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card and tile strategy game

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Midnight_Carnival
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Had these dinosaur cards lying around for a long time, was thinking of ways to make playing with them more interesting.
They are ones with stats which you can compare and also attack and defence values. The cards are copyrighted so obviously this game is not for sale (although I could create my own cards [perhaps mythical monsters?] which worked the same way).

My idea was that you'd start with a structure which can't move (a 'chapel' or a 'fort', etc...) you'd roll dice to determine which resources you get from your territory - becuase obviously you'd own the territory on which the strcture stood - and you'd use these to summon dinosaurs. I could use poker chips to represent different resources?

The object of the game would be to claim the territory on which your oponent's main structure stands, you claim territories by fufilling certain criteria, there would be lots of conditions and you'd need only a few if the territory was uncontested, but many more if another player could contest your claim (if they were also in a position to claim that territory.

You can build "structures" such as forests, mountains, meadows (suggest others?) on teritories you own and these provide food for your dinos (carnivores can survive a turn on another dead dino or you can sacrifice one) Then you fight a lot with dinosaurs!

The cards would be kept in your hand but there would be pieces or tokens representing the dinos on the board (would be really great if I could get lots of small dino toys!) you move them around and battle. Structures could allow for offensive and defensive bonuses if you test for a difference in stats (eg: a longer dinosaur would gain say 20 attack/defence if standing on a mountain) there is also a "special" score for each dinosaur on the card and I was thinking of making it so you could add a dino's "specail" to attacks but you'd have to pay one of the more useful types of resource(?) not food, that's the only resource I've named, I should probably include water as well.
I think apart from eating other dinos, carnivores would also perhaps work differently to herbivores, you could have carnivores more geared towards attack, perhaps only able to use their "special" on territories not claimed by the player?

-ok, that's about all I can think of now, just a vague guideline, I'd have to refine the hell out of this before I can even playtest it (assuming I can find someone who'll playtest it with me).

Any comments, suggestions, thoughts or ciriticisms would be most welcome, but I'd especially like to know if it sounds like the game I'm suggesting seems like it would be too complicated (I often get told that the games I come up with are too complicated) and how many types of resource I should make.

Garwyx
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Sounds like a nice idea.

Sounds like a nice idea. Definitely check out Small World, it might give you some inspiration on conquering in a simple way, and Terra Mystica on converting tiles to a resource you want.
I would make the fights between dinosaurs as simple as possible. Small World may be too simple, but think Magic the Gathering. Fights can consist of several dinosaurs on each side and the defender decides whom to block with whom. Dinosaurs are either defeated or not so you don't have to keep track of health.
On the one hand you could put a reward in for every fight, such as gaining meat or gold, but if it's land the players are going for, they already get that by invading a new tile.

I like your idea about a standard spawning point where you start. But story-wise I find it weird: why would all dinosaurs work together. If you change to mythical creatures controlled by an overlord it makes a lot more sense.

Do not make it too difficult. As resources you could use meat and veggies, for both types of dinosaurs, and perhaps a third one for upgrades (crystal, oil, gold). You could go for many different terrain types (forest, bog, meadow, mountain, lake) but then there should be differences. Are some harder to move through? Offer more resources? Regeneration or protection for dinosaurs?

Finally, think about the winning conditions. Should players be eliminated (quite boring for eliminated players in >2 players), get a certain % of territory or score?

Midnight_Carnival
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Thanks for the

Thanks for the suggestions.

You got me on the storyline, I have no idea why dinosaurs from different ages in the earth's history would want to cooperate!

As for the combat, it's very simple becasue it's on the cards themselves. Dino 1 attacks dino 2, you check their attacking vs defence values respectively and the winning dino eats the losing one (if they're carnivores). I wanted to make it more interesting by adding the special attack and the stats difference.
The stats difference can only be initiated by a dinosaur stationed in a structure (eg: a mountain) this gives that dino a bonus to its attack or defence depending on the structure/terain type. If the test for stats difference goes the way of the other dinosar then it gets the bonus regardless of what it's standing in.

The special attack would require you to pay like and 'energy' resource to intitate but I haven't thought much further than that.

Multiple combat is simple becasue the outcome of a confrontation between 2 dinosaurs is always one of them getting eaten - as many dinos can attack 1 as they like, but they take turns until either they or it die - there's no 'health' to keep track of and since dinosaurs cooperating in order to capture and defend territory is pushing it, I think it's better not to give them attacking/defensive bonuses for taking on an enemy in the same turn.

