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Monster Keep: Re-visiting an older design

Finally I can BLOG about the new developments with an older design known as "Monster Keep"!

Just for some future notes, here is a link to a "breakthrough" in the design:

The game will use "Operators" and "Operands" to compute each player's "Valor" points, the player closest to 0 goes first, and the last player is the one with the highest "Valor" points.

Once turn order is determined, the first player uses his army of three (3) minions to attack one or more opponents around the table (of course relying on the RPS-9 which says what Factions are at war).

After each player has had a chance to play their turn, "Victory" Points (VPs) are computed based on the cards/minion (and points) remaining in the player's area of play.

The goal is be the first player to race to 20+ VPs! It's as SIMPLE and elegant as that!



No More Acrylic Cubes

Of course that means also LESS components, since I no longer need those nice but EXTRA "Acrylic Cubes".

While I am keeping track of "Victory" Points (VPs), I will be using a simpler method which doesn't add additional components to the "core" game.

I am also planning a slew of "stretch goals" to encourage people to unlock more perks people may choose to purchase. Those will of course be "Add-ons" that each backer can decide which one he would like to add to his purchase.

Okay so tomorrow is a DESIGN day, where I will try to "re-design" all the cards on computer... And then later in the week, I will make a physical prototype and cut all the cards for a three (3) player game.

Keep you all posted!

No more cubes? Ok, these

No more cubes?
Ok, these things happen.

Should have read this topic first before I replied to the other one. But there is still some idea's in my post there that can be considered without cubes.

Yeah I removed the Acrylic Ice Cubes!

I'm TRYING to design a "Micro" Deck CCG (Collectible Card Game). I have some SUPER "Innovative" ideas for the game and how I am going to "market" it. I'm still working on the first twenty (20) cards available to start with but this will be reached via "stretch goals".

The "core" game will be ten (10) cards, featuring seven (7) different cards to the standard "Micro" Deck.

I think that's small enough.

The game requires a custom "Micro" Deck of ten (10) cards per player and cards are never "mixed" with an opponent's cards.

It is nothing like "Magic: the Gathering" (Magic). For several reasons:

  1. It's round-based. This means that the game is played one round to another round.
  2. It's from 2 to 4 players. Although "Monster Keep" (MK) is fundamentally a "duel" system, it allows for more than just two (2) players.
  3. There is only one type of card and they feature minions. Magic has all kinds of cards like Instants, Sorceries, Artifacts, Creatures, Planeswalkers, etc. MK is streamlined and in a way closer to "Epic: the card game" by White Wizard Games.
  4. MK has dual purpose cards: each card can act as a minion or a "resource" card. That's how you get "resources": via a card or your Lord's bonus. (Thanks @Fri for this idea...)
  5. MK boast a "nice" RPS-9 (akin to Pokemon's RPS but simpler) and uses a Race/Class system with a total of nine (9) Races and 81 Unique Classes.

So as you can see, MK is a little bit from all the Card Games out there.

I'm keeping some aspects of the game "under wraps" to surprise the Gamer community and introduce those "marketing" ideas at a later time.


Sample "Duke" and "Wizard" Cards


  • Top is the Race, Class and RPS-9 relationships.
  • Middle-Top is room for the illustration.
  • Middle is the Disposition, Basic Attack and Advanced Tactics
  • Middle-Bottom is the Operation, a place to write your numbers, the underling's range and a unique code (instead of using barcodes).
  • Bottom is the artist's name and the card information.

I think it looks - just "busy" enough. Anything more and the cards would be simply TOO COMPLEX.

Feel free to write Feedback/Comments/Concerns/Questions.

Keep you all posted how the PLAYTEST will go tomorrow...

Meeting Has Been Called.

Corporate decisions have been made.

100% of the prototype is done

I've manage to construct two (2) "Micro" Decks. I just printed the templates out this morning and have been working on cutting the individual cards for each Player's "Micro" Deck.

Both the Red Deck and Blue Deck are done.

Round #1: Red = 8 VPs, Blue = 3 VPs.
Round #2: Red = 2 VPs, Blue = 5 VPs.
Round #3: Red = 5 VPs, Blue = 4 VPs.
Round #4: Red = 9 VPs, Blue = 5 VPs.

Totals: Red = 24 VPs, Blue 17 VPs.

The Red Player is Victorious!

It makes me wonder.

Is this the game where you put in the 3-RPS^2? Or is this an entire new 9-RPS?

I am very curious about this game when it is finished. Tradworlds is very cool. And I would like to have some of this game as well. Your designs always look very unique in their own innovative ways.

