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Monster Keep: Making the cut!

I just wanted to report that the current version of "Monster Keep" (MK) that was trimmed and streamlined ... may yet make the cut! I feel like the game while it is in it's simplest form is ... in need of some more TLC TBH because it's more analytical and has much more depth with regards to the strategy.

I went through 23 Versions of this product to conclude that the END RESULT was that it was a challenge when playtesting. I'm sure may some people would like the game... But if don't approve of my own designs ... Well that clearly means that they are very "lack-luster". MK is being worked on to improve the overall "experience" for all kinds of gamers not only card game players.

I still have plans to sell ONLINE the cards and manufacture in small batches (200 cards sets) ... We'll see if it work out or not, the prototype is PLAYABLE but still requires a bit more playtesting and some "figuring out"!

I had moved on to another project which I've been working more in detail with the various rules (I'll say that maybe 60% of the rules have been penned down) for the newest game to the roster of projects that I currently have going.

Also there is "Crystal Heroes" (CH) which I am still looking for a Publisher. The problem with that project is that I am no longer certain if the artist will be available for more art...? That's a bit of a bummer because I feel like ATM I cannot predict how the development of this game can follow. I had a 9-Year plan and some cool ideas that the Publisher could adapt and have a steady income over the years to ensure the popularity of the game and the fun it is to collect the tiles from different Houses/Races...

So that project is in limbo too...

About the only good news that I have is that my business partner over at OLG has promised to re-pay me the $3,000 USD (or more precisely $4,000 CAD) for the art that Charles did for the EARLY Tradewars cards. OLG has not made payment for the art that was used in the product and via the Kickstarter project. Basically we agreed that OLG would pay for ALL ART. And so I'm still waiting for the balance to be paid to me as I fronted this money to Charles prior to OLG being involved in the project.

That will definitely help the company a bit ... As I try to figure out what it is that I should do... (How to bring income to the company and myself at the same time...) It's a bit of a balancing act for sure.

So that wraps it up for my update(s) with the various projects. I'm still working hard on the LATEST project and we'll see when I can make a prototype once the boxes arrive from China and we'll see how many card FIT into the boxes when they are SLEEVED...

Keep you all updated as to the progress of that design in another thread.

Cheers all!


What if...

You gather oppinions. And if one starts popping up a lot. You consider changing on this one particular?

Opinion on which game???

"Monster Keep" (MK)???

It's gone through 23 Versions and is totally "streamlined". There is not much I or anyone else can do about this game. It has reached a "wall" so-to-speak but I'm working to get around this hurdle. I would maybe be open up to ideas. But not many ppl share them TBH. I actually think that most ppl DON'T share their ideas but are only looking for ideas from other ppl (Hehehe!).

"Crystal Heroes" (CH)???

Update: I got word from my artist... But am not sure with all these projects how to move forwards. Obviously if Self-Publishing CH is an option ... I might want to consider it. But my artist is super-busy and I really need to figure out how I am going to bring SOME of these Projects to a Goal Line. It's not obvious ATM ... But I could get a helping hand with some traffic... But we'll have to wait and see!

"TradeWorlds" (TW)???

For this game, I am NOT in the "driver's seat". Stan from OLG is running the KS campaign and according to his OWN schedule. There is little that I can do to speed up the process. The EU will no doubt ship around the start of October 2023 and it is what it is... As far as the monies are concerned, that we need to see at the END of the campaign so after the EU fulfillment.

"Project X" (X)???

I've already shown you three (3) sample "prototype" cards for this project. Nobody else at the moment because I am STILL "working on it"! When some of my projects are in EARLY STAGES, I don't like to share the progress until I have a working prototype. When the prototype is done (but not final), I usually post about the game and talk about it a bit. For now, X is still not a prototype only a collection of ideas and a couple sample cards ATM.

So you'll have to be more CLEAR which "project" I should gather opinions on...?


Oh yeah ... The Boxes have arrived from China

For "Project X" the boxes have arrived, I need to pick them up. Maybe tomorrow!

Probably in the afternoon depending on the temperature (if it is raining or not). I am anxious to see HOW "many" cards fit into one (1) box. That's really the key here... I'm not hoping for a miracle but we'll see. I THINK that ATM there will NOT be sufficient SPACE. IDK, it's a GUT feeling TBH.

I'll take a walk tomorrow and pick them up. Might as well face reality and see what the result is TBH.


Well, the title of this blog says

Monster Keep

But I guess it goes for all games.

I do suggest changing the name of "Project X"

Instead of the X, you could do something else?

Monster Keep (MK) ... Game break-down

So let me start by explaining some of the preliminary rounds...


1: Each player has a fifteen (15) card deck which they shuffle prior to playing. A Maximum of THREE (3) of the same card may be configured into a player's Deck.

