New Game Mechanic: Hostages!

Water warfare game types, ideas, rules, organization, etc.
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New Game Mechanic: Hostages!

Postby SEAL » Tue May 10, 2016 12:26 pm

I was discussing this idea with my brother when I saw him the other day. I'm almost positive this has been talked about in the past on here, but as far as I know it's never been considered for modern wars.

The idea we were talking about is, as the title says, hostages. Where the enemy team can capture one or more of your troops and remove them from combat until you free them. I'm honestly surprised this hasn't been brought up before when planning gametypes for wars. I suppose the big downside to it is that anyone who's being held hostage doesn't get to fight, and could potentially stay a prisoner for the whole game. But that can happen in 1HK or other elimination games as well. I think it would be fun to incorporate the hostage mechanic into future wars, and might be a breath of fresh air. We haven't really had any new gametypes lately.

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So there are obviously several different gametypes involving hostages that you can play. The first is what I'm calling Rescue the Hostage, or RTH. Feel free to come up with a better name if you want. This game is single sided, and the first half plays very much like 1-flag CTF, except the defenders (I suppose we can call them "captors" in this case) are guarding a player from your team instead of a flag. Throughout this description I refer to the rescuers as "your team", and the captors as the "enemy team".

The hostage can only rejoin your team and fight if he/she is touched (or untied, if you want to be realistic about it, hahaha) by one of your players. From then on, the objective is to escort the hostage back to your base, in a similar fashion to VIP Escort. The hostage can either be given a gun, or go weaponless.

Now, when an enemy is hit, he/she must respawn at the other end of the battlefield, near your starting point (which could also be your spawn point, to make things interesting; otherwise your team can just respawn away from action). This way, if the hostage is rescued, the enemy is in position to try and stop your team from making it back safely.

Your team wins when the hostage is escorted back to your base. The enemy team can win in two different ways. One, if the time limit runs out before your team can rescue the hostage from the enemy base, at which point the enemy may execute the hostage by dumping water on them if they so choose. :p Two, if a player on the enemy team makes a hit on the hostage while he/she is being escorted to your base. Note that after the hostage is rescued from the enemy base, the time limit stops counting. This game is basically a combination of 1CTF and VIP Escort. It is a relatively complex game, but I think it should be manageable. Obviously tweaks can be made, and any suggestions are welcome.

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Another game involving hostages doesn't really have a good name. Maybe Capture Them All (CTA) or Roundup or something. This game is symmetrical/double-sided, and starts out just like 1HK or 1HS. The difference is, you can capture enemy players, and the game is won by whoever captures all opposing players first. A time limit could be included, and if it runs out before a whole team is captured, the winner is simply the team that made the most captures. This is because the game does have the potential to just keep going on and on, which some people might not like.

There are several different ways you could possibly capture someone. For one, you could just shoot them. This would basically make the game like 1HK, but giving teams a chance to bring back their eliminated comrades. To make things more interesting, capturing a player could involve an additional step after shooting them. For example, you'd have to touch them while they're trying to respawn, or maybe shoot them with a squirt pistol or something. I haven't really nailed down a capture method that I'm completely satisfied with yet. Any suggestions?

Respawning (if included at all) is simply done on the spot, as that would make for better chances of making a capture. Spawn times could either be long or short depending on what you want. Longer times give more opportunities to capture, but shorter times might make for more fast-paced action.

Once a player is captured, they must go to the enemy base, where they must wait until a member of their team comes in and touches them or whatever. Unlike the previous game, tying them to a tree or a chair wouldn't be very practical here, haha. I think this would make for some very interesting offense/defense shifts. Though my predictions may not be accurate, I can see this game being absolutely chaotic. It reminds me a little bit of Freeze-Tag, which I played in Nerf a couple times. I suppose we could try playing that as well. It would actually probably work better in water wars due to the shorter engagement distances. But that's another topic.

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Hopefully I covered everything. Of course there are many other possible games that can utilize the hostage mechanic; these two are just the ones that I came up with. Feel free to think up your own. I realize that there's a lot of text here, but I tried to split up the paragraphs to make it easier to read. I am definitely interested in trying these games out sometime, just for a change of pace if nothing else. I think Soakemore would be a good war to implement it. On Sycamore Island we could put prisoners in the treehouse, haha. If we do it in the Labyrinth, the double sided game would be better.
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Re: New Game Mechanic: Hostages!

