Battle Mechanics: Skirmishes

In my last appearance on Mr. Matera’s Wellplayed Pod I referred to games as intense formative assessment machines. (Click here to give it a listen). Video games are constantly checking the players abilities through intricate feedback loops. The player attempts to demonstrate their skill and the game assesses if the player is,ready to advance. When playing an open world Role Playing Game (RPG) like Skyrim the player can pretty much go wherever on the map. The game assesses if the player is strong enough to enter the area through player/enemy conflicts. If the player has the skills to defeat the common enemies of that region the player can comfortably remain in the area however if the player cannot then they will be not-so-subtly encouraged to leave until they are more powerful – Formative Assessment in Action!

This progression mechanic would be an interesting element to incorporate but at the moment I am more interested in integrating common (in this case meaning routine or commonplace) enemy encounters as a means of formative assessment. I am referring to one possible type of enemy encounter as “Skirmishes” and these wil be short opening conflicts that will replace a basic quiz.

The first part of this process has been creating the enemies. These enemies will be wrapped into the skirmishes through my overall class narrative (read more by clicking here). The “Big Bad Boss” for semester 1 has the power to use “source energy” in order to pull historic figures from the past and use them to attack the our “Super Heroes”. Here are a few of the “enthralled” historic figures that will be attacking the Heroes in unit 2.

 

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The second part of the skirmishes will be giving these enthralled historic figures “Battle” powers. The basic “enthralled” historic character will have defense points only (more on this in a second) since these are supposed to be quick battles at the beginning or end of class. This defense points will be determined by a dice roll at the beginning of class. Students Avatars have different attack strengths based on their Avatar Type and their level (for more click here). As time goes on the students will become stronger meaning these common enemies will also need to become stronger. For this reason at the beginning of the battle the teacher will roll both 20 sided and 6 sided die then multiply the numbers giving the enthralled character the defense points. After unit 3 this number will be multiplied by 2, after 5 by 3, and 7 by 4; this should account for the growing power of the students as they level up.

The full semester class will be broken into two meta-guilds, the Sentinels and the Hunters. Within these meta-guilds students will be forming “squads” (a name that apparently from Fortnite) or smaller fighting units that will be taking on the enthralled characters. Each squad will take on a different enthralled character. If they are able to defeat the enthralled character this figure will become an “ally” – each member of the squad will receive the historic figure’s card. Later in the “Clashes” and “Boss Fight” the cards can be used for various purposes that will be discussed in later posts.

The Basic Battle Mechanics

My intent is to use Plickers in order to display multiple choice questions onto the projector. Students will then use the Plicker cards to give their answers. The cool part about this is that Plickers will then be able to generate a report on each student’s answer choices. The other nice thing about Plickers is that students do not need to have access to technology in order to use the app. Barring the use of this technology students can simply use ABCD cards to give their answers though it does make data collection more difficult.

Anyways, if students answer the question correctly they can roll their die which represents their attack points. The members of a squad combine their attack points and will subtract them from Enthralled Characters defense points. If the defense points reach zero then the squad has defeated the enthralled character, they are released from the enchantment and become an ally. In the bigger battles – Clashes and Boss Fights – allies will be able to give advantages to the squad members.

To keep track of the attack points each squad will be given a laminated version of the Google Slide below. The students will be able to mark off the points at their own tables. The card will be placed in the box on the left.

skirmish chart

Most of these enthralled Skirmishes will only last 5-7 questions and are intended as temperature checks. The data will be used to create more tailored content adjustments.

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