2: The game requires four (4) standard D6 dice, three (3) the same color and one (1) a different color (I prefer White dice & 1 Black one).

3: Also required is a scorecard for both players which is available too (See below for the scorecard).

4: A dry-erase marker is required.


1: First one player rolls the four (4) dice.

2: Players decide for each die to allocate Power, Skill, Magic or Arcane. So if I roll a 2, 4, 4, 5 (B)... I can get "2" Power, "4 Skill", "4" Magic and "5" Arcane.

3: Next selection of which die to BOOST with the "Arcane" die... In my example I would boost the POWER : "2" + "5" = "7" Power.

So I would get "7" Power, "4" Skill and "4" Magic... Not too bad.

4: Mark each STAT "track" with a line at the corresponding level. So in our example I would mark BEFORE the 8th checkbox the "Power" level. Do so for all three (3) resource levels (Power, Skill and Magic).

Playing the game

Round #1: Each player draws five (5) cards from his Deck and into his hand. Next each player chooses three (3) cards they will put into the play area. Before placing then, players must choose a VALUE (Reach) from 1 to 5 for each card they will play face-down (the three cards in Round #1). And one card be the wildcard. So only ONE ("1") only ONE ("2"), etc.

The "Reach" is because you may only attack a card with a Reach EQUAL or BELOW your Monsters own "Reach" Value...

Next a player must decide if he KEEPS or discards the two (2) remaining monsters in his hand. This will determine how many cards he draws in Round #2...

Round #1.5: Each Player reveals from LEFT to RIGHT their "3" Monsters from Round #1 (Reveal). "Passive" Card Abilities are handled immediately.

Round #2: Each player draws again cards from the Deck. Five (5) minus the amount that was kept from the previous Round. So if I had kept BOTH cards (2 of them), I would only draw three (3) cards from the Deck.

Same as before, players choose now TWO (2) cards and play then into play and they also must assign a "Reach" value too (from those remaining).

Again players are given the option to keep up to two (2) cards and discard one (1) because there are three (3) remaining cards in a player's hand (because each player played 2 cards into the play area).

Round #2.5: Each Player reveals from LEFT to RIGHT their "2" Monsters from Round #2 (Reveal). "Passive" Card Abilities are handled immediately.

Round #3: Is the same but players only play ONE (1) last card (and only assign that one card the remaining "Reach" Value).

Round #3.5: Each Player reveals their "1" Monster from Round #3 (Reveal). "Passive" Card Abilities are handled immediately.

All of this is GREAT, simple and not too hard to understand. I'll leave the Fourth (4th) Round, the "Battle Round" once you tell me if this is all understood and comprehensible and that there are no questions.

Cards are played like an INVERTED PYRAMID:

That's the WHOLE set-up and strategic play of making the game READY for COMBAT.

COMBAT is the primary problem and I'll post that NEXT...


Some additional explanations

So you're wondering WHY(?) are all these Round so similar??? Well the idea is to set-up the "Monster Keep" (Levels 1 to 3) with Monsters. Each Monster has a "Reach" Value from 1 to 5 and ONE (1) Wildcard which allows that card to ATTACK ANY OTHER CARD (completely ignoring the "Reach" Value).

The "Reach" value is also the HP of a Monster. In the Combat Round players TRY to ATTACK Monsters with the AIM of reducing their "Reach" (And HP) such that at the end of the Combat Round, ALL the HP is added together and forms the score.

The player with the HIGHER score WINS the game.

If you remember the "Reach" is a value of 1 to 5... Right? So this means we have five (5) cards: 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 5 = 15 Points is a PERFECT game. The wildcard does NOT have a point value ... Just allows that Monster to attack ANY other Monster.

So in the first few rounds, the goal is to SET-UP a Victorious group of Monsters such that you have a HIGHER score in the end. Combat is my MAIN issue but you probably see already that the game is very "streamlined".

Let's first ensure that everyone understands what happens in the ROUNDS PRIOR to "Combat"...

Let's just discuss some of my "challenges" and what I did...

So initially there was supposed to be OPERATORS ("+", "-", "x", "/", "^"). But it just made the game TOO complicated to play. You would assign values much like in the current version but it would be with the GOAL of forming an EQUATION. I got rid of all of that... Because it was HARD and BORING. Even the ADDITION at the end of the current "Battle Round" is enough... Adding six (6) values and getting a SCORE is MUCH easier that trying to create some kind of equation at the end...

So a LOT of "streamlining" to get to this 23rd Version of the game.

Don't ask about the operators and stuff like that. It's all GONE. 15 points is all you get now. And the player with the HIGHER score in the end is the winner!

