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Rock Paper Scissors Card Game - Collect Cards or Discard to Use Abilities

9 replies [Last post]
Joined: 02/18/2016
Flowchart for game concept

Hello Everyone!

Don't be discouraged by the sea of text below - I'll sum it up for you in the beginning and provide more details towards the bottom. Don't get all TL;DR on me yet!

Here’s the concept in a nutshell:
Battle other players in RPS and collect 4 cards of different colors to win. Discard cards to use their special abilities to slow your opponents down or help yourself out.
This is supposed to be a light, casual game that you could play in a coffeeshop or bar with rules easy to memorize but also enough depth to keep the game interesting.

The questions I eventually have for everyone are:
-Any suggestions for tightening the gameplay and adding fun?
-Rather than leave the cards as simple Rock, Paper, Scissors icons with numeric values and abilities, which might sound like a tired concept to some, make this game more thematic and try to change the cards into characters that have these abilities?

Mechanics used in this concept (using definitions listed from Board Game Geek):
-Rock, Paper, Scissors
-Set Collection
-Take That

- 13 Rock Cards (numbered 1-13, various colors of red, blue, green and purple)
- 13 Paper Cards (numbered, various colors)
- 13 Scissors cards (numbered, various colors)
- 4 “Instant Win” cards (1 for each color)
- “Cancel” cards, each player gets 1 to use for the game

Each player has 1 Rock, 1 Paper and 1 Scissors card in their hand. On their turn, a player decides if they want to play one other opponent or all opponents at the same time. Players simultaneously play one of their 3 cards.
- Rock beats Scissors, Scissors beats Paper, Paper beats Rock.
- The player whose card beats more opponent cards than anyone else wins.
- In the case of ties, the highest number on the card wins.

Winner of the hand collects winning card, draws a new card from the appropriate draw pile, other players return their cards to their hands.

For kids, you could probably stop right there with the rules if you wanted to. I originally designed this with kids in mind. But I wanted to add a little more depth.

For more advanced play, you can use the card abilities. Each color comes with a special ability, which you use by choosing to DISCARD your card instead of collecting it.
- Red cards remove cards from others’ collections (knock the winning player down a peg)
- Green cards let you forcibly trade cards with others (give an opponent a color they already have in exchange for a color you want)
- Purple cards allow you to steal cards (pretty straightforward)
- Blue cards let you collect one of the cards that lost the hand instead of your own (example: you won the hand with a blue card, but you previously collected blue and the opponent played a wild card this turn? use the blue ability and collect their wild instead!)
- Wild cards can be any color and therefore can use any ability

To complement this set of card abilities, each card has an immunity to one of the following:
- red (being destroyed)
- green (being traded)
- purple (being stolen)

Collecting more than one card of a single color, allows you to COMBINE immunities for cards of a single color. Therefore, it is possible to eventually “lock down” a color so they can’t be removed by opponents. I thought adding this feature would also help keep the game moving towards an end and not go on forever.

Additionally, there are some other card types to throw into the mix. At the beginning of the game, each player is given a special “cancel” card face down. Players can flip these face up to remove an RPS card that was just played and potentially change the winner of the hand. Once you've used the cancel card, you can “renew” it by sacrificing 2 winning RPS cards to flip the cancel card back to its face down position and use it again.

Finally, there are 4 “instant win” cards (one for each color/ability) that immediately trump all other cards in play, (can still be countered by the “cancel” card). These can not be collected and must be discarded for the ability or to renew the cancel cards.

That’s the core concept of the game. I wanted to give the winning player of each hand a bunch of different but fairly equal choices:
- Should I collect this card I won with and increase the number of colors I have?
- If it’s a color I already have, should I collect it to build up the other card’s immunities?
- Should I sacrifice it to use its ability and prevent another player from getting ahead?
- Should I sacrifice it to renew my cancel card?

Thoughts, questions? I look forward to any and all comments!

Joined: 02/29/2016
I thought your game is

I thought your game is interesting
no damage calculation (subtracting or adding numbers)
i like it, it's quite simple and i think can play it with my little brother or even my girlfriend.

And sure, adding a character with skill will make this game more interesting
every colors has their own speciality, and adding a skill to every card will make your game more complex.

And if you add a character,make sure its a well designed character. Like Genzoman's or Artgerm's :)

Joined: 02/18/2016
Thanks for your comments! Are

Thanks for your comments! Are there any games you know of that may be similar to my concept?

Joined: 02/29/2016
Sorry for the late replies, i

Sorry for the late replies, i have internet problem here...
honestly, i live in a very small town where almost no board game available (except for monopoly or snake and ladder)
i only play PNP, and i think your concept is original...

about your question, i think there might be someone else who can give you a much better answer

Joined: 08/21/2015
I like the sounds of this

I like the sounds of this game - I'd try playing it. The basic mechanic is a lot like trick-taking with suit-ranks or a trump suit in card-games like bridge, but I think the collection aspect (and especially the use of abilities affecting collections) is quite original (at least, I don't think I've seen something like that in the games that I've played). I suppose one could draw a tenuous comparison to "Seven Dragons", but as I said, it is very tenuous. I'm not sure I understand the stacking-colours-for-immunity: does this mean that if you have two red cards stacked in your collection they can protect one other non-red card from being destroyed (on a once-off basis per extra card, or otherwise)?

I think the game will be great fun to play with just a rock-paper-scissors theme, but the goal of the game (i.e. collecting cards of all the colours) could lend itself to all sorts of themes that might increase its appeal to some people. Off the top of my head, possible themes could be: a treasure-hunt for a complete set of different types of mystical or alien techological artifacts/weapons, managing a sports team and recruiting different types of players, gathering a party of fantasy-style characters for a quest, something medical with antidotes for different diseases, or just about anything else you can think of.

Joined: 02/18/2016
Thanks for your comment!

Appreciate your response! To answer your question about stacking colors for immunity, let me clarify.

Each card in the deck (with the exception of Wilds) has at least one immunity to being either destroyed, traded or stolen. Cards with similar colors SHARE their immunities with each other.

For example, let's say I already collected a red card that had an immunity to being stolen. That means that someone would have to destroy it or trade it to take the card away from me. Now, let's say I won another hand with a red card, this one immune to being traded. I decide to collect this card as well. In my rules, both of my red cards are now treated as one red card that has BOTH immunities. Now, it can only be taken from me one way instead of three. In time, I could collect another red card with the remaining immunity, locking it permanently in my possession.

The idea was to provide the players with choices - collect another of the same color (further protection - defensive), or discard and use it's ability (mess with someone else - offensive)?

Thanks for suggesting Seven Dragons - I'll check that out.

Joined: 04/08/2012
This is a neat concept game

After reading your post, this is how I percieve your game in simularity to other family party games.

Well. Lets back up for a moment.
Your game is Rock , Paper Scissors and then you added colors and abilities.

1: Rock paper scissors
2: Go Fish
3: Uno

This is what I see mixed in your game and its pretty cool.

Rock paper scissor of course classic. Every one knows this game. There is the Mighty Morphin Power Ranger RPS card game you can purchase at Target.

Go fish: Your basically asking other players if they have a color they have for an exachange from yours etc.

3: Uno. Changing up the players hands to match thecolors to win or changing the players hands by slowing them down but now with neat abilities during gameplay.

I think its fine the way it is.
Thats my opinion.

Happy hunting,

Joined: 02/18/2016
Thanks for your feedback. I

Thanks for your feedback. I agree - the colored cards and wild cards representing all colors definitely remind one of Uno. I'm almost positive that's where the inspiration came from. The big difference is there's no face up card to match - you play what you want and then all cards are cleared after the hand.
I could certainly see at first glance why the game might remind you of Go Fish. The key differences here are: 1) You know what cards the other players have collected and 2) You don't get to ask permission. :)

Jonah_G's picture
Joined: 03/15/2015
You have designed a simplified, reverse Guildhall

That's not a bad thing. I like Guildhall. If you haven't played, one builds sets of characters (Weavers, Dancers, Historians, etc.), and with each placement of a matching color, the power of that stack increases, until it has 4-5 cards and you have a really big power... However, guild stacks are easily disrupted. The essential question is, "Do I dump this stack, trade it, or try to convert a full stack into points?" It's a constant test between executive power and safety/point card selection/losing power.

I love your flowchart, and I'm trying to devise something similar myself for a slightly more complicated worker placement-exploration game. I read on an advanced "game theory" stat page about design theory and board games, and apparently some of the great design theorists and mathy people have tried to flowchart games for decades and failed. I think by fail they mean: you can only flowchart one aspect of the game, like how mechanics work together, the balance of a turn round, and how the game ends. You cannot flowchart every possible interaction, including the metagame that might break it, or the little holes or exploits that mess everything up, or the flow experiences created at intervals that break the montony of a particular pattern, or randomized "black swan" events that are meant to disrupt anti-climactic endings, and on and on. What the process might accomplish is to force you to focus on physical space as it relates to time, and what players have to decide and what they have to remember. That's useful to me.

I am designing a game with somewhat unique mechanics (in that I've found 2-4 games out of hundreds that remotely resemble them), and my homework consisted of this:

Search for the genre and the mechanic together. What you have designed is a classic Set Collection game. Other than Card Game, I can't tell how else to categorize it. So on BGG, there are over 800 pages of games that fit this bill. A lot of them will look like yours.

Don't let it sting, learn from them. I've read so many rulebooks, even for themes and games I don't like, because everyone sits down and thinks "what if I take this mechanic and combine it with that." You'll notice how much you want from other games, what things disgust you, the kinds of essential design elements that you intuitively adore. This is when the flow starts breaking, and it feels both wonderful and agonizing.

Tedthebug's picture
Joined: 01/17/2016

Sounds nice & simple, & if you think it classes as a new take on a trick taking game then check out the competition on the Game Crafter & maybe submit it there as well.

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