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Card "Abilities": What to do INSTEAD???

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questccg
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This might seem like a STRANGE "Question"... But in my current context it is very VALID. Let me explain.

The game has card that are played into a 5x5 or 7x7 grid. The shape of the grid is SQUARE but due to the dynamic growth, the "center" may be in different positions. As such there is a HUGE "Area Control" mechanic because the cards have "Attack Formations" which vary per card. So far, so clear.

Here's where I'm not 100% certain.

Each card has an "ABILITY". Which seemed COOL ... But are very "challenging" (to say the least). Let me list some examples next.

1> Brotherhood: "If this card is next to another Fighter, this card is Buffed by 1 Power."

2> Magical Barrier: "When supporting a Hero, that card is Enchanted by 1 Magic."

3> Holy Shield: "If this card is facing an Outlaw or a Villain, that card Expends 1 Power."

4> Just Cause: "If this card commands any Dwarves, Dark Elves or Orcs, boost Morale by 5."

And so mostly from a game perspective, it's mostly about gaining BONUSES or PENALTIES to Power, Skill and Magic (the 3 stats) for each card.

BUT it's TOO VERBOSE, TOO COMPLEXE, TOO HARD TO DISCERN, etc. It's just all wrong and it makes for USELESS abilities... I seriously WANT to simplify it to something more GENERIC and EASIER to handle.

I could play the game WITHOUT them ... and the game would be LESS "Fancy" but would KILL the "Customization" aspect of the game.

I am still thinking about something that would be much SIMPLER... But just as versatile.

IDK ... I REALLY am going to think about it some more. BUT if anyone has some IDEAS or THOUGHTS they'd like to share... I'm all ears!

I've had this system for a while and IT JUST DOESN'T WORK! It's too cumbersome, hard to track, and just a bit RANDOM. For example: "1> Brotherhood" means that you would want two (2) Fighters NEXT TO "each other". The problem is that laying the card down, you just can't put a card WHEREVER you like because of the serious "Area Control" mechanic. Spaces are "blocked off" by opposing cards. So while it's COOL... It doesn't WORK...!

Another challenge is the BONUS/PENALTY system. Since the card have 3 stats and artwork ... There is NO PLACE to "TRACK" Bonuses/Penalties. It's also DIFFICULT to know: A> Should I do +1 or B> Should I do -1 because of the Combat Calculations.

What I am leaning towards: some kind of positioning system "outside" the Area Control Mechanic THAT IS SIMPLE and another system of "benefits"...

IDK ... For the moment, I am fresh out of any solution to these issues.

Please feel free to comment/give feedback/share ideas/etc.

Many thanks!

questccg
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Some other ideas

I am thinking about a "kill" track and a simple movement system also! Sort of an XP BOOSTING and leveling up. But something VERY BASIC like this:

A> Each card has from 1 to 5 Stars.

B> Each kill earns you +1 Star (from 1 to a maximum of 5).

C> Each card that survives at the end of the game will earn +5 Morale per 1 Star.

D> On a turn, you can ATTACK another card or MOVE one card 1 Space in any of the following directions: N,S,E and W (provided there is no other card in the position).

Movement can be KEY because it's a DECISION:

1> Do I attack and earn more stars... OR

2> Do I move out of harms way to protect a card which already has several Victories???

I currently don't have MOVEMENT... But it's an interesting OPTION.

I'm still thinking about other options. This is just ONE (1) IDEA!

questccg
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This is what I got so far...

My idea is to have "circles" with a stat: Power, Skill or Magic. When a card defeats an opponent, that cards earns a BONUS for the corresponding stat. Each time that card defeats another opponent, he can gain from 1 to 5 extra bonus for that stat.

So instead of "Brotherhood", The Fighter ("John Brutus") would have 4 "+" (Power) circles. This would mean that his "Power" can vary between 2 and 10 (6 +/- 4) depending if he is on the defensive or the offensive.

Maybe I need to alter the "movement" to be another Step in the Basic Turn. Something like:

3> On your turn, you may decide to move ONE (1) card into an open adjacent position. (And state rules for "open" and "adjacent") This is OPTIONAL.

Adjacent = N, S, E and W.
Open = connecting to a card, swap defeated card position (if present).

Although this GREATLY simplifies the design. It leaves room for more strategy ... And it is very "visual" also. You can use a colored dry erase marker to just highlite the number of kills for each unit.

