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New game design - seeking comments

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Anonymous

Hi Folks,

Mi Gato is heading out for some serious playtesting and now that it's in that phase I'm starting work on my next game design.

Title: Magical Muddle (Not too sure of this title yet).

Type: Card game (non collectible)

Synopsis: Welcome to Beardlies Home for Retired Magicians! You and your elderly wizard buddies have gotten together for a friendly game of poker.

Of course, being the power-hungry, egotistical know-it-alls that retired wizards tend to be, a fight has broken out. And what's the first thing you do in a poker game / brawl? Why, you take out the lights!

Now engulfed in darkness, you quickly grab your bag of spellcasting components which you stored under the poker table and retreat into a sheltering corner.

Alas! When the lights come back on, it appears that you've grabbed the wrong bag! Now you must try and use someone else's spell components to cobble together spells to both protect yourself and harm those other, poker-cheating, good-for-nothing wizards, one of which has your bag!

Mechanics: This will be a non-collectible card game with a fixed number of cards in the deck. Players will have a set number of cards at the start of the game and will have opportunities to draw at each turn and via special cards. Cards which represent spell components can be used to create various spells which will either harm another player's character or help yours. Combining components will allow for more powerful spells, but this may take more time and can be foiled by other players.

So, that's the basics. What do you think?

Anonymous
New game design - seeking comments

Sounds like a very interesting premise... However, given the background you propose, I get a vibe that the game should include some sort of card passing / go fish element... Something to represent the wizards accidentally drawing the wrong pouch and fiddling around with stuff they're not familiar with.

Perhaps instead of drawing from the deck, you can draw from an opponents hand? At the end of the "draw phase" all players need to be back to X cards. So if anyone was targeted with several draws, they'll still get back to a certain minimum hand size.

You can "call for" a type of component. If a player is willing to pass that component to you from his own hand, he gets to draw cards from the deck (so he can clear out cards he doesn't need, but at the risk of passing you something he does need).

Perhaps a trading element, where wizards put components from their hand up for grabs. Say any 2 cards from your hand for 2 cards chosen by their opponents. If an offer is made, the player must accept one of the offers on the table.

Or perhaps a "play order" a la Bohnanza -- cards in your hand must stay in that order, so you want to purge some components that much up the order of the cards to get those big spells off. This would also reflect the "hey, this isn't my bag -- what's that doing in here" feel.

Regdardless, good luck -- it sounds pretty neat. Game on!

onew0rd
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Joined: 12/31/1969
New game design - seeking comments

Maybe you could have each spell also double as 1 component type. This way decisions need to be made. Or you could have 2 decks. Each turn, a player either draws 1 spell or 2 components.
You need a win condition. Maybe last man standing. you could even use the Bang method of having Wizard cards. This would give you some flavor as each player is playing a different wizard with different Life points, spell power, draw power, etc.

A character card could look like this:

Life: 5
Spell Power: 9
Draws: 2 cards per turn, returns 1 from hand.

or

Life: 1
Spell Power: 13
Draws: 3 cards.

or

Life: 10
Spell Power: 7
Draws: 2 Cards

A spell card could look like this:

Burn
Difficulty: 3
Components: 1 Red, 2 Blue
Effect: Deal 2 damage to each other player unless they roll less than their spell power on 3d6.

Mind Shield
Difficulty: 4
Components: 2 Yellow, 2 Green
Effect: Until your next turn, you may prevent 1 damage by discarding a card.

Casting a spell could be roll 2d6. Add spell difficulty. If you roll lower than your characters spell power, your spell is cast. Players can pay 1 additional component for a temporary +1 to their spell power.

Just some ideas.

Anonymous
New game design - seeking comments

ynnen wrote:
Sounds like a very interesting premise... However, given the background you propose, I get a vibe that the game should include some sort of card passing / go fish element... Something to represent the wizards accidentally drawing the wrong pouch and fiddling around with stuff they're not familiar with.

I like the idea of some sort of card passing bit. Or what about a bid system, where you could bid "spare" spell componenets (i.e. cards) into a face up bid pile, from which players can then choose to draw from (either the face down pile, or known cards from the face up deck).

ynnen wrote:
Perhaps instead of drawing from the deck, you can draw from an opponents hand? At the end of the "draw phase" all players need to be back to X cards. So if anyone was targeted with several draws, they'll still get back to a certain minimum hand size.

