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New design: Syndicate.North

I haven't blogged in a while. I've been mostly involved with the administration of the website and contributing to other threads by offering comments with things to consider or reflect upon...

I know this is a Board Game forum... But like some of our designers... I too am looking to diversify my portfolio.

As such I'm learning Video Game Design.

About 4 years ago, I bought a $75 professional license for a game development suite. I left it there and didn't touch anything.

Discussions with family over the viability of TableTop Game Design... Got me to think maybe I too (like the million other people)... Could design my own mobile game...

That game is called "Syndicate.North".

It's a bit of a dark game... Because it focuses on criminals and their activities.

There are nine (9) classes of cards. And this is what I wanted some FEEDBACK on...

Muscle = Enforcer, Hitman, Saboteur
Property = Vandal, Hustler, Smuggler
Elite = Hacker, Chemist, Terrorist

Cards come in those groupings. I was wondering what the other designers think about the "classes"... Can they be improved upon or is this okay?!

Please feel free to share your thoughts, comments and feedback. Cheers!


Corporations = colors

There will be five (5) corporations as a part of the game:

Alpha Holdings [Red]
Beta Labs [Black]
Charles Mining co [Green]
Delta Air [Blue]
Echo Manufacturing [White]

This is like the "color pie" and each class of cards will have their own set of cards belonging to each corporation.

Of course while this sounds "magic-ish"... It's really NOT.

I wanted a theme that was less done and came down to three (3) choices: Steampunk, mechs or crime.

I chose "crime"... Because it's the less developed theme.

It will be a mobile card game in the "crime genre"... It will be multiplayer and will be partly developed in PHP and part Game Maker.

It's a really "ambitious" project... But one I hope to really enjoy doing and bringing to life...


Free to play forever and no ads

I also wanted to add that the game will be free to download, have no ads ... There will be a "pay" mechanic if you want to progress beyond a level.

My current idea which is simple is $5 USD per year (12 months). If you don't pay the fee, you can keep playing forever... But your battles will not add to your experience count and therefore you will not earn new boosters (e.g.. New cards)

So it means that you can PLAY forever... But not earn any new experience and cannot unlock new cards/boosters. So there is a capping mechanic.

I really want people who enjoy playing to pay for playing. And if you get bored or tired of the game, you will not lose your cards at any given point in time.


Your classes are fine and make sense.

You could do Muscle, Mouth, and Mind:
Muscle: Hitman, Enforcer, Smuggler
Mouth: Hustler, Terrorist, Vandal
Mind: Hacker, Chemist, Saboteur

- I was thinking of the Vandal as someone who does graffiti slogans (words) thus the "Mouth" category, but maybe you were thinking of someone who just destroys stuff. "Instigator" might be a better class in this category if you go this route.

Sounds cool, I have no interest in video games though.

About the Vandal category of cards...

Indeed Vandals do "graffiti" and one of their secret abilities is changing affiliation "when played". So when a player PLAYS a Vandal card, he gets to choose the "color/corporation" affiliation of said card.

Why is this important???

Well what it means is that in the "color pie" there are rules to govern which colors/corporation will combat each other. SAME corporation = no battle... So if you have a Blue Vandal Card and you make it Green ... People will react to the "Green" color and think it to be true (or know that the Vandal is lying about his/her affiliation...)

When the game is resolved, the true affiliation of the Vandal is revealed.

It's a pretty kewl ability, no??? I think it's cool and it will impact many battles between two factions.

This is ONE (1) of the card types that I have "nailed down". I know how those cards will behave...

Note #1: As you can see, I will be doing some abilities that are JUST NOT POSSIBLE with "Physical Cards"!!! Score tracking is also complex but simple when the PC does it for you.

Like you have a Hustler card "Dan's Dry Cleaner", cleans money and gives a +1 Random Boost to some of your cards. Two (2) things: RANDOM and BOOST. It's impossible to do random events with Physical Cards and a BOOST of stats is just as hard but "possible with counters"... But then you need to remember that the "Red" Counter = "+1" each, etc.

So, a Mobile version of this game MAKES it POSSIBLE to "exist" and be able to play with little computation (all the math will be handled by the PC or cell phone - in the case of mobile)...

Note #2: Also with the Vandal cards, you can REVEAL the "true affiliation" BEFORE the end of the game ... If this SUITS you or not. And it is on a "per-card" basis.

So, if your Vandal is affiliated with Delta Air (Blue) and decides to go "undercover" and portray Echo Manufacturing (White) and the opponent he is facing is Delta Air (Blue), normally he would be beaten and his opponent would score +5 Victory Points (based on Corporation)...

But he can choose to REVEAL his true affiliation (in this case Blue) and Blue vs. Blue = no attack (corporation guidelines whereby the same affiliation will not hurt it's fellow members).

There are variations... But I'm sure you get the understanding behind the Vandal cards...

The Saboteur is true "muscle"

For example, the card "Timesquare Countdown" is a Terrorist card and it's a card which indicates that a "dirty bomb" is played. This explosion can target "3" opposing cards in-play. Played AFTER the cards from each side have been revealed. Each target loses 1 Health...

Or "Car Bomb" is a Saboteur card and it targets all opposing Combat Row cards, each one loses 1 Health, AFTER opponent's Combat Row cards are revealed...

The game will be a sort of "Gwent"/"Hearthstone" hybrid. Not as complicated as "Hearthstone" and closer in terms of gameplay like "Gwent" (another card game...) But again not copies, the game is unique in itself...

Note #1: There are Lanes too (like in "Gwent") and there are categories of cards (like in "Hearthstone")... There is no MANA or resource to "use" (like Land Cards)... Each card has a POWER (1 to 9), a CLASS (1 to 9 criminals), and an AFFILIATION (think color/corporation).

The idea is to make something SIMPLE that is cool to play. In essence, I am trying to design a CCG for a mobile app/game where the mechanics are such that it would be IMPOSSIBLE to do with a PHYSICAL game.

Terrorists are all at familiar or well-known Global Locations

Things like "Time Square" or "The Golden Gate Bridge" or "Parliament" (in Ottawa/Canada) ... Global Locations will be "Terrorist" cards in the game. There needs to be some FAMILIARITY of those cards which lends well to the nature of this specific criminal.

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blog | by Dr. Radut