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Monster Keep — Re-vamping an old design

My latest artist has finished the NEW Logo for "Monster Keep". I love the new logo... I think it looks pretty cool! I think Madison did a wonderful job in bringing to life a "mock-up" that I had designed. Although she has a real busy schedule, I am hoping to sign her for the remainder of the artwork for the game...!

Some format issues:

  1. 15 Card Booster which includes everything (besides 1d6) to play.

  2. 2 Boosters for two-player game play...

  3. But the game supports up to four-players in an "arena" format.

Some Lore:

  • Heroes and Monsters come from around the land to compete Head-To-Head against each other in this "arena" card battle game.

  • Will you become the Master of the Keep or will your army of combatants fall prey to the cruelty of the Keep!

  • Challenge your friends and your foes... And try to surmount the odds by battling your way to the top.

Comments

More on this design...

The basic principle of *THIS* game is that although you build you deck off-line using Deck Construction, the game is subject to players "stealing" cards from YOUR deck.

"It's called 'Monster Keep' because you get to KEEP the Monster's you capture!"

I'm working around this DESIGN constraint. Obviously it is very BIG since most player would NOT like spending time to invest in their DECK and then suddenly when they play the game, their deck becomes decimated by the other players that are just "bastards" and steal all your good cards...

So this is very much a WIP (Work-In-Progress)...

I just brought out the design because Madison just finished up the logo and I'm very happy with it. But the game, while I have some ideas, I have concerns about the "stealing other players cards".

Therefore more thought needs to go into this design to see what I will TRY to do next with it...

I am thinking Ultimate Guard sleeves

While I like the idea of "stealing" cards... If would be more FUN if it was NOT permanent. The idea is to be able to KEEP cards that you capture and use them for your OWN reasons. But it would be much more interesting if players got back all their cards once the match has ended.

A bit of subterfuge in the game itself... With the possibility of allowing players to outdo their opponents/foes.

That's why I LIKE "Ultimate Guard" sleeves: they have different colors for the card backs (they have like 10+ colors) and this could be used to distinguish which cards REALLY belong to which player.

I like this direction... It's a bit of a PAIN (Problem!) but it solves the issue and allows players to play without really losing their deck too.

Here's the Ultimate Guard LINK/URL:

https://ultimateguard.com/en/supreme-ux-sleeves/supreme-ux-sleeves-stand...

Other cool ideas are...

Instead of just being able to "capture" any card, there could be a RULE which is like:

You may only capture cards which are "exhausted". That means that the other player has used those cards to combat other players in the Keep! And therefore makes those cards all fair game to being "captured"...

So there would be some rules to how to get an opponent's card but only under certain circumstances is that possible. The idea is that you make the field open to "capturing" cards that are a threat to any of the opponent's in the arena.

If they are just passively standing by protecting their Master, well then those cards are "defensive" and currently don't pose a threat UNLESS the player decides to use them for attacking purposes...

stealing cards

I'm very pleased you decided to drop the "permanent steal" element. The excitement of the game shouldn't really depend on a real-life financial sting. And I feel pretty sure that most level-headed kids would recognise that and agree to return prisoners at the end of the war anyway to avoid the ill-feeling and distress such a rule is bound to encourage.

Meta-game material forfeits are best left up to the players' own gambling inclinations!

(Speaking of which, I taught a village in Indonesia how to use a Top Trumps deck they had lying around un-used once. A backpacker must have left it. A few days later I found it had become the centre of quite a gambling culture!! haha...I don't feel bad. It just meant that now less money was changing hands over chess boards. :)

Well the TRUTH of the matter is very simple

If you ask Mom or Dad to invest and buy more boosters so that YOU can have a BETTER "deck" ... It would suck garbage if your opponents could just STEAL your better cards! You've asked for parents to INVEST in the game because you generally LIKE IT. You don't want people to "permanently" take those cards you've invested in getting and ... well just lose them.

It would be TOO HARSH. And I think it would do the OPPOSITE of popularize the game:

Players wouldn't want to play or use their best cards for fear of losing them. That counter-intuitive about having good or better cards: You WANT to play them and try to WIN with them.

But it's totally understandable if you play a good card, capture some opposing cards, that your opponents come back at you and defeat that good or great card... But since it's NOT PERMANENT ... there is no harm or foul that occurs.

