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Need Help With Mechanics for a CCG Idea

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Anrkist_Pengwin
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Joined: 12/31/1969

I have a theme for CCG but I'm having some trouble with the mechanics.

The theme of the game is this:

There is a two-dimensional world called StickLand in which all kinds of
stick figures and doodles reside. In reality, StickLand is nothing more
than a huge drawing board that a bunch of artists use. One day someone
erases StickLand, creating a blank slate. The artists, seeing an
opportunity to showcase their talent, begin drawing all over StickLand.
Pretty soon, artists begin to fight for space in StickLand.

The player takes on the role of an artist trying to find some space for
his artwork in StickLand. The player creates a sketchbook (deck) from
pages (cards) consisting of things like Doodles, Items, Locations, and
Actions.

The overall theme for the game is kind of humorous and light-hearted. I'm
trying to aim for a simple design that's easy to learn but still offers a
a good amount of strategy as well as multiple ways to achieve victory.

Now this is where I've hit a roadblock. I have a bunch of ideas but none
of them seem to fit the theme I've come up with.

This is what I have so far:

You win the game when your opponent deck runs out of cards.

Doodles, which represent the artist's drawings, are not only the primary
means of attacking your opponent, but they are also the primary source of
Sketch Points (or SP - the resource in this game). Most cards cost SP to
play them. I think of SP as the artist's imagination. My problem with
this involves the use of counters to keep track of them. I would prefer a
more elegant system that involves nothing else than the cards themselves.

For combat, I had the idea of Battle Points (or BP). They are a kind of
combination of health and strength. When a Doodle takes damage his BP
lowers, meaning it has less health and less strength to deal damage with.
When a Doodle's BP reaches zero, it's discarded. My problem with this
involves the use of counters to keep track of them. I would prefer a more
elegant system that involves nothing else than the cards themselves. I
also feel it doesn't work with the theme too well. Maybe a system like
Rock-Paper-Scissor?

If anyone has any suggestions or ideas, they would be most welcome.
Nothing I have so far is set in stone. Thanks in advance!

Jpwoo
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Need Help With Mechanics for a CCG Idea

The new wizards card game, Hecatomb has an interesting mechanic where there are no specific resource cards, but any card may be played as a resourced card. So in magic terms, any red card could be played as a mountain, and not whatever it really is.

I love the idea for your game. Sort of like Flatland meets west side story.

TheReluctantGeneral
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Need Help With Mechanics for a CCG Idea

San Juan (the card game version of Puerto Rico) has a similar mechanic. It's a bind trying to work out which your cards to play as actual actions and which to simply use as resources. Good fun though.

You can add an extra level of complexity (if appropriate) by having each card marked with the action (doodle or whatever) and an SP rating, say between one and three. Then either use the card as a doodle, or as SP currency to the value shown on the card.

Then you design the deck to make the choice between actions and SP value of the card really painful!

One more idea. Rather than having absolute SP values on each card, use symbols. As artists improve (by doodling more), the SP value represented by a given symbol increases. Therefore artists can pay for cooler doodles (which are more expensive to begin with) as the game progresses. Progression in doodle skill may not be equal accross all symbols, such that a given artist gets more SPs for certain symbols than others.

Anrkist_Pengwin
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Need Help With Mechanics for a CCG Idea

I really like the idea of using the cards in your hand as the main resource for the game (BTW, San Juan looks really interesting; I have get a copy and try it out).

After mulling it over this weekend, I've come up with couple of ideas as far as paying for cards go.

There are four different ways to pay for cards. The types are:

a. Discard cards from your hand
b. Discard cards in play
c. Discard cards from the top of your deck
d. Discard cards from your discard pile

By doing this it allows for variety, not only in paying for cards, but also in deck design. Most cards will require only one type of payment, though some cards will require two or more, depending on their relative strength in-game.

By using these methods to pay for cards, it definitely makes you think about every card you play. And since you lose the game when your deck runs out of cards, it also adds an a lot depth to the game.

I'm still a bit stuck as far as combat mechanics go. I'm leaning towards this idea at the moment:

Each character card you play has a Battle Point (BP) rating. This value represents both the character's strength in combat and the amount of damage it takes in combat. As it takes damage, its BP lowers. When its BP reaches zero, it's discarded. When you play a character to the table, you take anumber of cards off the top of your deck and place them under the character card face-down. Those cards represent the character's BP rating. When the character takes damage, remove the appropriate number of cards from under the character and place them in the discard pile.