Personally I'm not a big fan of this, but that's just me. I don't mind cards or combinations of cards (i.e. spells) that would allow you to look at and/or steal stuff from other people, but I'm not partial to a standard draw from another's hand. Again, that's just me.

Calling or trading could be other spell effects as well. Or alliances could be struck and open trading of cards could be allowed. Hmmm...

A play order isn't my thing either. At least not for this game. But I certainly appreciate all the suggestions. After this one I still have four games "in the pipe". Who knows, maybe I'll use some of the suggestions here that I wont' use on MM.

ynnen wrote:
Regdardless, good luck -- it sounds pretty neat. Game on!

Thanks!
Ben

OutsideLime
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Joined: 12/31/1969
New game design - seeking comments

Quote:
you could even use the Bang method of having Wizard cards. This would give you some flavor as each player is playing a different wizard with different Life points, spell power, draw power, etc.

Maybe each wizard can have a different specialty? One is good at conjurings, one is good at hexes, one is good at illusions, etc...

Quote:
A spell card could look like this:

Burn
Difficulty: 3
Components: 1 Red, 2 Blue
Effect: Deal 2 damage to each other player unless they roll less than their spell power on 3d6.

I think the intended main mechanic of the game is in the mixing of cards together by the player to create custom spells... instead of giving the players complete "spell cards" that are played independently.

Maybe something like this:

There are "spellbook" cards in the deck which are divided evenly amongst the players, each spellbook has a number of spell recipes on it. Spell recipes are composed not of specific ingredients, but of ingredient properties. (bear with me)

i.e. a Funk Of Stinkiness recipe is Poison 3, Wind 2

Ingredient cards list those properties.

i.e. Mandrake Root is worth 3 Poison, 2 Control
Moon Rock is worth 2 Shield, 2 Light
Mosquito Wing is worth 1 Wind, 1 Drain
Eagle Talon is worth 2 Wind, 2 Hold
Shrooms are worth 1 Poison, 1 Confuse, 1 Light etc etc.

If I want to cast Funk of Stinkiness, I can blend a Mandrake Root and an Eagle Talon, or 2 Mosquito Wings and 3 Shrooms, or any combination that results in meeting the property requirements for a spell recipe.

eh? eh?

~Josh[/i]

Anonymous
New game design - seeking comments

onew0rd wrote:
Maybe you could have each spell also double as 1 component type. This way decisions need to be made. Or you could have 2 decks. Each turn, a player either draws 1 spell or 2 components.
You need a win condition. Maybe last man standing. you could even use the Bang method of having Wizard cards. This would give you some flavor as each player is playing a different wizard with different Life points, spell power, draw power, etc.

The win condition is last man standing. Each player will start of with a certain amount of life (say 10 points) and once that's reduced to 0, they're out of the game. Last wizard standing (er... crouched over their walker) wins.

I was toying with the idea of having characters with different properties. The more I think of it, the more I like it.

Dice however, are out on this game. I'm going to keep it strictly to cards.

onew0rd wrote:
Just some ideas.

Much appreciated!

Cheers,
Ben

OutsideLime
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Joined: 12/31/1969
New game design - seeking comments

Part of the drama resulting from the system I suggested is in weighing the property values of the ingredients being used for a spell...

For instance I can use my Mandrake Root to cast the FoS spell, but will I be wasting the Control property of the Mandrake Root which might be important in other spells?

This could be real neat...

~Josh

Anonymous
Building spells

Another thing I'm toying with the is the spell construction itself. Spells take time. Since each turn is representative of say 30 seconds worth of fumbling through a bag, mumbling and pushing false teeth back in, etc.

So, a 1 component spell would take 1 turn to cast. (i.e. you can play one card and "activate it".

A 2 component spell would take two turns (lay down 1 card in turn 1, 2nd card in turn 2) to cast, but be more powerful.

