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[PnP Files Available] Maverick - Solo Strategy Card Game


Solo Strategy Card Game

The local townsfolk have hired you, a monster slayer, to clear a dungeon full of monsters that have been attacking the citizens. Negotiate payment and start hunting…

Complete Basic Game Components:

  • Rules of Play (US Letter | A4)
  • 18 Monster & 2 Slayer Cards (US Letter | A4)
  • 40 Action Cards* (US Letter | A4)
  • *You can forgo printing the action cards and use eight copies of 1s, 2s, 3s, 4s, and 5s from UNO® or Phase 10® game packs instead.


    Expect changes soon

    I'm making some changes to the rules. The trap is now a familiar you command. I streamlined the card design and layout.

    Here are some of the prototype cards. Some things in the image may not make sense now with the current rules but should make more sense when I release v1.1 tomorrow.

    Note: The location of the action icons are for aesthetics related to the monster image only.


    I updated the rules. Only missing a few monsters and the treasures for the PnP cards.

    The darker grittier style has

    The darker grittier style has been preferred by some but until I get an artist to replicate that I’m just making low ink low color PnP prototypes over coming weeks. The icons are easier to see than the thematic “hit” placement design.

    I’m still playing around with symbols and colors.

    Huge rules update and changes

    Huge rules update and changes based on extensive play testing over the past few days:

    Rule of Play

    Game name change!
    Removed treasure to streamline game play (can always add later if desired)
    Added dynamic difficulty mechanic (contract negotiation) directly tied to final scoring opportunity
    Added Third Eye of Soltar mechanic. Player rewarded with ability to see next card of action deck by slaying certain monsters.
    Updated final scoring.
    Updated Monster Bestiary

    I still need to add/update action icons for these rules.

    Remember, the current art and icons are for the low ink playtesting PnP. Will shoot for a darker, grittier feel on final version.

    Play test

    I negotiated a contract price of 7 cards during setup, so I started the game with 33 action cards.

    Well, near the end of the game these were literally the only 5 cards left and I barely pulled it off.

    I had to move maverick 5 spaces left. Then, 1 space left. Then used a 4 for his ranged attack, while my melee animal companion, Arcturus, used another 4 for its melee attack leaving me at one card left for the win!


    I think I am settling on this style for the first PnP.

    Final Revision

    Final design, a monster and the monster slayer, Maverick:


    I'm unsure of the tone you want, but looking at what you have, have considered limiting it to shades of black, white and red? I ask because I get a very different vibe from the sketches and pencil and ink drawings and your admittedly initial forays into color. I think of some of Matt Wagner's Grendel work (wasn't Miller's Sin City like this too?) and how intense it can be.


    I had originally splashes of brighter color mixed with the muted tones and people said it was too distracting from the rest of the card, but I thinking its partly my artistic inabilities. In a published version I'm sure they could make the "Sin City" design look really good.

    The logo does have some color:

    PnP Files

    I have completed all the PnP files:

    Complete Basic Game Components:

  • Rules of Play (US Letter | A4)
  • 18 Monster & 3 Slayer Cards (US Letter | A4)
  • 40 Action Cards* (US Letter | A4)
  • *You can forgo printing the action cards and use eight copies of 1s, 2s, 3s, 4s, and 5s from UNO® or Phase 10® game packs instead.

    A4 & Cut lines

    I added A4 size files and cut lines to the front and back pages.

    Edgy, Lucky Puzzler

    Nice "solo grimdark puzzle" game you have here. :)

    First two games: first was a loss, second was a win with a final score of 21 (five cards worth 18 + 3 in hand). Seems like it can be very swing-y but you've mitigated this somewhat by allowing the player to see the layout of the dungeon before wages are set.

    I'll play this a bit more and see what the spread is like over a set of 10 games. Is there anything in particular you think needs some testing/scrutiny?

    Thank you!Game sessions of

    Thank you!

    Game sessions of card wager, win/loss, score is great.