My problems with this arise from using the cards in your deck as a way to keep track of the character's health/strength. This could severely lower the number of cards in a player's deck and cause a game to end far too quickly. This also causes the player to potentially never see a good chunk of his deck, causing players to stack their decks with multiples of key cards and therefore degrading the overall variety in a game. The other issue I have with this idea is where should the cards go when they are removed because of damage? The discard pile makes sense, but it causes a player to essentially lose a large amount of his deck.

On the other hand it does achieve what I'm looking for, which is a game that uses nothing else but the cards themselves.

Once again, nothing is set in stone and I'm completely open to suggestions. Thanks in advance and thanks for the previous ideas!

TheReluctantGeneral
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Need Help With Mechanics for a CCG Idea

Anrkist_Pengwin wrote:

Each character card you play has a Battle Point (BP) rating. This value represents both the character's strength in combat and the amount of damage it takes in combat. As it takes damage, its BP lowers. When its BP reaches zero, it's discarded.

Um, is this still the nice non-violent seeming doodle game described at the beginning of this post? There was no mention of bloody combat until now?

I'm confused...

Anrkist_Pengwin
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Need Help With Mechanics for a CCG Idea

The combat mechanic is a way for players to attack each others decks. It doesn't have to be bloody. That was just an idea I was tossing out there. I would love to have a nonviolent way for player's to interact with each others cards. I just can't figure out a meaningful way to do so.

All nonviolent CCG's I've ever played have turned out to be multiplayer solitaire with very limited player interaction (The Nightmare Before Christmas TCG for instance). What I am looking for is way for player's to compete against one another, whether it's combat or not. As long as their is interaction between the players, I'll be happy.

I would still very much like to to keep the current system for determining victory intact (reducing your opponent's deck to zero cards). As I see it, the player's (artists) are removing pages (cards) from their opponent's sketchbooks (deck). If an artist has nothing to sketch on, he can't use his space in StickLand and therefore must give it up.

Does anyone have any good ideas about this? I would very much appreciate your input. Thanks!

dete
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Need Help With Mechanics for a CCG Idea

what if the town is divided into various parts,
north side, south side, east side, west side,
each one with gangs (different themes of doodle)

I'm thinking on looseleaf stick man, stick girl, stick puppy
almost the way a girl doodles.

then pyschogirl <--drawn by someone in an insane asylum
maybe the characters can get to meet the artist after epic searches.
the artists are ultra rare cards?

spooky goth type town for one of them
goth boy would have a chain wallet, etc.

when these gangs do battle, they can use pencils and erasers
to erase arms, legs, torso, or head,
they can get a pencil to draw themselves back, or draw
on a cannon instead of an arm --> almost sounds like LEGO
where they can become interchangeable.
some can use a pen to permanent themselves.
there is also liquid paper.

I don't see why there can't be a cut out robot or something
that can be folded into a paper plane (transformer)
or other origami type transformer people (swan, ninja star, box, etc.)

just some ideas.. hope it helps.

TrekNoid
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Need Help With Mechanics for a CCG Idea

dete wrote:
when these gangs do battle, they can use pencils and erasers
to erase arms, legs, torso, or head,
they can get a pencil to draw themselves back, or draw
on a cannon instead of an arm --> almost sounds like LEGO
where they can become interchangeable.
some can use a pen to permanent themselves.
there is also liquid paper.

That's not bad actually... you could have erasers be used in multiple ways... You can use them to erase your opponent's weapons... or erase your own character's arm to replace with a weapon.

So, suppose I played a stickman with a 'gun' arm, and you defended by playing a stickman with armor... I could use the eraser two different ways:

1.) erase the armor, and shoot your stickman...

2.) erase my gun, and replace it with a flame-thrower, then cook you in your armor.

Of course, if *you* have an eraser, you could remove my gun arm... or erase your own arm and replace it with a 'U'-pipe arm...

that sort of thing...

Trek

Anrkist_Pengwin
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Need Help With Mechanics for a CCG Idea

I really like the 'drawing' concept but I don't think there should be artist cards because I want the player to be the artist (kind of like in Magic where the player is the wizard).

