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Need suggestions for playcost in a CCG.

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Anonymous

Hey guys:

I'm new to the forum, but not new to game creation. Currently, I'm creating a Christian CCG based on ministry (getting people saved). I have the major mechanics being fleshed out, but have no idea how to "cast" or "play" cards, in a mana like fashion a la MTG. I've thought about random dice rolling, but that can be really frustrating to the players. Any other ideas? I'll be glad to answer any questions. Thanks in advance!

Derek
everydayjesus@gmail.com

FastLearner
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Need suggestions for playcost in a CCG.

My first thought relates to the idea of a foundation, like the foundation of a ministry. The game would include some kind of "building blocks," like knowing people in the community, performing community service, what have you.

The "power" you would receive from this would have to do with how these building blocks connected together, building on each other to form considerable more power.

Here's a very rough thought about how it might work. Your deck might include some, say, cornerstones, the rock (upon which you'll build your house, as found in Matthew). These are the base level of power, and might represent making friends and meeting people in the community. They would be played on the lowest level of your foundation, in game terms as a horizontal row. They might provide 1 "power" of whatever kind each.

Then you'd be able to lay keystones on top of (above) them. These provide 3 "power" for your ministry, and might represent good works in the community, like feeding the hungry or building a shelter. In order to play a keystone you must have two cornerstones to lay it on.

The last level, the top, would be capstones. These might provide 6 or even 7 "power" each, and could represent things like building a church or school or orphange.

In building your foundation in the community, the end result would end up looking like a brick wall of sorts, with decreasing width as it rose, like a trapezoid. Something like:

<br />
    |Ca |<br />
  ---------   ---------<br />
  | K | K |   | K | K |<br />
-------------------------<br />
|Co |Co |Co |Co |Co |Co |<br />
-------------------------<br />

Where Co is Cornerstone, K is Keystone, and Ca is Capstone. You'd want to build your deck so that you had a good mix of these, as Cornerstones aren't all that powerful but a Keystone without two Cornerstones to support it would be unplayable, and a Capstone without two Keystones would be unplayable.

There might be different types of stones that matched or didn't match in various ways, to make it a bit "richer," but the idea, anyway, is to both provide some gameplay deckbuilding challenge as well as it being somewhat thematic.

So, then the person's power is used to bring their other cards into play, like most CCGs. Get your foundation built in the community and go forth in ministry.

Anyway, that's what popped into my head when I read your question.

-- Matthew

Anonymous
Need suggestions for playcost in a CCG.

That's a great idea. I'm going to throw that into the playtesting mix here. Any more ideas?

Derek

Johan
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Re: Need suggestions for playcost in a CCG.

Derek wrote:
I'm new to the forum, but not new to game creation.

Hi and welcome to the forum.

Quote:
Currently, I'm creating a Christian CCG based on ministry (getting people saved).

- Why a CCG?
- Are you using anything else then cards (do you have markers, dice, miniatures or something else)?
- Will all players playing the same side (cooperative game?)? If not, what is the opposite side? What is the goal?
- You have to be very careful when you are using a religious theme. A lot of people wants to have there opinion about the game. On the other hand, there are very few religious themed games. In this forum I have only seen one and that is The 12 disciples by jwarrend. Outside this forum we have Hellgame (on the other side but still in the same mythology) and Anders Fager did a lot of research to get it right. 10 years ago I did see a Christian RPG but it disappeared directly (One bishopric episcopate in the Swedish church has created a RPG, that are used during the confirmation. That is fantasy based).

Quote:
I have the major mechanics being fleshed out, but have no idea how to "cast" or "play" cards, in a mana like fashion a la MTG.

- One way could be to use the souls as mana (don’t use mana, try to find another word). Then the players has to sacrifice the soules they have saved to save new souls (could be a interesting mechanism ;) ).

Quote:
I've thought about random dice rolling, but that can be really frustrating to the players.

