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CCG RPG (Brainstorm)

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Fhizban's picture
Joined: 01/11/2009

This is an idea that keeps floating around my head since years, maybe you guys are interested in a discussion about creating a CCG RPG?

First: Don't put too much emphasis into the "CCG" part (collectible card game). This WON'T be collectible or anything. The word is used to describe the game better.

So, a whole RPG game system using cards. Inspired by classic CCG and their mechanics (drawing, tapping, simple combat).

Each player represents a party of heroes. The game can be played solo as well and works completely without a Game Master.

The "zest" is to keep mechanics as simple as possible. Because a CCG card game does not allow for dozens of stats and mathematics.

This is just an idea for now. Any input is welcome.

Im posting brainstorm bits as well in this thread.

Fhizban's picture
Joined: 01/11/2009
A few basic to provide us

A few basic to provide us with a frame:

Think about old Dungeon Crawler RPG computer games like Dungeon Master, Eye of the Beholder or Wizardry and transfer that into a card based RPG. Not limited to "dungeons" though...

* Cards (lots of them! Heroes, Monsters, Locations, Items...)
* Tokens (required to track lots of things like Gold etc.)
* Dice (not a fan of dice in CCGs, but should be OK in a RPG and its just so much more fun)
* NO Map or tiles (we just use cards to represent locations)

Instead of book-keeping using paper and pencil, tokens could be used. Only when taking a break from the game, the characters data would be transcribed onto a piece of paper. During play, tracking wounds etc. with Tokens is so much faster. Example Tokens:

* Wound Token (not a big fan of tracking wounds in a CCG but it just makes sense for a RPG)
* Ammo Token
* Food Token
* Mana Token
* Level Token ...

This is a mechanic i would really like to see in a game like this. Each card features a variable number of traits. Instead of writing fixed stats on the cards (like Strength, Agility, Intelligence) we use Traits. This has several advantages:

* Not fixed (no writing the same 6 attributes on each card)
* Limit information (a card only shows the traits it has)
* Flexible (we can easily add new traits)

* Traits can have levels (like Sorcery+2, Chivalry+1, Etiquette+2)
* Traits are like Attributes, Stats, Advantages, Disadvantages all in one,


Monk Hero (Martial Arts 1, Scribe 1, Priest 2, Brewing 1)
Paladin (Combat 2, Armor 1, Etiquette 2, Charisma 1)

Longbow (Ranged 3, spend a Ammo Token to use)

This aspect would be really simple. In fact, all kinds of challenges are like combat. Basically you roll some dice, add one or more trait modifiers and then compare it to your opponents result.

It does not matter if you try to force open a door, deliver a speech at the emperors banquet, cast a spell, attack a enemy or bewitch a damsel - a "test" of some sort is required


roll 2d6 and add all trait bonus
then your opponent rolls 2d6 and adds all trait bonus
the higher result wins the test

Just as an example, in fact any method could be used (target number, bucket of dice, whatever suits the game).

Fhizban's picture
Joined: 01/11/2009
QUESTS This would be the core

This would be the core mechanic of the game. The players have to complete quests to gain "Victory Points", the first player who earns 7+ VP (number chosen at will) wins the current game. Of course there could be cooperative play as well.

QUEST CARDS (brainstorm)
There should be "Number of Players" +1 Quest cards face-up on the table at any given time. Each player should be able to attend to any quest. Players put progress tokens on a quest card, and when a certain threshold is reached, the quest is completed and the player gains X Victory Points. There could also be a effect that lasts while the quest is incomplete, or a effect that starts once the quest is completed.

when playing competitive, every player has to keep track of his own progress tokens for each quest. in cooperative mode, all players contribute progress tokens.

on the quest card could be a indicator of the Location, quest level and so on.

A very simple idea how to complete quests could be this:

Players have to face ENCOUNTERS that can be anything from monsters to traps or random events. Each encounter adds one progress token to a quest that matches its Location (like a Forest Encounter only contributes to forest quests).

But, this would make all quests work in exactly the same way. So this aspect is very much open to discussion.

* Multiple Quest cards - gives choice
* Face-up quests - more choice, prevents "this quest is too hard for me"
* All players can attend all quests - increases both cooperative and competitive gameplay

let-off studios
let-off studios's picture
Joined: 02/07/2011
Dark Venture

What you're describing here makes me remember forays into playing Dark Venture in a virtual tabletop earlier this year. If you're not familiar, it's a semi-cooperative, sprawling, weird adventure set in a Gamma World meets Thundarr the Barbarian campaign world.

Cards are used to represent anything from map regions and locations, to characters, to the quests you describe as the key feature of your concept, to equipment. A pair of booklets are used to describe different happenings as the players explore the world, kind of like reading keyed passages of text in a choose-your-own-adventure book. Dice are used in classic RPG fashion for things like determining whether or not you hit your opponent when attacking, or if you find the hidden item or switch or whatever.

