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Monster Keep — The Next Generation

Well I have been working on "Monster Keep" (MK) yet again... Thinking about the game, the deck size, the deck construction, and strategies surrounding these elements in the game.

So my original idea was to feature fifteen (15) monster cards that could be used in a multi-round mathematical contest. The earlier concept made me to make a pyramid of different "paths" allowing more than one path to victory.

However I soon realized this was just TOO MUCH content in the play area. Yes the "concept/idea" was of interest and neat. But the practical implications of having so much to understand was impossible (or too complex) for most tweens (9+).

The real issue was that I thought the cards were AMAZING. And yeah they are really cool. The problem was that TOO MANY of them could lead to Analysis-Paralysis (AP) and even for Adults, it just was NOT APPARENT "how" to play this game.

So getting back to my recent thoughts about the game... I've got the Deck size to fifteen (15) cards with a max multiple of three (3) of each monster/card. This obviously means that a COMPETITIVE deck would only have FIVE (5) cards with three multiples each.

Why would you do this? Because just like in Magic: the Gathering (Magic), you just can't have only unique cards in your deck ... because there is an underlying strategy in Magic and you want to get the cards that you need at or near the right moment. And to do this, you put multiple copies of the SAME card into your deck. That's Magic.

Now with MK, there a similar strategy concerning a monster's REACH level. Basically the current game (First Edition) will feature only three (3) REACH levels (1-3). But there is a potential for six (6) more level (4-9) which will also change the feel of the game.

So there is the need to determine what REACH level you want, which cards you want in your Deck (for drawing purposes) and ultimately three (3) separate 5 cards HANDS you get to choose cards from (random due to shuffling). Much like in Magic, MK you also want to get the RIGHT cards at the exact ROUND to be able to benefit from having the right cards to play and therefore the closest match to the "equation" you are trying to solve.

And to do this, you have to know what OPERANDS you want in your DECK, as well as the REACH level(s) and sufficient flexibility in knowing that you get cards in your first two (2) Rounds and lastly the fifth (5th) Round which is the LAST round of the game.

This means that there are several considerations when constructing a deck. Just like in Magic, MK has it's own strategic considerations...


Deck Fluidity

As I mentioned above in the thread, there was the concept of "having cards at the right time" in your HAND. And so one of the strategies was to have only five (5) unique cards with three (3) multiples of each. Now this sounds like something a Magic player would do to construct his/her own Deck.

But there is the question of "Deck Fluidity"! Is it not wiser to have more VARIETY to ensure that you get the right OPERANDS at the right time to build a better "equation"???

Although the operators are EASY: Plus (+), Minus (-), Divide (/) and Multiply (x)... Doing the BEST MATH can be tricky... I am targeting Tweens with this design, because not ONLY does it include strategy ... it also has a mathematical component which SUPERSEDES the remaining elements in the game... The BEST "equation" is ALWAYS the winner of the game!

So getting back to "Deck Fluidity" ... Having more VARIETY but maybe choosing one (1) or two (2) cards you MAY want to have MULTIPLES of may allow you to build a BETTER deck. See I'm not convinced that 3x five (5) cards is the best TYPE of deck. I think you ultimately need more variety to best the odds of a random draw or a fudged one.

Something to consider

I am thinking that maybe there should be ALL FOUR (4) of the dice involved in establishing the "equation"... 4 dice x 6 max. = 24 points. And still maintain the minimum of seven (7) or under being a re-roll. Eight (8) to Twenty-Four (24) is Sixteen (16) possible outcomes.

This is better than before because this may make more use of the multiplication (x) with higher rolls and division (/) with lower ones.

I was a bit concerned that people would rely mostly on Addition (+) and Subtraction (-) because it can be easier to work with... I'm not trying to force too much MATH, just establish OPTIONs for the players and give the better computationists a chance to prove their computing skills! (LOL)

I'm spending some time reviewing the cards and...

They do have benefits even thought they might be in a different REACH than you would hope for. This means that yes, some cards are in a REACH that will not allow you to defeat them if you don't specialize on that REACH. But the good news is that goes both ways: if you have REACH 3 and your opponent has REACH 3 ... There will be a lot of "battling". However if you choose REACH 3 and your opponent chooses REACH 2 ... There will be no (none) battling at all!

If you don't specialize, that puts you in the position of having a VARIETY of cards but in no way capable of attacking your opponent because you DON'T have enough damage that can be dealt to that REACH level.

But still like in Magic, you can look at cards and say: "Hmm... This looks like a GOOD card, I want to include it in my Deck!" And this is a very reasonable reaction. Again with "Deck Fluidity", it makes sense to VARY the deck even if you understand that this MAY prevent you from attacking your opponent.

And that's not necessarily a BAD thing, because ultimately the winning condition is your EQUATION not what cards you have in PLAY or what attacks were successful (vs. insufficient damage)...

I will continue to review the current deck and see what my thoughts are in regards to them. I'm positive that I will be able to configure a Deck worthy of play and then figure out what to do with "purchasable" decks and not individual cards...

Another solo playtest today

Yeah it takes a while and some rounds are quicker than others. By most definitions, building your "equation" is COOL! There is only one issue and it's not small: the Battle Round. While I have taken time to ensure that attacks cannot be made to just ANY card, you need to obey the REACH Level and then you need to watch for the HEALTH STATS and also consider each cards Direct Attack Method which varies from card to card.

