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Monster Keep: Fresh & New ideas for this DESIGN!

Way back when I was a younger man, "Monster Keep" (MK) had the principle that players would CHOOSE the "Operators" (think Math) and compute formulas. However this idea went by the wayside when I figured that the player should CHOOSE the "operands" instead (again different Math)!

Today while pondering on some of the other dilemmas ... I found myself THINKING why not ALSO choose a Monster's REACH. Let me explain.

questccg wrote:
Each monster has a value called the REACH. Same REACH values can combat each other. So IF I have a "1", I can battle other "1" opposing Monsters. But a "1" cannot attack a "2" or a "3" (to be more explicative). So "2" can attack any other "2" and the same for "3" can attack another "3".

I had these REACH values HARD-CODED. And I built up DECKS given the different Monsters used. But NOW I am thinking that MAYBE the "REACH" should be DYNAMIC!!!

Instead of relying on HARD-CODED values, players could CHOOSE which LEVEL of the "Keep" they want to play their MONSTERS on! This SMALL and seemingly insignificant change will breath NEW LIFE into MK for sure... That's it for now.

Cheers all.


Thematic Link

The "REACH Level" could be the FLOOR of "The Keep". So a Monster on Level #2 can only combat OTHER Monsters on Level #2... And I see these are being FLOORS for the game. Before I had no Thematic Link. Like why couldn't a Level #3 Monster attack a Level #2 or #1 Monster... No reason except that was the RULE.

Now that it is used to implicate the FLOOR LEVEL (I used to call it REACH) of "The Keep", it makes so much more SENSE. Also making the value DYNAMIC is another reason to explore further how this impacts the game and Deck Construction.

Going to think about this some more tomorrow. Cheers all!

More thoughts on the Level Mechanic

I figured that there need to be some RULES regarding the Levels. I mean without ANY a player could play ALL his Monsters on the SAME Floor and that would suck so bad! WHY? Because it removes an ELEMENT of the game and makes it UNI-LEVEL again... Which is something that I was TRYING to avoid.

The other idea that I just came up with is that MAYBE SOME of the Monsters have a LEVEL others do not and for those who do not have one you can CHOOSE their Level.

Again with some rules that you can only have maybe THREE (3) Monster per Level.

The game allows you to PLAY only FIVE (5) Monsters in TOTAL. So three (3) Monsters per Level is more than 50% of your deck (actually 60% to be exact).

I will see if I can REVISE the MK notes to see IF I can better WORK with the FLOOR Level Mechanic. Just some additional ideas to consider...

Some additional ideas

If you PLAY three (3) Monsters one the first phase of the game this would mean you would secretly choose FLOORS for those cards before revealing them to your opponent. If Player's REVEAL the Monsters they've chosen for the first phase, this means that the second phase can be used to thwart your opponent's plans...

And this could mean playing into your own strategy too (by choosing to ignore your opponent's plans). It's not DO-or-DIE type of game meaning that the third phase allows player to replace defeated Monsters with new ones.

Again more thought into this game tomorrow. I need to check my Notebook to see what it says about MK and where I am at with this design.

Display Floors

I'd suggest having a layout showing three (or more) different floors, and each player places at least one card at each, face down. The cards could have a monster that's at that floor, or it's a blank card.

To resolve floors, reveal all the cards next to them simultaneously. If a player's monster faces off with a blank card, then their monster is unopposed and they have an automatic victory. Otherwise the two opposing teams face off and resolve the conflict normally.

Beyond this, I'd also suggest there be a reason to choose one floor over another. Are there specific rewards for winning a given contest - beyond defeating the monster? There are plenty of ideas to make choosing one floor over another depending on one's situation: Command Points, Victory Points, earning consumables or money, etc. I'm just suggesting there be a reason to have different floors beyond adding complexity to the system.

Let me clarify a bit...

let-off studios wrote:
...I'd also suggest there be a reason to choose one floor over another. Are there specific rewards for winning a given contest - beyond defeating the monster? There are plenty of ideas to make choosing one floor over another depending on one's situation: Command Points, Victory Points, earning consumables or money, etc. I'm just suggesting there be a reason to have different floors beyond adding complexity to the system.