I really feel confident that this is the BEST situation/alternative.

Thoughts on *mechanics*

One of the very different mechanics in the game is the whole "exhaust-keep" (or steal) mechanic. Instead of having "Graveyards", once a card is "defeated", it get placed on TOP of the attacking (and winning) player's Deck...

This "capture" mechanic provides a dramatic effect in that a tough battle can get even MORE "exciting" by capturing a key card. Much like when you say "Check" in Chess... The rush of almost winning the game makes for a serious punch of endorphins ... which boost your morale.

So there is no Graveyard... instead cards are "captured" and go into their new master's deck for almost immediate use... I thought about going to the bottom of the deck... But I found that a bit "boring"! When you capture a strong card, it has a secondary effects:

  1. You capture that card and place it on the top of your deck.

  2. You "exhausted" powerful cards to capture it... Meaning that you are also vulnerable to being attacked and having one or several of those cards captured too.

  3. But because that captured card goes into your hand on the NEXT turn, you most likely will "fortify" your position in the rankings.

So from a "concept" perspective, it seems interesting. Of course I will need to prototype it and see if it really is!

Note: My hope is that by using this mechanic, it will encourage more skirmishes and make for bolder attacks and generally speaking encourage an all-or-nothing style of gameplay. Almost feverish in design and play...

In a way...

Because we are dealing with Micro decks (15 card deck) and we of course need to account for "Mana" to give power to your other cards, the "exhaust-keep" (or steal) mechanic is important to help make "more" out of your deck.

Spells in Monster Keep are akin to "Land cards" in Magic: the Gathering (Magic). They are a separate category of cards which allow you to alter the outcome of battles, bolster your units, swift take-thats, etc. You get 5 spell cards along with 10 units with various degrees of rarity per booster. It's how I've decided to structure a Micro deck...

Of course you can't go over the 10 Mana limit, that limit is fixed by rounds... The idea is having enough Mana to use your units and sometimes for spells if they require it. Most spells require no (0) mana to maybe 1 or 2 Mana for more expensive spells. The idea here is to allow counters to be relatively inexpensive. But maybe some permanent buffs could cost a little to use, etc.

So in a way, I'm trying to do "more" with less. The "recycling" (or keeping) of units when they are defeated and "captured" will most probably help extend the amount of units available to battle with. At least that's the current goal... With some playtesting, we'll see how good it gets!

Note: I see this kinda like a card game of War. When you lose high scoring cards, it makes you weaker the next round. If you lose all of your high scoring cards, it becomes statistically unlikely that you will win the game. Obviously War is a terrible game of chance. And so I don't want anyone to think there are similarities... The only thing that may be a bit similar is how "capturing" enemy units can affect the morale of the other player.

And obviously tip the "battle" in the opponent's favor too! But the tug of war between players and the units is an inevitable one... which in some ways reminds me of War.

Could you give some extra

Could you give some extra balance by associating ownership of 'enslaved' monsters with some risk - like the more of them you have, the greater chance of them rebelling against you? You might therefore choose to execute some captured monsters rather than keep them...or invest in a slave-driver that helps keep them in check? :)

You are the "master"...

Your idea of a "Slave Driver" is thematically interesting. If certain cards had the "Slave Driver" attribute, that might make it interesting option that you would need to have your own card to "control" two (2) of the opposing cards...

I am planning to have "attributes" like "Instant Strike" which allows you to deploy and attack on the same turn, or "Break Thru" which allows you to do direct attacks to your opponent's "master". So why not a "Slave Driver" which allows you to control opposing units!

Cool beans!

Thematically interesting and feasible in implementation (simple method).

Thanks @Tim...

Note: What's real cool about this is that a "common" card may have no attribute. BUT it's "uncommon" counter-part may have an ability such as "Slave Driver", "Instant Strike" or "Break Thru", etc. That is some way means that I can "re-use" some artwork between the two classes of cards. That is VERY interesting... because the key is feeling like there are more cards to choose from (and that requires a larger "repertoire").

This is yet another way to ADD some more depth to those cards... (with some kind of Ability).

Play on filler fun...

So my primary goal with this game is to be a "filler" in between games or after a player has been eliminated from a longer game, etc. Just need a couple of boosters (2 to be exact) and you can play a duel... Pickup four (4) booster and you can play an "arena" battle which plays in under 30 minutes.