- Dice in a "combat" situation feels wrong in a CCG. Still, dice could be used to see how many souls you fighting for this turn, or random events, but not in combat. You should try to limit the number of random sources in a game (at least for the same action). For every random source you add to the game, the player get more the feeling that they are out of control (the game is running it self).
Still, the right use of dice could work.

// Johan

Anonymous
Need suggestions for playcost in a CCG.

Quote:
Why a CCG?

A lot of the guys in my group play CCGs, and I used to play MTG a lot. Just figured it be fun to do for them to have a christian CCG. I will not be using any other thing than cards, as of right now. It will not be coop, but opposing sides. The object is to get five souls "saved". At the beginning of the game, you set out five "souls" in front of you, black or "unsaved" side up. Throughout the game, you are trying to turn the cards over to the white or "saved" side up. Once up, that soul is saved, and put aside. First to get all five souls saved wins.

Don't worry, I won't be using mana. I know the copyrights.

It wouldn't be dice in a combat situation, but to build a resource pool. The resources you have for that turn would be determined by a random dice roll. I believe you misunderstood, but that's cool.

Thanks!

Derek

Anonymous
Need suggestions for playcost in a CCG.
Johan
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Need suggestions for playcost in a CCG.

A game company with only Christian games! You see something new every day ;). Have anyone played any of those?

// Johan

jwarrend
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Need suggestions for playcost in a CCG.

Yeah, Cactus games' "The Mission" popped into my head when I heard your idea as well. I haven't played it, so I don't know anything about it. You should definitely check that out to see how someone else approached a similar idea.

I agree with Johan; why a CCG? What is it about CCG's that you like and want to replicate? Is it really the collectibility, the buying lots of booster packs hoping to get good cards, and "Mr. Suitcase"? (from a recent Steve Jackson interview) Or is it aspects like deck building, etc? If it's the gameplay aspects, you might consider a standalone game with CCG concepts. Games like Reiner Knizia's Scarab Lords have done this.

As for ideas on how the game should work, I have two comments. First, while I haven't played "The Mission", I can't say I have a lot of desire to, either. It sounds like it's just a simulation of real life, and who wants to play a game about that? Why not just live your life instead? On the other hand, if it inspires you to live a more fruitful or meaningful life, perhaps it's worthwhile, but it still doesn't mean that it's going to make for an interesting game. So that's a big hurdle you'll have to leap over -- making the game engrossing and worth playing.

Second, I agree with Johan that you have to handle this very delicately, even if you are yourself a believer. A game about getting people saved has to start from the premise that salvation is entirely in God's hands, and that you yourself cannot actually "save" someone. In that sense, the game should be more about trying to remove barriers that people have to hearing the gospel message. Presumably, these would be based on real situations (e.g, materialism, narcissism, etc), and in that way, if done well, the game could have a big impact in helping people to learn to minister more effectively in real life. But, it will probably hold little appeal for non-Christians. That's not a bad thing at all, just something to be prepared for.

Good luck with your game!

-Jeff

phpbbadmin
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Need suggestions for playcost in a CCG.

Also note that Cactus has the Collectible Card Game Redemption that has been out for probably a decade. It's actually not a bad game. However, with a richly themed environment as the Bible, they could have done a lot more in the flavor department. If someone actually took such a project seriously, they could probably make a very good game from it. There's just so much material to pull from it's not even funny.

-Darke

FastLearner
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Need suggestions for playcost in a CCG.

Also of note: it's very unchristian to try to keep someone else from helping to save someone, and incredibly unchristian to try to "unsave" someone (to retard the other player's progress). Both are natural types of things to do in a CCG, but would be incredibly inappropriate for the theme.

Creating a good Christian CCG is quite a challenge. I wish you luck!

-- Matthew

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Need suggestions for playcost in a CCG.

FastLearner wrote:
Also of note: it's very unchristian to try to keep someone else from helping to save someone, and incredibly unchristian to try to "unsave" someone (to retard the other player's progress). Both are natural types of things to do in a CCG, but would be incredibly inappropriate for the theme.

