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To convert or not to convert resources?

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jonathanflike
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That's the question. So I'm chugging away at my fantasy strategy card game, and I've run into another hiccup in the resource system. The way it plays currently is you play a resource card every turn up to 6, and that resource card can produce various resources depending on the orientation, with each orientation having a cool down before that resource can be generated again. The problem is it feels like the casting cost of cards and the card mechanics that require resources are competing for the player's attention mainly spells and creatures. I had a big problem with this with the building cards in the game.

Building cards are in a separate pile outside of the deck, and can be played as though the cards were in the player's hand. The problem with this was the creatures in a player's hand were more useful immediately than the long-term play advantages of the buildings, therefore, players would play from their hands always when given the option because resources were too scare to use them on buildings. I "fixed" this by removing the casting cost of the buildings entirely and putting them on a threshold mechanic. They can be played once you reach resource thresholds. That works and now players use the buildings as intended.

Now I am thinking of putting the spell cards on a similar system (no casting cost, but you need to unlock spell ranks), but I'm wondering if I should just make the resource cards make more resources, reduce the casting cost of all the cards (tweaking the power curve), or I was also toying with this idea to convert resources to the desired resource with gold.

There are currently three resources in the game: Tribute(creature cost), Gemstones(building upgrade cost), and Magic (spell upgrade cost). If I were to add gold (a fourth resource), it would be generated passively each turn by your building cards. This gold can then be converted into 1 of the 3 current resources in the game. This might reinforce the importance of playing buildings and not just creatures and spells from your hand, but it may also add another thing to keep track of. I looked up some other resource conversion games, and there is nothing crazy about the idea, my only concern is that it might be too much to play an empire-building game and manage a complicated economy.

So I'm curious what people's thoughts are on this. I didn't want to add more things in the game, but maybe this addition would allow players to generate the resources they want to build their kingdom the way they want to, or I should be providing the player enough of these resources in general to build what the player wants. I don;t know, people like converting resources don't they?

Fri
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If gold is added is fun > complexity

Since I don't know a lot the details of your game it is a little difficult for me meaningful opinion. However, it seems that adding gold as a wildcard resource is a good idea because it will create interesting choices for the players, both in terms of what to cast in the short term and what strategy to focus on in the long term. Interesting choices to me are an essential part of a enjoyable game. I think that you can determine whether to add gold or not by answering the following question: Does the addition of gold increase the enjoyment in your game enough to warrant the complexity of it's inclusion? Of course determining that answer may be very difficult.

jonathanflike
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Thanks for the feedback

Thanks for the insight Fri. Yeah I think this is something I just need to play test. I'm going to take another look at this. Thanks again.

let-off studios
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Flexibility

I think that adding a "wild" resource adds both convenience and ease to a player's turn. Instead of wondering which track they'll need to pursue after collecting/arranging resources, they'll likely already have something in mind that they hope to pick up, and then maybe have a "plan B" in mind if their resources don't shake out the way they need them to.

If you have a steady pool of resources in your game, then it's likely it will become easier for players to do what it is they want to do, since Wild resources will be depended upon in their planning. I think of Splendor and where the player manages the snapping-up of different cards by their opponents by reserving cards first, which allows them to grab the gold Wild resources at the outset.

EDIT: also, Catan Dice comes to mind, and while the Wild resource concept is the same (as it is in many dice games), the mechanics are quite different. Five faces of the die correspond to the five different resources. The sixth face is a gold nugget, and for every two gold nuggets appearing in your final set, you can choose any one resource you want to use.

So with the wild resource, in this case it's not a 1-to-1 conversion, which makes it a more interesting choice, and certainly not the easiest or optimal track to take.

jonathanflike
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Awesome thank you!

let-off studios wrote:
I think that adding a "wild" resource adds both convenience and ease to a player's turn. Instead of wondering which track they'll need to pursue after collecting/arranging resources, they'll likely already have something in mind that they hope to pick up, and then maybe have a "plan B" in mind if their resources don't shake out the way they need them to.

If you have a steady pool of resources in your game, then it's likely it will become easier for players to do what it is they want to do, since Wild resources will be depended upon in their planning. I think of Splendor and where the player manages the snapping-up of different cards by their opponents by reserving cards first, which allows them to grab the gold Wild resources at the outset.

EDIT: also, Catan Dice comes to mind, and while the Wild resource concept is the same (as it is in many dice games), the mechanics are quite different. Five faces of the die correspond to the five different resources. The sixth face is a gold nugget, and for every two gold nuggets appearing in your final set, you can choose any one resource you want to use.

So with the wild resource, in this case it's not a 1-to-1 conversion, which makes it a more interesting choice, and certainly not the easiest or optimal track to take.

Thank you for the insight. Now that you mention it, perhaps it is the rigidity of the resource paths that make the system a little clunky, and you're right, a wild card resource allows the player some flexibility. I was concerned about adding another element, but maybe it makes things easier because of its ability to be used for all resource paths. The way I plan to implement it is the gold can passively generate if the player plays buildings, which is an important emphasis of the game. I figure this will encourage the player to play a mechanism I want them to explore since they will also generate the wild resource. Thanks for telling me about Splendor and Catan Dice, I will need to take a look at those.

I'm glad you mentioned the conversion rates. I was fiddling with the idea yesterday and came to the conclusion that it couldn't be 1-to-1 so that is comforting I am on the right track. I'm still having a little trouble theory crafting the right ratio, but I think once I play test it a little bit I will have a better idea. Thank you again.

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