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Team vs Team Deck Building Early Brainstorming

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Grall Ritnos
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Hello BGDF friends. It's been a long time since I've posted here, but I've got a new idea I'm kicking around that's exploring some space I think might be fairly new (although I could well be wrong about that). Sorry that things are a bit abstract from a thematic standpoint as yet. I've been massaging this idea for a while, and the theme that had been used as scaffolding during early iterations of the idea isn't proving to be a great fit for where the mechanics seem to be going. Here's the idea: A team vs team deck builder geared towards 2v2 or 3v3 match-ups.

Each team is building a shared deck. Each round, each team's entire deck is dealt out as evenly as possible between that team's players. After looking at their hands, the team determines which location each player will go to for that round (the number of locations is equal to the number of players, limit one player per location). This sets up a 1v1 match-up at each location.

The primary function of most of the cards is to provide varying quantities and combinations of 6 different (but mostly identical) resources. Each location will be affiliated with 2-3 of these resources (3 for 2v2, 2 for 3v3), so part of selecting which player goes to which location is based on the types of resources that player's hand can produce. For example, if one of the locations is affiliated with black and red, and I have several cards producing black and red in my hand, I would likely want to be assigned to that location.

Each turn, players can spend their cards to do two things:

1. Each location will have several cards available to acquire to add to the team's deck, which will be revealed after player assignments are finalized. The two opposing players at that location add up the number of resources of the affiliated types their hand can generate. Whoever has the most (tiebreaker TBD) can spend cards from their hand greater than or equal to the cost of a card they wish to acquire and add it to the team's deck for future turns. Player then recheck which of them has the most relevant resources remaining, and that player gets the next pick, etc. This continues until all cards have been claimed or both players pass (unclaimed cards are discarded). Card costs are generic/colorless, but can only be paid using the resources affiliated with that location. Some maybe in the format of 2A + 1B, meaning 2 of one of the location's colors and 1 of the other.
2. Each location features a multi-stage goal, the achievement of which is how teams win the game. If a player has all the resources needed to complete the next stage of the goal, they can spend those cards to move their team's marker up on that goal's track, which moves them towards the victory condition (details TBD). However, this will likely give the opposing team an advantage in acquiring that location's cards for that round. As teams advance on the goal track for a location, more cards are made available for drafting at that location on subsequent turns in Action #1 above.

All locations resolve their mini-games simultaneously (to speed play and mitigate alpha-gaming), then decks are reshuffled, dealt again, and new player assignments are made. Play continues until one team makes sufficient progress on the various goals to achieve victory.

Additional thoughts:
- With the entire deck being dealt every round, hand sizes could rapidly swell out of control. This means any cards with abilities beyond producing resources will need to be very very simple. I'm also playing with the idea of having an additional use for cards that trashes them out of the game, but also grants the team an ongoing bonus of some kind. This could also be a good use for cards you've been dealt that don't provide resources relevant to your current location. Alternately, it could be that cards used to fulfill a goal are trashed.
- I'm considering drawing tokens from a bag to randomize which resources are affiliated with each location. This not only provides some variable set up, but could allow for card effects or periodic timing triggers to swap/redraw these assignments mid-game to shift the balance if a team goes all in on a particular color combo.
- As far as victory conditions, my two leading options currently would be simple VP for each stage completed (game ends after X rounds or when a team hits X points) OR a team wins if they hit a low threshold on all goals or a higher threshold on a single goal. (If a goal had 7 steps, getting all goals to 5 or one goal to 7 would trigger victory)
- Although the game obviously plays best at 4 or 6 players, it should be possible to play with anywhere from 2-6 if players are comfortable controlling the action at multiple locations in sequence. This obviously does increase play time, and I'm not sure how satisfying it would be, but I think having 4 or 6 players only on the side of the box could be a big turn off.

I'd love any thoughts or feedback the community has to offer. I think there's some interesting unexplored space here, especially the 1-on-1 encounters with various members of the opposing team and the opportunity to collaboratively build an engine with your teammates. If anyone is familiar with other games that have attempted similar goals, I'd be grateful for referrals to go check those out as well. Thanks in advance!

Juzek
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I like the idea of a co-op deckbuilder!

I recently found an article written about engine building games, and thought it has some really insightful information:
https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&ved=2ahU...

As far as game play, I think there should always be more locations to go to than pawns placed. The last player should have a choice.

This could turn into a worker placement thing if there were more pawns than players.

Try to capitalize on limiting information between team mates. Otherwise whoever has the best ideas would always lead the team, and it would feel too much like just alternating turns in a 1v1 player game. I would love to see my team-mate do something I don't understand only to have it work out great in the end.

For theme, the first thing that comes to mind is different currencies. Something in the 15th or 16th century, where different coins and paper currencies (especially in Asia) were accepted at different places.

Jay103
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I'm just posting to say "wow"

I'm just posting to say "wow" :)

Quote:
Joined: 02/07/2011

Grall Ritnos
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Thanks for the article!

Juzek, that article was a deep and fascinating read! Thanks for sharing. I suspect I'll be revisiting the ideas shared there a number of times if this design moves forward.

