006 – Health Mechanics in Board and Card Games – Part 1

Hello fellow adventurers, in Episode 6 of the Nerdlab, I will talk about health systems in board games and card games. This is the first part of a two-part series on health systems. My goal for the first episode is to analyze the different aspects of health systems and to provide you with a bunch of questions you could ask yourself in order to find the appropriate health system for your game.

Categorization of Health Systems discussed in this episode:

  • Hitpoints
  • Hit Points then Wounds (Bruise Pool, Blood Pool)
  • Hit Points with Wounds
  • Wounds (with penalties)
  • Direct Stat Damage / Stat drain damage
  • Stress & Consequences
  • Narrative Track
  • Named Conditions
  • Different independent Pools for multiple health resources (Mental / Physical Damage)

So let me briefly summarize the main categories of health systems and questions you have to ask yourself:

  • Do you want your monsters/players to stay fully operational? If not you need a system that reduces players effectiveness.
  • Do you need a buffer before negative conditions are applied? → Then you maybe need 2 or more resources.
  • Do you need different health aspects (mental, vs physical)? → Then again you probably need 2 resources.
  • Do you want consequences that are somehow integrated into your story? Think about weaknesses that could create interesting memorable stories.
  • How do you want lost hitpoints, wounds or stress to be recovered? Can they all be healed easily or do you need specific spells or actions to cure them? Maybe some of them are even permanent.
  • Who is deciding which effect is going to happen? Random, vs. pre-defined, vs. player-chosen, vs. game master chosen vs. item/situation dependant?
  • What stories do you want to tell?

Important Links:
Nerdlab Website 
Nerdlab Facebook Page
Nerdlab on Twitter
Nerdlab on Instagram

Sources:
What are the best health systems (reddit)
Tracking life in card games (reddit)
Facebook Group Strategy Card Games
Card Casters

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