Conflict resolution of some sort or another forms the backbone of most games. In formal game theory of the type originated by von Neumann and Morgenstern it might take the form of a pay off table. In a game like chess the movement abilities of the individual pieces determine how an enemy piece is “captured.” In a game like risk a six sided die and the laws of probability rule the day. The core mechanic that Armageddon Empires is built upon is called a “Challenge” and although luck plays a role, if you set your challenges up correctly you will succeed most of the time. Basically any time a result must be determined in Armageddon Empires two attributes ranging from 1 to 10 in strength are compared and converted into dice. Each die has six sides with half containing symbols that denote success and half blank faces denoting failure. Sometimes the challenges are opposed as in a combat challenge where the attacker roles his dice pool and counts up the successes and matches the result against the defender, who also rolls his dice pool and counts up successes. If the attacker’s total is higher than the defender’s total then the difference is applied as damage. Some units might have special abilities that modify the damage either positively or negatively so the final amount subtracted from the defender’s hit points can vary. Below is an example of a ground to ground combat challenge where an Imperial Marines Unit from the Empire of Man has initiated an attack against an independent pack of Howlers. The Marines have an attack of 7 and the Howlers have a defense of 1. The Howlers get a bonus of 1 die from the terrain since they are defending . You can see the two sides dice pools lined up here in the challenge resolution display.
Notice that the Marines have rolled 5 success and the Howlers came up empty. So 5 damage points would be applied to the Howlers, who only having 2 hit points total are destroyed and removed from the battle.
What if the Imperial Marines had rolled 0 successes? Well in this case they would still have a chance to inflict some damage. Next to the Marines’ hit point display is a box that shows “Fate: 5.” This unit is being led by a hero who has a Fate attribute of 5 and these Fate Points can be used to re-roll failed dice. When a re-roll is possible the “Spend” button is enabled and each time you click on it 1 Fate Point is subtracted from the pool and a failed die is re-rolled. If you use Fate wisely it can turn the tide of a battle. This is why having a hero lead an army is so important. Not only can bigger armies be formed but also more effective ones as well. Fate is available in many situations where an army is led by a hero. There are a few exceptions however:
In “Air to Ground Challenges” the defending ground unit does not get a fate pool
In “Ground to Air Challenges” the attacking ground unit does not get a fate pool
In “Retreat Challenges” the side pursuing the retreater does not get a fate pool
In “Sabotage Challenges” the defending side does not get a fate pool against the saboteur unless an Intel Center is present in the same hex
In “Assassination Challenges” the target hero does not get a fate pool agains the assassin
Even if a fate pool is not available you still have another way to influence the outcome of a challenge. If you look at the right side of the challenge resolution display you will see a card slot box labled “Play Tactic Card Here.” During a challenge if you can pay the Action Point cost for the Tactic Card you will have the opportunity to drag a tactic card that you have created to the box and release it. The card’s effect will then take place. Effects range from rerolling failed dice to removing success die from the enemy’s dice pool. Here is a sample of the fate cards available to the Xenopod faction:
Challenges can also be unopposed. In this case the defender’s dice pool represents a target threshold level that must be met by rolling the challenger’s dice pool. When your heroes create technology or tactics cards this is what occurs. Depending on the level of the card you want to create you will have to roll a certain number of successes. You can use tactics cards in these situations as well.