schedule?

Number of Areas: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Health pool (with 3 marines):7 14 21 28 35 42 50

Another thing, I see that you put some cyberdemons on area setup-cards. What happens if that's the first area I set up? Has that situation come up yet?

2) How do you play the monsters? Especially trites would be tricky, since they could use the vents.


But this is really mind-blowingly fantastic, I must say! I've been thinking a while now how to improve Doom, and adding coop (without frags, I hate frags!) and speeding up gameplay were my 2 main concerns. Now I can just use your system, it seems perfect for my gaming group!
I've tested it a few times now, and I'm very pleased with the results so far. The first time through I was using a much larger health pool, and while I wouldn't say it was easy, we were less cautious in the last couple of areas- so I dropped the pool down a little the second time we played. It was a very close game that time and we lost in the last room- which made me reconsider the health pool afterall, but we played it a third time on a different scenario and just squeaked by- so I think it's probably pretty balanced. There is a bit of gambling balance wise, since you don't have a pre-approved and probably playtested set of Invaders scoped out for an entire level- you could play a scenario five times and five different sets of Invaders, and the difficulty wouldn't be the same either. But I think that will call for adjusting a strategy and actions, and for me it would be part of the fun of playing it again.

You can definitely make shorter levels, and indeed I have 2 scenario maps that have fewer areas (though one has 15 numbered spaces). It can be very customized for difficulty, and for number of players (if you want to play with just 2 marines, I'd suggest smaller maps or maps that have fewer Invaders- same for playing 1 marine). Right now, most of the scenarios I created are for 3 marines, but I sometimes play with 4 marines and use more nightmare setup cards.

The health pool chart you created looks pretty good, so I'd give it a go. There are other ways of increasing the tension (we played that every time we drew a Marine card in the Invader deck, we dropped the health pool by 1 (reducing its max amount by 1 as well).

Cyberdemons are very rare on the non-nightmare set up cards (only on 3) but they CAN come up right out of the gate, and that did happen one time. We took a fair amount of damage, but we killed him and then choose speed over fighting for a few areas. Again, it's a big gamble, but one can easily take those cards out or have a rule that you redraw if you get one in the starting area.

When playing the Invaders, we make the hard decisions, and have them do whatever would cause us the most trouble (since that's what the Invader player would do). If it makes more sense for Trites to use a vent and come at us from behind, we do it. There's less surprise factor, since you can anticipate some stuff- but we justify it by playing the Invaders as singularly motivated to just attack. I find the video game was more like that anyway. I thought about adding some mechanism for modifying behavior, but didn't like the stuff so I ditched it.
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You only draw 1 invader card every turn, which would seem to make the game somewhat easier on first sight. Then again, you seem to have filled most areas with lots of invaders, and have some nasty ?-cards as well.

How about the spawning on a set place? If demonhound spawns on space 3, does he preferrably spawn out of line-of-sight? Or preferrably as close to the exit as possible? Or next to a marine? I think the latter would break tactics a bit too much, in the sence of having cleared and covered a room, only to have a big demon suddenly spawn in the middle of your marines...
 
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Jack Reda
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It's a mixture of spawn type... some spawn out of LOS, but others do spawn right on a numbered space, which you know going in can happen- so we tend to avoid standing on numbered spaces whenever possible.

I realize that having Invaders spawn right in the room when normally when you play Doom, you can clear it and spread out in such a way as to prevent more spawns... but this particular style of Doom has some trade-offs... there isn't an evil overlord player making nasty tactical moves- more of a single-minded AI. And the players know the layout of the level, which has some advantages.

Of course, you can say that Doom Co-op is "open source"! So, people should feel free to alter play anyway they see fit, and if someone wants to make their own cards to tweak the framework, I'm happy to share the templates.
 
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The Warp wrote:
It's a mixture of spawn type... some spawn out of LOS, but others do spawn right on a numbered space, which you know going in can happen- so we tend to avoid standing on numbered spaces whenever possible.


Yeah, but what I meant was, for the ones that spawn on a numbered space, is there a rule at which space they should spawn? Since that number appears in every area. So, should they spawn in your area, or rather closest to the exit?

The Warp wrote:

Of course, you can say that Doom Co-op is "open source"! So, people should feel free to alter play anyway they see fit, and if someone wants to make their own cards to tweak the framework, I'm happy to share the templates.
Could you share them, or upload them to the files-section? I live in Belgium, and I don't think having those cards made and sent over here will be the cheapest option
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