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Archon - Circlet of the Heavens: Introduction

I had a design from many moons before that disclosed "partial information". Now the system was not correct, since there were errors made in the design of the system. Today I took a 2nd look at that system and found my mistake. It uses an RPS-5 with partial information.

There are five (5) classes:

# Class Race Color Alignment
1. Order Humans Blue Lawful Good
2. Life High Elves White Neutral Good
3. Peace Wood Elves Green True Neutral
4. Death Undead Black Neutral Evil
5. Chaos Orcs Red Chaotic Evil

These are the NEW Races/Classes. And I've corrected the RPS-5 linkage so that there is ALWAYS uncertainty even with the "partial information". What it amounts to is this:

Every card is a unit from one (1) of five (5) races. On the back of the card is the game name and crystals from the triad of colors/classes. This threesome allows the opponent to either play odds, rely on instinct or body language to read his opponent...

Indeed it's kinda exciting to revive a old design into something new ... that may just have enough potential.

The game is a rather simple duel between two players with a deck custom built with twelve (12) cards. It's a "micro" game... that still needs more fleshing out. As it stands, I have the basics (which is good) - but still need to make more analysis to figure out how to make the game SOLID.

The cards also are played into a "formation" based on two (2) separate rows: support and melee. Each row has a purpose in play:

  1. Direct Combat = Melee
  2. Ranged Combat = Support

Each unit has a "Range" Value which determines how it may attack opposing units.

So far that's what I got for now... But I will be investing more time on refining this design. Maybe I have the beginnings of my "micro collectible" game! Cheers.


Tactical micro CCG?

Oh cool, a micro CCG. I'm intrigued.

How will the units Range come into play? Will it be a tactical card game, where placement on the board matters (like Pixel Tactics)?

Yes there is a formation

The cards don't move, but there is a formation for the cards. The front row is the "Melee" cards and usually require a range of "1" to attack the opposing "Melee" unit (from the opponent's side of the table). The back row is for "Support" units and will have "Active" abilities that can do "Range" damage - and even attack your own "Melee" units... For example a "Passive" ability like Enrage which doubles the VPs of the unit.

But you can have units with range of "0" and have a "Passive" ability like Fear which means the opposing unit cannot attack.

I took a look at "Pixel Tactics" and have ordered a couple copies of the game... I'd like to own a copy of that game! But my "micro" game is a lot simpler. And can be played by younger players too.

Twelve (12) cards to a deck, played in rounds: so choosing your supports first and then your melee units. All this is done with "Partial" Hidden Information because the TOP of cards reveal an RPS-3 showing that the card played is ONE (1) of the three colors. And then it's a bit of a mind game where you try to deduce what card it is... watching body language, maybe table "chatter"... etc.

I think that ASPECT is the coolest! Trying to "best" your opponent ... Plus there are "odds" that give you a better chance at attacking - but they are not 100% guarantees... Sometimes playing another card is the way to go! Do you go with the odds or try something else... LOL

Sounds fun to me. I like the

Sounds fun to me. I like the two rows of units, and the range mechanic sounds straight forward and simple, but allowing for strategic depth.

Let us know when you have a mockup of the cards or game board. I'd like to see it.

Here's what the Cardback looks like (Sample)

This shows a card which is either Red (Orcs), Green (Wood Elves) or Blue (Humans).

Black (Undead) beats Red (Orcs) and Blue (Humans). Red (Orcs) and White (High Elves) beat Green (Wood Elves).

If you play the odds and use Black (Undead), you cover 2 out of 3 possibilities. BUT if the player chose Green (Wood Elves), your attack would fail...

I really liked this card back RPS concept. I think it's original and adds some interesting strategy to the game! Cheers.

Here is the DEFAULT card back with all Five Factions:


Here is a table listing all the abilities/modifiers in the game. Currently there are thirteen (13) ones:

# Modifier Explanation
1. Price Pay the associate cost
2. Wound Inflict direct damage
3. Kill Reduce Points to 0
4. Buff Boost Points
5. Heal Reduce inflicted damage
6. Fortify Increase melee damage
7. Weaken Decrease melee damage
8. Morph Change color only
9. Protect Absorb inflicted damage
10. Shield Defend from any damage
11. Resist Block melee damage decrease
12. Extend Boost range
13. Hinder Reduce range
14. Cleanse Negate modifier
15. Revive Bring back to life

In the next entry, I will describe the Targeting rules, and how they affect the modifiers.

Targeting rules

Here is the table listing all the various Targeting rules in the game. Currently there are nine (9) ones:

# Target Explanation
1. None Target no unit
2. Self Target current unit
3. Facing Target facing unit
4. Unit Target ? units
5. Close Target ? units nearby
6. Melee Target melee units
7. Support Target support units
8. Adjacent Target all adjacent units
9. Player Target all players units
10. Opponent Target all opposing units
11. All Target all units

Next I will explain how Abilities/Modifiers work in tandem with Targeting rules.

Some examples

[Wound Unit 3] = Inflict direct damage to 3 units.

[Kill Facing 1] = Reduce Points to 0 to the facing unit.

[Fortify Melee 4] = Fortify melee units (probably your own).

[Morph Support 6] = Change color to all support units (probably to earn more Points).

[Protect Close 3] = absorb damage for 3 units nearby (probably your own).

[Cleanse All 14] = negate modifiers for all units in play.

