I just had this idea last night that I want to share. I intend to use a deck building mechanic a game of mine which is assisted by other mechanics (like starcraft).

One of the problem I had is the amount of cards that I needed to print to play the game. Like starcraft, there would have been 3 factions which each had 9 units. Here is the structure of a unit:

First, for each unit, there is the "Basic" unit which comes with the basic set. They do not represent anything in particular. Then if you want to add a unit to your arsenal, you add 3 cards to your deck. Each unit has 2 possible upgrades which each adds 2 cards to your deck.

So in the end, a unit has 8 cards: basic + 3 unit cards + 2x2 upgrade cards. Multiply by 9 units, it makes 72 (9x8) x by 3 factions, it makes 216 unit cards. There is also other cards for support and defense. which gives approximately 300 cards.

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Now my new idea was: what if I can reuse cards by allowing players to rotate the cards so that each card has 2 sides. One of the problem is that, a card could be shuffled in the wrong way, or get drawn in the wrong direction and player could lose track of the side the card was. But I think I found a way to solve this problem too.

To illustrate a card, I will use the following notation

[ Top of card | Bottom of card ]

The unit will be identified as unit 1 to 9 which can get upgrade A and B.

First, there will be the basic card the player start with.

[ Basic | unit 1 ]

The reverse of the card hold the unit 1 information. So when you want to purchase unit 1, you search for the basic card, you rotate it then you add 2 additional unit cards:

[ Unit 1 | Upgrade 1A ]

[ Unit 1 | Upgrade 1B ]

So 1 card gets changed and 2 cards are added instead of 3. Then when it is time to upgrade, if you buy upgrade A, you rotate the unit card above and add 1 card:

[ Upgrade 1A | Nothing ]

Same thing if you buy upgrade B, you rotate a card and add 1 card:

[ Upgrade 1B | nothing ]

So you would need a total of 5 cards instead of 8 cards to achieve the same goal. So the total number of cards would be 135 instead. The fact that you have less cards also makes your deck thinner.

If you forget the side of the card, you can easily know what side it should be according to what you have purchased. For example a unit card gets flipped on the "Upgrade A" side. If the "Upgrade A" 2nd card is still in front of you to buy, you know that this upgrade is not available.

It reminds me that you could get upgrades on the spot which could be an interesting feature. For example. On my turn, I decided to buy upgrade A, upgrade A 2nd card is placed in the discard pile and will be reshuffled at the end of the turn. Meanwhile, if I draw the 1st card "[ Unit 1 | Upgrade 1A]" I can immediately rotate it to benefit from the upgrade.

Do you think that rotating cards would still make the game convenient to play?

I agree that it is somewhat true, but the information of the reverse of the card sould be available in front of the players as cards to buy. So players does not need to bother about what is the other side of the card to play the game, only to upgrade or rotate misplaced cards.

I don't know if it helps?