Movement Rules

I was working on puting the movement rules of various pieces in a way that there won’t need to be many specialized rules. Here’s what I came up with.

Each piece has five different basic attributes:

  • Movement points
  • Rotation points
  • Choice points
  • Range
  • Direction

Movement points are used to move the piece in the direction it is facing. You have to complete all of your moves before you rotate, I’ll go over this more later on, but allow rotations at any time during the move pretty much negates the importance of Direction for the pieces.

Rotation points allow the piece to change its direction by increments. In a square grid there are 8 directions, and a Rotation of 4 would allow the piece to do an about-face. In a hex grid there are only 6 directions, and a rotation of 3 would allow an about-face.

Choice points can be used as either movement points or rotation points. These allow for a lot more complexity inmovement without complicating the rules.

Range is how far ahead of the piece it is able to attack.

Direction shows where the piece can move and attack without using any rotation.I got the idea for this from a chess variant where each piece had a number of directional tick marks on it, and the piece could move in those directions a number of spaces equal to the number of total tick marks on it. Here’s a diagram to explain:

Piece Diagram

In the chess variant (I should try to find out what it was called), theamount of movement points (going clockwise from the Pawn) would be 1, 2, 3, and 4. The chess variant didn’t actually have a piece as strong as this Rook, but instead had a 4-directional king that could move only a single space at a time.

Anyhow, using these five basic abilities, you can create a huge number of different pieces by picking the directions the piece can face and then generating all of the combinations of movement, rotation, and choice points that you desire. A good total for these abilities seems to be three, any more and the pieces end up covering too much range. This removes a lot of the tactical considerations and makes it behavetoo much like the FF Tactics gamesthan I am comfortable with. I’ll work on uploading some example piece movement/thread diagrams to show what I’m talking about.

One important aspect of the movement and rotation points is the order they are allowed to move in. Options include movement before rotation, rotation before movement, and rotation any time during a turn. Since rotation before movement kind of simulates having a piece with more directions, I decided that the onle scheme that keeps direction and rotation their own distinct abilities is movement before rotation.

Another decision I needed to make was when to allow attacks. I am going with attacks being part of the move, and costing a movement point to perform. While this prevents the creation of pieces that can attack but not move (without special rules), I think that such pieces aren’t really that interesting, and they’re unrealistic besides – even artillery pieces can move, albeit slowly. One side effect of allowing a free attack after moving is that the standoff distance where pieces can attack on their next turn is increased. You’d end up with a game where even the weakest piece threatens two squares out, and I’d rather keep things a bit closer together. Additionally, allowing an attackĀ after rotation greatly increases the power of even the weakest pawn-like units, since even with one rotation the pawn’s attack squares increase by 5 or more.

To illustrate how the power of a pawn (1 move, 1 rotation, 1 range, 1 direction) changes depending on the rules:

  • Free attack, can rotate before moving: Threatens 8 squares (at a range of 2)
  • Move attack, can rotate before moving: Threatens 3 squares
  • Free attack, rotates after move: Threatens 5 squares (at a range of 2)
  • Move attack, rotates after move: Threatens 1 square

The fully-powered pawn is almost as powerful as a rook in chess (which threatens up to 7 spaces horizontally and 7 vertically), and clearly this is too strong for what is supposed to be the most basic of pieces. I definitely tend to prefer the pawn to be as weak as possible – remember that once two pieces are toe to toe, they are all equal in combat. The danger of pawns is that they take some effort to put into place, and that moving them creates weaknesses in your line.

Considering all this, here is how moving a piece happens (in order):

  1. The piece may move 1 space in any of its directions.
  2. If there are any moves left, the player may repeat step 1.
  3. If there are still any moves left, the piece may attack in any of its directions. After this the piece cannot move or attack again this turn.
  4. The piece may then use its rotation points to reorient itself (even if it attacked).

Finally, here are some notes on designing pawn-like pieces with no more than 2 combined M, R, and C. As a shorthand notation, instead of saying that a piece has 1 movement, 1 rotation, and faces in one direction, I’ll write MRD^. The ‘^’ means straight up. All pieces have 1 range unless otherwise specified, ie. Ra2, Ra3, etc.

  • MRD^ is the most basic pawn piece. It threatens one square and has 5 move choices, so that after one turn it can threaten any of 6 different squares.
  • CD^ is a slower version of the basic pawn – I don’t think it’d be very useful as a combat piece though.
  • CRD^ would be better at rotation than a normal pawn.
  • MCD^ can optionally move two squares if it decides not to rotate.
  • CCD^ combines all the abilities of the above pawns. It threatens two squares, and has a variety of options when moving that allow it to react to threats easily.

Some more powerful units, without increasing the movement or rotation:

  • MRD\/ would be a much more powerful piece than MRD^, since it threatens twice as many squares, and has 8 move choices. After its turn it could threaten any of 12 different squares.
  • MRD^Ra2 threatens two squares, and has an additional 5 squares it can threaten after its move, for a total of 11 possible threats after a move. This makes it almost as powerful as MRD\/, though by being able to fire over a square, it can be quite a bit more useful when attacking.

That’s it for now.

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