But this time. I want to pay. Because... that would be fair! And my pay pall account has yet to see any use.
My gibberish comments do no good in general. I don't know, how much it helped last time. (Just be honest if you are looking for a second time from me :) )

It's still too "simple"...

Playtests have revealed that the game is still too "simple". So the aspect which seems to be mostly in question is "Resources". It's too stupid to just have two (2) cards out of five (5) be the resources. It needs to be more involved.

As such I am plugging in the "SpellMaster" crawling mechanic. Obviously with some major re-haul for it to be compatible. Now "Game Tiles" have one of three (3) resources: Food, Battle or Treasure. As you lay down tiles, you earn a "resource" point for each tile you play.

This is interesting because now you have a CLEAR way to earn "resources"...

I'm not how sure the game experience will be. I'm still just focusing on refining the "Game Tiles" to work with each player's underlings. Plenty more "Game Tiles" to design and then upload to TGC ... and then order a couple copies ... to see where this all leads.

It's really some big old "Mash-up" of a bunch of mechanics, ideas, components; all put together in the name of creating a "new" game! We'll see...

I will keep you all informed how playtest goes. I'm certain there will be a need for refining or fine-tuning the coupled pieces...

Bah... not well integerated

Well the mechanics of "Game Tiles" just is "too much"! I need more thought. But somehow the cards themselves need to be involved in process of giving "resources" or the whole "balance" of the "Micro" Deck is ... lost!

Going to think about it some more... Maybe I'll get some fresh ideas tomorrow. It doesn't seem like tonight I will be able to solve the dilemma.

We'll see how things are meant to move forwards.

@Ramon: don't have anything to sell you... just yet. For certain the only game available to buy is a "pre-order" of "TradeWorlds" and I would recommend you wait if you want to get the Four (4) Player version... I will be having an IndieGoGo next month with the LOWER KS pricing (cheaper than the pre-order).

So if you want to grab a copy of the game ... you've got to wait a few weeks.

As for new "ventures" ... nothing seems to be coming together. The design are mostly "broken" pieces and they don't fit together either. To bad...

Exploring 4d6s!

I have been thinking about using four (4) standard six-sided dice. Each dice represents one (1) "resource":

  • Red = Food
  • Blue = Battle
  • Black = Treasure
  • White = Wildcard(!)

The idea is that the White die can be swapped for one of the other die in the formula (or equation). I know some people don't like dice ... But I do! So I am thinking about using these four (4) dice to add some spice to the game.

Hey it beats adding "Game Tiles" by a mile! (LOL)

And with a "wildcard" dice it makes for more interesting results. Still fiddling with the idea and how to use the dice.

The dice have some potential

The average dice roll is 3.5. Multiplied by 3 is 10.5. The fourth dice adds some variance too. Did not want to go with custom dice ... Would be too similar to another design.

But I will experiment more tomorrow!

Three rules for computing the turn-order

First rule: player closest to 0 goes first (equation/formula).

Second rule: player with the least amount of resources goes first (add all of the operands, there are three used).

Third rule: type of operations computed and lowest player goes first. (add all of the card values, there are four used).

Turn-order seems to be resolved!

With the three tiers of rules and the dice to randomize each player's start "resources", I think it should be very difficult to have the SAME "score" when starting the game. This is very important since the goal was NOT to rely on something like a "dice roll" to determine the order.

What I am a bit concerned with is that a player can get "dice screwed", but it may be balanced with the fact that nobody will attack him because he is relatively weak... This will require more playtesting.


New "iconic" RPS-9

I got your PM.

O wow.
That does rather look nice indeed.
I like the "round" object effect on each of them.

The choice and position of colours do make it look a bit flat.
I feel like, orange is missing too. And there is a bit to much black/grey/white going on.

This is my opinion:

I think, it would be better to have orange to replace purple. And purple move over to the grey. Grey removed.
What you get is the Warm versus Cold colours when following the circle around.

With white/black/green being all 3 somewhat neutral.
yellow is warm
turquoise is cold
orange warm
purple cold
red warm
blue cold
white, neutral, but follows the warm.
black, neutral, but follows the cold.
And green is cold and warm at the same time I guess.

Can't really put my finger on it. But I hope you understand what I mean. I really don't want to give you a "dmanit" situation. That is, if you created any thing else with purple and grey.

That reminds me. Is the

That reminds me. Is the diagram including the fact that colour blind people will play the game?
You might consider the arrows as well if your plan is that the colours mean something.

Newer version of the RPS-9 "iconic" diagram

Colors: cool or warm.

