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Monster Keep vs. Crystal Heroes

Okay so a new debate has surface concerning the game that I am working on. In a way, it's not really a complicated matter ... but there are reasons for making a decision either which way. Let me explain.

So in essence the change is pretty SIMPLE: Changing the name to "Crystal Heroes" instead of "Monster Keep".

Why this new name change? Well it's got to do with REASONING:

1> I don't feel like the game is about MONSTERS. It's more about HEROES even if there are Villainous ones.

2> The game has changed to collecting GEMS. As such I am trying to get made CUSTOM plastic gems to be used with the game.

3> The focus of gameplay is not to be the "Lord of the Keep", more just be the victorious Lord... And that means designing several different Lords for each Race. Instead of only ONE (1) Lord per Race, I would design FOUR (4) of them.

4> Previously the "resources" were Food, Gold and Equipment. Now they are only "Red, Yellow and Blue" gems. Thematically I am removing depth to ensure that the game is more cohesive in the setting of a new theme.

5> Monster Keep had a concept to itself: you get to KEEP the Monsters. As such I would like to reserve the name for another GAME... That would be more in-line with the theme and setting.

6> The Monster Keep Logo is much more impressive than the "Crystal C" but there would be a marketing reason for the "C": better branding. I've change my Avatar to represent the "Crystal C"... Feedback would be appreciated.

7> As far as BRANDING is concerned, "Monster Keep" or "Crystal Heroes" BOTH have a strong presence. Both titles are COOL IMHO. It's a question of what is more APPROPRIATE. A nicer logo or a more fitting name that suits the theme of the game better...!

So that's a bit of what I am faced with... The question I am asking you all is simply to share your thoughts on the matter. If you have the least bit of an opinion, feel free to let me know what you think!

Many thanks to all... Cheers!


Okay so I ordered a "prototype" from TGC!

Since I got all the cards done over the last few days... It's about time to get a REAL "Prototype" made using "The Game Crafter"! I decided to RUSH my order for about $12+ extra (which was fairly reasonable). The game is supposed to ship on the 10 February otherwise I would have to WAIT until after the 25 February 2020...

Wanted to get it as EARLY as possible... To give the game a try... Because I didn't do an Illustrator version of the game. The Templates are ALL done in Photoshop and I designed ALL the cards without ART so that I could get my hands on the prototype and GIVE IT A TRY!

The great news is that it's ONLY 18 cards. The even better news is that I can PLAYTEST the cr@p out of this prototype to see how "smooth" the gameplay really is... Are there balancing issues? Are some cards too powerful?? Do I need to make some minor adjustments???

Things like that... I'll be sure to post UPDATES as I have them...


Note #1: When I said ONLY 18 cards... What I really meant was that there are only 18 DISTINCT cards. But the deck has 3 of each (for a total of 54 cards). I know I could have spent hours making a B&W Illustrator version... But I ordered some "Blank" Poker cards and I can use a Black Dry-Erase Marker to make correction... The idea was to get the prototype made as QUICKLY as possible!

Gameplay ideas and variants

One of the concepts used by the current version of the game is "Blind Configuration". It pre-supposes that the "configuration" aspect of the game is handled completely "invisible" to each player. Now while this sounds good... I'm tempted to TRY another variant in which players play one card at a time.

Could this be a VARIANT or should it be the actual DEFAULT method of play???

This I don't know. It will require me to do playtests at home to figure out which method is BETTER from the standpoint of view where the game excels in actually getting players excited to PLAY their cards.

So some other things to TRY and figure what works best for this design!

Note #1: Some things to think about in the 1-card-play is that IF you make a mistake playing the wrong card (from either an Attack Type or Element point-of-view), that could ALTER the cards you play and affect the outcome of the battle considering that it is a REACTION to what gets played.

This in a way is HIGHLY "strategic" even if your influence could be very limited (like 2 cards). The "blind" version relies purely on LUCK ... And as I have suggested some "table talk" and maybe some prediction or pattern divination. This is very RANDOM TBH.

So I may go with the 1-card-play mode ... If it is just as FUN. It is more strategic since you can REACT and correct a mistake (or blunder) as opposed to just an "instant" reveal and compute the scores to see who wins, loses or ties.

I'm very excited to test this method of play. It wasn't the FIRST idea that I had ... So I'm not sure. But I feel IF I can ADD more strategic DEPTH ... Players may find this more favorable than random luck.

I have been thinking a lot about gameplay...

