Sliding Scale of Turn Realism
Games that simulate real life to a degree have, over the years, had to deal with one problem time and time again. How do you simulate the passage of time in a situation where tracking it is vital? While you can say "about an hour" when dealing with shopping, in combat you need exact measurements. There have been many different attempts at this. There are three examples used here, blowing smoke from a smoking barrel (less than a second), loading a handgun (4 seconds) and field stripping a gun (one minute). Second by Second Each second of combat time is described out as an action. Actions taking longer than a second are broken down into second long chunks so in effect everyone acts on every turn. This is most realistic but also rather book-keeping intensive. Blowing the smoke from the barrel takes 1 second. Loading a handgun is broken down into 4 equal-length actions such as unclipping the magazine, removing the magazine, putting a new magazine in and re-engaging the mechanism. Field stripping a rifle would take 60 such actions and might just be handwaved as taking that time, rather than broken down.
- GURPS. The developers eventually realized that this has a few problems when trying to emulate action-movie realism with rubbery time, so Action supplement uses Turn by Turn, with the length of a turn defined as "the time needed to do something cool". It even includes a rule that if a bomb was ticking, then the remaining time is reduced by a random amount, regardless of the chase scene length for this!
- Hackmaster's newest edition measures combat second by second. You can move every second, but the amount of time between 'significant' actions (attacks, spellcasting, and the like) is semi-random. The time between actions represents preparing, re-readying weapons, and the like.
- Most computer games that are not turn based still calculate everything by the second or part second, making them very very fast real time turn based games. (Many games use imperceptibly short turns; some shooters process 30 to 100 'turns' per second.)
- Sword’s Path Glory by Leading Edge Games was a tabletop game had turns that lasted 1/12 of a second.
- Champions (A segment is one second, 12 segments is a round. A character's SPEED stat is how many times a round they can act, the default speed is 2.)
- Fallout (by virtue of having a limited number of action points per turn)
- The Active Time Battle in the Final Fantasy games
- Panzer Dragoon Saga
- Most Roguelikes
- Civilization - In the beginning, each round simulates up to 100 years, but the amount of time spent during each round lessens as the game continues, presumably to keep it realistic. It would be crazy if it took the same amount of time for a stone age civilization to create a barracks as a modern one. Generally speaking, a game can last a maximum of 500 rounds, though most end well before that.
- Diplomacy - 6 months a round
- Dungeons & Dragons (and D20 system games in general) - 6 seconds a combat Round subdivided into specific action types in newer editions; 1 minute a combat round and 10 minutes a noncombat round in older editions.
- Gamma World - Route moves (about 4 hours) and either search moves (10 seconds) or combat melee rounds (also 10 seconds), depending on the PC's actions.
- Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri - 1 year a Round
- The Total War series (for the turn-based part of the game, anyway). The amount of time per turn varies from game to game; Rome: Total War for example has every turn represent 6 months, while Medieval II: Total War has turns representing two whole years.
- Most Boardgames and RPGs
- Pokémon. However, some attention is paid to moves of unusual duration. Particularly fast moves always go first, slower ones always go last, and some especially slow ones waste a turn charging up or recovering.
- Final Fantasy at least in the early games and X before they went to Active Time Battles.
- Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000
- Warmachine and Hordes.
- Interactive Fiction games.
- Some comicbook (but not only) RPGs have turns based on 'panels' - that is, each hero has one panel in which he can make any action normally able to be depicted in a comicbook panel. Seventh Sea bases this on your charisma - the more handsome and cooler the hero is, the more often the 'camera' focuses on him.
- Knights of the Dinner Table has Brian and Weird Pete as the last participants in a long running war game based on World War 1. They meet once a month with each one carrying out a single turn which takes hours to complete. Though almost certain, the two players involved are a factor.
- The World of Darkness goes one step further and applies this to non-combat as well. The main unit of time is the "scene" - however long it takes for the events in the current area to conclude. The equivalent of "until the turn ends" is "for the rest of the scene".
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