So even if you DO have two (2) REACH 3 cards, it doesn't mean that EVEN with BOTH of them, you will be able to successfully attack the opponents REACH 3 cards!

With regards to the "equation", BOTH players managed to have an equation of 18 (which was the target this game) and one player ACTUALLY defeated an opposing card which ultimately led to Player #1 Victory.

I will do some more playtesting tomorrow. I've made quite a few corrections to the cards after reviewing each one before playtesting and seeing if the cards are CORRECT or sufficiently FLEXIBLE when it came to the Attack Round. I also made some tweaks to make cards a bit STRONGER too... This was like the "Masked Shaman" had a "Scry 2 cards" and I made a fix, now it is "Scry 3 cards"... Which means you get to see 60% of the next hand and determine if you want to KEEP those cards or send some to the bottom of the deck.

This may sound a bit like Magic, trust me... The game is completely different. It's just a way to SEE the next cards and figure out if you want to keep them as is or send some to the last Round... So I used the term "Scry"...

There is still probably some more WORK that can be done (I have to re-edit all the cards now that I got RID of the "rarity" notion) and now use a general Label for MK to get unique Id Strings. Yes, some cards are pricey-er than others... But that's just a question of value. The game is NOT "Pay-to-Play" but some cards do cost more than others (a question of perceived value).

More about "Pay-to-Play"

I touched briefly in the previous comment and mentioned that the game is NOT "Pay-to-Play". However some cards will retail for more than others. This in itself is not a problem since some cards are stronger than others ... But what matters the most is the "Composition/Construction" of your DECK.

And this is the important notion. I want to ensure that the decks are NOT identical ... But at the same time, I want there to be some kind of BALANCE to ensure that the decks are AVERAGED out from an initial purchase (something like a Starter Kit). Sure if you see a Deck strategy you want to employ, you may purchase singles from the online store... But that should be an option.

So I've got to figure out a WAY to "compute" points while designing CUSTOM decks for each purchase. Again the idea is to Level-out the playing field, even if SOME players may want to make aftermarket purchases because of a way or style of play they personally enjoy. I mean the game is subject to Deck Construction Designs and that means that your Starter Kit may be "good" but you can certainly WANT to "improve" it and that is not "Pay-to-Play" it's simply "customization".

There are NOT going to be any "Booster Packs" ... You get a "Starter Kit" which will be 1 out of 5 models and then you go online in the Aftermarket store and purchase whatever singles you like for customizing your deck even further.

Something SIMPLE like that. Right now I'm not OVERSHOOTING the product side of things, the pool of cards will be fifteen (15) cards... Something bearable for me and good for the players too. Also something that I can produce on a limited budget too! That's the KEY: I don't know if the game will gain some kind of "community acceptance"!

I am currently working on UPDATING all the digital files

I remember stating that I removed the rarity of the cards and just some cards will be pricey-er than others. But no more "common", "uncommon", "rare" ... Because I am NOT going to sell "Booster Packs".

As of today, the card numbering allows for 999 cards per Edition of the game. It also supports 999 Editions too! lol That's a lot of unique cards. If you do the math that equals 998,001 (close to a 100,000 unique cards).

Of course these are ONLY for card and edition counts. I believe there are over 20,000 Magic cards ... So this is a reflection that the Numbering Format is good even by Magic standards.

A lot of "technical" changes to the card abilities. Mostly to TRY and improve the "potency" of the various cards.

For example: Goblin Sapper used to have a Monster Ability which was: "Deal 1P damage to adjacent targets". So you could instead of dealing damage to one card that is the SAME REACH level, you could damage "adjacent" ones.

But the use of the TERM "targets" implies that the REACH level must be identical. So effectively implying that you are attack a REACH 1 card and only the ADJACENT REACH 1 cards would take 1 Power damage.

This was too STRICT, I wanted to "open-up" the card a bit. And so I changes the Ability to: "Deal 1P damage to adjacent monsters".

The difference is you TARGET a REACH 1 card but AFFECT ANY of the cards adjacent to it. The difference is that THIS version of the ability can affect ANY adjacent "monster". Which is good because it means that the ability is A> More useful B> Deals more damage C> Add Value to the card.

With those three (3) reasons, it is probably apparent of the type of changes... Mostly minor but IMPROVE the overall usefulness of various cards.

I will work on CUTTING the cards during the weekend... It'll give me something to do INDOORS and avoid COVID-19 like the Plague. Cheers!

What I have worked on TONIGHT???

Well as I said, I wanted to WORK on some "Deck Construction" with "Monster Keep" (MK). And yeah there are actual "Deck Strategies" that a player may employ during a game thanks to HOW he build his deck before-hand.

Right now I have three (3) Pre-Built Decks:

1> Fairy Gunman Goblin (Novice)

This is a deck which pairs Goblin Sappers to do adjacent damage to monsters given a REACH Level 1 target. It also makes high use of the Fairies to allow further REACH Levels (from 2 to 3 -- ATM). And then the use of the Gnome Gunman allows a player to deal some more common damage in order to REACH Level 2 targets. It also features Healing as an optional ability available to the player should he need to heal some monsters. It is very heavy on "3" Operand cards and therefore easier for novices who usually make a LOT of use of pure "addition" ("+"). But it is a balanced deck when it comes to REACH levels: 5 Lvl 1, 5 Lvl 2, and 5 Lvl 3.

