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Keeping information HIDDEN

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questccg
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Hi all,

I am working with a mechanic used for *conjuring* units. The problem is that I want the unit to remain unknown until the unit is attacked. However the problem is that certain information must be made available to the other player to make sure nobody cheats.

For example: To conjure a Pikeman that requires 2 mana points. I don't want the opponent to know that it's a Pikeman. But I want to make sure the player uses 2 mana poinst to put the card in play.

I think it is stupid to try to hide the rest of the card and to only try to show the top.

I was thinking to have information on the BACK of each units cards... But I'm not certain about it. MtG requires players to have enough land cards and to tap enough to put a unit into play.

I don't think it is wise to leave it up to the players... I'm certain some would cheat (which defies the purpose of playing - just conjure any card you want ignoring the mana cost).

Anybody care to comment? Thanks.

silasmolino
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Real gamers dont cheat

I don't think real gamers will cheat.

You should be able to get away with it.

I like your idea of placing a cost value on the back of the card.

truekid games
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I agree, I wouldn't worry

I agree, I wouldn't worry about cheating. Those players who cheat will do so anyway, it will be just through a different method.

HOWEVER- if having the cost information on the back of the card isn't broadly detrimental otherwise, it sounds like it might be something that would be useful in general- help the players keep track of the overall board state, and lower how often the person who played the card has to pick it up and confirm it's what he thought it was.

JustActCasual
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While MtG deals with it by

While MtG deals with it by forcing you to flip at the end of the game if you've played cards with Morph.

Another way is to put how much you paid on top of the card as tokens...then when it's attacked you can flip it up if the amount you paid is equal to or greater than the amount it costs. Otherwise it just functions as a 'basic unit': this removes the cheating problem, while opening up a whole realm of bluffing (he paid 6 for that...is it really a 6 cost? or is it a 3 and he wants to trick me? maybe it's an 8, and almost anything can beat a basic unit....)

MikeyNg
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Is Cost Information important?

Without knowing more about the game, it's difficult to say. The biggest reason is: Is cost information important? (Any information is important, of course)

If cost information is not as important as other things, then it should be okay (and in fact easier to keep track of things) with cost information on the back. However, I do like the idea of "bluffing" with costs.

Do you have to tap to spend mana? (I'm just using the M:tG analogy) If so, then a savvy opponent will remember costs anyway, so there's not much need to keep it hidden. However, if spending mana is also secretive, then that's two things that you have to keep track of: how they spend/recharge mana for costs and the actual cost of the cards themselves.

If you go THAT route, then secrecy and cheating is almost pretty much a gameplay mechanic. Since so much stuff is in secret, it's really easy to cheat. In which case, you may want ways for opponents to (on a limited basis) investigate cheating with associated penalties.

MasterBruce
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Alternate Options

Do you need to stick the the common why of doing things or are you able to change some play mechanics to fit your needs? I had this very same issue and one point and I came up with a couple solutions.

Change the time when someone pays for the card. Let them put it on the table and have to pay for it later when it attacks, instead of at deployment. This could also work as a bluffing option. You may have more cards on the table than you can afford to attack with, but your opponent does not know that. If you follow this idea, you can then turn the cards back over after attacking and keep them concealed for later in the game play. Maybe swap some cards at some point in time. That way it keeps your opponent on their heals.

I had also considered adding deployment cost on the back of cards, however this may tip off your opponent as to the strength of the unit. Assuming that stronger units would cost more. You may not want to do that, but that is up to you.

Last of all you could make the cost of units all the same. So pay the same resource amount for all units deployed, then require additional costs when the unit preforms some sort of action. Example: Some units cost more to attack than others but they all are deployed at the same cost. Then all you have to do is work on balancing the cards.

Dulkal
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JustActCasual wrote:Another

JustActCasual wrote:
Another way is to put how much you paid on top of the card as tokens...then when it's attacked you can flip it up if the amount you paid is equal to or greater than the amount it costs. Otherwise it just functions as a 'basic unit': this removes the cheating problem, while opening up a whole realm of bluffing (he paid 6 for that...is it really a 6 cost? or is it a 3 and he wants to trick me? maybe it's an 8, and almost anything can beat a basic unit....)

You could even have creatures whose attack strength depend on the power with which they were summoned.

gabrielcohn
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tokens

when i use two mana (or whatever) to conjure a card i place it face down in play and put two tokens on it. if i used three mana, i put three tokens on it. etc. that way, when it is flipped face up, you can check that i didn't cheat when placing it. (and if the amount which you used in summoning matters, then you can see the amount paid at the time of summoning).

helpful?

questccg
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I like the bluffing idea...