I'm working on designing a NEW "prototype" with this new system of Bonuses/Penalties ... I'm still thinking about HOW I can "improve" upon this system to make it more varied.

I am also open to NEW suggestions too... If you have an idea, feel free to share it. Whatever is suggested, I will consider and see if it would work with the existing design or not. In order to evaluate how I may be able to "integrate" the idea into the existing game.

So feel free to comment!

questccg
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More good ideas...

So at first, in my previous comment ... You get the impression that it will only be for one (1) stat. This WAS true, but now I am thinking about teasing it out a bit to "decision trees" (Oh boy ... I'm so excited!)

Yes, you heard me right... DECISION TREES!!! Can I tell you how freaken AWESOME that sound! I'm going to have to re-visit the PROTOTYPE... But it's got me so excited in that it's not going to be a static boost, it will be customizable by each card and cards will have different paths.

They're not going to be super complicated. But enough that each card can have a couple paths to follow and choose. Making each card sufficiently distinctive from the another card.

Remember: I said I wanted something more "visual". A decision tree is very visual and you can choose the path according to what you feel is the BEST for you current situation.

And it can modify any of the three (3) stats (Power, Skill and Magic) with decisions taken to improve a card for various reasons.

Another "breakthru" idea was using a "Red" Marker instead of Black. And the reason for this is BEHIND the "Red" ink, you can still READ the symbols and understandable which stat is modified.

I very interested to see how WELL this idea performs. For now, this all sounds super positive... but it's just an IDEA! I need to see if the game lends well to all the NEW content... BUT I'm super excited about giving these ideas a chance to shine!

questccg
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Instead of being for "bonuses" ...

I will see if I can ADAPT the idea to "How the game is to be played". So what I was suggesting as a bonus each time a card defeats another card, I'm now thinking that the method of play should depend on decision trees.

It's going to take some *serious* testing to see if this will work properly on a game that ONLY lasts twelve (12) rounds.

But there are definitely some INTERESTING possible outcomes that might work with the current "calculator". That's something that I would like to keep intact: the nature of the computations remain the SAME. The mechanic is neat (maybe a bit complicated) and the online tool has been developed to HELP with how calculations work. It's fundamentally so simple, all you do is choose the two (2) cards and the score adjustment is computed for you.

I'm just going to try an example for the first card. And see how that works out (design-wise). That will be enough for tonight. Tomorrow is another day... And I can explore further the design and principles that I have set forth tonight.

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Here's my FIRST sample

This is ONLY prototype quality... I'm sure our Graphic Designer will EDIT it and make it more "presentable". For now, it's my FIRST try at using the Decision Tree.

It's pretty simple to explain:

1> The first move is to Defend ("D").
2> Then you have two options: either 2 Attacks ("A") or 1 Move ("M").
3> Next is a Defend ("D").
4> And lastly it ends with an Attack ("A").
5> Go to step #1 and repeat the process.

This is JUST a "sample"! Haven't tried it in a game, nor do I know if this "system" will be sufficiently easy to use/understand. I guess from looking at this Tree... It's pretty easy to understand the PATH and the DECISION available to the player.

The idea is on your turn, you have THREE (3) Actions you can take. This is another change but is required if you want to move the process along.

For example if you want to SKIP steps in the tree, this would be possible and if would accelerate the game a bit because these trees SLOW down play to only ONE (1) Action... And that would take too long to get things going in the right direction.

Please feel free to share your thoughts... Tomorrow will be a BIG day as I try to create a NEW prototype with these trees.

Cheers!

Note #1: Please note that this is a Work-In-Progress (WIP) and as such the ideas may change. This is subject to more thought, prototyping and some multiplayer playtesting too!

Note #2: I am realizing that multiple attacks should be for "strong" cards ONLY. I am also considering EMPTY (or "rest") Actions which could be used to slow down the game in the event that there are indeed three (3) Action per turn.

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The first prototype is almost ready

There are only three (3) cards that remain to be EDITED with their own Decision Trees. Then I will need to Print & Cut all the cards for a new prototype. I already know that the old prototype will be useless... Now that I am pursuing another type of mechanic.

I think that one other alternative exists. And instead of using the Trees to control the "Attack/Defend/Move" Actions, I could make each card configurable/"personalizable". What I mean, is that instead of Actions, they could be like Bonus Stats. So you could transform the existing cards into different bonuses/penalties according to where you are at in the Tree.

