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What Has and Will Be

What Has and will be

This entry will discuss the games I’ve mention in the previous entry, the several games I’ve developed on paper for several years. I’d like to share briefly what I created and what I liked and disliked about each one. With all this data I can clearly define the design parameters for the final product.

Champions of Terra Stadium (COTS)
A side note: I was in the basic training when I developed most of this game, hence the abbreviation. The thematic premise was simple, rich folk the world over sponsor fighters in this annual tournament at Terra Stadium. The players are these sponsors and build their fighter to compete in the tournament. The game only had a handful of card types.
The fighter, which is what decks were built around. The fighter had stats like stamina and health as well as a color and class – each with their own special ability.
The other three card types were ITEMS – restricted to one per turn, these cards had no cost and effected mostly the stats of the fighter. SKILLS – require spending stamina to use (stamina replenished at the start of the turn.) These cards included the variety abilities to deal damage and draw and force discard and all the good stuff. ARCANE – similar to SKILL except the cost for use was paid by discarding cards from the hand. All of these types of cards were restricted to be used ONLY by a specific class or classes. For example and Fireball ARCANE could only be used by mage or wizard class fighters – not thief or barbarian fighters. In addition, some of the cards had bonuses if used by a fighter of a specific color. For example that same Fireball ARCANE would normally do 3 damage, but instead would do 5 damage if used by a red fighter.
The objective was simple, reduce the opposing fighter(s) health to zero by using cards and effects.
All in all I rather like this idea. The glaring thing that I absolutely do not like is the fighter concept. I developed this game on paper before Hearthstone and Hex and Elemental Clash were a thing – at least a thing known to me. After playing a handful of those games I realized that I don’t really like “role playing” as that orc barbarian or some slender female mage. I want to play the game as a character that I create in my head, in my heart. And that is why I’ve chosen not to pursue development of this game

WHAT I LIKE
I like the color bonuses on the cards
I like the simplicity in the small amount of cards types
WHAT I DIDN”T LIKE
The fighter concept feels like you aren’t so much playing the game as you are playing the character (as felt in Hearthstone and others.)
Design limitation in terms of what the cards could be. Only items, spells and attacks. No creatures or other dudes.

Risen
The concept for Risen was a little pasted on. In a very distant future, the last remnant of society had discovered a way to resurrect the dead, but at a cost. It was too difficult to restart civilization with this power so instead they used to power to educate in hopes that knowing the past could change the future.
Risen was simple, only one card type – the character. Decks composed of 40 cards with no more than 3 copies of a characters. Each character had an ability (maybe) and a number. The number represented the strength of that character and the cost required to put it into play. Combat was very much like that of Magic the Gathering, where turn player chooses attackers and opponent chooses defenders. Damage was a loss of cards from the deck and when the deck was out of cards – you lose.

WHAT I LIKED
I like the simplicity in one card type
I liked that the characters allowed a great deal of room for design
WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE
The resource system. Once you got too far behind, you lose

Untited
Never thought of a theme for this one and didn’t get very far into the development. The idea was that each card type (Land and Agent) had green, blue and red production values and each card required a green, blue or red cost to enter play. Additionally, each card had a green, blue and red threshold that when breached would suffer an effect. Red meant the card was destroyed, green meant the card was sent back to the deck, blue meant the card was given to the opponent.

WHAT I LIKE
Simplicity in limited card types
three colors and other variables would make design a little easier
WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE
Theme – no idea and didn’t develop one
Resource payment could have gotten out of hand

Untitled 2
Similar to Untitled, this game revolved around three types of resources – blue, green and red. That eventually became Gold, Military and Political. The objective of the game was to “build” a city spending gold to craft buildings and mines – all of which would gain you more Gold as the game went on. Gold would also be spent on Agents that produce all three of the resources in different quantities. Agents would also participate in combat to protect or destroy cities. The third card type was an event card which required an Agent to carry out. For example – a Fire Strike required and Agent with 3 Military to use, the fire strike card would overlay the Agent and the Agent wouldn’t be able to participate in battle until your next turn.
Battle was pretty neat. Agents didn’t have Attack or Defense values, instead EVERY card had a number on the very bottom that represented battle strength. So in battle, players would overlay the Agents participating in battle with cards from their hand adding that strength value to the value that was previously on an Agent – this would continue until no player wanted to continue and the highest value won the battle.

WHAT I LIKED
Actually – a lot. If I had to “fall back” to a design, it would be this one.
the straight forward 3 card types
the back and forth combat system
the engine building aspect
The constructive vs deconstructive win condition
WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE
The resource system. It’s interesting but could get complicated
Structures, Agents and Events could end up getting confusing to newcomers

BladeCasters
The theme or concept was that BladeCasters were a once powerful force on the battlefield but, like all ancient battlefield soldiers, they have fallen from modern favor and are all but forgotten. Those who still practice art of BladeCasting (casting spells from blades….) meet in secret to spar and retain the perishable skill.
The objective was to build 10 focus while competing against your opponents, their task was to rob you of your focus while building their own. The game consisted only of spells, each with a number printed on the bottom of the card to represent physical attack value and were used in the same way as the previously mentioned game.

WHAT I LIKED
simplicity
the back and forth combat system
The constructive vs deconstructive win condition
WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE
I don’t think that the single card type and far too simple gameplay was going to be enough to build an interesting enough game

TL’DR
With the structure of the games I’ve designed in the past I can extrapolate a couple of Design Parameters going forward.
1 – Simplicity
2 – Back-and-forth gameplay
3 – Constructive vs deconstructive win condition
4 – limited or non-existent resource system
5 – dual effect options

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gamejournal | by Dr. Radut