MasterBruce wrote:

Change the time when someone pays for the card. Let them put it on the table and have to pay for it later when it attacks, instead of at deployment. This could also work as a bluffing option. You may have more cards on the table than you can afford to attack with, but your opponent does not know that. If you follow this idea, you can then turn the cards back over after attacking and keep them concealed for later in the game play. Maybe swap some cards at some point in time. That way it keeps your opponent on their heals.

This is interesting - but I would have to change my *mana* mechanic.

What I am using is the following: on each turn, players roll 5 dice (each of a different color). Then the player uses the "dice" to conjure units. So if you roll 2 on the White dice, you get 2 White mana points. So you could conjure up 2 units that require 1 White mana each or 1 unit that requires 2 White mana (plus other mana from the other dice).

I like this - it's a good application of luck and it adds a nice layer of strategy: which units do you conjure up given resources at hand. Also no need to keep track of mana, it changes each turn.

MasterBruce wrote:
I had also considered adding deployment cost on the back of cards, however this may tip off your opponent as to the strength of the unit. Assuming that stronger units would cost more. You may not want to do that, but that is up to you.

See what I am thinking is that units have different colors and a Blue unit may require Blue mana - OR NOT. Maybe it requires the opposing unit's color: Green or Black. So I can *misslead* a player into thinking that a different unit is being conjured.

And since cards lay on top of the other cards, you no longer see the *mana* requirements of the cards, except the closest one (the one on the top of a card pile). So the first card you must *defeat* is the one with the *mana* requirement displayed... This means a LOT of strategy: is this card a *bluff* (from another color) or is it really from that color... Kinda like in Poker - you need to read into the player to see which it is - a bluff or not.

And this has a LOT of importance. Why? Because guessing wrong means you can fight a card from another color. If you choose wrong, you might be at a disadvantage. Ideally you would want to be on the same level - not penalized. But if you are penalized, then the odds are in the opponent's favour... Something like when the player ATTACKS, his attack is penalized. When the player DEFENDS, his opponent has an advantage.

So I can picture some players *trash talking* like "... What is that? A Pikeman... Your deck is White..." The player has been counting cards and knows the deck is white (yes - I will allow players to count cards.) You can *fake* a deck by putting your cards in another color box (Blue deck in a Black box - for example)... Or bring your cards in a bag! :P

And yes... I plan to have 5 different game boxes (one for each Color). You MUST build a deck with certain requirements which leads to a deck HEAVY in ONE color (which will be the primary color of the deck). What this does is make a deck WEAK to some colors, STRONG with other colors and EVEN with the same color.

MasterBruce wrote:
Last of all you could make the cost of units all the same. So pay the same resource amount for all units deployed, then require additional costs when the unit preforms some sort of action. Example: Some units cost more to attack than others but they all are deployed at the same cost. Then all you have to do is work on balancing the cards.

Not sure how I would implement this - any ideas???

Michael Leo White
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One “Pikeman” can be worth more or less than another.

When you conjure up a Pikeman for 2 mana points its value may fall in a range of say 1 to 3. Everyone knows how much it cost but does not know the true value. If you pay 8 mana points for a card the true value might be worth 6,7,8,9 or 10.
Overlapping ranges would allow for interesting confrontations because a lower value card might hold its own against a card valued at a little higher cost.
Lots of strategy when it comes time to face your opponent.

questccg
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Need more explanation

Michael Leo White wrote:
When you conjure up a Pikeman for 2 mana points its value may fall in a range of say 1 to 3. Everyone knows how much it cost but does not know the true value. If you pay 8 mana points for a card the true value might be worth 6,7,8,9 or 10.
Overlapping ranges would allow for interesting confrontations because a lower value card might hold its own against a card valued at a little higher cost. Lots of strategy when it comes time to face your opponent.

Not sure I understand. Are you suggesting ranges for mana? If yes, why would players not always use the lowest possible value?? And would you display the ranges on the back of cards???

questccg
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Action Points (APs)

questccg wrote:
What I am using is the following: on each turn, players roll 5 dice (each of a different color). Then the player uses the "dice" to conjure units. So if you roll 2 on the White dice, you get 2 White mana points. So you could conjure up 2 units that require 1 White mana each or 1 unit that requires 2 White mana (plus other mana from the other dice).

I may *borrow* the Action Points (AP) concept from my Dungeon Crawl design:
On each player's turn, players get 3 APs and they can do the following:
-Conjure units (Costs 1 AP) - can conjure more than one, depending on available mana
-Move a unit (Costs 1 AP)
-Engage a unit (Costs 1 AP) - this is for battles
-Play an Enchantment (Costs 1 AP) - this is similar to Yu-Gi-Oh! trap cards

You can choose to do several of one (like move a unit 3 spaces = 3 AP). I think this will add even MORE strategy to conjuring and battles.