This is yet another possibility... I first need to playtest the "Action" version and see how it is. If it's COOL... Then I won't need to TRY AGAIN with another EDIT of all the cards.

I've spent the better part of day editing the cards. That and playing some Ultima 5 ... in MS-DOS. I realize that I NEVER finished that game and it was one of my favorite games that I have played (All-Time). I'm not so sure about how the game ends... But I remember some stuff from the game... Finally got myself a Frigate to move around with a Skiff. Having those from pirate raiders was a bit LUCKY. Anyhow ...

Back to working on the prototype! Cheers.

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Personalization vs. Actions

I have been thinking more about the Decision Trees and will do some more edits tomorrow. I feel like "personalization" is the better "path" (pun intended)!

I'm not certain how this will mesh with the theme... Because people always think about the game as a whole...

Will post and update tomorrow in the afternoon.

Cheers!

let-off studios
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Turn Order, AP, etc.

questccg wrote:
I have been thinking more about the Decision Trees and will do some more edits tomorrow. I feel like "personalization" is the better "path" (pun intended)!
Here are a few simple questions for you, to help me better-understand the game flow.

  • Is the game structured with simultaneous turns, or one person at a time?
  • Do all units have their two choices at the -same- step of their decision tree (as you call it), or are they at different points along this pathway?
  • Are there units that have more than one single decision to be made along their decision tree?
  • When you have duplicate actions, how does the player keep track of which action they are currently doing?
  • During your initial testing, how long is a typical round of combat? How many rounds of combat are typically required to determine a victor?

I ask these because based on what I've skimmed, and what you've mentioned in terms of your own observations, I would be strongly concerned about massive amounts of player down-time and AP: the former occurring until the player becomes used to the game, while the latter being a persistent issue.

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Some clarifications

let-off studios wrote:
Here are a few simple questions for you, to help me better-understand the game flow.

No problem, it's my pleasure to provide additional information for a better understanding of how the game work.

Quote:
Is the game structured with simultaneous turns, or one person at a time?

The game is one turn at a time, players play clockwise. Otherwise positioning cards would be difficult in a real-time fashion, because 2 players may want the same space (who gets it?). And this also would mess with the Area Control mechanic too!

Quote:
Do all units have their two choices at the -same- step of their decision tree (as you call it), or are they at different points along this pathway?

Choice is as-per the diagram. Whenever there is a Fork or Diamond, that means the player must choose which way to go. Notice that I am currently working on the "personnalisation" method of play.

Quote:
Are there units that have more than one single decision to be made along their decision tree?

My idea is to have each player have THREE (3) Options per turn. Whatever card(s) they choose will be marked by a RED dry erase marker to indicate which path is chosen.

Quote:
When you have duplicate actions, how does the player keep track of which action they are currently doing?

No longer "Actions", I thought it would be TOO CONFUSING and as you say would lead to AP (Analysis-Paralisis). Instead you "choose" BONUSES that may be used by your cards ("+", "-" and "x") which act as modifiers in combat.

Quote:
During your initial testing, how long is a typical round of combat? How many rounds of combat are typically required to determine a victor?

I have yet to test... I'm just designing ATM.

Quote:
I would be strongly concerned about massive amounts of player down-time and AP: the former occurring until the player becomes used to the game, while the latter being a persistent issue.

I agree that the "Action" version would be too "prohibitive". Here is the modified version (Card Sample):

questccg
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Further explanation...

I know the "Decision Tree" looks SIMILAR and that's 100% correct. The idea is that on a TURN, the player can "choose" THREE (3) BONUSES from among ALL the cards in his control (in the play area).

So following this example:

1> The player would have ONE (1) "Skill" Bonus.

2> Next he would have to choose between TWO (2) "Power" Bonuses or ONE (1) "Magic" Bonus.

3> After the decision, he could additionally have ONE (1) other "Skill" Bonus (which amounts to 2 "Skill" Bonuses).

4> Ending with an additional ONE (1) "Power" Bonus.

In point #4 if the player chooses PATH #1, he would get THREE (3) "Power" Bonuses IF he reaches the END of the Tree. Assume he took the "Top path", we would get (again if he chose then entire tree):

Power = 6 +/- 3 (3 or 9)
Skill = 2 +/- 2 (0 or 4)
Magic = 1 +/- 0 (1)

So 3/0/1 or 9/4/1 are the two versions (IF the entire path is selected).

Is this more understandable??? I think it's a bit more OBVIOUS and would lead to LESS AP since you are "personalizing" your card STATS.

I hope this explanation is CLEARER now!

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Occam To The Rescue

questccg wrote:
Power = 6 +/- 3 (3 or 9)
Skill = 2 +/- 2 (0 or 4)
Magic = 1 +/- 0 (1)

So 3/0/1 or 9/4/1 are the two versions (IF the entire path is selected).

Is this more understandable??? I think it's a bit more OBVIOUS and would lead to LESS AP since you are "personalizing" your card STATS.

Yep, I think I understand a bit better now.

So why don't you just put the two possible end results on the card, instead of the decision tree diagram? Even in the case of other cards providing positive/negative modifiers to adjacent or nearby cards, having the numbers there instead of the diagram seems much quicker.

You could even remove the specific modifiers from the left-hand edge of the card if you take care of this as part of your design.

I don't want to do math, I want to play a game. If you take care of as much math as possible, then I'll want to play your game more.

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Conditional modifiers not ALL or NOTHING

let-off studios wrote:
So why don't you just put the two possible end results on the card, instead of the decision tree diagram?

Because you do so voluntarily. What I mean Card #1 might have 2 modifiers and Card #2 might only have 1. The longer your card "survives" in the Keep, the chance is that it MIGHT be "stronger". But again you might give ALL 3 of the modifiers to Card #3 (for example).

Quote:
Even in the case of other cards providing positive/negative modifiers to adjacent or nearby cards, having the numbers there instead of the diagram seems much quicker.

As I explained you CHOOSE which "Card" and which modifiers you want to use. Every time you "choose" a modifier, you use a RED dry erase marker to indicate that "stat" has been chosen.

Quote:
You could even remove the specific modifiers from the left-hand edge of the card if you take care of this as part of your design.

The "online calculator" allows you to "plug-in" values and play with the stats. It's a GREAT way NOT to do any MATH. Just choose cards, plug-in modifiers and see the results. Test this out with a few combinations, done!

Quote:
I don't want to do math, I want to play a game. If you take care of as much math as possible, then I'll want to play your game more.

I agree. Especially since the COMBAT "math" is tricky to compute... But with the TOOLS that I have developed, it's much simpler to use them to the fullest of their ability.

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Conditional vs. Single-Source

If you think that conditional modifiers add to the game - and I mean add more than calculation time - then I suggest you test it and be absolutely sure about it.

Personally, I wouldn't have the patience for it. But I don't see myself as a competitive min-maxer, which I think is the appropriate/target audience for your current design. I guess this is kind of like the MTG crowd... Is that what you're thinking?

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Yeah I'm working on the prototype

No this is NOT for the Magic crowd. If I've learned anything from visiting my local Magic Store ... Is that Magic Players ONLY play Magic. That's the reality of it. They may have deeper pockets ... But the plain fact is that you will not get them to play OTHER games.

However the Board Game crowd that attends the local Magic Store one night a week is a COMPLETELY different story. They enjoy playing ALL kinds of games from short introductory games that last 30 minutes to heavier and meatier games that last an hour or two.

Another thing that I learned is that the two crowds do NOT intermix. Board Game players don't play Magic and the Magic players don't play Board Games. And just to be FAIR, I'm talking specifically about WHEN they are at the local Magic Store. Some Magic players may enjoy playing Board Games too... But at the store, they are usually involved in Magic matches.

I've also learned through my own experiences over the years ... That "collectible" card games are DOOMED to failure. My first attempt Quest Adventure Cards(tm) was a total failure. It was my FIRST game too. I was a novice (or noob) that had no real experience designing games. But aside from that there are inherent factors that lead to poor outcomes (when it comes to CCGs):

1> High Learning Curve: most games like Magic cannot be learned in a few minutes. You need to invest time (and money) and LEARN all there is about the cards and abilities to BUILD a deck and see how it performs.

2> Attention Spans: if you give a player a set of cards to play a game, depending on the size of the deck, he/she may be able to learn the cards and actually play the game. The key is CARD COUNT. After some experimentation, I have found that 10-12 cards is the limit for this.

