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Tactics yes, but not enough strategy

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Tim Edwards
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My Muay Thai card game has been developing with some breakthroughs that I'm really excited about. What I have at the moment is a game played across 10 hands, and each hand is satisfyingly (to me) tactical.

But...10 discrete hands doesn't provide the overarching strategic element that the theme needs.

There is SOME strategy because:

There are various different ways to win (KO, blood stoppage, points after 10 hands)- this gives some potential for strategising, because you may wish to play tactics suboptimally in the light of these variables. But it's not really enough. The tactical imperatives of your hand still dominate effective play.

Then there was a BIT more strategy because:

I decided that some kind of continuity between hands might help. New rule = at the end of the hand, you can choose to keep unused cards for you next hand (the number of cards played in a hand can vary.) Now, you can hold good cards back to make use of them later, which has the potential for strategy...but doesn't yet provide much because there isn't a LOT of difference between using a great card to hit you now, or hit you later.

So then, a solution to this was:

Add more in terms of being able to combine cards for exponentially increasing effectiveness.

And that's as far as I've got really. A couple of other thoughts to be explored might be:

Increasingly the amount of chosen cards, as opposed to randomly drawn cards (previously an average hand consisted of 1-4 chosen cards with 9-6 drawn cards.)

Giving the chosen cards different 'prices'

Has anyone got other ideas for how 10 tactical hands can come together to form 1 strategic contest?

It's probably hard to give specific advice because I haven't provided much detail about the mechanics, but general concepts would also be useful - and nothing is inflexible at this stage anyway.

Cheers!

wob
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all your ideas are worth play

all your ideas are worth play testing but does your game need strategy? you have tactics.
if it was long game you would need it but for a quick light game, that you play a few games of at a time tactics might be enough. you might also find there is a meta game strategy when you string games together and you get to know your opponent.

Fri
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Give the players something to manage during the game

One way to introduce strategy would be to gives the players things to manage during the game.

My take on this is that you could have players manage their total hand size, how may cards they can draw, how many cards they can play and perhaps some card cycling. Thematically these would be based on character fatigue and/or health. Ideally you would have to balance going for the KO versus your long term ability to fight.

Feel free to disregard, use or improve upon. Good luck with your game.

questccg
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The litmus test: is it FUN???

You say the game has Tactics and "some" strategy. That would be nice if you were a "Drill Sergeant" making soldiers run across an obstacle course... (LOL)

The question you should be ASKING yourself is: Is my game FUN???

And you've got to be honest with yourself. Is this the type of game you would want to play "OVER and OVER again"? Is the depth of strategy such that the players are involved in some "tug-of-war" ... or is it more or less just a game that plays out?

I've design a lot of MEDIOCRE games... But rare is it when you get a game that peaks your interest and makes you say: "Wow, this is really FUN!"

And yes I know FUN is relative. But it you take a step back and be honest with yourself, you will know if the game offers sufficient ENTERTAINMENT value. While there may be LESS "strategy", the game can still be very much enjoyable (and FUN).

I have a similar scenario where the "core" game is a LOT of FUN. The problem is that I need to "ADD" something to it, to make it just a bit more "Tactical" (my depth of strategy is good). But I need an additional element, to help players make "tougher" decisions when playing the game.

So I can fully understand where you are coming from and your possible destination. Like myself, I wait for inspiration during PLAYTHRUS to see what comes to mind. For sure I believe that what I already have is GOOD, I just need ONE (1) Final proof... And make those "abilities" more Tactical...

Cheers Tim!

Tim Edwards
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wob: you could be right. It

wob: you could be right. It just feels right for the theme that a player should be thinking in terms of game plans. However, since I DO want it to be small and light, that might not be a realistic aspiration. I take your point!

fri: Yes, the go-for-KO-gamble vs pace-yourself would be great to capture. I have to swallow my pride and ask what card cycling means, please? Sorry!

Thanks to both of you!

Fri
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Card cycling

Card cycling-the ability to move cards through your hand with out necessary playing them. So something like draw two cards add them to you hand then discard a card from hand.