That's the goal... Quick, Filler, Fun.

It's not a 60 minute game. I want it to be shorter and maybe something players might bring to the table while playing "TradeWorlds" as that game has player elimination and this could easily allow players to play a two (2) person duel while the other gamers finish off their game.

Any comments/feedback/questions from the other designers???

Some discussion about the "Slave Driver"...

The real problem with its current inception is that IF you "keep" (capture/steal) cards and place them into your deck, you will eventually get them into your hand. Now what happens is that currently you can't "convince" them to fight for you unless you have a card with the "Slave Driver" attribute.

The problem with this is that you will undoubtedly have cards in your hand that are not usable because you don't have a "Slave Driver" to control them.

So my revised idea is that in order to "capture" units/cards, you MUST have a "Slave Driver" in play prior to "keeping" (stealing). This will make it that once you "capture" a card and place it in your deck... It can be use any time afterwards without "restrictions".

Again the idea is to ensure that cards in a player's deck are PLAYABLE. Requiring the "Slave Driver" BEFORE is just as simple but reduces the amount of clutter in a deck and subsequently hand.

Note #1: Although I wanted to "remove" the Graveyard from the game... I might simply call it "exile" where the Spell cards go when used and subsequently defeated units also go too... (when not kept/captured)

Note #2: The problem with this NEW version of the "Slave Driver" Attribute (required to keep/capture) is that it will put a PREMIUM on the cards that have the attribute. So let's say there is an "uncommon" card with the "Slave Driver" keyword. That card will instantly JUMP in VALUE... It may be "uncommon" but from a MARKET VALUE perspective ... such a card will be sought after for its Deck-Construction capabilities (even if it's a 15 card Micro deck...)

Note #3: This game is supposed to be a TCG (Trading Card Game). So it stands to reason that PREMIUM cards that have the "Slave Driver" keyword will be worthwhile MORE in trades. You can maybe get 3 to 5 cards for one of those "uncommon" cards... Or you can drop some money on buying more Boosters to TRY to get one of these cards (with the keyword).

But the interesting part is that it does create an inherent value to that set of cards...!

A couple of thoughts about

A couple of thoughts about the slave drivers...

Might it be a good idea to make it so that cards with the ability to enslave losers are themselves not particularly strong fighters. That means you wouldn't usually expect the slaver card to win the battle itself, but rather you'd want it to be in play while another card does the fighting. Once the fight is over, the slaver card then goes about its nefarious business of collecting the losing card.

Also, it could makes sense (and help balance) if enslaved monsters fight at something like half their normal power.

I mean, slaver monsters CAN

I mean, slaver monsters CAN fight, but they perhaps tend to be at the weaker end of the spectrum.

The way I look at it...

The "Slave Driver" keyword will be on certain cards. Sure the stats on the card may be a bit different in some respects, making them a bit weaker than their common counterparts, but they have the ability to "keep/capture" one defeated card per turn.

I don't want any "half-ing" of power because odd numbers make it harder to do the division especially with a younger crowd. I thought of having a small penalty (like -1/-1 modifier), but then it makes it harder to visualize which cards are yours and which cards are your opponent's cards.

So for now, I'm planning to have no penalty, "kept/catured" cards function AS NORMAL...

But I understand your point, having no card to explain the "penalty" makes it a bit of a challenge and I want to keep things as simple as possible.

Note: For parents and adults, it's easy to remember that a "kept/captured" card suffers from a -1/-1 penalty. But for younger kids that are much more VISUAL, they might forget this point. And I don't want kids to be confused about how to play the game, because spatially we have no way to present the penalty in some TANGIBLE form.

questccg wrote:The "Slave

questccg wrote:
The "Slave Driver" keyword will be on certain cards. Sure the stats on the card may be a bit different in some respects, making them a bit weaker than their common counterparts, but they have the ability to "keep/capture" one defeated card per turn.

I don't want any "half-ing" of power because odd numbers make it harder to do the division especially with a younger crowd. I thought of having a small penalty (like -1/-1 modifier), but then it makes it harder to visualize which cards are yours and which cards are your opponent's cards.

So for now, I'm planning to have no penalty, "kept/catured" cards function AS NORMAL...

