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20 card player deck - how many unique cards?

6 replies [Last post]
bbblackwell's picture
Joined: 10/23/2013

Hello! As I try to reduce the number of unique cards in my Fantasy Adventure Card Game (to give potential publishers a reduced art cost), I'm wondering how many of each individual card to include.

I noticed that Sentinels of the Multiverse had about 40% of the player deck made up of unique cards, the rest is filled in with duplicates of those cards. That game has a player deck larger than mine, but for my 20 card deck this would equate to 8 unique cards. Also, players can purchase upgrade cards in between missions to improve their deck.

I want to keep the deck interesting, but keep art costs low, so do you think 8 cards is too much, too little, or just right?

Thanks for the input!

questccg's picture
Joined: 04/16/2011
I think it is another matter...

The thing is even IF it's a 40% ratio in another game - that may not work for YOUR game. Think about Magic for just one second: you can have MULTIPLEs of the SAME card.

So instead of just thinking 40% is unique, you also need to foresee how many duplicates in the remaining 60%.

Best thing I think is to BUILD a deck (with singles, double, triples, etc.) and see what works and what doesn't.

8 unique cards + duplicates (could be triples too):

1. 2 x 3x = 6 cards = 2 art
2. 3 x 2x = 6 cards = 3 art
3. +8 art = 13 unique pieces of artwork.

And therefore it's not 8 unique pieces of artwork - but 13... See what I mean???

bbblackwell's picture
Joined: 10/23/2013
Lemme see...

Hey Quest! I'm not sure I understand. Beginning with a 40% guideline (I'll certainly playtest to adjust as necessary), I've got 8 unique cards, meaning 8 cards that require new artwork.

The following is the number of copies of each card:

1. 3 copies
2. 3
3. 3
4. 3
5. 3
6. 2
7. 2
8. 1

8 pieces of art, representing 8 different cards in the deck of 20 cards.

I've also realized I can add more variety by adding the same cards to multiple player decks, so that a deck may have 12 different cards, but some of those cards would appear in multiple decks while each only contributes its "new artwork" status once. If you take my meaning...

X3M's picture
Joined: 10/28/2013
I think that the 40% is some

I think that the 40% is some sort of minimum. I have tried to see if you could do with only 7 art. The most even out still can have 3 copies as maximum. Then all the 4 as maximum are displayed with 2 as a minimum.

1: 3: 4: 4: 4
2: 3: 3: 4: 4
3: 3: 3: 3: 4
4: 3: 3: 3: 2
5: 3: 3: 2: 2
6: 3: 2: 2: 2
7: 2: 2: 2: 2

I didn't do with a minimum of 1, but you might want to have a "rare" card in there. I suggest finding the remaining combinations for those if you need it.

But you might want to consider having more then 8 if the game doesn't work well with just 8.
This might sound strange, but with only 20 cards. I suggest that you have 10 art, not 8. This because 40% is a bit to low for such a small deck. But I don't know your game and how fast you go through your cards.
If you use your cards at a very slow pace, then 40% will do. But if it is the pace of for example MtG, then 50% the least.

I say, go with 10 as average for 1 deck.

questccg's picture
Joined: 04/16/2011

My bad - I had not calculated: 40% of 20 = 8 cards.

For some reason I thought you were only doing doubles. I see you need triples also to make this possible. Is that "good" for your game? A lot of triples might make the deck a little "thin"?!

I think the "add to another deck" is a GREAT way to lower the art content...

BUT this "set-up" seems to have a lot of duplicates.

bbblackwell's picture
Joined: 10/23/2013

As X3M noted, the 40% seems to be a minimum; I've always found Sentinels to be keeping its head just above water in terms of card variety. The "add to another deck" approach seems to be working out well as I design the decks. I've managed to get the deck to 13 different cards (so 13 art), with only 7 cards depicting artwork wholly unique to that player deck, in the following format:

[Card/# of copies]
1. 2
2. 2
3. 2
4. 2
5. 2
6. 2
7. 2
8. 1
9. 1

I haven't played it this way yet, but I have played my original prototype (which had almost wholly unique decks) so I have some small sense of how this may play out.

I love making cards that reflect the theme of the game and the character classes, so it's been hard to trim it down so much. It feels like going to the barber for a haircut and coming out a bare-boned skeleton. hahahaha

I still have no idea what an acceptable TOTAL number of card art is acceptable to a publisher. I've emailed a few publishers who make this kind of game and only one responded. He said something like 50 pieces, but he's from a smaller company and I tossed this notion because it's absolutely impossible for the kind of game I'm making.

I'm having trouble finding comparable games because something like Pathfinder ACG, and Shadowrun Crossfire use some existing art from their RP games, Legendary Marvel no doubt pulls from stuff they have on file, so with this being a new world requiring all new art, I'm not sure how many total pieces I should be shooting for.

bbblackwell's picture
Joined: 10/23/2013
Very good...

Thanks X3M! The decks have a 3 copy max of any one card, and I prefer to keep it to 2 if I can because some of these cards may be purchased as upgrades between missions, so I'd like for players to have some room to add copies to focus their deck. Also, 3 copies in a 20 card deck could get repetitive quickly, especially considering that players may go through their deck twice in a play session).

The "rare" card idea seems fitting as well, since cards obviously have some variety in terms of how powerful they can be, and drawing that much-needed tide-changer can be quite exciting!

Please see my response to Quest, as it applies to your reply as well.

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