2> Bloodied Midnight Assassination (Recruit)

This deck features a strong play of Assassination than breeds "fear". It also has a couple fairies to play with the REACH Level of the cards in addition to Scrying and Vampiric Bleeding, those occult favors. This particular deck is more "well-rounded" and has a good mix of operands and a balanced amount of REACH of 5 Lvl 1, 5 Lvl 2, and 5 Lvl 3. It's a "middle of the road" deck which tries to offer a more even balance.

3> Demonic Journey into Darkness (Skilled)

This deck starts off with a trio of Demonic Succubus and continues to do so with some Vampiric Bleeding and some supernatural powers like Scrying and Blessings to heal the wounded (if wounds should occur). It also allows a player to "absorb" damage via its two Golem cards. The REACH of this deck is 100% balanced: 5 Lvl 1, 5 Lvl 2, and 5 Lvl 3. It's a trickier deck to play with because it features way more "2" Operand cards. But this just means that Operators like "multiplication" ("x") may be used more frequently than other decks!

Those are the THREE (3) Decks that I have built so far. I was planning on five (5) Pre-Built Decks ... But maybe three (3) is sufficient: one easy, one mid-range and one hard.

Keep you posted on my continue work on cutting more cards and MAYBE playtesting tomorrow in the late afternoon. Cheers!

Added a FOURTH (4th) Deck to the options

4> Entangled Frolicking Control (Expert)

This pricey-er deck starts off with three Grasping Vine and uses Fairies to increase the potential REACH of the entanglement. It also has Bleeding and some supernatural powers like Scrying and Blessings to heal the wounded (if wounds should occur). It sort of my version of a "Control Deck" which aims to fend off the opponent. The REACH of this deck is 100% balanced: 5 Lvl 1, 5 Lvl 2, and 5 Lvl 3. It's an "Expert" deck because this deck primarily focuses on dominating the game (Going first in the next round, stopping the opponent from attacking, repeating this for a higher REACH Level, etc.)

I'm really happy that I managed to design a 4th Deck. Just opens up the game to new possibilities and now I have more to test. Again for those who see similarities in what I am saying ("Control Deck") and believe that the game is like "Magic: the Gathering" (Magic) ... It really is nothing like Magic. It just has CONCEPTs that are easier to explain if you know something about Magic. You don't need to be a Magic player to play ... On the contrary this game focuses on Tweens (9+) and Teens (13+). The math in the game is for "good measure"...

Of course I can say something like (Instead of Control Deck) it attempts to "Block your opponent" by playing Monster Tactics that prevent attacks on several REACH Levels.

Got to finish cutting the cards and then use those Pre-Built Decks and see what happens when I playtest them!

As of today...

I have completed the cutting of ONE (1) Set of cards ... But there are still cards missing because of multiples (3x or 2x) of a specific card per Constructed Deck. I will maybe finish up the cutting of the 2nd Set of cards tomorrow in the afternoon or later.

I'm really pleased at how those Pre-Built Decks have been designed and I can't wait to give them each a TRY... To see if they live up to the Expectation that I have set upon this game.

For me, "Monster Keep" (MK) is not as "firm" of a design. Although the cards are amazing and the construction of decks is real cool ... The game is not as intuitive as say "Crystal Heroes" (CH) the game that I am fully invested on at the present time.

MK is a bit more subtle ... And the Decks and their flexibility shows that there is a LOT of potential with the MK Brand. But I definitely want to do some much needed playtests with those four (4) Pre-Built Decks to see exactly IF they are as playable as you would expect from just the mere description of the cards and their associated abilities (Monster Tactics).

We shall see during the course of this week as I work to cut and finalize the cards for the next series of playtests. I am a bit surprised that even with a DESIGN that is not so "mind blowing" there can be a LOT of depth especially the strategic kind.


Day off tomorrow...

I am going to take a DAY OFF tomorrow... And during this day, I will focus on finishing the cutting of my 2nd Deck and TRY to figure out what cards I need to playtest the various Pre-Built Decks for my game "Monster Keep" (MK). I think I've done a good job at trying to put things together and ensure that the game has "various" play-styles some more challenging but yet more powerful. Some more easy and playable by a younger audience.

Anyway you look at it... The appeal is to make the game "more accessible" to a larger crowd of players. We had a member tell us that he's been trying to shop around a 2 Player Card Game and publishers have been saying NO because it's a 2 Player game.

Personally I don't see this as an obstacle. It's more about finding the right audience for his game (and my own as well). I think there are still markets out there waiting to play new and innovative games... But I think that KS is mostly built around Miniatures and games employing minis.

Keep you all posted about my efforts tomorrow! Cheers...

Tonight I didn't have much time ...

But I managed to Edit and Print the remaining cards for the various Pre-Built decks. So this meant:

  • 1x Midnight Hunt (I had 1 already, needed 2)

  • 2x Demonic Succubus (I had 1 already, needed 3)

  • 1x Grasping Vines (I had 2 already, needed 3)

So tomorrow I finish cutting and continue to playtest some (maybe even all four) of the Pre-Built decks. It's cool because it will allow me to sell more decks than just one. Potentially a client could buy up to four (4) Pre-Built Decks (Decks are comprised of 15 cards each).

