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Thoughts on a micro solo reusable game system

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larienna's picture
Joined: 07/28/2008

While thinking about how I could make a micro game that would fit in a wallet (from another user suggestion), I came up with an idea that could work as some sort of universal game system which could be used for many theme and type of games.

The first Components would be to use cards. Because their thinness makes them easily transportable. I was aiming for a 12 or 18 cards game. Game crafters print sets of 18 cards. It might be necessary to use tarot cards due to the amount of information on each cards. Cards are also a components that can be used in many different ways. So using them will offer many options.

The front and the back of the cards are used. The front contains information used by the game. Stuff you can build, resources you get, etc. While the back of the cards are used to resolve action.

The system works like this, players have a stack of cards in front of them. They chose an action to perform then draw a card. The result of the action will be determined by the text on the back of the next card on the top of the deck. So it's like Arkham HOrror. You read the text under the action you have used. So even if you are reusing the same cards, if you have 5 actions in the game, then you have 5x18 possible results. Making hard to guess what is going to happen.

The cards you have drawn uncover the action results on the next card. But some action could use the information on the face side of the card. For example, if you use the action build, the buildings you can place in play would be located on the face side of the card. The front of the cards could be sub divided in multiple sections where only a section of the cards is used according to the position or orientation of the card in play. This would allow multiple use cards.

The objetive could be to score the most points once you passed through all the cards, survive all the card's bad events or you could have an objective to fulfill in a time limit.


Most of the time, solo games needs a lot of depth and complexity to be enjoyable in solo. So one thing I thought of adding, optionally to the system was dices.

Now the idea to use dice is not only to roll them, but also to use them as resources track and pawns. That would allow to have multiple uses and much more flexibility than using simply cubes or pawns.

The down side is that it takes more space to store. You will not be able to store it flat, but if you use small dices, you'll be able to carry the game is a small box of cards or in a ziplock bag.


You you might want to have an example of a game using such system. Well for example you could have a game about managing a city or a space station. When you use actions to build up your station and it's defenses and you use dices as resources markers or fleet pawns. Buildings or modules could be on the face side of the card. Bad events occuring to the city/station would be on the back of the cards and would be relative to the action you choose. Goal: survive the deck, or build a city/station of X VP before the decks get depleted, etc.

Do you like the idea?

Could it create a system generic enough to make multiple games out of it?

starflier's picture
Joined: 01/09/2009
Oooh! That got my brain going!

The first thing I thought of was a generic Space-opera type game.

Would require five dice for tracking Armor, Fuel, and three types of cargo: Weapons, Medicine, and Luxury Goods. The fronts of the cards are planets, each with different values for one to two of the three cargoes, which you could buy or sell there. (Armor and Fuel double as currency)

After visiting a planet, player decides how fast they want to travel to the next one, spending one fuel for each unit of speed. The options on the backs of the cards correspond to how fast they traveled, with slow travel being more likely to run into pirates, etc, but also more likely to discover deralict ships and artifacts.

Player can spend Weapons to defeat pirates and avoid losing armor, or Medicine to help castaways, maybe getting paid when they are returned to their home planet.

larienna's picture
Joined: 07/28/2008
You see, you've got yourself

You see, you've got yourself a game (^_^)

Like I said on BGG, since the game is only 18 cards cards. You could packup multiple games in the same box (like those 50 game in 1 box). Unfortunately, you cannot really use a universal set of components (like piece pack) since each card will have information and events unique for each game.

But still, only adding 18 cards is really not a trouble.

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