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Cyberwar CCG Gameplay

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Fhizban
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Joined: 01/11/2009

hey,
its been a long time since my last post. maybe some of you remember the cyberspace/cyberwar collectible card game i was working on. I got time to work on my game idea again, and the core rules are almost finished. before i move on i like to discuss the key mechanics of the game, maybe you have some more input to offer. I just copy and paste some parts of the rulebook:

DARKNET

Darknet is a collectible card game surrounding computer specialists, hacker groups and corporations in their journey to plot agendas and secret objectives. The story is inspired by R. Talsorian's Cyberpunk roleplaying game, as well as other Sci-Fi related novels and settings.

Players represent hackers in the cyberspace, trying to achieve their objective as fast as possible. The core of the game is, that there is none: players decide wich resource systems, victory conditions and mechanics are used by putting the right cards into their decks.

This is cyber warfare - and you decide how the battlefield looks: first create, then break and bend the rules to your liking. the more codes the players bring into play - the thicker the maze of mechanics and endgame conditions becomes until one of them triggers.

OVERVIEW

So every player builds a deck of 60 cards, there are several card types (all cybernet related, including Agenda, Module, Program, Resource, Hack, Upgrade and so on). You draw 7 cards each and decide randomly who starts.

At the beginning of your turn, you always have the option to A.) draw a card or B.) gain one bit (the currency of the game). During the main phase of the game you can bring cards from your hand into play or activate abilities of cards already in play.

THE DETAILS

the thing is, that there are no victory conditions in this game and large part of the resource system (besides the option to gain one bit during the beginning of your turn) are completely variable. this also offers new freedom in deck design, because you can choose your own victory conditions and the way how to get there. let me go a bit into detail about this:

Resources - The resource cards enable you to add other forms of income to the game. this is similar to the lands in M:TG but offers much more possibilities. In fact, the resource cards let you decide how income is generated in your deck.

Agendas - More important are the agendas, the centerpiece of the whole game. each agenda card represents a victory condition. This way, players are able to set up ways to win the game that suit their deck best (like: Destroy 12 opponent cards, gather 40 bits, deplete your opponents deck etc.).

Clusters - cards you bring into play must be attached to other cards you already have in play. the center of such a "cluster" is an agenda card. you can create multiply clusters if you want (wich also means that you can have multiply victory conditions active as the same time). if the agenda card "dies", all the cards attached to it are also removed from play.

Raids - Attacks in this game are called "raids", where you send your computer programs, Bots and Spiders after your opponents cards in order to destroy them. Each raid must target a single cluster of your opponent. Although raids are not critical to win the game, they are the best way to stop your opponent from winning - by destroying his agenda (victory condition).

SYNOPSIS

In this game, every player strives to set up his own agenda and add resources and upgrades to it in order to achieve it. In addition, you do everything you can to prevent your opponent from reaching his goal. In this symmetrical ccg both players have to play the roles of both Aggressor (to prevent the opponent from winning the game) and Defender (in order to achieve your own victory condition).

Phew - this was a long text, hopefully you gained a few insights about the game. Now, what do you think? Might it work? is it worth developing a base set around this idea? Just reply and post your thoughts, thanks!

suhreman
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Joined: 09/29/2008
It sounds great, but I may

It sounds great, but I may be a bit bias due to the fact I'm also working on a hacking game very similar in theme but executed quite differently.

I like the cluster mechanic idea. My first thought was playing some cards face down in your cluster as countermeasures that would trigger when the Agenda dies. Makes your opponent think twice about destroying it. Are you shooting for a fast paced game of agendas scoring/dying every turn? Or defending only a few the whole game?

Ironically, I just posted the current draft of the rules for my game this morning. Many revisions over the past few months but its getting closer to my vision. Yours is a CCG and mine is a 2-4 player co-op but I enjoyed your post and wish you luck!

Willi B
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Joined: 07/28/2008
Netrunner?

I wonder if either of you have checked out Netrunner?

Fhizban
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Joined: 01/11/2009
@suhreman Wow, do you mind

@suhreman

Wow, do you mind sharing some thoughts about your game concept too? It could boost both of our designs!

There will be cards marked "hidden" wich can be played face down, but not all agendas are played face down. also the attached cards are like spring traps, or walls to defend your agendas. I am aiming that you have to keep, protect and build the agendas over the whole game.

Ah, just saw the link to your rules - Im checking it out now.