Or if you are familiar with Dominion this page explains what I trying to get at fairly well:
http://wiki.dominionstrategy.com/index.php/Cycling

Tim Edwards
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questccg wrote:You say the

questccg wrote:
You say the game has Tactics and "some" strategy. That would be nice if you were a "Drill Sergeant" making soldiers run across an obstacle course... (LOL)

The question you should be ASKING yourself is: Is my game FUN???

And you've got to be honest with yourself. Is this the type of game you would want to play "OVER and OVER again"? Is the depth of strategy such that the players are involved in some "tug-of-war" ... or is it more or less just a game that plays out?

I've design a lot of MEDIOCRE games... But rare is it when you get a game that peaks your interest and makes you say: "Wow, this is really FUN!"

And yes I know FUN is relative. But it you take a step back and be honest with yourself, you will know if the game offers sufficient ENTERTAINMENT value. While there may be LESS "strategy", the game can still be very much enjoyable (and FUN).

I have a similar scenario where the "core" game is a LOT of FUN. The problem is that I need to "ADD" something to it, to make it just a bit more "Tactical" (my depth of strategy is good). But I need an additional element, to help players make "tougher" decisions when playing the game.

So I can fully understand where you are coming from and your possible destination. Like myself, I wait for inspiration during PLAYTHRUS to see what comes to mind. For sure I believe that what I already have is GOOD, I just need ONE (1) Final proof... And make those "abilities" more Tactical...

Cheers Tim!

I've been having fun with it as a light tactical game. The point about adding strategy isn't to make it more of an exercise - keeping it light is a priority.

Each hand starts with a bit of hand manufacturing where you draw 10 cards of type A, then choose to discard some and replace them with cards of Type B (these are chosen, not drawn.) So then you have your hands ready to fight with.

As it stands, that initial decision making is actually quite exciting. You sort of feel gleeful about finding out if your risks will pay off, etc. Since you see what your opponent has discarded, there is also a chance to intuit and misdirect. But that's all tactical.

The point of having a little more strategy would be, I think, just to add a little extra risk-reward tension to that process.

At the moment, it really does feel almost like playing 10 mini games as opposed to 10 hands of one game.

I will try to make sure I don't become a slave to theme at the expense of fun - and I have made that mistake before!

Cheers!

Tim Edwards
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Fri wrote:Card cycling-the

Fri wrote:
Card cycling-the ability to move cards through your hand with out necessary playing them. So something like draw two cards add them to you hand then discard a card from hand.

Or if you are familiar with Dominion this page explains what I trying to get at fairly well:
http://wiki.dominionstrategy.com/index.php/Cycling

Ah, gottcha. Thanks!

let-off studios
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Trick Bidding, Handicaps, etc.

If this is a light, quick card game, then I strongly suggest you consider multiple rounds to determine an overall victor: a "best of three" contest, for example. With that in mind, I have a couple suggestions for you.

TRICK BIDDING
Have you played many trick-taking card games?

I ask because there are some where players bid at the start of the current round as to how many tricks/hands they'll win. In some of these games, players earn points not by winning hands, but by winning the exact number of hands they bid on at the outset (or fewer points for one over/under, even fewer points for two over/under, etc.).

Might there be some way to incorporate trick-bidding into your game? Would this permit some long-term strategy?

HANDICAPS
Handicaps-for-points can be done in a number of ways. But for your game, I was thinking: what if a player voluntarily took a card out of their hand at the start of the game, and if they win they earn that many points? Depending on if it was face-down or face-up could add an interesting angle to the game, even adding points to their total if it's left face-down (as their opponent won't know which card was removed from their deck).

If the handicap proves too great for a player, they can add the card to their hand as an action and/or at any time for a flat reward value of 1 or 2 points.

An alternative to this is "banking" cards, where instead of cycling cards back out of your hand, you can "bank" them temporarily out of play to add value to that round's score. Either the face value or some other predetermined value is added to that player's score if they win, perhaps half of that if they lose.

FORCED STARTING HANDS
Similar to your "different prices" idea above, this is a variation on handicaps. What if players were forced to have certain cards in their hand/deck at the start of a given round? Depending on their starting loadout, the round could be worth more or less points if they win.

Those are a few possible options. Hopefully they're at least food for thought. I think primary among these is the idea that a game of multiple rounds provides more opportunities for long-term strategy.