BTW I haven't explained the Combat Round

I will wait until the previous Rounds are all understood and that there are no additional questions that have gone unanswered. Understanding the previous Rounds is important because there is a LOT of "strategy" when playing cards to the play area and determining their "Reach" (or HP) value.

It may seem deceptively SIMPLE ... And it is. But it's really very strategic. And it's also all Deterministic too!

As you can see you have SIX (6) CARDS per player. That's it! And believe me that is a LOT when you see how the Battle Round is played. More of this later and you'll see I made a LOT of compromises to make the game PLAYABLE during the Combat Round.

But we'll wait on that... For now. Let's see if the previous Rounds are all understood(?!)

Some additional thoughts

If you notice each Track on the Scorecard (Power, Skill and Magic) has TWELVE (12) checkboxes. This is because AT MOST you can have "6" for a stat PLUS the "Arcane" die gives "6" + "6" = "12". How each Player configures their resource points is up to them...

We have not talked about them... Because they are USED in the Combat Round!

So I'll get to that soon enough. I maybe can show a SAMPLE Card too...

Soon enough. One thing at a time. I'm sure you're all already ready for the Combat Round because the other preliminary Rounds are pretty straight-forward TBH...!

What do you think???

So far the Keep and the Resources (PSMA) all seem cool and the populating the Keep with the six (6) monster per side seems pretty decent, no?! I like this part of the game... What I'm not sure about is HOW(?) to handle the final Round which is the "Combat Round".

Let me preface this with some things that we know:

#1: We have six (6) Monster per side.
#2: We have 5 values for each from 1 to 5 and one wildcard.
#3: We want the Combat Round to follow after this setup...

How do you think COMBAT should play out???

Number of combat rounds

How many combat rounds are there?
If it is just one. Well, players need to prepare as much as possible for it.

There is a big difference between a strategy game that only prepares. And a strategy game that has tactics involved. Which means that the outcome of a battle is roughly expected and then has to be planned for the outcome of a war.

If it works for your game and you have only 1 battle. You can make this battle more interesting. Since the handling will be different than the rest of the game. Right?

You understood my problem... I think!

Yes there is ONLY ONE (1) Battle Round. Now remember that EACH Monster has a VALUE (except the wildcards). So let me explain a bit what is happening before we discuss the "Battle Round" itself.

Firstly there are SIX (6) Cards and a bit of Analysis-Paralysis (AP) because a player must choose WHICH "Monster" to attack and what OPPOSING "Monster" is to defend. Imagine SIX (6) Cards and you don't know what to do...

Let's call that "Problem #1"...

Before jumping to another issue, let's look at this FIRST problem in greater detail. OK???

So which Monster do you ATTACK WITH and WHAT MONSTER do you attack?

Some things to think about are:

1. Each "Reach" when attacked successfully is lowered and some may reach ZERO (0) or no HP and that Monster is "knocked-out".

2. When is it appropriate to use your "wildcard" Monster?

3. How many times should a Monster be allowed to battle? And how to avoid AP at this level also.

Here was my earlier conclusion:

A> A "Monster" can only Battle ONCE (one opposing Monster)...

That creates less confusion and reduces the amount of AP for sure. But is it the right solution for the game??? IDK. It just makes the game BORING...

Maybe instead it should be:

B> #1 attacks #1, #2 attacks #2, etc.

C> The wildcard can subsequently attack whichever Monster the players wants.

Again the RULES here are the problem... No rules = complete CHAOS and AP... Some rules possible but lead to a BORING GAME...

What are you thoughts??? I've presented some material ... And explained the current "Battle Round", an alternative approach, and IDK how to improve the "Battle Round" further (or even take it in another direction ...)

Let me share a bit of an example...

Like say Player #1 has all six (6) of his Monsters and chooses his Monster "Reach 5" to attack his opponent's "Reach 5"... And he deals "2 Damage", so the opponent goes from "5 to 3"...

What this does is create 2x "3" for Player #2.

And I just thought right now, maybe(?) there can be COMBOS (not sure!)

What you can CONCLUDE is that Player #1 "Reach 5" cannot be attacked but ONLY with the opponent Wildcard Monster...

So let's say Player #2 uses his "Wildcard" to attack "Reach 5"... And deals "1 Damage"... Player #1 now has 2x "4"...

But IDK ... This all seems BORING TBH. I've played and I must admit, it DOES NOT excite me... It's more cerebral and a lot of THOUGHT and remember with EACH Damage you are DEALING... You lower the fifteen (15) point total to your odds of winning the game.

Really ... IDK. It doesn't do anything for me...?!

Note #1: After each player has attacked the cards looks like this:

Player #1: W, 4(E), 4, 3, 2, 1 = 14 Points
Player #2: W(E), 3, 4, 3, 2, 1 = 13 Points

Of there could be some kind of LOGICAL SEQUENCE to continue... But in my LOGIC Player #1's "5" which became a "4" ATTACKED and is therefore "exhausted" and can no longer attack. Player #2's Wildcard ATTACK and it is also "exhausted" (turn side-ways)...

