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Author Topic: card-based mechanic for cowboy genre  (Read 6806 times)
etothepowerofx
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Posts: 11


« Reply #30 on: March 02, 2010, 02:51:58 PM »

Task resolution vs conflict resolution: I think this is where I need to draw a line in the sand. The poker motif, which is so very cool, WOULD be too drawn out for a task resolution mechanic. You're absolutely right. As for a conflict resolution, It may be absolutely perfect, if done correctly.

That's the problem, though, I need a working prototype; a foundation to build on. I've never even HEARD of  a system of conflict resolution that didn't handle tasks individually. It sounds like it could incite a lot of argument, more than a healthy amount, that is.

What we have here is a particular card assigned to a particular ability. When performing an action, the card assigned to the ability associated with that action is "taken for granted".

This works well to figure out not only how GOOD you are at a task (determined by how good the card associated with it is) but also how suitable your particular ability is to the situation in question, (or how appropriate that particular card is to the hand you've been dealt).

As you get better in a skill, can you have additional cards added to that skill? for instance, when you level up, would you randomly draw a card, and add it to your ability? Or would it be better to redraw, hoping for a better card? Maybe get more than one chance, depending on level....

Or should I avoid leveling up all together, and let the players work with the hand they've been dealt, playing a different character each time, perhaps...

One of the things I've always wanted to try was getting a posse together, and having a medium-scale battle, maybe a skirmish with another gang, or a battle with a union cavalry division, or a band of indian raiders... I can't imagine dealing a hand for every one involved in the combat-- how could that work? Maybe only the leaders get cards, and their list of 'granted' cards comes from the strength of the force they represent?

Well, this is a whole new way of thinking, trying to resolve a complex confrontation involving multiple individuals with a single hand of poker.  The idea is thrilling, not gonna lie, but I'm having trouble thinking it through.








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Excalibur
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Posts: 94


« Reply #31 on: March 02, 2010, 03:28:32 PM »

Well, like I said, if you use Texas Hold 'Em as a model, the GM deals out a series of cards as the community cards that represent the terrain/environment. Each player draws 5 cards and can use their stat as the 'ace up their sleeve' to try for the best hands they can get. You can allow players to discard and draw new cards if that's how you want to play. Perhaps you can have a Fate pool (destiny, action points, favor points, luck, whatever you want to call it) where they can spend a point to redraw instead of doing it for free.

As far as task resolution goes, there are several versions of poker that can be used such as 5 (or 7) card draw/stud.

You could also go with a faster game for task resolution that might be pretty fun: Blackjack. I mean, they played that back then too (it wasn't as popular but it's been around since the 1600s as 21). This gives a whole new meaning to task resolution because you can double down and split to try for better results. If they bust, they fail the task and if they hit blackjack it could be a critical success, otherwise it's the player's score vs the dealer's score...Quick game to play, actually. The player's stat could be the first card and he could hit, stand, double down, split, or surrender...

As far as advancement, I would say that you could allow the player to draw in an attempt to get a higher card than the stat they're trying to increase. If they do, move the stat to the next higher card (so if they have a 2 of clubs and draw a 2 of diamonds, their stat would increase to the 3 of clubs. If they have a queen of hearts and they draw a king of diamonds, their stat would increase to the queen of spades. Standard suit order is clubs, diamonds, hearts, spades...well, at least according to cribbage). That would be a good way to do it I think.

Speaking of cribbage, another game that was around back then, you could use a cribbage board for player experience. You'd probably only need a 2 track, but there are 3 and 4 track boards out there. Each player would get their own cribbage board and as they gained experience, the outer track is followed. When you get to the end of the track, advance the next track by 1. They have gained a level. You could set it up so that each track is a player and they get to advance once their peg gets to the end of their respective tracks...

You don't have to stick with traditional cards if you don't want to (this cardset is rather interesting). Decktet is an interesting set of cards, each card has more than one suit in addition to names and values. Might be a cool bit of inspiration or replacement for the standard deck.

There are a crapload of different card games that could be used and you could take elements from each in order to do what you need. Imagine task resolution if the dealer drew, say, 7 cards and the player drew 7 cards. You could create a set, flush, or straight from the dealer's cards in order to provide the difficulty of the task. Choose smaller cards for easy tasks and straight flushes for difficult tasks. The player, using his skills/stats could attempt to create a set that beats that difficulty. In tasks that may need help from other players, those players could draw 7 cards as well and contribute their sets. If a task needs multiple successes, allow the player to discard any unused cards and draw again (this time without the use of their skill/stat) and add any sets to the task.

Just more ideas.
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-Curt
Simon C
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Posts: 495


« Reply #32 on: March 02, 2010, 05:10:56 PM »

Are we all clear on what the phrases "task resolution" and "conflict resolution" mean?  Because they seem to be getting used a few different ways here.