Postby marauder » Tue May 10, 2016 2:32 pm

SEAL with the post of the year.

You have opened a whole new pandora's box sir.

My concern with freeze tag style play is that it may force the battle to remain around the frozen players. By moving positions you would abandoned trying to unfreeze your player. Then again, the team with the frozen player may choose to retreat, and then plan a rescue, assuming the other team pursues and abandons guarding the frozen player. That may be really exciting actually.

At camp, growing up, we used to play capture the flag where if you had your flag pulled out (not the same as the big team flag) by an opposing player you had to go to a jail. Of course, this was with about 15 - 30 people on each side. Wow, that was crazy! Not sure how that would work with less than 10 players though.

It may be best to just try out new variations of this until we get it right.
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Re: New Game Mechanic: Hostages!

Postby HBWW » Tue May 10, 2016 8:00 pm

There's a reason why the player in question is a hostage, and why the team holding them doesn't simply execute them, so it's best to keep that play mechanic neutral; keep BOTH teams from executing the hostage.

An alternative setup could be to escort the hostage as well from point A to point B at nozzle-point, and instead of VIP where the attacking team tries to eliminate the VIP, they have to capture a hostage.

We've been trying to setup a hostage rescue mission in nerf for some time, in one of the groups that DX and I play in. Hopefully we'll get to play it out next time we meet up.

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Re: New Game Mechanic: Hostages!

Postby DX » Wed May 11, 2016 11:23 am

Yeah, there needs to be a gameplay mechanic or rule that forces both teams not to just execute the hostages. I don't like having baggage, so I take no prisoners...
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Re: New Game Mechanic: Hostages!

Postby marauder » Wed May 11, 2016 11:45 am

Actually, it would be kind of cool if you could execute a prisoner. But it would need to be set up so that this would be a last resort, in case a team is losing pretty bad, but has 1 captive they can execute that captive to try to get back in the game.
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Re: New Game Mechanic: Hostages!

Postby SEAL » Wed May 11, 2016 11:59 am

marauder wrote:SEAL with the post of the year.

You have opened a whole new pandora's box sir.


Haha thanks, but it was actually Chief's idea. I just came up with those two gametypes.

Freeze Tag would probably only work in small close-quarters fields like the Labyrinth. Maybe we could try it. The hostage game would be slightly different, in that if a player is captured, they go to "jail" instead of just being frozen on the spot. I've actually thought of an interesting way to capture someone while they're respawning: take their gun away. Hostages can only resume playing if they are given a gun. This means that they could even escape themselves if an enemy is too careless and leaves a gun in the boundaries of the jail... However most of us probably wouldn't want our blasters grabbed by someone untrustworthy, so I'd only do it that way if it were all veterans.

I like HBWW's escort idea. It's basically like the first game I listed, but with a moving objective instead of a stationary one. I'd definitely be interested in trying both; maybe even a combination of the two.

The execution thing is just something funny that you can do if you win the game. Since the whole objective of these games is to capture or rescue hostages, you can't just eliminate them from play completely. If that were the case you might as well just call it 1HK. I'd think that would be obvious. Edit: Though marauder's idea sounds interesting.
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Re: New Game Mechanic: Hostages!

Postby marauder » Thu May 12, 2016 1:37 pm

I have an idea for another game variant, but it needs help in fleshing out.

Essentially, if someone tags you by hand you are captured. If you're shot, with a typical hit, you can't run to respawn, you have to walk, or something like that, which makes you vulnerable to being tagged by hand and being captured. This would just add another element to regular OHS, and would help create more dynamic situations as it would reward rushing to try to tag someone by hand. We could also add a kill element to this in that hostages can be executed under extreme circumstances. We'd have to figure out what those circumstances are, but it'd be fun and more complex. I think this would create for a lot more battlefield movement, but wouldn't make the game objective based either.
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Re: New Game Mechanic: Hostages!