But I understand your point, having no card to explain the "penalty" makes it a bit of a challenge and I want to keep things as simple as possible.

Note: For parents and adults, it's easy to remember that a "kept/captured" card suffers from a -1/-1 penalty. But for younger kids that are much more VISUAL, they might forget this point. And I don't want kids to be confused about how to play the game, because spatially we have no way to present the penalty in some TANGIBLE form.

Good point. I think I still have a computer-game mindset and imagine things working in that context! Too much Civilization... :)

Exactly!

Tim Edwards wrote:
Good point. I think I still have a computer-game mindset and imagine things working in that context! Too much Civilization... :)

No I think we're all a bit biased by Computer Games. Look at the guy who said he wanted to create a game like "League of Legends" a MOBA game. I showed him @Arty's "Guards of Atlantis" (GOA) which is a MOBA-genre game (inspired by MOBA games) ... and his response was that GOA had more complexity than he was looking to design! And that was super positive, because he understood Computer Games are hard to "transform" into Board or Card Games ... because of all the computer "housekeeping"...

But @Tim I really appreciate your input into this thread. The "Slave Driver" was a brilliant idea... Because to me it creates an inherent value to some cards from a Game Perspective and not from the collection aspect...

And because I want this game to be a TCG, chasing certain cards in BOOSTERS is a very "favorable" outcome!

More talk about "keywords"

Well today I spent some time just *thinking* about "Keywords" much like the "Slave Driver". Interestingly I came up with a good balance of simple Keywords like:

"Backstab": Target the player instead of opposing units and inflict direct damage.

Or another "Dispel": No spells may be used against this unit.

And another version the abilities which I call Powerwords because they vary according to the Power of the ability:

"Reanimate 2": When this unit is exiled, use 2 Mana to place it in your hand.

Or another "Bloodlust 3": If any of your units have dealt 3 or more damage during this turn, this unit gains +3/+3 until end of turn.

These are just some samples. But the game has 15 Keywords and 15 Powerwords... I aim to keep the list of these rather short, because I don't want players to feel "overwhelmed".

Comments/Questions/Feedback as always feel free to respond...

More about the "Slave Driver"

While I like the new 15 Keywords and 15 Powerwords ... I am having a BIG issue with the "Slave Driver ?" Powerword. It goes as such:

Keep/Capture ? opposing units when they are going to be exiled.

The problem??? Well I now have THIRTY (30) Abilities! Do you see how ONE (1) single ability, like the "Slave Driver ?", is relatively INSIGNIFICANT.

Yeah sure it's a cool card WHEN YOU GET IT! But with all the other abilities, it's probably going to be too RARE to actually make sense as a "mechanic" which is supposed to be the PREMISE for the game!

This is problematic to me! I see it as MAYBE being very lucky and having the card in play ... and then MAYBE you can "keep/capture" a card.

What I wanted was a more GENERIC "mechanic" that allowed the opponents to STEAL cards that are defeated and subsequently to be exiled.

SO what I think I am going to do is LEAVE the "Slave Driver ?" BUT RE-DESIGN it as being a PENALTY only:

Opposing captured units in play lose -?/-? until this unit is exiled or captured.

Which means that the "Slave Driver ?" makes the kept/captured units weaker than the original cards. Something that @Tim was suggesting...

And:

To "Keep/Capture" a card that is about to be exiled, you must exile one of your cards from your hand or area play.

Something simple like that ... not overly complicated.

Let me know if this is a happy medium!

Note: I can picture how USEFUL the "Slave Driver ?" Powerword will be. Imagine you Keep/Capture a few cards and you put then in play and then your adversary (or one of them) plays a "Slave Driver 3"!!! That means each one of the Kept/Captured cards will now suffer a -3/-3 PENALTY!

Holy moly!!! What a Power Drain! And since the card is RARE ... It's cool, valuable and powerful. But at the same time, it doesn't dictate what cards get captured... It only has a nefarious side effect to captured cards!

There might be another

There might be another approach too...just to complicate your life...:)

How about this:

ALL monsters can capture. Capturing is then a fundamental part of the game.

But you can only actually put your captured monsters into the battle field when you have a Slave Driver (to accompany and control them.)

