Thursday, September 15, 2011

A Rule-Based Tactical Engine - NPG Character

As I indicated in the last blog entry, the mechanic of scoring possible moves then executing the one with the highest score was not only too tedious (if you carried it out to every possibility), but it failed to meet the most basic requirement of the Tactical Engine (TE): to tell you, the player, which move to make.

All of my attempts to "catalog" game elements (moves, terrain layouts, deployments, etc.) have been pretty much failures because to get them "all" it would take a very long time and when I was done, it would be too unwieldy anyway. A better approach is to gather up "just enough" and as you find a need to add another element, do so. Eventually you will get to that right balance of "enough choice" versus "too unwieldy to use". So, rather than try to finish the catalog of moves, we can use the lessons from that exercise to come up with a rules-based approach.

I still want to keep the concept that the character of the Non-Player General (NPG) changes through the course of the game as certain events occur. If the NPG is losing, he should be more cautious; if he is winning, he should be aggressive. The basic rules for determining the current character of an NPG is (in order of precedence) are:
  1. An NPG is Cautious if 3 VP have been scored against him.
  2. An NPG is Cautious if 2 VP have been scored against him, and he has scored no VP.
  3. An NPG is Bold if he has scored at least 2 VP more than has been scored against him.
  4. An NPG is Bold if he has rolled a '5' or more for PIPs this bound.
  5. An NPG is Aggressive.
These five simple rules now allow. you to gauge how aggressively the NPG will play, given the values Cautious, Aggressive, and Bold. Next post will look at how those three values affect movement selection.

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