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Please help me flesh out mechanics in my exploration-themed card game.

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UmJammerSully
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Discovery

I'm designing a competitive expandable/customizable card game in the vein of Fantasy Flight LCG's like Netrunner and Game of Thrones. It features a "dungeon punk" setting and has factions exploring an uncharted territory and clashing in dungeons to claim the treasures inside. I have a lot of ideas but I'm stumped on something specific that would help bring all the mechanics together.

Players have both a "clan deck" and a "discovery deck" each. Clan decks contains ally characters, one-time events and attachments that all help towards getting an edge on your opponent during conflicts at dungeons, whilst the discovery deck represents the various locations and encounters you'll come across whilst exploring.

During an exploration phase, players will choose 1 of 3 options to discover from the cards dealt from their discovery deck. They gain a number of resources as a "discovery bonus" that they can spend on allies/attachments etc. Then the Location they discovered is added to a "map" board where it is now considered to be in play (See attached image). Dungeon locations discovered this way come into play with a number of victory tokens on them, and the players will have to battle it out during a conflict phase to be the one to claim the tokens for themselves.

Now my problem lies with what these non-dungeon locations actually do. I like the idea of having a growing map as the world is discovered but I don't know how to make the map relevant and how the locations would fundamentally interact with other adjacent locations. I could explain a lot more but don't want the post to get too long but please ask me anything if you would need more info to help. :)

Steve Broadfoot
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Secondary objectives and area control.

Without knowing the specifics of how the game plays, its hard to say for sure what would work, but my first impression is that you're making a 2 player game with a sprawling map and need to make it viable. To do that you need to give players a reason to go here so perhaps a series of secondary objectives? A new deck just for secondary objectives, players draw 3 each per game and they each force players to explore? What about adding in an NPC faction to give players a challenge during exploration? Could you add in an area control mechanic that gives players benefits for having explored other locations?

Just a couple of quick ideas there.

UmJammerSully
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Thank you very much for your

Thank you very much for your input, it's much appreciated.

Steve Broadfoot wrote:
Without knowing the specifics of how the game plays, its hard to say for sure what would work.

Yeah I figured that would be important information but didn't want the post to be an essay long. I'll talk a little bit about it now.

So the general premise of the game is these factions have been tucked away safely behind the walls of a giant capital city for hundreds/thousands of years (this location is represented in game by a card in the center of the map) but now circumstance has pushed them to explore the outside world for valuable resources, particularly what is contained in these dungeons.

After a dungeon is discovered, they are then fought over with your character units, deploying surprise maneuvers and tricks in order to have a higher skill value than your opponent to claim the power tokens on the card (Between 1-3). The game ends when a player reaches 15 total power before their opponent.

As it stands, the dungeon and conflict mechanics could exist entirely without the map area, but I don't think it's quite interesting enough and I want to map mechanic to be work naturally with everything else. I want the game be both about "mapping out an uncharted land" AND fighting rival factions in dungeons.

Steve Broadfoot
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Then I feel an area control

Then I feel an area control mechanic may be your best option. Have players explore and claim territory then use the claimed territory to provide bonuses. Also gives players reasons to fight over claimed territory to get the bonuses for themselves.

let-off studios
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Reason for a Map

I think you need to develop a reason why you want to use a map at all.

You can develop a game where two factions compete, have different locations to visit, can compete over the control of those locations (or the right to loot them), etc. but all of this can be done - for example - with a simple deck of cards. The dungeon itself and exploration of it can be abstracted.

Think of the reasons why you want to have a map. I personally don't think the map is useful for a game simply because it's "nice to look at." There ought to be reasons why players/avatars/characters/units have to travel from one location to another.

- Resource collection
- Buffs, Healing
- Control/Command points to earn points/victory
- Create a pattern
- Create units
- ???

Why else would you want players to move to different map locations? If none of these reasons apply, or if you can't think of any, then skip the map and consider a card game (or some different mechanic).

bluesea
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UmJammerSully wrote:Now my

UmJammerSully wrote:

Now my problem lies with what these non-dungeon locations actually do. I like the idea of having a growing map as the world is discovered but I don't know how to make the map relevant and how the locations would fundamentally interact with other adjacent locations. I could explain a lot more but don't want the post to get too long but please ask me anything if you would need more info to help. :)

UmJammerSully wrote:

After a dungeon is discovered, they are then fought over with your character units, deploying surprise maneuvers and tricks in order to have a higher skill value than your opponent to claim the power tokens on the card (Between 1-3).