Maybe the Slave Driver himself goes onto the field accompanied by his enslaved charges (then any penalties incurred could be noted on the Slave Driver's card, so be less easy to forget?)

Perhaps if you can kill an opponent's Slave Driver, you can rescue all the monsters he had with him...

It seems like there's a lot you can do with this capture/recapture idea anyway.

That's what I am trying to avoid

Tim Edwards wrote:
But you can only actually put your captured monsters into the battle field when you have a Slave Driver (to accompany and control them.)

Relying on one (1) card in a deck of 120 cards is... well... too rare! Even if you could have multiples of that card, it's still relatively low in terms of pure probabilities.

The Powerword was to improve that situation by having MULTIPLE cards with that Powerword. But with the abundance of Keywords and Powerwords (30 in total), it also lowers the probabilities too making "Keep/Capture/Control" as relatively low in terms of the chances/odds.

What you are suggesting (Having an actual "Slave Driver" unit) is even harder to accomplish ... because the odds of having such a card are relatively limited. But what I proposed as a PENALTY means that the fundamental mechanic behind "Keep/Capture" works as normal and the "Slave Driver ?" Powerword will occur infrequently. But when it DOES, it matters!

Again this preserves the VALUE of a "Slave Driver ?" Powerword unit... It will be a rare and often chased card even if there are multiple units that have this Powerword.

I don't want to run into the low odds/chances with relying on ONE (1) Card. If there are multiples of that card then too... But REQUIRING you to HAVE this card in play so you can "control" the Kept/Captured cards is too low in terms of probabilities. It would be THE CHASED card. I'd prefer that there would be more ODDS of getting a card that perform a DAMAGING penalty rather than force Fame onto one card.

But I do thank you for the input. It's just the opposite way I'd like to go with the Powerword: I want it to be RARE but POWERFUL however NOT NECESSARY! Your version makes the card RARE, POWERFUL and NECESSARY... I want it to be like all the other Keywords/Powerwords: optional. Sometimes good for certain battles, great in other circumstances.

Note: I have a Powerword call "Fame ?" (as an aside).

When this unit first exiles an opposing unit, it gains +?/+? until exiled or captured.

So "Fame 2" means +2/+2 permanent... Which is cool. It's like "proving" yourself on the battlefield. You gain credibility from your combat prowess!

questccg wrote:Tim Edwards

questccg wrote:
Tim Edwards wrote:
But you can only actually put your captured monsters into the battle field when you have a Slave Driver (to accompany and control them.)

Relying on one (1) card in a deck of 120 cards is... well... too rare! Even if you could have multiples of that card, it's still relatively low in terms of pure probabilities...

But I do thank you for the input. It's just the opposite way I'd like to go with the Powerword: I want it to be RARE but POWERFUL however NOT NECESSARY! Your version makes the card RARE, POWERFUL and NECESSARY... I want it to be like all the other Keywords/Powerwords: optional. Sometimes good for certain battles, great in other circumstances.

Yup, I agree that a specific dedicated Slave Driver would be too infrequent. I was more imagining that a certain subset of cards might have that ability.

Thinking about your RARE, POWERFUL, NECESSARY paradigm...how about:

All cards can capture.
All cards can drag captured units onto the field with them
But cards with SLAVE DRIVER (perhaps in this case it COULD be a dedicated one?) give big bonuses to the cards they take into battle with them.

I suppose the size of that bonus would depend on how common you wanted to make that special ability.

(Or have I just inadvertently repeated your own idea back to you now? It's getting late here!)

Tim Edwards wrote:(Or have I

Tim Edwards wrote:
(Or have I just inadvertently repeated your own idea back to you now? It's getting late here!)

Well you have had some paradoxical ideas:

  • With wanting Kept/Captured units as inflicting half their normal damage.

  • Requiring the "Slave Driver" unit to be in play in order to use the Kept/Captured units.

  • Giving a Bonus a "Kept/Captured" units by using the "Slave Driver".

I tried to go with your earlier assumption: damage penalty. To me this sounded good even if HALF damage is harder to compute with odd numbers. So instead I went around and designed it to be a penalty of "-?/-?" according to the Power of the "Slaver Driver ?" unit.

Therefore I went with the PENALTY you suggested earlier on (just fixed not half)!

questccg wrote:Tim Edwards

questccg wrote:
Well you have had some paradoxical ideas:

+ With wanting Kept/Captured units as inflicting half their normal damage.