Wow... I actually had FUN playing the game this time around...

I am a bit surprised. "Monster Keep" (MK) is different. Some of the KEY aspects that I wanted was that in the Combat Round, it would be VERY difficult in defeating SEVERAL cards. Maybe only one (1) or two (2) such that the opponents need to go to the final round and play replacement cards.

The current implementation of MK achieves THAT GOAL!

And so you have to think about what cards you have, the resources and HOW you can come out on top of the opponent during the Battle Round.

In my case, it turned out that BOTH Players were able to "knock-out" a card/Monster in the round... And BOTH Players managed to find a replacement Monster for their "equation" and/or area of play.

So it came down to the wire and the Victor was determined by seeing who had used the LESS amount of resources and that worked out to Player #2's advantage (10 to 8). Therefore Player #2 won the game.

MK is indeed DIFFERENT. But it meets the Design-Restriction and/or Goals as I had decided early on. And I actually had FUN playing this game because there were some TOUGH decisions to make, how to use the Monster Tactics to full benefit... And generally, how to make challenging match for both players; each one had their OWN equation which was different in BOTH cases and the Total was 16. So two (2) equations, both reaching 16 with five (5) cards!

It's deceptively SIMPLE when you see the RESULTS as the game was played out... However ... It's really a THINKING game. With the amount of cards and in-play Monsters (which is only 5) the game has a lot of DEPTH. I only playtested one (1) Pre-Built Deck today (which was the first one in the list: Fairy Gunman Goblin).


Oh yes ... I forgot to say

One (1) playtest is CLEARLY "not enough". I just wanted to emphasize that this time around (last playtest), the game started to have appeal TO ME! And that is SUPER important... Because IF I feel like the game is TOO BORING or there is NOT enough happening, I will "shelve" the game until I get some new ideas or thoughts around whatever aspect of the game is NOT working as planned or simply because those ideas are just not a good combination: they may work together but they're not sufficiently interesting.

I have a LOT of playtesting to do for these cards (and game). It's a 2 Player DUEL and it will feature "Plastic Cards" not Paper ones. You can write on the cards with a Dry-Erase Pen/Marker ... And then wipe the card clean afterwards.

Of course as always, I will keep you all informed about HOW the game is advancing and what the future of this prototype looks like. Currently it seems like it is VERY bright and positive! And with something that I was a bit "unsure" about ... This is great progress.

After yesterday's break ...

I was busy all afternoon and evening with Family. We speak on a regular basis ... But I maybe see then once every couple of weeks (or so). I just didn't want to "rush" the day and feel like I couldn't spend quality time with them.

And I've been feeling like my more "free" routine has been monopolized by playing a "MMO" game ... And after over 1 month of that experience, I realize that I didn't want to be tied down to a mandatory schedule requiring me to grind away each and every evening.

They actually consumed about $70 CAD in monies from me because I was very interested in the game and wanted to perform well. Ultimately I have learnt that this particular game is TOO focused on Pay-To-Play and is way too taxing on my time.

What this means is that I can spend time off-line to work on matters that I am a bit behind because of the "Fall Break". With COVID-19 it means more time spent indoors ... But I have other activities off-line to attend to ... And it will be good to shed away that "unhealthy routine" requiring me to grind away from 7:00 to 9:00 PM each and every day.

It'll be a lot better going back to a more "calming" and relaxing routine with lower levels of stress. For heaven's sake, when a Game feels like a Chore ... It's time to stop and focus on other matters.

Of course this never affected my duties on ... But still. I did for a couple of days, require me to re-organize my schedule so that I COULD play the MMO... I don't want to schedule my life "around" a game. Or feel like I need to be home by a certain hour because of the game.

Anyhow, neither here nor there. Cheers!

Tomorrow ... I intend to do some MORE "playtesting"

I might first do some Editing which has been "Long Overdue". "Crystal Heroes" (CH) needs some rulebook editing ... It still won't be final but it will be closer to a finished version. That should have been done earlier in the month... But I was on a "Fall Break" from focusing on all of my real life priorities.

I may try to use one of the OTHER Pre-Built Decks. And try them in some "versus" duels to see if they perform well against each other. Funny thing is that it is pretty complex to "playtest" all these Pre-Built Decks. There are only four (4) ... But that means at a minimum 10 matches to cover all the possibilities!

OMG that is a lot of playtesting! lol We'll see if I can get a couple games off-line tomorrow. We'll see how the day goes.

Given more time to get things done...

I reviewed the "Crystal Heroes" (CH) rulebook... Made some corrections and I actually will need to revisit the CH rulebook once all the cards are illustrated.

I spent most of the day searching for "COVID-19-compatible" gifts for Christmas. I found a very cool 60 Solitaire game whose recipient will be thrilled at ALL the *NEW* games he can play. It was a shareware which only cost me $19.99 to register and install (needed to see if it was okay...) So that's one down (and I'm sure he will LOVE it!) and some more to go.

We've been asked to limit Christmas get-togethers under 10 people.

So we're going to be a limited amount of "family" during this next Christmas celebration. But I have one last gift to buy... Regards.

Haven't gotten around to playtesting the 2nd Pre-Built Deck

I have both Decks ready to play... But I've been rather busy today and will plan to TRY them both tonight. This is just another attempt to see how well balanced the Pre-Built Decks really are.