This limits the amount of MOVES (or ATTACKS) possible. But again ... It doesn't EXCITE me... Know-what-I-mean???

Also if a Monster gets EXHAUSTED, does that mean it cannot be ATTACKED???

Note #2: Or you can go with a DIFFERENT strategy like this (for example):

Instead of "Battling" with the strongest cards ... You TRY to eliminate cards. So let's say Player #1 uses his "Reach 3" Monster to attack Player #2 "Reach 2" Monster... And he deals "2 Damage"...

What this does is KNOCKS-OUT Player #2 "Reach 2" Monster (2 - 2 = 0 HP)... The scoring is the same Player #2 goes from "15 to 13".

So Player #2 decides to attack "Reach 1" against Player #2 "Reach 1" and deals "1 Damage" and therefore KNOCKS-OUT Player #1's Monster.

Player #1: W, 5, 4, 3(E), 2, 0 = 14 Points
Player #2: W, 5, 4, 3, 0, 1(E) = 13 Points

And each side has lost ONE (1) Monster and "Exhausted" ONE (1) Monster each...

IDK... It's too CEREBRAL and TOO MUCH THINKING... Like I said, it feels like a mediocre game ATM. Yeah there is BATTLING going on... It's just that you need to THINK a LOT and there are multiple paths to try and you only get one chance to TRY to defeat your opponent.

Let me know what you think and if you have ANY ideas to share!

Only health tracking?

Well, I don't have the problem with AP anymore.
And I do a 1 on 1 battle.
So, if you defeat your opponent, it is done.

However, I have more than 1 combat round. You can also fight other targets later on.

But in all other versions, a card could do multiple attacks. The attacks would defeat the opponents one by one.
And example would be a flame tank in my hobby game, with 12 projectiles. If all did their damage, you often did 15 hits. And then you could defeat not 1, but 3 infantry units. The damage simply went to the next target.
If it was 14, then 1 target would have 1 health left.
If it was 16, then 1 target would have 4 health left.

Maybe you can do something like that?

So far not too bad except for the ending...

X3M wrote:
Well, I don't have the problem with AP anymore. And I do a 1 on 1 battle. So, if you defeat your opponent, it is done.

See that's the thing... Battles ARE 1 on 1. But there are questions as to surviving and exhaustion versus knocking-out an opponent's Monster (for example).

X3M wrote:
However, I have more than 1 combat round. You can also fight other targets later on.

MY "Battle Round" is comprised of multiple attacks too... Above was an example of ONE (1) ATTACK and RETALIATION (Player #1 vs. Player #2 and then Player #2 vs. Player #1)... Just so you could get a feel for HOW Combat is resolved.

X3M wrote:
But in all other versions, a card could do multiple attacks. The attacks would defeat the opponents one by one.

Okay I don't want the Combat Round to last TOO LONG. That's why I said, when a card ATTACKS, it becomes "exhausted". There are still FIVE (5) other Monsters in Round #2 (of the Battle Round) to attack with... So there are still possibilities.

But here's a QUESTION for you to consider:

Q: Should a Monster become EXHAUSTED if its ATTACK FAILS???

I'm not sure about this... You obviously pass your turn if you have a failed attack and then your opponent is on the offensive. So MAYBE(?) a Monster SHOULD NOT be "exhausted" if its attack fails?!?!

X3M wrote:
And example would be a flame tank in my hobby game, with 12 projectiles. If all did their damage, you often did 15 hits. And then you could defeat not 1, but 3 infantry units. The damage simply went to the next target.
If it was 14, then 1 target would have 1 health left.
If it was 16, then 1 target would have 4 health left.

Maybe you can do something like that?

I don't have PROJECTILES, I have ATTACK RATIOS. A card may do from 0 to 3 Damage + Interrupt Tactics which can deal more damage also.

Example #1 = (8/0/0): One dice + the Arcane die must be "8" or higher to deal "2 Damage". It is highly likely that this Monster will deal "2 Damage" but a bad dice roll could miss with 0 Damage.

Example #2 = (5/5/5): Three dice can deal "3 Damage" but must be five or higher to have ONE (1) successful hit. If you roll "3" FIVES (5) or higher, you would deal "3 Damage". You would probably deal "1 Damage" as a minimum with the Arcane die ... But it is possible to miss with 0 Damage too.

Example #3 = (6/0/6): Two dice can deal "1 Damage" each (for a total of 2 Damage) but require sixes for EACH die roll. If you use the Arcane die, you probably would only score "1 Damage" and the other two (2) dice are misses.

