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Sunday, February 3, 2013

Thinking About Cooldowns

My local gaming group switches between game systems fairly often.  These last few weeks we've been playing Dungeons and Dragons 4th edition.  Its use of cooldown powers seems to me to have certain potential as a wargamign mechanic.  This particular edition reworked all the major class features and abilities into a series of powers (upsetting a number of long-time players in the process). 

These powers are distinguished by frequency:

  • At-Will Powers: Can be used over and over on a character's turn.
  • Encounter Powers: Can be used only once per fight.
  • Daily Powers: Can only be used once a day.

The frequency with which a power can be used matches its potency.  More powerful abilities are Dailies, less powerful ones are Encounters.  Basic abilities are At-Will.  This sort of mechanic is sometimes called a "cool-down" because of video games, where powers may be on a timer by seconds or minutes between use.

At any rate, it seems to me that it migth be worth giving more potent Doctrines a similar mechanic.  Wargames generally play pretty fast.  Limiting a Doctrine to once per turn or phase seems pretty pointless.  But Limiting a Doctrine to once per game sounds plausible.  Some armies in other games already have once-a-game powers.  For example, in some editions of Warhammer, Orcs (or Orks) have been permitted a special extended charge called a Waaagh! once a game. 

2 comments :

Nick Von Cover said...

Cool-downs mean bookkeeping (even if only with tokens of some kind next to the miniatures), and bookkeeping slows down play. You may want to consider building the cool down concept into an ROF type stat instead to keep the game flowing.

Tom de Mayo said...

Possibly. I think a once-per-game power would be pretty easy to keep track of, though. Plenty of other games require the player to track wounds, missiles, even ammunition!