Well for the moment, I am thinking about two (2) reasons to choose a floor:

1. Affects the nature of the Monsters on the SAME floor.

This means that Monsters who congregate TOGETHER are STRONGER (Strength in numbers so-to-speak). Secondary effects can be bonuses or penalties that can affect the outcome of the mathematical computation.

2. Affects the mathematics used in equation building.

This means that "Level 3" math is done last and "Level 1" math is done FIRST. This is like PARENTHESIS in an equation. How you compute the equations matters. Here's an example:

1 + 4 x 2 + 1 = ??? = 10 = 11 = 15!

Just three outcomes depending on how you compute the equation:

1 + (4 x 2) + 1 = 10
((1 + 4) x 2) + 1 = 11
(1 + 4) x (2 + 1) = 15

This is my MAIN reason for wanting to use the FLOOR. It's not as simple... But this is generally the FEEL for what I hope to achieve. And one of the goals is to make MATH FUN for kids. Solving relatively easy equations to try to outsmart his/her own opponent.

This would be a DUEL game (2-Players).

It's still very much a Work-In-Progress (WIP)

The Turns, Rounds and such are very much in flux ATM. I generally LIKE the ideas that I've presented (because they work in reality -- I have a working prototype).

And I've tried various PRE-DEFINED decks (Deck-Construction).

But it's still not sufficiently "polished" ... At least not to my satisfaction. I clearly need more work on this design, but haven't had any new IDEAS lately.

So the IDEA fundamentally is to make MATH FUN. And simple EQUATION SOLVING is the name of this game. With these NEW and FRESH ideas, I may be able to solidify the design. Why? Right now, all I can say is that it can AFFECT the outcome of the DUEL part of the game and then... Figure out what the result of a Player's equation is (Total).

There was a 4th outcome that I did not mention...

1 + 4 x 2 + 1 = 12, "(How?) You ask...?"

(1 + 4 + 1) x 2 = 12

This involves some RE-ORDERING. Because it means that the equation is NOT solved directly as it is specified. But still the principle remains the same. And the FLOORS allow this method of calculation (and declaring an equation) to be possible.

I'll be busy writing e-mails over the weekend. But I will ponder FURTHER on this design (as well). Some interesting THEMATIC and IDEAS seem to be leaning on advancing this design further.

Right now I need to figure out ...

How to make the "equation" (Math) work with the Combat system. So far, there is no "tie-in" with the game and the "Monster Keep" (MK) theme. Right, we now have established that "Floors" are the primary reason Monsters can combat each other; and we know that there is a goal to achieve an "equation" (Math) with the game.

What I am missing is how BOTH come together... More thinking needs to be done. And I've figured that instead of ALL cards having an "Operator", an "Operand", and a "Floor" ... Some cards could have some of these elements as being pre-defined.

Again more thought needs to be put into this design to see how it all comes out together! Cheers.

I've reviewed the prototype a bit...

And I still REALLY LIKE this design. It's got a lot of NOVEL content ... But it's missing something to "tie-things-together". And the Mathematical aspect of this design still needs more "work". But clearly "Monster Keep" (MK) has a lot of potential to be a FUN and mindful game...

One aspect that I am a bit questioning ATM is the number of players. As of today the game is focused on 2-Player Duels. Which is OKAY... But we all know MULTI-PLAYER games are much more immersive and offer more depth of play. In a Duel, you know that the odds of winning are 50/50. But in a game of 8-Players, the odds of winning are 12.5% out of 100.

So this is something that I am thinking about much more CLOSELY than anything in the past! MK WILL be a multiplayer game. It's small footprint lends well to the GENRE and clearly there is possibility to make something NEW of this design... Sure I've got OTHER 2-Player Duels in my "repertoire" and so it makes sense that with this design, I take it to ANOTHER Level.