3> Analysis-Paralysis: the other problem with CCGs is that constructing a Deck (over 40+ cards) is an analysis NIGHTMARE. Board Gamers want to read/learn the rules and then play a game that last 30-120 minutes. They don't want to sit there analyzing every card and see if there are synergies with the other cards that they might use.

And therefore the game that I am designing is for 13+ Year olds maybe Pokemon players looking for something a bit more MATURE but less time (and money) involving.

But CCGs will NEVER make it on the market because of these constraints and factors. I am therefore, with the understanding about WHY CCGs fail, trying to DESIGN a game that is "Customizable" but at the same time SIMPLE (12 Card Micro Decks) and presents the "construction" in an ORDERED and DEFINED manner. I don't want to get into all the details ... but my formula is something like this:

A> Play the game with the standard 12 Card Micro Deck and EXPERIENCE the game. It's COOL and FUN. It's also relatively SIMPLE but yet VERY hard to master (as it is modeled around Chess).

B> "Customization" of 12 cards is rather simple and there are PRE-DEFINED rules for HOW you can do it. Again SIMPLE rules a player can learn.

C> Try a customization, have some FUN. See what OTHER cards are available for EVEN MORE "customization".

And then I have a CCG Player who learns within the matter of an hour or less ... How to PLAY and how to CUSTOMIZE! A couple games is all that it takes and the Deck-Construction is JUST as simple too. If after TWO (2) games you don't like... Well I won't force anyone to continue playing a game not meant for them.

BUT if after two (2) games you ENJOY IT... I have a player who will be able to fully customize his/her experience and be a fan of the game.

So that's my PLAN: I'm trying to build a BETTER mouse trap. And all with very SIMPLE rules and a way to introduce NEW players to the game and the novel "customization".

It is definitely target for Pokemon players who enjoy COLLECTING cards and it's for people who enjoy playing Card Games and are willing to sit around for a couple games to "feel-out" the game and see if it INTERESTS them.

Cheers!

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The world has changed and so have gamers

What I mean by this is ... if you do a study about how many more CASUAL gamers have been introduced into GAMING, you'll find that SmartPhone and their "clever" "little" games have ATTRACTED a "lot of attention". But if you look at most of the type of games (like Farmville, for example) they are very CLEVER but not too complicated that your average person can understand and play.

And there are a LOT of those gamers around. Most of them NOT "Board Gamers" either. But still they account for what the WORLD considers as your AVERAGE gamer because the numbers don't lie: millions of SmartPhone users and just by the sheer volume of games out-there... They are the AVERAGE.

I am included in this crowd ... because I don't HAVE the "attention span" allowing me to SIT THERE and play for hours TRYING to understand the game. That's why things like Fallout 1 & 2 ... While I find the games ATTRACTIVE to my more nerdy RPG side, I can't sit there for hours and just play. I get just too bored. There is TOO MUCH going on, too much to read, too many options to explore... Even READING a "walkthru" about the game is a challenge. When I SEE how freaken complicated the game is and how it will take a months worth of time... I just TUNE out. And forget the game... Even IF I LIKE it.

Board Games and Card Game (both) usually take a LIMITED amount of time to teach and learn. They fall much more into the AVERAGE gamers mindset of today. That's my take on WHY board games (and cards games) are seeing a "renaissance"... Because of all those AVERAGE gamers who want SIMPLE game experiences they can LEARN and TEACH easily.

When I was in my 20s, I could sit there for HOURS at a time and PLAY a "Video RPG". They take several months of time to complete and you would get advice from school friends about what it is they had un-covered in the game to help you along.

But now as the AVERAGE gamer has changed (as explained) and being in my 40s... I don't have the SAME attention span. Even playtesting my OWN designs ... some times take too long and I need to take a break. And so I work towards innovative designs that use different mechanics and TRY to still break down "barriers to entry" for things like the CCG: "Customizable" Card Game.

Cheers!

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Early playtest: 2 Player DUEL

Not so surprising, the Decision Trees add a LAYER of "complexity". As this is my first playtest using them, I am "unsure" about how to play each card and the different "outcomes" using/not using the Trees.

It's a bit "difficult". That's the NEGATIVE side of things.

However, since the decks are relatively small (only 12 cards), it would be possible to examine each card and determine their behavior with the modifiers. It gives you something to THINK about.

It's a bit "difficult'. That's the POSITIVE side of things.