@Willi B

Yep, know it. Also the hacker game from sjgames. All very inspirational!

hotsoup
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Joined: 08/28/2009
Interesting, but I am

Interesting, but I am skeptical about a game where you set your own victory conditions. I assume that you would choose a victory condition that would be very easy for your deck to meet. In most ccgs, the object is to defeat your opponent, and since you don't know what he is bringing to the table, you are forced to somewhat diversify and make a deck that can adapt. If, on the other hand, you objective is to make your deck fulfill a condition that you set for it, it seems that the game could very easily become a multiplayer solitaire game (like the first Dominion set), since victory does not necessarily involve interaction with your opponents. Of course, I can't know for sure without seeing how the game plays, but those points are what would put me off from trying that.

hotsoup
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Joined: 08/28/2009
Perhaps a way that you could

Perhaps a way that you could get around this would be to make all of the agenda cards set the same victory condition for all players. So you might have an agenda out that would be easy for your deck and hard for your opponent, but the reverse would be true for the agenda he played. Since a player would have to complete both agendas to win, this would create some tension and force players to diversify their decks.

Fhizban
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Joined: 01/11/2009
hidden agenda

@hotsoup

thanks. and yes you are right. i already have a card type called "public agenda" wich allows any player to win if he has met the victory conditions. this way, the more powerful agendas apply to all players instead of just the cards owner.

second, i dont think people just sit there and play solitaire "advance your agenda". you can destroy your opponents agenda as well, and i guess players will do everything to prevent their opponent from winning. remember: agendas are easy to blast, medium-hard to defend and even harder to achieve.

i guess as soon as the players can, they will blast every agenda on the table into pieces while protecting and advancing their own. in this game you have to be both: agressor and defender.

keep em coming!

NativeTexan
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Joined: 03/04/2009
How about another round or twelve of playtesting!

Fhizban wrote:
remember: agendas are easy to blast, medium-hard to defend and even harder to achieve.

In theory, I really like this. It's an elegant and well-balanced concept. Turning that concept into reality, on the other hand, is going to require lots and lots and lots of playtesting. After that playtesting, you may want to try some computer simulation balancing, followed by lots more playtesting, then some math, then a bunch more playtesting. :-)

Can't wait to see how this works itself out. Best of luck!

Robert K Gabhart
Driftwood Games
www.driftwoodgames.com

Maaartin
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Joined: 05/15/2011
I like it

Fhizban wrote:
thanks. and yes you are right. i already have a card type called "public agenda" wich allows any player to win if he has met the victory conditions. this way, the more powerful agendas apply to all players instead of just the cards owner.

How does the public agenda get determined? It could be random or somehow determined by all players: One player could state that it requires to collect 15 bits, another one could say the same, and the third one could say that you have to collect 4 modules. So each player could win when he gets 30 bits and 4 modules.

You'd probably need some restriction, maybe forbidding repeating conditions.[/quote]

NativeTexan wrote:
Fhizban wrote:
remember: agendas are easy to blast, medium-hard to defend and even harder to achieve.

In theory, I really like this. It's an elegant and well-balanced concept. Turning that concept into reality, on the other hand, is going to require lots and lots and lots of playtesting. After that playtesting, you may want to try some computer simulation balancing, followed by lots more playtesting, then some math, then a bunch more playtesting. :-)

Some mechanism may be necessary which makes achieving the agenda easier and easier as time passes. Each attacked player could get some protection against future attacks, or whatever. Otherwise the game might get nearly impossible to win.

Fhizban
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Joined: 01/11/2009
@NativeTexan Thank you for

@NativeTexan

Thank you for the feedback. Now we are only talking about agendas, remember resources are variable too. Im working on the idea since 2 years (with long pauses), so you can imagine how hard to balance it is. but its fun developing!

@Maaartin

No, if an agenda is "public" or "private" is "hard-coded" onto the cards. so theese are just subtypes of agenda-cards. the plan is to have agendas wich are easier to achieve being public, while agendas wich are somewhat difficult or require a specialised deck are private. so there would be no way to turn an agenda public or private. its on the cards. buuut - this is still all WIP and I am open for suggesstions!

your idea with easier progression of agendas is good, but maybe it should be also written on the cards (remember this is supposed to be a CCG). so, some really big agendas could have special rules that allow you to split the objective into chunks (instead of gaining 16 resources, gain 4 x 4 resources). it would also allow what you said - making a agenda easier to achieve once it was attacked. but, all written on card as keyworded abilities - not as global rules for the whole game.

to merge it all: rules have to be keyworded abilities on cards and not global rules. you have to "think ccg".

I already have a tiny base set and a rough outline of the rulebook ready. once everything is polished i'll post it here for further discussion. in the meantime, feel free to post whatever ideas you have.

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