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Homebrew LEGO RTS

Homebrew LEGO RTS – December 21, 2010 5:40 PM (edited 12/21/10 12:40 PM)
Balerion (1224 posts) Elite Powergamer
Rating: Not Rated
I thought I'd start a thread to brainstorm some ideas for this LEGO RTS that we talked a little bit about on the chat window.

Rather than try to write out formal rules I'm just going to toss out random ideas and see where this goes.

* The board would be built of legos of varying sizes and shapes. It should also be three dimensional - I'm thinking about three levels deep at it's shallowest, maybe as much as seven levels deep, with 5 being the average. I'm inclined to think that anyone can make it up an incline of one increment without problem, more than that would require special equipment of some sort. The fact that you're able to mine the terrain should help here.

*Minifigs (or microfigs - the new "player" item they created for the lego board games) would be your core "unit". Start with three or four of them.

* Minifigs could start as just a generic worker (SCV) but can be upgraded to take on different types of roles. Any figure can perform any function, role specialization just provides a bonus for that function (soldiers do more damage, engineers connect more bricks, miners dig extra, pilots/drivers move vehicles faster)

*Vehicles and buildings are actively created by connecting bricks that have been "mined" out of the landscape. Non brick parts (wheels, wings, guns) are traded in at a refinery.

*Each type of minifig should get a certain number of actions per turn. Specialists getting a free action of that type. Upkeep of some sort for figures should be necessary, but we can't make this too steep. I'm thinking similar to Agricola here, if anyone has played that.

*Victory achieved when all of another sides minifigs are killed.

*Gold colored bricks are "money" and are required to pay for new minifigs. Should a "Bank" also have to exist to pay for the upkeep of minifigs or do we want the upkeep to be "food" based and require the construction of "farms" (maybe "barracks" would be better?) Should gold be part of the exchange price when turning raw goods into refined parts?

*Clear colored bricks are "gems" - I'm thinking use of gems in weapons makes them "hi tech" e.g. a gem placed on a gun barrel means you have a laser gun. Gems placed on flat paneling is "diamond coating" and could convey more armor?

*Should randomness be involved at all? I'm thinking no.

So, yeah, what do you guys think? Other than the fact that this is clearly a mental exercise and is unlikely to manifest anytime soon?

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I really think the three “!”s really captures the exuberance that Clair must have been feeling when he almost said it. -Cuzzo
Re: Homebrew LEGO RTS – December 21, 2010 8:38 PM (edited 12/21/10 3:38 PM)
Cuzzdog (1522 posts) Head of Gamer Corner R&D
Rating: Not Rated
Just a couple of ideas off the top of my head:

Randomness would be involved in the mining. You can see what bricks are available on the top most layer, but not what color bricks are below that.

I see this as a type of warhammer game, and terrain is a huge part of that. The default lego bases could be flat land, but in addition to building vehicles, you should be able to build defensive walls as well. Mining would be used to create defensive trenches, which could be paired with walls for a strong base, but mining just with a mind for structure means you're getting random resources (see above point), where as a person building for something specific would probably pick and choose bricks from the land scape.

Some thought should go into a balance of where you spend your mined bricks. I could see one play strategy just being putting all your resources into one huge offensive vehicle, or you could build a number of smaller vehicles instead. Should the game include balances to discourage one type of strategy over the other, or keep the field level?

Re: Homebrew LEGO RTS – December 21, 2010 9:04 PM (edited 12/21/10 4:04 PM)
Balerion (1224 posts) Elite Powergamer
Rating: Not Rated
Agree about the mining. Though I think as a rule any "veins" of material should be visible at the top level, just so that people don't spend all game searching for them.

Agree about the terrain and the building of walls and trenches and the way that people would have to choose bricks from the landscape vs. having a random selection when building your base.

I was thinking about balance too. The more I think about it the more I think simplistic stats tied into the physical reality should be what determines the attack and defense of things. E.g. a sentinel tower might consist of a gun with a sensor array, and the actual range of the tower would be based on how many bricks high you make it.

Similarly for damage I'm thinking either 1) all damage just removes one "connection", or 2) each attack negates a specific volume of bricks, with weapon types and soldier experience adding to how much damage can be done in one shot. Either way, I'm not sure that the "one gigantic vehicle" approach has anything over multiple smaller vehicles, as the ability to travel to more locations probably trumps sheer size of attacking vehicle. If 1 tank takes roughly the same number of pieces as 2 buggies, I'm not sure there's an advantage to having the tank. You know?