Conflict resolution is resolving whether a character gets what they want.  Like "I want to kill that orc" or "I want to cross this river" or whatever.

(Probably) All roleplaying games have a conflict resolution system.  In some of them, the system is "leave it up to the GM" or "Leave it up to the players".  In others it's "See if they succeed in a related task, and then decide".  In others it's "Roll a bunch of dice, possibly depending on if they succeeded at a task or not".

Task resolution is resolving if a character succeeds at a task they were performing to get something they wanted.

(Probably) All roleplaying games have task resolution systems.  In some of them, it's "Leave it up to the player to describe" or "Leave it to the GM".  In others it's "roll a bunch of dice". 

So for example, a card based conflict resolution system could look like this:

[blockquote]

Say what the characters in the conflict want, then draw five cards each. For our example, let's say it's a chase, where one character is trying to escape, and the other is trying to catch them.

Now we break down into task resolution, working out exactly how the character catches their enemy, or else how the enemy gets away.

Starting with the character who is initiating the conflict, say what your character is doing to get what they want (they could shoot at the other character, track them through the woods, ride after them on their horse, or whatever) They play a card accompanying this action. 

Now the other player must play a card.  If they're in a gunfight, they must play hearts.  If they're in the wilderness, they must play spades, if they're in a physical fight, they must play clubs.  If they're in a card game, they must play diamonds.  Otherwise, they can play any card they like. 

If they can play a higher card, the player has won the round.  They can describe their character avoiding or overcoming what the other character is doing.

Otherwise, the other player has won the round.  They describe how their character gets closer to what they want.

Now it's the other player's turn to play the first card. 

If a player wins three rounds in a row, the conflict is over.  If either player runs out of cards before the conflict is over, the conflict ends unresolved - something intervenes that prevents either character from getting what they want.

[/blockquote]

Do you see how the conflict resolution "bookends" the task resolution?  Multiple tasks are resolved within a single conflict, and the outcomes of those tasks tells us how the conflict is resolved?
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Excalibur
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Posts: 94


« Reply #33 on: March 02, 2010, 06:38:47 PM »

You've got it a bit mixed up there from my standpoint.

Conflict resolution is, in my book, the resolution of interaction between characters, other characters, npcs, and monsters. It involves strategy, cunning, daring, and luck. You could call this rounds of combat, arm wrestling, or another opposed action: "I try to hit that thing and that thing is trying not to be hit by me" or "I am trying to out think this guy's moves in chess, but he's trying to mask his strategy with a red herring move."

Task resolution is the mechanic which takes care of determining if the character can succeed at a set, non-opposed difficulty. "I am trying to pick this difficult lock, can I do it?" or "I am driving my car and there's a sharp turn ahead, can I maintain speed and control on that turn?"

You can argue that conflict-resolution and conflict-resolution are the same thing. You can argue that conflict-resolution is a series of task-resolutions. That's fine. When I speak of conflict and task resolution, I'm talking about what I've laid out here.

So, we are both correct. In any case, I can rephrase my suggestions as: If you want to handle interactions between "living" beings that oppose the character's actions, use poker (texas hold 'em would be a good choice here I think). If you want to resolve a character's skill at overcoming static challenges or even some dynamic challenges that do not involve an active participant thwarting your character's actions, use a faster game like blackjack or "cutting of the cards".

Clear now?
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-Curt
stefoid
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« Reply #34 on: March 02, 2010, 08:10:27 PM »

I was thinking,    one conflict (say a gunfight) = 1 game of cards.   

I dont have a succinct definition, but by way of example, for task resolution systems, you roll to determine the success or failure of each little discrete action involved in the entire conflict until your aim is either accomplished or becomes impossible.  A gunfight might involve 6 shooting resolutions, 3 dodging resolutions, 2 run for cover resolutions, 4 observation checks, etc.. etc...  Potentially such a conflict could go on forever- "I miss, he misses, I miss, he misses, I miss..."  ad infinitum...

For conflict resolution, you abstract the individual tasks away as required.  The conflict is a gunfight and at the end of the conflict resolution process, you WILL have either won or lost the gunfight. 

The conflict resolution mechanic might involve a couple of 'rounds' of back and forth between the contestants, but each round abstracts individual tasks performed in that round to a single resolution, based on what the character wants to accomplish.  i.e. "I sprint across open ground, dive behind a handy rock and fire some shots from a higher vantage point".   This potentially involves several resolutions in a task system, but only one resolution in a conflict based system  -- a conflict resolution system WILL resolve whatever is at stake, in totality, whenever a resolution mechanic (like dice roll) is applied.

Mostly conflict resolution systems have abstract stats and skills too - because you arent required  to roll for discrete tasks, you dont need matching discrete skills.  'Gunfighting', in this example, would be enough.

