Experimenting with Message Board Gameplay

I hope this is in appropriate venue for this discussion. In the Justice League League thread, we’ve been discussing alternatives to the “coin flip” tie breaker between two players.

Polls are fantastic, our game couldn’t work without them. But just for fun I wanted to start a discussion about other possible ways have “contests” that are less dependent on outside input, and more focused on the two (or more) players in the contest i.e. a true unbiased “duel”. Some elements of randomness are ok, but if we can introduce even a small layer of “skill”, that’s what I’m going for.

@HubCityQuestion @RexRebel @Analyst9998 @Jurisdiction, it sounded like some of you are willing to explore this from past replies I’ve noticed.

Just as a warm up here’s what tic tac toe would like like (I just figured out how to build tables here)

tic tac toe

So tic tac toe is certainly not a great option, but it does introduce the concept of a “grid” which can be useful for gameplay.

Here’s a more thought-out version of a game that I mostly copied from Battleship.

This is Player 1’s board, a 4x4 “grid” with 6 members placed by the player, again think Battleship:

1 2 3 4
Black Adam Swamp Thing
Blue Beetle
Deadman Kilowog

This is where I want my “hits” to my opponent (you get 6):

1 2 3 4

Player 1 would send this to a non-player in a DM

This Player 2’s board, who would also send the non-player a DM with this.

1 2 3 4
Donna Troy Bloodwind
Tempest Tomorrow Woman

And where they want to “hit” Player 1

1 2 3 4

Once the receiver has both player’s grids, they can post them on the main thread. From there anyone can figure out the positive “hits”. Just match up one player’s hits to the other player’s grid.

Player 1 got hits on Donna Troy, Bloodwind, Hourman, and Tempest (4 points)

Player 2 got a hit on Blue Beetle (1 point)

Battleship is of course turn based, but for simplicity’s sake, I wanted to get all the hits done in one reply. But if we had the patience, turn based could work. The small element of “skill” here is predicting where you think your opponent would place their players. I wanted to start out simple but you could extrapolate a more faithful version of Battleship, theoretically.

Too confusing? Not really fun? Too random? Curious what you guys think or other ideas anyone has about other possibilities.


I’ve also been playing with the idea of a DND/RPG style dice roll game where each player is assigned hit points (HP). But that is probably more of a game in of itself that I think only the truly dedicated will want to get into (math is involved :face_vomiting:). Trying to start simple for now but I welcome all ideas!

Any dungeon masters in the house?


Not sure I like this idea. This is more a test of spatial awareness than it is choosing the right group of characters who will work as a team for the right scenario, which is a significant shift in what the game is actually about. A legitimate tiebreaker would involve some kind of exercise which qualitatively put the teams and the creativity of the players against each other.


Yeah I think Juri told me something similar. I’m just making it my mission to figure out a game that doesn’t rely on polls but just the two players involved. It may not be possible.


This is one of the best aspects of the game certainly. But I’ve also noticed that there is a certain disparity between how certain players play this part. I was somewhat but not totally trying to neutralize the advantages between “writers” and “non-writers” or at least level it a bit.

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The creativity element is what makes the whole thing interesting to me. Otherwise we’re just playing the lottery.

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Yeah you and Juri are definitely speaking the same language.

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The other idea is to simply reuse stories from the opposite “side” of the bracket and poll those between the two tied players. It’s easy enough to set up in a pinch and we don’t have to simply re-run the same poll.

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I like that a lot better. Or have a “reserve” scenario for ties that neither team knows about beforehand. That would have been a good use for Event Leviathan this time, for instance.

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My only fear in having tie breaker specific scenarios is that we don’t really know how many there will be. And we don’t want to exhaust our pool of available stories.

But yeah something generic like “breakout at Arkham Asylum” could be fun.

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So I think we can more or less table this discussion as far as JLL goes. Juri is about to tell me “I told you so”.

I’m still interested in this topic outside of JLL if anyone is interested in discussing…less so Battleship and more DND.


Maybe choose a random villain for our teams to go up against and do polls on it? An example would be
What Team Will Do Better Against Darkseid?
Analysts Agency vs Analysts Agency
So we don’t need a story arc but just a person in general.

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It could be like all of us versus a villain and whoever gets the most votes wins and then you go off of what place you in the polls percentage wise.

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Yeah I think we could come up with 5 or 6 of those scenarios and roll for one at random.

If polls are the only way forward then I think I’m cool with that.


The villain sounds good.

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