+ Requiring the "Slave Driver" unit to be in play in order to use the Kept/Captured units.

+ Giving a Bonus a "Kept/Captured" units by using the "Slave Driver".

I tried to go with your earlier assumption: damage penalty. To me this sounded good even if HALF damage is harder to compute with odd numbers. So instead I went around and designed it to be a penalty of "-?/-?" according to the Power of the "Slaver Driver ?" unit.

So I went with the PENALTY you suggested earlier on.

True. I'm just brainstorming possibilities. :)

Which do you prefer???

The question is, which of these two (2) behaviors do you prefer?

To "Keep/Capture" a card that is about to be exiled, you must exile one of your cards from your hand or area play.

Or

To "Keep/Capture" a card that is about to be exiled, you must use ? Mana where "?" signifies the Mana Power required by that card.

To discuss:

A> restricts the growth of a player's deck/hand. It forces an equilibrium seeing as you must "sacrifice" a card for another.

B> slows down attacks to be less combos and preservation of Mana to allow a card to be "Kept/Captured". So meaning you wouldn't "exhaust" all your units because you may want to "keep" an opposing card.

They each have a "purpose" but I'd like to know what designers prefer? Which of these two options talks to you...???

Well, from a

Well, from a non-designer-but-like-thinking-about-design-er point of view...

...my initial instinct was B. I like the feeling that the ranks of my army are swelling.

However, if it were like Ascension, gaining more cards can be a double edged sword because you might be diluting your deck.

So - I like "Pay the price and expand the army", but if there's that Ascension-esque element, I prefer "Hone the army by exchanging one card for another."

Well let's see...

The game is built around a FIFTEEN (15) card Micro Deck. Now BOOSTERs come in a very "specific" format: 4 Commons, 3 Uncommons, 2 Rare, 1 Mythic and 5 Spells (with varying/random rarity).

You can just PLAY with 1 Booster. 2 Booster = 2 Players. 4 Boosters = 4 Players.

Now if you want to invest in the game... You can buy like 6 Boosters and then look through all the cards and do off-line Deck Construction for your custom 15 card Micro Deck.

I can't speak yet to game playability ... because I'm still working on the DESIGN. But having 5 Spells (33%) and 10 Units (66%) seems like a good "format". I think I'm going to use "Hearthstone's" approach to Mana: the game is played over TEN (10) rounds and each turn you can gain +1 Mana. So this way, you're never "Mana Screwed". The reason is because it's such a small Deck: 10 units and 5 Spells. If you had to use 5 units for 5 Mana... You'd just be making it IMPOSSIBLE to play!

Having said all of that...

B> Swelling of the army is kinda cool to me too. Since you only have 15 cards, adding 2 or 3 cards is invariably interesting. So you're not really diluting your deck... You're more like DOMINATING the battle because you're beefing up your army at the expense of the opponent (using Mana).

A> Means that you'll probably "sacrifice" weaker cards in exchange for some stronger ones. It may be a little "WEAK" in terms of technique. And you would only do it IF you had a lousy card to exchange. But that's the DEAL: if you've spent time building your deck off-line... Odds are you've bought a few boosters and with only 15 cards, it's most probable you won't put "lousy" cards into your deck in the first place...

Just to add some more explanations about both...

Note #1: And when I say "Lousy", I don't mean crappy cards. I just mean that you'll tailor your deck with the cards that fit best your style of play. Remember a "Pixie" might be pretty "Weak".

But given that some of them will have the "Merge 3" Powerword, you can use 3 Mana to combine 3 pixies into one swarm of "Pixie Fury"! Making this a substantially harder to defeat "army" of cards...!!!

Playing "Hotseat" version of this game (where you buy a booster and just play with the cards you get)... Maybe in those instances, sacrificing a card may be more interesting (because you may get some weaker cards). And obviously with balance, not all cards can be STRONG. Some may be weaker but have abilities, etc. There are a whole slew of factors to consider.

Note #2: So by balancing your deck, you'll have to wait until you build up enough Mana to play the stronger cards. So this makes "Pixies" a cool unit (if it has the Merge ? Powerword) because you can use the card early on in a match to maybe do some small damage and then as the game progresses you can ADD more pixies to the mix and ... voila MORE damage (scalable damage when the availability of Mana increases during the game).

