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Using polyhedral dice to mitigate "stronger" cards

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questccg
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Some designers brought up the point about the turn-off of the "pay to win" model.

I had the challenge of trying to figure out how much MANA players get each time they play.

Well I believe that I have SOLVED BOTH issues with the same mechanic:

  • At the beginning of the game, 1 Player rolls five (5) polyhedral dice.
  • Each dice represents one (1) of the five (5) stats in the game.
  • In addition the TOTAL of those five (5) dice, represents the score that players must try to make.

How does this FIX the "pay to win" model? Well just because you have POWERFUL cards in your deck or on the table, doesn't mean you will be able to trigger their ability. Why? Because you may not have sufficient Mana (poly dice) to use it.

So EVEN if you have more powerful cards than your opponent, you are on the SAME playing field in that you have to do the best you can with the abilities and Mana that has been rolled.

This is GOOD because it doesn't discourage players from BUYING "stronger" cards, it just means that chance is a factor in increasing the odds for an opponent who has a weaker deck (overall).

So the Victory Score varies between 5 and 40 points! And this can be positive or negative whichever you are closer. This gives PURPOSE to minus ("-"), division ("/") and modulo ("%") operators since the score might need tweaking using one or several of these operators!

The median is 22.5 points and the average is 23.14 points... So expect a lot of rolls to be in the 20-30 range.

This makes for far more "interesting" game play. Adds a bit of "randomness" but allows for more "predictable" deck-construction (when knowing the boundaries for winning Victory Scores).

Anyone have any comments/questions?

questccg
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Sounds like a GOOD "solution" to me?!

What I wanted is for Players to be "excited" when NEWER cards come out - obviously some of them being more "powerful" than preceding or initial cards that a player may purchase.

That's why I was a bit "discouraged" when people (you designers) said that no one will buy into a "pay to win" model...

And I agree ... it's WRONG for people who spend more money to win. But perhaps if we changed this to "win more often" it may be equitable. It's exactly like a "boxing match": the Champion has more fights and more experience, but a worthy Challenger may just knock him out "with the right cards". So odds-wise you go with the Champion - but the Challenger still has a chance to defeat him.

That's what I am trying to achieve: a form of balance.

And since BOTH players have the SAME "Mana" and "Victory Score", the strategy lies in how you use these two in combination to get the closest score.

Of course this does not prevent players from BUYING "better" cards... Something that I felt necessary IF you expect to have a TCG/CCG model when players collect cards to make stronger/better decks during deck-construction.

questccg
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Stats and polyhedral dice

[STR] = Strength = d12 : Red
[CON] = Constitution = d10 : Orange
[DEX] = Dexterity = d8 : Yellow
[WIS] = Wisdom = d6 : Green
[INT] = Intelligence = d4 : Blue

The colors are merely for representation purposes, I think I might sell POLY dice sets with these "transparent" colors.

But you could use ANY polyhedral set for your games...

The higher POLY dice means that the chances of having that kind of Mana is MORE probable. So if you have a lot of "+" cards that are "Soldiers" with STRENGTH as an ability, then you can perhaps use several abilities depending on the roll results (1-12 Mana points).

This also may "introduce" the possibility of getting a "+1 INT" or "+3 STR", etc... For the next game as a permanent bonus versus your opponent. That also could be interesting...

radioactivemouse
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Don't mean to sound dumb...

What's "Pay-to-win"?

I mean I have my own definition about that phrase which deals with buying rare CCGs in order to create the best decks, but I don't see the relationship of that with this thread.

ElKobold
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Not sure how random rolls to

Not sure how random rolls to determine mana are a good thing.

You can actually test how good/bad it is easily.

Grab two mono-color magic the gathering decks.
Take out all the land cards.
At the start of each turn, roll a D6 - this is how much mana you have for this turn.

Try to play a game this way. See if you'll like it. (my bet is you won't).

questccg
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Some clarifications

radioactivemouse wrote:
What's "Pay-to-win"?

"Pay-to-win" is exactly what you have surmised: it means players that spend more money on newer cards will win because they have stronger cards than say someone who only buy a "core" starter deck (of 10 cards).

While in Magic there is rarity, there is none of that BS in my game. Only strength and so good cards cost an average amount and more powerful cards cost a greater amount to buy.

ElKobold wrote:
At the start of each turn, roll a D6 - this is how much mana you have for this turn.

No you roll ONCE per GAME five (5) polyhedral dice. I have already tested the mechanic and it works well. The Mana pools generated from this roll also are "fair". The game is nothing like Magic, it's quicker and simpler and only takes five (5) minutes to play a game.

I'm also abolishing card counts (like "X" of card A, "Y" of card B, etc.) You can build your deck as you see fit... No more constraints on the quantities of each type of card. But no more than three (3) of the SAME card in your deck and UNIQUE cards only one (1)...

ElKobold
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questccg wrote:No you roll

questccg wrote:
No you roll ONCE per GAME five (5) polyhedral dice. I have already tested the mechanic and it works well.

Need to see the rules and card listings to get a better idea.
But right now I`m not sold on the idea, to be honest.

radioactivemouse
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Hmmm...

questccg wrote:
radioactivemouse wrote:
What's "Pay-to-win"?

"Pay-to-win" is exactly what you have surmised: it means players that spend more money on newer cards will win because they have stronger cards than say someone who only buy a "core" starter deck (of 10 cards).

While in Magic there is rarity, there is none of that BS in my game. Only strength and so good cards cost an average amount and more powerful cards cost a greater amount to buy.

I get the feeling there's still an issue about what you can and can't do. It's the issue of the rolling of dice...there's always the possibility of a player, no matter how good or bad will just get a bad roll (extremely discouraging when a bad player rolls bad or a good player rolls well). You can't rely on averages to be the norm...especially when you have multiple dice of various sizes.

The bell curve on, say a 2d6 isn't the same as when you roll a 1d4 and a 1d20...it's going to create a different curve resulting in something a little wider than what you're expecting.

This is how I solved this issue:

Every player has the same amount of "mana" at their disposal every round (let's say 6 for an example). You don't grow every round, you have to make decisions on how you're going to use your reserves. I mean technically, you don't go into a battle at level 1 and grow while you're fighting...you come in at the best you can be. If they have a 6 cost card, yes it's powerful, but that's all they can bring out. You can, in turn, summon 6 1-cost creatures. As a designer, it forces you to balance the power of 1 6-cost creature with 6 1-cost creatures...or any combination thereof. Thus, you eliminate the power curve AND you have a balanced game. NOW it becomes a game of skill mixed with the randomness of how a card comes out of a deck.

Pay-to-win really originates from using random booster packs and a rarity scale as a business model. I'll admit, it's an insanely profitable way of gaining income, but it creates a secondary market, where pay-to-win thrives.

Anyways, it's just my observations and how I solved it.

questccg
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The game is different than Magic

I get the "feeling" that your solution for "Mana" is similar to a game like Magic.

My game is very different (and in many ways). You don't PAY to play Heroes in play, instead you use Mana when using "Special Abilities". Each ability is rather different from each other and it costs Mana to use them.

With five (5) polyhedral dice, it is possible to have five different amounts of Mana available to each player (because both players use the same poly dice roll).

So if 1d4 (Magic) rolls a "1", that means you only have ONE Mana point for "Magicians/Clerics". Since this is "unfavorable" you will probably want to limit your use of "Magicians" for that specific game. Why? Because you only have one Mana point to use. But if you roll a 1d12 (Soldier) and get a "10", this means that it is favorable in this game to use "Soldiers" (+) and their abilities since you can probably trigger a few abilities with a roll of "10".

Therefore the game is NOTHING like a game of Magic.

You are trying to put cards in play that will add up to the closest value of your polyhedral dice rolls.

In my version of "Pay-to-win", the idea is that over time, STRONGER cards will emerge with better abilities and stats. These cards will be more expensive than say the starting cards. BUT there is no guarantee that the dice rolls will allow you to USE the stronger abilities... There are many factors such as the total "Score Points", the operators, the operands that match, etc. It's not like you play a card and you trigger an ability. Abilities for different cards come into play in various "phases" in the game.

There are three (3) phases in the game: Pre-Combat (Before the Battle begins), During Combat and Post-Combat (After the Battle ends).

So again, you choose which cards to use in each phase provided that you have enough Mana for them.

For example: You could use a Warlord's (x) ability of "Holy Cause" to give +1 Crystal point for each "Blue" unit in play. The cost is "1 Mana per unit". This ability is used/resolved Post-Combat (After the Battle ends).

Say something went terribly WRONG during combat and you lost 3 points. If you have three (3) "Blue" units in play and have 3 Mana (on WISDOM = 1d6), you could "recover" three (3) points and bring you back to your previous Score and closer to the "Victory Score".

I think "rarity" will occur based on how many cards I manufacture and how quickly they sell out. Obviously this will probably depend on the consumer cost of those cards, but also popularity of cards for player decks.

And as far as ROLLs are concerned: one player rolls for BOTH players. Each player uses the same results. So if you roll a bad roll (of all 5 dice) BOTH players are affected. And it means that abilities will be tougher to trigger since there is LESS Mana for that game.

Something like that...

larienna
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A long time ago, I had a

A long time ago, I had a similar idea where you combined collectible dice with collectible cards. I remember having 8 sided dice for mana.

Now it could be interesting to restrain the players in how they play their cards, but it must not lead to a situation where:

- Player cannot play any card at all because they don't have the right mana color.
- Players who only roll low value with lose the game to a player who is luckier.

Dice could be useds as mana, or could be used to inflate cards instead. This way all cards are playable, but inflatable differently.

Quote:
it means players that spend more money on newer cards will win because they have stronger cards than say someone who only buy a "core" starter deck (of 10 cards).

Well, first you can make all cards equally strong like in Epic which I tried and is very interesting.

Else, you could simply have no power curve. Now some say that it could be impossible to achieve, I would be willing to try making an expandable game without any power curve. If people have good reasons to believe that power curves is necessary, I am willing to listen.

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