For my Iron Infantry game, I’ve been trying to figure out how players will track their stats. I’m looking at games like Zombicide and Gloomhaven and I really dig the player cards they have. So I’ve decided to kind of combine those two for my own stat cards. Here’s what I’ve come up with so far…

Right now, the design is based on the 4″ x 8″ Domino board from The GameCrafter, which is where I’d probably have it printed because I’ve had good experiences with them in the past. (Helpful Hint: If you’re going to design something like this, make sure you find your potential future vendor and try to make something that fits their existing product line. Retrofitting a design you’ve spent a lot of time on to make it fit their product line is more of a pain in the ass than it’s worth. Start with the right size and you’ll be happy you did.)

As of right now, my plan is to have anywhere from 10 – 12 characters in the game. However, only four will ever be deployed for a single mission, meaning there will be a lot of characters left inside the box. The thought is there will be four core characters that the game will start with and other characters will be introduced and unlocked as-needed.

For example, Mission 3 might take place on a snowy mountain ridge. The character whose specialty is mountaineering would be introduced in that mission so that your team will be able to safely scale a cliff face or something. From that point on, that character would be available for any mission you want to send him on. But until Mission 3, he’s just sitting in the box.

One idea I’ve had for the character boards is a dry erase surface. Not only do you need to write down the current experience points (XP) that the character has earned, but you also have to choose between different skills once you reach Level 2. I could make these things designated by a peg like Zombicide…

But unlike Zombicide, where every mission essentially resets the characters, these stats and choices need to be made static as you play through the entire game’s campaign. So you need to have a way to mark the skills choices and the current XP so you remember where they are the next time you pull them out for a mission. Pegs wouldn’t allow for stacking cards in the box, plus they could easily fall out and then you’re not sure what choices you made in the past.

Another option would be to have this type of information written down in a campaign log. And with dry erase, that might still be a good option. The dry erase marker could get rubbed off pretty easily, especially while the cards are stacked on top of one another. The campaign log doesn’t have to be complicated. It could be as simple as a table to write in the choices that were made. Something like this…

That sheet of paper could just be kept in the box, or you could make it an app, or even something as simple as a ready-made Google Sheet that people could use. Either way, it would be fairly simple to track things elsewhere other than the character board. In fact, it might be better in some ways, because then you can see the entire team at a glance instead of having to shuffle through a bunch of cards to find out, for example, who has the “Bomb Disarm” skill that you need for the next mission.

Even if I go the campaign log route, it would still be nice to have the character boards be dry erase material. Before you go on the mission, you can check the log, then mark the skills that character has on the character board so they’re readily available instead of having to refer to the log again. Plus, there are some other organizational aspects to the boards – Primary Equipment, Secondary Equipment, Stamina, and Medals areas – that would be helpful to have just to keep track of things during the mission.

Of course a campaign log would mean a redesign of the character boards. There’s no need for the Current XP area. I could also eliminate the table that shows the level progression since that would be on the campaign log instead. It might look something more like this…

I have to say, the more I think about it, the more I’m leaning towards a campaign log of some type. I like the idea of just being able to scan through the character listings to find the skills you need. It also gives you a handy glance at the team in general to see if someone needs to come on a mission to raise their level so they don’t fall behind the rest. You’d hate for your mountaineer to be stuck at Level 2 because you haven’t played him since he was introduced in Mission 3, only to need him again in Mission 10 and the rest of your team are at Level 4. He’s going to be facing enemies designed for Level 4 characters, so he could get wasted pretty quickly and the mission could fail.

I think I’ll move forward with the campaign log and the second character board design for right now. Someday soon I’ll come back and explain Stamina and Medals, as well as the 6-sided dice mechanic I’ve figured out to see if you succeed or fail an action you’re attempting, like “Disarm Bomb” or “Shoot That Guy”.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *