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Using cards for actions = too unpredictable?

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Milostnik
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Joined: 03/11/2017

Howdy ya'll,

I have been developing a game for a little while now and have play-tested it a couple of times with its current format and decided to replace Dice Actions (Kinda like King Of Tokyo), with cards you pull from a deck.

A couple of questions I had;

Are there any board games (not Card Games) out there that require you to use cards to do actions?
How do you balance players not getting the right cards to do a simple action in their turn?
What would you feel is the best way you'd like to use action cards in your turn?

Thanks for the help everyone!

Looking forward to reading the answers.

Regards

:)

wob
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Joined: 06/09/2017
if you are replacing dice

if you are replacing dice with cards you have a relatively straight forward task.
if you have 6 actions and 1 d6. 1 in 6 chance of each action. 6 cards will give the same odds but are too easy to predict and hard to shuffle properly. 36 cards (6×6) would work well.
you can go to anydice.com for more complex dice pools.
the main problem with cards is that its not entirely random. each card removed also removes an option so you can "count" cards, rolling a 6 ten times in a row doesn't mean you wont roll an eleventh.

let-off studios
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Joined: 02/07/2011
Using Cards

A couple games come to mind, not all of them flattering.

  • Candyland. Simply draw and respond. This is likely the most elementary replacement of dice with cards.
  • Screaming Eagles. Each turn, players have a host of cards to choose from, detailing a direction and a speed. They choose the one they want, and then play it face-down. Cards are revealed in order, and the action you chose might put you in a good or bad position, depending on turn order. I think of this as an introduction to "programmed actions."
  • Robo Rally. Pretty much the standard in programmed movement - although this game is fairly old. From a hand of cards, choose which actions and the order you want to execute those actions, placing them face-down in the play area. When you reveal the cards, the actions are executed: moving, turning, firing weapons, etc.

From the sound of it, I suspect you want to have something like what appears in Screaming Eagles. I'd suggest wob's multiple-card assortment as the foundation. Allow players to draw three, pick one to play, and discard the other two. This allows for the randomness and unpredictability of dice results, with the added ability to mitigate "bad rolls" and/or to optimize one's choice from a smaller host of options.

Milostnik
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Joined: 03/11/2017
HeyLet-Off Studios, Thanks

HeyLet-Off Studios,

Thanks for getting back on this post so quicky, and for the (as always) awesome tips.

I'm working on that slasher 80s type board game and wanted to have the players control a set number of counselors on their team, so to speak. This might mean in your turn looking at your hand and doing one of the many actions - move, attempt objective, heal, navigate a hazard tile - etc etc. Are there any games you can think of that make you commit actions that aren't manoeuvres or directly related to movement? Or is that unheard of to have players not being able to make basic objective actions or do a basic move with it being based on luck?

For a possible solution - Would it make sense to have the ability to exhaust 3 cards (if you have a maximum hand of 5) to make any action of your choice?

Cheers :)

Fri
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Joined: 09/06/2017
Space Alert

Quote:
Are there any games you can think of that make you commit actions that aren't manoeuvres or directly related to movement?

Space alert does this. Cards are divided into two sections. Players play a card and do the action in the upper half of the card (the card can be oriented either way). The available actions are move or to do the "A" action or "B" action in the room that you are in.

Quote:
For a possible solution - Would it make sense to have the ability to exhaust 3 cards (if you have a maximum hand of 5) to make any action of your choice?

That seems like it could be a possible direction. I was thinking that there should be a way to use the cards in a sub optimal manner. (It would be useful for a situation like if a player had all heal cards, but everyone is at full health) My take on it was you could have a typical card provide like 2-3 movement points or healing or whatever, but have the ability for cards to be played face down for one movement point, healing or whatever.

Good luck with your game.

questccg
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Joined: 04/16/2011
Two solutions to your issues

wob wrote:
...the main problem with cards is that its not entirely random. each card removed also removes an option so you can "count" cards, rolling a 6 ten times in a row doesn't mean you wont roll an eleventh.

I have a couple solution for this... And it is part of a design that I currently have on the "back-burner".

In order to make the deck LESS "predictable", you ADD cards that say: "Re-Shuffle the entire deck". And what I mean by this is replace any cards that have been "discarded" BACK into the deck and re-shuffle everything.

The other solution which is way simpler, after you draw a card, place it back and shuffled the entire deck. This is MORE random, but you may NOT like the continual "re-shuffling" that may occur to return 100% random draws.

I personally will be using SOLUTION #1 (Re-Shuffle card) because I don't want players to be continually shuffling. Yes it is possible to "card count" ... but it only works to a certain degree. Once you hit that re-shuffle card, whatever counts you were keeping get reset to 0.

Cheers!

larienna
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Joined: 07/28/2008
There are plenty of games

There are plenty of games that does that. One game in my collection that comes to my mind is "Age of Mythology". If feels like Puerto Rico, but each player have a set of 7 basic action cards. But there is also a deck of random cards which are more powerful version of the 7 basic action.

At the beginning of their turn, the players choses X action. First from the basic actions and the remaining cards randomly from the deck.

So you chose the basic actions you really needed to do, and you tried your luck with the deck of cards, for other actions you might want but more powerful.

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