Let me explain. So it can be "un-obvious" to the first time player HOW to use and WHEN to use the modifiers. But in terms of BALANCE, the idea is for the game to have SUFFICIENT "meat on the bone" to encourage players in experimenting with the game... I mean if it's TOO SIMPLE, nobody will want to PLAY the game ... because it's obviously not enough of a challenge.

There are some interesting DECISIONS to be made: do you MAX your modifiers on a turn or do you wait before a "path decision" needs to be made... Which cards should you use the modifiers? Interesting questions.

I will need to become MORE familiar with my 12 card Micro Deck to determine how each card should be "modified" (what are the options and which are the obvious paths to choose)...

More playing is required... I am OPTIMISTIC that this design just took a big LEAP forwards (in terms of strategy). But it's figuring out what are the BEST "strategies" with those modifiers that need to be analyzed further.

This is my FIRST time and there are interesting dynamics which make me wonder: "What is the BEST possible outcome for each card?"

To Be Determined...

Note #1: I feel like three (3) modifiers per turn is TOO much. I will continue playtesting with only ONE (1) per turn. That means in total you will get 12 modifiers... Not sure, may need to up this to two (2) per turn... TBD.

Note #2: One (1) modifier per turn seems relatively low on the "impact" level. But the good side is that it does not lead to AP. Three from the get-go was just TOO overwhelming, its like: "Do I use a modifier on my turn and if so HOW MANY???" That means 12 modifiers per game (which feels a bit low).

I may make this a player CHOICE: 1, 2 or 3 modifiers per turn. I'm not sure just yet!

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Maxing out the modifiers

Right now the REAL issue with the modifiers is WAITING until a card has MORE power than from the start (adding modifiers). When a target is identified and the attack pattern is GOOD, what is to STOP a player from MAXING OUT his modifiers to get an even MORE powerful score.

I'm all for more SCORING, I just feel that WAITING for more modifiers before conquering a card is a bit against the principle?!

Even with 1 MODIFIER per turn, all you do is WAIT 5 (or less) turns and you are guaranteed the highest possible SCORE unless your opponent does the same...

Either way, it's not CLEVER anymore... Anyone with thoughts???

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Dominant Area Control mechanic

Since one of the "aspects" of the game is the very dominant Area Control mechanic, I was thinking that the Decision Trees could be used as a REWARD system. But not just for the kill... Something like this:

1> One card is the primary focus of the attack and scoring is tallied as normal.

2> Other cards in SUPPORT allow the "earning" of bonus rewards for their implication in the battle. Each card "in-support" earns one (1) modifier. The more the support, the more rewards obtained!

This would fundamentally NOT change the game very much from the "core" experience... I would just make SOME cards stronger because of the Area Control mechanic.

It's easy to demonstrate and see in-play. But it's a bit hard to explain to someone who has never seen the game be played. To try to explain it goes something like this:

If there is a position on the board called (X, Y) which is empty and there are "Z" cards that could ATTACK any card which is played into this position, then "Z" would be the REWARD earn by the card that kills the card played into that position.

This would mean that the SIMPLEST "attack" (stand-alone) would earn "1" REWARD (at minimum). IDK ... I need to playtest this tomorrow. It might be feasible and require no changes to the cards themselves.

Let you all know my progress tomorrow...!

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It's been a hot and sweaty day!

Haven't had the chance to relax ... been on the go for most of the afternoon going to the bank, paying bills and going for groceries too. I actually WALKED to the grocery store (it's about a 10 minute walk) ... But man is it HOT!!!

I've since gotten home and had to dry off with a cool face cloth... I plan to get to some more playtesting in an hour or so (around 3:30 PM EST).

Give me some time to cool down a bit and I will find some time to test the proposed "reward" system (based on the Area Control mechanic).

Cheers.

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Unique cards

There are certain cards which has been "designated" as being UNIQUE. This basically just meant that you would only be allowed to place ONE (1) of these in your Micro Deck (of 12 cards). You are not allow multiples of that card.

So far, it was just a figurative "Symbol".

But what if instead of an obscure "Symbol", I placed a circular icon with a number inside: the amount of "Control Points" (CPs) offered by this card!

The value could be from 1 to 9 ... Since they are "unique" you can't try to use multiples of a card to earn too much CPs...

This might work well... Because in the Standard Deck there are five (5) cards which are "unique" and therefore 5 cards which could have CPs.

