Additional Turns: Fun or Game-Breaking?

Cythera

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Let's talk additional turns: player or enemy can act multiple times in their turn - nothing crazy. 'Additional Turns' is pretty self-explanatory. But is it a good idea?
On the plus side, it can give players a chance to drag themselves back from the brink of death with heals or items. If enemies have the ability, though, it can allow them to suddenly get multiple turns and decimate a team unfairly *cough*Summoners War*cough*. If anyone has ever played the mobile game, you know what I'm referencing, and you probably just shivered in terror.
Where do you personally stand on the concept of additional turns? Have you ever implemented it in your game, and how did you attempt to balance it out?
 

BK-tdm

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I would make it a skill on a cooldown to give one aditional turn to a character of your choosing, so the player chooses when they want to make a double heal, or a buff but let that character attack too, or maybe a resist up buff+heal, or a burst combo... who knows, its up to them to decide.

By Arceus never add double turns to annoying enemies, double stun? double poison attacks? double hard hits? double mp drains? double self healing? No, just dont.

Bosses can have multiple turns to balance things out if you feel they take too little action or want them to have special mechanics (so 1 turn is the boss flavor debuff the other is a normal attack, for example), as long as they cant wipe you in those 2 turns from full health, then its ok.
 

SpicyNoodleStudios

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If the game is difficult, throwing in an extra turn here and there can feel like a breath of fresh air.
 

Cythera

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@BK-tdm Aww, so I take it you don't think an enemy doing an aoe-stun-attack then moving into an aoe-team-heal is fun? :wink:
I do like the idea of a cooldown - it associates some sort of cost to the additional turn. Use it to combo, or to heal and buff, it offers a lot of choices without being absurdly overpowered.
 

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It really depends on how it is done, and your battle system, but you gotta be careful that you don't have them able to cast Death Ray of Doom 2x in the same turn, as no one will find that fun. What I did to prevent that in my game was I gave the enemy one turn via the standard enemy pattern, then used force action + troop events to control what they did for the 2nd turn. So for instance I could make an enemy that attacked during the normal turn, then added a buff to another enemy at the end of the turn via the force action command + troop events. Worked out pretty well and this way I can make sure my bosses don't decide at random to cast Supernova 2x in a row before you can act.

As for players, I took a page from Bravely default here in that one of my characters can give up the current turn and go 2x next turn (easy to do with two states inflicted by the skill). Outside of that though extra turn abilities I made rare as with a party of 4 I felt like they broke the balance too easily, but it may differ for you depending on your battle engine and skills and such.
 

TheoAllen

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Additional turn for the enemy: Fun
Additional turn for the player: Game breaking (either balance breaker or the battle seems dragged because you have to input more actions)

Yes, I use additional turn for enemies, even normal encounters, and I think it's fun. The thing is my normal encounter is basically a lesser boss that has the same threat as a boss, it just dies faster than the boss.

Also, I don't use the standard turn system, but I use a free turn battle which in my opinion quite fair. As the player, you're free to choose who to act first, so you have more freedom than the enemies. To balance this out, the enemy needs to have an extra turn or at least a little bit AoE damage. Single turn won't work to increase the threat, it's either damage the party lesser or to attempt to increase the threat, you bump the stat so it one-shots you. Although to be fair, I put these enemies way back in the late stages.

If you wonder how I did it, you can check my game in my signature. The complete game one.
 

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You could make extra turns a "limit break" Make it so when charecters reach max TP, a state is applied that gives them an extra action. Then TP is drained, and the process starts again. This would require skills only using MP though and possibly TP not going up automaticly

Edit: @bgillisp I thought in bravley default, you could default (gaurd) up to three times, and for each time you did, you got an extra attack when you selected "attack"
 
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Uzuki

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Depends on if you balance your battle system for it or not. If it's a byproduct of a skill or state, then make sure to make it very hard to get the skill or achieve the state, make the skill or state has a hard limit like it can only be used/applied once, or has a super large resource cost to weigh it against other skills. Now for making it the cornerstone of your battle system, I recommend you give the Shin Megami Tensei a try. Most of the games' battle systems use the PTS, or "Press Turn System", where if the player's party hits an enemy's weakness then the party gets an extra turn, up to 4 extra turns, after their current battle phase is over. Now if the player uses an element that an enemy is resistant to or they reflect back, then the player loses turns and it can even take away turns from the current lineup. So seeing that the battle system is built around this, random battles are built around ending the fight before the enemy acts and boss battles are built around using buffs and DPS.
 

Cythera

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@TheoAllen I'm curious about the battle system you mentioned; I'll be checking it out shortly for sure.
@Oddball I like that idea! I've already set up the TP system in my current game, but now you're giving me ideas for another...
 

bgillisp

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@Oddball : Yes, or you can just attack up to 4 times and go -3 in the category and then not get to act for 3 turns. What I did was the equivalent of going +1 in it, but you had to use it then (aka I had a cap of +1), and no option to just go 2x and then miss the next turn (as in go to -1).

