New Crew System: Levels, Stats, and Personality

One project I’m planning right now is adding more detail to your tank’s crew. There’s five people in that rolling metal box but in ArmCom they don’t matter too much unless they get injured, or when you give them skills to increase their effectiveness.

The first step is to simplify the experience point system. At present it’s based on your total victory points from the day. In the new system, crew will get 1 exp for each enemy unit destroyed, 1 per map area captured or defended in a counterattack mission, and 2D6 at the end of an action day, whether it ends with sunset or a little earlier. Level thresholds will be changed accordingly, so that most of your crew will gain a level after the first day of combat, perhaps one on the next, but after that exp inflation will mean that levels will start to come slower. The new system rewards you for taking out any enemy units with your own tank as opposed to letting your allies do the job, and for grabbing as much territory as possible on the campaign day map.

Next step is to give each crewman a set of stats that will remain mostly unchanged over the campaign. At the start of a campaign you will have three randomly generated crewmen to select from for each tank position. They will also have 1-2 skills already rolled up based on their rank and position. This means that you’ll have to select from a total of 12 potential crewmen, which will make it less rewarding to repeatedly immediately quit and restart a game, since it’s unlikely that the game will roll up an especially good combination of crew for each position. All crew stat points will be equaled out (their total stat points will be the same) so what you have to decide is what kind of specializations you’d like for your crewmen. Right now I’m planning on three stats to keep it pretty simple:

  • Leadership, which determines their influence on fellow crewmen
  • Mechanics, which is knowledge of and ability with elements of the tank, used for repairs and enhancements to the tank in future versions of the game; and
  • Grit, which determines resistance to stunning and injury

Leadership will come into play when crewmen are injured, as higher-ranking crew try to motivate and calm those who panic. It is also important for the turret crew as some skills will require a successful leadership test to use effectively. Mechanics will be important as specific types of minor damage are modeled for your tank, and you must attempt repairs during a battle. It will also be used for future additions or alterations to your tank. Grit represents physical and mental toughness: the ability to continue fighting even when in pain or shocked by incoming fire. This will be especially important in the future as attacks will have many more possible effects that simply armour saved / tank destroyed.

In future versions you will sometimes have the opportunity to permanently increase stat points for your crew, but these will be relatively rare and risky. Serious injuries may permanently reduce one or more stats, representing battle weariness, shell shock, and the long-term effects of physical wounds.

Finally, crew will call out observations and warnings during the game, will each have their own hometown (no effect on the game, just there for flavour), and if seriously injured can be put into hospital and then rejoin your crew after they recover. Crewmen who are transferred out, whether because of switching to a tank model with a different layout, can later be recalled from their other assignment, but have a small chance of being killed or sent home each day while they are with their other tank.

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