I was also thinking of having only 1 type of 'food'. Forests and meadows can produce grass, cycads and ferns as well as leaves, but they can also produce mamal-like reptiles and lizards.

Garwyx
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Concerning combat, does that

Concerning combat, does that mean that if 3 weak dinos attack one strong dino, they all get eaten because all three brawls are handled 1 on 1? That is very unusual and will render all dinos of a low level useless if a player gets a stronger dino.
I suggest either incorporate hitpoints, such that strong dinos that are attacked by weak dinos suffer a little, or do it like MTG, such that every dino can only attack a single opponent, but many weak dinos can kill one strong dino.

Concerning food, what would be nice is that land produces veggies that can be eaten by herbivores, but carnivores can only get food by killing other dinos. To simplify, you could even remove food as a resource and say herbivores can always find food, but carnivores need to kill another dino every x number of turns or die. That could result in very cool tradeoffs when choosing dinos. Also, can dinos eat herbivores that belong to the same player?

Midnight_Carnival
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Aah, the 3 weak dinos ending

Aah, the 3 weak dinos ending up lunch...
I'm actually quite tempted to keep it as is becasue I want this game to be simple to play.
It is a feature of the cards I'm using that all dinosaurs have a "special" score, I plan to incorporate this into my game under certain conditions and probalby after paying a special resource token to make a special attack, smaller dinosaurs often have higher "special" scores. Apart from that, there are stats which I plan to bring in by allowing players to add a bonus for difference in stats while on a type of terrain, some of the stats favor smaller dinos. Combat works like this: attacking score vs defensive score (with option of bonus added for special scores or a difference in stats on whichever terrain) the way the cards I'm using presently work, the herbivores have quite high defensive scores so I think that they are not always at a disadvantage.

I think I want to keep it 1 on 1 becasue I like the idea of it being very turn-based, so no symaltaneous combat. In a game of chess it doesn't matter how many pawns are threatening the queen, only 1 takes her or she takes him depending on who's turn it is - my game would be similar except that the outcome would be decided by the cards and terain 'structures' not simply who's turn it is.

1 thing which would cause me to change this would be a 'jugernaut' dinosaur, one which no other dinosaur can beat no matter what it's standing on or whether it uses conventional, special attack or conventional attack with terrain bonus from difference in stats. I might just play without that card in the deck if that were the case, but I might also refine the rules somewhat.

I think I should make rough tiles representing the different structures and proto-playtest for the purpose of determining how the game would go and if the game mechanics are sound.

I also think that carnivores only eating other dinos would require the players to sacrifice a lot of good dinosaurs just to get 1 with decent attack stats. I see what you mean about the food should be veggies though.

Tbone
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Big Dinos Get Hurt

You could also throw in a mechanoc that after a combat round any dinos still left are "injured" and need to be healed for an action or with medic points, whatever. This way stronger dinos still retain their strength but need to be maintained throughout the game in order to keep the damage coming. This also allows for 1 v 1 to be interesting because smaller dinos will obviously lose more often but still injure stronger ones; they keep their purpose in the game instead of losing it in the late game.

Midnight_Carnival
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big dinos get hurt

I like this idea quite a lot. I think you could have a damage token representing an injury which gives the dino a penalty to attack and defence, you can have more than 1 damage token at a time (assuming the damaged dino survives) and the would cost a special type of resoruce to remove.

This also gives me the right no of resrouces now (may still have to refine) - 5
-food (for hungry dinos)
-water (for forests)
-energy (for special attacks)
-healing (for sick dinos and to build meadows(?))
-earth (for building mountains)
The resoruces would have more uses than those stated here but I haven't worked out the details yet.

Midnight_Carnival
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Thanks everyone!

I've replaced the injury counters with injury dice to make it more interesting, you can roll -10 to either defence or attack, -20 to defence or attack, no bonus from stats or no special attack(/defence) until removed. Also it won't just be any time a dinosaur survives combat it is injured, but only when it survives combat while not on a sturcture (except meadows which offer no defence) owned by that player.

I just wanted to thank you for all your ideas and feedback, if you have others feel free to let me know, but as far as I'm concerned the game is about ready to move to the next level, playtesting and working with it as a game, not just an idea for a game.
I'll let you know how it turns out sometime, somewhere.

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