However, players will also be able to cast spells to muddle up the construction of other player's spells. So constructing a 23 component spell would not only take a long, long time, but stand an almost certain chance of being blasted by another player before it's complete.

Ben

OutsideLime
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Joined: 12/31/1969
New game design - seeking comments

Check it out:

Instead of having a wizard character, there's the pool of "spellbook" cards that players draw from at the beginning of the game... BEFORE they know the ingredients they'll have to work with. Different spells on each spellbook card, although some, especially the simpler ones, are found repeatedly.

Characters go turn for turn drawing the spellbooks they want until all the spellbooks are gone... spellbooks are lightly "themed" i.e one spellbook is called the "Tome of Time" and has mostly time-related spells, one is called the "Scroll Of Fire" and has mostly Fire-related spells....

By letting the players select their spellsets, they are building a sort of "custom wizard" at the start of each game. Drawing random ingredient cards afterwards creates the necessity for the player to develop a mixing/casting strategy under pressure....

~Josh

Anonymous
New game design - seeking comments

OutsideLime wrote:
Check it out:

Instead of having a wizard character, there's the pool of "spellbook" cards that players draw from at the beginning of the game... BEFORE they know the ingredients they'll have to work with. Different spells on each spellbook card, although some, especially the simpler ones, are found repeatedly.

Characters go turn for turn drawing the spellbooks they want until all the spellbooks are gone... spellbooks are lightly "themed" i.e one spellbook is called the "Tome of Time" and has mostly time-related spells, one is called the "Scroll Of Fire" and has mostly Fire-related spells....

By letting the players select their spellsets, they are building a sort of "custom wizard" at the start of each game. Drawing random ingredient cards afterwards creates the necessity for the player to develop a mixing/casting strategy under pressure....

~Josh

An interesting idea - I like it, but I'm not quite sure it fits with the theme of picking up the wrong bag then you're likely to get the wrong spell book(s) too.

I'm mixing this stuff into my brain even now, so my thoughts and opinions may change, but I'm thinking it's just going to be components. Theming this perhaps on the fact that magic is easy, if one has the correct tools, but some of those tools (flying chimpanzee toenail clippings) are harder to come by than others (smashed apple).

I'm very much enjoying this brainstorming session though!

Ben

OutsideLime
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Joined: 12/31/1969
New game design - seeking comments

I have contemplated a make-your-own spells magic duelling game in the past and found it extremely difficult to let the player create their own spells... it's very hard to balance an interesting spell creation system with a working spell effects system.

Spell creation? Easy on the surface. Mix syllable components. Formula is Action+Target+Category.

Infuse+Self+Speed = Speed
Conjure+Projectile+Fire/Heat = Fireball
Change+Opponent+Stone/Earth = Turn to Stone

Makes sense, but how does it work in the context of the game? If the player manages to create a formula that makes sense, even a simple one, how does it WORK? What does a Speed spell do, and how do the players learn that? What if players come up with combos that don't make sense?

Conjure+Opponent+Speed = ?

Doesn't seem to work, UNLESS you get very specific about which syllables can work with which syllables. In that case you as the designer have to plan out all possible spell combos anyway, so it's not a true player-created-spells system.

Tough nut to crack I think. That's why I'm in favour of the spellbook cards with spell lists on 'em. Maybe they could get scrambled with the ingredients, and players can rummage around in the debris of the scuffle for more books/scrolls/ingredients... They are retirees remember, so maybe they can't remember their spells without the spellbooks handy....

~Josh[/i]

Anonymous
components and spells.

Hey Josh,

I'm actually not too worried about the spell combinations.

Every single component will be able to do *something*. Whether it's create a shield that will block 1 point of damage, or singe a single oponent for 1 point, or darn your socks or what have you.

Each component will also have on it a list of componenets it can be combined with to have a specific effect.

So for instance, the component "Shard of Rubie" will allow the Wizard to cast the Singe spell and damage a single opponent (1 point). On it will be the following:

Add Diamond: damage all opponenents 1 point.
Add Sage: Look at one player's hand
Add Diamond and Sage: Damage all opponents for 1 point and each player who receives damage discards a card of their choice.

Then the Diamond card will have similar. So you'll always be able to do something with each individual card. And possibly more if you combine them.

