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What to do with "weaker" cards?

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questccg
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Okay fellow Game Designers... In my current WIP (Work-In-Progress), players build (Deck Construction) a deck containing nine (9) Monsters. Each Monster is comprised of 1 "Stat" card and 1 or 2 "Enhancement" cards (depending on which Monster is chosen).

To clarify, there are THREE (3) Decks:

1> The Monster Deck comprised of nine (9) Monster cards.

2> The Stats Deck comprised of nine (9) Stat cards.

3> The Enhancement Deck comprised of nine (9) or MORE Enhancement cards.

Here's my "problem"... I'm wondering if I should put a SIMPLE "Hard Cap" on all the cards and say something like: "Maximum three (3) identical cards."

Because here's the issue. While all Monster sets are "balanced" (More or less)... The KEY is to re-use cards in an "UN-BALANCED" fashion. So while your typical "Gremlin" is 2,500 ATK and 2,500 DFS ... Why not use the Leviathan's Stats and make MY Gremlin at 4,000 ATK and and 2,500 DFS!!!

While this is EXACTLY what I want to "promote"... I don't want to have abuse like: "My Deck is nine (9) Leviathans".

Anyone have IDEAS or ways of preventing this type of "ABUSIVE PLAY"??? Or should I just say: "Maximum three (3) identical cards" in each of the three (3) Decks???

questccg
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Another small comment...

I want to AVOID a "Pay-to-Win" Model. What I mean by this is cards from "Series 1" should be competitive with cards from "Series 99"... But I feel like releasing more "cards" (or Monster Sets to be accurate) may introduce more "swing-y" play if not "controlled" carefully.

However at the same time, we WANT to players to introduce HIGHER "scoring" cards and content... To make for memorable "Johnny" moments during a game.

So this is just a small comment... For others to THINK about how we can continue to deliver more content, but NOT having it to be "Pay-to-Win"...!

questccg
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Just as a follow-up

Although Monster Sets are being priced relative to the card count and the "value" of the "Enhancements" ... So you might say: "Well IF I have to pay more for the card, it's already Pay-to-Win..."

But my counter to that is the "Leviathan" Set: you get a Melee/Aqua Monster, 1 Stat card (4,000 ATK and 2,500 DFS) and 1 Enhancement card (+1,000 ATK and 2x Aqua DFS).

So on its own it's a 5,000 ATK and 5,000 DFS card. Pretty powerful...

But this is the LEAST expensive Monster Set costing ONLY $2.50 USD. So the issue is using the least expensive card set, you could easily build a nine (9) card deck ONLY of "Leviathans" and the corresponding cards.

I don't want this. It's BORING and doesn't introduce ANY creativity in HOW you build your Decks. So it's really NOT a Pay-to-Win game ... The real issue is to ensure that it REMAINS like this and that NEWER cards that come into the picture later on... force their former cards to be eclipsed due to gradual creep.

Any thoughts on this???

Juzek
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Is there an in-game cost to

Is there an in-game cost to drafting the cards? Does using the Leviathan's stats require more than the Gremlins? Maybe the big cards would too far unbalance the deck and prevent it from functioning (think of engine builders)

I prefer soft caps. Like "If you put 9 Leviathans, you only have enough actions to activate 2 per turn so there is no point in adding more"

questccg
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Actually I was playing around with something SIMILAR

I had the idea of BALANCING the cards such that when they stack, you know that a Monster has "reached it's limit". So instead of just using arbitrary numbers (like 1, 2, 3), I can ASSIGN a Point Value to each card. And when you play your cards, each Monster cannot have more that 5 Points. Above this is not permitted.

This is "sort of" like you are suggesting (in-game cost) ... And it allows the possibility for NEWER content (Series of cards) the possibility to BUILD upon the existing cards.

Like I can say "TODAY" (9th March 2020) the Maximum Allowable Point Value per Monster is 5 Points. But in a Years time, with newer Monsters and better cards, I can INCREASE this to maybe 6 Points. And what this does is create GREAT use for the "weaker" Monsters ... Because you can configure them more EASILY and still allow for "stronger" cards to also be used but more sparingly.

Cool beans! Thanks for pointing this out to me. I was going to use it as a facilitation mechanic ... But I realize now, the better use is ACTUAL Point Values for each configurable card.

questccg
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Your idea of in-game cost is 100% valid

questccg wrote:
@Juzek: I think you really "hit the head of the nail" so-to-speak.

And the reason I say this is with a "sort of" currency it FAVORS adding "weaker" cards for Deck Construction BALANCING. You'll WANT weaker cards in order to be more compatible with the stronger ones. This introduces a sort of VALUE to "weaker" cards because you can opt for a Hi-Lo strategy or do a more balance method of constructing your deck (with more average cards).

This is VERY COOL!!!

Because it offers players different WAYS to configure their Decks! Definitely a game changer... I really like this idea of "in-game" currency.

Thanks for your help...

questccg
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Just as a follow-up

I've made some "Enhancements" at Level 3...

For example: The Demon.

He has an ability called "Soul Gaze".

What it does is allow the player to "Draw 3 cards of his Stat Deck and replace the current stat card with one of your choice."

That is pretty AWESOME "Enhancement"... So it's worth 3 Configuration Points (CPs).

Or he has another ability called "Kindred Spirit".

What it does is "If your opponent's Element is Flama, their attack is nullified."

That too is worth 3 CPs and is an amazing ability to use against an opponent...!

Plus the Demon's Stat card is a Level 2... He is stronger than the weaker Level 1 Monsters. So it is NOT possible to use the Demon AS-IS. You need to choose which "Enhancement" you prefer and then that's 5 CPs (2 + 3).

questccg
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Some additional thoughts

This Five (5) Configuration Points (CPs) per Monster is the "in-game" currency. What it does is prepare and balance stat cards that are overly powerful which could have 3 or maybe 4 CPs. This means that they can be complimented with WEAKER "Enhancements" and Minor Buffs.

This is very COOL because it means in the future the weaker "Enhancements" could definitely have a place in a Player's Enhancement Deck.

Exactly what I was concerned with initially: how do I make "weaker" enhancement useful for future series when the cards get more and more powerful?!

Looks like for the moment, I have a good strategy. But I will update the cards and determine if there is still room for blatant "abuse" of either the Deck Building mechanic or some of the "Enhancements".

Cheers!

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