Right NOW (in terms of explanation) there is a bit of a PROBLEM:

Problem #2: How to use Resources and how they impact the game???

So let's say (6/0/6) was the Monster's Attack. It could produce Damage of "1 Power", "0 Skill" and "1 Magic". If you dealt both Damage... What does this MEAN???

A> You should deduct "1 Power" + "1 Magic" from your pool of available MANA?

B> You should deduct EITHER "1 Power" OR "1 Magic" from your Mana Pool?

This is also a problem too... TOO MUCH "Mana uses" results in Mana Screwed. TOO LITTLE "Mana uses" result in Mana Flooded...

Could "Option B" be a bit of a balance??? IDK TBH.

Okay that's enough for now... I don't want to make it TOO HARD to follow.

Let me know what you think so far.

Remember the Mana Pools are decided at the START of the GAME

So when you roll all "4 Dice" you can AT MOST get:

6 + 6 + 6 + 6 = 24 Mana Points.

Player's ONLY get fifteen (15) HP for six (6) Monsters. A poor ROLL causes a Mana Screwed scenario ... Whereas as 20+ causes a Mana Flooded scenario.

The average is LESS ... And I would guess around 14 to 16 points (on average).

I'm not sure about RESOURCES TBH... Let's discuss and see what comes of it.


Note #1: The Question should be:

Q: Should there be a direct or indirect correlation between Mana and Damage dealt?

That's my point...

Note #2: Also the GOAL is NOT for BOTH players to end up with a SCORE of ZERO ("0 Points") each. Your game is fine because you don't care how many Units survive... I DO!

I don't want it to be "0 vs. 0"... Maybe like "10 vs. 8" or something like that. This is ANOTHER important point...

Every question. I think you

Every question.

I think you should test them.

And if you think they are linked somehow, or influence each other.

Test the different combinations.

Personally, I think that if an attack fails or succeeds. In both cases a monster should be exhausted. Or both cases, a monster is NOT exhausted.

After further REVIEW...

Each Monster has a series of POSSIBLE "Attack" Sources. These sources come from the Mana Stats (PSM: Power, Skill or Magic). When you ATTACK you SPEND ONE (1) of these Mana sources.

So if a Monster ONLY has "Power" his attack will cost "1 Power" and the use of his "Tactic" ALSO will cost "1 Power" (If Direct or Interrupt).

But if a Monster has "Skill or Magic", the Attacking Player gets to choose WHICH Mana source is to be used. So it can EITHER be "1 Skill" or "1 Magic".

If an attack fails, that Monster is not "Exhausted" but the Resource cost MUST be paid (It will cost for each attack "1" something).

Therefore you can better MANAGE your Resources (Mana) according to which source you have more of and which cards have other Stats (Like Skill and/or Magic).

That's ALMOST it... There is still a RPS-5 that is also included... Which I won't explain, it only decides when a Monster may or may not attack. Here is the RPS-5 for clearer explanation:

Melee => Explosive => Ranged => Wizardry => Flying => Melee

Each cards has a ATTACK TYPE and two (2) TYPES it is resistant to. So for example of my Monster is "Flying" it is resistant to both "Melee" and "Explosive" ATTACK TYPES. And it means that it can ONLY be attacked by "Ranged", "Wizardry" or "Flying" Monsters.

This is another DETAIL to LIMIT the amount of Damage that can be DEALT. Again more RULES that maybe clutter the design unnecessarily. But at the same time it make the game "tighter" in that less points will be scores. It's goal is to LIMIT the AP... When there are six (6) Monsters in play.

IDK... Maybe this is too many rules...?

I understand what you mean...

X3M wrote:
Every question. I think you should test them. And if you think they are linked somehow, or influence each other. Test the different combinations.

Okay I will try tomorrow. I'll test the "EXHAUST" vs. "ATTACK COSTING MANA". The real issue is not that it is EXHAUSTED but as you say: "WHEN it should be exhausted it should be the same for ALL Monsters..."

See I'm TRYING to LIMIT the amount of choice available to ATTACK.

I don't want ALL the Monsters to be able to attack ALL the OPPONENT's Monsters. That would be very BAD "design" and it would lead to the "0 vs. 0" scenario which is NOT what I want.

Obviously I want SOMEONE to WIN. But at the same time, it has to do with the decisions made during the game and not PURE LUCK. But also I don't want the choice of one "Reach Level" (think HP) to ruin the entire game ... Because a player chose "4" instead "5" for example.

I will do some playtests tomorrow... Maybe the design is better than I THINK it is... IDK.

From what I have explained, does this game "intrigue" you???

IDK how I feel. Maybe it is okay... But my NEW game is WAY BETTER... COMBOS and all kind of cool Tactics. It's like comparing Ice Cream to Spinach. Only some rare people will prefer the Spinach... People on some kind of Health Diet and the remaining of people will choose Ice Cream! Hahaha.