With the poker hand conflict res I proposed, you have several natural 'rounds' (fold/call/raise) built in the game, but nothing concrete is actually resolved until all but one character has folded or the cards are laid on the table.

it goes: 
1) describe what you want (which defines the nature of the conflict)
2) play poker, split into rounds of bidding where stated intentions for each round help the GM define the consequences of dropping out of the conflict at that point
3) lay down the cards which decide who achieves their initial aim and also the consequences for the losers depending on what they were doing and what the winners aim was.

Lets say that one character wants to catch another character, and that character decides to oppose it (a conflict!) by trying to escape.

If either player drops immediately on cards being dealt due to a rubbish hand, they suffer minimal loss in doing so.  i.e. the chased character gives himself up, or the chaser gives up, lets say slightly out of breath.

Successive rounds of bidding raise the stakes = more dire consequences for the loser with each round of raising.  We are still resolving whether the character is caught or gets away, but each round adds extra spice to the contest and the consequences for the story that follows.  Lets say the chased character climbs a roof to escape (escalating the challenge)  does the chaser follow and risk a fall?  Or lets say the chaser fires a warning shot.  Does the chaser stay in the conflict or give up due to the risk of being shot?

The poker style of resolution has an inbuilt conflict escalation mechanic with the fold/call/raise rounds, but its up to the players/GM to decide what ultimately happens in the story to go along with that.   

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stefoid
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« Reply #35 on: March 02, 2010, 08:21:40 PM »

further thought - with conflict resolution, WHY you are having the conflict is important.  I mean, in all probability there will be a gunfight Smiley   but the conflict resolution system definitely resolves what characters are hoping to achieve by having the gunfight.  i.e.  I want to kill this guy, or I want to capture that guy, or I want to humiliate him in front of the whole town.    At the end of the conflict resolution system, those issues WILL be resolved as part of the process, and the gunfight is simply a means to an end.

I suppose killing PCs is kind of problematic, if that is the ultimate aim of a character, but it certainly adds spice to the game.  Lets say that PCs are only killed IF the attempted murderer and his victim both resolve to stay in the poker game until the final macimum hand.  If they dont drop out before then, then PC death is a viable outcome.  Better make sure you have a good hand!
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Simon C
Member

Posts: 495


« Reply #36 on: March 02, 2010, 08:48:18 PM »

Excalibur,

I think we've misunderstood each other.  I was articulating the current big-model definitions of Conflict Resolution and Task Resolution, as I see them.  If you want to use those phrases to mean something else, that's fine, but it's going to lead to some confusion.

Your distinction between opposed conflicts and "static" conflicts is a useful one though.  Some games use the same system to resolve both kinds of conflict, and other games use different systems.  It's worth thinking about.
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stefoid
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« Reply #37 on: March 02, 2010, 09:34:19 PM »

For a pithy definition of task vs conflict, tell me if this is right

its about what is resolved.  If it resolves ONLY whether you succeed or failed at something but no more than that, its task resolution, but if it explicitly also resolves why you doing that something, then its conflict resolution?

i.e. with task resolution the player says I am attempting something, and the answer is , you did that, or you didnt manage to do that
with conflict resolution the player says I want to achieve this by doing something, and the answer is you achieved that or you didnt achieve that.

the actual scope of the something can vary whether it is task resolution or conflict resolution, but generally, in task res systems it is pretty granular, and in conflict res systems the scope is generally more encompassing.

i.e.  something could range from  'pick up a piece of paper ' to 'take over the universe' in either system.

task res:  I want to take over the universe.  <roll dice = big result> success!

conflict res:  I want to take over the universe to impress my girlfriend. <roll dice = small result>  well, you took over the universe, but she just thinks you're overcompensating.

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Falc
Member

Posts: 80


« Reply #38 on: March 03, 2010, 12:19:49 AM »

That's the problem, though, I need a working prototype; a foundation to build on. I've never even HEARD of  a system of conflict resolution that didn't handle tasks individually. It sounds like it could incite a lot of argument, more than a healthy amount, that is.

Have you ever played or read Dogs in the Vineyard? It has a Wild West flair, it has a poker-y resolution mechanic which is used to resolve conflicts. Now, yes, it does break conflict down into smaller pieces that are like tasks, but failing a task does not in and of itself stop you from winning the conflict. So yeah, there's arguments sometimes, but they don't tend to become too unhealthy.
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stefoid
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« Reply #39 on: March 03, 2010, 03:01:52 AM »

That's the problem, though, I need a working prototype; a foundation to build on. I've never even HEARD of  a system of conflict resolution that didn't handle tasks individually. It sounds like it could incite a lot of argument, more than a healthy amount, that is.

Have you ever played or read Dogs in the Vineyard? It has a Wild West flair, it has a poker-y resolution mechanic which is used to resolve conflicts. Now, yes, it does break conflict down into smaller pieces that are like tasks, but failing a task does not in and of itself stop you from winning the conflict. So yeah, there's arguments sometimes, but they don't tend to become too unhealthy.