Something like: 2, 2, 3, 3 and 4 = 14 CPs in the Standard Deck!

This seems like a reasonable number of points ... "Expansion" cards are ALL about controlling your Deck further. Future cards can have more CPs and allow you to fully "customize" your Deck (to see HOW you could put these points to good use).

I mean that's the IDEA behind a CCG: more cards = more options. It could also mean different "play styles" too. But for the moment, I won't think too much about that and focus on a "core" that is SOLID and FUN to play.

I really LIKE this idea, since it allows the "core" game to behave as it was designed ... AND THEN have a bonus form of "Control Points" to allocate to the other cards as you see fit!

Pretty simple too... Of course it means that I need to EDIT and CUT more cards! Ugh. I dislike having to do that too often. It takes a couple of hours to Print & Cut the cards for a 4 Multiplayer game.

Will definitely get a MOVE on the EDITs now... We can skip the playtest because I know, that there would be INSUFFICIENT modifiers because most cards only battle ONCE, maybe twice in a game (and that's a rare happening).

questccg
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Here's a sample

This is the 2nd card that I "reveal" from the Standard Deck. It is the "Duke" and is from the "Command" Block. It is one of the "strongest" cards in the game and you can tell by both the Attack Formation and the number of Control Points (CPs)... When players play this card... The Monster Keep will definitely be changed by its presence!

Note: I am very "conscientious" not to reveal too many cards ... because that kind of spoils the "surprise" when getting the game.

Although none of the "Print and Play" (or prototype) cards reveal any of the real cool artwork of the cards... So I guess it's okay. I've only revealed 2 cards from 12 and in an earlier post you could see older samples too (and in that case there were 4 cards shown).

Anyway you should be able to grasp the idea behind the Control Points and how they can affect a game.

In this case, when you PLAY the "Sir Calahan", you immediately earn 4 CPs and may give 1 point to 4 cards in the Keep or any combination there of... This is cool because it gives an ADDITIONAL "strength" to the card.

questccg
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Re-worked the existing cards

I have printed out two (2) copies of the game ... And will playtest tomorrow evening! Was a long day, had a lot of stuff to do... Even found time to respond to Madison who was waiting for feedback.

I wish I could share with all of you the AWESOME "artwork" ... But it will have to wait to the Kickstarter for a "partial reveal"! I'm not sure if even the KS page will reveal ALL the cards... TBD.

But I'm pretty certain this "REWARD" system will be a much improved version of all my attempts to "improve" Abilities. Unfortunately I've lost the COOL names like "Brotherhood", "Magical Barrier" and "Just Cause" to name a few...! But the Decision Trees offer up "mystery" when you see them: you're not certain how they work but you understand it looks to be related to the stats on the card...

And voila... You've ALMOST understood everything you need to know about the NEW "Abilities". Maybe an explanation of the "syntax" would help too!

Regards.

questccg
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Much better design for younger children too!

With the new Decision Trees, it is possible to ignore them and play the game as a simpler version (with much less mathematics and analysis). This is good for a younger audience who wants to LEARN the game before moving on to a more challenging version (aka Decision Trees).

This is the same for people who are not min/max-ers, the "core" game allows people to play with just the Stats, Attack Formation, Area Control and Reputation systems/mechanics. And it's still FUN (because I LIKE the "core" game).

But for the "Customizability" of your Deck, the primary stats are one consideration and then you also have the Control Points (CPs). Lastly you have the Decision Trees which add a fair amount of customization and mix/max-ing too (for the collectors and *serious* gamers).

I think I've struck the right amount of BALANCE into the game now.

Tonight I will playtest with the NEW "prototype", made some more corrections to some other cards this morning as well. Just some "tweaks" to some of the Decision Trees where I felt that the Tree was a "bit" incorrect (nothing major only minor corrections).

Will keep you all posted as to the success of this version of the game.

questccg
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Have been playtesting with some use of the abilities and...

Well it's not too bad:

1> One player avoided losing too many points early on.

2> Another player waiting a turn to attack just so he can max out his "bonuses" (for the attack on the next turn).

Previously this was pointless (waiting). Now it can make a serious "score" difference to wait a turn to boost you card. But remember this opens the door for your opponent to do the same. So you've got to a bit lucky too! (LOL)

I am half way (7th round) through the game. And there is a 10 point score difference. Not too much since there were only 2 attacks so far!