I think it looks better with the Orange too. The Gray was a bit too monochromatic ... This version looks "brighter"!

  • Green is cool
  • Yellow is warm
  • Cyan is cool
  • Orange warm
  • Purple cool
  • Red warm
  • Blue cool
  • White neutral
  • Black neutral

The way I remember the relationships is starting with Holy (Orange):

Holy > Chaos > Fire > Frost > Life > Death > Earth > Storm > Tech > Holy

Any comments/questions/feedback???

No more questions

IMHO. This looks very good. I see a lot of "groups" in it, solely by colours.

All these are random logic, just like that warm/cold colour thing.

Basic rules (UPDATED)!

So the idea that I now have is something like this:

  • Players secretly choose to play a three (3) card MELD from a hand of five (5) cards contained in their "Micro" Deck.

  • The remaining two (2) cards are returned to your Deck (for use in a future round).

  • Next they roll 4d6s: Food, Battle, Treasure and Wild. Using these values, they secretly compute the value for their "Party" of underlings.

  • Lastly to start the round, everyone reveals their cards. The order is dictated by the player with the LOWEST "Party" score starts first and order continues from lowest to highest (where the HIGHEST player goes last).

  • The goal is to defeat underlings and therefore reduce the "Valor" points used to compute the "Party".

  • The Player who scores twenty (20) "Valor" points or the player in the lead after five (5) rounds, wins the game. You can also win by eliminating underlings and sending them to a player's graveyard. Once six (6) underlings are sent to a graveyard, that player is eliminated.

Game is QUICK and relatively EASY - with interesting decision making and "formulaic" notation, making the game fun for all ages. Perhaps a good "Micro" game, played between heavier games. My bet is less than 30 minutes.

This is still very much a draft/work-in-progress.

Range and Formation

Here is a diagram illustrating how "Range" (Value 1 to 3) and "Formations" can affect which cards may combat opposing cards. The top three cards are any opposing player while the bottom cards are from Player #1 vantage point-of-view.

Each card you encounter increases the "range" your underling's attack must travel if it is expected to deal damage to the opponent.

To explain it better, what this diagram shows is FIRST that for a card to attack an opponent, it must have "sufficient" range. The "1" card in Player #1 hand can only attack the FIRST opponent he is facing. If it were a "2" well then it could attack BOTH the first and second opponent behind the "1" in the opponents stack. Lastly it would require to have a "3" in position of "1" in order to attack any and all opponents in their own stack.

A "2" behind a "1" shows that it can AT MOST attack an opposing "1". Similarly if a "3" in behind two cards (as pictured), it may only attack the opposing "1".

What needs another "look-over" is ...

I need to re-think the various Basic Attacks and Advanced Tactics. Because put simply, the maximum you can score in terms of "Resources" is six (6).

Now while your Lord may grant you three (3) BONUS "Resources" it must be said that the "attack values" be computed in relation with the "Resources". In other words, the Attack values are much too high considering that the maximum value is six (6).

Because "Health" varies from 10 to 60 for each underling... Having an underling that deals 40 Damage per attack that requires 2 Food "Resources" per attack is way TOO POWERFUL. That means 80 Damage for 4 Food.

These are the kinds of balancing issues I am facing now that I have a working prototype - that is pretty advanced in terms of design - but still suffers from some "imbalance" too!

What I am thinking now is to have THREE (3) damage levels.

For example: Weaken/Normal/Fortified

Each underling (say the Duke) has those three (3) stats to determine how each attack will be computed.

So the Duke "Normally" does 30 damage, if "Weaken" he does 10 damage and "Fortified" does 40 damage.

This could be an interesting way of "avoiding" decimal values or things like "Halve Damage"... Instead use the "Weaken" value when the underling is in that state.

Could work - needs to be playtested some more. Plus I need to re-think all of the existing cards so that they make more sense too!

RPS-9 Relationships

Some explanation of the RPS-9 Relationships.

  • Red connections are: Fortified.

  • Blue connections are: Weakened.

  • Black connections are: Normal.

Aside from connections, some underlings have "Advanced Tactics" which also can alter the attack level. Say to weaken or fortify an underling. This is rather important - because this will allow more "balance" in the game and avoid players losing all their underlings each and every turn, just because the attacks are "too powerful".

I like that diagram of how

I like that diagram of how your range works. Sometimes simple rules are hard to explain. Yet with a picture like that, it is simple agian. Classic example!
You could use it in your rules.

Pretending the player chooses the vertical set up. All minions attack the front man of the opponent.
What happens when the front man is defeated? Number 2 is the next one to receive the rest of the damage? Or does it end with number 1 being the only one defeated?

