Common Tactical Gameplay Elements (hats?)
Rules that add a tactical aspect to video/tabletop game combat.


(permanent link) added: 2013-07-29 08:00:56 sponsor: Koveras edited by: morenohijazo (last reply: 2013-10-08 12:08:26)

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A list of common gameplay rules that add a tactical aspect to combat-oriented video and tabletop games—from Turn-Based Tactics, through Western RPG, to Tactical Shooters. At the most basic level, these revolve around positioning multiple player-controlled combatants in such a way that allows them to deal damage to enemy combatants, while avoiding getting damaged/killed in turn.

Compare Standard Status Effects. Compare/contrast Video Game Tactical Index, which is more about Meta Game than in-game tactics.

Terrain rules:

  • Fog of War. A combatant's line of sight is limited by the terrain, mobile objects, and distance. The player only knows the situation in the parts of the level that allied combatants can currently observe. A ranged combatant's targeting distance is limited both by his line of sight and his effective weapon range.
  • Scouting. A combatant (or a specialized device) hidden close to an enemy position dispels the Fog of War around it and reveals the enemy actions to his command.
  • Movement Modifiers. The movement speed of the combatant depends on the terrain he moves across, e.g. going down a slope is faster than climbing it.
  • High Ground. If the combatant is physically positioned above his target, the accuracy, range, and damage of his attacks increase. This can be also expanded to simple difference in size between the attacker and the target.

General combatant rules:

  • Unit Specialization. Combatants with different training get to shine in some situations but are at a severe disadvantage in others, enforcing close collaboration within the team. Specialized combatants may have access to unique special moves.
  • Leader Unit. A combatant specialized in frontline command boosts the efficiency and morale of all friendly units within limited range. His death, however, can have dire consequences.
  • Panic. When faced by overwhelming odds, a combatant can panic and start acting erratically instead of following the player's orders.

General combat rules:

  • Attack Range. Different weapons have different minimum, maximum, and effective attack ranges. This concerns both ranged weapons (cf. pistols to sniper rifles) and melee (cf. daggers to pole arms).
  • Flanking. By attacking an enemy from his side or even from the back, the combatant can ignore his cover and generally has better chances of dealing damage.
  • Attack of Opportunity. Under certain conditions, the combatant can take a free shot/strike at an enemy, usually at a small accuracy penalty. Said conditions usually include an enemy moving into/out of the combatant's effective weapon range.
  • Friendly Fire. When deploying explosives, any friendly combatant in the blast area is just as vulnerable to it as the enemy. Also, attacking and missing an enemy risks wounding a friendly combatant standing near him.

Ranged combat rules:

  • Taking Cover. The combatant positions a solid object between himself and a ranged attacker to minimize damage taken. Said cover can range from large pieces of the environment, through mobile shields, to Human Shields. The quality of cover often determines the amount of protection it provides.
  • Covering/Suppressing Fire. An extension of AoO rules, where a ranged combatant aids his ally's advancement either by taking a free shot at any enemy who tries to hinder it, or by preventively firing at the known enemy position to pin them down.
  • Aimed Attack a.k.a. Called Shot. Instead of dealing normal damage, the combatant can attempt to disarm an enemy, hit his vital areas For Massive Damage, etc. at the cost of lower success chance or longer aiming time.
  • Indirect Fire. A combatant uses gravity to fire projectiles at an enemy without establishing a direct line of fire, usually from behind cover. Firing can be blind or assisted by a forward observer (see below).
  • Blind Firing. The ranged combatant can bombard an area outside of his effective aiming range (or covered by smoke or the Fog of War) but within his firing range, giving him a (small) chance to hit an enemy in that area.
  • Target Spotting. An extension of the Scouting rule: If an enemy is seen by an allied scout, any combatant who has the enemy in his firing range can attack him efficiently, even if he is outside his effective aiming range.

Melee combat rules:

  • Defensive Stance. The combatant sacrifices some of his offense to temporarily boost his defensive stats (especially against ranged attacks).
  • Crowd Control. A melee combatant gets an Attack of Opportunity against any enemy attempting to move past him within his weapon's reach, preventing them from moving further. Some combatants may be immune to this.
  • Charge. The combatant charges towards the target before striking it in melee, dealing additional damage proportional to the momentum gained. Especially relevant in Mounted Combat.
  • Knockdown/Knock Back. The combatant knocks an enemy onto the ground, rendering them helpless for some time. Alternatively, the enemy is pushed away, allowing the combatant to gain some distance.

Special ability rules:

  • Concealment. Similar to Taking Cover rules, Concealment allows the combatant to get an enemy into his effective weapon range without alerting him to his presence, allowing for an easier takedown or targeting. Usually requires exploiting the terrain or a special ability.
  • Smoke Screen. The combatant deploys a smoke screen over a small area around himself or his allies to make them temporarily harder to hit or even to prevent the enemy from targeting them altogether. Combatants covered by smoke can usually aim at the enemies outside of it without penalty.
  • Grappling Hook. Allows the combatant to quickly scale great heights without any climbing aids.
  • Movement Manipulation. The combatant manipulates an enemy to move to a certain spot (towards or away from him), either to distract them from discovering his allies' (or his own) position or to lure them into an ambush. Alternatively, he can force enemies out of cover.

Will go under Videogame Tropes and Role-Playing Game.
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