Master Mines

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Decommissioned: 2 Stats

A few weeks ago, I was reading the game theory discussion Ron Edwards placed at the end of Sorceror and found his breakdown of the types of conflict resolution a very interesting explanation of how games work.

The next morning, I woke up with ideas for D-Com mechanics that has really excited me about the game again.

At this point, there are two base stats. Once I get them firmed up, I may add more fiddly bits to play with, but for now, only two.


The first stat is called Core. Core covers all actions that a Battlebot can do: move, shoot, hack into systems, follow orders, process sensory input, make tactical decisions in the field, pretty much anything and everything that a corporation would create a Battlebot to do.

Core is a base number, not a die value. You cannot “roll” Core. To perform an action, you compare Core to the difficulty of the task. If the score of Core equals or exceeds the difficulty of the task, it is completed.

  • Core begins at a 10. The highest possible Difficulty for an action is 11 (that’s right, my game goes to 11). Therefore, at start, a Battlebot can do pretty much anything (they’re the best there is at what they do)
  • As play progresses, the Core stat decreases (reflecting the Meltdown as systems fail). This means Battlebots will face failure for easier tasks as the game progresses.
  • Fear not! One fiddly bit is that a player can choose to “stress the system” and push their PC to accomplish higher difficulty tasks by taking immediate drops in their Core equal to the difference between their current Core and the difficulty (EX: Battlebot is at 6 Core and wants to attempt Difficulty 7 action to save a comrade; the player can choose to “stress the system”, meaning their PC saves the comrade, but the PC’s Core drops to 5 immediately (7 Diff – 6 Core equals 1 drop in Core); this means a player can still do fantastic deeds with their PC, but at a cost of hastening their destruction.

But wait… there’s more: there’s yet another way for players to beat the odds – check the next stat
“Fuzzy Logic”

The second stat is currently called “Fuzzy Logic” but it is only a placeholder name. “Fuzzy Logic” is the reflection of the AI and Learning Computer that sets a PC apart from other units (While an average Battlebot only exists to serve the Tech Masters for the good of The Corporation). “Fuzzy Logic” is also the reason for the Battlebot’s upcoming destruction, because it is what drove the unit to rebel and flee the Compound.

“Fuzzy Logic” is used when a Battlebot does something outside its programming: talking to humans, making decisions off the battlefield, moral or ethical decisions, performing “illogical” actions or anything the play group agrees would be outside a Battlebots programming.

  • “Fuzzy Logic” is represented by a die type and a roll of the die. “Fuzzy Logic” begins as a d4, but grows over the course of the game (currently thinking of growing the die type form d4 to d6 to d8, but may just stick to d4s and increase number of dice).
  • For measuring success or failure of “Fuzzy Logic” actions, the Department Manager sets the difficulty of the action and player rolls their die attempting to meet or exceed the difficulty.
    “Fuzzy Logic” is increased when a player fails a roll. This represents the learning computer within the Battlebot.
  • “Fuzzy Logic” is normally used for actions outside a Battlebot’s programming, but if the player describes how their “Fuzzy Logic” gives a boost to an action that is within Battlebot programs, the player can roll “Fuzzy Logic” and add it to the Core total to compare against the difficulty of the action.

So, does this breakdown work, as in make sense for a game?

Will players have fun with two stats only?

What could I call fuzzy logic?


April 9, 2008 - Posted by | D-Com


  1. I would like to point out that I didn’t buy into this much until you defined “as play progresses” to me over IM a bit ago: every few minutes, the audio file beeps and you lose a point of Core. That’s a key part of the mechanic’s explanation in my view.

    Will players have fun with two stats only?

    For a short game like D-Com, totally. Especially since they were very differently. Look at how mechanically simple Don’t Rest Your Head is — really just three stats & some narrative manipulation bits, and it’s there to support a campaign.

    I don’t like “Core” by itself. Maybe “Core Programming,” which suggests something like “New Intelligence” or something like that for Fuzzy Logic. Look at why the bots are running again.

    Also, I totally feel like hacking this for Logan’s Run: the RPG.

    Comment by Ryan Macklin | April 9, 2008 | Reply

  2. Rich, check out this playtest audio of Fred’s Escape or Die – the Doom mechanic operates very similiarly to your Core Failure, and it even uses a timer: The fact that EoD is playable in a few hours and only has a handful of stats makes me pretty confident that you can have a successful one-hour game with just two stats.
    Edit: Never mind – I see you got to it, in the comments for your Big Three.

    Comment by Matthew Gandy | April 10, 2008 | Reply

  3. I’m a strong proponent of Fuzzy Logic as the other stat. It is what the stat does.

    Comment by robertbohl | April 10, 2008 | Reply

  4. I also like Fuzzy Logic. And I think that this is a very elegant, on-topic stat set.


    Elliott Belser

    Comment by blissauthority | August 24, 2008 | Reply

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