Good questions!

Once the front underling is killed (0 Health), the next one becomes a range of "1", making it vulnerable to melee attacks. And obviously the underling behind it drops it's range from "3" to "2".

The Damage is consumed by one underling. Say it has 40 Health and a player's underling deals 60 Damage. 60 > 40 = 0 Health. The extra Damage is not absorbed by the next underling since that would be illogical: you are attacking opponent A, why should it wound opponent B.

So the answer to your second (2nd) question is "number 1 is the only one defeated but the next unit behind is now vulnerable to melee attacks."


Just updated HALF the "Sample Cards" in this blog. Check out the new "Wizard" card which features statuses and an ability called "Dualism":

"Dualism" allows you to select two (2) targets and split the damage equally between both. For example if you were to do 20 Damage, you could split among two (2) target for 10 Damage each.

Believe me, I am trying to be as CREATIVE as possible. To have FRESH and exciting new abilities and more easy to play with cards.

Keep you all posted as I work through my 2nd page of cards (still prototypes for now - but seems kind of interesting with more "substance"!)


Update #2

Just finished updating the second (2nd) HALF of the "Sample Cards" in this blog. Check out the new "Duke" card which also now features statuses and an ability called "Mobilize"

"Mobilize" allows you to re-configure the position of ONE (1) underling in your team. The new formation obeys all the rules concerning range and the ability to target opposing underlings.

Without the "Mobilize" ability, you cannot DURING the resolution phase, re-configure your formation. "Mobilize" allows you to move one (1) card to a new position (and possible affecting range too).

Update #3

I've completed twelve (12) out of twenty (20) cards. This includes ALL of the "core" cards to the Starting Decks.

Tomorrow I'm going to do a mix of things.

1> I'm going to print and cut four (4) "Micro" Decks of cards. Should take up my entire morning - because cutting cards is a LONG process.

2> I'm going to play a two (2) player duel and see how the new BALANCE feels. Probably around noon-ish.

3> Later in the day, I will play a four (4) player game to see how it BALANCES with the extra two (2) players.

And then I will report back - telling you all what the NEW gameplay is like... if it is FUN and ENGAGING with the NEW Abilities and the modified Basic Attacks (with both the Weaken and Fortify statuses).

We shall see how things go tomorrow! Best.

New direction

I just had a breakthrough with the abilities. Instead of forcing myself to create new ones, each card will have three (3) "alignments": Friendly, Neutral and Hostile.

  • When a player chooses Friendly, that unit cannot initiate an attack with nobody but can retaliate to an attack.

  • When a player chooses Neutral, that unit follows the RPS-9 rules to determine how the unit will react.

  • When a player chooses Hostile, that unit will attack any other unit.

This adds a whole new level of strategy. I'm still in the process of figuring out how these "alignments" will be used...

Will be thinking further about those!

More on "alignment"

Okay so I have been thinking some more about "alignment". It may seem simple but at the "core", it's not a simple matter. I'm trying to simplify to the best of my abilities. Here are some comments:

  • Hostile vs. Hostile: Both units do Extra Damage.
  • Hostile vs. Neutral: Both units do Normal Damage.
  • Hostile vs. Friendly: Both units do Less Damage.
  • Neutral vs. Neutral: Follows the RPS-9 rules.
  • Neutral vs. Friendly: IDK - Yet... ???
  • Friendly vs. Friendly: Cannot initiate an attack.

Still a couple things that need ironing out! Will be contemplating these unresolved issues. When I come up with an answer - I will confirm and post up the solution.


Instead of "Alignment" is is now "Disposition"

Each underling now has a "stance" which affects HOW that underling may battle opponents. Rules are:

Offense vs. Offense: Both units do Extra Damage.
Offense vs. Normal: Both units do Normal Damage.
Offense vs. Defense: Both units do Less Damage.
Normal vs. Normal: Follows the RPS-9 rules with Normal Damage.
Normal vs. Defense: Follows the RPS-9 rules with Less Damage.
Defense vs. Defense: Cannot initiate an attack.

This "disposition" is more logical than "alignment" and adds another layer of strategy to the game.

Removal of Range and Formation

After some much needed thinking, I have decided to remove Range and Formation. This just made the game too Easy or Hard, depending on which player you were.

That duo which seemed interesting, just in-balanced the game. Sometimes you could wipeout an entire opposing formation and score ALL Victory Points (VPs) and your opponent 0 VPs.

I still need to re-evaluate Disposition and see if this element of the design needs modification or can be preserved.

I'll be looking at that tomorrow...

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blog | by Dr. Radut