Skip to Content

Interesting Card Choice I Haven't Seen Before

15 replies [Last post]
RyanRay
Offline
Joined: 03/27/2014

Greetings!

I just had a stellar playtest of one of my games last night, and something one of the players said sparked an idea with me that I've never seen before.

What if, when you gained a victory card, you could either keep it hidden from other players for the entire game so that it scores points at the end -OR- you can reveal it at any time to be able to use an ability on the card, but it won't score any points?

e.g., I've earned the Improved Aqueduct card, which is worth 4 points, and has the ability "You may change 1 Water Level for free each turn." I can either keep this card hidden for the whole game and score it for 4 at the end, or turn it up at any time to use its ability but never get the 4 points.

Has anyone seen this before? It seems so simple and elegant, but never used.

Thanks in advance! -RyanRay

polyobsessive
polyobsessive's picture
Offline
Joined: 12/11/2015
Like

I'm pretty sure I have seen something like this somewhere, but I can't remember where. It's certainly not an over-used mechanism, and if it fits with your game, you should absolutely try it.

I do like the idea a lot. It gives players an ongoing and potentially interesting decision: would the benefit of playing the card now outweigh the VP benefit at the end of the game? The real trick is to balance these benefits so that a reasonable number of the cards do actually get played rather than everything just remaining hidden -- and deciding what is a "reasonable number" for your game.

pelle
pelle's picture
Offline
Joined: 08/11/2008
I am also certain I played a

I am also certain I played a game like this recently. All cards still in your hand at game end counted for victory points. So annoying to not remember what game it was. Might even have been some pretty well-known game. But it might have been that you just counted the number of cards you still had and got 1 VP for each.

A prototype game I played just a few hours ago where you could put down cards from your hand in front of you face-down and they would stay there and only be extra points at game end instead of being played normally (they have demoed the game at on least one convention and sold a few self-printed copies, so I do not feel like I give away anyone's secret here, plus the mechanic was actually slightly more involved than just that). Better cards being worth more, but different from the normal playing-cost of the cards (for some reason, and I do not remember if it often differed much because they were both in the same low 0-3 or so range).

cignox1
Offline
Joined: 11/22/2016
Watching the Rahdo

Watching the Rahdo playthrough I'm pretty sure I've come into something similar a few times. I can't swear that the card is always kept hidden, but I'm sure cards would have multiple uses (you could either spend the card and gain resources/actions, or you can keep them and score the points at the end of the game.

Unfortunately, I can't remember in which game they were used. But I agree that this is a very elegant solution (you have to make a tactical vs strategical decision)

Fri
Offline
Joined: 09/06/2017
You could just reduce the victory pionts too

You could also have a types of cards with less strong abilities that just have reduced victory points when revealed.

TokH
TokH's picture
Offline
Joined: 05/04/2016
Karmaka uses this mechanic

Karmaka uses this mechanic (sort of). You can either score a card from your hand, or play the card ability from your hand instead of scoring.

One thing I would keep in mind is that this will be another resource for players to manage. So if they're already managing a hand and other resources, thumbing through face down abilities might get a bit cumbersome. You could also try only allowing the ability to activate upon receiving the card, rather than any time. That would cut down on the amount of stacked up decisions.

Corsaire
Corsaire's picture
Offline
Joined: 06/27/2013
I had a similar mechanic in

I had a similar mechanic in the March 2016 showdown here (Little Gods?) It was a game of voting to get your faction's gods to be the main pantheon. You could keep a god facedown for the value of the hidden information or turn them over to worship them openly and have access to their ability power.

Many games have bonus powers/actions that you get VP for at the end if you don't use them. I don't recall having seen it before with hidden information as part as I recall being pretty psyched about the tantalizing choice aspect.

JohnBrieger
JohnBrieger's picture
Offline
Joined: 11/04/2016
I've used this mechanic and really liked it

I use this mechanic in my upcoming game Mars Rover for the Research cards you can earn during the mission, and playtesters really like it.

Some tips from iterating on this mechanic a lot:

  • It's OK to have some of the abilities give you points for revealing as well, also long as it is less points than keeping it face down till the end.
  • You don't always need to pair the powerful abilities with high points, and the less powerful abilities with less points
  • Sometimes, there's an ability you want players to use frequently, so you can make it worth less points so they are more incentivized to flip it up
  • Keep abilities simple enough that people can remember them when they are facedown in front of them.
  • Abilities likely shouldn't all be unique. Having some knowledge about what players might be able to do with their facedown cards is better than a total surprise all the time. Currently, Mars Rover has about 6 abilities in each mission, with 1-3 copies of each.

@Polyobsessive – maybe the prototype you remember using this mechanic is mine – as I think you tested it several times at Playtest UK meetups.

RyanRay
Offline
Joined: 03/27/2014
Very insightful tips, thank

Very insightful tips, thank you! You indeed seem to be using this same mechanic in your own way.

Best wishes on Mars Rover taking off in a big way, hopefully I'll see it on the shelf here in the USA some time :)

polyobsessive
polyobsessive's picture
Offline
Joined: 12/11/2015
Nope :(

JohnBrieger wrote:
@Polyobsessive – maybe the prototype you remember using this mechanic is mine – as I think you tested it several times at Playtest UK meetups.

To my distress, I haven't played Mars Rover. The only game of yours I've played has been Door Number 3. When we're in the same place, we usually seem to be scheduled at the same time (or I'm working). Hopefully one day I'll be able to play more of your games. Will you be over for UKGE this year?

sergiu oltean
Offline
Joined: 03/20/2018
gremlins inc.

Gremlins inc., is a PC game made to look like a board game (and currently developed to be transformed into a board game), which uses a similar mechanic. Either you use a card as a permanent stat booster, or you put in in play and gain an advantage right away. It is not secret but has the concept of long vs. short game in use. It helps decide on a strategy and might drive you towards a play style. If it goes well with your hand, you might just go for it right now. If you need to slowly grow, you might wanna use it over time.

Daggaz
Daggaz's picture
Offline
Joined: 12/19/2016
In my own game, players can

In my own game, players can collect powerful artefacts that count as VPs. They can choose to either keep those cards hidden and safe, or use them to their advantage, which then alerts the other players about having those VPs as well as putting a big target on them (artefact cards can be captured).

Daggaz
Daggaz's picture
Offline
Joined: 12/19/2016
Double post

Double post

JewellGames
JewellGames's picture
Offline
Joined: 06/03/2012
Check out SYNOD.

Check out SYNOD.

Worldshapers
Offline
Joined: 08/24/2014
Increased VP

Why not let people reveal it for increased VP. That could be something as well.

GonzoLubitsch
Offline
Joined: 04/13/2018
Worldshapers wrote:Why not

Worldshapers wrote:
Why not let people reveal it for increased VP. That could be something as well.

Another possibility could be to allow for the ability to reveal the card for increased VP. But, this would give opponents the opportunity to use the special ability on the card. It could still be a one-time use ability, but first come first served.

Though this could get difficult for players to track all the abilities they have access to depending on how many VP cards would be in play at one time.

Syndicate content


forum | by Dr. Radut