Making the Attack action a little less powerful

So, after hearing the arguments back and forth about the AAA conflict combination and how over powered it is (and the rebuttals), and reading Fuseboy’s Simulating Conflict tread, I had a thought.

Has anybody played around with changing the independent obstacle number for Attack actions. What if Attack, instead of having an independent obstacle of 0, had an obstacle 2 or 3. Defense already has an obstacle of 3, what if we were to bring Attack inline with that? 2 feels about right to me, but I am wondering if anybody has played around with this? I think this also might also make Feint a more attractive option, as it would still be an independent obstacle of 0 verses Defend and Maneuver. Making Feint a very deadly alternative to attack, but with some risks. As opposed to just a slight variation of attack, as it is now.

It is a thought. What do you all think?

I wouldn’t agree. I noticed that one of the key statements of the thread had been that Attack (especially repeated) is the best way to drive through the conflict toward a limited compromise.

While I agree that it might be nice to add some attractiveness to Feint and Maneuver, I’ve seen that come up better through organic play. The characters in the story (rather than the game pieces in the game) need to find compelling lines of reason to use Feints and Maneuvers. This is particularly true of Argument, Negotiation, and Speech conflicts. The narrative thread of those actions should matter to the compromise, so players should think of how to draw in their own twist through those narrative mechanics.

In Fight, Fight Animal, Chase, Journey conflicts, the actions and narrative of Feints and Maneuvers certainly still hold value, but I suspect the greater value comes from Attack; because, it is directly telling of the characters seeking their goal with fervor. And, hopefully, they can avoid compromising their goal by driving through a conflict quickly.

The conflict mechanics don’t need to become: Rock-Paper-Scissors-Lizard-Spock. Not every action ought to be equalized with the others.

Attack being stronger is a feature, not a bug. It means Conflicts don’t generally last forever.

Just want to point out a few things -

My analysis of conflict was purely from the perspective of one-person teams with no weapons, and the same skill level for all actions, and I was only investigating how to get the best possible numerical win or compromise.

Actual, in-game conflicts differ from this quite a bit because you have multiple mice with varying skills and weapons (so one guy sucks at Fighter but can Defend super-well with his Nature 5 and his Shield).

Along these lines, the weapons in the game tend to weigh in favor of Defend and Maneuver (Shields and Bows), which in turn makes Feints a bit more likely.

But I think the real thing is that, in game play, conflict is more than just about a numerical compromise. Even if Attack/Attack/Attack is optimal for your patrol, it’s kinda boring. There’s a delightful, “Hah, we got you!” or “Oh shit!” factor when a Feint meets a Defend that makes them disproportionately fun, even if they’re not strictly the best option from a numerical perspective.

Sorry if it came across this way, but I am not trying to start the AAA war again. The group that I run actually uses the full range of actions and is really into the conflict system. But in the sense that many people seem to feel that attack is dramatically overpowered, I thought it might be an interesting idea to try. See if the system feels a little more balanced.

Do let me know what happens!

For whatever reason, when I did Mass Combat, it seemed to make sense to change Feint vs. Defend and Feint vs. Attack to make the disadvantaged side have a double-Ob penalty rather than be at an outright failure. (I can’t recall why!)