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I really think the three “!”s really captures the exuberance that Clair must have been feeling when he almost said it. -Cuzzo
Re: Homebrew LEGO RTS – December 22, 2010 1:38 PM (edited 12/22/10 8:38 AM)
Cuzzdog (1522 posts) Head of Gamer Corner R&D
Rating: Not Rated
Since we're talking about elevating and lowering terrain, I think there should be some rules about how to traverse that terrain. For instance, all figures and vehicles with small wheels can only go up lego brick 3 pegs high, or down a lego brick 3 pegs high without falling. Vehicles with big wheels can traverse 6 peg high bricks, but at the cost of them being taller, and therefore harder to entrench. This means in terms of base building, you couldn't just quickly moat out a hole and be set. You need to mine with the idea of leaving some exit ramp in place. Or perhaps a strategy could be to send off some workers and just have them make a quarry with no expectations of getting them out knowing that you're going to build your vehicles at a different base.

So here's what I'm thinking for damage. You can't just say a shot takes away a brick from the other vehicle, because who decides which brick that is? If the attacker decides, he's just going to pick the guns right away and in two or three shots you're left with a defenseless vehicle. If the defender decides, he's just going to have a vehicle with a wheel, many guns, and a stack of bricks on the back he can casually pop off as needed. So what I was thinking is either do it really simply where the vehicle has X life (where X is determined by the number of bricks) and it's fully operational until it takes X damage and then it breaks. Done, but boring. The "fun" idea I had was this:

First, let's take about the rules for building a vehicle:
A fully operational vehicle needs:
- A wheel (Hey, one wheel vehicles exist, even if they are stupid)
- 3 body pieces
- A technology piece (gun, radar, mining drill, etc...)
- A driver

Each vehicle maxes out at 100 bricks (where the driver(s) himself counts as a brick)
You need at least 1 wheel for every 24 non-wheel bricks (so a full 100 brick vehicle needs at least 4 wheels)
You need 1 body piece for each non-body piece on the vehicle (so a minimum vehicle would need 1 body piece to support the wheel, 1 to support the technology, and 1 to support the driver)

Now to calculate damage: each time the vehicle is hit, you roll a percentage dice to see what gets hits. The spread of pieces of the vehicle drives the percentages needed to hit that type of piece. So in a base vehicle with 6 pieces on it, each pieces has a 17% chance of getting hit. On the percentage dice:
1 - 51 hits a body piece (no more body pieces, vehicle is destroyed, but driver can flee)
52 - 68 hits a wheel (no wheels, vehicle is immobile. duh.)
69 - 85 hits a tech piece
86 - 100 hits the driver ("Insta-gib" - whole vehicle is shut down immediately)

The defender would get to choose exactly which piece in the category gets blown off. If a body piece holding a special piece gets blown off, and there are no other bricks holding that piece, the special piece is lost with it too. This is what gives people incentive to have redundant body pieces instead of vehicles with one body piece and hoards of tech pieces. I'm also thinking that if the driver gets killed, all the blocks remaining on the vehicle can be salvaged by the attacker.

Re: Homebrew LEGO RTS – December 22, 2010 1:56 PM (edited 12/22/10 8:56 AM)
Balerion (1224 posts) Elite Powergamer
Rating: Not Rated
Honestly, this feels really complicated to me. My inclination was to let people knock off bricks either 1/shot or [ x number of studs worth] / shot. With a flat rule that you need to lose the outmost bricks first. For bricks on the same level: If the attacker has a soldier targeting then they get to choose which bricks are lost, otherwise the defender chooses.

I really like the idea of keeping this simple and keeping dice out of it. More concerned about a fun easy system than something that tries to mimick reality.


And so what if the defender piles a bunch of excess bricks on, isn't that basically what armor plating is? One would like to think they structure it a bit better, but still.