And since the game is CALLED "Monster KEEP", I definitely want to have an ASPECT that is about "Keeping the Monsters you defeat" and somehow "re-cycle" them into your own Hand or Deck ... Or something else (Not 100% sure)!

But it is definitely COMPELLING and I hope to make something more "interesting" with this design (obviously the prototype isn't enough). And I will be open to re-working the design in question for sure!

Some further thoughts after another EDIT

The whole "Keeping the Monsters"-bit just won't work. Also it looks like this design will ONLY be for 2-Player Duels. (I'm trying but nothing is working ATM!)

What is working is this:

A> Instead of choosing the Operators, they are specified for each Monster.

B> The Operands are blank but correspond to the Health of each Monster.

C> The Reach is blank also and allows players to put a value 1 to 3 there.

Monsters on a Floor (1 to 3) may combat other Monsters on the SAME Floor. This is both logical and thematic. The Reach is used for computing the equation during the "Scoring" Phase of the game (again values 1 to 3).

I re-did the Monsters to suit this NEW "configuration" and also made some edits to the "Scorecards" too. We'll have to see how this plays out... Given I will need to make a NEW "prototype" some time this week (Maybe towards the middle of the week...)

I will post update information with regards to this "experiment" and report back the level of success of this NEW "configuration". Cheers!

More on the re-design I did TODAY!

So what I did was to re-design the scorecards too... Because they just didn't have enough space to contain the 6th card in play.

And it made sense because there are three (3) Rounds for populating your side of "The Keep". And then the battling ensues and finally the game wraps up with a "Scoring" Round where each player tries to get as close as possible to the target score.

The Winner is the one closest to the target score (+/-).

Making the three (3) populating Rounds each for a Floor has worked very well. It actually works and makes sense (and from a thematic perspective TOO!) Having the Battle Round was something that I was unsure of previously because it just wasn't working "like-I-wanted-it-to"...

But now that Operands are tied to Monster Health ... It all comes together. The last Round (Scoring) is to formulate your Mathematic Equation.

More playtesting to DO ... After this latest prototype is done!

Note #1: I am still going back-and-forth with the COMBAT. It seems like there are two choices:

1. After each Floor Round, do combat with the NEW Monsters only

The advantage of this is that most battles will be local and there will be only a handful of Monsters to contend with and even less as we move up the floors of "The Keep". The disadvantage is that it is very hard to do any PLANNING.

Since you have resources to use, you may want to HOLD-BACK only to realize that you should have used those resources in the earlier round.

2. Or do ALL combat in a Round after populating ALL Monsters

The advantage to this is both players have a stronger grasp of the field and where you opponent stands. But there is a disadvantage which is the overall complexity of "The Keep": having six (6) Monsters in play and to analyze and try to compute the "Best Moves" or attacks ... Can be DIFFICULT.

But you have all your resources to use and you know exactly what to expect from your opponent; there are no places to hide in this version.

So you see my dilemma ATM. More thought will have to be done over the next few days as I figure out what works BEST! Cheers.

I'm still STRUGGLING with this DESIGN

Right now ... Printing & Cutting the NEW cards has forced me to take a real good look at the Monsters and their abilities. Right now the COMBAT method in my previous comment is up for debate. Why? Well some abilities like SCRY are good as the game populates floors and other abilities like a ABSORBING attacks are better in an End-Game Round where are the Monsters are in play.

I also realize that there are WAY too many "-" Subtraction Operators, making the game a bit confusing. I am thinking that I should have a "||" operator which is like an ABS(value +/-)55 = + (Positive result)...
The formulae aspect is now BROKEN.

No worries, it's not the end of the world. It just means I need to look under-the-hood a bit more and better grasp what is more important. And maybe this means adding some complexity (like the ABS idea).

I believe this will impact the game quite significantly ... But there is little for me to argue with this since the design needs a LOT more work than I had initially anticipated.

I thought that by making some MINOR adjustments the game would be GREAT. But it turns out, the opposite is TRUE: it needs a lot of work before it is ready to be made...

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