Cheers!
Ben (all spelling mistakes mine :)

OutsideLime
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Joined: 12/31/1969
New game design - seeking comments

Ah I get it.

There's no distinction between "spells" and "ingredients". Each ingredient is a stand-alone spell, and other ingredients can be added to it for bonus effects... first card laid is the "key" card I suppose... in this way you don't need to reverse-engineer all spells on all cards.

By this I mean

If Ruby does 1 damage to 1 foe, and notes that if you add a Diamond to it, all players are damaged...

Laying a Diamond first and then a Ruby doesn't produce the same effect. The Diamond has its own set of effects noted on its card which might have nothing to do with Rubies.

This is interesting. Different from what I assumed, but interesting.

~Josh

Anonymous
New game design - seeking comments

OutsideLime wrote:
Ah I get it.

There's no distinction between "spells" and "ingredients". Each ingredient is a stand-alone spell, and other ingredients can be added to it for bonus effects... first card laid is the "key" card I suppose... in this way you don't need to reverse-engineer all spells on all cards.

By this I mean

If Ruby does 1 damage to 1 foe, and notes that if you add a Diamond to it, all players are damaged...

Laying a Diamond first and then a Ruby doesn't produce the same effect. The Diamond has its own set of effects noted on its card which might have nothing to do with Rubies.

This is interesting. Different from what I assumed, but interesting.

~Josh

That's pretty close to what I have worked out. Although it's a bit more complex than that. I'm not going to go into details right now because I've still got a few kinks to work out, but certain components are going to be more common than others. (Some represented by 9 cards in the deck, some by 4 and some by only 1).

Plus, each card will have a 'type' that can be matched up with two other types. So it's not as simple as laying down two cards from your hand, you have to build spells out of components that match. But having said that, every single card will allow you to cast a spell, it's just that combinations of the cards will allow the spell of the base component to be more powerful, or have additional effects.

So you could put down a Ruby card (to do 1 damage to 1 other player) and then if you had another card that's compatible (say a Diamond) it may do 1 damage to each player. Add to that a Sage card, which may not be compatible with a Ruby alone, but is compatible with the Diamond, and you'll do 1 damage to each player, plus each player that takes damage must discard 1 card.

Something along those lines. I've got a simple mathematical formula I'm working on that will help the cards even out.

Once I get this worked out I'll throw more details up here.

Ben

hpox
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Joined: 12/31/1969
New game design - seeking comments

Just my two cents:

The theme and the mechanics you're describing is exactly the kind of game I'd love to play.

kungfugeek
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Joined: 09/10/2008
New game design - seeking comments

hpox wrote:
Just my two cents:

The theme and the mechanics you're describing is exactly the kind of game I'd love to play.

I'll see those two cents and raise ya a nickel. I've been kicking myself all night for not thinking of this idea (wizards scrambling for spell components) myself.

fwiw, i would probably have taken it in a different direction, but that's just my style. I was thinking this game would involve some Pit-style trading -- highly chaotic, everyone shouting and trading at once, and in the middle of the table is a "Wand" card or something. When someone has the right components to cast a spell, they grab the Wand, at which point all trading must stop, they cast their spell, and after it's resolved trading resumes. This repeats until someone wins... um, somehow.

And then I'd throw in some ninjas. Cuz all good games need ninjas.

Sorry. 4 hrs of sleep is not enough to post coherent messages.

OutsideLime
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Joined: 12/31/1969
New game design - seeking comments

I agree that trading and bargaining is begging to be implemented here...

As far as a draw deck, you can always assume that the wizards were wagering spell-components instead of cash, and that when the lights went out, the table got kicked over, and everything on it got scattered around the room.

Just to EXPLAIN the draw deck, of course. You could add the mechanic without the reasoning, but I like the story to back up the gameplay.

~Josh

Anonymous
New game design - seeking comments

Sounds like an awesome idea for a game. You really have a knack for wacky, fun ideas. I'd love to try this out when you have a playable version.

Anonymous
New game design - seeking comments

Indeed, the game does sound fun. However it's implemented, adding some sort of element that helps reflect the "scrambling around" that the wizards are doing (be it trade, a physical/real time element, drafting cards, whatnot) will help tie the theme into the gameplay experience.