Git80
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Hi Tim! A few general

Hi Tim!

A few general thoughts about how I would try to „construct“ a fighting card game:
- there should be ways to win quick via KO, in the middle due to technical KO and „after“ the fight through point decision
- you need offensive actions (punch, Kick, elbow, perhaps some tricks like „hitting below“…) and you Need Defensive actions (blocks, retreat, …)
- you would combine offensive actions for greater effect
- your ability to combine actions would decrease if you take hits

I think there are two main options: Cards that are „split“ and can be used as offensive OR defensive or you could use two piles of cards — again an offensive and an Defensive pile.

I hope there is something you can draw from thoughts.

questccg
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Here are some ideas for you

Tim Edwards wrote:
...Each hand starts with a bit of hand manufacturing where you draw 10 cards of type A, then choose to discard some and replace them with cards of Type B (these are chosen, not drawn.) So then you have your hands ready to fight with...

Maybe you can design it a bit "differently". Consider the game as the natural thing: fought in ROUNDS. I don't know how many rounds to the exact sport, but let's just assume a Heavyweight Boxing match ala Mike Tyson...

So you draw "5" cards from your hand randomly. Next you choose from the middle of the play area "2" cards from a "5" card market. Player #1 starts and chooses his card first and play proceeds. Since Player #1 had the FIRST "choice", Player #2 gets the extra card.

Now it's like a normal fight starting AGAIN with Player #1 deciding what to do: Out of his "7" cards, can he do a "Simple 1-card attack" to which the opponent, Player #2, can "Block" with a "Simple 1-card block".

His other options would be to construct COMBOS: by combining multiple "compatible" cards, he can for example do "1> A Left, followed by a Right and ending with an Upper Cut". That could be a "3-card attack".

Each time Player #1 lands a HIT, he EARNS Victory Points. Combos could have things like "Multipliers" (3x or 2x) and your "Left Punch" does "2 Points" and a "Right Punch" does "2 points", however in Combination you do a "2x multiplier" so it would be 4 points + (2x or 3x) Upper Cut" to do between 8 and 12 points of damage.

You could have ATTACK conditions which VARY per player. Like if you score 10+ points in one attack, the opponent is STUNNED. This can be different according to each "character card". And maybe have all kinds of POINTS such as a "Right Punch" does "X points" while a "Left Punch" does "Y points"...

Maybe 12+ points is a Knock-Down... Three (3) Knock-Downs = A TKO. And maybe 15+ points is a KO!!! And you could have different "character cards" with different stats.

Just some ideas about WHAT you can do "after" drafting the cards for your hand...

Again feel free to ignore them if you don't like them. I'm just trying to give you a bit of INSPIRATION. Free of course!

Note #1: If the opponent is STUNNED, Player #1 gets a second turn to perform ANOTHER attack... Otherwise play continues normally and once Player #1 does HIS attack, Player #2 gets to perform his. And then you go back to drawing "5" cards and choosing from the "market" cards... This time Player #2 starting and Player #1 keeping the EXTRA card.

Note #2: Each FIGHTER would have his OWN set of POSSIBLE attacks. Like maybe one player can't use his LEFT because he has an injury... etc. So you could have a Jumbo Card with all the ATTACKS and COMBOS including the points MODIFIERS and values... (+2 or x3) etc.

questccg
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This reminds me of a GAME I designed YEARS AGO...

I used to LOVE playing "Mike Tyson's Punch-Out" (on the original NES from Nintendo)... So much so, I would go to a friend's house WHEN HE WASN'T EVEN HOME to play!!! (He was a good friend)

Anyway a long time ago, I used a Standard Deck of cards to make a CARD GAME about the character and fighters in Punch-Out... I had it all written down. Too bad someone stole the rules. Was a pretty cool game!

Anyways with my style of game you can make it a duel or even design an Automaton to battle Single Player and make your way to World-Wide Champion. By defeating a certain amount of "Fighter" (Character Cards).

Like I said, each fighter can include his OWN "Deck" of cards and then you can have "vanilla" moves too and then the specialty moves for each combattant.

Just sharing some more ideas. Feel free to ignore what you don't like!

