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Deriving Win Conditions from Mechanics

5 replies [Last post]
Joined: 12/12/2011

Hello All,

I've been wrestling with a few of my card game designs recently and the biggest issue I'm encountering is a lack of win condition ideas.

Any advice on taking game mechanics and using them to inspire win condition mechanics for the game?

Right now I'm focused on a 1v1 fighter card game where I'm trying to simulate two warriors battling it out, and I want to avoid simply using life points if able.

Any thoughts?

Dralius's picture
Joined: 07/26/2008
Hand size

I have a published game called Nitro Dice, although it’s really a race themed card game were you use the dice to represent your car. I wanted to tie the vehicles condition directly to game play so I simply made the vehicle condition = to the maximum speed and hand size. You start with your car having 9 pts, a hand of 9 cards and a maximum speed of 9 moves. If you take a point of damage your maximum speed and hand size go down by 1.

Likewise if you tie the condition of your warrior to the hand size they will become weak, have fewer cards to choose from, as they are wounded.

Grall Ritnos
Joined: 02/07/2011
Alternately, deck size

Alternately, depending on how your deck is set up, you could use deck size as a victory condition, with players losing cards as they take damage, being defeated when the deck runs out. Depending on the flavor you want to convey, you could either choose to let the attacker determine which cards are lost (thus, wounds make you weaker) or the player determine the cards lost (wounds make you angry, and thus stronger), or allow the loss to be random from the top of the deck. I like the idea of allowing the player to choose his own loses, since I resonate with the flavor and it provides a natural comeback mechanic, but each option would need to be play tested within your game. Good luck!

Joined: 12/12/2011
Thanks for the ideas so far

Thanks for the ideas so far gents.

I had thought of the deck size, and that may very well be the route I go, however I also like using that as an alternate win condition as many games do. I had the idea that when you ran out of cards in your deck, you chose a certain amount of those cards and they were removed from the game, then you reshuffled. Basically once your entire deck is removed from the game, you lose.

There was a dragonball Z card game that simulated fighting and your deck was your life total. Damage was random, cards being simply discarded from the top of your deck. It worked and there were some interesting interactions, such as some 'endurance' cards that if they were discarded from damage, they would 'soak' up more of the damage and reduce the amount you took.

Another pro is that it doesn't require any pen&paper and so it's one less thing players have to actively track.

@ Dralius- That is a cool way of measuring combat effectiveness. My only worry would be that whoever starts getting the advantage snowballs into even more advantage. If you start losing, drawing less cards means less ways of getting back in the game.

Joined: 01/17/2011
Interesting mechanic

I like the idea of the player choosing which cards to discard, because it is a natural catch-up (assuming that the deck starts with a mixture of weak and powerful cards, or where there are multi-card combos).

Say a typical deck had 3 different combos which require you to play a specific sequence of cards in the same turn. The chance of drawing any of these combos early in the game would be slim, but as you take damage (and "get angry") you could throw out all the cards from two of the combos leaving just one combo in your deck -- which significantly increases your chances of pulling it off.

It's like a reverse deck-building game.


Joined: 12/12/2011
The natural catch up is

The natural catch up is definitely one of the attractive features.

I just wonder if the game becomes too restricted by using the deck as a life source as it limits potential mechanics that could interact with the discard pile and makes it much harder to track your life total as you'd have to count your deck every time you wanted to know.

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