I have a couple of ideas for the combat mechanics after reading the latest posts.

You have Stick Figures which act like a base for the other cards. These stick figures could have very generic abilities. The other cards you play grant them more health, other abilities, etc...

For example, you can draw a set of wings on the stick figure to allow him to attack first in combat. You could draw on a pair of x-ray glasses to allow the artist to look at an opponent's hand when tapped (or whatever you want to call it).

The only downside I see to this is a player's deck may not have that many stick figures in it and instead rely on other cards to pump up a few stick figures.

Personally what I'm looking for is a game where a player on average would have between four and five stick figures out at a time. That way it allows for variety.

I think this game is shaping up good. I want to thank everyone for their suggestions and help so far. This post has really helped me streamline my idea.

As always, feel free to continue with the ideas. Thanks in advance!

TrekNoid
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Need Help With Mechanics for a CCG Idea

Anrkist_Pengwin wrote:
The only downside I see to this is a player's deck may not have that many stick figures in it and instead rely on other cards to pump up a few stick figures.

Personally what I'm looking for is a game where a player on average would have between four and five stick figures out at a time. That way it allows for variety.

Make the figures easy to destroy, then... In Yugioh, the most powerful monster you can summon can be *easily* defeated by common cards... It requires you to have a *lot* of monsters...

Trek

Anrkist_Pengwin
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Need Help With Mechanics for a CCG Idea

The only other issue concerning combat then is how to actually resolve it. I like the idea of having a basic stick figure as a base for other doodles to be added on to it. I have to ways to go about combat on this:

1) Each card has a value associated with it. When in combat, as the stick figure takes damage, remove doodles from it.

For example, A stick figure has two cards on it with a total value of 4 (3+1). He takes 1 damage. The player could remove the doodle with a value of 1 to take the damage. When a stick figure total value equals zero, he's removed.

2) Back to one of my previous posts. Each card still has a value, but they are represented by placing cards face-down underneath the stick figure to represent its strength/health. As it takes damage, remove these cards from under it. When it has no more cards under it, it's removed.

As always, feel free to add ideas and/or suggestions. Thanks!

Hedge-o-Matic
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Need Help With Mechanics for a CCG Idea

I think you need to range further afield than your inspiration (Magic tG) is allowing. Your concept and theme is good, but you're continually returning to source material (Magic).

In your first post describing the theme, you said the players were artists vying for space on a finite dry-erase board. This already implies a resource: space. Cards should take up space from a shared pool.

Having taught a lot of group art projects, I'd recommend that player's not be merely drawing violent images which somehow "erase" other images. Once put into play, image componants are absorbed and shared by different artists. Taking control of other cards in play fits the non-violent feel of the game, as well as the shared-drawing-space theme.

I'd recommend a division like this: Lines and Shapes are very fast, and can be "reclaimed" into an artists hand by combining them together into an Image card, which takes the total space of it's components, plus a bit extra. Images, once finished should be much harder to absorb into larger images.

Improvements to images could be coloring (color schemes, styles, and so on), shading, stylistic embellishments (pointlism, impressionist, cubist, etc). These improvements increase the value of the image for victory conditions.

The game will thus start as a land-grab, as each artist plays a lot of shapes and lines of different sorts, which then get collected into images, with artists stealing each other's elements as they draw over each other's work. Finally, artists may forego adding new element card (and claiming extra space), in order to improve images they have in place already that aren't in much danger of absorbtion (by adding cool shading, etc). When the last bit of free area is claimed, the game ends, with art worth whatever it's worth in the state of completion it reached.

This would keep the game strongly in-theme, without the connotations of combat. It would very much feel like a creative competition, rather than a fight.

Anrkist_Pengwin
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Need Help With Mechanics for a CCG Idea

I really do like the idea of fighting over a shared space. I have been thinking about changing the win conditions and that seems like a really good idea to expand upon. Just how would a player determine he has won? By controlling a majority of the contested space or by some other means (you mention points).

Perhaps the doodles of a player have a value (call them Sketch points) associated with them. This value could be used in multiple ways (like in the Nightmare Before Christmas TCG with Scare Points). The Sketch Points could be the cost of the card and how much it adds to a section of the contested space. This value could then be used in determining who controls a section of space and also perhaps for determining who wins the game.

