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CCG with RTS Mechanics

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hoywolf
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I have been working on a card game that features the fog-of-war mechanics in a RTS (real time strategy game), as in cards stay hidden until a player reveals them or when they are attacked. Each player will have separate decks and play in a common “in-play” zone. Players can play their cards on a grid, like a chess board, each card will occupy a certain square and will remain there till it moves or is destroyed. Cards that are adjacent can give effects to other card, or you may attack adjacent opposing cards as well (at most a card can have 8 adjacent cards to it).

The game like other CCGs is a 2-player game that focuses on trying to destroy you opponents’ main structure.

Here is a same of the grid, each number is a place for a single card.
01 02 03 04 05
06 07 08 09 10
11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25

The two main structure are on 3rd (player A) and the 23rd (player B) slot, each player will place these main structure there (it is a card as well). Each player will place their main structure card on these spots. The game turn will be broken down into phases and the turns will be communal (like VS), so a player will start a phase with an action, and the following player will the same action, then it will process to the next phase. After the turn ends the next player will start all the actions first.

Playing Cards: Players will place a card face-down on the board (adjacent) to any their cards. The card face down represents the fog-of-war. Players can then turn cards face up to play them; a unit card will represent a small army or hero. So any card can be played face down, and does not necessarily be played immediately, other card types like locations, traps, or auras.

Resource: Currently I'm use this morale based resource, for each card you have on the board it adds to your morale (the bigger the army the better the units will join your battle), so if the total number of cards on the board (face down or up) is less than or equal to the cost of the card, you may play it (their are modifiers of course). This was working well with my Rush versus Control setup, but became horrible when it’s Control versus Control. I may have to use a location production system to balance it out.

Moving Cards: Cards face up can move to an adjacent spot that in unoccupied. I plan to keep this to one move per player.

Attack Phase: You can exhaust/tap a card to propose an attack on another card, if its a face up unit card they enter combat, or you can attack a face down card, if its a trap card it will be resolved, if not it is destroy like it lost in combat. Cards that are destroyed in combat are collected as a spoil card, which can then be used for other effect like combat boosts or be traded for resources. Cards that are held as spoils do not enter the graveyard, but goes into the spoil zone for the winning player. This is just a mechanic to prevent some graveyard recursion. So certain cards can be withheld from a player, once it is used it will go back to the opponents graveyard (or considering the out of game zone).

Other Ideas: I still working on this, but I have keywords like “Assault” After you win a battle this card moves into the destroyed card’s square. I was also considering terrain cards where you get effects when a card is on top of it. Range units are giving my trouble as well, as I don’t want them to be overpowered. Most effects that I’m trying to create target in a column, row, or even diagonal range. Combat is still in the works, it’s currently a double K.O. system still, and I was trying to have a single K.O. unless it’s a tie, but it’s difficult to swing back with a system like that combined with the resource system above. “Scout” cards are another mechanic to peek at face down cards as well.

Win conditions: Destroying your opponents base is one way, another one I was considering was obtaining X amount of spoil cards. There is of course special win condition cards as well.

Archetype:
The setting of the game is fantasy medieval, where war and siege take place often. So far I have only three color/factions that work with the fog-of-war system.

Orc: Basic rush deck, the orc archetype tries to reach your opponents main base to destroy it. Because they come in numbers, major of the effects will be based of how many orcs are in play (under your control) thus making you want to play your cards all face up. They want to show intimidation by the largeness of their army.

Human: Location control deck, this archetype focus on defend building high cost and high defend structures to keep out any invaders and reach maybe a special win condition.

Elf (or NINJAS!): Another archetype is playing with the fog-of-war, several effects will be based on a number of cards played face down and contains lots of trap cards. So attacking straight on may not be the best idea.

The idea is still in concept phase, with my ever changing prototype. Any ideas, comments, and suggestions will be much appreciated!

Pastor_Mora
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Ultra Quick Rush

Hi Wolf,

A) The starting castle positions (03 & 23) seem to close to each other.

I imagine that the 08 & 18 positions will be occupied by defenders. So, a simple guess will be that with only three victories (say, 13, 08 & 03) you could get right past your enemy gates. If you luckily start with a heavy unit, your enemy is done in no time.

