Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Hand 2 Hand, a Combat Hand Game

This is a hand game designed to represent martial arts combat in an extremely fast-paced, action packed way, without any incidental risk. The intent is to incorporate this into my LARP system so that players have no reason to act out or perform combat in any way whatsoever, but can still get some degree of exhilaration and excitement from the activity. Past methods of defusing risk of clumsiness injuries mostly just defused any excitement from combat, making parlor play LARPS very... Blah. Hopefully, something fast and furious like this can bring some life to it.

Game play is based on Rock Paper Scissors, but the gestures are changed, as are the win/lose conditions. In this variant, you have a set of offensive hand gestures, and a set of defensive hand gestures. Offensive hand gestures deal damage, while defensive gestures have utility functions. Each player has a limited amount of HP, which is a limit for how much damage they can be dealt before they lose and can no longer play. The game takes place over a series of rounds, with participants counting to three, then shouting "GO!" in unison as they make their gestures. The results of the round are then tallied up and the next round begins. Players play rounds until only one player remains.


Offensive Gestures:
Each offensive gesture deals a set amount of damage and has a couple of mechanical features which determine which defensive strategies it is effective or ineffective against. There are three standard attacks and 4 combined versions of these, for a full arsenal of 7 offensive gestures to choose from. Deciding which gesture to use is all about reading your opponent and making a judgement balancing risk and reward. So long as an offensive move does not fail, it deals its damage to the opponent. So, if two players make offensive moves at each other, both players take full damage.

Pinky Extended: Fast Attack
A fast attack deals 1 damage. Though a fast attack can technically be blocked, its damage is reduced to 1, so this is merely a technicality of ruling; the damage goes through anyways. A fast attack cannot be dodged. The only truly effective method of intercepting a fast attack is to parry it. This makes the fast attack the single safest offensive gesture in the game, despite also dealing the least damage.

Index Extended: Moderate Attack
A moderate attack deals 2 damage. A moderate attack can be effectively countered by a block, dodge, or parry. It's slow enough that an opponent can react, and gentle enough that the opponent can manipulate the attack. Moderate attacks are, then, the most easily countered single attacks in the game, making them a fairly risky action to make.

Thumb Extended: Slow Attack
A slow attack deals 3 damage. Slow attacks can be blocked and dodged, but they cannot be parried; such an attack has too much force, and breaks through such a thin defense. This means an opponent cannot redirect your strongest single attack against you.

You can make any of the above gestures simultaneously on a single hand to make a combo attack. A combo attack deals damage equal to all of the combined attacks. If a combo contains a fast attack, the combo is a fast attack. If a combo contains a slow attack, it is a slow attack. If a combo contains both a fast and slow attack, it is a moderate attack. The key advantage to combos is higher damage output, and more efficient damage output against certain defenses. The key downside to a combo is that, in addition to their normal defensive counters, all combos can be completely negated by a grapple, something no other attack has to deal with. (Normally, if you attack someone who grapples you, you still deal your damage, their grapple only affects your next turn. If you use a combo though, their grapple cancels your attack on the spot AND affects your next turn.) All potential combos are as follows:
Pinky Index:
Fast 2-Combo
3 Damage
Countered by Parry and Grapple
Pinky Thumb:
Moderate 2-Combo
4 Damage
Countered by Block, Dodge, Parry, and Grapple
(Note that this is just as easily countered as a 3-combo with less gain)
Thumb Index:
Slow 2-Combo
5 Damage
Countered by Block, Dodge, and Grapple
Thumb Index Pinky
Moderate 3-Combo
6 Damage
Countered by Block, Dodge, Parry, and Grapple
(The most powerful attack is also the most easily countered. very risky)

Defensive Moves:
Defensive moves are much more complicated than offensive moves. Each one has its own unique mechanical function in the game. The defensive moves turn this game into a game, rather than an exercise in futility. Memorizing the defensive moves and their interactions is much more difficult than memorizing the offensive moves. Typically, if two players use defensive moves against each other, the round is a draw, as no damage is dealt. The only possible exception is the use of grapples, which will be explained shortly.

Clenched Fist: Block
When you block, all incoming actions are considered to fail. If an incoming action would deal damage to you, you only take 1 damage from it instead. (This effectively means that although you can effectively block a fast attack, it is not meaningful in any way) A block is a highly effective counter against a grapple. Because blocking reduces damage from all incoming attacks, it can save you if you're about to get dog piled in a multi-player game.

Open Hand, Palm Up: Dodge
When you dodge, you can declare which incoming action you are evading. That action fails and has no effect on you. You cannot dodge fast attacks, they're just too fast. A dodge can prevent damage utterly, and is most useful against a single opponent, but less useful in larger games with multiple opponents.

Open Hand, Palm Down: Parry
A parry causes one incoming action to fail, then copies that action against its source. So, if a person was using a 2 Damage attack on you, and you parry it, their attack fails, dealing 0 damage, and you deal 2 damage to them. Basically, it turns one action back on its source. You cannot parry slow attacks. The parry is a powerful action and, when used creatively, can completely turn a game around. Most importantly, a parry can invert a grapple.

Open Hand Karate Chop: Grapple
If you use a grapple on a player, and that player does not cause the grapple to fail, they are "grappled" for the next round. A grappled player can only target the person/people who grappled them, and can only make a heavy attack, block, or grapple. Once an opponent is grappled, it changes the meaning of your actions against them, because the risks have been altered. The obvious thing to do would be to try and take a free hit on your opponent. This may leave you open to a heavy attack, so always make an attack that deals more than 3 damage or it could be a waste, though it could still be reduced to 1 damage by a block. This also leaves you open to being grappled in response. You could try to block, in case they try to grapple or attack you, but since you know there's only one incoming action, it is safer to dodge. Dodging against a grappled opponent is the ultimate stalling move. It's like shoving someone to the floor and running away. The entire round is nullified, as literally nothing happened. Trying to grapple an already grappled opponent is a complete waste of time, as it gets you nowhere; you are essentially wasting the grapple you already got! The safest action you can make against a grappled opponent is to parry. 2/3 of their options can be redirected back at them. If they make a heavy attack on you, they deal 3 damage to themselves, if they try to grapple you, they extend their own grapple for another round. On the other hand, any smart player will see this and always block on their grappled round, making the grapple/parry only effective against more aggressive opponents. Grapples cause combo attacks to fail completely, making it a defensive gesture which can counter 4/7 potential incoming offensive actions. If two players grapple each other at the same time, both players are grappled in the next round.