Here is a sample card (Version 23)

I'm just including this card as REFERENCE... Like I've said before: "A picture is worth a thousand words". So here it is:

The blank flag is your "Reach/HP Value" (which is assigned during play), the (8/0/0) is the attack stats and the "1" is the Build Points. So maybe I've said this before, a Deck is comprised of a MAXIMUM of "30" Build Points. You may also have three (3) of the SAME card in your Deck provided that the maximum of "30" Build Points is respected.

The "Power" means that it costs "1 Power" to ATTACK and to use the "Explosive Charge" Ability (also "1 Power").

The "E-R-W" means that this card's ATTACK TYPE is "Explosive" and is resistant to "Ranged" and "Wizardry" ATTACKS.

Pretty simple TBH ... Even though it may seemed more complicated in the textual explanations. For sure an image is easier to comprehend than a wall of text. so I just added this for "good measure".

Please let me know if anyone has questions concerning the card or any of the rules mentioned above.


Note #1: You'll notice that this card is VERY "streamlined"! I've taken a great deal of time and playtesting to get it to this very version (Version 23). Unfortunately the playtesting that I've done has NOT made this game as "interesting" as I might have hope for. That's a bit why I am reaching out to this designer community to share their thoughts on this game given some rules and some sample cards (images).

I will playtest this game tonight (around 8-ish) to see if it is still as I remember it (a bit neutral in play) and to see if there are any rules I can talk about that are "prohibitive" or in opposition of the game being a FUN and small little card game.

We'll see... TBH IDK!

Note #2: A brief "abridged" version of what this card can do and how it should be "interpreted" and it goes like this:

This Monster can deal "4 Damage" at a cost of "2 Power". Both "2 Damage" from the Monster's Tactic and the "2 Damage" from its Attack are conditional (due to the card's ATTACK TYPE). But with the RIGHT "target" and "good" dice rolls (which are highly FAVORABLE) makes this card deal most of the time "4 Damage".

Something like that is the overarching analysis of this Monster card.

How is the playtesting going???

Well it takes about 15 Minutes to do Rounds #1 to #3 including the "Reach/HP" Levels and selection of the cards for "Battle Round". I have PAUSED the game at the START of the "Battle Round"... It too takes some time also ... I would probably guess another 15 to 20 Minutes for the "Battle Round" to be resolved.

I'm not there yet... I've worked on this STREAMLINED version (Version 23) a LOT and I've playtested it sufficiently to know ... For me (anyhow) this is where the "tweaking" ends.

The problem with the game is that there is DEEPER strategy than I even think about. Is that good or bad, I'm not sure TBH!?

It's HARD to play BOTH sides of the Table since it's NOT a DUEL per se... It's more of me PLAYTESTING and not getting the FULL experience to strategize further. Right?! Because I know what both sides cards are like ... Even if I approach it from an ABSTRACT level (and try to play the best for BOTH sides), I know more about the OPPONENT's hand and cards and that can impact the card selection a bit too...

In 10-Minutes I will resume the playtest and see HOW(?) it goes.

I will first RECORD the assigned "Reach/HP" Levels on each of the scorecards so that I CAN REPEAT the SAME SETUP with multiple options. Something that I have done in the past to SAVE TIME on not having to draw and play cards ... And JUST to FOCUS on the "Battle Round" so-to-speak.

I've done this before and it works well.

IDK ... For me the game is not as FUN (maybe because I am playtesting vs. actually PLAYING the game). And what is the difference??? Well it would allow me to FOCUS on ONE SIDE and pay more attention to the opponent's cards vis-a-vis my own.

It's close (playtesting vs. playing) but there are some difference in that it's hard to be NEUTRAL to BOTH SIDES and also TRY to have a WINNING strategy for both players... You always kinda want to RESERVE your OWN strategy for one of the two Players ... But then it's not FAIR "playtesting" TBH!

Here's a PHOTOGRAPH of the LAYOUT (in detail)

I've edited this POST ... I'm still working on the PROTOTYPE (Version 23) and doing some of my further playtesting via chat.

Please forgive me as I am not ready to make the game 200% public...

There are still matters to IRON-OUT and for the moment I am dialoguing with @X3M and sharing his personal feeling to questions I have about my OWN design.

Anyways I'll post back on the RESULTS of those discussions to see what I can conclude from the latest PLAYTESTING session. Conclusion #1 is that there will be NO ATTACK TYPES. That RPS-5 which was DECENT just does NOT WORK for MK. The number of actions are already LIMITED, extra limitation is NOT NEEDED.

So keep you all in the LOOP... Cheers.

What's all the fuss about???