On another note, PTS is THE most broken battle system I've ever had the misfortune to play. Good luck making a fair boss without it feeling like it is just flat out cheating. About the only 'strategy' to that system is to cheese your way pass bosses by being NULL or Absorb to their main attack, and then they will never get a turn as Absorb takes away all their turns. And you're in series trouble if a random battle against an unknown enemy you use a skill they absorb as it costs EVERYONE their turn (and how were you to know it would absorb it unless you are using a guide on a first encounter?).

So no, please don't go that route. It's badly broken. I'll post a specific example in the spoilers below to elaborate more.

I played Shim Megami 4 and the first boss (Minotaur) gets 3 actions, but, if the RNG hates you it is possible for that boss to go 5 times, and there is NO way to survive 5 turns with everyone still standing short of major luck. Also did I mention this battle is before you got revival skills or items? So whomever they wail on is KO'd and you can't bring them back, at all.

As it is, all you can do is hope the RNGGoddess makes them pick 3 different targets for their 3 actions. Only then will you have a chance.
 
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CraneSoft

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I allow the player to have double turns by default once they learn a certain passive skill by mid-game (more if they can exploit weaknesses Persona / Shin Megami Tensei-style) - because there is only one playable character fighting many enemies at once and it was kind of necessary for balance so you don't get overwhelmed. In a sense, it's like playing as bosses except you don't have boss-level HP.

It is still pretty difficult to balance because player can now do fun combinations like Focus / Charge + unleash a powerful attack on the same turn (or more), heal and attack at the same time, or attack first and then defend right before the turn ends to halve all the damage taken. And these options can potentially give too much advantage to the player and needs to be tweaked.

The Press Turn System example above is a great way to implement extra turns to both the player and the enemy, although it will also shift the focus of the combat drastically to heavily rely on exploiting weaknesses and critical hits.
 

bgillisp

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@CraneSoft : I find myself that actually moves the game to a Guide-Dang-It. You either need to be set up to resist everything, or a random battle can KO you as you accidentally use a skill they absorb (as you didn't know what it can absorb as it is a first encounter unless you are using a guide) and there go all your turns, now good luck living as they wail on you.

Now if you were going for a Rogue-like where dying and starting over constantly is normal, I think it would be more fair. But in an RPG, you have to be careful or it's going to turn the entire game into a find a guide and use it to have a fighting chance. And sure, as a dev you will know, but how will your players know what the enemy is weak to? You got to think about that and what happens if they don't guess right (as it is a guess in some cases).
 
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Engr. Adiktuzmiko

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I kinda like the idea of additional turns, or simply no actual limit on your turns. If done correctly, it adds a bit more tactical approach to the game. If done poorly, it can either be super bad or game breaking.
 

CraneSoft

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@bgillisp No, it was standard trial-and-error with high risk, high reward touch to it, (Guide-Dang-It are things that are so cryptic and are literally impossible to figure out without a guide) not willing to try out if enemy resists an element? You can always use neutral attacks and learn their weakness from a bestiary later.

The only reason PTS is notorious is because the games that use it (SMT) is absolutely merciless - normal enemies can come in groups of 6, can ambush you randomly (that you have no control over, which is why you have random party wipes), and almost every single one of them can use AoE attacks (hoping to hit at least one weakness your party) and waste you in a single turn. (That's not even going into "game over when the main character is dead" memes in a game where there are instant kill attacks)

Not all of us needs to be that merciless when it comes to difficulty - players should be able to recover from a bad ambush or one mistake.
 
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bgillisp

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Now that sounds better. My point was just to please don't implement it exactly as SMT does, as that system in that form needs major improvement.
 

CraneSoft

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The battle system in Persona 4 / 5 is basically a revamped PTS (that isn't called PTS but operates on the same concept) that removes the penalty from missing attacks/hitting immunities, and limits the number of extra turns you can get from exploiting weaknesses - in exchange for adding a "Downed" debuff on the victim that removes their evasion and makes them take more damage until it's their turn.

The SMT version works better for my case because it actually works in favor of the player - you only have 2 press icons at max per turn so even at worst case scenario you lose one action instead of 3 in a 4 man party, and enemies still risk losing all their turns if they hit your immunity.

So I would say, in the end it's up to how you balance your game around the system you decide to use.
 

Tai_MT

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Ooo! Multiple turns! The thing that allowed me to break Final Fantasy X until the game threw a hard curve ball at me that I never figured out the solution to (killing Sin in the air before it hit me with instant-death Overdrive)! Man, I miss breaking that game so bad! Oh, Rikku has the highest Agility because she's a thief and routinely gets 2-4 actions per every one action of the enemy? Well... let me level her up a bit... and then shove her into the archetype of my strongest hitter... And now she's hitting as much damage as my strongest hitter... and getting 4 turns for every one action of the enemy. DPS FTW. It got even funnier when I'd drop "Haste" on her and give her an extra two turns a fight... and then dropped her back into her own skill tree to finish getting all the Agility buffs... which eventually gave her NINE turns to every enemy's ONE... and she was routinely hitting the hardest on the team. Seriously, I broke the freakin' game. It was glorious.