There will be two (2) more Pre-Built Decks to test ... And then combinations of various Decks versus each other. There are a total of ten (10) outcomes to actually test. And I will have tested already two (2) out of them...

Clearly as more cards are added to the game, more Decks may be constructed and that means more playtesting... I'm not sure HOW this will happen... Just that it COULD be a possibility. Right now, I'm not too convinced because it's just too early. But hoping for a bright outcome. We'll see.

Player #2 Won 11 to 12

Even thought Player #1 managed to "knock-out" a Monster ... It wasn't the critical card and Player #2 in Round #5, restored a 3 Point card to take the Victory 11 to 12 (by 1 Point).

It was a close game too... But the critical card of Player #2 which was the six (6) point "Midnight Hunt" which held the balance of power ensuring Player #2 victory. Player #2 also used the Monster Tactic "Midnight Howl" to block one opposing Monster ... That ensured that Player #1 could NOT knock-out two (2) Monsters during the Combat Round!

Most definitely an interesting outcome... The game is "growing" on me... It feels less "clunky" than previous iterations that seemed to be missing that "something special". This version of the prototype is very "slick" and streamlined into what appears to be a SOLID Game Experience.

Onwards to the NEXT Pre-Built Deck...

Third playtest is 75% done ... And again a GREAT match!

As I said, I am ALMOST completed with this third (3rd) playtest of the Pre-Built Deck "Demonic Journey into Darkness". I currently am in Round #4 (the Combat Round) and well AGAIN both players have managed to squeak by a score of 13 Points each (using different monsters and operands).

If you are wondering WHY(?) this is such a long process. It's because I want to play each player's hand separately to have a unique and different approach to each hand. So I wait like 15 minutes between players and it helps me not to "remember" what I did in the last hand. Generally speaking I am trying to do the best with each player's hands... But spacing the time helps in having "not identical" strategies when it comes to scoring.

I'll post the results of this test when it is finalized. So far it proves to be yet again "interesting" and we will see where the "Combat Round" will lead BOTH Players.

Keep you all posted with the final results when I get them...

Note #1: The score was tied 13 each and Player #2 won by remaining res 9 to 6. It was again a very close match. I definitely see a difference in play-styles that can occur with this particular deck.

Onwards to the LAST of the four (4) Pre-Built Decks...

Last of the four (4) Pre-Built decks to test...

This is the "control" deck which is meant to "block" an opponent from attacking during the "Combat Round" (Round #4). I've built both Decks for both players (#1 and #2)... But I have not yet had the chance to TRY them.

I plan to try this last Pre-Built Deck to see if it is as good as I expect it to be. This last playtest will be done later on tonight (hopefully)! I just reserve the right to not have time as I foresee. But to be honest, I do have some extra time reserved for the exact task of "playtesting".

Obviously I will report back on the results of this last of the four (4) Pre-Built Decks to see if this one is really better than the others. We shall see... Playtesting should confirm it (for sure).

Cheers and let's see how this fourth (4th) playtest works out. Cheers!

Note #1: So the game is on... Player #1 has completed the first Round ... Player #2 has yet to select his cards for this first round... The game has just started. The score to attain is 14 Points. A little weak on the res... But still with some possibilities (for Combat).

Note #2: Now the fourth (4th) Round (Combat Round) is about to start. Both players are similar "equations" opting for two (2) multiplications ("x") and a couple subtractions ("-") too. Different from all of the other games which mostly used addition ("+").

We'll see how the combat round goes considering that both players have very similar decks with a common weakness (each with a 1 Point Operand card). Hard to replace should it get "knocked-out".

Note #3: Both players ensured that no cards would be "knocked-out" in Round #4 and therefore this meant a tie, 14 points each. With no knocked-out Monsters ... This meant that the balance was computed by pure res and this meant that Player #2 won 12 to 9 against Player #1. Victory was awarded yet again to Player #2...

It's really FUNNY how all the four (4) games that I have played have been won by Player #2 ... Because in all cases, I was Player #1 going guns-blazing to win the game... Unsuccessfully in all four (4) tries! lol

Took another day off today... But I did find some time to...

Perfect a couple cards. This was the "Right of Passage" (Bridge Troll) card which had a "strange" Monster Tactic: "Swap places with any one of your monsters". Okay so this made more sense in the Pyramid configuration from the earlier edition and really "Reach" is now what drives combat. So this meant that I had a card with "Good Fortune" (as the ability name) and it really did no longer work with the remainder of the other cards.

Therefore, today I made the correction that "Good Fortune" would play for 0 RES and allow you to EARN +2 RES of your choosing! Pretty interesting... This can help you out in a tough jam and in some situations can even win you the game if you have this in play and earn the extra RES...!

That's all I got done today (I made the Edits -- But did not print or cut the corrections)... Maybe more gets done tomorrow. Cheers!

Note #1: +2 RES of your choice MAY be too powerful. I will need to do some additional playtesting. Maybe a BETTER option is +1 RES of your choice ... With three (3) of these cards, you would earn +3 instead of +6 (which is just too much).

Note #2: I modified the cards to be +1 RES because +2 RES is just way too powerful. Granted that even +1 RES allows you to choose if you prefer Power, Skill or Magic.