And I have come to the conclusion that "Blind Configuration" is NOT the way to go. Why? Because playing cards simultaneously adds a layer of additional strategy.

Is it really that important???

YES it is. Like I said, between turns, players can REACT to the earlier cards played during the round. This is VERY fundamental because the one-time reveal ("invisible") leaves EVERYTHING up to LUCK. Sure it's a BIT strategic in that players will choose HOW to configure their Monster. But in reality there is no way to THINK and COUNTER (roll with the punches) so to speak!

So I will be playtesting the "1 card per turn" starting with the Monster and then playing the required "Enhancements"!

I'm sure this will also leave "last-minute" card plays that change the outcome of a hard fought battle. Giving Johnnies that overwhelming feel of satisfaction (beating their opponent).

Looking for strategies...

Anyone have any ideas about HOW to take this game from just A CARD GAME... into something more??? Like maybe some ideas about HOW to implement some sort of "replacement capability" where you can replace SOME monsters by others???

I ask this because I think a COOL game like this will INSPIRE "something" more... How can I follow-up with some secondary effort to boost interest into the game?

Some simple fact about the current design:

1. There are 54 cards based around 18 unique Monsters (3 of each).

2. There are three Element classes: Terra, Aqua and Flama (or Earth, Water and Fire).

3. There are three Attack types: Melee, Ranged and Flying.

Now players shuffle the entire deck of 54 Monsters and deal out the deck for 27 cards each. Next each player discards 3 cards to the Graveyard.

So this means the Graveyard has 6 cards and each player's Deck is 24 cards...

This demonstrates how the game is set-up ... But doesn't seem to help on HOW to make it "expandable". Right now, I don't have a clue about "expansion" and how to offer more "choice" (in the future).

Anyone have any ideas???

Should I concern myself with "Expansion"???

I was wondering what some of you fellow Game Designers think about the fact of asking yourself about "Expansion" in "stand-alone" games?! Is this something that should be planned for from the get-go? Or should it only be for games that are very successful??

I'm wondering because ALL of the "Monsters" in the First Edition of the Game are COOL... But I was wondering if it would be possible to ADD more cards or somehow VARY the cards from one edition to the next.

What are your thoughts/impressions???


Quest, do you have the complete rules for Crystal Heroes?

The Luck element I believe would give the game more depth in replay ability because this will Randomize whats next. If you have pure strategy, I'm guessing that eventually a player will have 1 particular strategy for each possible engagement. With a 54 cards I'd imagine Best strategies would be realized quickly. With Luck you're always guessing, and reacting. To include the fun memories when the 1 in a million odds happens.

I feel like the expansion is best to consider now, but that it will reveal its self more in the event the game becomes popular. It will be much easier to develop an expansion with the feedback of Fans. I'm reading a cool book called "How will you measure your life" By Clayton M. Christensen he encourages innovators to ask yourself one question about a product you are designing. "What Job did you hire Crystal Heroes for"? How does Crystal Heroes solve a problem for your customers, or what benefit are you filling for your customers!! Very interesting question to ask about our games.

Just to be clear ...

evansmind244 wrote:
Quest, do you have the complete rules for Crystal Heroes?

No ... but I am actively getting ART done for "Crystal Heroes"... "Monster Keep" is still in a prototyping stage. I just ordered (last week) a prototype from "The Game Crafter"...!

evansmind244 wrote:
With a 54 cards I'd imagine Best strategies would be realized quickly. With Luck you're always guessing, and reacting. To include the fun memories when the 1 in a million odds happens.

The 54 cards are for "Monster Keep" (MK). I am actively working on BOTH designs since I got inspiration for MK recently when I chose to rename the other game as "Crystal Heroes" (because it's more about Heroes than Monsters)...

I'd love the rules when you have the outline

I'd love the rules when you have the outline

I don't usually publish my rules until the game is on BGG!

You may have to wait a bit... Because I don't publish my rulebooks until the concept is literally a game already (and that means a BGG page). Then I'll post up the rulebook for review by the International Board Game Community over at Board Game Geek.

I find it's rather difficult to "plagiarize" a concept because usually there are ALL KINDS of details that need to be defined correctly for a game to go from Concept to Reality. And it's all those details that make the game "Special" and different from the others.

Sure talking about mechanics gives you a "good idea" about HOW a game may be played ... Until you sit down with the rules and the game itself ... You're never sure how FUN a game may be.

So that's one of my policies, I don't prematurely share my rulebooks ... Not until the game is in a 90% state of completion. But I have no problem discussing the overall concept and where I am at in the process.

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