With task resolution or conflict resolution, I think its important to pick a scope of what is resolved that suits the type of game you want.  Personally Im am over games that break everything down to a very granular level.  I find there is too much rolling about nothing going on.  I want each time I pick up the dice to resolve something significant about the situation. 

For gamey type games that means I want each thing I resolve to have a significant tactical outcome in the conflict, because thats the fun part.  If Im holding up the fiction to look up tables, roll a bunch of dice do further calculations...  if it doesnt affect the tactical situation win or loose, then why bother?

Similarly in non-gamey games I want whatever Im resolving to have some impact on the story, win or loose.

In short, all 'rolls' should move the situation forward, win loose or draw, so choose the scope of resolution to ensure that will happen.  Thats why abstract skills are better than granular skills, because granular skills encourage a granular scope of resolution each time.

Simmy games tend to obsess over realism (or fictional realism), and I find you tend to end up doing a lot of pointless resolution of stuff that it either doesnt matter what the outcome is, or worse, that there is an unnaceptable outcome that, if the dice are not favourable, the GM will fudge a result.  "oops, says here you fumbled your swing across the chasm roll, so you fall.... err, make an agility roll to see if you can catch the rope.  failed again?  by how much?  oh thats not so bad - you just manage to catch it with your fingertips"  pointless resolution that isnt going to change the fact that the pc MUST cross the chasm because falling to his death in a pointless random fashion is unacceptable.  So why roll at all?
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Simon C
Member

Posts: 495


« Reply #40 on: March 03, 2010, 12:35:49 PM »

Stefoid, for a pithy definition of task vs. conflict, read what I said in my earlier post.

Does the character get what they want? <-- Conflict resolution
Does the character succeed at what they were doing to get what they want? <-- Task resolution

This has nothing to do with Right to Dream play, or, in my opinion, mechanics that simulate realism.  You can have a conflict resolution system that models a real-life situation closely, or a task resolution system that doesn't.

Is any of this helping the original poster? I suggest we all give it a break until Reuben comes back with a clear direction for this thread.
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Excalibur
Member

Posts: 94


« Reply #41 on: March 03, 2010, 01:45:03 PM »

Stefoid, for a pithy definition of task vs. conflict, read what I said in my earlier post.

Does the character get what they want? <-- Conflict resolution
Does the character succeed at what they were doing to get what they want? <-- Task resolution

This has nothing to do with Right to Dream play, or, in my opinion, mechanics that simulate realism.  You can have a conflict resolution system that models a real-life situation closely, or a task resolution system that doesn't.

Is any of this helping the original poster? I suggest we all give it a break until Reuben comes back with a clear direction for this thread.

I think it would be better defined as:
Is someone trying to stop the person from getting what they want? <-- Conflict Resolution
Is there something the character must do to get what they want? <-- Task Resolution

The subtle difference is the active opposition against the character vs passive opposition (someone you're trying to shoot vs a lock you're trying to pick).

Conflicts can be made of several different tasks (run, duck, dodge, run, shoot, dodge, punch) and I believe in this system of poker, that's handled with bid, call, raise, fold. The resolution to the conflict is the showdown where the hands are revealed.

Tasks can also consist of different tasks (yep, recursive) but generally do not have as many in as stressful a situation (insert pick, insert bar, twist, shift pick). The resolution to a task should be quick and not impede the flow of the game since it requires less strategy and less tactical thinking. That's why I suggest high card/low card or blackjack.

Now, that's not to say that Conflict Resolution can't cover all aspects of the game, I have just never heard of a lock trying to kill someone back Wink
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-Curt
stefoid
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« Reply #42 on: March 03, 2010, 02:43:46 PM »

This has nothing to do with Right to Dream play, or, in my opinion, mechanics that simulate realism.  You can have a conflict resolution system that models a real-life situation closely,

How would that work?  I cant see it. 
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stefoid
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« Reply #43 on: March 03, 2010, 02:46:18 PM »

I think it would be better defined as:
Is someone trying to stop the person from getting what they want? <-- Conflict Resolution
Is there something the character must do to get what they want? <-- Task Resolution

The subtle difference is the active opposition against the character vs passive opposition (someone you're trying to shoot vs a lock you're trying to pick).

Hi Ex.   That is absolutely not what other people are talking about when the terms conflict res and task res are bandied about.
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Excalibur
Member

Posts: 94


« Reply #44 on: March 03, 2010, 03:22:52 PM »

KO, I'm walking on the flip-side of the norm then Wink I just think of things that way because it makes it easier for me to remember. Though, I'm defining this stuff the way I am in order for it to fit my understanding of what the original poster wanted to talk about. I think this thread has gone down a tangent that should twist back over to the original post.
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-Curt
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