That aside... I'm not sure I've ever played an RPG where extra turns didn't just outright break the game in some capacity.

Though, to be quite fair... if you win combat in very few actions anyway... extra turns aren't going to matter all that much. Your enemies are going to need to be significantly more "robust" to make even getting extra actions worth it. After all, if my party of four can wipe out your party of 8 monsters with a single cast of "Super Ultimate Mega Death Beam Flare Exploder 8.9", then I have no need for extra turns as a player, do I?

So, I forsee a few limiting factors of such a system:

1. Your enemies will need to be fairly robust to prevent easy and instant death by any single action in order to promote multiple actions.
2. Multiple actions are pretty much going to be necessary, so you're going to need to make combat interesting in some way in order to keep it fresh for the player and prevent burn-out.
3. Balancing is going to be a nightmare. You'll likely be running 4 or 5x as many Playtests on combat than most of us here on these forums just to ensure an extra turn here or there doesn't break your encounter... or not getting an extra turn here or there doesn't cause unnecessary game overs.

So, if you have extra turns, you're working within a very narrow scope and balancing is going to be a huge concern. A single extra action or lack of extra action can be game over for your player or rofl-stomp victory for that same player.

Personally, I'd just award extra actions through a specific trigger and then put some kind of "cooldown" on them so you don't get an extra action again for a while. I'd recommend 3 rounds, but depending on how squishy your enemies are... five rounds might work too (if very squishy, increase the amount of rounds you do before you can get an extra action again. If enemies are not very squishy, consider every 3 rounds). With a cooldown, it will be at least easier to find "optimized play" for an enemy and allow balancing to be far easier. After all, if you can calculate the maximum amount of "extra turns" a player is likely to get in combat as well as the minimum, you can balance somewhere in between.
 

Basileus

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I guess it really depends on what can be done with the extra turn. Limiting actions on the bonus turn could be a balancing lever. There's a lot of ways to do it though so it really depends on the mechanic you are referring to.

Dragon Quest often gives bosses 2 actions per turn. This makes them more threatening since they can do things like remove all your buffs and cast a big spell in the same turn. Or they can just smack the same character twice and leave them at critical health. There are even a handful of normal enemies with extra turns, like skeletons that have an extra pair of arms. Players and enemies can also gain bonus actions by using crowd control effects like charm/fear/knockdown/stun/etc. to make the target unable to act during their next turn. The target still gets a "turn" but they can't do anything so it's like getting a free turn.

Final Fantasy X and Hyperdimension Neptunia show the order that the party and enemy will act in for several turns in advance and have a few effects that can manipulate this turn order. Usually this is some form of turn delay that pushes the target's next action back a bit. And yes, this can be absurdly broken when you can delay an enemy's turn forever. There are also some mechanics like making certain actions only take a half turn that can alter the order to let you act again sooner - usually this seems to be a way to not punish you for taking less effective actions, like when using items.

Fate/Extra also has the Extra Attack, which is a bonus action that triggers automatically. Each round of combat consists of 6 actions and the actions have a rock-paper-scissors style triangle. If the player or an enemy counter 3 actions in a row then they get an Extra attack which can't be countered. This means it is possible to get 2 Extra Attacks each round if you perfectly counter the enemy's strategy (and that you can be hit by 2 Extra Attacks if you get perfectly countered). It doesn't sound like much, but it's one of the only sources of "free" damage in the game so it makes things a lot easier if you get them while also requiring some effort to get.

But everything depends on how the combat system works and what kinds of actions players/enemies can have. You could build your entire combat system around needing to work for that extra turn in order to survive, or you could just make it an overpowered bonus effect that you limit with some resource for the occasional cool moment. The actual mechanics of getting the extra turn and the limitations on what can be done during the extra turn should help determine where it fits in your game's battle system.
 

Kaylie

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I'll just put 2 extreme examples to demonstrate the effect of extra turns based on the game balance and meta.

1. If game meta is based around huge combo from heavily buffed characters, then extra turns breaks the game. (like FF titles)
2. If game meta is based around small incremental advantage built up by careful planning, then it would be fun. (Like Octopath)
 

CuddleFox

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In my game, you can act twice per turn, the big plus is the strategy that combinations of two attacks can bring and which is totally absent from the classic system of one action per turn.
And it's very easy to balance. You take the spells you would have put for a one-turn system, you divide the values of healing and attacks by two and that's it. For real.
I also suggest doing short animations, 8 actions per turn is long.
 

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