A second simple guess, tells me that in that setup, positions 01, 05, 21 & 25 will count for nothing of consequence. Did this happen to you on playtesting? You DID playtest this, right?

It looks like you could try 01 & 25 as starting positions.

B) Your mechanic makes combat initiative function the way around.

Instead of the attacker choosing its battles, the defender is choosing his counter-attack. And you could reasonably agree that he will have three positions to choose from (with diagonal and range attacks). Plus, if you allow multiple attacks on a single position, the enemy is toasted for shure. Initiative is one of the most important (beneficial!!) factors in battle, and it seems you are turning it into a deathtrap.

C) Resources Management: Morale as a resource is a good and original idea, but numbers don't always sum up. Maybe you could use a single scale for both players that moves one way or another every time a unit is killed. I used that on my Falklands game. If your enemy pushes you to 0, then your troops will route and you are done.

I'll be posting my Point Blank Range mechanics around these days, if my negotiatons with a canadian producer get sour. Maybe then I could show you some alternatives for your project.

dnjkirk
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Something similar

Recommend you try The Battle for Hill 218. There is a computer version with good AI you can try out. It is somewhat reminiscent of what you are doing here.

hoywolf
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@Pastor_Mora

First of all thanks for the input, its very much appreciated! :)

Quote:
A) The starting castle positions (03 & 23) seem to close to each other.

I imagine that the 08 & 18 positions will be occupied by defenders. So, a simple guess will be that with only three victories (say, 13, 08 & 03) you could get right past your enemy gates. If you luckily start with a heavy unit, your enemy is done in no time.

Yes positions 13, 08, and 03 hold the most important squares, I put more defense values on the units/location to avoid a total stomp out like that, there is a type of "team attack" so you can swarm around this single unit and use two units to bump out this. Also if you attack first this turn, the next turn your opponent does, so he can fill up the slot back with one of his cards, you will need at least 6 turns and beating your opponents straight (even on his initiative) to get to the main base. I limit one card to be set down a turn to avoid a total rush too.

Quote:
A second simple guess, tells me that in that setup, positions 01, 05, 21 & 25 will count for nothing of consequence. Did this happen to you on playtesting? You DID playtest this, right?

It looks like you could try 01 & 25 as starting positions.

You are correct, those four corner positions end up never being used during play testing... I could consider starting from those zones, the fights will be much longer, but I will try this out I feel this will add more use of the board and that the diagonal attack will be much strong, I'll adjust accordingly.

Quote:
B) Your mechanic makes combat initiative function the way around.

Instead of the attacker choosing its battles, the defender is choosing his counter-attack. And you could reasonably agree that he will have three positions to choose from (with diagonal and range attacks). Plus, if you allow multiple attacks on a single position, the enemy is toasted for shure. Initiative is one of the most important (beneficial!!) factors in battle, and it seems you are turning it into a deathtrap.

The advantage should always go to the aggressor, but its too much advantage in my game as destroying a unit means losing board position as well as losing a resource, I'm trying to make a double K.O. occur, that makes both players resource go up by one, after combat it goes down by one, so it tends to sit at 3 to 4 resource for a player, but because I made defense stat higher, if an attack plays an attack pump and the defender does not, too much advantage is gain. I will trying a location resource system as well, and I'll post my results here again after more play testing.

Pastor_Mora
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Diagonal Attacks

1) If you allow diagonal movement and attacks, it won't change a thing to move starting positions to the corners. You will also need three hits to get to your enemy. But if you allow movement only sideways and set corner starting positions, that will result in a six-hits road to the enemy gates and only two counter-attack chances around the middle of the board. I think this could make the battlefield more dynamic (this relates to number 2).

2) In my humble opinion (except for the HQ) hi defense stats suck. Because they don't get you anywhere, and neither your opponent. I prefer hi attack stats and enjoy the slaughter! So I suggest you keep them down to only a few really "special" units.

