Wolf Gang is a tactical RPG that does things a little bit differently, so we thought we'd make a little video overview of the combat mechanics to introduce viewers to some of the differences. To follow-up, here's a full write-up of some of the mechanics, where we get into a little bit more of the why and how we've chosen to do things this way.
No Character Deaths
One of our jumping-off points was the decision to not include permanent character deaths in the game. Did this mean characters could be eliminated but return the next round? Did it mean there were no eliminations at all? Once we had decided on a few other things, we were able to settle on a decision.
Strengths and Weaknesses Of Characters
Like many tactical RPGs, Wolf Gang has a strength and weakness hierarchy that behaves like rock-paper-scissors. Typically this means certain unit types have a strength against another type, meaning Pikemen might do double damage against Horsemen. Sometimes, it's an elemental magic system, where a fire spell does twice as much damage against an ice enemy. In Wolf Gang, all characters have an attunement to either the Moon, the Star, or the Mountain, which determines their strengths and weaknesses. The Star is strong against The Mountain, which is strong against the Moon, which is in turn strong against the Star.
Characters Can Change Attunement Mid-Game
To make things interesting, we decided that players should be able to change their attunement mid-game to be able to shift the tide of advantage. To balance things out, this winds up costing a turn, so that it can also be punished if it is done without thinking.
This decision also helped us settle on a solution for what to do when a character is defeated. When a character is defeated, rather than becoming eliminated, they take on the attunement of their opponent, allowing players to not only affect their advantages, but also the advantages of their opponents.
Knock outs last for a number of turns inversely proportionate to the strength of the opponent that knocked you out. If they were a stronger attunement than you, the knock-out lasts merely one turn, preventing the stronger character from just bullying you, giving you a chance to react immediately. Neutral attunements (ie: attunements of the same type) knock each other out for 2 turns, creating a stale-mate. If you manage to be knocked out by something that is weak to you however, you pay for your hubris by sitting out for 3 whole turns, rewarding the weaker player for the risk that they've taken.
When a character recovers from a knock-out or manually changes their attunement, they will be back to full health. For players with strong foresight, this allows you to set up chained combos by manually switching, or an opportunity to fight back and punish if you're on the receiving end of a KO.
All Characters Have The Same Health
While some animals have unique attributes, like being able to traverse water, reach higher ledges, or move through rougher terrain without penalty, all characters have the same amount of health. There is an equipment system which allows players to equip badges which offer slight advantages or buffs, but at a base level, all characters have the same stats and there is no leveling system. We went this way for a couple reasons:
- We didn't want players fussing over making sure they have the right gear to tackle certain levels
- We didn't want players feeling the need to grind to raise their level
- We felt that stats and leveling would nullify the point of the rotating attunement system, especially if a player was over-leveled and their weaknesses were inconsequential.
All players have 6 health. All strong attacks do 6 damage, to knock out in one hit. Neutral attacks do 3 damage, so they could theoretically knock out in 2 turns, and all weak attacks do 2 damage, to theoretically knock out in 3 hits. Theoretically because characters take defensive damage when they attack as well, but if a player is vulnerable because they are charging, or if you are attacking a monument, this is how long it would take you to knock them out un-contested.
Objective Based Game-play
Because there is no character eliminations, we focused on objective based game-play to determine victory. Whichever team is left with at least one monument standing is made the victor. Much like the characters, monuments also have an attunement. These attunements cannot change and it will be up to the player to manage their own advantages over the monuments by handling theirs and their opponents' character attunements. These also have 6 health, so that's where the theoretical turn number to eliminate comes into play, as the monuments do not have a defensive attack (because they are inanimate and have no arms to punch with, of course).
Tactics Puzzle Hybrid
These mechanics when combined together presents levels almost like a Puzzle to be solved, where you plan your moves in anticipation of what your opponent might do. Instead of turning rounds into a war of attrition through elimination where you reach a point where the scales are tipped too strongly in one team's favor, Wolf Gang makes it so each turn matters right to the very end, and one misstep could dramatically shift the battle.
Wolf Gang will be hitting Kickstarter on November 1st, and we will be releasing a demo in conjuction with the Kickstarter launch, giving you an opportunity to try out all of these mechanics for yourselves! If you'd like to be notified of when the demo goes up, you can sign up to our email list here.
If you'd like to support the Kickstarter launch, you can join the Thunderclap campaign to help get the project seen by as many people as possible right as it launches.