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Why are there deck restrictions?

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Snorka’s Board Games
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Most CCGs and similar games are centered around deck building. They appeal to the human use to create and have something to call your own. You can build an effective deck and say that is “your” deck. Most likely, nobody has created it before.

But most of these card games feature a counterintuitive system as well. Namely, deck restrictions. Often these come hidden in a mana system. Pokémon and Magic: the Gathering, as well as many others, include a system to power your cards with specific types of energy. These cards are different colors and types, but to what purpose? In games such as Netrunner, you can only have cards from one faction, or limited numbers of cards from other factions. But there seems no reason. These restrictions seem to hinder creative deck construction. Why do these games utilize deck restrictions?

TL;DR Why do CCGs have colored mana and faction-specific cards?

Jay103
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Snorka’s Board Games

Snorka’s Board Games wrote:

TL;DR Why do CCGs have colored mana and faction-specific cards?

Short answer: Because it adds a great deal of strategy both to deck-building and to playing.

Games without typed mana are much more straightforward. If you look at my blog, I'm finishing up a CCG-type game (not a deck-builder, but close), with no typed mana. Much simpler to play.

let-off studios
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Try It Out

If you have one of these games, you may want to have a go at tweaking the rules so there are fewer/no restrictions on deck building.

How does it work? How is the game experience altered with fewer restrictions? Is it just as satisfying? Is it more confusing? Is the game broken when you make these changes?

I suggest you fiddle round with the games and make your own observations.

Jay103
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A quick, vague example would

A quick, vague example would be that a card set has 10 really good cards in it. With no typing or restrictions, you pretty much have to put all 10 of those in your deck. It would be dumb not to, since those are the best cards, and your opponent almost certainly has them.

With five-typed mana, you can put in 2 of the 10, maybe 4.. You have to choose. So not everyone has the same deck.

questccg
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Boatload of Abilities to BOOST Mana (and colors)

Snorka’s Board Games wrote:
TL;DR Why do CCGs have colored mana and faction-specific cards?

I believe another reason NOT mentioned yet ... is... A "variety" of cards focuses on the mana cards. I'm not a Magic expert ... but I am a HUGE Fan of CCGs/TCGs and one type of card ability is "+X Mana"...

What I mean is that there are cards in your deck (also it's NOT Deck Building... Dominion, Star Realms, Eminent Domain et al. are Deck Builders, the correct term is Deck Construction ... offline effort to compose a deck) that allow such Mana Boosts and you can have a boatload of different combination of such cards.

Other examples (more broad) are "colorless" abilities (like "+X Any Mana"). Those are very useful abilities that cards in a Magic deck might want. What the rarity of these cards is, I'm not sure... But sounds like a better (or at least) stronger/influential card.

It's like those "+Y/+Y and Flying" ability cards. There are so many possible combinations... That many abilities focus on this variety.

questccg
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Also ...

I am working on a CCG ("Customizable" Card Game) and a TCG ("Trading" Card Game)... The CCG is more of a "LCG" sold in sets and the TCG is still in design.

But... I wanted to add that the TCG has "resource" cards too. But SOME of the cards (because instead of getting Mana-screwed, any card may be played face-down for "1 Income") can have bonus "Treasury" abilities which include bonus Income. So the general rule is 1 card in the Treasury, 1 card in the Active Quest (one-to-one matching).

This is a hybrid solution between Hearthstone (Hearth) and Magic: the Gathering (Magic). Hearth gives you one additional mana each turn and Magic requires Mana cards to be played into your tableau. So "1 Income" for any card played is a unique solution to avoid NOT having "resources" to play cards.

Again there are cards with Abilities that can be played into a player's Treasury which can give Bonus Income. Like: "+3 Income for any Fragments with a Power < 4". That's a RESTRICTION which means you can play an additional three cards provided that each one has a Power 1, 2 or 3.

Another way not to be "Mana-screwed" early on in the game too.

questccg
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Draft and Sealed formats are brain child of sales and marketing

Snorka’s Board Games wrote:
TL;DR Why do CCGs have ... faction-specific cards?

This again has to do with "variability" and "asymmetry". By having different TYPES of card results in "different" PLAY-STYLES. So this means that two (2) different players can take two different "strategies" when constructing their decks. It's meant as a way to "explore" the Factions and see how well a deck can perform against an opponent.

