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A mechanic that uses the geometry of the card - HELP!

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admiral142's picture
Joined: 02/25/2014
Example enemy card

So I have had this idea floating around in my head for a while, and I just can't seem to pin down how to do it. The 18 card microgame contest is on BGG right now, and I'd like to create a submission using this mechanic, but I need some help from the folks on these forums.

The idea for the mechanic is that the hero card would have a hole punched in it (maybe two). When you encounter an enemy card, you place your hero card on top of it, lined up with a certain mark on the enemy card. The value(s) showing through the hole(s) determine the outcome of the encounter.

I would like the hero cards to have the hole(s) in different places. For example, say you have a red hero, a yellow hero, and a blue hero. The red hero would have the hole in a different place than the blue or yellow, and likewise with the others. I'm thinking that the holes would need to be lined up on the X-Axis of the card, but not necessarily the Y-axis (x being the width or horizontal plane, y being the height or vertical plane).

The marks on the enemy cards could be at different places depending on that enemies strengths or weaknesses. For example, one enemy might be weak to blue, so the blue character gets placed higher(?) than the red or yellow character, thus giving a better chance to succeed in the encounter.

There would be other mechanics to modify placement of the hero card (thus giving differing results), but I can worry about those later.

The way I'm currently thinking of laying out the enemy cards is that they would have a column with resuts that would be hit, miss, or critical for the hero. There might be a second column that would show hit, miss or critical for the enemy card (that is, the hero card would also reveal the enemy cards response to the encounter).

The problems I'm facing are:
1) How many results to put on the enemy card (that is, how many entries per column?)
2) Use numbers or hit/miss/crit as results that are revealed (an enemy could take X value to be defeated, or X number of hits where a crit is 2 hits?)
3) What happens when the hero is hit? What effect does the enemy card's response have?

I'm sure there will be other problems that arise as this is ironed out, but I think this could be a really cool mechanic, and if we can get it figured out, it might be neat for other people to use in their games too!

Thanks for reading this, and I look forward to hearing from people!

let-off studios
let-off studios's picture
Joined: 02/07/2011
Tracking Hits, Crits, etc.

This does sound very interesting, if a bit deterministic. I'd suggest some sort of random and/or tactical element added in to increase replayability of the game.

I could see this played out rather simply. Each enemy card will have one column for each statistic you want to track. Based on what you've described, you can have two columns: one for the damage inflicted by a given hero type, and the other being damage delivered to a given hero type. I imagine one column would be numbers in descending order (largest to smallest), while a matching column would be numbers in ascending order (smallest to largest).

A hero could simply have a single die-cut "slot" that displays the columns, and this bar is oriented on the hero card so that when the hero card is overlaid on the enemy, they'll know how much damage the hero does to the enemy (with "ranks" ranging from an insta-kill to a very small amount and/or miss), and how much damage the hero takes from that enemy (with "ranks" ranging from a little bit/total miss to an insta-kill).

I'd suggest some way to modify this result during a given encounter as play persists. For example, maybe the player can collect items like magic weapons. These would allow the player to shift their card down a slot or two when calculating the damage they inflict on an enemy. Magic armour would allow them to move the card up a rank or two when calculating the amount of damage they take. In drastic situations, a die roll may substitute for tactical adjustments.

You could even increase complexity beyond that, by having monsters of certain types being affected by certain types of weapons or spells in different ways. There are already slots that indicate types of heroes and their combat effectiveness, but a holy mace may still be more effective in the hands of a cleric than that of a rank-and-file fighter. Lightning spells may be more effective for a wizard holding a Staff of Eldritch Storm Power, or something like that.

"Leveling Up" heroes is also possible with this method, simply by adjusting the position of the die-cut slot on the "upgraded hero" card. The first card is discarded, while the second upgraded card is used when the player resumes the adventure.

The only potential downside to this is that there's a separate calculation/placement required for both attack and defense. But as the player simply lines up the hero card so it's exactly overlapping the enemy it's facing at the time, this may be simple enough to not slow down gameplay too intensely.

...Well, all that works in my head, at least. Have fun with your design. :)

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