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Overlooked Mechanic or Avoided For a Reason?

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Spiralbound
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I'm designing a customisable card game. At present I only intend to have the cards available from the base game. Each player has their own Faction deck taken from the game box, not purchased separately. When cards are discarded for whatever reason they go to a discards pile. The intent is once discarded, cards are out of play for the remainder of the game. My question revolves around the combination of discarding cards and a special ability to be able to steal a card from an opponent.

I have cards which represent equipment possessed by character cards, thus one card can be attached to the other, lending its bonuses and abilities to the character card. If an equipment card is stolen and given to another character belonging to the thieving player, that new character then uses and benefits from the equipment. If this new character is killed it will be discarded, along with any cards it possesses, which would include the card originally stolen from another player.

My question is this:
Since this isn't a collectable card game with each player bringing their own personally owned deck to the game, is there a good reason to disallow stolen cards to enter the discards pile of the thief vs. the discard pile of original holder of the card? At the moment, I can't think of a reason to avoid this, but at the same time I can't think of a single game which allows it, so I'm asking in case this is a game mechanics no-no for reasons that come up in play testing.

FrankM
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Does it make a difference?

Spiralbound wrote:
My question is this:
Since this isn't a collectable card game with each player bringing their own personally owned deck to the game, is there a good reason to disallow stolen cards to enter the discards pile of the thief vs. the discard pile of original holder of the card? At the moment, I can't think of a reason to avoid this, but at the same time I can't think of a single game which allows it, so I'm asking in case this is a game mechanics no-no for reasons that come up in play testing.

If discarded cards are gone for the duration of the game, then it really shouldn't matter where the card goes once it leaves the field.

As a practical matter, putting it into the original owner's pile makes it easier to reset the decks for the next game. This avoids players sifting through their discards to return stolen cards at the end of the game.

That convenience is jettisoned if there is a retrieve-from-your-discard-pile mechanic, since it makes more sense for the thief to be able to reclaim the item during play.

let-off studios
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Reclaim from Discard?

Do you have a card or piece of equipment that allows players to search and/or reclaim cards that were put out of play?

If the answer is yes, then yes: you need to clarify to where cards are discarded. If the answer is no, then you can either not worry about it, or develop equipment/cards that allow players to search out of play/discarded cards and return them to their original owner. Then test the mechanic.

You may also have some powers/cards/abilities related to the number of cards players have discarded or removed from play. Again, if this is the case then you need to both determine to where cards are discarded, and then test it a lot.

I'm sure there are other situations that are dependent on discarded cards - "the game ends when X number of cards are discarded," for example - but I'm sure there are more situations you can think of.

I can't think of a reason these kinds of mechanics may be deliberately avoided or discouraged from use. If the shoe fits (the theme of your game, that is), then wear it. At least give it a try and see what works. :)

radioactivemouse
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I believe this has been done before.

From what I've read, you want to have a mechanic where a player can "steal" a card that was discarded by their opponent for use on their side.

If this is the case, then it's a mechanic best seen in Magic: The Gathering. The black (swamp) faction primarily has cards that allows for players to take creatures from the opponent's discard and put it "under your control" (essentially creating zombies), which seems like the same concept you've talked about, but the card type/class is different.

See Magic cards: Rise of the Dark Realms, Fated Return, Rise from the Grave, Coffin Queen.

Note the wording is "put target creature from A graveyard under your control", which may also mean the opponent's graveyard.

I'm all for breaking conventional card mechanics in order to explore new ones. The only thing I would advise is the faction cards be easy to identify for ease of takedown/setup of the game. Believe me, there are many card games have little to no regard in mixing up the cards during play only to have players breakdown and reorganize everything for the next game (see Marvel Legendary, Thunderstone, or Dominion).

I'm testing a mechanic in my game (expansion) along similar lines, except it's a little more invasive; the mechanic has a player place a specific card from their hand into the opponent's deck (shuffled in) and may trigger when the opponent draws it or it become a dead card in their hand, limiting the options for the opponent. There's more to it, but you get the gist of it.

As such, any new or established mechanic needs to be tested through anyways.

Spiralbound
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Thanks radioactivemouse for

Thanks radioactivemouse for the suggestion, the mechanic I'm considering isn't stealing from an opponents graveyard (although that is also a good idea), but what I'm adding is the ability to steal an opponents in play card, and my question concerns which graveyard the stolen card "should" go into if it gets discarded later - the original owner or the last owner.

After the two prior comments though, I'm confident there is no glaringly obvious issue with allowing the stolen card to be discarded into the thief's discard pile, so that's the rule I'll be play testing. If after play testing I stumble across a surprise reason to disallow this behaviour, I'll pop back on this thread with an update. Any such play test results could be a while from now though as I'm still at the game design stages.

Spiralbound
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FrankM wrote: As a practical

FrankM wrote:

As a practical matter, putting it into the original owner's pile makes it easier to reset the decks for the next game. This avoids players sifting through their discards to return stolen cards at the end of the game.

I'm going to have the faction affiliation clearly distinguished on the cards, which should mitigate that difficulty.

FrankM wrote:

That convenience is jettisoned if there is a retrieve-from-your-discard-pile mechanic, since it makes more sense for the thief to be able to reclaim the item during play.

Yes, I will have discard retrieval, in fact it will be a strong focus for one of the factions. So that pretty much convinces me I'm on the right track. Thanks!

Spiralbound
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let-off studios wrote:Do you

let-off studios wrote:
Do you have a card or piece of equipment that allows players to search and/or reclaim cards that were put out of play?

If the answer is yes, then yes: you need to clarify to where cards are discarded. If the answer is no, then you can either not worry about it, or develop equipment/cards that allow players to search out of play/discarded cards and return them to their original owner. Then test the mechanic.

Yes, looting discards is going to show up here and there. I was always intending to clearly denote where cards go when discarded. My only indecision point was where to discard stolen cards - original or last owner. Based on yours and FrankM's comments though I'll be going ahead with stolen cards land in the last owner's discard pile, not the original owner's pile. I do like your idea of sifting through other player's discards to retrieve your own cards. I'll be grabbing that idea. :-)

let-off studios wrote:

You may also have some powers/cards/abilities related to the number of cards players have discarded or removed from play. Again, if this is the case then you need to both determine to where cards are discarded, and then test it a lot.

I was planning on having a few special abilities key off numbers of specific other cards in play, and expanding this concept to count cards in various discard piles, or even in un-played cards from a deck are additionally interesting ideas to explore. I can think of one Faction for whom this would thematically apply.

let-off studios wrote:

I'm sure there are other situations that are dependent on discarded cards - "the game ends when X number of cards are discarded," for example - but I'm sure there are more situations you can think of.

I can't think of a reason these kinds of mechanics may be deliberately avoided or discouraged from use. If the shoe fits (the theme of your game, that is), then wear it. At least give it a try and see what works. :)

Yeah, I fully intend to play test this to death once I have some completed decks. Unlike a board game, card games with special abilities have a staggering number of conceivable permutations and combinations. I know impossible to realistically test for every possible card play, but with enough play testing I hope to catch commonly occurring game breaking plays.

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