    Questions to consider:
    Whether the wager would be more fair if you pick specific cards instead of off top.
    How the monster abilities felt.
    Any monsters that feel overly easy or hard. I know the beholder is intentionally a real pain.

    I’m trying to balance enough content in the basic game versus too many mechanics and abilities. I have few ideas for more content like a push/pull object mechanic as a mini expansion.

    I also have considered a 2p mode where competing monster slayers on opposite ends slay the monsters until all 13 monsters are slain but still testing balance.

    General Feedback

    Halfway through my ten-game set, and a few thoughts come to mind.

    • Offensive maneuvers in order of difficulty to pull off: Melee, Ranged, Charge. It seems like Charge is worth going for almost as frequently as possible, because it combines an attack with a movement at no cost (with the added bonus that both of the animal companions can do it, too). Melee is the most inconvenient because it's the attack maneuver where the Number on your card matters the most, and you need to Move to that location first.
    • Any monster with a pair or trio required makes it instantly tougher than the rest. This goes for your Beholder, for sure. The Beholder is has usually been reserved for late game.
      I recommend making something on the Dragon or Demon a pair, since they're otherwise relatively easy to beat, even with a high Strength and requiring three Maneuvers to defeat. Give one of them a pair of Melee for an exceptional challenge. I'm not sure which one you want the player to fear more than the rest... :)
    • Although it seems useful, I've yet to deliberately use the Meditate maneuver.
    • I think that choosing which cards go into the wager edges closely to being a blind choice, and simply adds time to the setup of the game. One of the most elegant aspects of your game at the moment is the fact that all cards are useful eventually, regardless of the number on them (very much like Pandemic in this way, in my opinion). Movement and positioning is key, and having a variety of numbers available in your hand at a given time is desirable. Right now, the choice is "more, or less?" That seems sufficient for game setup, as the consequences are clear.
    • I think the monster abilities are solid and easily-tracked for the Basic game, and they work for now. I do think tracking the Eye bonus can be fiddly at times, and I find myself checking cards usually after four or more monsters are defeated, but the good news is that once you meet the Eye criteria, you don't have to check it for the rest of the game.
    • I'm not sure how married you are to the theme, but in general I don't think it fits as well as other options could. Most of this hinges on the wager mechanic, which is pivotal. If you're curious I can explain this more, but I'll spare you for now in the event you're not interested.

    That's about it for now. I have five more games to go through, and I'd love to hear your thoughts, if any, sparked from the above.

    Thank you

    Thank you for the insightful feedback.

    • You are playing it that you have to do all actions in the same turn? Yeah, Charge is like Ranged Attack except the character moves. Melee is definitely the hardest to pull off as you mention, so I tried not to double it much.
    • I'll consider changing the Demon to two melee attacks instead of one melee, one ranged. I didn’t want those two to feel TOO hard. Dragon is a bit harder because of the 3 actions and Overlord ability. Having to Charge a Dragon, and then do a Melee Attack on it while the other character range attacks it all in the same turn feels pretty difficult to me. Also, knowing you have to save at least two 5s for those two monsters makes them inherently more difficult.
    • Yeah, Meditate is there as a last resort, but rarely used.
    • To make the game less "swingy" and "luck-based" in terms of scoring, action cards wagered during setup are worth 2 points (no longer worth double their value), and remaining action cards are worth 1 point (no longer worth their value). I did this because if the action cards off the top of the deck are a bunch of 5s this game, but are a bunch of 1s next game, it feels pointless to even attempt the second game already knowing it will be lower than your previous high score. I don't want that. Much like how all the action cards while different in value feel equal in usefulness during game play, I want that same affect for scoring.
    • I originally planned on having the eye built into the card backs of those cards, but then went with a plain design forgot to put them in. I’ll put them back in tonight. EDIT: They are in now. I would just add them onto the corresponding backs of those 6 monsters in your printed version.
    • I’m totally open to different theme ideas, it’s just the theme that fit the art assets I already owned. I originally had the game called “Old Town Road” with a cowboy bounty hunter after wanted criminals and another family friendly theme of wildlife photography. Hang ups with other themes always seem to be tying the three "combat actions" to the theme (like running vs. ranged vs. up-close wildlife photography?).