3) Corner positions will be useless even with a diagonal axis layout. So, if you are not up to the 4 players version, you could use them as bonus positions (like artillery for long range bombardment, or eagles nest for long range air deployment, or magic sources, you figure). The player that occupies the position get the bonus. This could broaden your maneuvers options, while adding partial battle objectives in the equation.

I'll be waiting for your next release of this. Hope you have a name for it by then.

Keep thinking!

hoywolf
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I might try my out concept out again, I changed it from a specific angle of attack to any direction to make it more simple, but it ends up being a bit too easy and straight forward if the rush is set up right.

It used to be you could use attack forward, diagonal, or sideways. And I gave each unit type a direction, like foot soldiers go forward, range is diagonal, and your flankers were sideways.

I was modifying it this weekend and here is my draft idea:

I will have a printed icon on the card with a 3x3 grid; the 3x3 grid will represent an area on the 5x5 playing grid. I will fill a square on the box green to represent the unit on the card, and a red box(es) to represent where it can attack.

Starting zones are back to being in the middle; 3 and 23 (view OP for main layout grid)

So here is a sample grid

1 2 3
4 5 6
7 8 9

So given a basic melee unit, green 5/red 1 and 3; I decided to not make it 2, as that will help with the issue of attack straight down the board, and its pattern is the same as a pawn in chess. You can easily block your opponent by just putting a card in front of it, and in return I'm thinking of having a move phase after the combat phase, so that you can gain ground after a block like this, you can also place the unit diagonal of it so you can do a double K.O as well gaining no ground but losing a unit as defense, this is in theory of course, I'll have to test this.

Range can now be something like green 8/red 2 (or green 5/red 2), or green 7/red 3. And my flankers can still be green 5/red 4 and 6.

And the way you resolve combat is if your card can hit the opposing card via these boxes. Thus if a flanker (green 5/red 4 and 6) attack a basic melee unit or green 5/red 1 and 3, then the flanker will deal damage and the melee cannot because its red box(es) cannot target the opposing units.

Other non-unit card can use this targeting system as well, I didn’t want to follow a “destroy target location card” as that doesn’t really make sense to do that if its all the way on the other side of the board and your cards aren’t even adjacent to it, it can now be “Destroy target location card in range; and its grid will be green 8/red 1, 2, and 3.

I can then make a keyword like retaliate, that means when defending you can strike back no matter what your attack grid is. I feel this will allow more cards to hit the board and stay there at least one turn. I will have to readjust the ATK and DEF values again as well; I feel that it is better being more ATK heavy and DEF light as well Pastor_Mora.

I hope I will have time this weekend to recreate the cards, but any tips and suggestions now would be great before I make the prototype.

hoywolf
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Your right

dnjkirk wrote:
Recommend you try The Battle for Hill 218. There is a computer version with good AI you can try out. It is somewhat reminiscent of what you are doing here.

Wow I just checked out this game in BBG and my game is like this! I'll have to go buy it and give it a try to see what it is like.

hoywolf
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Improvement

I have been working on my resource system and I found a really good way to do it. Just like an RTS you need to expand to improve your economy. So your HQ (main base) can hold up to three resource cards, these cards are cards from your hand that you put under the main base, and produce the color of the card itself. It can be multi colored and as long as you have one matching color you can use these resource to pay for your cards.

At the start of your turn you can put one resource card down and a card on the field can only hold three at a time. So just with the main base you can hold up to three, you will need to expand to another location to get to the second tier, then another expansion to get to the third tier (so at most a card will cost 9 resource points), this will be the maximum number of expansions as well. This is similar to a tech tree in an RTS as well.

So far the rule I set for expansions is that you cannot have it adjacent to another expansion (including your main base), you simply construct an expansion by putting a card under it, it can be under any card, face-down or face-up, face down cards will have 0 DEF, which makes it easy to attack and blow up. you can put it on a face-up card which makes the card unable to move because it is defending the location.

I'm still working on the layout of the card again, so that you can see the color of the card under, something similar to Call of Cthulhu perhaps.

Overall this is improve movement through the map, as chasing expansion bases can be an effective strategy as it prevents higher level cards to be played. I still need to create the cards, but overall its starting to look and feel better.

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