Note #3: This new ability has me thinking about yet ANOTHER "Pre-Built" Deck: I call it "Fate of Angels and Demons". With Fairies combined with succubus this means a sort of a Mana Dork heavy deck with the Troll cards... The interesting part of the Troll cards is "Good Fortune" allows you choose the RES so +1 RES of your choice.

I may just experiment and see IF I can get a FIFTH (5th) Unique Deck ... And Playtest it out too... Interesting little Deck to experiment with!

I see it as a "Recruit" Deck ... Maybe "Skilled" not too sure... Will playtest this over the weekend. My day is fully booked tomorrow. Got to do laundry, got to wrap both birthday and Christmas gifts (for the kids). So I've got zero time to mess around tomorrow. We'll see ... I should have some time on Saturday or Sunday.

Fifth (5th) Pre-Built Deck

5> Fate of Angels and Demons (Recruit)

I wanted to discuss more about this deck. And so I figured I'd have a comment of its own. This Deck is a Flood Deck and what it does is make more Resources available to the player using this deck. It features three (3) "Right of Passage" cards which are the "Bridge Troll" and that gives the player from 1 to 3 Resources of his/her choice (depending how many are in play)... Obviously you'd be a bit lacking in the "Dork" side of the matter seeing that the Troll's Operand is a big FOUR (4). 3 x 4 = 12 Points.

That's why I have made the deck a "Recruit" deck because it's a bit EASIER to get the right cards out to score points and be at the Victory Count. I will of course playtest this deck ... (Because I haven't already)... To determine how flexible it may be.

You've got a lot of RES going on in that Deck ... But is there enough meat-on-the-bone to make for a playable deck with some kind of COMBAT capabilities. Sure the fairies allow you to Reach further. But is that enough?!

We'll have to see... I will add this to this weekend's queue of activities... And report back to you the details of the playtest! Cheers.

Tomorrow is a shopping day

I'll get to see family again ... as I spent the day over to wash laundry, wrap birthday and Christmas gifts (for the kids)... It's a day long ritual. We didn't even have time to shred paper receipts (had a bunch of them to destroy). We already confirmed that Saturday will be a day for shopping.

I also figured out my last gift for Christmas... And managed to get a refund for my Scooby-Doo DVD complete series. Which cost me a little bit more from AMAZON.CA but considering the exchange rate from the USA and the shipping fee (deposit) ... It came out to about the SAME price. Plus I saved myself the shipping to Toronto ... Since I sent it DIRECT from Amazon to the recipient of the gift!

We'll see if Jack likes his new DVD collection!

This morning

I finally printed and cut the *NEW* "Right of Passage" cards for "Monster Keep" (MK). I should obviously do a playtest of the "Fate of Angels and Demons" Pre-Built Deck to see if it performs reasonable well or not.

But that will have to wait until later tonight or tomorrow. I've got other things in my schedule today ... So we'll see when I can get to playtesting this newest Pre-Built Deck.

MK is a beast in itself, testing all the combinations is long and hard... Like I said a game takes a couple of hours to ensure that I don't use the same strategy as the other player... I often need to wait real gaps of time before continuing play such that I don't remember what the other player did and what cards he had played. Sometimes it is still hard because I remember that I played "these cards with these operators".

Bottom line, this is one of the hardest games that I have designed which requires much playtesting such that the game is fully tested and most aspect of each Pre-Built Deck are used in-play.

Keep you all posted on my progress with this fifth (5th) deck... Cheers!

Note #1: Definitely will need to be some time tomorrow. I got a bit caught up with some nostalgic abandonware ... And spent two (2) hours playing Sierra's Manhunter. Back then the game was quite the "mystery" to me at the time. But I thought what I knew of the game would be cool to know the true outcome of the game (story not only the backstory).

Those were the days when Sierra Games ruled and the only alternative was Basic (programming language)... Not even Visual Basic... Yeah there was Assembler ... But I was too young for that. I had a C Language Bible reference that I thought I'd never use... Guess what? In college the bible (Turbo C) proved to be quite useful! Also had a Turbo Pascal reference manual too... But the Turbo C was the main one... I bought it because a friend's father was a C Programmer... And I wanted to learn.

Anyway that was FUN and not too demanding on time (only took 2 hours to play)... NOT like 20+ hours a WEEK like some MMOs... None of that, I am way too busy to play those kinds of games.

Back to MK tomorrow ... Get the feel for the Res Boost Deck. See if it is as cool as I hope it is (the "Fate of Angels and Demons" Pre-Built Deck).

Over the last few days I have been thinking about "Packaging"

"Monster Keep" (MK) is 15 cards per player, 9 unique Monsters per Deck. You can ONLY duel versus another player (1 vs. 1). I'm having a bit of a hard time trying to figure out HOW to "sell" the game... I'd imagine that singles aren't very popular with an unknown game. And so I need some kind of retail strategy. Sure I can offer something online. But you need some kind of "Traffic" and notoriety to ensure that there are online sales to be had.

I may need to opt for "The Game Crafter" Hook-Boxes which allow for 18 cards... But I don't have the shrink-wrapping around the boxes for that extra "security". However I would have a "BOX" for the game that would be relatively inexpensive and could be SOLD in stores (by sticking a J-Hook at the very top of each box).

Boosters are "out-of-the-question" because I don't want complete "randomness" ... And traditional packaging is too much for Pre-Built Decks of 15 cards only. I realize that I need an LCG-like format but something very compact.

