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Pillars: Victory Conditions and Mechanics

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Tbone's picture
Joined: 02/18/2013

I have put my main project on hold for a bit, mainly because of a design change that will take awhile to develop. I've already spent quite a lot of time on it and want to let it breathe before I start again.


Pillars is a card game civilization builder; strickly using only cards. You will use the 4 pillars of civilization - Military, Government, Economy, and Culture - to attain victory.

What I am picturing is 4 different ways to gain Civ Points (victory points) allocated to each of the Pillars, allowing for a wide variety of strategy.

Before we get to my ideas, I will let you know the balancing scheme I have come up with...

Each card will have a power value of 1 to 5, these will be compared to each other during various points in the game. In order to balance abilities and such, lower power cards have more options/abilities whereas higher power cards have less options/abilities. Each ability will have a cost and an area in which it can be played in (there are different areas infront of you, each having unique qualities such as a "Build" area where cards will stay throughout the game unless conquered and a "Play" area used for one-time card actions).


Card Name
Power 2
Play (cost): draw three cards
Play (cost): target player discards 1 card
Build (cost): you may trash 1 card per turn, if you do draw 1 card.

On a given turn you may only choose one of these if you wish to use this card.

Here are my current ideas...

Military - Conquer

Conquer cards by comparing power. You may do this with any card that the enemy has exposed (face up or face down). When you conquer that card you will gain Civ points equal to its power.

This is still under development. This is where higher power cards come in handy. Being able to conquer and gain points easily.

Government - Establish

You may place a card from you hand face down in the "Establish" area. In order to score this card as Civ points you have to trash resources equal to its power. Once you've done this you gain Civ points equal to its power.

This is cool because some cards will have Establish abilities that trigger when it is established and can give you an edge. Higher power cards give you more reward but cost more. Simple give and take.

Economy - Invest

You can invest any card in hand with another player and place it face down in the "Invest" area. They can choose to accept or deny anytime during play. If they deny the card stays in the "Invest" area until acted on. If they accept, they must also choose a card from their hand and place it face down. You flip them simultaneously, the lowest card wins and you gain Civ points equal to the power of the card if you had the lowest power card. If they are the same you both win the points.

This is my favorite. Lets say I invest in Jerry. I say, "its a five power card put down a five and we both get five!!". I'm not a nice guy... its actually a 3 power card. Jerry is smart though, he has a 4 power card in hand. He accepts and reveals the 4. I reveal the 3. Yay I win. But now I have ruined Jerry's trust, investing with him may never work. This bluffing mechanic is an easy way to win points but an easy way to lose them too!

Culture - Sell

You may place a card from you hand in the "Sell" area in the middle of all players. A player can pick up any cards in the "Sell" area. If a player picks up a card from the "Sell" area, who ever placed the card gains Civ points equal to its power.

I like this because it opens up the game so much, allowing players to use other cards outside of their deck is really cool (especially if they are weak in a certain area).

- - - - - -

What are your thoughts? Do I need to explain more? What works and what doesn't? Are they interesting enough?

Let me know what you think...

Cool Among Camels
Joined: 07/26/2015
It's An Interesting Design

I like the mechanics that you have going on here. It definitely sounds compelling.

I'm curious as to how players get more cards. Is it all through card effects? And how do players pay for the cost of things? What is the currency?

My biggest worry is about the different Areas that players put their cards in. How will a player identify which card is theirs? Are the Areas shared or are they individual to the player? Obviously it's not a problem if they're individual, but if they're shared, I think it might get confusing as the game goes on.

The most obvious answer is that each player will just have to remember their own card. This will work easily enough in smaller games; in larger games, players should have some way to keep track of their cards. Maybe they place a token of some sort on their card? Or maybe it has to do with card orientation? I think this would just need to be playtested.

Either way, this sounds like a very interesting game. I especially like the theme. If you get a print-and-play available or put the game up on GameCrafter, I'd definitely like to know!

Tbone's picture
Joined: 02/18/2013
Great Questions

The deck will be comprised of cards specified by each pillar.

So Economy cards will have abilities that increase your finacial stability, Military will seek to harm players, Government will use manipulation to change the games structure, and Culture will seek to use other players to their advantage even if it means giving them an edge.

I'll start by explaining the resource system. Each Pillar is also linked to a specific resource type...

Military = Influence
Government = Development
Economy = Currency
Culture = Population


Play (Influence, Influence, Currency): Force a player to draw a card, if the cards power is less than 4, take it into your hand.

My plan is to do a standard draw in the beginning of the turn. But the Economy cards are where card draw, escalated resource intake, investment profits, and trade advantages come from.

The areas are local and are located around the deck and your country/faction identity card. I will try to post a sneak peak at the card design and board set up this week.

Thank you for your interest! Once, I compile a more solid rule packet I will send it your way!

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