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[Feedback request] Customizable Card Game idea - Heroes vs The Wild

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MayuPolo
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Joined: 11/12/2012

Hello everyone,

I wanted to run this very early concept by you all in the hopes of getting some useful feedback.

The game is a 2-player asymmetrical customizable card game (sharing some elements of MtG, Star Wars LCG and others). The game is set in a fantasy setting very similar to 4th edition DnD, where civilization is confined to few and far in between "points of light". One player takes on the role of a retired hero tasked with "conquering the wild" and setting up a small town there, so that civilization has a foothold in those currently monster-filled lands. The other player takes on the role of "The Wilderness". He or she controls the creatures that roam those dangerous lands as well as the land itself and is tasked with preventing the "civilized" races to take over the land.

Everything in the game is represented by cards (although there are likely to be tokens of some sort needed).

Now, in terms of mechanics; I really like how the deckbuilding works in the Star Wars LCG. For those of you who haven't played it or read about it, instead of building a deck picking individual cards, players pick at least 10 "Objective Sets". Each of those objectives comes with 5 predetermined cards. Not all cards in a set are good, so players need to balance taking an objective set with some possible sub par cards in order to get the bomb cards. In addition it makes deck building more approachable as players only need to pick 10 sets of cards. So I wanted to use this concept in my game.

THE HERO PLAYER

The Hero Deck

The Hero player starts by building his "Hero Deck". In order to do so, he or she chooses a race, a class, a specialization, a profession and a combat pet. Each of those would be the equivalent of an "objective set" in the Star Wars LCG (except it would come with 6 instead of 5 cards). So a player choosing to be an Orc Warrior with a Axewielder specialization, a profession of Weaponsmith and a Worg combat pet, would have a 30 card “Hero Deck” containing some cards related to being an Orc (maybe something like “Rage”), then some cards related to being a warrior (like dealing more damage with a weapon, being able to absorb some damage, etc), cards for his specialization (deal more damage with Axes, a throwing axe, etc) and some cards for his combat pet (maybe the Worg can do an intimidating howl, a claw attack, a bite, etc.). Its important to note that the Hero deck is open information, since the player will have the race, class, specialization, profession and combat pet cards laid out openly in front of him or her. This means that skilled players that know which cards are part of which card will know what cards are in the adventure deck.

The Town Deck

Then the Hero player chooses 5 buildings that will form the foundation of the town he or she is trying to build. Again these would be represented by cards and each building card comes with a set of 6 cards linked to that building. These sets of cards will make up the “Town Deck”. In contrast to the adventurer deck, the town deck will be built as the game progresses. The player lays the 6 building cards face down on the table with a number of “build counters” on them equal to the build time of the building. The 6 cards that belong to each building are placed next to (or underneath) the respective building cards, also face down. Each turn the Hero player removes one building counter from three buildings. If the last building counter is removed, the building card is flipped and the cards that belong to that building are added to the Town deck. Only one building per turn may be “completed”, even if more than one have no building counters on them anymore. You are basically building your Town Deck as you finish completing the buildings.

So to continue the above example with the Orc Warrior, maybe I choose to take the following buildings: Watchtower, Warrior's Guild, Armor Smithy, Weapon Smithy, Shaman's Tent. The Watchtower and the Shaman's tent would have fairly short build times, the Smithies maybe medium and the Guild would have the longest build time. The Watchtower itself would have an ability that let's you look at the top card of the Wilderness player's deck once per turn. It would come with cards like Crossbow Wielders, Burning Tar, etc. The Weapon Smithy would come with the actual smith and then a few weapons, the Warriors Guild would come with several warriors, the Shaman's tent would come with the shaman as well as some healing abilities, etc.

Card draw works similarly to how it works in the Star Wars LCG. Players always draw up to their hand size limit each turn. Once the Hero player has finished at least one building, they can start drawing cards from the Town Deck. However they can only draw cards from the Town Deck up to the number of buildings they have completed. So a player that would draw 3 cards but only has 2 buildings completed could only draw a maximum of 2 cards from the town deck. The third would have to be drawn from the Hero Deck.

THE WILDERNESS PLAYER

The Wilderness player would only have one deck: The Wilderness Deck. In order to build this deck, the wilderness player chooses 6 location cards (a maximum of two of the same location can be included). Location cards come come with 10 cards linked to them instead of 6. Each location belongs to one or two elements. The player decides which two elements they want to play. All locations in the deck need to belong to at least one of those elements. For example, if you pick Fire and Earth, you could only include locations that either have the Fire, the Earth or both traits. Locations could be things like "The Fire Mountains" (a range of active volcanoes). This location would come with cards like a mighty red dragon, some younger dragons, an eruption event and maybe an earth elemental.

Before they game begins, the wilderness player chooses 3 location cards from his 6 and lays them face up in front of him in a row. The other 3 are places in a row behind the first set of 3, but face down. The wilderness deck starts out with only the cards belonging to the 3 face up locations. The other cards are added as soon as the location becomes "explored". A location becomes explored when the location directly in front of it has been "conquered". At that point the location card is flipped face-up and the cards linked to that location are shuffled into the wilderness deck. Even though you can use two of the same locations for your wilderness deck, the 3 face up locations revealed initially all have to be unique.

COMBAT

I have a few ideas about this and nothing is set in stone of course. I like the combat in Magic the Gathering, but I also want to be able to differentiate between damage done to monsters and characters and damage done to buildings and locations. Maybe I will stick with a combat system very similar to MtG where characters have an attack and health value and they deal damage to each other when they fight. Then if there are no blocks, the attacking player may assign one building/location damage per unblocked character. I could then have certain characters and effects increase that amount if damage to represent things that are better at destroying buildings or conquering the wilderness. Feedback and ideas here would be much appreciated. What combat systems in CCGs do you like/dislike and why?

WINNING

This is still all very early and obviously not play tested so I'm not 100% on this, but the idea is that the Hero wins if they conquer at least 4 of the Wilderness' locations and the Wilderness player wins if they destroy at least 4 of the Hero's buildings.

CONCERNS

Expandability: even though it's a long shot, if this game does end up being fun and in somehow manage to publish it, I am worried about the potential for expanding it. There are only so many races, classes, professions, etc. I can think of. The buildings give more leeway and the locations are infinitely expandable, but when it comes to the Hero deck cards, it seems more limited.

Start for Hero player too slow: it could be that the way the Town deck works makes the start for the Hero player too slow. I was considering having the Hero player complete buildings based on the turn number. So a building with a build time of 2 can be completed from turn 2 onwards. It would then be up to the player to choose a good build curve so they have some early game buildings and some late game ones.

Not fun: of course this is almost always a concern with an untested game concept but I still wanted to put it down here. I can already see some potentially fun interactions there. I could imagine some mind games going on in which locations the Wilderness player starts with and which ones they put behind them, since the Wilderness player may only see 4 locations, he or she could place a "weak" location in front of a very powerful, he or she wishes the Hero player to "explore".

Balance: This is obviously another big one. The fact that players can essentially build their own Hero will make it very hard to balance all the different combinations that can happen there. Most CCGs have some sort of mechanism that prevents players from just using any card they want in their deck. Magic has the colors, Netrunner has the identities, WoW TCG had the class and faction specific cards, etc. I'm still trying to figure out if something like this will be needed as well. Maybe the buildings you can use are limited by the race you choose or something similar.

I really appreciate that you took the time to read through all of this and look forward to your feedback. :)

Thanks!

MayuPolo
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Joined: 11/12/2012
Happy New Year bump! :)

Happy New Year bump! :)

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