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Conservation of Space

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Tbone's picture
Joined: 02/18/2013

Everyone knows space can be a big factor when creating games. To be more specific, the limitations it brings to the development phase when all of your ideas are coming together and you get excited and you end up not having enough space on the traditional card dimensions to fit all of your cool ideas or find that your "simplistic" war game takes up four tables. It can be a tiring process to dumb a game down to where players are not fiddling around with the design.

In my long journey through my trading card game i've found that one big problem is the space on the table. To give you some insight the game allows you to move cards in a grid like fashion to find the best position to attack enemy units.

First off I love and hate the grid like "interface" we'll call it. Very clunky and moving cards around from space to space is just annoying!

Second, positioning for the most part is limited. Since there isn't a lot of space (5 space by 6 space grid) you can see how unsatisfactory it can be when moving your units and either feeling trapped or uninterested.

Here's my question...

Is there a way to incorporate movement/speed/grid-like procedures without a grid? Enough where players can use different "positions" to signify their movement on the battle field.

Let me know your thoughts and Ideas

Joined: 11/29/2009
Check out this
The Professor
The Professor's picture
Joined: 10/25/2014
Another game

Along with the offering by phonyamerican, Wiz Kids had an assemble-yourself Pirates game a few years back in which you used the card itself for movement either on the short side (white) or long side (red). You could set-up the game anywhere, from the floor, dining room table, etc.


Joined: 02/11/2015
Pivot around points on the card

What if you had points that were a distance from the center toward the corners which you could pin down with a finger and pivot. When a card overlaps another (by any amount), they engage one another.

See if I can illustrate my idea here:

Alt text

Essentially put a finger on the "0" and spin the card about that point till you have it angled how you want it, then next time the card can move, you may pick a different pivot point to spin around. If you want them to move more than a card length per turn, you can incorporate a move number to indicate the max number of pivots in a turn.

This would allow you an array of movement options and tactics (such as flanking) without being confined to the grid.

Was this something you had in mind?

jasongreeno's picture
Joined: 07/31/2008
Pocket Kung Fu and Pivoting

That's something I worked with in my game Pocket Kung Fu. The Fighters move around the table without a grid by turning on "Pivot Points". The cards can also "Somersault" or make a straight "Leap".

See my youtube tutorials for a visual of how that works:

As you can see, it's not a super accurate system, but with the right game system, it is all you need.

If you are interested here is my store page for each set:

Joined: 03/02/2014
I'm not sure I have a good

I'm not sure I have a good enough picture of your mechanic to offer any useful advice, but here goes:

1. Is the problem that you're moving more than one card at a time? In that case, is it possible to make the cards into stacks, where the top card is the significant one for the attack, and the ones with it are modifiers which you mostly remember while they're being used but you also can pick up the stack and fan it to quickly see the modifiers.

2. Would it be possible to make the pieces that you move are tokens rather than cards? So, when you put a card into play you just set it in front of you and choose a token to set on it. Then you find the identical token (they are in pairs) to put on to the grid. This would let you make a significantly bigger grid -- I couldn't tell from your note if that's what you were hoping for.

Tbone's picture
Joined: 02/18/2013
Thank You All For The Feedback


I viewed the game and it has some interesting move mechanics although this style of trading card game would be hard to implement such a system. But your suggestion still has me thinking.

The Professor:

I actually do have a Airship pirate game on the back burner that needs tending to. These ideas might help me there.


Though the idea itself sounds so fun and limitless, unfortunately I have tried and tried to incorporate this type of movement into a card game and the human error aspect of it typically turns me off... Especially in conflict scenarios where precision and accuracy of positions is CRUCIAL. Though, the pivot points intrigue me.


The game looks legit enough! a lot more structured than some of the things I have messed around with. I want to incorporate something like this but it seems awkward for my theme (Universe battles) I need to look into this more to see if it can work.


Believe it or not this almost completely resembles my current model. The tokens I have thought about a lot actually. My thing is though I want this game to be pretty portable. Preferably cards only!! I know, I little too picky I suppose. The thing with this though, with more complex conflicts I feel the confusion would turn people off.

Further Thoughts:

After review of your suggestions I came up with a hybrid model. One that doesn't constrain the players to a stagnant grid but rather a more fluid one.

When players initiate a battle they will either pick a singular unit/card to attack or the player themselves. Only then the players place units across from each other (with defender advantage they will choose where their units line up with the attacking units). Cards can then move according to the other cards' positions. The idea is definitely not polished yet. What do you think?

Joined: 03/02/2014
Re Further Thoughts: I think

Re Further Thoughts:

I think we need more detail to understand if this works in your case, but I don't think that there's anything wrong with this mechanic. If one thing basically gets locked down, then having other things move around it does not necessarily overcomplicate, and might make perfect sense.

Tbone's picture
Joined: 02/18/2013
Further Explanation

What I've come up with so far is a "Position" mechanic that basically describes its distance from the enemy without actually showing it.

There will be six positions for each player, the first position being closest to their deck. Here's a sketch and explanation... /a>

Here is a complete battle decision structure for the conflict...

Attack: can initiate a conflict

  • Step 1: Choose a position to attack
  • Step 2: Defender can choose between…
    • Retreat: Units move back a position
    • Defend: Units on the position are put on the board in any arrangement
  • Step 3: Attacker starts with the attacking Initiative and can choose any and in any order or amount…
    • Attack: spend Resources equal to the enemy’s defense; gives defending initiative to Defender
    • Abilities: use any abilities that can be used during your attacking initiative
    • Move: spend Mentum equal to the speed of the Unit within the conflict.
    • Reposition: move Units to different Positions using Resources according to their speed.
    • Reinforce: bring one or more Units from current position (because of Repositioning) into the conflict.
    • Charge Up: restore used Resources equal to number of friendly Units (Morale); gives attacking Initiative to defender
    • Retreat: all attacking Units are “Hit” and brought back one position; Hit units cannot participate in Defending.
  • Step 4: Defender with defending initiative can choose between…
    • Defend: spend Mentum equal to enemy’s attack; Mentumorph does not die
    • Retaliate: spend Resources equal to the enemy’s attack and defense; Units defends attack and issues an attack to the attacker
    • Dodge: spend Resources equal to the enemy’s attack, defense, and speed; Attacking Unit attack misses
    • Abilities: use any abilities that can be used during your defending initiative
    • Die and Charge Up: restore used Resources equal to number of enemy Units but the Mentumorph dies
    • Retreat: All defending units are brought back one position
  • Step 5: Attacking Initiative responds…
    • If Defend: return to step 3; defender may Move and/or Reinforce
    • If Dodge: return to step 3; defender may Move, Reinforce, and/or Charge Up
    • If Retaliate: defender gains attacking Initiative
    • If Dies and/or Charge Up: return to step 3
  • Step 6: Conflict ends if…
    • Scenario 1: When all attackers or defenders have been removed/Disengaged
    • Scenario 2: If defender or attacker retreats
    • Scenario 3: All resources are spent; all cards return to Casting Zone
    • Scenario 4: Any “End Conflict” abilities

Once the battle is resolved the player who has the turn priority may give the priority to the next player or continue in his/her action phase until done.

This has already proven to be very effective because it describes distance pretty well while still conserving the overall feel of the game.

What do you think?...

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