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I really think the three “!”s really captures the exuberance that Clair must have been feeling when he almost said it. -Cuzzo
Re: Homebrew LEGO RTS – December 22, 2010 2:30 PM (edited 12/22/10 9:30 AM)
Cuzzdog (1522 posts) Head of Gamer Corner R&D
Rating: Not Rated
My point is, if you blindly let the attacker choose which piece of the vehicle to blow off, they're always going to choose the guns or the wheels first. Then the only vehicles you get are one wheel with 50 guns stack on top of each other. It's madness I say! Madness! If you really wanted to keep it simple, you'd say the vehicle has X life, based on the number of non special piece bricks it has, and is fully functional until it loses all of it's life.

Re: Homebrew LEGO RTS – December 22, 2010 2:36 PM (edited 12/22/10 9:36 AM)
Balerion (1224 posts) Elite Powergamer
Rating: Not Rated
Did you read my paragraph? I didn't say they could blindly choose to do so, I said they would have to work their way from the top down or the outside in, I'm inclined towards "top down", personally. Wheels, IIRC, are on the bottom Smile

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I really think the three “!”s really captures the exuberance that Clair must have been feeling when he almost said it. -Cuzzo
Re: Homebrew LEGO RTS – December 22, 2010 2:40 PM (edited 12/22/10 9:40 AM)
Balerion (1224 posts) Elite Powergamer
Rating: Not Rated
Seriously though, all joking aside, I do think that forcing attack results to be based on vehicle structure could be an interesting mechanic, what do you think?

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I really think the three “!”s really captures the exuberance that Clair must have been feeling when he almost said it. -Cuzzo
Re: Homebrew LEGO RTS – December 22, 2010 2:59 PM (edited 12/22/10 9:59 AM)
Cuzzdog (1522 posts) Head of Gamer Corner R&D
Rating: Not Rated
Well, typically weapons are on the outside of vehicles. So the wheels get last to be blown off, but the guns will be the first to go. That system promotes building a wheel, a gun, and a straight stack of 50 blocks. I'd rather see the system promote "healthy" building design rather than boring gaming the system design.

Re: Homebrew LEGO RTS – December 22, 2010 3:23 PM (edited 12/22/10 10:23 AM)
chaoscat (452 posts) Ambassador of Good Will
Rating: Not Rated
You could add a requirement that the vehicle has to be able to stand/balance on its own or it's disabled

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Syllabic (4:14 PM): tozzi are you like dowd's jiminy cricket
Re: Homebrew LEGO RTS – December 22, 2010 3:55 PM (edited 12/22/10 11:05 AM)
Balerion (1224 posts) Elite Powergamer
Rating: Not Rated
I like Tozzi's rule about the being able to stand/balance on its own issue, and I like the idea Cuzzo introduced of a minimum of 1 structural piece per 1 non-structural piece. I don't think we should require anything specific in terms of what constitutes a vehicle though, and here's why:

Vehicle without a driver - could have sensors and be an automated bot (I'm assuming a sort of Space theme, but even modern day works alright)
Vehicle without guns - could be a transport of some kind
Vehicle without control assembly - could be a wagon or a mine car for getting materials back to base

I feel like setting those kinds of restrictions really limits the creativity. I would rather set properties for what each type of brick does and then have the vehicle "stats" be based off of the combination.

(edit) I think in some ways I see this being like that Dawn of Worlds game, where some level of cooperative understanding is required of the players, rather than a perfectly statted out combat system (/edit)


I am really, really opposed to having dice needed to resolve combat. And I'd point out that the method you lay out doesn't actually do anything to prevent them from building a giant stack of bricks, it just means that they now have to roll percentile dice to determine whether one of the bricks in the stack are hit or one of the more critical components are hit.


As an alternate system, how about pieces have point values worth of health - then total attacking power (determined by number of guns + number of people, soldiers worth two people) minus total structural volume of defending vehicle is your damage value. If the value is negative then the defender chooses one brick to lose. If the value is positive then the attacker chooses from any piece that he has enough damage to remove (always allowed to remove whatever the smallest piece is, even if they don't have enough points to do so). Structural pieces require one point of damage per stud of the piece to remove. Non-structural pieces should be granted relatively high point values, so you would need to score a good hit to just knock off the wheels or the gun. Units inside cannot be targeted while structural pieces remain.

Maybe have to toy with the concept a bit, but I think this is easier to calculate than using dice. Maybe instead of structural volume we could just make the defending value the number of pieces involved? I dislike that because it would seem to favor smaller pieces over larger, but it's a thought.

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I really think the three “!”s really captures the exuberance that Clair must have been feeling when he almost said it. -Cuzzo
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