Creating a good Christian CCG is quite a challenge. I wish you luck!

-- Matthew

My thoughts exactly..... It's a tough thing to balance. The only thing I could ever think of is that players take on the role of the 'devil's advocate' against their opponents. As I've already touched on in another thread, this is a very tricky road to travel. A lot of people might take offense to this stance. Your best bet would be to have the game system be 'the devil's advocate' and make it a cooperative game, or a non competitive game at best.

I agree with Fast, good luck with your project!
-Darke

Anonymous
Need suggestions for playcost in a CCG.

Thanks guys! I think I have the devil's advocate game system covered in my design, as I didn't go into details, and have kept it competitive. More details forthcoming. I'm working on the cornerstone idea currently.

Derek

jwarrend
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Need suggestions for playcost in a CCG.

Darkehorse wrote:
The only thing I could ever think of is that players take on the role of the 'devil's advocate' against their opponents.

Nah, don't do this. This was one of the things that made me lose interest in "Solomon's Temple", in which players are simultaneously trying to build their own temple AND to send baddies to mess up their opponent's temple. It's very incongruous, and I think if that's the only way to make the game work, it's better not to make the game at all.

Another further concern I had this morning. Someone else suggested "souls as currency", which obviously you can't do if you're adopting an orthodox posture. But there's an equal danger of viewing "souls as Victory Points", ie, if you get 5 souls, you win. The danger in this is that God isn't really interested in souls in some quantitative way, as if getting X souls in heaven is what he really wants. What God really wants, what the whole point of salvation is, is the restoration of a relationship between God and individuals. In that sense, God's interest in saving humans occurs at an individual level -- every single person is the most important person who ever existed, in God's eyes. (Well, except for Jesus, of course...). And at the same time, our goal in evangelizing isn't so much to check off boxes in our quota, but to restore people's lives to the glory that God intended for them, and presumably, to cultivate a relationship with those people ourselves.

I understand that you're just looking to make a game, and believe me, having made a Christian game myself, I know what a tall order this is. But I think that you want to be as careful as possible to not mispresent Christian doctrine for the sake of playability. Or look at it from a positive angle; trying to have your game's mechanics present accurate doctrinal views gives you an opportunity to create new kinds of mechanics. Think of it as a source of inspiration!

So I would, to whatever extent possible, try to "humanize" the soul cards -- give them attributes and spiritual challenges that present them as being realistic individuals. By doing that, I think you'll be able to move the focus of the game from meeting a "soul quota" to actually performing an assignment that God has given you -- to help to save [these specific people].

Best of luck, again,

Jeff

Anonymous
Need suggestions for playcost in a CCG.

Jeff:

I thank you for your comments, but it's taken care of! Each "soul" card has attributes equivalent to the Armor of God presented in Ephesians 6. Each attribute represents a facet of the individual God-Human relationship. As the relationship between the "soul" and God increases, so do abilities within the game, whether that soul is saved or not. I am definitely biased, but I think the entire system ingenius! ;) .

Derek

Anonymous
Need suggestions for playcost in a CCG.

Quote:
Also note that Cactus has the Collectible Card Game Redemption

I provided links to both in my prior post (sorry, just had to get that in there)...

*wink*

kungfugeek
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Need suggestions for playcost in a CCG.

Part of the problem, I think, is that games are competitive by nature, and Christianity isn't (or isn't supposed to be). I was thinking a game like this, instead of earning souls, could earn glory for God, but even then, that's not something real-world christians are supposed to be competitive over. And to be true to the theme, you'd have to give all your glory back at the end of the game anyway :-).

Maybe it could be a cooperative game? Like Knizia's Lord of the Rings? The goal could be to earn glory for God -- partly by reaping souls, but also by other things.

Given the eternal/timeless nature of God, this game could have elements from all different points in history, even. Doesn't have to be just modern day.

