Counter Play

Another good episode of Extra Credits is this discussion about Counter Play.  This is important to an RPG like Lost Worlds, because all of those mechanics and powers we design for classes often end up with equivalent mechanics in the tool kits of the NPCs.  Essentially, I want to make sure that mechanics being used against the players make the game deeper, and more tactical for them.  The first mechanics that come to mind when I think about Counter Play are the myriad of statuses in RPGs (unconscious, stunned, paralyzed, entangled, grappled, petrification, insta-death, etc).  On the other hand, just because they limit options doesn’t mean the game is less deep because of it.  You might approach a cockatrice very differently than an archer, because of the Counter Play involved in the power being used against you.

2 thoughts on “Counter Play

  1. wylliamjudd

    I was having a similar conversation about my game the other day. In my game, if you get knocked down, you can’t move the next turn. You can still play any ability, you just can’t move. This limits your options, but you still have options, and it gives you a whole new set of choices to make that you wouldn’t have otherwise. Is it better to ready an attack in case someone comes into range? Or should I set a trap, or mess with my rune deck, or what? When you get stunned, you do nothing on the following turn. It doesn’t change your options, you just don’t have any. Instead you might have options about how to avoid getting stunned – you might be able to sacrifice your own attack to avoid the stunning attack, and that’s a choice that doesn’t always have a clear answer.

    One more thing to mention on this topic is that an RPG is a cooperative game. One of my favorite cooperative games of all time is Left 4 Dead, and what is the counter play in that game? Monsters totally incapacitate you (there are some others, but the smoker tangle really stands out). This makes the cooperative aspect of the game highly engaging. D&D has a similar choice sometimes – do I aid my ally who’s taken too much damage, or do I keep fighting so we can end the battle and so that I’ll survive long enough to actually help my ally? (This can be true in theory, though the D&D system I think makes too little of this potential for teamwork choices.)

  2. JackOfHearts Post author

    I’m interested to read your class builds for your tactical game to see how you’ve built these teamwork choices into their powers. I’m getting ready to take a more serious look at building specific classes for Lost Worlds to see some of your design decisions.


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