It seems like I wasn't as clear as I could have been in describing mechanisms for my idea. When it comes to determining which player goes to what space, this is a decision that each team arrives at collaboratively and simultaneously, so there's no sense where the "last" player is left without options. Think of it as players gathering at HQ to decide together on their mission assignments, each player going off to complete his or her own mission, and then returning to debrief saying, "Here's what I achieved." The reason to resolve the actions at locations simultaneously is so that players can't alpha game the decisions that their teammates are making at other locations. It might even be worth putting communication restrictions in place during that phase, but I'd like the teams to be able to fully and openly collaborate "back at base." The 1v1 match-ups are at the core of the experience I'm going for with the game, so allowing more locations than players creates a good chance that players will miss each other on a fairly regular basis, and could make the decision of where to go feel closer to the core decision in The Grimm Forest. (Great game, just not what I'm going for here)

And Jay, yes, I've been lurking around this site for a lot of years. I dabbled in design quite a bit when I was in grad school ('09-'12), but hadn't been exposed to very many games as yet. Two kids and 6 years at a very demanding job later, I'm finally able to breathe enough to be in a regular game group which includes several designers and a publisher, so my juices are starting to flow again. It's exciting to see all the amazing evolution that's taken place in our hobby, particularly when it comes to designer resources, in the past decade!

Fri
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Ideas

Welcome back. I got some possible ideas for game. Feel free to disregard, use or improve upon them.

Have you thought any about ways to pass cards between team mates?  This is an attempt to indicate I think it is best if I don't go here maybe you should. Also should make for some stronger hands to help move the game along.

Have you thought about including monster cards like Clank or asscesion? That way teams could control an area by being the first to 3 monsters in that area or something like this. I think it would lead to some interesting choices as to do I try to defeat this monster or buy that really cool card.

I am not sure what the motivation is for dealing out all the cards. Could your game work if you just dealt out 5 or 6 cards?

Have you thought about ways allow players to use resources other then acquiring cards? IMO if you have a hand of nearly balanced resources you may not be able to do a whole lot which would not be fun. Like having a hand with 2 buy in Dominion. Some thoughts possible things to do are letting players stockpile or  having a way to covert into the desired resource.

Have you thought about cards that could be used to aid yourself or your teammates? This could lead to some interesting choices once again. It could also help alleviate the balanced hand issue. You might want to have players use these cards before the buy phase just for speed of play.

Grall Ritnos
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Thanks for the input!

Thanks for your insights Fri.

I'm definitely considering ways to share cards, likely as a reusable resource which can be unlocked over the course of the game, i.e. the team has achieved X, so now one player on that team can give 1 card to a teammate each turn, but once that team achieves X level 2, two people can each trade a card instead, etc.

I'm not super familiar with Clank or Ascension, but I think this is similar to what the goals at each location are trying to simulate. I'll take some time to dig into these games though.

My thought behind dealing out the whole deck is that I always want acquiring cards to be a positive action. In traditional deck building games, players try not to clog up their deck with lower value cards (especially late in the game), and many games have ways to trash starting/weak cards as time progresses. I want to avoid situations where a player acquires a weak card, only to have his/her teammates end up frustrated that he/she has made their deck weaker. Winning cards during a mission should always be a win. However, it might be possible to limit hand sizes and allow players to spend undealt cards as a resource, with the entire deck reshuffling every round. This would mean it would still be advantageous to have a deck with a higher concentration of good cards to maximize your team's draws, but every card acquisition does increase a team's resource pool by growing their overall deck size and thus the undealt card count. I'll have to play around with that idea more, as it just popped into my head as I was reading your comment, so thanks for the inspiration!

Resources can definitely be used beyond acquiring cards, specifically to complete goals. I've also been looking at team wide upgrades (such as the ability to give/trade cards mentioned above) as a possible resource outlet, although I'm leaning towards cards that are spent on these upgrades being trashed, since they will likely be fairly powerful. I want to minimize the interaction between teammates during a mission to maintain pace of play and limit alpha gaming, but I definitely want this to feel like a team endeavor, so the ability to support and empower one another between missions will be key.

Thanks again!

larienna
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Quote:Have you thought any

Quote:
Have you thought any about ways to pass cards between team mates?

When I saw the topic of the thread, I kind of got some ideas. One of them beign that when you need to "reshuffle" your deck, you reshuffle the discard pile of your partner.

So the cards you buy will benefit your partner first, then they will come back to you.

You might need to add a no talking rule to prevent the "can you buy me this card" syndrome.

-----------------------------------

You could also buy card directly into your partner's discard pile, can cards will require special abilities to move from a deck to another (like for thinning a deck).

Grall Ritnos
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I love this!

larienna wrote:

When I saw the topic of the thread, I kind of got some ideas. One of them beign that when you need to "reshuffle" your deck, you reshuffle the discard pile of your partner.

Such a great idea! I'm going to have to spend some time noodling on that as well, as it's a fairly different concept than my original direction, but I really love the possibilities presented here. Thanks for sharing!

Jay103
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Grall Ritnos wrote:And Jay,

Grall Ritnos wrote:
Two kids and 6 years at a very demanding job later

So, how do you feel about RPGs..? :)

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