Without this "asymmetry", the game would be too similar and strategy with the Deck Construction will be very similar. Most Magic decks are Aggro decks anyhow with variations on the TYPE of cards. So that Faction-specific TYPE is what makes the game FEEL and PLAY differently.

Again the purpose of this is to (getting to the bottom of things) is not only because you want "variability" but also to BUY MORE cards as you experience the possibility of TRYING new Deck compositions. So this is also a way of spending MORE MONEY.

By moving this discussion into the MONEY realm... Another reason that Magic is so successful is the Sealed and Draft formats. Two (2) variants which just mean that players BUY booster to just play ONE (1) game. This is brilliant from a sales/marketing viewpoint.

Why? Because you spend $15 to buy three (3) booster and play a Draft with other players. You get 45 cards and the draft means that you get the option to choose card from the other players. Dropping $15 each week with like 50 players = $750... While SOME players may buy some cards for collecting... Draft is all about PLAYING ONE GAME. Really a marketing Brain Child. Not only does it get players to visit stores, it REQUIRES them to SPEND MONEY for cards they MAY already have. That's the deal with Draft... All player MUST BUY 3 boosters to play.

Jay103
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questccg wrote: But... I

questccg wrote:

But... I wanted to add that the TCG has "resource" cards too. But SOME of the cards (because instead of getting Mana-screwed, any card may be played face-down for "1 Income")

Ooh, I like that.

My solution (mostly) was one free resource card to start the game.

questccg
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Some additional "thoughts"

Here is a LINK to Magic's page about the Sealed format:

https://magic.wizards.com/en/game-info/gameplay/formats/sealed-deck

But the idea is that you BUY/OPEN 6 SEALED Boosters and you can add basic land cards to the mix of the cards you JUST obtained. You choose 40 cards and that is your deck for the game.

That's a RICH-MANS Draft... Even if the formats are different this format (Sealed) costs TWICE the price (because draft is 3 Boosters vs. sealed is 6).

Again Sales/Marketing Brain Child ... Getting players to SPEND more on cards they MAY already have. Just for a SINGLE GAME: $15 or $30 each time. And PER PLAYER.

questccg
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Another important point...

Snorka’s Board Games wrote:
TL;DR Why do CCGs have colored mana and faction-specific cards?

Also not mentioned is the fact that MOST games require a way to "control the flow" of the game. So for example in Hearthstone (Hearth), this is done by getting an additional mana point per turn (1, 2, 3, 4, ... 10).

Why? Because it controls what cards can be played on a turn, ensuring that stronger cards need to wait until FURTHER into the game. While you might draw that 5 Mana card, you'll have to wait until turn #5 before you can even think about playing it.

Magic is similar in that as you progress, so should your Mana Pool. But it relies on Land Cards (instead of a turn per Mana like Hearth).

ElKobold
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Restrictions are good for

Restrictions are good for you.
In practice, they actually increase variety, not decrease it.

I strongly suggest listening to Mark Rosewater's podcasts on color pie:

https://podbay.fm/podcast/580709168/e/1362164400
https://podbay.fm/podcast/580709168/e/1570802400

Snorka’s Board Games
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These are some really helpful

These are some really helpful insights. Thanks!

Jay103
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Snorka’s Board Games wrote:In

Snorka’s Board Games wrote:
In games such as Netrunner, you can only have cards from one faction, or limited numbers of cards from other factions.

Does Netrunner still exist? I played that at least 20 years ago.. probably still have cards in my basement.

questccg
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Found another nugget of wisdom

ElKobold wrote:
...I strongly suggest listening to Mark Rosewater's podcasts on color pie:

https://podbay.fm/podcast/580709168/e/1362164400
https://podbay.fm/podcast/580709168/e/1570802400

You may also want to listen to Mark's podcast on the "Mana System" too:

https://podbay.fm/podcast/580709168/e/1362773700

That's also very informational and got to do with WHY(?) does magic use Mana...

Snorka’s Board Games
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Android: Netrunner

Jay103 wrote:
Snorka’s Board Games wrote:
In games such as Netrunner, you can only have cards from one faction, or limited numbers of cards from other factions.

Does Netrunner still exist? I played that at least 20 years ago.. probably still have cards in my basement.

FFG stopped printing Android: Netrunner a couple years ago, but the community is making PNP expansions.
http://nisei.net/about/nisei

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