The "Merge ?" Powerword looks like:

Use ? Mana to stack ? identical units into one single unit. The cost to attack with this unit is ? Mana.

So a "Merge 3" requires 3 Mana to stack 3 identical units. Later when you want to USE this combined unit to attack, it cost 3 Mana to control.

Three "resources" instead of one

So I've been working on this design ... and while I was originally going to go with a Mana system like "Hearthstone", I have begun working more towards a system more in-line with "Monster Keep" (MK).

Clearly MK is a unique game and so therefore I am thinking about going back in the general direction of my other versions (predecessors) which used a three (3) "resource" system.

Three (3) attributes:

1. Hunger : How much a Monster savors FOOD.
2. Bloodlust : How much a Monster craves BLOOD.
3. Greed : How much a Monster prizes TREASURE.

How are these "relevant" you must be wondering(?!) Well the idea is that I would use an "incremental" resource system such as "Hearthstone" BUT the difference would be during each ROUND a player chooses one (1) of the three (3) resources to be made available to him/her.

How does this all work(???)

Well there are "baseline" values for each of the resources:

1. Hunger : 8x
2. Bloodlust : 4x
3. Greed : 2x

Which means that IF on my 2nd turn, I choose Bloodlust, as per the "baseline", I would earn +4 BLOOD. If instead I choose Hunger, again referring to the "baseline", I would earn +8 FOOD. And +2 TREASURE if Greed was chosen.

What I am trying to achieve, because I was sitting at my desk thinking about HOW to use "Mana" and the various CCGs/TCGs do it differently and I got to thinking SO SHOULD I (make it different)!

The basic IDEA is that:

1. FOOD : is used for BLOCKING.
2. BLOOD : is used for ATTACKING.
3. TREASURE : is used for BRIBING.

One of my questions was: "When I play a card from my HAND to my area of PLAY, should this 'cost' Mana???" With these NEW resources the answer is "No." However IF a Monster is to BLOCK an opponent, he will use FOOD to do so and drain some of your reserves. BLOCKING is the "cheapest" action that your Monsters will perform.

In terms of 10 ROUNDS, that means at most 80 FOOD. Of course this is the theoretical limit because at some point you will want to be on the offensive and that requires BLOOD. 40 BLOOD is the theoretical limit too.

BRIBING is a covetous way of "converting" an opposing Monster to your side of the battlefield IF he has been "exhausted" (attacked this round). 20 TREASURE is the theoretical limit.

To keep "computation" SIMPLE (KISS), I think the VALUES will remain unchanged (+8/+4/+2). This means using a simple score card, you can keep track of your "resources" without too much difficulty. Yes, adding bonuses (+) and penalties (-) would be interesting... BUT It makes the "resource" system OVERLY "complicated". It's best to keep things as SIMPLE as possible and still allow much flexibility.

I think this is NOVEL and very DIFFERENT... And the initial SOURCE of inspiration for this Trading Card Game (TCG). MK will be it's own BEAST with a slightly more complicated "resource" ENGINE. But it will be unique and ... this was something more motivating that just using plain "Mana"!

And I have to admit, it sets the game APART from all the other CCGs/TCGs out there in the market...!

Jumping to conclusions

Since the game is comprised of ten (10) ROUNDS, it is a safe bet to conclude that three (3) of each "resource" will be chosen leaving one (1/10th) to be variable. But the other IMPORTANT part is "timing". When will you have what availability of "resources". This is important because having the "resource" in question has an outcome of what you may be able to do one this turn.

If you have 3 BLOOD (3x 4 = 12 BLOOD) that is more resources to ATTACK than in "Hearthstone". If you use your 1/10th on this resource it means 16 BLOOD which is +60% more than what you get in "Hearthstone" to ATTACK. Of course in "Hearthstone" Mana is used to "summon" creatures. So it's a bit different. Also Health of each summoned creature is tracked.

In MK, the principle is closer to Magic: the Gathering (Magic).

In Magic, to use a creature to ATTACK you must TAP it and have enough Mana to do so. Same goes for MK. When you "exhaust" a Monster, you use up X BLOOD (as defined by each Monster). Each ROUND you are restored in the amount of each resource in addition to getting a boost from the chosen "resource" for that ROUND.