Cheers.

Tim Edwards
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let-off studios wrote:If this

let-off studios wrote:
If this is a light, quick card game, then I strongly suggest you consider multiple rounds to determine an overall victor: a "best of three" contest, for example. With that in mind, I have a couple suggestions for you.

TRICK BIDDING
Have you played many trick-taking card games?

I ask because there are some where players bid at the start of the current round as to how many tricks/hands they'll win. In some of these games, players earn points not by winning hands, but by winning the exact number of hands they bid on at the outset (or fewer points for one over/under, even fewer points for two over/under, etc.).

Might there be some way to incorporate trick-bidding into your game? Would this permit some long-term strategy?

HANDICAPS
Handicaps-for-points can be done in a number of ways. But for your game, I was thinking: what if a player voluntarily took a card out of their hand at the start of the game, and if they win they earn that many points? Depending on if it was face-down or face-up could add an interesting angle to the game, even adding points to their total if it's left face-down (as their opponent won't know which card was removed from their deck).

If the handicap proves too great for a player, they can add the card to their hand as an action and/or at any time for a flat reward value of 1 or 2 points.

An alternative to this is "banking" cards, where instead of cycling cards back out of your hand, you can "bank" them temporarily out of play to add value to that round's score. Either the face value or some other predetermined value is added to that player's score if they win, perhaps half of that if they lose.

FORCED STARTING HANDS
Similar to your "different prices" idea above, this is a variation on handicaps. What if players were forced to have certain cards in their hand/deck at the start of a given round? Depending on their starting loadout, the round could be worth more or less points if they win.

Those are a few possible options. Hopefully they're at least food for thought. I think primary among these is the idea that a game of multiple rounds provides more opportunities for long-term strategy.

Thank you. Certainly lots of food for thought there.

Does this idea relate to your multiple rounds idea?:

Presently by the end of a hand both players may have earned points. Would it be a good idea if it were more of a case of who wins the highlight? More of an all-or-nothing scoring outcome?

Tim Edwards
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Thanks very much for the

Thanks very much for the ideas, Questccg!

It's all being fed into the slow processor that is my brain.

Much appreciated!

Tim Edwards
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Git80 wrote:Hi Tim! A few

Git80 wrote:
Hi Tim!

A few general thoughts about how I would try to „construct“ a fighting card game:
- there should be ways to win quick via KO, in the middle due to technical KO and „after“ the fight through point decision
- you need offensive actions (punch, Kick, elbow, perhaps some tricks like „hitting below“…) and you Need Defensive actions (blocks, retreat, …)
- you would combine offensive actions for greater effect
- your ability to combine actions would decrease if you take hits

I think there are two main options: Cards that are „split“ and can be used as offensive OR defensive or you could use two piles of cards — again an offensive and an Defensive pile.

I hope there is something you can draw from thoughts.

Thank you Git80! I agree with all of that, and most of your list actually describes the game. :)

One thing you mentioned which I haven't really implemented is a strong split-use card feature. I have something similar: there are Special Counter cards which allow you to defeat an opponent's attack regardless of how high the accompanying "bid" cards is. So they are your defence cards. And those cards CAN also be used as "bid" cards, although that's kind of an emergency measure because they have low values when used that way. So that's a nod towards your dual-use concept.

It may well be that I could make more of that concept though.

Thank you for your thoughtful response!

evansmind244
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This make me think War (Battle) card game.

You know the game with a deck of cards, two players, and the object is to win all the cards. If two of the same card comes up you have a war, lay 3 cards down and 1 up to see who's the winner. Of course you couldn't play the game randomly with the cards face down.

This could develop into a Trading Card Game like magic except you use the Theme of the UFC or mixed martial arts.You could then do a jiu jitsu deck, Kick boxing, Judo, and even a UFC original strikes decks!! Players could gather their deck from a slew of different disciplines, strikes, counters, blocks, take downs etc.... I think of a thousand things to do with this idea.
As for strategy I defer to the masters here.

Tim Edwards
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evansmind244 wrote:You know

evansmind244 wrote:
You know the game with a deck of cards, two players, and the object is to win all the cards. If two of the same card comes up you have a war, lay 3 cards down and 1 up to see who's the winner. Of course you couldn't play the game randomly with the cards face down.