But there still requires STRONG "Branding" for the game... And I know my business because of "Quest Adventure Cards(tm)". If I can establish some fan-base for the game, that opens up the future for more "Packs". This seems like the best approach.

I'll work on that tonight (pen some thoughts as to HOW this could be possible to RETAIL MK)?!

Have you seen

Have you seen yugioh 9 pack card package and the random 30 card yugioh cards for like 5 to 6 US dollars and keyforge 37 pack package setups?

Just a thought process for you to figure out which direction you're going to go with.

I have tons of faction decks that will be sold in packs of 300 cards in each box for $20 bucks each in the future. Players will get the entire faction of their choice and not worry about finding any rares, commons , ultra rares, legendary, super rares, etc because I took that term and mechanic out of my game Dymino Monsters. It was not needed. In the very beginning of the first iteration of the game Typhoon Fighters, yes I had planned on that market because everyone else at that time was on the hype train for such commodity.

So, a sheet of cards on the roller will have 9 cards. The next sheet will have the remaining 6 of your 15 card set, the 3 extra cards on that second sheet of 9 will start the second deck for player 2. Its basically leap frigging your base decks to the next sheet of cards of 9 to the next sheet etc. I wouldn't think to hard on that process until your at the printer and they can help sort out the card ratio per sheet per deck box count.

Just an observation and suggestion.


Thanks for your input!

Stormyknight1976 wrote:
Have you seen ... keyforge 37 pack package setups?

Indeed the price in my area is $18.99 CAD. Which is great because I plan to have a MSRP of $19.99 CAD since they are ALL plastic cards and I need to pay a bit more for packaging too. Thanks for the tip.

Stormyknight1976 wrote:
I have tons of faction decks that will be sold in packs of 300 cards in each box for $20 bucks each in the future.

I'm not sure you've done sufficient research because a Poker card costs $0.10 to produce. Multiply that by 300 and you get a COST of $30 USD. You wanting to sell 300 for $20 USD is at a loss of $-10 USD... Unless you get better pricing in China. But TBH... You should re-examine the price structure with the volume of cards you are offering. My bet is the price for a 300 card box would be less expensive that $20 bucks but there needs to be room for profit margins. It would wholesale at $10 leaving you not much room for sufficient profitability. Anyways that's for you to research further...

Stormyknight1976 wrote:
Players will get the entire faction of their choice and not worry about finding any rares, commons, ultra rares, legendary, super rares, etc. because I took that term and mechanic out of my game Dymino Monsters. It was not needed.

I agree with you on that one. If you are NOT making booster, there is no need for rareness or chasing rare cards. This is purely a marketing decision and many people dislike the "booster" pack format (especially stores -- FLGSs). I've talked to store owners and they tell me that the only person who likes the "booster" pack (and box) format is the publisher.

Why?! Because the retailer would rather SELL a GAME for $40 USD and make $20 box for a $20 investment. Booster boxes cost around $150 USD and only if a box sell through to 60% does the store make any money. That means that the box and content would retail for $250 USD! But if a box does not get sold the store is "AT A LOSS" (in terms of profitability).

Stormyknight1976 wrote:
In the very beginning of the first iteration of the game Typhoon Fighters, yes I had planned on that market because everyone else at that time was on the hype train for such commodity.

It is complex and not for me either. Cracking up boosters is not what it used to be. Sure it was "exciting" when I was younger. Now I buy SINGLES and customize Pre-Built Decks with better cards. Simple strategy that gives me a very playable deck with enhanced cards.

Stormyknight1976 wrote:
So, a sheet of cards on the roller will have 9 cards. The next sheet will have the remaining 6 of your 15 card set, the 3 extra cards on that second sheet of 9 will start the second deck for player 2... I wouldn't think to hard on that process until your at the printer and they can help sort out the card ratio per sheet per deck box count.

I enquired and for German Black Core it is 54 cards per sheet. It's not a 9 cards per page affair. This is determined by the "type" of paper and may vary from one paper supplier to another. Wendy gave me this information because at that time, I was looking into "boosters" ... And I've since realized that there are OTHER options that are available to me. But yeah, do some more research ... Before you go to print. You might be surprised that your 9 cards per page might be a prototype only version and that the card sheets may have 18 or 54 card counts as I have already explained...


And I've realized ...

That it's better to sell some Pre-Built Decks for $20 CAD (or $15 USD) and offer multiple instances of the same cards with different "configurations".

At that price it won't break the bank IF you decide to buy two (2) decks of different types (like I said in an earlier comment) which are Pre-Built and have a "Deck-Style" in mind when buying them.

So, two (2) Pre-Built Decks would cost you $30 USD (or $45 CAD including the local sales taxes) if they are bought at a FLGS in your area. Again not breaking the bank ... And have enough cards for two (2) complete Decks...

From a design perspective, it is much more challenging because there is more significant playtesting that has to be done with each Pre-Built Deck. But from a "cost" perspective it is also "REASONABLE". I don't need to invest $10k to make the art for the game. It's more in the range of $3k and will be a start in the right direction (for the brand).

This is clearly my direction. And I've realized that TGC's Hook Box allows you to put 18 cards and have simplified rules printed on the box itself (for reference). Again, making it a good choice since I can BUY boxes in bulk and then fulfill them myself!