Good luck developing this! It'll be interesting to see how you tie all these ideas together.

Anonymous
New game design - seeking comments

Your game gave me an idea for another game, kind of a "prequel" to your idea, heheh. A "magical" game of poker, where you bet with "mana crystals" and each card in the deck also doubles as a spell card that can be cast using a certain number of crystals. Spells would let you do things like look at an opponents hand, blast cards at random (or not so random), switch cards, and things like that. Other than that, it would play like regular poker.

Kind of like a "Nightmare Chess" take on Poker. :D

Anonymous
a slightly new twist

So I've gotten most of the cards figured out and in a very rough test the mechanism for constructing spells seems to work well enough.

There will be plenty of tweaking down the road, but the basic game seems solid.

I've added one more twist as well. 9 objects. Objects vary from the Ring of Protection (-1 damage in any assult) to the Old Sweatsock (does absolutely nothing).

If an object is drawn, the player drawing it immediately places it face down on the table and all players get to bid on it, starting with the one who drew it.

Bidding is done by sacrificing cards and goes around the table in the order of play.

So, if the player draws Old Sweatsock, they can attempt to fake out other players by say... bidding 2 cards that they don't want very much in an attempt to get another player to bid three.

The differences between objects and spells is that an object sticks around until it is somehow taken out of play.

While I'll be releasing Mi gato as a free pdf (allready have for the beta) I'm going to try and shop this idea around a bit I think. After a bunch of developement and play testing of course.

Cheers!
Ben

Anonymous
New game design - seeking comments

kungfugeek wrote:
fwiw, i would probably have taken it in a different direction, but that's just my style. I was thinking this game would involve some Pit-style trading -- highly chaotic, everyone shouting and trading at once, and in the middle of the table is a "Wand" card or something. When someone has the right components to cast a spell, they grab the Wand, at which point all trading must stop, they cast their spell, and after it's resolved trading resumes. This repeats until someone wins... um, somehow.

And then I'd throw in some ninjas. Cuz all good games need ninjas.

Sorry. 4 hrs of sleep is not enough to post coherent messages.

The ninjas come in to the sequal, where the last wizard standing suddenly has to defend the place from a busload of Ninjas who got off at the wrong game. Of course, all the *really* good spells were just used up in the fracas before so . . . .

I like your idea of the pit trading portion of the game, but I've got to say the real-time and quasi-real-time (and semi-quasi-psudo-real-time) games just aren't my thing. Some of them I think are brilliant , like Falling from Cheapass, but I don't enjoy playing them as much as the old standard of "who's turn is it?" I guess that's why I design turn based games (well, I'm 2 for 2 anyway) because I enjoy playing them more.

Anonymous
another bit...

I'm also toying will alowing folks to draw from the fully shuffled, face down deck *OR* from the face up discard pile. Either as a standard part of the game or through some spells/item.

Or perhaps I'll limit this to the bid pile (where old bids go to die)?

What do you think?

Ben

Anonymous
New game design - seeking comments

TigerWiccan wrote:
Your game gave me an idea for another game, kind of a "prequel" to your idea, heheh. A "magical" game of poker, where you bet with "mana crystals" and each card in the deck also doubles as a spell card that can be cast using a certain number of crystals. Spells would let you do things like look at an opponents hand, blast cards at random (or not so random), switch cards, and things like that. Other than that, it would play like regular poker.

Kind of like a "Nightmare Chess" take on Poker. :D

That's a great idea. If you develop it right, will we be seeing "Nightmare Poker" on cable, with stars playing for charities? :)

One potentially powerful spell could be to sift through (and then reshuffle) the deck, searching for a specific card.

Ben

Anonymous
New version online

Hi Folks,

After several more rounds of playtesting, I've modified the rules a bit and added a new card - Catnip.

The complete game is available in pdf format in a 3.2MB Zip file.

Or, if you've already downloaded the game before and just want the new rules and cardset you can get them online as well.

http://people.deas.harvard.edu/~bgerber/gato/ is where you can find them.

I'm still very interested in feedback.

Thanks,
Ben

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