After reading the above text, my first instinct would be to recommend introducing an asymmetrical secret knowledge aspect to the game in the form of cards randomly dealt to each player whereby, for some cost, they can enter or use one these secret locations.

These secret locations may give the players strengths, access to secret parts of known locations, side quests,victory points, etc. The cards can be played face down with a control marker on top until time to reveal location or use the power. Once revealed, then they location is, obviously, not a secret and players may use it, but the person who reveals it gets the advantage of a sneak attack, larger pot of gold, more VPs, etc.

I forgot to add, I agree completely with what "let-off studios" advised about maps. Well said.

entwater
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Another idea could be to

Another idea could be to abstract the idea of a map. Based on what you've written, i'm visualizing an ever-expanding grid of cards on a table that may or may not knit together cohesively. That sounds messy. I could be missing something!

But

Here's another idea. When players explore new terrain by drawing 3 cards, the two cards they do not select go to a new deck. This deck of discovered but not explored terrain represents the "map". on future turns, players could choose to draw from this deck instead of finding new terrain, representing going to look for something they or their opponent turned up.

I like the area control idea. That could be implemented by having non-dungeon cards like roads, villages, ets. in the exploration deck. If a player chooses to claim one of those cards, they provide resources for when players choose a dungeon. For example, roads provide movement, farms provide food, wilderness provides herbs or meat, villages provide squires.

When a player decides to explore a dungeon they total their resources. or perhaps dungeons have requirements for entry. Like a difficult dangerous dungeon requires players to have more movement, indicating it is further from the town. Perhaps you could have a mechanism where players can try to take control of map cards from other players.

This way the "map" becomes an important part of the game, but it is abstracted so you don't have to deal with the complexity of an actual map.

let-off studios
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Cross-Thread Intersection

You may want to browse through this thread, regarding someone's idea of creating an "open world" tabletop game. I think there's a lot of crossover that can help you here, at least in terms of developing maps and mechanics for how to abstract a larger geographic area.

http://www.bgdf.com/forum/game-creation/design-theory/endless-board-game...

ssm
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I am working on a dungeon

I am working on a dungeon crawler board game & it will have rooms. The way I am going about it right now is to have maybe 6 rooms that can be placed & each has a number 1-6 on them. Then there are creature cards with 1-6 on back & when someone goes into room 2, a creature card with 2 on back is turned over to reveal the creature in the room. I need to figure out how many cards per room to have. I want the rooms to be able to be used multiple times but with limited use as well. So if I make 6 cards for each room, then each room could be used up to 6 times revealing a different creature each time. It would also force players to move 'up' rooms as the used rooms become closed after that level room's cards are depleted.

IDK if something like this would work for you, but maybe give you something to think about.

UmJammerSully
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Thanks for the input

Thanks for the input everyone, very much appreciated and given a lot for me to think about.

I think I'm going to experiment with locations that give permanent tactical buffs that belong to the person that discovered them at first but opponents can contest and claim them.

DarkDream
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Some Thoughts

Are the players represented by pawns? If they are, then they can be moved around the map to various locations.

Each location can then have individual quests or opportunities to gather resources. Those resources can then be used to have a better chance of exploring a dungeon and winning its' treasures.

The locations can also have requirements of resources to enter, for example, water in a desert location.

From there you can grow a living world.

--DarkDream

X3M
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The only reason for empty

The only reason for empty space on a board. Would be that it takes time for the player, to cross it.

How does the movement work in your game? Do players have to move 1 field at a time? If so, than adding these empty spaces is not a problem at all.

But it would be very, very, boring to play and walk. So, how about not having empty spaces at all?

Each card will have some sort of effect on players:
- Healing or a resting area.
- Fatigue and/or hunger effects to the player, after crossing each card.
- Resources: Food.
- Resources: Materials for creating equipment.

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