Maybe some other aspects from the Bible can be brought in here instead of reaping souls -- rebuilding jerusalem's wall, the Ninevites repenting, Israel's journey to the promised land, Noah gathering the animals, Jacob wrestling God (or whatever that was), the 12 tribes prospering in Egypt, Sampson hacking up the Philistines (maybe not a family game), Daniel interpreting dreams...

After rereading, I guess I'm just rehashing what everyone else has already said. My bad. I'm still new here.

As for a resource mechanic, maybe each player can have a bunch of different attributes (Strength of WIll, Biblical Knowledge) that are each worth so many action points (or whatever). A player discards/turns over an attribute to use those points, and they can't use that attribute again until they've used all their others. Maybe certain attributes (biblical knowledge) can be more effective at removing certain obsticals (like intellectual objections).

Good luck with it.

Anonymous
Need suggestions for playcost in a CCG.

Why is it that you feel the need to express your faith in a game? (just Curiosity here)

I’m a christen myself and the only use i see of game + Christianity would be as an educational aide. Though if you must here is a suggestion. While the game would not be cooperative, one way to have positive player interaction is allowing players to build off of other players actions to complete their own goals.

Anonymous
Need suggestions for playcost in a CCG.

super wrote:
Why is it that you feel the need to express your faith in a game? (just Curiosity here) I’m a christen myself and the only use i see of game + Christianity would be as an educational aide.

Well, speaking out of turn here, I should point out the obvious, whether anyone cares to admit it or not... there is without question a bit of a niche market there.

Stryper anyone?

jwarrend
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Need suggestions for playcost in a CCG.

super wrote:
Why is it that you feel the need to express your faith in a game? (just Curiosity here) I’m a christen myself and the only use i see of game + Christianity would be as an educational aide.

I hope Derek will offer his own insights here, but since I've designed a Christian game myself, I thought I'd offer my own answer in case it's of interest.

For me, the reason I designed 12 Disciples was twofold. For believers like me, I thought it would be fun to have a game whose mechanics revolved around a theme that we cared about deeply. The games that I find most immersive and enjoyable are games which rich themes that I'm personally interested in, and I wanted to create a game that communicated the feel of being with Jesus in 1st century Palestine, with the political landscape balanced on the head of a pin, a traitor in your midst...

For non-believers, I wanted to create a fun game that puts Christianity in a positive light, to help counterbalance the negative stereotypes of Christianity that our culture presents. For this reason, my game was a game first and foremost, and playability was the ultimate concern (not that I'd sacrifice orthodoxy for playability, but rather, if I couldn't make a fun game, I'd have scuttled the project).

The game is not intended to be educational; frankly, I think there are enough "Bible trivia" games out there already. But I guess you can actually learn some things, since the "Deed" cards in the game are placed in the towns in which they actually happened, so you can get a little better feel for the geography in which the Gospels are set. I think Derek's idea has nice potential to strike a balance between imparting a lesson and being fun to play.

Brahmulus wrote:

Well, speaking out of turn here, I should point out the obvious, whether anyone cares to admit it or not... there is without question a bit of a niche market there.

I definitely agree with this, but I don't think this was really a motivator in my design; I was much more interested in the challenge of whether I could actually pull off a well-themed Christian game.

-Jeff

Anonymous
Need suggestions for playcost in a CCG.

Sorry been away for a while and now I am back and catching up.

kungfugeek wrote:
Part of the problem, I think, is that games are competitive by nature, and Christianity isn't (or isn't supposed to be). I was thinking a game like this, instead of earning souls, could earn glory for God, but even then, that's not something real-world christians are supposed to be competitive over. And to be true to the theme, you'd have to give all your glory back at the end of the game anyway :-).
You are correct in that Christianity should not be competetive, but we Christians (and I speak as one) do have spiritual warfare. This gives a great dynamic to a possible game EXCEPT that someone would have to play the devil and be trying to stop the Christians from saving people. That is where the problem comes in.

