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Trick Taking Game Based Around Summoning Spells

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Casamyr
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I am creating a trick taking card game based around wizards attempting to summon magical energy to complete a spell. There are 4 suits of 13, standard poker deck size, but the card value only goes to eight, so there are a few double up values of the lower cards. These cards represent the summoning energy of the wizards/players.

There is also a second deck of 20 cards. These are the spells that you are trying to learn/complete. Each spell is linked to a certain suit, effectively the trump suit.

Players take turns playing cards to the table in front of them, trying to summon the most energy to claim the spell. The player first player who completes 5 spells wins the game.

Now there are a few fundamental changes here. Suit doesn’t really matter – it does kind of, but I’ll get to that in a minute, rather card power is important. Players must play cards that equal or exceed the value of the last played card. However, if you play a card that matches the suit of the spell, you can play any value of card, which could be a way to reset the power level.

When someone can no longer play a card, they suffer ‘strain’ (more on this soon) and the summoning phase ends. When a player suffers strain, they take a card from the top of the draw deck and place it face down in front of them. If a player ever has five cards in front of them, they lose concentration. If a player loses concentration, they must immediately discard their current hand and draw the face down cards in front of them into their hand. They must also discard a spell to the bottom of the spell deck.

The winner of the trick, is not the player who played the last card, nor the player of the last trump suit, but the player who has the greatest power value of cards in the trump suit, so you are encouraged to keep the round going as long as you can.

The player who wins the trick takes the spell card and flips it over and places it in front of them. A spell contains a special ability that will break the rules in some way. It is this part that I am kind of stuck. I have some ideas for rule breaking effects. I am trying to work out whether I have 4 card effects x 5, 10 spells x 2 each, 20 unique spell effects, or some other combination.

• You may play two cards of the same value
• Reverse the turn order when you play a (insert spell type here) card of the same value of the last card played.
• When you play (highest value) card, draw cards equal to the number of players and chose who gets what card.
• Look at a strain card in front of you, then may choose to swap a card in your hand for that card
• Change the summoning type of the spell x 4 (probably need 4 tokens to cover spell type for this)
• Swap the same value card of different suits with another player.
• Discard a strain card.

I am trying to tie the spell effect, into a spell type.

Magic types
Chronomancy – These spells effects should have things to do with timing maybe – So reversing play fits perfectly.

Divination – This is all about finding hidden secrets and divining the future.

Transmutation – This change the property of things. For this – possibly, changing the suit of the spell currently up for grabs is the way to go for this. (4 different types – one of each of the suits).

Conjuration – This is about manifesting objects, teleporting and so on.

What I also need to come up with is the trigger effect for the spell. Some will with a simple as playing the highest value card, or playing a card of a set suit, that matches last played value etc. This shouldn’t be too hard to work out though.

So, do people have ideas for card manipulation that could fit these four schools of magic – Chronomancy, Divination, Transmutation, and Conjuration.

ronnyay
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I can see there is a hint of

I can see there is a hint of a game called ManaSurge in your design. You may want to check that out :)

Casamyr
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Joined: 07/28/2008
Yeah, Already know that. I

Yeah, Already know that. I was looking around to see what was similar after i wrote the rules down and came across Mana Surge last night. I think a theme shift away from Magic spell summoning might be in order.

The idea for strain is possibly the biggest thing that is similar to mana surge but the rest is different enough to be okay I think.

Casamyr
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Having thought about this on

Having thought about this on the way to work - I am going to change the theme and look at revisiting the whole 'Strain' thing.

I am going to change to an Alchemist theme where players are using reagents to create potions. I think I am just going to have 5 different potions each with a different card manipulation effect and the winner will be the one who can complete 5 different potions. I should have new thoughts on that up later today.

ronnyay
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Don't be discourage to use

Don't be discourage to use the original theme at all. There are many Magic Spell summoning games out there, sure, but I think sticking to a theme you have passion on is more important.

I'm also making a wizard dueling game despite of the oversatuation but I will stick with it cause it makes me feel more comfortable to work with. And theme can be changed as an afterthought for me. :)

Casamyr
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Oh, I'm not discouraged. In

Oh, I'm not discouraged. In fact, I think this will possibly be a stronger game with something a little different than standard Spell Summoning.

Just trying to work on the trick taking mechanic at the moment. I want it to be different than standard trump card wins the trick.

ronnyay
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Great! Hope can see your

Great! Hope can see your creation soon!

Zag24
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Let me see if I understand

Let me see if I understand this correctly:

For a trick, you start out by turning up a card from the spells deck, and this determines trump for that trick. Let's call it diamonds.

We play in turn, everyone must play a card with a higher rank than the last card, or else play a diamond of any rank, until someone declares that he can't play. The winner of the trick is then the person who played the most points in diamonds.

If I'm understanding this correctly, it's broken. First off, there's no point in ever playing non-diamonds on a diamond trick; they don't help you at all. All they do is prolong the agony while other people increase their score. I'd much rather save my non-diamonds for a trick in which those are trump.