With some CLEAR and CONCISE "RULES" ... "Monster Keep" (MK) has some more potential than I thought earlier. I guess some RAMPANT "playtesting" was NECESSARY!

Why do I say this?!

Well it sure looked like the "Battle Round" was lacking DIRECTION and FOCUS. However NOW with some of the KEY decisions in making that Round better, it looks like the game isn't so boring and uninteresting as I thought earlier.

I guess I LIKE "RULES" and "STRUCTURE". Furthermore as the DESIGNER I NEED to understand what is the best approach in different circumstances in the game. Something that I was VERY unsure about.

Anyhow ... More playtesting TOMORROW... If I hear from @X3M!

With regards to: "Only Health Tracking?"

No @X3M, the "HP/Reach" Levels is not the only thing that is being tracked. Tactics and Mana Resources also need to be tracked "separately" on the Scorecard.

Tactics are tracked on each Monster Card and can ONLY be used ONCE per game!

Whereas Mana Resources are tracked during the first THREE (3) Rounds when a Passive Ability is triggered (It costs 1 Mana Resource) and during the "Battle Round" as Direct and Interrupt Abilities are used, IN ADDITION to Mana used for Attack too.

Do there are THREE (3) things tracked in MK:

1. HP/Reach Levels
2. Use of Tactics on each Monster Card (Passive, Direct and Interrupt)
3. Mana used during the "Battle Round" for each and every ATTACK

But still that's more than plenty to TRACK!

I don't want to have too many "variables" that change and alter the game and I feel like this BLEND of three (3) things to be tracked is JUST sufficient.


Also heard back from @X3M as we go through the sample "Playtest", he made some good remarks and I explained some of my reasoning... We've BOTH concluded that IF the "Attack Type" RPS-5 is TOO RESTRICTIVE to REMOVE IT. So no more RPS-5 at that level of the game.


I will play TURN #2 for BOTH players soon... And report back to @X3M and see what again he thinks of the choices and options available to the players.

Keep you all informed as how things will change after the 2nd series of turns!

I'm on Turn #3 ... And I will test this turn out NEXT!

I guess where some of my "reluctance" with MK is because... You need to think a bit HOW(?) you are going to play your Monsters and then during the "Battle Round" you need to see "in-action" how that selection plays out against the enemy.

It's definitely MORE "cerebral" than a game of "Magic: the Gathering" (MtG). WHY(?)

Because MtG is more about building a 60-Card Deck and having a STRATEGY with that Deck. You may not use 100% of your deck but some cards will be present four times (4x) in a Deck. It's all about using the Deck's STRATEGY to play-out in order to WIN.

MK is very different in that all you have in-the-end is SIX (6) Cards/Monsters. How these Monsters play-out is HARD to predict. That's what makes me SUPER-CRITICAL about the game: it requires some brains.

And that THINKING is more than just a comparison of two (2) numbers it's tied to PROBABILITIES and DICE ODDS which vary from one (1) Card/Monster to the NEXT... The other important point is in MtG it is HARD to predict what the opponent has in mind for you. But in MK... You've only got SIX (6) Cards/Monsters per side and so it only take a minute or two to figure out what is your main opposition and how you should COUNTER the opponent's STRATEGY!

MK is VERY unique and is NOTHING like any of the Card Games out-there... Its "Expandable" Nature lends itself to the names of "Yu-Gi-Oh!", "Pokemon", "Hearthstone", "Magic: the Gathering" ... but it is in NO WAY similar to ANY of these games (none the least)!

And that's what I LIKE about MK: it's different.

Let you all know how Turn #3 plays out and the score after that turn...

Cheers all!

End of the "Battle Round"... And things to discuss further

The game ended with a Score of 7 to 7 Points; a TIE! All that for a tie... Hmm. Not very satisfactory. But there are clearly issues to be ironed out.

1> Should there be a RULE that forces the player to ATTACK a "LIVE" card/Monster in the LAST TURN of the "Battle Round" if possible???

2> If there is still ONE (1) or MORE "LIVE" Cards/Monsters on one side of the table... Should there be a kind of "Reward" or "Bonus" given to these cards/Monsters as they SURVIVED the "Battle Round"??

Those are my TWO (2) issues from the ENTIRE playtest. I've figure out MOST things and how the Mana Resources are to be used... But am left with what I must admit are "real" issues.

IDK... I'd like to see comments from the gallery... And see what anyone thinks in how things should be handled and what to do IN THIS SPECIFIC CASE. I'm very happy that it was a TIE because it brings more issues to light and a chance to discuss how to remedy(??) any of them.

Feel free to share your thoughts with me. Cheers!

Note #1: A TIE should not be permissible. And I HAVE A SOLUTION:

3> If a game is tied in Scorepoints, the player with the HIGHEST "LIVE" HP is declared the Winner!

