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Chud_Munson

Parry/Riposte

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Edit: I expanded on this concept a bit in a module I've called Precision Checks. Take a look if you feel so inclined: https://boardgamegeek.com/filepage/155076/extended-ruleset-pdf

Hey all,

I was thinking today about other ways to spice up combat. One of the things that lots of people have mentioned as something they wish was an option is parrying. This is a huge part of the Dark Souls video game, so I was curious if there's a good way to simulate that in the board game. The most obvious way has something to do with dice rolls, but I think people tend to dislike rolling dice for things that rely on skill in the video game.

The thing that popped into my mind though is that there is a thing in the board game that more or less relies completely on skill: recalling boss behavior cards. It got me thinking about ways I could leverage that challenge to make a satisfying parry mechanic that has a few vital features:

  • Relies on very little chance.
  • Allows players to get better as they play the game more.
  • Increases risk.


What I came up with is detailed below; curious to see what people think.
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Parry/Riposte

Before the game, randomly choose a boss behavior deck that is not currently being used. Shuffle all behavior cards together and draw 7.

One at a time, discard each card as though the boss was performing each attack. Then, without shuffling, flip the deck over and set it aside. It is considered the Parry deck.

When an enemy attacks, you may choose to attempt to parry and riposte the attack at a cost of 1 Stamina. If you do, roll one die of each color. Draw cards from the Parry deck equal to the swords shown on the dice, flipping the deck over before drawing if there are no cards left to draw. Then, the parrying player must guess the following attributes of the next behavior card, ignoring Repeat icons, in the order that they appear:

  • Total printed damage done by the behavior. If the damage is part of a push that also includes movement, the damage and movement for that icon can be declared in any order.
  • Total amount of printed movement shown on the behavior card. If the boss Leaps, it is considered infinite movement.


The Dodge difficulty of the attack indicates the number of consecutive cards the parrying player must guess correctly to successfully parry/riposte.

If the player was incorrect about any value, the parry was considered a failure. Otherwise, it is considered a success.

If the parry failed, the parrying player takes all damage from the attack.

If the parry succeeded, the parrying player takes no damage, and may make an attack against the attacking enemy if it is in range and the player is able to pay the Stamina cost. They then shuffle the deck and one at a time, discard each card as though the boss was performing each attack. Then, without shuffling, flip the deck over and set it aside.

Example: A player is attacked by an attack with a dodge difficulty of 2. They spend 1 Stamina to parry. The Parry deck is a Titanite Demon deck. They roll each color dice and the total shows 5 swords. They draw 5 cards and then guess the next card. They guess 6 damage, 0 movement. They then flip the next card, which shows Vaulting Slam. That behaviour card has an icon that shows Leap with a push damage of 6, followed by a movement icon with a 0 value. This is correct, so they guess again. They guess 1 movement, 5 damage. They flip the next card, and it is Lightning Bolt. It has an icon that shows a movement of 1, followed by a 5 damage attack. This is correct. The player takes no damage. They are also within range of the attacking enemy, so they make an attack that costs 2 Stamina. After this, they shuffle the Parry deck together, discard each card one at a time to view the new order, and then flips the discarded deck over.

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I ended up playtesting this and made some changes. Basically, there are situations where this becomes way too easy. In a situation where you roll a 4 on the orange die, and get relatively homogenous behavior cards, it's just far too easy to have a situation where you get something like 4 cards that are all range 1 or are all 5 damage. So the changes I tested as working better (read: much harder) are:

  • Randomly drawing 7 cards to set up instead of all cards minus an orange die. I chose 7 because research suggests most people can remember a maximum of 7 chunks of information at a time.
  • Rolling one of each dice type to dictate how many cards to discard, rather than the block value. It just didn't seem thematic to use block value, and if this system is successful, I'd like to expand it to be used as an engine for other game mechanics.
  • Changing from shuffling on failure to shuffling on success. Failure already includes its own penalty, and it's too easy for people to get good at the pattern and enjoy free parries once they've memorized the behavior order.
  • Changing how the guess works. Now you guess fewer things, but you have to get all of them right to get a "point" of difficulty.

