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Multiplayer Arena Shooter Card Game

Persona Card

This is the beginning of my design document for my multiplayer arena shooter card game (working title).

Setting: I'm very much a 'top-down' designer. I start with the theme or an idea, and then try to come up with rules (mechanics) that quickly and easily represent said themes or ideas.

The setting of this MAS card game is the hi-tech future, the year 21XX. It most closely resembles the Android universe by FFG (that would be my ideal setting) but other sources of influence include Blizzard's Overwatch, Tron, The Hunger Games, Blade Runner, The Hounds of Zaroff, Cyberpunk 2077, American Gladiator, Battle Royale, Epic Game's Paragon, etc.

The setting is very cyberpunk. Droids, clones, the genetically modified, and the cybernetically augmented are common-place. The prime mode of entertainment in this future is the blood-sport gladiatorial-style arena shooter aka [Game Title].

Each of the participants, be they specifically manufactured droid, corporate sponsored career athlete, criminal cyborg, or g-modded amateur gamer looking for fame, is equipped with their weapon of choice and a certain load-out, and must utilize their unique skills and strategy to eliminate their target and avoid being eliminated.

The arena is a huge semi-virtual matrix, capable of changing and being changed via programs that some players can use. The arena simulates different environments, weather conditions, terrain, and even gravity.

Game Play: Each player is attempting to eliminate the player(s) to their left - each player to your left that you eliminate earns you 1 VP. This also means each player is trying to flee from the player to their right. If a player is eliminated for any reason other than the player to their right, then the player to their right gets the point for eliminating them. This is known as the Predator-Prey system from Vampire: The Eternal Struggle, a game by Richard Garfield, and it is perfect for my purposes. It really forces people to 'go-forward' i.e. it forces the game to wind-down and reach its conclusion. There is less turtling and less king-making scenarios than there would be if it was a free-for-all.

Each player has a deck of their own, and a persona card representing their identity. This is the character they choose to play as, and each character has his or her own affinities, skills, and special abilities that act as a jumping off point for deck-building and give them their own strengths and weaknesses.

Being an aspiring artist, I plan on illustrating the game myself. I also dabble in graphic design. Here is a mockup of a Persona.

The icons on the right side of the card represent that character's specialties. For this Persona, he has Marksmanship (cards that increase his aim value when firing his weapon), Leadership / Command (can use minions and disposable troops), Engineering / Mechanics (the ability to modify weapons, armor, vehicles, etc.), and Bio-Chem-Medi skill (working on names; this skillset includes mostly healing items, but also corrosive chemicals and poisons). Granted, the art does not reflect this particular skillset, this was more a proof-of-icon readability test.


hello. sounds cool. i

sounds cool. i especially like the premade decks. i have been playing alot of sentinels of the multiverse that uses preset decks and it is awesome (i have been trying to think of w game i can make with them). have you thought of an arena (event) deck that could act as an NPC.
my concerns with your game are
1) does it work with 2 players?
2) what do i do if i am eliminated early? do i just sit and watch (this could be V. annoying if i am eliminated 5 minutes into an hour long game). one solution to this could be giving dead players "spoiler" abilities ie. on their turn a dead player can still effect the arena or mess with active players.

Hello Wob, My intention was

Hello Wob,

My intention was that the decks are premade by the players before the game begins. Similar to other TCGs or CCGs, each player brings a customized deck tailored to their playstyle and strategy. This doesn't preclude building a quick-start deck that might be recommended in the rule-book or net-decking from online sources. This also doesn't mean my game is a CCG or TCG: I don't plan on randomized booster packs or anything. I plan on a dense stand-alone core-set, with optional expansions. No rarities or secondary markets. Low barrier to entry, no junk cards or wall-paper.

I plan on having the game be from 2-7 players, ideally 3-5.

My hope is that the game would play very quickly. Getting eliminated first or second wouldn't be a huge disappointment because you would not be waiting around for the game to end. I also hope it would be exciting to watch for the 5-10 minutes that you aren't actively playing.

So in order to play with 4

So in order to play with 4 friends, all 4 of you have to own a copy of the game?

If so, that's a bad thing, and I'll wait for questccg to chime in on it as well..

No, it shouldn't be necessary

No, it shouldn't be necessary for all players to own a copy of the game. My plan is that a player can build at least 5 or so decks very different decks right out of the box (roughly 300 cards). For example:

A stealthy assassination style deck using cards like Head Shot and Lucky! to guarantee critical hits.
A deck using AoE weapons and heavy artillery (thus soft-countering stealth and agility based decks).
A run-and-gun / spray-and-pray style deck focused on making many, many attacks each round.
A tech / programmer deck who manipulates the arena for environmental damage and disruptive effects.
A turtle-y tower-defense sort of deck, featuring heavy armor buffs to negate attacks.
A deck that lets you out-maneuver and dodge attacks before going into melee range for the kill.
A stealthy trap / sabotage deck, that also features a lot of info-gathering cards like Recon and Sweeper.
A Leadership deck that uses allies / minions / disposable troops to swarm your opponent.

broad range

ArkhamArkhiver wrote:
My plan is that a player can build at least 5 or so decks very different decks right out of the box (roughly 300 cards).
It will likely take a lot of testing to make sure there's no overpowered or under-performing combinations. Good luck with this ambitious goal. :)

having it 3-4 player straight

having it 3-4 player straight from the box is a great idea. however, if lots of players are all constructing from the same pool of cards you will need a pre-game draft, or a way to mediate arguments. ie what do we do if 2 of us both want to be a stealthy assassin?
i would still preset decks (5 in a set would be great), but then recommend players experiment. this also helps new players. players who are new to this type of game (or gaming in general) wouldnt know where to start without a bit of guidence. infact the "preset" element could just be a list of the cards in a deck, and a note on what its designed to play (like your description above) and the level of complexity (new players shouldn't need to worry about combos and exeptions until they are ready)

Premade Decks

I just received a copy of a game called Cogs and Commissars and although it gives the player the option to build their own deck (beyond a specific set of cards everyone starts with), there are a handful of different "faction" cards denoted with small symbols in the bottom corner. Apart from a distinct style of play, they are all more-or-less complimentary to all other cards in the deck.

I suggest you go with this strategy for building the game and its various factions. Have pre-set decks in mind while creating cards and allow them to be compatible with others. An alternative is to come up with a broad assortment of cards, then determine a category or style in which they best fit, and delineate your factions from there.

I'm not certain which approach would be most effective, but I suspect the former, particularly if different faction types/play styles are guiding your design process from the outset.

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