Simple instructions for specifying how the abilities work. And there you have it. Sure you need to remember the Keywords - but once they are familiar, you can enjoy playing the game with ease. I may design some reference cards for these. Maybe one dual-sided with both tables...

Any comments/questions/feedback??? Cheers.

[Wound Unit 3 = -4P, -3P, -2P] = Inflict direct damage to 3 units.

This means the total combined effect is -9P (Points). Which is pretty strong and could be something like "Chain Lightning" and available from the Orc Witch Doctor! It could cost something like 6 Mana...

Abilities/Modifiers can ONLY be triggered ONCE per game. So you must decide when it's the best time to use an ability.

Your Mana reserve goes from 2 to 18 points and is the combination of the two (2) units removed from each player's deck at the start of the game. Each player plays the bottom-most card in his deck to determine two things:

  1. Color dominance: What two (2) colors (or one - if the same) earn +10 Points.
  2. Combined Mana: The addition of the Points on BOTH cards.

This means each player has the SAME amount of Mana per game (which is fair). Part of the strategy also is to figure out what abilities you will use to try to "outplay" your opponent!

The Duke

The "Warlord" of the Human (Order) class is the "Duke". The Duke will have an ability/modifier like this:

[Shield Unit 1] - Cost 4 MPs

Which means that the Duke can prevent ALL damage to one unit in your ranks.

This is pretty powerful since it can stop powerful melee strikes from harming a specific unit (of your choice - obviously).

I still need to define the cards - to determine what classes to include in the original deck(s)...

Deck-Construction Strategy

Well I have been exploring the "Deck-Construction" strategy considering that some information is available for your opponent to decipher (Partial Hidden Information).

What are my thoughts?

Well previously the idea was to include 2 classes into each 12 card deck. But I realized that led to possible exploit in that one class would always be beaten and the other one always beat. So players would BOTH choose the SAME class and there would be ties - and well nothing would happen!

To rectify this undesirable situation, I have analyzed what it would be like to have 3 classes per 12 card deck!

Yes this is more balanced - since now you are unsure which of the three (3) classes your opponent has chosen. Since all three (3) can potentially beat an opponent, it comes now to more reading of your opponent and "outthink" him with the correct match-ups!

Primary deck has been designed

I have managed to design a deck (75% completed) and will try to work next on a Prototype of the game. I am planning to use "The Game Crafter" for the prototype and will produce Black & White cards for it.

The goal is to playtest the game's "core" and see if the game manages to be FUN to play.

Since this is a DUEL game ... I have low expectations. I've been trying to design a simple two (2) Player duel game for MANY YEARS (about 4 years now). So I think I'm DUE for something that's playable and FUN.

Obviously nothing with the DEPTH of Magic - something of a "micro" card game, FAST paced (10 - 15 minutes to play) for best 2 out of 3, etc. Before I get too excited, I'm going to test this puppy out!

I've followed the rule of three's: three races per deck to reduce the odds of too easy game play. Nothing prevents you from creating a deck with only two (2) races - but my analysis shows that is it a RISKY situation. Three seems to be a more uniform deck, even if the card count is not exact.

To better explain, I'll show what I mean:

Deck #1 (Primary Deck) contains 5 Humans, 4 Orcs and 3 Wood Elves for a Total of 12 cards. I also design extra cards for customizing your 12 card deck with an additional count of 12 more cards.

However to playtest the "core", I will just use the basic 12 cards and see what the result is.

Keep you all posted on my progress!

RPS-3 Rules and more...

Well I figured I'd list out the RPS-3 rules used by the RPS-5 in the game:

  • Red > Green > Blue > Red
  • Green > Blue > White > Green
  • Blue > White > Black > Blue
  • White > Black > Red > White
  • Black > Red > Green > Black

So while the amount of cards is low, there is a higher chance of "guessing" the color of your opponent's card (duh?) - I plan to expand on the original game with more cards - and therefore more mixing of the triad rules.

I've also finished up the starting deck of twelve (12) cards and an extra expansion of twelve (12) additional cards. I was going to give "names" to each card - but I thought that would be absurd. You already have the class of the unit in question (which varies per race) and you can sort cards per race followed by alphabetically - if we get to the point that there hundreds of cards to the game... (Well a guy can dream?!) lol


Balancing the stats

Well tonight I took the time to figure out the "Power" of each card. It seems like cards vary from 6 points to 14 points. The average is 10.2. This seems to indicate that the cards are "balanced" since it's the midway point between the values (6-14) and that the weighted average is also 10.

In some way, certain cards are difficult to compute. For example, the "Undead - Skeleton" has an Passive Ability called "Chill Touch" and it lowers the facing unit's Range by -1. Well if you have a melee unit facing this units, even if you WIN the RPS battle, you are "Frozen" because your Range = 0. This could save you maybe 4-6 points of battle damage.

But it's interesting that the cards "feel" balanced. Will be working on drafting the B&W cards tomorrow and then upload them to "The Game Crafter" and order a couple copies of the game ... to try out at the nearby FLGS.

Of course before I do, I will test the game myself... But I'm happy the way the game is taking shape. Things seem to be smoothly progressing without too many challenges.

Knowing that the stats are pretty "balanced" is just another step in bringing this game design from an idea into reality (well at least a prototype)!


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blog | by Dr. Radut