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  • I've been thinkering with my own way of parrying. However, I had to make custom dice for parrying. Which would of been quite troublesome, since I need blank dice to carve new icons on them. My plan was to greate 3 dice with 4 blanks, 1 parry icon, and 1 partial parry icon. In order to successfully parry you'd need only one parry icon from these 3 dice. If their are no rolled parry icons, but some partial parry icons, then reduce the incoming damage by 1 for every partial parry icon. Some shields or weapons allowed players to re-roll 1 dice. This was something I planned myself, but enough about me...

I would like to say that this may be the best possible solution for parry/repost I've yet to see. However, there are some things I would like to see changed if possible.

Lets talk about the positives:

  • I like that it relies less on change and more on skill than anything else, but there still seems to be some luck involved for the dice rolls. As with every parry rule, this gives more choices for players when their defending. This game seems to have quite a lot of down time if players are not into it, and allowing to counter while defending is a nice add-on. The fact that successful parry comes from dodge is a nice addition. This adds more meaning to the dodge value... plus if SFG would ever make something like this official, they wouldn't really need to change any of the AI cards.

Neutral or something that should be added:

  • I feel like adding partial parry to the mix would be a nice little add-on. Gives more meaning to the parry, since otherwise it's somewhat similar to a dodge. Partial parry may be used, if players guesses 1 card right but failes the other one... reduce the damage by 1 etc. For 1 dodge number attacks, this could me they guess some of the answers right.
  • Making boss attacks unparriable, since it would be quite difficult to balance which attacks can be parried. As in the video game not all bosses are parriable and even if they are, some attacks are still unparriable. This would add to the normal grunts aswell. As projectile based attacks or magic attacks cannot be parried with normal means. You could make a few shields that could parry projectile based attacks like Silver Knight Greatbowman and Crossbow Hollows.
  • Make holding different shields/weapons perform differently as in the VG. So lets say Assassins starting shield can parry more easly then Knights shield. This would add more uses for the lower tier items, and players wouldn't throw/sell them. Balancing could be difficult for this, but I believe it would be worth it.
  • How much does it cost to repost? Can you use any attack on the weapon card as long as you have the stamina for it? You need to be in range in order to repost, but if you have a weapon with range of 1 and enemy is 1 node away, can you still repost? What about weapons that cannot attack on enemies that are on the same node as a player, as is the case for heralds starting spear? Suggestions: repost always costs 1 stamina to perform, players can only use the first attack of the weapon paying stamina if needed, parry could reduce enemy armour or respost could ignore it all together.

Negatives

  • I have a little problem with using boss behaviour cards. Firstly for players who may not be familiar with this game, first timers, could seems strange your using Boss AI cards for parrying. Second this allows players to learn all the Boss's AI cards, since even if your not fighting against a boss your still learning and memorizing their AI deck. In my opinion this would make the game a lot easier in the long run.
  • So my biggest concern is using the Bosses AI cards. I feel like there should be a separate Parry Deck or something. This way could be used for advanced parry and normal parry, depending on what equipment the players are holding. I may be a pit in the mood of making custom cards or something, but I wouldn't mind making some parry cards for this. Only problem is that I dont really know what to put on them for players to guess. If you or someone else could suggest something I'm all ears.

All in all I really like your idea, with some minor complains, and I'm glad you did this.

 

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4 hours ago, Dizn said:
  • I've been thinkering with my own way of parrying. However, I had to make custom dice for parrying. Which would of been quite troublesome, since I need blank dice to carve new icons on them. My plan was to greate 3 dice with 4 blanks, 1 parry icon, and 1 partial parry icon. In order to successfully parry you'd need only one parry icon from these 3 dice. If their are no rolled parry icons, but some partial parry icons, then reduce the incoming damage by 1 for every partial parry icon. Some shields or weapons allowed players to re-roll 1 dice. This was something I planned myself, but enough about me...

I would like to say that this may be the best possible solution for parry/repost I've yet to see. However, there are some things I would like to see changed if possible.

Lets talk about the positives:

  • I like that it relies less on change and more on skill than anything else, but there still seems to be some luck involved for the dice rolls. As with every parry rule, this gives more choices for players when their defending. This game seems to have quite a lot of down time if players are not into it, and allowing to counter while defending is a nice add-on. The fact that successful parry comes from dodge is a nice addition. This adds more meaning to the dodge value... plus if SFG would ever make something like this official, they wouldn't really need to change any of the AI cards.

