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TCG Mechanics

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BrandonMH
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I'm designing a TCG, and I'm having a hard time coming up with good mechanics. The game is similar to the Pokemon TCG in it's art style, and I'm trying hard not to mimic the mechanics of that game. I want it to work in a way that when people play it, it doesn't feel like a Pokemon rip off.

My first question is for those of you who've played the Pokemon TCG. What does that game not have that you wish it did?

My second question is for anyone. I'm trying not to implement the use of energy-type cards in order to use attacks. What are some ways around this mechanic? This is pretty much my main problem.

Any help is appreciated.

markgrafn
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My initial thought is to have

My initial thought is to have attacking be free and use the energy for other effects, similar to Magic. Could be interesting combining the many creatures on the battlefield/free attacking of Magic and specific energy attached to an individual creature for effects of Pokemon. That seems different enough from Magic,as long as tge creatures don't require mana/energy to bring into play.

markgrafn
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Somehow - double post

Sorry. Is there a way to delete posts? This was a double post

jbship628
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Couple questions

What is the goal of your game?

The best way not to mimic the structure of a game, is to give your game a different purpose. If you are simply having a 'monsters fight monsters' game, you are going to have a hard time not at least partially mimicking Pokemon or Magic.

This might sound stupid, but perhaps a game where the goal for winning isn't known to the players until the game starts, and different cards have to be used in the best ways to accomplish a goal.

Something like Farmville the TCG or something. Where each player is working on doing something on their own, but their cards may negatively impact their opponents, while also having protections against potential negatives.

Again, without knowing more about the background of your game, it's hard to brainstorm with any focus. (At least for me)

radioactivemouse
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Diversify.

BrandonMH wrote:
I'm designing a TCG, and I'm having a hard time coming up with good mechanics. The game is similar to the Pokemon TCG in it's art style, and I'm trying hard not to mimic the mechanics of that game. I want it to work in a way that when people play it, it doesn't feel like a Pokemon rip off.

My first question is for those of you who've played the Pokemon TCG. What does that game not have that you wish it did?

My second question is for anyone. I'm trying not to implement the use of energy-type cards in order to use attacks. What are some ways around this mechanic? This is pretty much my main problem.

Any help is appreciated.

I agree with jbship, in order for your game to be even noticed or respected by the community is if you bring something different to the table. If someone can easily equate your game to Pokemon, then it's not far for them to accuse your game of being a "Pokemon ripoff".

My suggestion would be to look at other successful card games out there, not just TCG or CCG. Look at the mechanics of ALL the LCGs ("Living" Card Games from Fantasy Flight Games) and check out card games that are not "Collectible" or "Trading" like Race for the Galaxy or San Juan or even Imperial Settlers. There's a lot of mechanics being used in those games that aren't in traditional CCG's or TCG's.

The one thing I tell my students is if you've played Monopoly all your life and all of a sudden you're asked to create a board game, what kind of game are you going to make? A roll-and-move-run-around-a-board game.

You have to diversify yourself with what's out there. If you can't invest all the money (believe me, I've done it...it can get expensive), then watch YouTube videos on these games for tutorials and how-to-plays.

Also, going a TCG or LCG format is very labor-intensive. Not only does the distribution method need to be meticulously planned, you have to account and design for millions of combinations of card interaction, which need to be tested out or there will be people that will "master" your game and find crazy loopholes that you never intended.

I released my first card game last year and it was a BEAR to balance, but it's fun. It's NOT a CCG or TCG or even a LCG model, it's just 2 static-built 50 card decks.

BrandonMH
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Thanks for tips

jbship628,
I'm still trying to come up with a goal and a theme. I have some ideas written out, but I'm still debating which one to use. The theme I'm thinking about using is about protecting a habitat from the other player, but I'm not married to any ideas, yet.

I really like your idea for not knowing what the goal is. I might try and see if I can work that in somehow.

I appreciate all of the tips. Thank you.

x4Rs0L
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Joined: 06/24/2013
To answer your first

To answer your first question, I wish the battle were more fluid and organic. While the TCG did a great job of mimicking the video game, I always felt that the need for factors such as distance of opponents and strength of an attack would make the game more interesting. Simply put, I wish the game had more of an arena feel rather than simple turn based battles.

For the second question, I would encourage you to play more card games, as everyone has said, and to see how they manage their resources for players to use. Games like Epic PvP and BuddyFight use an interesting gauge mechanic (both games encourage players to "charge", pooling cards from their deck into a resource pool). There is M:tG's and Force of Will's mana system. Both games use mana but have almost polar opposite ways of implementing them. Then there are games like Netrunner that give a single resource gained through a variety of of card effects. Personally, since my game is a combat game based ala action video games, systems with "charge" mechanics work better for me than the "mana" systems. There are other systems out there. Your best chance is to play ALOT of card games in order to learn what's what and how it fits with your overall theme and desire of play.

As others have mentioned before, pour ideas out and focus on figuring out how you want your game to play and how you aim for people to perceive it as fun. There is nothing wrong creating a game that's similar to Pkmn TCG or M:tG. But as the community said, you'll find it really hard (more like impossible) to standout.

My suggestion: figure out a theme you want to go with. Specifically, what you're trying to do with your game. For me, its to recreate the feeling of all the action rpgs I've played and the sci-fi movies I've watched. Next, brainstorm and develop the ideas that pop into your head. Don't worry about it being perfect. Just get them on paper as fast as you can. Draw, doodle, even go so far as to prototype (prototype it as poorly as possible to avoid wasting time on unfinished work) your game and see how it works from paper to table. Find out what worked, what didn't, what you liked, loved, and hated, and how you're going to change it for the better.

Rinse and repeat for eternity.... or until you have a product of your own design and creative process and are ready to share it with others.

Then do it all over again until you're ready to pitch it to a publisher.

So ya.... but trust me in jotting everything down and prototyping it on to the table. You'll see how your vision came out and what you need to do to continue developing it.

Beyond that, good luck.

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