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Look at My Gambling Game...

2 replies [Last post]
Joined: 12/31/1969

Hey All,

I love onions. They make me cry. This is a long post... don't kill the messenger though. (p.s. I'm the messenger...don't hurt me...) Now try saying that in a little girly voice...

My game is a Gambling CCG. I call it "Whatchadoin". No, I don't really call it that. It's a parody game - something funny for when everyone is drunk (because nothing is really that funny when you're drunk right?). And I want it to be a collectible card game because I like to collect things. I'm a collector.

The game is as follows: (right now I'm working on balancing the game... stupid game balancing... always ruins things...)

The goal of the game is to get the most number of points. Two people win the game though(come on, everybody likes to share...); the person with the greatest number of points in play (called 'PLAY POINTS') and the person with the greatest number of points in their hand (called... you guessed it: 'HAND POINTS')

There are two different kinds of cards: Cover cards, and Card cards. Cover cards cover (as in 'hide')... yup, you guessed it... Card cards.

Everybody starts by constructing a deck of 60 cards (remember, this is a collectible game... and 60 is the magic CCG number... Magic number...). No Card card can be included more than once (i.e. you can only have one of each Card card). You can have any number of Cover cards. Cover cards are worth zero points.

Play progresses clock wise.

Now, like all popular gambling games, we have an ante, a pot, a Big Blind, a Little Blind, a hoe, and some chips (poker chips fella's! oh, and hoe's are optional)

A game is made of 4 rounds and a collection phase. A round is composed of all players betting simultaneously and then, in sequence, each player taking a turn. You can only take a turn if you're still participating in the game (i.e. you have not dropped out of the game). You can drop out only during the betting portion of a round. If you drop, you do not pay the bet. Any player may raise the bet at any time during the betting portion of the round.

The game starts with little blind paying the... 'little blind'. Note to all people: determine before the game starts what the ante, little blind, big blind, maximum raise, and minimum bet are going to be. To reduce the noise level and the amount of arguing during quality game time, make sure all players agree on these amounts before the game starts. Randomly choose who pays little blind.

So, little blind has paid, now big blind pays. Now all players draw 3 cards from the top of their deck. Little blind may draw another card because he got the shaft and had to pay first. Note, if he decides to draw now, he must skip his/her first draw during the first round. Going around the table, players who want to remain in the game pay the ante. If Little blind wishes to remain in the game, they must then pay the ante, minus what he's already put in. If Little blind is still in the game, he start round 1 by taking his/her turn. If little blind is not in the game, the players sitting to the left of little blind starts round 1.

A turn is composed of the following: The draw phase, and the Play phase. During the draw phase, you draw a card. During the Play phase, you play a card. It's really that simple.

So, how to play cards and get points you ask me? Go ahead, say it aloud: "Rob, how do you play cards and get points?" You can only play cards on your turn. You can only play cards if you cover them with a Cover card (I bet you never thought of that!). This prevents other players from seeing how many points are on the cards you have in play (because the point value on the card is covered... by the Cover card... ). What about points in your hand? Go ahead, ask me that too: "Rob, just explain the damn game"... ok OK! Hand Points are calculated by adding all the points on the cards in your hand (... that you can provide cover for). What's "provide cover for?" This is where the Cover cards play double duty. To count points on cards in your hand, you have to have a Cover card in your hand for each card you want to count. For example, say in my hand I have one (1) cover card. I also have two Card cards, each with 5 points printed on them. Since I have one cover card, I can only count one of the Card cards toward my Hand Point total. So my Hand Point total is 5.

Once the last round is played, players bet again to try and bluff other players into dropping out of the game. After this, reveal your cards in your hand, and uncover all cards on the table. The player with the most number of Hand points wins half the pot, and the player with the most number of Play points wins the other half of the pot.

And thats the base of the game. Cards have special abilites too. Like, when you play a card Covered, you can uncover it at any time and something cool might happen, like "Draw a card". Or you can simply uncover a card to show your opponent that this card provides you with 5 Play points.

Cards in your hand do cool things too. Certain cards allow you to reveal them to your opponents to have something happen. For example, a card might say "Reveal this card to all players: Return a card in play to it's owners hand".

I tried to build in ways to bluff so it's not just a game of chance and luck, but some skill as well.

The problem I'm having is balancing the whole game. If I make a powerful card there is no way to balance it against all the other cards. Everybody is just going to play with the powerful cards and the weak ones will go off and die. Does anybody have any suggestions about balancing that they would like to share? Or some examples of how you've balanced games you've made? Maybe I can take an example and adapt it to my game!

I hope you enjoyed my post. I hate reading long posts.


Joined: 10/02/2009
Look at My Gambling Game...

The problem I'm having is balancing the whole game. If I make a powerful card there is no way to balance it against all the other cards. Everybody is just going to play with the powerful cards and the weak ones will go off and die. Does anybody have any suggestions about balancing that they would like to share? Or some examples of how you've balanced games you've made?

If number of points is the goal, then the higher point cards should have an effect that you have to decide whether you're willing to deal with.

"If this card is covered in Play, you cannot share in the Hand Pot"

"If you win the Hand with this card, you pay the Small Blind for next player"

stuff like that... powerful cards should have consequenses...

The other approach is to include cards that negate powerful ones, or at least handicap them.

"If this card is on Play, then all [TypeX] cards are at half-value.

Powerful monsters in Yugioh, for example, can be negated by some Traps... and Traps can be negated by some monster effects.

Compare it to poker... there's two ways to win a hand... Win it outright, or make your opponent lose it.


Joined: 12/31/1969
Look at My Gambling Game...

Hey Trek,

I like your thoughts on balancing the cards in that fashion. There exists a problem with having consequences on powerful cards that make a player pay money.

If I had a strong consequence like: "When this card is uncovered, you pay an amount equal to the pot to all other players" then few people would play with it. And if I have the consequence a lower amount of money, then everybody would play the card because money is supposed to be spent. People would simply say "well, my money is going to get spent some time, so why not play ~this~ card". But with the crazy consequences like "pay all players" then the card will be ignored.

I guess the balancing line is so fine it's hard to put my hand on it (no pun intended - actually, I guess it was intended. That's one thing I never understood - when somebody says "no pun intended" the put is actually intended and the author simply wants to point it out. Strange eh?). Anyways, when paying chips, how much is too much for a powerful card? That line varies because each gaming group will be different. Some groups might play the game with 100 dollars and another with 5 dollars. So if I say "pay 5 chips", that means nothing to the 100 dollar group and means alot to the 5 dollar group.

This is where I'm having trouble - coming up with unspecific consequences for the cards. There's not much to the game, so my internal resources are limited. If I we're to list all the aspects of the game, and then negatively change one of these aspect as a consequence to a powerful card, I would quickly run dry on ideas because there's not enough substance to the game. It's meant to be quick and easy.

One thing I'm toying with is adding random elements as a consequence. For example, a powerful card might have something like "When this is uncovered, flip a coin. If you lose the flip destroy this card." Or something along that line. What do you think of this? Is this a valid drawback to a card? If you play a powerful card, and the random element works in your favour, then it feels like you've earned it. Otherwise, if you lose the flip, you can blame it on fate. I enjoy random elements too, and I think it'll add more fun to the game.

Does anybody else have experience with balancing and they would like to share?

One thing I would like to mention Trek is I never thought of the 'negating' aspect. I really like this idea and I'm going to seriously think about how I can incorporate it. Thank you for that.


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