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  Mechanic #126 - Collective HP
Posted: 07/01/11

Share the most important resource of all - man.

  Collective HP

When playing boardgames, keepings track of health is by far the most annoying aspect. If you've got just one guy who is constantly gaining and loosing health, it is just a bit of a pain in the butt. But if you are, for example, playing the dungeon master and have to keep track of health for dozens of identical bad guys, it becomes an almost impossible task. You could put markers on the monsters to differentiate them, but then you are still keeping track of a lot of changing values. So, I thought, what if I just combine all that into a single Hit Point value that is shared among all the monsters in the dungeon...



Fig 126.1 - Your bad guys share health from the same pool.


There are different types of bad guys that belong to a class, and each class has a reference card that describes their abilities. All monsters of a single class are identical, so you only need one "Goblin" reference card no matter how many Goblin monsters are on the board. Different classes can have different passive (not changing) values, like how far they move or how much their defense is, but there are no active (changing) values. Hit points are a passive value. That is, all Goblins have three hit point each. This value never changes. Think of it more as their hit point worth.

There is a single active value pool which collects a number of hit points, boss hit points, and spell points that are effectively shared amongst all enemies simultaneously.

When a monster hits a hero for three points, the hero simply takes off three points from his HP. However, when a hero hits a monster for three points, the monster player must remove a total of three points. He can remove them from the monster hp pool, or he can sacrifice the damaged monster for however many hit points that monster is worth. When that monster is the last one in the battle, sacrificing it will end the damage, even if there would otherwise be points left over after sacrifice.



Example 1.


EXAMPLE 1 - A wizard fires a magic missile at a demon knight and hits. The missile does one damage point. The monster player may either remove one point from the pool, or remove the demon knight (worth 3 hit points). The monster player elects to remove one point from the pool, so the demon knight stays on the board.



Example 2.


EXAMPLE 2 - A barbarian attacks a minion for 3 damage. The monster player can remove 3 points from the pool, or sacrifice the minion for 1 point. He sacrifices the minions. Despite the fact that the minion was only worth 1 point, because he was the only monster in battle, sacrificing him ends the damage dealing. The monster player effectively saved two points.



Example 3.


EXAMPLE 3 - A thief throws a bomb which does an area of effect blast, damaging two minions for 3 points. The monster player could sacrifice both the minions (2 points), but it would leave that section of the dungeon open. So the monster player sacrifices 1 minion, and removes 2 points from the pool, leaving one minion still standing.

  Additional Notes

  • Bosses are basically like heroes in that they have their own hit point pool separate from the collective pool. They can not take points from the collective pool, but must keep only to their own boss pool.

  • What's to keep the monster player from just taking points from the pool early on to keep their low level monsters in the players' faces? Generally speaking, sacrificing monsters saves points. Taking from the pool will result in the pool draining faster, and allowing the players to kill powerful monsters with even just one hit of damage.

  • The magic points can be used as a general purpose action point pool. Moving a monster requires the same number of action points as their point value (minions require 1, demon knights 3, etc), and using a special ability for a monster costs an additional action point. At the beginning of the monster player's turn, fill the action pool up to the minimum, which should probably be something like two times the number of heroes. The monster player can save up action points between turns, up to double the minimum amount.



  • Copyright 2007-2014 Sean Howard. All rights reserved.