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Scrapbots: deck-building card-battler. PnP/Tabletop Sim mod available. Seeking feedback and playtesters

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detour
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Joined: 06/15/2010

Summary

Scrapbots is a deck-building card-battler game set in a post-apocalyptic junk-punk future (Mad Max with robots). You take on the role of a Mechanic, a warlord who commands the remnants of robot armies against their enemies. These warlords are in constant conflict to control the last bits of humanity’s resources. Collect a pile of scrap and cobble together some Scrapbots to smash your opponent.

Scrapbots takes inspiration from deck-building games such as Dominion, Star Realms/Hero Realms, Nightfall and Ascension. It is also inspired by card-battle style games such as Pokemon, KeyForge, Magic: The Gathering and Yu-gi-oh.

Design Goals

The goal of Scrapbots design is to be a fast-paced card-battler that does not require collecting cards or constructing decks. It also aims to be a deck-building game with an emphasis on persistent board elements and hand optimization. It should be easy to learn but still have enough depth to maintain a competitive player’s interest. Games are intended to last ~30 minutes.

Feedback

This game is a work-in-progress. I'd love to hear your feedback, watch recordings of play, you can even modify the game and send me a pull request.

Full Rules

Scrapbots Rules

Tabletop Simulator

Play Scrapbots on Tabletop Simulator

Card List

Card Album

Homepage

More info on Github

edits:

  • update and cleanup this post
Wesinator24
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Joined: 08/01/2018
Sounds really good!

Keep at it! If I ever use my computer again I’ll definitely playtest it on Tabletop Simulator

detour
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Joined: 06/15/2010
what next?

Thanks for checking it out. I guess what I'm struggling with most now is: "what next?". I suppose my goal is to publish something on GameCrafter but I want it to be worthwhile.

- Do I playtest it to death until I'm sure its "ready"?
- Do I print out a few prototypes on GameCrafter and see if I can drum up interest?
- Do I go all out and pay for artwork and such and try to do a "production run"?

Finding playtesters has been challenging. I'd love to put it through the wringer of "game development" but no clue how I'd find someone to do that short of an actual publisher.

Jay103
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Joined: 01/23/2018
Quote:Discard Phase

Quote:
Discard Phase

discard any cards remaining in your hand


Deck builder. Got it.

Just curious, why start with a deck of 8 rather than 10, given that you draw 5 cards at the end of each turn?

If this is a 15 minute game, does the reshuffle mechanic come into play often enough to make this a deck-builder? Is there strategy in grabbing scrap? You get the lowest cost one once per turn (the rules around "Scavenge" aren't totally clear btw.. some actions can be done repeatedly and some cannot, and those that cannot aren't called out.. also "Scavenge" is listed as both an action and a phase of its own). And you can buy another one or two maybe. So I'm adding 2-5 pieces of scrap per TIME THROUGH MY DECK, which is 2+ rounds, and many of those are low-value pieces that I had no choice about. Once my deck has been reshuffled the second time, is there any chance that adding to the discard pile will have any impact?

I guess the short version of my concern is that there's not much opportunity for deck-building strategy, which would make the whole mechanic more of a burden to the design than an advantage.

Quote:
Each player starts with an initial personal deck consisting of 4 Spare Parts and 4 Circuitry.

Chosen how? Are we sharing a deck? Sounded like each player has their own (large) game deck, but this isn't stated anywhere.

Quote:
Draw Phase

draw a hand of 5 cards. If you need to draw a card but are unable to because your deck is empty, shuffle your discard pile into your deck

First turn of the game The player taking the first turn of the game may only draw 3 cards in their starting hand


Um, the draw phase happens LAST. So first of all, on the first turn the player's hand is empty. Second of all, you didn't say what the starting hand size was, nor did you tell the players to deal themselves starting hands. I take it they deal a starting hand of 5 from their 8-card deck?

What is the point of circuitry?

Also, most places you have "it's", you really mean "its".

Could be fun!

(btw, I have no authorized access to any of those data files)

Jay103
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Joined: 01/23/2018
detour wrote:Thanks for

detour wrote:
Thanks for checking it out. I guess what I'm struggling with most now is: "what next?". I suppose my goal is to publish something on GameCrafter but I want it to be worthwhile.

- Do I playtest it to death until I'm sure its "ready"?


Yes.
Quote:
- Do I print out a few prototypes on GameCrafter and see if I can drum up interest?

If by "drum up interest" you mean "give these out to playtesters", then yes.
Quote:
- Do I go all out and pay for artwork and such and try to do a "production run"?

No!

