Home Forums General Game Design Hail Of Fire – Generating Order Points

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    Avatar photoRetroboom

    So a quick explanation for those not familiar: In HoF players roll to see how many order points they get per turn, high roll is the first “active” player and can use points to fire or maneuver troops, while the other player may use points to have troops react, until the active player chooses to swap places and then the reactive player takes the active spot and uses any remaining points, if available.

    This, often times, results in players with different amounts of points to spend each turn.

    Players take the higher of 2d6, so its 4+ points more often than not, but there are the unlucky situations where one player only has 2 points while the other has 6. Removing the “god’s eye view” is a key theme in HoF, and random, asymmetrical order point pools were intended to be a part of that. However in play testing with a new player, he asked why do the rolls randomly punish one player? He first suggested perhaps giving the low roller the choice to act in the first phase or the second, in case they wanted to take advantage of a great shot before the target moved, etc. But then quickly suggested that better yet, both sides should really have equal points per turn.

    I admit, my first instinct was to argue and explain; however in trying to express why asymmetrical pools were important to the narrative, I couldn’t find any thematic justification. I discovered that perhaps the real purpose they serve is to provide a random turn length. They telegraph how much action can take place before the next end-of-turn events will resolve. Some turns are much shorter than others. Why one side has 6 points to spend and the other has 3, I’m not quite sure…

    The reason I bring this up is because I’ve been playing with the asymmetrical pools for over a year now, and this is the first time this perspective has been brought up. None of the other people who have play tested or played at cons have noticed an incongruity.

    I’ll say that there’s perhaps something “exciting”, for lack of a better description, about each player getting different points. “Man I could really use a points advantage this turn. If I only get a couple of points, he’ll run right over me!”

    I’ll also note that HoF uses a second pool of order points, called Hero points. These are used like order points, but are not re-rolled every turn, and are tracked but kept secret from your opponent, making it difficult to be sure how capable your opponent can really be this turn. Currently, when rolling for order points, if either player rolls an 11+ on their 2d6, they reveal how many Hero points they had, lose any they might have had left, and re-roll for a new pool of Hero points. Using my play tester’s method of both players rolling 1d6, and high roll being the number of Order points BOTH players get for the turn (maintaining the higher of 2d6 math), players would re-roll for Hero points in the event of a tie. I like that method of generating new Hero points more than “11+ on 2d6 when you’re only looking at the higher of the two blah blah…” (and this is actually how I originally did it in my first version of these rules, with each player rolling 1d6, low rolling player getting that many points, high rolling player taking the difference of the two, re-rolling hero points on a tie. But I changed the method in order to double the orders per turn on average, there by reducing the average number of turns by half, and… its a long story)

    Anyway, I’m curious on whether anyone in the community has any immediate reaction to these options, either way. Feel free to wax philosophically. 😉


    Richmond, VA. Let's play!

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