This could develop into a Trading Card Game like magic except you use the Theme of the UFC or mixed martial arts.You could then do a jiu jitsu deck, Kick boxing, Judo, and even a UFC original strikes decks!! Players could gather their deck from a slew of different disciplines, strikes, counters, blocks, take downs etc.... I think of a thousand things to do with this idea.
As for strategy I defer to the masters here.

There's a nice looking MMA card game for iOS, but my iPad is too primitive to play it...ALMOST a reason to accidentally drop this one into a swimming pool on purpose. :)

A guy called Alex Lim (I think) also made an MMA game, but it looks a little fiddly to me.

It's funny you should mention War. Every time my game started to get bogged down with complexity, I always reminded myself of that game as an inspiration to TRY to keep things clean and simple.

Tim Edwards
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I reckon adding 10 words to

I reckon adding 10 words to the rules might do the trick:

"Once played, Super Bids are never returned to your deck."

Super Bids are the top 3 cards in a set of 13 (there are 3 sets in a player's deck)- like the picture cards in a standard deck. They are very useful. They give you excellent chances of landing techniques, and they are also unique in their ability to allow you to control the range (which is very significant. It's a bit like being able to change which suit is trumps.)

So, you could try to collect them and use a load of them in one hand - for a KO, or you might deploy them more sparingly to control hands (the kind of strategic decision that Fri described.)

Simply making them one-use-only answers my fatigue representation issue (which I posted about ages ago) and it gives potential for some juicy strategic decision-making which I think the games needed to feel fully rounded.

(I'm sure I considered that more than a year ago! Perhaps other things have changed since then so now it seems more appropriate than back then...)

Anyway, I'm glad it's just a tweak. As wob intimated - if it's already fun to play, maybe best not to mess with it. This change ought to add the extra hit of strategy that I wanted without changing or adding to the game's core.

Thanks a lot everyone for your responses. Every response helps me with the process either directly or indirectly.

wob
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nice, seems elegant. i would

nice, seems elegant.
i would add a line at the end (if theres room) that it can be played without the rule. maybe as a friendlier sparing match.

Tim Edwards
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wob wrote:nice, seems

wob wrote:
nice, seems elegant.
i would add a line at the end (if theres room) that it can be played without the rule. maybe as a friendlier sparing match.

Great idea. Like video games such as UFC Undisputed where can choose between arcade vs simulation stamina settings.

wob
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could you add a handicapping

could you add a handicapping system? for beginners/kids vs experienced players/adults. maybe you can retrieve some discarded cards at the start of each match.

apeloverage
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It sounds like 'strategy' to

It sounds like 'strategy' to you means 'the player's decisions should depend on the game state other than the cards in their hand at the time'.

But it also sounds like you have few game elements other than the cards.

So it seems like you need to add more non-hand game elements.

For example, the players could have different characters, cards are used differently (or at least more or less effectively) by different characters, and the players could know something about which characters are coming up for them and/or their opponent.

This would give players more reason to want to save cards, even if using them now would give an immediate advantage.

Tim Edwards
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apeloverage wrote:It sounds

apeloverage wrote:
It sounds like 'strategy' to you means 'the player's decisions should depend on the game state other than the cards in their hand at the time'.

But it also sounds like you have few game elements other than the cards.

So it seems like you need to add more non-hand game elements.

For example, the players could have different characters, cards are used differently (or at least more or less effectively) by different characters, and the players could know something about which characters are coming up for them and/or their opponent.

This would give players more reason to want to save cards, even if using them now would give an immediate advantage.

Yes, that's a good description of my quandary.

I like the idea of the player knowing something about upcoming cards. At the moment, the number and nature of your oppment's preparatory discards tells you something about their intentions and what they might be holding, but maybe there's more than can be done.

Thanks!

Tim Edwards
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wob wrote:could you add a

wob wrote:
could you add a handicapping system? for beginners/kids vs experienced players/adults. maybe you can retrieve some discarded cards at the start of each match.

Retrieve straight back into your hand?

That could be a pretty cool idea. Cheers, wob.

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