Note: You can only *conjure units* ONCE per turn (restriction). But you are not forced to do so...

silasmolino wrote:
I don't think real gamers will cheat.
You should be able to get away with it.
I like your idea of placing a cost value on the back of the card.

The problem I see is that if I don't put the mana costs on the BACK of cards, player's will be able to cheat all they want. As for real gamers not cheating... well if you are losing, you may start to cheat.

There are other possibilities to the mana: like 1 Green mana, 1 Blue mana and 1 Red mana. This can be the SAME for 3 different cards... You have a 33% chance of guessing correctly. Not the greatest odds but still...

Michael Leo White
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Need more explanation

I may have misinterpreted the question. (Excuse my terminology new to this genre of game)

But if you’re afraid of cheating by an opponent knowing that you have a pikeman or any other card then I’m saying:

Don’t make the pikeman 1 value. Give him a true value which will differ from other pikeman.

If you have 20 pikemen in your deck. (5 can have a true value of 1, 10 with a value of 2 and 5 with a value of 3.) If 2 is his confrontation factor.

Then an opponent can see the card but he only knows that he’s a pikeman but not his actual worth.

I can visualize the situation but trying to explain my solution may be difficult to understand.

questccg
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Not knowing the card

Michael Leo White wrote:
Then an opponent can see the card but he only knows that he’s a pikeman but not his actual worth.

Hmm I think this is the opposite of what is being proposed:
-I don't want the opponent to know that the card being played IS a Pikeman.

As for having multiples of a card, like 3 Pikeman in a deck, I would want all 3 to be identical.

What you are suggesting is have Pikemen with different values... If I understand correctly: each Pikeman might be different than the other.

My interest in keeping the card HIDDEN, is so that the opponent doesn't know what the unit can do. But at the same time, I need to be able to control which unit gets conjured.

McTeddy
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MasterBruce wrote: Change the

MasterBruce wrote:

Change the time when someone pays for the card. Let them put it on the table and have to pay for it later when it attacks, instead of at deployment. This could also work as a bluffing option. You may have more cards on the table than you can afford to attack with, but your opponent does not know that. If you follow this idea, you can then turn the cards back over after attacking and keep them concealed for later in the game play. Maybe swap some cards at some point in time. That way it keeps your opponent on their heals.

You could actually pay at the time of summoning by having a place to "Store" the spent mana. When you reveal a creature you will pull the mana from this cup to show that you've paid for it.

This will keep players honest because the mana in that cup will ALWAYS add up to the exact mana of your hidden creatures. A player can easily tell whether someone actually paid for everything on the field.

questccg
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Too painfull

McTeddy wrote:
You could actually pay at the time of summoning by having a place to "Store" the spent mana. When you reveal a creature you will pull the mana from this cup to show that you've paid for it.

This will keep players honest because the mana in that cup will ALWAYS add up to the exact mana of your hidden creatures. A player can easily tell whether someone actually paid for everything on the field.

Well for one thing, I wanted to avoid *keeping track of mana*. It's a pain. I understand your solution simplifies it - but it's still not *obvious* that the mana in the cup adds up to the total units conjured. You would have to actually check each card and remove the "tokens" from the cup... First, I think it would take a lot of time to do this. Second, players may have cheated before checking - then what happens? The player loses because the mana does not resolve to the remaining tokens in the cup.

Third is probably the most important: for that to work, when a unit is discarded to the graveyard, the tokens for that card must be removed from the cup. This requires managing the mana in the cup... Again more troubles, because players can make HONEST mistakes given the amount of tokens/units...

Unlike MtG, in my game you may have conjured 20 units in play. This is part of the strategy: you try to protect your cards by putting other cards in play. Your stacks are what protects your cards. When you attack you reveal that card, however as the game progresses you can decide to move that card - after a battle for example. So even after having *shown* a card, you still have the chance to *re-hide* it (by moving it)...

Because things are still in a conceptual stage, I'm not sure *WHEN* players need to start battling... Once I have a prototype, then I can test this in further detail.

questccg
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Predicting the odds

I think that having the mana information on the back of the cards is the *simplest* solution.

As I mentioned you can have 3 cards with the following mana requirements:
-1 Green mana
-1 Blue mana
-1 Red mana

This is just one example, but it shows that the card could be 1 out of 3. So the odds are 33% the opponent correctly guesses the actual color of the card.

With 4 colors of mana, the odds are 25%. With only 2 colors, the odds go up to 50%. I think with enough variations and duplicates (in terms of mana requirements) would make it much harder to know exactly which unit has been conjured. The good news is if you guess wrong, you can still use *Instant* cards to try to restore the odds...

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