Postby SEAL » Fri May 13, 2016 2:55 pm

Combining it with 1HS sounds pretty cool. It could be worth like five points to capture someone, and one point just to hit them. Or it could just be an incentive to try removing the best players from the game so as to gang up on the newbies.

I also like the idea of having to walk back to your spawn point, although that would only work in smaller areas where spawn points are usually seen. And for what it's worth, I can walk pretty fast, haha. But it might be a good method to try at Sycamore Island, which is a smaller battlefield.

Maybe you could execute people if your team is losing by like five or more points. Not sure how that would work in practice, but it certainly adds a whole bunch of new dynamics.
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Re: New Game Mechanic: Hostages!

Postby marauder » Sat May 14, 2016 9:26 pm

If I'm losing by 4 but have a captive I may try to get myself hit just so we'll be down by 5 and be able to kill a captive. We could have a time limit, e.g. if a captive has been held for longer than X minutes you can kill the captive and eliminate him from the game. This would be great for medium-long OHS games, like 2 hours long or something. Can you imagine knowing you only have 2 minutes left to save Rob, otherwise the opposing team can ohk him and eliminate him from the game?

The captured player must stay within 6 feet or so of the player that has captured him. To rescue the captive you have to physically tag that player. A grace period could be allowed so as to prevent tag respawn hits. E.g. a player must yell "tag," or "rescue," or something cooler (uno? :lol: ), when physically tagging a captive so as to rescue him. Once this has been yelled the grace period, e.g. 20 seconds, must be physically counted out loud during which neither the captive nor his rescuer can be hit or captured. This gives them time to get away back to their team's battle lines, otherwise, it would be pretty impossible to ever rescue anybody.

Just an idea, but this would probably have battle lines shifting constantly and would create lots of action and risk taking.

We could also incorporate this into complex CTF games, e.g. hit = 1 point, flag capture = 5 points, capture = 3 points, execution = additional 3 points.
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Re: New Game Mechanic: Hostages!

Postby SEAL » Sun May 15, 2016 1:21 pm

^Yeah, I thought of that too, where people would purposefully let themselves get hit so that they could execute the hostage. Although allowing yourself to be hit does open up the possibility that you could be captured too. I do really like the time limit idea though; can't believe I didn't think of that. It's like a combination of the two games I listed. Adding 1HS into the mix and playing for like two hours, that sounds like something I'd really want to play. Doing it at Pandemonium (which I assume is at Cedar Hill again this year) would be dope. The only thing is, you'd need some way to keep track of the time limit for the captives. Maybe give them kitchen timers or something when they're captured.

I figured that the captives would go to a "jail" area, not follow the enemy team around. If I were captured and had to stay near the person who captured me, I'd just stomp around and make lots of noise so my team could find us. Also, what if one person captures like four enemies? Do they all have to clump around him? I think I'd prefer a jail system. Maybe there could be multiple places around the field where you could stash hostages instead of just your base. You would have to escort them there though. Only when they've been placed in jail can you set the timer. Or they could just have to walk there after being captured.

We do have to make sure these games don't get too complicated though. Unless everyone on the field is a veteran, confusion is bound to occur.
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Re: New Game Mechanic: Hostages!

Postby marauder » Mon May 16, 2016 7:51 am

The jail area could be used for games with smaller venues, attack/defend games, and or larger teams. If you have 4 v 4 in a decent sized venue, you would be dedicating 25% of your force to guarding a noncombatant. That would be horrible. It's also the same reason which I've argued in the past that solo ambushes or "sniping," hasn't been that big of a component of community wars, because when you have smaller teams you are dedicating a huge % of your troops to a solo mission that takes them off the field. Think of my activity at LBW in the original Frozen Fury. I found a sick spot up in the rafters and I shot Chief, but it took me out of the battlefield and Rob and the nephews got killed. Sending 1 person up in the rafters would have been a smart move - if we had like double the players. So, to bring the idea full circle, a jail would be good if you had some kind of base, if the venue was small, or if you had large teams.

One good thing we have going for us is that a lot of the "noobs" here have fought in a lot of Nerf wars, or they are a little older, which makes adapting to new gametypes a little easier.

