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Resource Cards - Mana Generation - HELP?

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

In my CCG I currently have a mana generation system that is hidden from your opponent. Obviusley this makes it possible for a player to cheat.

Whilst I realise it is possible for people to cheat in most games I'd like to remove this element of it from my game.

I've come up with many different systems but they all seem to be some what lacking.

Any one have any ideas that could kick start me in a new direction?

nomadsgames's picture
Joined: 07/27/2008
Resource Cards - Mana Generation - HELP?

If you can't beat'em, Make it part of your game.

Maybe a Mana Challenge (A player's checks and balances)

Players must account for their Mana Generation or be penilized for cheating if they are caught. The penality for cheating must be severe
so as to be a deterrent.

Perhaps something along those lines (maybe a little too abstract)


Joined: 12/31/1969
Resource Cards - Mana Generation - HELP?

I don't know if you want it to be secret the whole game, but what if you did this:

Your mana sources are secret, but as you use mana, you must reveal where it came from after the fact.

Obviously if you discard a mana source after you use it, this isn't an issue. For example, the card comes into play face down (I presume), and after you use it for mana, you flip it over (revealing how much it generates), and then discard it.

However, if you have persistent sources of mana (those that aren't discarded after use), this won't work (because the opponent can remember what cards you have, whether they are face down or not). You could get around this fact by using a replace mechanic: After you use a persistent source, you show how much it generated. Then, you put it back in your hand and replace it with a different mana card face down. Obviously you'd need some sort of check that prevents mana from being used the round it is played (otherwise everybody would have infinite mana loops), but it might be workable.

Finally, you can always market collectible baseball bats for punishing mana cheaters.

Jebbou's picture
Joined: 07/29/2008
Resource Cards - Mana Generation - HELP?

An idea:

Keep mana generation public, but create a system that would allow a player to swap a mana card from his hand with face down mana card. Many face down cards could be available, and it could be integrated with the theme and other mechanics. For example, a "6th sense" ability card could allow a player to see a few face down cards. The "Etheral wind card" could allow a player to draw new face down cards to replace those in play. The "Sudden Explosion" could reveal a number cards, and for each "Fire" card revealed, it damages the enemy.

Another idea:

First, setup a number decks of "Mana" cards, each deck containing three types of mana. For example, one deck could be called "Phoenix" and contain Holy, Fire and Wind mana cards.

Next, there would be mana generators that, when activated, let you draw a number of "mana" cards (lets say 5), and you then are allowed to keep some of them. On the generator, the draw / keep ratio would be written.

Thus, when activating the card "Sunrise (Phoenix 4/2)", the player would be allowed to draw 4 cards from the Phoenix deck, keeping 2. That way, other players would not really know what the active player just drew or what he kept.

Other ideas:

- You could play with tokens (face down?) that, depending on their location (card), provide different mana.

- You could play with square tokens that, depending on their facing, provide different mana. For example, a square could have two "Evil" sides, one "Fire" side, and an "Earth" side. A player would have a number of square in front of him, and he would spend mana tokens to rotate the squares, or draw mana from a sequence of specifically oriented squares.

Although all these two ideas do not provide a way of acutally "hide" your mana, it can give an opportunity to the player of hidding his short term goals, and can enable bluffing and guessing.

Joined: 12/31/1969
Resource Cards - Mana Generation - HELP?

it's always tough to do verifiable hidden systems...

What is the nature of the mana generation system you've got going as it is? Perhaps some details on the existing structure would help people come up with some appropriate solutions for you


Joined: 12/31/1969
Resource Cards - Mana Generation - HELP?

If mana generation was static for all players. you could have 5 tokens that are numbered 1,2,3,4 and 5. With these 5 tokens they would be placed them into play face down in 3 different sections. the different sections could be attack, defence, and draw cards.

Each defense or attack card cost to play them. if you have 2 attack cards that total 6 points to play both of them, you must place a total of 6 point into attacking. you dont have to use all the points you place in a sections.

An Example.
1) place the #2 token in the draw card section. This will let me draw 2 cards.
2) place the #3 and #4 in the defense section. this lets me play defensive cards.
3) place the #1 and #5 in the attack section. This will let me play attacking cards(or creatures)

The only way to draw cards would be to place tokens in the draw section, but doing this could make you have a weak defense or weak Attacks.

I don't know if this will work but it might help you go in another direction.


Joined: 12/31/1969
Resource Cards - Mana Generation - HELP?

Hi all,

Thanks for the ideas. Some I've already come up with and discarded, others are new and interesting.

I think I'm going to go for simplicity and forget about cards altogther. What do you think of using a dice to record how much 'mana' you have. I.e. you gain 3 mana each turn to spend and if you don't use it that turn you carry it across into your next turn.

What do you think? Too simple?

Cheers all. And a Merry Christmas to you.

Joined: 12/31/1969
Resource Cards - Mana Generation - HELP?

Why would you consider getting rid of cards to make it simple? Isn't this a CCG? I don't play CCG's, but it seems like the simple thing would include cards.

I think it is more difficult to cheat if you have something physical like a card or a token. You need to collect them and spend them. You can collect them in plain sight, and require other players to mentally keep track of your current status. In a complex game, that is not very easy.

I immediately thought of Aquire, and it's stock purchasing. Each player can purchase up to 3 stock per turn, and must disclose one of each company that they own, but keep secret their totals. It is arguably one of the best parts of the game, trying to track each player's current ownership status.

Joined: 12/31/1969
Resource Cards - Mana Generation - HELP?

Have a hidden store of manna cards. These could be labeled with various manna amounts (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, etc). and have various types (Fire, Water, Holy, etc). These manna cards are either in their own deck, or mixed into the main deck.

A player can place a manna card into their manna store as a face down card.

When a player uses manna they must select the cards from their manna store and play them face up. The total of the manna played (and the type) determins the manna used.

This allows the manna aquisition to be hidden, but the use of manna is public and acountable.

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