I do think your idea for non-violent competition is very intriguing. The only problem I have with it is it seems more suited for a non-collectible card game than a CCG. While I have no problems with regular card games, I enjoy the freedom and variety that comes from creating your own deck of cards. I also believe a CCG format fits this theme in that every person has their own style.

I would very much like to work on your concept by figuring out a way to make it work in a CCG format.

I also like the ideas involving using stick figures as a kind of "base" that other doodles can be added to. It really does convey the idea of a person just doodling on a piece of paper.

Hedge-o-Matic, is there perhaps a way to combine these concepts while maintaining the non-violence or perhaps adding a small amount of violent competition?

Once again, thanks for all the ideas!

copycat
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Need Help With Mechanics for a CCG Idea

Anrkist_Pengwin wrote:
The combat mechanic is a way for players to attack each others decks. It doesn't have to be bloody. That was just an idea I was tossing out there. I would love to have a nonviolent way for player's to interact with each others cards. I just can't figure out a meaningful way to do so.

All nonviolent CCG's I've ever played have turned out to be multiplayer solitaire with very limited player interaction (The Nightmare Before Christmas TCG for instance). What I am looking for is way for player's to compete against one another, whether it's combat or not. As long as their is interaction between the players, I'll be happy.

I would still very much like to to keep the current system for determining victory intact (reducing your opponent's deck to zero cards). As I see it, the player's (artists) are removing pages (cards) from their opponent's sketchbooks (deck). If an artist has nothing to sketch on, he can't use his space in StickLand and therefore must give it up.

Does anyone have any good ideas about this? I would very much appreciate your input. Thanks!

maybe the cards stacked under the doodles could each represent four BPs.
picture this:

a doodle has 8 BP (2 cards under it ) for every point of damage it takes, turn the doodle 1/4 turn clockwise. when it reaches it's original position, take one card from underneath it. when you can't take any more cards, discard the doodle.

pros:
it uses fewer cards

cons:
it almost forces the BPs to be a multiple of four (unless a card could start out partly turned).

Hedge-o-Matic
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Need Help With Mechanics for a CCG Idea

I would structure things something like this:

All cards have a Speed rating, and each player may play some number of speed each turn, such as 4. Each also has a Size rating, and the Sketch area (say 20, or maybe variable depending on the scale of game desired). All but the simplest cards also have a list of other cards that need to be in play in order to put the card into play as well. The required cards are then taken and the more advanced card placed on top of them. The image cards have a number of VP's they are worth at teh end of the game, and this base amount can be improved by placing Style cards with them.

Base cards are Lines or Shapes. Lines have three types: straight, curves, angles. Shapes have circles, polygons, and 3-d (cubes, cones, and such). Lines have a Speed of 1, Shapes have a speed of 1, except 3-d, which has a speed of 2. Lines take 1 space each, while shapes take 2 space each.

Image cards list their VP's, as well as the base cards needed to put them into play, as well as any other cards needed (such as erase or adjust cards). Image cards always have a speed cost of 3 or 4. Images may take a point or two of additional space as well.

Style cards can only be played onto images in play, and have a speed cost and VP bonus. Some style cards grant other bonuses other than VP awards. "Inking", for example, could make erasing the image or adjusting the shapes within take twice as many Erase or Adjust cards, but add nothing to the VP value.

In addition, there are two other types of cards: Erase and Adjust. Each takes 1 speed. These cards are sometimes needed to put certain image cards into play, but have basic abilities as well:

Erase cards can take other cards out of play, but image cards usually need more than one Erase card in order to be reduced to their componant images. It takes one Erase card per VP a card is worth in order to remove that card from play, so Lines and Shapes (worth 0 VP) can always be eliminated in this way if they aren't contained within an image. If they are, the image itself must be taken down by a lot of erasing in order to the base shapes that make it up. This can free shapes and lines to be claimed within opposing images.

Adjust cards allow a player to swap one shape card with another shape card, or one line card with a different line card. The replaced card must be in play. The replacing card must come from a player's hand. Adjust cards can affect base cards within images, and count as errors. Each error in an image reduced the VP's by 1.

Collectability is most evident in the wide range of new images and style cards.

Wow. Didn't mean to write an entire game in this post. But this may give you some ideas go work on; take what you like.

(Funny. As an illustrator, you'd think I'd have done an art-themed game before this.)

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