In this case it would be Player #2 with "1 HP/Reach" Level Point. I think this makes 100% sense and would work to BREAK any TIE.

It would be IMPOSSIBLE for the "Reach" Level to be the SAME... Cause them BOTH cards could do BATTLE one LAST TIME and one player would end up VICTORIOUS!!!

Tell me what you think???

By this RULE: Player #2 won the game by "1 Point" to ZERO (0) Points! As Player #1 had no more LIVE Cards/Monsters.

Sounds to me LOGICAL... And simple to determine and understand!

Note #2: There is still an issue if there are NO "LIVE" Cards/Monsters and both sides have the SAME Points. What to do in THIS CASE???

It's not the case that we had in this playtest... But it is never-the-less a possibility.

Again something to think about and consider...?!


I was going to wonder IF each "Tactic" and "Attack" should use ONE (1) or ALL of the Resources of a given "Monster".

For example, "Mercurian Speed" has a PASSIVE Monster Tactic = "First to activate starts the Battle Round." And Mana usage is Skill + Magic.

The question on MY mind was: "Should you use BOTH 'Skill' AND 'Magic' when using this Monster???" And initially I was going to give ANOTHER "Playtest" a TRY with this method of using BOTH Resources... But I stopped myself short once I did a bit of MATH which led me to a conclusion.

So what MATH? Simple, there are SIX (6) cards per side, there are SIX (6) Tactics per side. Compute ONE (1) for each = 12 Resource Points. If you can have AT MOST 3x six (6) Resources that means 18 Resource Points. That would mean that you are Mana "Flooded" and have more than AMPLE Resource Points to play a match-up.

How does this relate to our latest playtest? Well the rolls were 6/3/6/2B ... This is a VERY GOOD even GREAT roll... If you combo the 2B + 3 you get 6/5/6 or Power = 6; Skill = 5 and Magic = 6... You CAN'T really ask for a BETTER roll TBH. It's a very good roll.

This impacted the game too. How so? Well it meant that each player USED ALL of their "Skill" Mana and a couple "Power" and "Magic" Mana... Which goes to show you that a GOOD roll opens up the game and makes it feel "wide-open"!

That's when it is MANA FLOODED as in this LATEST playtest...

But what happens with a lousy roll?! That's also worth noting that the amount of PLAY is LIMITED to the Mana available not only the Card/Monster combinations in-play. So it would probably play a more important role in how you would use the Mana to the best way possible (with lower/lesser rolls).

I was going to TEST using ALL Mana per Card/Monster ... But realized that this was a FAVORABLE dice roll and that's why there were like 6+ Mana left over at the end of the Battle Round. A testament to the fact that MOST (not all) Cards got to use their Monster's "Tactic" and that ALMOST ALL Cards/Monsters got the chance to ATTACK also...

So I think I am going to retire the board ATM... And take a break to simply reflect more on the latest playtest and what is important to LEARN from it and how that AFFECTS the RULES of the game (like Flooded Mana vs. Mana Screwed, tie and how to ensure a Victory: what are the steps required to break a tie, etc.)

All things that I should ponder before making a definite conclusion as to WHAT the RULES will say...

I'll post again when I have time to reflect over this latest playtest and report back my conclusions...

Cheers all.

Infusion of additional "STRATEGY"!!!

After some thought about "Mana Flooding" vs. "Mana Screwed" I came to an interesting conclusion(?!)

What if the dice are rolled FIRST and ONLY THEN do the players choose a Micro Deck to play with!?

Why is this important??? Or even relevant...

Well you could have a Micro Deck which uses a lot of different Mana versus a Deck that focuses on "Power" (for example). This would also mean that players would NEED to perfect MORE than ONE (1) Micro Deck for different situations.

A RULE could be players are allowed to have three (3) Micro Decks and choose which Deck to play AFTER the dice roll for Mana Resources.

Furthermore this would introduce the IDEA of HAVING "Multiple" Decks READY to play with ... Which is good for ... SALES! Obviously I'm not pitching this as a "sales gimmick" but more of a style of play that emphasizes the use of MORE than a single "Micro Deck".

That could definitely be of interest and could result in MORE sales also. Again my focus is not on more money, but more POPULARITY and FLEXIBLE Play. It's more to encourage players to customize and play around with their Micro Decks off-hours from playing and create Decks with different synergies too!

So we'll have to wait and see once I FIX the cards for publication (since the current deck is a prototype layout and NOT the finished product). Even the preview Card/Monster above "Goblin Sapper" is only a ROUGH-CUT and NOT the end product... I have fully rendered Cards/Monsters which I need to fix given some of the conclusions in Version #23. What I mean is that I had Version #20 rendered and need to apply fixes until Version #23 (not too many but still some...)

That will speed up the "Time to Market" this game for certain.


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