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Heroes & Treasure: Arena -- card game rules

Heroes & Treasure Arena, Crystal.png
Heroes & Treasure Arena, Female Rogue.png
Heroes & Treasure Arena, Goblin Rogue.png
Heroes & Treasure Arena, Heal Spell.png

This is a combat card game in the style of M:tG / Pokemon / etc., but aimed at ages 6 and up (basic readers). This is obviously not final.. I'm using this to organize stuff that needs to be organized.

The overall plot idea is that, within my Heroes & Treasure world, there's an event like the Olympics, where teams come and compete across species/enemy lines.


Every seven years in the Kingdom, a grand tournament is held among all the creatures in the land, even those that are normally enemies, like Goblins and even some animals. Two generals face off against each other, using magical mana crystals to cast spells and to bring in creatures to fight a grand battle.


There is one shared deck for both players, 108 cards.

Deal 10 cards to each player. Each player chooses 3 cards to discard out of the game, face down, and keeps 7. Players keep the cards in their hands hidden at all times.

Each player starts with a permanent Crystal card, the "Seed Crystal", already in front of them on the Field.

Each player starts with 10 health tokens. Players can never have more than 10 health.

On your turn, you will put mana crystals on any Crystal cards that don't have mana, then draw a card from the deck. You may play one Crystal card from your hand, if you have one. You may then use your mana crystals to play creature cards, to cast spell cards, or to power creature abilities. You may use some or all of your creatures to attack your opponent, who may block with their own creatures or play their own spells to try to stop you. Creatures that take damage equal to (or greater than) their health value are discarded from play. Each unblocked creature inflicts 1 point of damage on the defending player. When your opponent runs out of health, you win!

If nobody wins during the attack, then after combat, all remaining creatures recover all their health, and the turn passes to the other player.


Terms:

Deck: The face-down pile of unused cards.

Discard Pile: The face-up pile of used cards.

Field: The play area between the two players, where creatures are placed and combat occurs.

Creature: Any card with a health value. Creatures cost a certain number of mana crystals to be played. When played, a Creature is placed on the Field with a Stun Token on it, unless it is an Adventurer (see below).

Stun Token: A black plastic chip used to mark Creatures that are tired, frozen, stunned, etc. A Creature with a Stun Token on it cannot attack, defend, or use an effect. It can still take damage or be the target of Spells or effects.

Adventurer: A Creature with the "Adventurer" type. An Adventurer starts play without a Stun Token on it. It can therefore be used to attack during the turn in which it is played.

Spell: A card powered by mana crystals that has an immediate effect when played, according to the text on the card. Spells are placed in the discard pile when they are played.

Mana Crystal: The blue gems that power creatures, spells, and effects. These are generated at the start of each turn on empty Crystal cards and are removed from play when used for power.

Life Counter: The red plastic chips that indicate how much health each player has. A point of damage taken by the player removes one life counter. Each player starts with 10, can never have more than 10, and loses when they have no Life Counters left.


All combat effects from spells or abilities (e.g. "+1 attack") from spells or abilities are temporary and disappear at the end of the combat phase.

All creatures' health values reset to full at the end of each turn.

A creature that is stunned cannot use any ability (whether or not that ability costs crystals or is an ongoing effect) and cannot attack or block. Stunned monsters are marked with a plastic stun token on them.

If a creature becomes stunned during the combat phase, it deals 0 damage but can itself still be harmed. If the stunned creature was blocking another creature, that creature is still blocked.

Invisible creatures cannot be blocked except by creatures with the See Invisible trait. A creature that becomes invisible during the combat phase takes no damage from its opponent(s), but may still deal damage as normal. If it was blocked, it is still blocked even though it has become invisible.

On your turn, you may spend 4 mana crystals to draw a card from the deck.

On your turn, you may discard 4 cards from your hand to draw a card from the deck.

With the exception of cards that enter the Field, all played, discarded, or removed cards are placed in the discard pile. If the deck is ever empty, reshuffle the discard pile to create a new deck.

Any non-Adventurer Creatures that are played come into play tired, with a Stun Token on them. They may not attack immediately.

Adventurers are NOT tired when they are played. They MAY attack and use abilities on the turn in which they are played.


Here is the detailed turn order, which is not as complex as it looks:

Turn Start:

Put a mana crystal on every Crystal card that doesn't have one.

Draw one card from the deck.

Play 1 Crystal card if you wish. Only 1 Crystal card may be played on a turn, and only by the Active Player. Note that the Crystal card does not start with a crystal on it.

Pre-Combat:

Can play any relevant cards.

Active Player may spend 4 mana crystals to draw a card.

Active Player may discard 4 cards to draw a card.

Active player declares the start of combat.

Defender has a last chance to play any cards or use abilities before combat starts, and then Active Player may play more cards, as a response, and then re-declares the start of combat when ready.

Combat:

This is the only phase in which any damage can be done to creatures or by creatures.

Active Player declares attackers by pushing cards forward that are to be part of the attack.

Creatures with an attack value of 0 cannot attack, nor can stunned/tired/frozen creatures.

Defending Player declares blockers by moving cards in front of attacking cards, as desired.

Multiple blocking cards may be played in front of a single attacker.

Defending Player can use relevant cards or abilities at this time.

Attacker may counter, if able.

Attacking Player can use relevant cards or abilities.

Defender may counter, if able.

Resolve combat:

-- Attacking cards do specified damage to their blockers, and blockers do damage to the cards they block, simultaneously.

-- If there are multiple defenders for a single attacking card, the Active Player chooses which one blocker takes all the damage.

-- Any attacking card that is not blocked can (at the discretion of the Active Player):

------ Attack the Defending Player directly, doing 1 damage, or

------ Attack any one blocking card of the Active Player's choice. Non-blocking cards cannot be attacked in this way.

-- Players may again use cards or abilities at this time.

-- Any card that takes damage equal to or higher than its health value is removed from play and placed in the discard pile.

-- Any cards not removed from play are considered to have returned to full health at the end of the Combat phase.

Post-Combat:

Active Player may play any relevant cards.

Turn End:

Active Player removes stun tokens from any of their creature cards that have them.


Including 4 prototype card images. I'll be changing the background colors a bit more to make the types more easily distinguishable. Final versions will have a background behind the creatures, but I'm trying not to use too much of my artist's time in this phase.

Cards made using NANDeck, with art by Xin Ye, and are Copyright 2019, Davis & Daughters Games, all rights reserved.

Comments

I have no cards that mess

I have no cards that mess with your opponent's crystals, nor cards that mess with your opponent's hand. I could add that, but I'd have to take away something else, and I'm not sure it's worth adding that sort of "Take That!" element to the game. The "Take That!" is pretty limited right now.

Just to be certain

This is mostly a "combat-oriented" card game, right? Attacking/Blocking or dealing Direct Damage (up to 10 HP). I read and I quote: "Players may again use cards or abilities at this time." Does this mean that aside from Adventurers and Crystals, there are other "card types"???

I'm asking because I've been down the "design a card combat game SEVERAL times..." Personally I never liked my designs because they just didn't have what I expected to have in a "combat" card game. I've had ONE design on-hold and it may have some potential... but it is very different.

I would tend to AGREE with you: "You don't need 'Take-That!' cards." But I might suggest is some kind of "Synergy" between cards. I know that's a bit challenging, but it's something you may want to ADD: card combos.

Something like: "1 Rogue" alone does 2 Damage, but "2 Rogues" deal 2 Direct Damage (Backstabbing). Combos of the sort. Like I said, I know it's HARDER to balance. But it ADDs sheer JOY to pull off a COMBO.

Just something to think about...

(And you seem to have a lot of space for "Abilities" or "Combos"...)

Yes there are spells, for

Yes there are spells, for example see the Heal card I posted (the one with the big gold circle-ish thing as the image, which is the cleric symbol from H&T).

Some cards use up more of the space than that. Like all of my designs, I'm favoring simplicity when possible.

If I do a more complex version of the game later, I'd keep the same card design so I'd probably be more likely to use the space. I may also add flavor text if I have enough clever things to say.

Within the "real" game, Wolves have the trait you're looking for, so an expansion card set/game could add more features. That works better in a game where you craft your own deck, which this is not.. it's more of a light introduction to that (the feature where you choose your starting hand)

There are a few combo situations, like a card that can buff other cards of the same type (Goblin Leader), but not too much. Mostly along the lines of turning things invisible at important moments, or stunning opponent creatures.

Each of the 8 adventurers from the game has one card in the deck. They all cost 4 and are more powerful than other cards and have a unique ability as well. Strong but not game-breaking.

Since there's a shared deck, I don't need to worry too much about game-breaking combos, as long as there's no instant-win card in the deck.

Mixing simpler and complexe versions might be COOL!

Jay103 wrote:
If I do a more complex version of the game later, I'd keep the same card design so I'd probably be more likely to use the space...

If I was you, I'd go for a "different" style between products so as not to MIX-UP products if someone as a fan has purchased BOTH... I know you may like the "layout" and that's fine, but I would definitely NOT mimic the same "identical" style for two (2) different games ESPECIALLY if it is a simpler and more complexe version. Those two version should never be "mixed" together... Unless this is INTENTIONAL and somehow the simpler cards can be combined with more complexe ones.

Ya... I guess that could be cool. Maybe like a subset of cards that you ADD to make the game more "complexe". Could be DO-ABLE ... But it's still a bigger issue when it comes to BALANCING the "combined" game.

Maybe go with that ... in the future. Could be cool!

P.S.: Even IF you can COMBINE BOTH, I would still use DISTINCT styles for "both" products. This way a player can RECOGNIZE the "stronger" or more complexe cards when he draws one. This is basing myself on the assumption that you MAY (not will) elect to combine both...

Note #1: That would mean keeping the SAME "Cardback" but having a "different" STYLE to distinguish "core" from each of the various "expansions". I recommend you use a COLOR-THEME. So the First Set looks to be "Yellow" and then a future set could be "Lavender" (for example).

Something like that...

It would be more like an

It would be more like an expansion set for the card deck, yes.

If I did a separate game, it would have to look somewhat different. Certainly a different card back..

Well done!

In that case the game sound "very promising"! Especially the possibility of having expansion sets which AUGMENT the game play. I'm always looking for card game designs that are NOT similar to Magic: the Gathering (Magic).

Basically I'm trying to create games with FUN gameplay that are in no way Magic related. Sort of the opposite of what you are doing with this arena card game... Don't get me wrong, Magic is an AMAZING game. But that genre has been totally "tapped" out. Of course they will create 300 more cards in 2020 and make millions selling them.

But I feel Magic has it's OWN appeal.

Maybe in the sense that you are making a card game "more accessible" this might be overlooked (similarities with Magic). And you can grow the franchise as you do your other game Heroes & Treasure (H&T). Since you seem to be wanting to "re-use" artwork from H&T for your arena card game, this sounds like a good strategy.

Keep up the good work!

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