Again I can imagine all kinds of Micro deck STRATEGIES such as going early on the "offensive" or more cautious styles of play by being "defensive". This is all possible using this three (3) "resource" system.

I'll let you know when I get some more practical experience with it!

Fourth (4th) resource = Mana!

I forgot about "Spells" and that they might need their own "resource" too. So what do I do with them(??) The easiest answer is to ADD a "Mana" resource which starts at "1" (for ROUND 1) and gets incremented by +1 each ROUND to a maximum of 10 Mana (10 ROUNDS).

This would make "Spell" casting SIMPLE and offer up a serious amount of points in the later part of the game (think ROUND 8 to 10) which could allow a player to CAST "strong" spells and not be tied to Monsters in any way.

Comments/feedback/suggestions all welcomed!

Note: By having a SEPARATE resource for "Spells", it INCREASES the likely-hood that "Spells", although usually one-shot/temporal, do not "take away" from the Monster "resources" and get used as part of the game because of the "extra" Mana track resource.

If I "borrowed" from the Monster "resources", it would lead to a bit of a problem since you would need to make a choice: Monsters or Spells. And I don't want that. I want SPELLS to be equally potent and used rather frequently when the right amount of Mana is available.

Completed 100% of the Spells for the First Edition

Yes I have defined all 20 Spells for the First Edition of Monster Keep (MK).

Obviously some of the spells have the *Enchant* Keyword which means that the Spell behaves like a semi-permanent Enchantment. Others have the *Memorize ?* Powerword which means that those Spells can be put back into your Hand for a price (Excess Mana)!

I've even fixed the "Rarity" for the Spell cards which was something that I was not 100% certain about. But now the cards have a rarity and I know how to go to print with them.

Cheers!

Note: Just as a side comment, I wanted to state for the record that "Spells" are like Magic "Instant" cards in that you can play them at any time provided you have the necessary Mana. In a way they may also act like "Take-That" cards which can mess with one or several of your opponents.

What's NEXT(???)

Well I have determined that the number of UNIQUE pieces of "artwork" will be an additional 32 Monsters (or approximately 1/3rd of the total crew of Monster types — which is 90 types...) and there will be three (3) copies of each for a total of 96 cards PLUS "Spells" (which is another 20 cards). So the Grand Total for all the cards in the First Edition will be 116 cards...

I will be working on those soon (a total of 96 cards which are Monsters).

Keep you all posted! Cheers.

Some additional thoughts

96 cards seems like a high amount of Monsters to design. So I have done the following:

1. I have broken it down to three (3) cards per illustration.

2. This means 32 unique illustrations.

3. The Common version of a card will have HIGHER "stats" but not have any Keyword or Powerword. The Uncommon, Rare and Mythic versions of the Common card WILL have additional abilities with slightly LOWER "stats". There is a trade-off and this means that "Common" card are still useful especially when choosing cards that are beneficial in the pure attack & defend sense.

4. The reason for reducing the number of unique illustrations is two-folds.

A> We want to ensure the project's art can be realizable in 12 months.
B> We want to lower the overall cost of the game.

5. The game will be a Trading Card Game (TCG). This is significant because you will have the option to TRADE cards with other players. You might have a double or a triple of a card another player may be interested. You can propose a trade based on his own cards, etc.

Getting "early" quotes for this game

I've worked out some of the "fine" details concerning this project and have proceeded to get "quotes" for this game. At the moment, I'm dealing with a Broker in the USA an we'll see what kind of quote that I get...

I've already gotten a price using "Bulk" with "The Game Crafter" and well for my specific project the "Product" is not feasibly done with their service (TGC). It's much too expensive for what it is that I'm trying to achieve...

My current status is the I've e-mailed "Shuffled Ink" for a quote and we'll see what they can do in terms of pricing. Usually (in the past) they have been pretty darn competitive. So I've got to wait to see what their pricing looks like.

Depending on their response, that will "decide" (or more like if it encourages another quote) if I will deal with a Chinese Manufacturer... I have a contact that I can try and see if they might be willing to help out or not. I don't know — Yet!

We're doing one step at a time. And when we get an answer that will help in moving us forwards in whichever direction is the MOST appropriate!

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blog | by Dr. Radut