I really like what Fourth Edition Dungeons & Dragons does with attack types. In the previous edition, you had physical attacks divided into melee and ranged attacks. You’d occasionally get weird feats and class features that would allow you to do other stuff, but mostly it was just melee and ranged attacks.

Magic got weird. You could have cone effects, blasts, lines (a line of acid, fire, or lightning, for instance), bursts, rays, emanations (and auras), walls, columns, cubes… it got kind of ridiculous. Fourth Edition takes those attack types and simplifies them dramatically. Now you get (mainly) four attack types, with some subcategories:

Melee, Ranged, Close (burst or blast), and Area (burst)

There’s also the “wall” type, but you mostly only get those with spellcasters (who incidentally make up something like 2/3 of all character classes). Even then, wall effects are kind of rare. Oh, and there are “zones” (which Third Edition had, too). Those mostly take the form of one of the above types … usually a burst.

Now, when I was thinking about them the other day, it occurred to me that having all attacks fall under a few, specific types is pretty handy for shaping the way battle unfolds, but I think there are a few that could be added, tweaked, or improved. Plus, though it might not seem immediately obvious by looking at them, there are some interesting tactics that could be altered to make combat more varied and dynamic.

I’ll give you a list of what I came up with, to think about for next time:
(Fourth Edition) Melee, Ranged, Close (burst and blast), Area (burst)

Charge, Flank, Readied, Press, Close (aura), Ongoing, Stance, Wall, Zone

Some of them already exist as keywords (and some are entirely new), but my thought is integrating them more fully into the combat system, by assigning them to more powers, across more classes.