kungfugeek wrote:
Maybe it could be a cooperative game? Like Knizia's Lord of the Rings? The goal could be to earn glory for God -- partly by reaping souls, but also by other things.
I created a game called Gospel: The Game (check it out at www.ice-breakerz.org and click on Gospel: The Game) which I am trying to get funding for to produce. In my game, you compete to see who can reach Maturity as a Christian first. To do this, you must face Adversities (which are pulled from a separate deck). You can gain maturity by yourself, but you can gain it much much faster if you Fellowship (aide an opponent gain maturity) with one another. Of course, there is as always in a game that point when all you will want to do it win, but at least it captures more of the Christian Spirit then most.

kungfugeek wrote:
Given the eternal/timeless nature of God, this game could have elements from all different points in history, even. Doesn't have to be just modern day.
I agree. There are some great things to use from the Bible and History.

Love in Christ,
Jesterhawk

Anonymous
Need suggestions for playcost in a CCG.

super wrote:
Why is it that you feel the need to express your faith in a game? (just Curiosity here)
I’m a christen myself and the only use i see of game + Christianity would be as an educational aide.

I would like to answer here also as I am a Christian game designer of Christian based games. There are two reasons (and a minor one) I develope Christian games:

  1. Ice-Breaker : There are a lot of people who will not come over to your house for a Bible story or to hear about Jesus but will come over and play a game, even a Christian game. Then after you have played a bit and began to know them, you will find opportunities to share with them the love of Jesus.
  2. Alternative : There are many Christians who play games and if no solid Christian game is available will play secular games (I am one of them). I believe God wants that void filled with games that Christians can play while not compromising their beliefs. And no not all non-Christian games have you compromising, but a bunch do.
  3. To do all things : We are told by God in the Bible that "...Whatsoever you do, do all to the glory of God." (1 Cor 10:31) Since I like to create and seem to have a knack for creating games, then I want to use that talent for the glory of God.

That is why I work at Creating Christian Games.

[/]
Anonymous
Need suggestions for playcost in a CCG.

I like the idea, the concept is sound however on a deeper level I hope that you have a select demographic.

My main concern is in a world of CCG's revolving around the concept of war and "destroying" the opponent. A game such as yours is going to be unpopular with the general public. Not to say it isn't a good idea, I'm sure a good game which is fun and religiously education could be brought up from this. Unfortunatly the "Goody-two-shoes" theme really sets off to most players of games like Magic or even more childish games like Yu-Gi-Oh. Players like to be competitive and like to be AGAINST their opponent. As previously said it is a bad idea to have a Christian Game where players are pit against each other. This means that your demographic is VERY small.

One thing I would suggest is creating this game for younger audiences, as teens who are familiar with other games will not be interested. The perfect audience would be create this game for Youth Bible Camps. However I'm still not sold how your could make a game where players are against each other to have a set "Winner", instead you should have an NPC that all players are against (If a boardgame, a VHS tape could help control the game by creating the opposition. Not nessesarly the Devil, but perhaps bad influences.) I hope you can fine tune this and hope all goes well. From one CCG designer to another.

jwarrend
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Need suggestions for playcost in a CCG.

Inquisitor wrote:
This means that your demographic is VERY small.

I would agree and disagree with this; I would probably agree that the demographic of "current CCG players who would like a Christian CCG" is probably small. (However, I'd also add that the demographic of "current CCG players who would like ANY other CCG" is probably also rather small: the CCG market is pretty well saturated, I believe, and it's probably tougher than it used to be to break through).

But the demographic of "Christian teenagers" is huge, and so I think the idea would be to appeal to that group with a theme that is more faith-affirming than typical CCG fare. Of course, that's exactly what "Redemption" did, and so there's still, presumably, an uphill battle in breaking into the market with even a Christian CCG. But my point is simply that, it's probably not something that one would target at current CCG players; the goal would be more to "convert" new gamers.

-Jeff

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