    Considering these changes

    After many play tests, I have some changes I am considering but NOT yet implementing before feedback and more play tests.

    1) Remove the Meditate action. In the 25+ games I have played, I think I have used it once. It's a nice backup plan when you have a really bad hand for the given situation but removing it would further streamline the rules and be one less action players have to learn and recall.

    2) Remove Eye of Garakus mechanic. It's a cool little effect, but is an extra icon on the cards and one more thing to track for the minor boost.

    3) Remove requirement to have to play copies of same card when double/triple action symbols on monster. This would provide more flexibility and make the game easier yes but see my next change.

    4) Add a new "trophy" bonus to final scoring. Whenever you slay a monster using an action card that matches its strength, leave it on top of the monster instead of putting it on the discard pile. At the end of the game, score 1 point for each collected trophy. This is definitely going to change how you play toward high scores.

    My only worry is its going to make you feel bad anytime you don't collect a trophy from slaying a monster, which is not something I want to make the player feel.


    Please Standby


    (see below)


    First Impressions

    Played three matches in about an hour, and it seems much more challenging, and very "full."

    • Won one of three games. The losses usually boiled down to a single card. I do feel like the layout of the corridor is much more significant now, as detailed below. Maybe this is a way to say that your rule changes have amplified the puzzle and "order of operations" aspects of your game.
    • My gut is telling me that the monster special abilities are much more powerful now for some reason, particularly Overlord. I had two "rally" monsters adjacent to one another in one of my lost matches, and that seemed to be a powerful defense against me at the time. Overlord continues to be a significant ability.
    • The trophy is a tantalizing target. In fact, for the game I won, I received 9 points from trophies, almost eclipsing the 10 points won from the wager. Personally, I think the trophy target amplifies the defense of the monsters with a variety of targets, in some way I can't articulate at the moment. The Dragon seems much tougher now. I faced it in all three matches I played and never felt as threatened in the previous iteration as I have with these new rule changes.
    • If the Beholder is on the far right end of the corridor, it proves to be a supreme pain in the ass. :)

    Wrapping for now, but I will be able to come back to this tomorrow evening.

    Awesome stuff

    Awesome stuff.

    Here is the unofficial revision of the Rules of Play. It's unofficial because the proposed idea of a monstrous slayer hasn't been updated in the PnP cards.

    This revision has many cosmetic and flavour/fluff changes. However, the biggest takeaways are the removal of Meditate action and Eye of Garakus ability which have been merged into a once per game action called Transform, the addition of trophies to alter your strategy and maximize your score, and the monster ability, Disable, was reverted back to its original name and effect: "Noxious - Whenever your monster slayer stops at the same location as a noxious monster, you must discard a card!" When I had changed Noxious to Disable awhile ago it inadvertently made the Ghost useless and the other Disabling monsters much weaker, so now its back to what it should be.

    If everyone collectively likes the changes, I'll move forward and make these rules official and update the PnP cards.

    The PnP cards will remain mostly untouched other than removing Eye of Garakus and replacing the card back of the monster slayer with its monstrous slayer form.

    Previous versions of the cards are pretty much unaffected by the changes since the Eye of Garakus can just be ignored or used for some home variant and the card back of the slayer already has the logo that represents the monstrous slayer (just not its avatar).

    Under the new rules, I just

    Under the new rules, I just played a game where I scored 37 gold. It was an easier game where among the 5 undealt monsters were both Rally monsters, a Noxious monster, and a Reigning monster.

    • I set 5 cards aside as payment during setup for 15 gold.
    • I collected 9 trophies for 18 gold.
    • I ended with 4 cards in hand for 4 points.

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    blog | by Dr. Radut