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Card-buying requirement mechanics

9 replies [Last post]
Joined: 12/02/2014

Hi there everyone.
I'm designing a board game that involves, between several things, also making evolve creatures by buying upgrades from a large face-up pool of cards; these cards can change body parts or give abilities.
Here's the thing: I would like to insert a simple mechanic through which I could restrict the choice of buyable cards for each player.
Each player starts with a creature composed by 3 random "body" cards. Cards have combat-like stats, a cost and, sometimes, terrain affinities. The main practical goal of the game is to upgrade these "body" cards and buying ability cards from the big ever-changing pool, choosing the right path to pursue personal strategies.
But I would like to restrict players' buyable cards on the base of what they already have; possibly, without over-complicating the cards with more stats or symbols. In this way, I would create a sort of semi-coherent evolution for random base creatures.
What games are there with something like that?
It's something that easy, but really nothing comes to my mind.
I need basically to create a system of requirements to buy cards. But nothing complicated.
I would base it on terrain affinity, but not all cards affect these affinities (so, just some of the cards have terrain symbols on them. I can't put it like "you need to have 4 ice symbols on the cards of your creature to buy this upgrade card with 4 ice symbols".)
I guess I'd need to add more symbols... :/ But I'd prefer not to.
Any idea?
Any similar existing mechanism?
Any similar game?
Was my explanation comprehensible? :D
Thanks a lot!
- Ste

Joined: 04/30/2013
if you don't need the old

if you don't need the old cards to return to the main pile of cards, one way i can think of is the body part has a "retained stats" section at the very bottom.

when you buy a new body part of the same type, you place it over the existing body part. the total stats of that body part becomes the sum of the currently applied body part, and the "retained stats" from the previous body part.

for the sake of space and balance, the retained stats would probably be quite little, like maybe only a few points from a specific stat, like "2 agility" for example

thematically it fits in with evolution as well, keeping a previous trait from ancestry

Joined: 12/02/2014
Thank you for the reply. I

Thank you for the reply.
I thought something like that, but we have decided to discard the old body cards.
For the moment I'm looking for something different, but I think that, as it is, it's quite helpless.
I fear I would need to make major changes to the game.
But, still, there's a chance that there's a simple solution somewhere.
Anyway, thanks.

Joined: 04/30/2013
You will have to define what

You will have to define what you mean by simple

There is a difference between simple to design, and simple to execute

Joined: 07/28/2008
Thinking about Dominoes, how

Thinking about Dominoes, how about 6 marks on one edge of the card, of which 3 are active. You can only use a new card if 2 of the marks match.

Joined: 12/02/2014
I mean "simple" from the

I mean "simple" from the point of view of the player.
I fear that it would be overwhelming to add some marks on the cards in addiction to stats and terrain symbols, considering that the game should be medium-weight.
Anyway, the matching marks, as described by MPT, is more or less the idea that I had in mind.
But first I would like to try similar mechanics in published games, and that was the main purpose of this post.
Do you have something in mind?
Which ones you suggest me to look at?

DifferentName's picture
Joined: 09/08/2013

I have a similar thing in an unfinished game, buying new parts for robots. Each card had a cost, and cards were separated into 3 decks. So the early game you would have mostly basic cards and a few intermediate cards to choose from. Each round of buying you would get fewer basic cards, and more intermediate and advanced cards.

I think it mostly achieved the goal of making cheap parts available when you wanted cheap parts, and expensive parts when you want expensive parts, but overall the buying part of that game felt kind of clunky. If I take that game off the shelf, I think I would work on simplifying the economic part of the game.

The idea of Domino pieces and Evolution sounds interesting. Instead of matching dots exactly, maybe you could upgrade cards by 1 or a few dots at a time. Like, if you had a couple evolution points, you could upgrade two things by 1 dot each, or one thing by 2 dots.

Maybe there could even be different symbols of dots, like for different elements. So if you start out with two water symbols on that body part, you can get the water-water-air body part, but not the fire-earth part, because the elements don't match what you already had. Maybe this is too complicated for a board game and would need to be simplified?

Joined: 12/02/2014
Yes, something like

Yes, something like that.
Anyway I already have terrain symbols on some cards, and I could integrate those in such a system, without adding more marks. But it means that I'd have to add terrain symbols on most cards even if they have no connection with the terrains. But it could work anyway and I could find a thematic connection.
But I would also like to observe a similar mechanism in a game in which it works properly. I fear that in my game it would work really clunky.

Shpee's picture
Joined: 09/18/2012
Late reply, but I've been

Late reply, but I've been thinking about card buying/upgrading mechanics lately and it sounded like you were looking to analyze some published games with a mechanic similar to what you're going for. I had a few games come to mind reading this thread:

7 Wonders: gain cards be meeting the prerequisite of having resources OR already having a particular card.

Agricola: More advanced cards have prerequisites on top of their cost.

Splendor: Gained cards make certain cards easier to gain.

Thunderstone: Specifically the hero cards. Discard a hero and a few resources to automatically receive the next level of that hero.

I obviously don't know your game, but as far as the mechanic goes, I think it'd be nice to have the monster parts that thematically lead into each other serve as a discount for the next best card, rather than a prerequisite. So as a player, I'm rewarded for crafting a monster that makes sense thematically, but if i see a card that will greatly benefit my opponent, it'd be nice to have the option to grab that card away from them, even if it costs me more resources. So you're rewarded for sticking with the theme of the game, rather than forced to. And you get a bit more player interaction, and your players get a few more viable options on there turn to choose from. Plus, a big reason why I think your concept seems fun is the prospect of ridiculous monsters caused by absurd combinations of parts and upgrades, so I'd want opportunities built into the game where those crazy combination can happen without costing you the game.

That's already way more then I was planning on typing. Good luck with the game!

questccg's picture
Joined: 04/16/2011
Something to think about...

I remember seen a *neat* idea, I think the game was called "Monster Mash", on this website a couple years ago. The Designer had four (4) cards he would use to *design* (for lack of a better term) your own Monster. What each player would do, is rotate cards to choose various abilities (Such as Strength, Luck, etc.) and you could customize your Monster in that way...

Anyhow I checked to see if I could find that thread - no luck. But anyways it was an interesting concept - that may or may not apply to your game.

Mechanically it seem pretty interesting:

  1. Each card would have four (4) stats on top/bottom/left/right.
  2. You can rotate a card to have a different stat.
  3. The fourth stat could have a special ability.

Something like that. I just remember thinking the rotating stat concept to be really *interesting*!

Also if you had more that three (3) stats, each Monster could have an abilities and some form of weakness because you can only have four (4) stats - and maybe one special ability.

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