Another point is that I will have the PARTs made and the putting together will be done by ME. This gives me something to work on in off-hours and is a good way to protect the game, lower the costs and have a hands-on approach to selling the game.

In any event... The only thing missing would be the shrink-wrapping. That may not be the "end of the world" ... But having the J Hook attach to the shrink-wrapping would make the box more "durable" after opening. A minor detail ... I'll see what I can figure out... Again more thoughts to invest in perfecting "this game"...

Great feedback

Ah, so its 54 on a sheet. That's sounds much better than 9. I must of read that years ago for something else for card sheets for games.

Seeing that its 54 cards per sheet, makes it worth while per deck box.

And putting each tuck box together at your house sounds more affordable and worth the expense. I have been wondering this process my self to keep the finance low head cost.

Seeing that WOTC sale their dual pack magic card boxes at $15 or 19 dollars for 50 to 60 cards each(I'm guessing because it has been years since I've played Magic The Gathering) and the total all together is 100 to 120 cards, I should pump up my sale to $25 - $30 dollars. Years ago WOTC sold boxes that had 295 cards for $19 or $22 dollars. I was like ,"heck yeah!". But I gave them away.

But I'm still far off from publishing my game and I will work on the MSRP etc during that time.


Don't compare yourself to Magic!

Stormyknight1976 wrote:
Ah, so its 54 on a sheet. That's sounds much better than 9. I must of read that years ago for something else for card sheets for games.

Seeing that its 54 cards per sheet, makes it worth while per deck box.

Remember that this is "German" Black core. If you want "Chinese" Black core this is 80 cards per sheet. Yeah, they don't make things EASY. Like if you go with one type of paper and there is a HIGH demand, the price is more expensive. But on the opposite end of the argument, you have 54 cards per sheet ... That doesn't work in 80 cards per sheet!? Know what I mean! So it's not easy to change from one to the other.

Stormyknight1976 wrote:
And putting each tuck box together at your house sounds more affordable and worth the expense. I have been wondering this process my self to keep the finance low head cost.

Yes indeed ... this is part of the reason. The other reason is "control". You don't want the Chinese manufacturer to have all the components such that they can produce "knock-offs". If your packaging is done in the USA and your cards done in Hong Kong... Well it will be more complicated to "copy" the product. Sure they could buy the American Product and scan it to create knock-offs ... But that's a lot of trouble and not worthwhile usually. But if they have ALL the files (images), it's much easier to make "knock-offs" because they have everything they need.

Stormyknight1976 wrote:
Seeing that WOTC...

Don't use Magic as a reference. Zendikar Rising is $60 for 6 booster packs with each one having 15 cards. So that's 90 cards for $60 CAD. That's $0.66 a card.

If you compare what you plan to do... That would mean you would price YOUR game packs at $200! Hahaha, lol. Only WOTC can sell that kind of product. WOTC are in a special category and are the only ones who can make a mint off of Paper-based content.

Stormyknight1976 wrote:
But I'm still far off from publishing my game and I will work on the MSRP etc. during that time.

For 300 cards only, no components like dice, tokens or lengthy rulebooks... I would say $35 USD is a good price point. If you have a very explicit rulebook (with a lot of details and pictures/images) ... Then maybe a $40 USD would be a better RETAIL price point. Anyways this is neither here nor there... Because things could change ... And that means Magic products will be more expensive some time soon!

When you get there... You'll have plenty of time to reflect and make a wise choice that suits what YOU want to accomplish. Personally you could have a brief sale at the $35 price point ... And then offer them at the $40 price point (this could be KS type pricing or just early bird to getting the game -- via an online store for example).

If you want to COMPARE something (in real terms)... I like to compare with a game like Dominion (core set). It retails for $52 CAD on and that is for the base set which is 500 cards. That comes out to $0.10 CAD a card...

You can do the math. And your game is NOT Dominion. You don't have the same Brand recognition and economies of scale when producing. That's why I'm saying the price might be MORE expensive than Dominion ... Because you will be printing LESS in terms of per unit volume.

And when I say "more" expensive I'm NOT talking about retail. I'm talking about per card pricing... You'll sell for more (probably).

I'm sure you understand. Cheers!

Note #1: So if you price your game at $0.10 a card x 300 cards = $30 USD. But your game is more limited and so that's why I add another $5. So let's say $35 USD. That's $0.12 a card. A couple pennies more costly than Dominion...

That's what I mean by "more expensive" (on a per card basis...)

Why do I care???

With everything that you do... I (personally) want to have some kind of "reference point" in HOW to "bring-to-market" a specific product. Take "Crystal Heroes" (CH). It is currently planned for a KS and will be made by The Game Crafter (TGC). The game will be made in the USA except for the custom D6s which will be made-to-order from China.

But after the KS... I'm not really sure about the FORMAT ... And dice. I may want to OPT for my own ONLINE store... And package my boxes myself. IDK yet. Still requires some more thought since I know I CANNOT sell via TGC because of the "custom" D6s.

For "Monster Keep" (MK) this will be something like the Hook Box which is something for ensuring that the cards don't move. And then use bubble envelope to add standard D6s dice (as an option) with a Dry Erase Marker (as a complimentary gift -- As a Thank You for your purchase).

Something like that... Still need to work out the logistics.

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