Neutral or something that should be added:

  • I feel like adding partial parry to the mix would be a nice little add-on. Gives more meaning to the parry, since otherwise it's somewhat similar to a dodge. Partial parry may be used, if players guesses 1 card right but failes the other one... reduce the damage by 1 etc. For 1 dodge number attacks, this could me they guess some of the answers right.
  • Making boss attacks unparriable, since it would be quite difficult to balance which attacks can be parried. As in the video game not all bosses are parriable and even if they are, some attacks are still unparriable. This would add to the normal grunts aswell. As projectile based attacks or magic attacks cannot be parried with normal means. You could make a few shields that could parry projectile based attacks like Silver Knight Greatbowman and Crossbow Hollows.
  • Make holding different shields/weapons perform differently as in the VG. So lets say Assassins starting shield can parry more easly then Knights shield. This would add more uses for the lower tier items, and players wouldn't throw/sell them. Balancing could be difficult for this, but I believe it would be worth it.
  • How much does it cost to repost? Can you use any attack on the weapon card as long as you have the stamina for it? You need to be in range in order to repost, but if you have a weapon with range of 1 and enemy is 1 node away, can you still repost? What about weapons that cannot attack on enemies that are on the same node as a player, as is the case for heralds starting spear? Suggestions: repost always costs 1 stamina to perform, players can only use the first attack of the weapon paying stamina if needed, parry could reduce enemy armour or respost could ignore it all together.

Negatives

  • I have a little problem with using boss behaviour cards. Firstly for players who may not be familiar with this game, first timers, could seems strange your using Boss AI cards for parrying. Second this allows players to learn all the Boss's AI cards, since even if your not fighting against a boss your still learning and memorizing their AI deck. In my opinion this would make the game a lot easier in the long run.
  • So my biggest concern is using the Bosses AI cards. I feel like there should be a separate Parry Deck or something. This way could be used for advanced parry and normal parry, depending on what equipment the players are holding. I may be a pit in the mood of making custom cards or something, but I wouldn't mind making some parry cards for this. Only problem is that I dont really know what to put on them for players to guess. If you or someone else could suggest something I'm all ears.

All in all I really like your idea, with some minor complains, and I'm glad you did this.

 

Hey man, thanks for taking a look at this and giving your thoughts. To respond to some of your concerns:

The dice rolling here actually doesn't have much of an impact. A larger or smaller roll doesn't really have an effect on the success of the check, it's just a way to randomly select a card in the sequence so that it's a little more difficult to get in the rhythm of guessing the right order.

I considered partial parry, but I really want this to be a high risk thing. In the video game if you screw up a parry, you're going to have a bad day. Let me give a few partial parry ideas a whirl and see how they work though, maybe it'll round out the difficulty in a good way.

For things like exceptions to when you can parry and different items parrying differently, I feel that that's a really cool idea and more thematic, but a bit too much bookkeeping for my taste. My worry is that it's the type of thing that will slow the action down. I'd rather sacrifice a little bit of theme to keep things moving along.

Hm, my initial thought was that riposte could be any attack that you could pay for, but I guess allowing a strong attack might be too much of a tactical advantage? I'll have to test a little more to see if there are issues with that. 

I also don't love the fact that it uses the boss cards, but I really want people to be able to use just what comes in the box. My initial concept of the ruleset was to provide a little more value for people who felt underwhelmed by the core game, so I don't want to go too far down the rabbit hole of introducing more components.

In terms of being able to memorize cards, I actually really like that because people who play the game more should be better at it. That's the argument against dice: there's not enough skill involved. That said, just knowing the boss cards isn't going to save anyone all that much because the order of them is going to keep changing. Knowing what attacks are available will give a bit of an edge, but it's more important to keep track of where they currently are in the stack.

Also, FWIW, I expanded this concept into a module I called Precision Checks, of which one is a parry. You can check it out here if you like: https://boardgamegeek.com/filepage/155076/extended-ruleset-pdf

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