I do think that the Pandemonium battlefield sounds like it would be good for this game type.
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Re: New Game Mechanic: Hostages!

Postby DX » Mon May 16, 2016 12:29 pm

I've given this more thought, and I think that hostages should be restricted to games with lots of players. Consider your typical 4v4 CTF. You send 2 guys out to attack, they are hit around the enemy base, and then captured. The smaller team is now essentially fucked. They do not have enough players to attempt a rescue, attack, AND defend effectively. Unless, captured players have a timer and are allowed to attempt to escape themselves when the timer is up. Then, the round is more balanced since the larger team has to devote resources to guard them closer.

In a 4v4 OHS, you might as well leave your weaker links in captivity, lol. They are safe there and can only be executed once. Hostage-taking in OHS is essentially useless unless you bag a good player, but then I would imagine most of the fighting would stagnate in one place for the rescue attempt. If it becomes 3 on 4, the 3 may struggle to break through, the 4 obviously do not want to withdraw, the 3 don't want to give up, so it stagnates. My favorite type of OHS is like the FF 2015 rounds where the teams move through a series of semi-defensible positions with lots of back and forth attack and defense. This wouldn't happen with the capturing aspect, and it's because both teams would have a stake in a single position.

I do want to try capturing, but I think that people's eyes are larger than their stomachs. At 5v5, it may be worth it. I just don't see it working well for numbers below that. I see stagnated games unless the numbers are high. People will also be way more cautious, which is another thing we don't want. We are going backwards here.
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Re: New Game Mechanic: Hostages!

Postby marauder » Mon May 16, 2016 12:56 pm

In regards to CTF games, I think you are correct.

However, with no flag to guard we could definitely play this with less people. It would be an in-between OHK and OHS. Consider the following scenario -

SSCBen, Marauder, Danny, David, & Tony vs
Dux, HBWW, Scott, & SEAL

My team has an experience handicap, but with more players and probably bigger guns we could suicide rush to take out Rob. This would be very agressive and would drastically alter the gameplay. New idea - Instead of gaining points for an execution you could actually receive a penalty for executing a hostage. So we don't have to escort Rob around we could take a 4 point penalty to eliminate him from the game 1hk style. We would have sacrifice 4 points and potentially one of our players in exchange for taking Rob out of the game. It's a risk, but it may be worth it.

Even with balanced teams you could do ambushes to isolate an individual player and take them out.

People may complain that they are eliminated from a long game, but that just ups the stakes and they can film the battle.

We could play this out and see if it works. Some players would more likely be targeted for capturing and elimination than others, which would certainly make things interesting. E.g. people may not try to capture Tony (unless you get points for capturing) and just keep him on the other team, while they may try to capture and then eliminate me.
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Re: New Game Mechanic: Hostages!

Postby SEAL » Tue May 17, 2016 4:39 pm

I agree that these types of games should only be for larger numbers, although I think the same can be said for most objective games. The hostage rescue variation might work though, which we could try in place of 1-flag CTF. Though I don't think I'd do it at Soakemore due to the nature of the battlefields. Maybe another war like Frozen Fury or something. Put the hostage on top of the cement tower, hahaha.

I think with enough tweaking, we should be able to come up with a good gametype.
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Re: New Game Mechanic: Hostages!

Postby scottthewaterwarrior » Wed May 18, 2016 12:58 am

Took me a little while to read through all of this, I used to think it was because I didn't find just talking about water wars very interesting, but I have since realized it is because I have trouble sitting still long enough to read/write stuff.

Anyway sounds like a very interesting game idea,I like the idea of both teams taking hostages best, though I am trying to think how it could all work. I don't really like the idea of jails, as I agree that it would lead to way to much fighting in one area, but I'm not sure how it would work otherwise. We couldn't use the tree house as a jail ether, as both of them had to be taken down because they were becoming unsafe.

The only way I can think of is if the hostage was required to stay in place until ordered by his captors to move. Also hostages are only allowed to walk, therefor they could be moved around with an enemy team, but would have to be abandoned if a quick retreat was necessary, thus allowing the other team to free the hostages.
It is like 2am, but if that last bit still sounds good in the morning, I might want to try it at Soakemore.
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