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Quick, expandable Cardbased conflict. Do these seem workable?

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Torrent
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So I have a conflict mechanic I've been pondering. Here are several versions inspired by CCGs. Does this exist already enough to seem like a ripoff? As always any mechnical feedback is appreciated. Even a quick thought on which seems the most interesting.
The background game is a FF Style-RPG/Dungeon Crawler. Each player has a group of 3 characters or so. I want something quick for the combat/resolution that is still upgradable and expandable as characters progress.

1) Each Card has a power icon on it, a no-cost ability, and a cost ability. On your turn you play a card, you can either use its nocost ability, or if you have enough power you can use the cost ability. At the end of your turn, you add this card to the power stack. So as you play cards you start with weak (nocost) abilities and end up getting into the big hitters. I like that it will have a defined end, as I expect some Cost abilities will scale with power. Power Icons are based on schools of attacks, perhaps class based. So as you expand you add new "cards" to the "deck".

2) Similar to 1, except the power icons aren't on the cards, you just the card into the power stack. In order to use a costed ability, you have to discard an appropriate number of cards from the power stack.
Not sure there are advantages here, just thought about it.

3) Power is accumulated by the character itself as an energy number, instead of being a stack of cards. So a discarded/played card is gone, but has the same idea of nocost and costed ability,just the cost comes from the characters themselves.
This has some advantages to allow characters to act differently, but it isn't quite as 'slick' feeling to me.

So any feedback or thoughts would be appreciated. I want each battle to be 60-90 seconds if possible.

fecundity
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At first I wanted to say:

At first I wanted to say: Option 1 sounds the most thematic, because the cards can represent different bits of loot-- magic items, weapons, armour, and so on.

Then I thought: That makes it start to sound like Munchkin.

brisingre
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I like it

The idea of making a fantasy combat card game has been done a hundred times. However, making a combat card game that is simply blindingly fast (as was done to character-scale combat in Anachronism, for instance) is new to the best of my knowledge. Just because I haven't heard of it doesn't mean it doesn't exist, but it probably means it's not mainstream enough to occupy the niche. In short, it sounds workable to me.

Torrent
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@fecundity: The cards would

@fecundity: The cards would be less likely to be items and more likely to be moves/skills. Although I can imagine (ala Starcraft tBG) that having certain items adds cards to your deck as the special abilities of those items. It is supposed to be quasi-cinematic, turn parry thrust dodge oo oo aha.

@brisingre: Yeah, BGG is down, but I do want to look at what you mentioned in Anachronism. The reason this has got to be lightening fast is that it really isn't the main meat of the game. It is the conflict resolution system of a larger system. So I can't have 5-10 minute battles and still expect people to stay interested. That said I want the conflicts to carry a lot of the 'providing choices' load so they definitely need to be long enough to be tactical, and you need to feel both like you made good or bad decisions, and have the incentive to improve the character deck.

magic_user
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Check out DragonLance Fifth Age (SAGA Rules System)

This card set has fairly simple rules that, at least in our games, played very fast. There are similarities to your #1 and #2 (more like #2). Checking it out might at least give you more ideas.

Good luck!
Jim C.

brisingre
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Anachronism

Well, it's not a two minute game. It's a ten minute game. Buttonmen is a two minute game (I haven't played it, for the record.)

Torrent
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Do you have a link to this

Do you have a link to this Dragonlance game? I did a very quick search in BGG and didn't see anything that looked like what I expected. What I saw had dice.., which might be ok as I didn't have time to read the whole thing.

I looked at Anachronism, also briefly, and it looks intersting enough to go back and look at the cards more closely.

Does anyone play any of the kiddy ccgs? Like YuGiOh or Pokemon, what kind of resource mechanics do they use? I know they have persistance cards, while I'm looking at all Instants that discard to become a base for power.

brisingre
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I do, a little bit

I've never properly played Yugioh, but I played a game or two of Pokemon in my time, and I still play a lot of Magic (Not well, mind, but it's fun.) Pokemon (and remember that I haven't played it except for like three games when I was twelve) has monsters which you can play very inexpensively (I don't believe that there is a cost to bring them into play, with the exception of those that replace weaker monsters) which have abilities that cost energy to use. You can only use a single ability per turn. Energy is attached to a monster and is not expended to use these abilities, but you need to meet the cost of an ability to use it. Magic has a very different system. You have 'land' cards, which provide five different resources that are expended to play one-shot cards, bring standing cards into play, and use abilities on standing cards. From my observations, Yugioh seems to have no resources, just a hard limit on the number of permanents you can have.

If you're going to knock off one of these systems, knock off pokemon. I don't know much about Yugioh, but the scale is wrong for Magic. Pokemon is meant to simulate a duel between two (or more) people. Or rather, it's a duel of their monsters. The duelists are never hurt. It's a cockfight, but with way more lightning. Magic, on the other hand, is meant to be a fantasy war. (Well, it's actually supposed to be a duel too, but it's NOT.) The scale of the game is for an epic battle, not a skirmish. A good game (bear in mind that I'm a casual player, most games with good players end very quickly with the players using $2000 decks to exploit little flaws in game balance) usually takes an hour and involves both players amassing armies in excess of a dozen monsters. Pokemon games have two or three at a time, rather more appropriate for the fast skirmishes you suggest.

Torrent
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CCG Vet

Yeah, I've played metric tons of Magic over the years as well. As well as most older CCGs (I bought cheap stuff from Ebay for years). I love how the basic CCG goes, so I tend toward that idea in my games. What I need at this point is something very quick. Magic games are deep and can take a while.

This current project will be a board/card style dungeon crawler implemented in Flash. So shuffle times won't mean anything.

I found the Call of Cthuhlu LCG/CCG on BGG last night just poking around. I really like it as inspiration. You discard to bring out cards to complete stories. I need to get the rules and read them more detailed. I may buy some at some point too. Anyone played this and give an idea how logn things take?

brisingre
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Haven't played it

but that sounds cool. I'll check it out at some point. I try to avoid picking up new ccgs, because I spend so much money on them. However, it'd be worth checking out. I might try it out on Lackey...

Uchu Saru
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Very much intrigued

I really like this idea, both the concept and your ideas for implementation. I like card-based combat for the decision making opportunities, and keeping it quick keeps the exploration aspects of a dungeon crawl at the forefront while maintaining a sense of action and danger. Idea #1 is my favorite: I like that you build toward more powerful abilities, so it sort of has a built in experience mechanic. I imagine having to make choices between using an ability that is most effective in the current situation and building a character toward certain abilities. Or perhaps a card would be most effective if used by one character, but would help another one improve more.

A random brainstorm: what about combining #1 and #2, such that only a handful of cards (e.g., the top five in the power stack) are available to spend on cost abilities, and using a cost ability moves the spent power cards to the bottom of the power stack rather than discarding them? Maybe players could also choose to discard spent cards, and thus refine their power stack so that it cycles to their greater advantage.

I think all three ideas have potential; #3 seems like it could allow you to shift the way characters develop depending on how they earn power points (from items, combat, treasure, magic power up spots, etc.). But I think you're right on: #1 just feels slicker.

Good luck developing the game!

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