Will continue to play and see how the game ends (second half).

Cheers.

questccg
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OMG it was a tie: 23 to 23!

I can't believe that with all the MODIFIERS and calculations back-and-forth the END result of the game was a TIE! It's a bit hard to work with the modifiers (+/-) but that's part of the KEY to learning "How-to-play" it would seem! If you would understand every outcome automatically, you would not need a "Online Calculator" and you would not need to TRY outcomes either. So the Decision Trees add a great deal of "unknown" when it comes to your first or second game.

I'm going to plan another playtest later this week... Just to see what comes of it. I'm hoping that it WON'T be another tie (let's cross our fingers) otherwise there may be something "under-the-hood" that needs to be looked after.

Anyways you'll hear back from me soon enough ... once I do another playtest!

Best.

Note #1: Definitely "more going on" with the Decision Trees... Sometimes you're not sure about a MODIFIER: do I go (+) or (-)? Do I use Power (+) or Magic (x)?? All kinds of variable that alter the game ... and are HARD to "predict" also.

Note #2: The good thing is that the MODIFIERs work in both ways: Attacking and Defending. So if you choose to enable a modifier for a card, no doubt that card will be better off with it than without it. So kudos for that working!

PG-Developement
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This might be late but have you tried spells

Try using spells...
Like for your “brotherhood” ability, why not have a spell that bonds 2 already place “fighters” and have the card for that placed behind the fighters?

questccg
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Micro Deck of 12 Cards

PG-Developement wrote:
Try using spells... Like for your “brotherhood” ability, why not have a spell that bonds 2 already place “fighters” and have the card for that placed behind the fighters?

You need to be more familiar with my FORMAT: each player has a 12 Card Micro Deck and it is comprised of 12 units divided into 4 Blocks. There's no room for "extra" cards like Spells or Events or Actions, etc.

If you visit https://www.monsterkeep.com you can TRY the "Calculator" and see that it was designed to allow cards to "face-off" against each other and that there can be MODIFIERS which can alter the amount of points earned by such an encounter.

Originally the "Abilities" were on the cards. But it's just TOO DIFFICULT even with 12 cards to keep track of abilities and stats... So after some long thought, I have gone with Decision Trees which act as "Modifiers", something the "Calculator" was designed to accommodate...

I'm not saying it's perfect... but for now this is the best solution that I have seen so far.

But kudos for reading the OP and offering ideas. Not everyone does, so thank you for your interest!

questccg
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One of my challenges was

How to TRACK "Modifiers". Let's say a card/unit could benefit from +2 Power. Sounds reasonable, right? And then I could have some COOL "Ability" name like "Frenzy". The problem is TRACKING those +2 Power points. Where do you ADD them??? There was no ROOM on the cards and if there was it would need to be a fairly large space to write it down.

Now with the Decision Trees, all you need is a Red Dry Erase Marker and simply draw a "Filled Round Circle" on the stats and it's OBVIOUS about the BONUS. So it is now trackable: you can actually see WHAT bonuses you have plus also the CHOICE in which ones you prefer (according to your game instincts).

let-off studios
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Game Time

questccg wrote:
I am half way (7th round) through the game. And there is a 10 point score difference. Not too much since there were only 2 attacks so far!
How long did your two-player game take, overall?

Assume you take out 20 minutes because of switching back and forth between players. Are you happy with this game length? What other games can you compare this to, at the moment?

questccg
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"Carcassonne" + "Tic-Tac-Toe" + "Chess"

let-off studios wrote:
How long did your two-player game take, overall?

About 30 minutes... It's rather quick because there are LESS cards.

let-off studios wrote:
Assume you take out 20 minutes because of switching back and forth between players. Are you happy with this game length? What other games can you compare this to, at the moment?

Yes. My assumption is that a 4 Multi-player game "might" take 60 minutes. But the 2 Player duels are faster. And yes, I am happy with the time taken for duels.

And to compare, I would say "Carcassonne" (CAR) which takes between 30 to 45 minutes to play and is BEST played with 2 Players. It's a tile laying game, so is "Monster Keep" (MK). CAR has workers; MK has Decision Trees. The Area Control mechanic reminds me of "Tic-Tac-Toe" and the Attack Patterns are similar to "Chess" (but different).

That sums up the game in a "nutshell"...

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