Second, let's say I am first to play and I play the highest diamond. When the turn gets back to me, I just declare that I have no more plays to make, ending the trick and making me the winner. (More generally, any time it is my turn and I'm the current leader in total value of trump cards, I can end the trick by declaring I have no plays, and win.)

If my declaring that I have no plays doesn't end the whole trick, but only ends it for me, then you have a game where whoever happens to be dealt the most points in trumps wins, with no strategy or skill involved. And there's still no point in playing non-trump cards.

Here's an easy change that may work: The trump cards are the only ones that do NOT count. So you'd like to play a non-trump card for the points, but you can only do it if you can beat the last card played. If you can't, you can play any trump card to stay in the trick, but it doesn't score you any points. (That is, once you fail to play, you're out of the trick, but it goes on until all but one person is out.)

If I've misunderstood the process, then (of course) ignore all this. :-)

Casamyr
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Initally yeah that will be

Initally yeah that will be the case, although if you have a card that can be legally played, you must play that card - you cannot declare that you have no cards left to play.

With the trump suit, you don;t have to follow in value order. Just the suit. If you play the highest value diamond, the next player could easily have a hand full of diamonds that in total actually beat the highest value. Only non-trump cards must be played in value order. This was to combat this exact point.

The other reason that you might want to play other cards, is all the spell cards have card manipulating effects that come from stacking cards, or playing certain values etc.

Having read your change, I do like it. It does require a lot more strategy in playing your cards. I'll have a look at it when I am play testing over christmas.

Zag24
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Casamyr wrote:if you have a

Casamyr wrote:
if you have a card that can be legally played, you must play that card - you cannot declare that you have no cards left to play.

Bleh. IMHO, this rule is never a good idea. It ruins a lot of strategic options.

Also, maybe you mentioned it and I missed it, but I didn't see how hands get replenished after each trick. Do you get a new hand for each trick? ... just draw N more cards? ... or draw up to the hand size? I like the second option, since it makes for more strategy, where you save cards from one hand to put together combos in the next hand. You can always add a maximum hand size if that might be a problem.

Casamyr wrote:
With the trump suit, you don;t have to follow in value order. Just the suit. If you play the highest value diamond, the next player could easily have a hand full of diamonds that in total actually beat the highest value. Only non-trump cards must be played in value order. This was to combat this exact point.

I understood that, but you seemed to be saying that the trick is over as soon as one person can't play. Therefore, if I've played the highest trump as the first card, no one else will have played more than one card when it's my turn again, so I'll have the highest score.

Casamyr
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Zag24 wrote: Also, maybe you

Zag24 wrote:

Also, maybe you mentioned it and I missed it, but I didn't see how hands get replenished after each trick. Do you get a new hand for each trick? ... just draw N more cards? ... or draw up to the hand size?

I hadn't mentioned this, but you just draw back up to your hand limit. I need to think of some benefit or possible reward for getting rid of all cards from your hand. This would firstly allow you to get rid of all the spell strain you have built up over time, as well as refreshing your hand and continuing playing cards.

Zag24 wrote:
I understood that, but you seemed to be saying that the trick is over as soon as one person can't play. Therefore, if I've played the highest trump as the first card, no one else will have played more than one card when it's my turn again, so I'll have the highest score.

Lets see if I'm reading this right - you are saying it might be better to have the round continue until only one person is left in the trick to offset the chance that someone plays a high card first leaving no-one any option to play cards?

I can see where that will be an issue, even for offsuit cards. Hmmmm. I'll think on this a bit more. It will certainly be a problem early game, but if I can come up with some pretty unique card manipulation effects that can be activated with the spells that players win, this could mitigate that issue somewhat. I could have a destruction spell for instance to destroy the last played card for instance.

Stuff to mull over I think.

Midnight_Carnival
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Why magic?

I think the game sounds like fun to play and is interesting.
I'm wondering why magic themed specifically?

Here's an exercise for you: try to keep the game mechanics the same and the game identical but change the theme just to see if it still works.
I'm not very imaginative here but just for fun say make it organic veggie themed and you have to prepare vegan recipes or something (preferably better) if the game still has appeal you will see that it's a great game all round.

Please note that I'm not criticising your choice of theme, but for now, based on what I've read, it seems like it is being pushed as at once the main attraction and the main obstacle (due to similarities to another game) - so I'd suggest you try it without the magic and my precognative abilities indicate (subject to fluctuation in the aether of course) that you'll find that it still works well and that many of the 'similarities' you were hung up on were related to the theme and aesthetics.
-just my 2c worth.

Casamyr
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I think it'd work with pretty

I think it'd work with pretty much any theme to be honest. I've reskinned it to a steampunk theme where players are trying to construct contraptions to become the best inventor and still works exactly as planned.

I think if I removed the magic part and changed the theme, there'd probably be no issue mechanically between this and ManaSurge.

I'll come up with a bunch of themes and see what people like the most and go with that. In the meantime, I'll keep tweaking the rules and playtesting to get it working well.

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