Personally I really enjoyed the game, and if I had it in physical copy as opposed to the online version, I would set it up in the morning and play it into the evening. I had a similar feeling with Thunderstone, where it's a game that you set up once, then play several times through in a single sitting. Again, for me, solo play was the way to go.

As long as your game is developed for solo play as well as in groups, then there seems to be an audience for it (larger than just me, of course). Dark Venture seems to have had a favorable reception on BGG:

questccg's picture
Joined: 04/16/2011
After Archon... I realized that we have similar ideas BUT...

They're in a different direction. Like for "Archon" I was looking more at a card game with an RPS-5. In your case the "Archon" design was to be used with a Board Game (physical board). And so even if we had similar concepts, our outcomes were different.

Same goes for this "CCG/RPG". Or more specifically RPG/Game (in my case). In this case I am exploring the RPG genre but VERY simplified. I have wound tokens, an "adventure system" and a "Monster Compendium" (for all the creatures).

This time I am on the other side. I am using very few cards and cards are not the "focus" of the design. So far that design looks pretty good. But it's still a "rough" prototype.

But it's cool to see we have similar ideas and able to "design" DIFFERENT types of games. Which is what I am saying about ideas. If you put them "out-there" the odds of having two (2) people design the SAME game is near zero (0).

Just one word of advice... SIMPLIFY as much as you can. I too had plans for "Quests" and to have a more complex "Reward/Treasure system". In any case I simplified things and have focused on the "adventure system".

This is a good "concept" ... But the implementation in keeping everything as SIMPLE as possible will be key. Cheers!

Fhizban's picture
Joined: 01/11/2009
@let-off studios: I'll have a

@let-off studios: I'll have a look soon, thanks for the Info.

Thunderstone is very close to this concept actually...


That shows how different a game idea can be put into practice. There are always multiple ways to achieve a goal.

So this concept would be as close to a CCG/Card Game as possible and it should play like a card game. Its not a full fledged RPG or a RPG supported by cards.

Biggle Bear
Joined: 10/23/2019
Turny cards

I had an idea for a ccg rpg. Obviously with differences to yours, but I'm not perusing it. One idea that might be useful to you...

To track HP and so forth, one could use a card that is labelled at each side with a number 1-4 and on the reverse side 5-8. Then the number that is oriented as the card it is connected to is the current value of, say, Hit Points. The card could also be square so that it would fit in a stack, still oriented as the card it is connected to, and stored for later play.

I hope the idea I'm trying to describe is clear enough.

Fhizban's picture
Joined: 01/11/2009
Im not actively working on it

Im not actively working on it either atm, its more of a brainstorm.

Another idea regarding HP is to have no HP in the common sense. Instead, each character or monster simply has 3 different states: Uninjured, Injured and Defeated.

Uninjured would be untapped, Injured is tapped and defeated is dead.

Of course that limits the design quite a bit, everything from damage to attack spells and healing would be much simpler than in a typical RPG.

but, one advantage is that it removes the "power levelling" aspect. you still have 3 states, no matter if you are a level 1 or a level 10 hero.

let-off studios
let-off studios's picture
Joined: 02/07/2011
Flip a Chip

Fhizban wrote:
Uninjured would be untapped, Injured is tapped and defeated is dead.
An early design of mine had streamlined combat in such a way. The units were essentially checkers. One side was the "Healthy" side, while the other was the "Wounded" side. Each side had the unit name, icon, and a conspicuous indicator of its current status. The chips were also thick enough so that I could have something written on the edge, and by looking at the side of the stack you could see what was in it.

Once a unit suffered damage, it was flipped from Healthy to Wounded. If a Wounded unit was later healed, then it was flipped back to its Healthy side. However, if it suffered damage again, it was slain and collected by the opponent.

The things I accomplished with this particular mechanism were as follows:

  • Drastically-simplified combat process - though resolution itself could contain a satisfying amount complexity.
  • Create a hard-limit and more value to combat units in the field. For example, once a player's Scout units were all collected by their opponent(s) they couldn't summon any more of them.
  • Facilitate units a player has defeated as easily-tracked victory points.
  • Chips could be "stacked" on one another, so special status (shielded, poisoned, etc.) could be easily seen by looking at the side of a stack. Also, the fact that a stack was taller than a single chip made it visually obvious that something was going on with them.
  • Allows a player with Wounded units to recover without complete defeat, by the use of now-valuable healing abilities.
Fhizban's picture
Joined: 01/11/2009
@let-off studios:

@let-off studios: nice!

building on top of the 3 states idea, something that could be done to make combat less "brutal" would be how armor can be used to soak up damage.

like you can "injure" a piece of armor to negate a hit that would otherwise injure your hero character.

that piece of armor would be broken and requires repair to be functional again, it cannot be broken twice.

like a one-time damage saver

plus "broken equipment" opens up another feature field to build on like repairs etc.

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