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Exploring a deck of cards

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larienna's picture
Joined: 07/28/2008

It's for an adventure games where besides wondering in the land you can also explore Manors, towers, keeps, cathedrals, etc.

I tried a few exploration system, but one thing I liked in "A touch of evil" is that exploration consisted only in drawing from 1 deck of card dedicated to the area. Various things from event, encounter and items could be found in those deck. I find the mechanic elegant but I had no feeling of exploring the area.

So what I want to do is to place a location on each card that the player will be able to interact with as an encounter, challenge, discovered item, etc. I am trying to give cards conditional choice that will have various outcome.

But I also want the stacking of the deck or the mobility of the card to be important in the exploration. The idea is that the deck will thin itself as it get explored until the player reach the card they need.

So I am trying to think of various ways the cards could be used or could be moved inside a deck of cards. Here are a few ideas so far:

  • The game master could pickup the top 2 card, chose the encountered area and put the other one on the top or bottom of the deck.

  • According to the success of the character to encounter a card, the card could be placed a the bottom of the top of the deck. Or it could be claimed as a reward like a special item found.

  • According to the condition on the cards, the player could be drawing the next or the 2nd card on the top of the deck.

  • There could be sub areas that the player could move into. For example, a tower could have 3 level a character can be in 1 level at a time. When you draw a card, you continue to flip cards until you get a card of your matching level (Similar to Arkham Horror gate cards). Some cards will allow you to switch level.

  • Some cards could add new cards, or remove cards from the deck.

  • Some items cards to collect could be keys. When a player have a key, he card draw the second card on the top of the deck to avoid the first card. (Keys Gives access to more areas)

  • To reach the final boss, it will be too easy if it was only a boss room card, so maybe you need certain key items to unlock the room. So if you draw the room and have no keys, you cannot enter and skip to the next card.

With this kind of exploration, the layout of the area has less important since there is only a few sub areas the players can move to. But it gives a stronger feeling of exploration than simply drawing the top card and something has happened. If 2 players are exploring the same dungeon, they mutually help each other by unlocking and clearing rooms.

The reason I am searching for various ways to manipulate the card is to try to make every dungeon have a unique exploration flavor. Not every dungeon would be explored the same way.

What do you think? Have any other suggestions for the mechanics?

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