I mean, see my comment above. I don't think your rules are even locked down yet. Much too early to pay an artist.

detour
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Joined: 06/15/2010
First off, THANK YOU, this is

First off, THANK YOU, this is probably the most in-depth analysis I've received so far and I really appreciate you taking the time to respond.

Jay103 wrote:
Just curious, why start with a deck of 8 rather than 10, given that you draw 5 cards at the end of each turn?

Helps balance out first-turn advantage. Player 2 has more buying power on their first turn and will shuffle their discard into their deck first thus getting the chance to build first (though not guaranteed due to random card draw). Player 1 gets the first two picks of the Junkyard but has limited buying power on their first turn and definitely cannot build until at least their third turn.

Jay103 wrote:
does the reshuffle mechanic come into play often enough to make this a deck-builder

Reshuffling happens quite a bit actually. Unlike a typical deck-builder, your deck is often fairly thin, with many of your cards on the board in the form of built bots with installed scrap.

Jay103 wrote:
Is there strategy in grabbing scrap?

So one thing that may not have been clear, all of the cards in the Scrap Deck and starting decks are collectively referred to as scrap. However, there is a small difference: the starter cards can ONLY be used as scrap (i.e. installed as scrap or used to pay the scrap cost from the Junkyard) but the cards found in the Scrap Deck can be used either as scrap OR built as units (bots). This would hopefully make more sense given the cards as visuals.

Grabbing smaller, easier to build bots gets bodies in play faster but bigger bots have more staying power (and are harder to build). I'm intending there to be a bit of strategy around picking Walkers vs Droids as well but still playtesting that. I'd love to flesh this out more to add a bigger "engine building" aspect but I also don't want to over-complicate things. I've got plenty of ideas there but always interested to hear others.

Jay103 wrote:
You get the lowest cost one once per turn

This is an optional action. I added this because I felt like there wasn't quite enough buying power. Getting one "freebie" every turn helped the game play a bit faster early on and could be ignore later when it was less useful. It also creates a bit of an interesting decision, a gamble that may leave your opponent with a better pick.

Jay103 wrote:
some actions can be done repeatedly and some cannot

All actions can be performed repeatedly *except* Scavenge, which (normally) only happens during the Scavenge phase. I defined it as a "keyword" so that I could also reference it on a card (e.g. "Perform the Scavenge action"). Wasn't sure if it made more sense to spell it out both times or define it.

Jay103 wrote:
So I'm adding 2-5 pieces of scrap per TIME THROUGH MY DECK

More like 2-3 per turn, a typical starting hand for player 2 might have 12-14 scrap but costs are in the range of 4-8. However as the game goes on the challenge is in balancing picking up better bots from the Junkyard and keeping lanes filled with bots.

Jay103 wrote:
Once my deck has been reshuffled the second time, is there any chance that adding to the discard pile will have any impact?

Of course, you'd always want to be pulling better bots to build and use as scrap. A fair portion of your deck is going to be locked up on the board in the form of bots and installed scrap so you'll be cycling quickly. I'm not even sure the culling mechanic (Deplete) is necessary because the starter cards are generally useful until "late-game".

Jay103 wrote:
I guess the short version of my concern is that there's not much opportunity for deck-building strategy, which would make the whole mechanic more of a burden to the design than an advantage.

This is definitely a concern for me as well. I was hoping for something that was interesting and didn't play like a typical deck-builder but it could just be that I'm trying to force a mechanic.

Jay103 wrote:
Chosen how? Are we sharing a deck? Sounded like each player has their own (large) game deck, but this isn't stated anywhere.

Hmm, I suppose I need to make this more clear. "Spare Parts" and "Circuitry" are individual cards. Each player begins the game with 4 copies of each.

The Scrap Deck would be the large game deck from which the Junkyard (market row) would be dealt.

Jay103 wrote:
Um, the draw phase happens LAST. So first of all, on the first turn the player's hand is empty.

Good catch, will add as part of Setup that an initial starting hand is drawn.

Jay103 wrote:
What is the point of circuitry?

"Circuitry" like "Spare Parts" is a starter card, it provides 3 scrap whereas "Spare Parts" only provides 2. The starter cards can ONLY be used to pay scrap costs and be installed as scrap.

Jay103 wrote:
Also, most places you have "it's", you really mean "its".

Me fail english? Thats unpossible. (fixed... probably)

Jay103 wrote:
btw, I have no authorized access to any of those data files

Sloppy copy-paste fixed.

detour
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Joined: 06/15/2010
Update!

I've been iterating on this game quite a bit over the past year since I first posted here. I didn't think there was anything worthy of an update... until now! I feel pretty good about the latest iteration so I've updated the original post. I'm seeking feedback on the design and playtesters.

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