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Bluffing mechanics in a fighting LCG

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Joined: 07/28/2011

I am trying to create a 2 player fighting LCG (something like street fighter or tekken where 2 foghters meet up and duel) where players are allowed to customise what moves do their fighter has via deck building. There will only be moves cards and NO characters cards as your avatar. Each player will have a starting HP of 50 and must lower your opponent's HP to zero.

I want this game to focus on bluffing but I am having some confusion about how to implement it. I am actually inspired by the card game Yomi. I wanted my game to be something like that. However, Yomi does not have any resource mechanic. This will make it difficult for me to create new cards and balance them.

Another problem is about the bluffing mechanics itself. Does ALL games with imperfect information like cards in hand contains bluffing? In my experiance, it seems that it isn't that way. I do not have a lot of experiance with MTG, but based on previous threads in this forum and a bit of my experiance, in most cases, it is quite rare for bluffing to occur in MTG. When I play MTG, I am more concern about what cards I have in my hand and what I can do with it, instead of trying to guess what my opponent is holding. Some may argue that there can be lots of bluffing when you are using or play against certain decks. That is not what I want in my game. I want my game to be focussed on bluffing and this means that, no matter what deck you want to play, you will experiance bluffs. Even if certain decks can lower the amount of bluffing in the game, bluffing should still be a key factor to the game. Another thing to note is that, bluffing elements should appear even at the lower or at least intermediate level of play and not just on high level play, because this will allow more players to feel the key features of the game.

I am also interested in the concept of "yomi". This is the term where game designer David Sirlin use when he refers to mechanics that allow players to read the opponent and try to counter his strategy. A game with yomi thus means that the game has lots of mind games going on, just like the card game Yomi where rock-paper-scissors mechanic are used to make players try to guess what the opponent is trying to do and counter it. I would like my LCG to have this kind of aspect too.

So far, I have not come across a CCG in the market that focusses on bluffing as its main mechanic. So, I am having a lot of trouble with my project since there is no samples to look at. Is rock-paper-scissors the only way to simulate a fighting game while focussing on bluffing and "yomi" , or is there other mechanics that can work just as well?

Please give advice and opinions. Thanks.

Joined: 10/13/2011
Bluffing Mechanic?

Hi CCGer,

I am not aware of any bluffing "mechanics" in games as bluffing is an intangible thing. But I thought about your question last night and came up with something that might work. In order to bluff, your opponent must believe that you can or cannot do something. Howerver, in a game that features customized decks, this can only be known in very general terms.

My solution would be to create a play style or mechanic that broadcasts what is about to happen so that your opponent is forced to decide which card you are likely to play.

To use your example of a fighting game, imagine that the attacker plays a card that indicates they will probably kick their opponent. The attacker could then follow through with the kick for greater damage or could choose to throw a punch that would probably hit, but won't do as much damage. The defending player chooses their block based on the attacker's first card.

Alternatively, the defender could also have a multiple card defense that works similar to the attack. For example, the attacker plays a card indicating a high attack. The defender plays a card indicating they will duck. The attacker plays a second card that indicates a high attack or a punch and the defender responds with a duck or leg sweep counterattack. Finally, the attacker settles on a punch for medium damage and the blocker chooses to duck since they don't have a leg sweep card to play.

I'm not sure this is the best example, but hopefully it illustrates the build-up of the attack and the idea that if you continuously play cards indicating a specific attack and then follow through with it, then you will hit your opponent hard whereas changing to a different attack at the last minute will work, but won't hurt much.

I think this type of game might require some deck building limits and a lot of experimentation with the number of cards to play before the final strike and how many options you have from which to choose on the final strike.

Best of luck with your design!

Joined: 09/27/2011
Adding to Orangebeard

I first have to say that years ago I "invented" a card game played with standard cards which I called Kung-Fu. It was basically the child's version of what you're putting together here. In that game you played cards simultaneously, like in War, but with suit-based trumps and some combo mechanics. I too was looking for bluffing and mind-games to feature prominently in the game. What I ended up doing was having the game consists of multiple distinct "charges." At the beginning of each charge, you would play a "stance," also done simultaneously with your opponent. Then three attacks were played one at a time, and the results were computed. This is where it gets close to Orangebeard's idea. The stance raised the power of any attack with the same suit. If you played a 6 of hearts for your stance, the 4 of hearts was suddenly worth an attack of 10. This way, you could infer what suit of attack your opponent was likely to play, and you could play the suit that trumped it to counter. This led immediately to some players taking an attitude of almost always lying with their stance. The best players mixed it up so that it was impossible to know what was going to happen. Anyway, though I hate to just give away what I felt was one of my better ideas, but it just seems like exactly what you are looking for.

Joined: 02/11/2012
Look up Waving Hands


Your idea made me think of a old game by Richard Bartle called Waving Hands. It is about two wizards dueling, each casting spells by drawing specific gestures with their hands.

The mechanics involved a lot of second guessing about which spell the other player was going for as each spell required a specific sequence of gestures and several spells had partly overlapping sequences. This combined with using both hands weaving spells gave lots of room for tactics and surprices while still giving the other player good info on the possible outcomes.

Anyway, you can find the rules/design for inspiration at:

I think it's a reprint of the original magazine article. Hope this gives you some ideas, as I'm sure it could be worked into a nice card game format.


ps. First BGDF post! YAY!

Joined: 12/12/2011
That waving hands concept is

That waving hands concept is brilliant! I think it could be made a little bit more elegant, but the concept is superb.

I'd also suggest you take a look at Blue Moon and how it makes use of bluffing.
It's ultimately a bidding game, but there's a strong element of bluffing in trying to make your opponent think you can sustain a fight when you're running low on necessary cards, or trying to make your opponent retreat from a current fight by making them think you have more in your arsenal than you actually do.

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