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Help needed: Deck Construction

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questccg
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Hi all,

Let me start by saying that I absolutely love the "Deck Construction" mechanic. To me this mechanic is total gold! I really feel that any game where you can spend time "thinking" about how to "outwit/outsmart/outplay" your opponent ... is well something totally GENIUS.

That being said, I admire games like "Magic: the Gathering" (Magic), Pokemon (Pok) and Yu-Gi-Oh! (Yu).

But the problem is that I dislike the fact that many of those games only allow for a subset of their cards to be used in head-to-head duels. Magic is one example where many cards are useless.

I don't want to design a game where "useless" cards exist. Quite frankly, I have seen other "Deck Construction" games like Epic but it's boring! All you do is unleash more units to battle your opponent.

I'm looking for some help.

Maybe someone knows of OTHER games (not Magic, Pok or Yu) that use a Deck Construction mechanic where cards mostly serve a purpose. Certain cards may seem "unusable" - but there may be specific strategies where these cards remain useful.

I know CCG/TCG are impossible to "break into". I've actually been thinking maybe a good "Micro" game with a limited deck size or just something different.

Anyone have any advice???

Preferably, I would like to design a "Micro" game with perhaps under 20 cards and make the game "collectible" in that you can choose which cards you want to duel with. Something quick and FUN which can play in 10 - 15 minutes.

Anyone know what I could look for?

Mechanics aside from "Deck Construction" that interest me are:

  • Auction
  • Drafting
  • Dice Rolling
  • Set collection
  • Hidden information

I'm NOT looking for a "Press-Your-Luck" mechanic. I feel there are many smaller games which fall into that category - so I would like to design something else.

Perhaps you know of some game I should look at?

Thanks for any of your advice, links and comments. Cheers.

radioactivemouse
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Joined: 07/08/2013
trends...

I'm seeing some trends in card games where the decks are 30 cards instead of 60...Hearthstone, and Star Wars: Destiny are two that come to mind.

If you're looking for set collection and maybe some drafting, you may want to look at the Oniverse line of games (Onirim, Sylvion, Castellion, etc), which is what I'm playing right now. While they are not really head to head card games (their strength is really one-player), I've noticed a few really solid mechanics like the drafting mechanism in Sylvion or the set collection mechanic in Onirim (which is pretty standard in many set collection games, but presented in an interesting way.

Anyways, good luck.

Rick L
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Joined: 08/22/2016
You've probably also already

You've probably also already considered deck builder games that have you use any card as a resource card - such as shadow era (phone app, but I think there's a printed version too). Basically, each turn you have the option to discard one card to add a resource. So wimpy cards have that value at least.

radioactivemouse
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Joined: 07/08/2013
When I use cards...

I try and think of ways to equalize the value of the cards. Typically, I end up having more than one function for the cards, so "weenie" cards can at least be used for something else.

You can also try for something contradicting. For example, say you have a card game that uses a random card pull to determine initiative or, say a resource acquisition for that round. Your weenie cards will have a stronger initiative or resource acquisition number, therefore making the weenie cards needed for deck construction. Conversely, you'd make your strongest cards have the smaller numbers for initiative or resources.

Ultimately, your "weenie" cards should have a strength as some other use for the card. For example, a weenie creature card can be discarded for a very strong shield.

This, of course, will have to be designed into the game at the very beginning or else you're going to be stuck backtracking your design.

Rick L
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That's a pretty cool idea -

That's a pretty cool idea - balancing out the dual purposes of each card! Stronger in one use, weak in the other, or average at both.

radioactivemouse
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Joined: 07/08/2013
Balance...

Mokheshur wrote:
That's a pretty cool idea - balancing out the dual purposes of each card! Stronger in one use, weak in the other, or average at both.

Typically, the most basic "balance" would be that the weenie cards would be cheaper, making them easier to bring out, but we designers, we have to think more outside the box.

If the cards are still not being used or has the potential for not being used due to specificity of the card's effectiveness, then you have to give them SOME kind or reason to have it. Remember, you need to constantly give just the right amount of choices to the player. Too little choices and it feels like a rail game (making it too easy to choose), too many choices and the player can feel overwhelmed. If a card is a "throw-away" or "weenie" card, then the choice was easy; there was no real decision to be done. But give the card a more powerful secondary ability, then you're wondering whether or not you want to put it in the deck in the first place.

You can also add a direct secondary ability, instead of a completely different one. Say you have a weenie card that's an average sniper weapon. You could add an ability that allows it to regenerate ammo on its own...which brings up the value of the card. OR you can have it combine with other cards of the like...say, if that card, plus two other cards of the same type are in play, you can combine them to form a super weapon, which gives a reason WHY you want to bring it out.

There's lots of ways you can utilize the value of a card if you think it's not being used often. When I playtest, I ask what cards my playtesters think they don't use and why. Sometimes it's their own personal strategy, many times it's a matter of "not worth using"...then you start thinking of ways to make it worth something.

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