Skip to Content

Monster Keep — Revisiting an older design

I've had a bit of "free time". Or more so what to do with this "EXTRA" time. I was discussing with @Fhizban different Archon concepts as he too seemed interested in developing an "Archon Board Game". Meanwhile I was exploring a Card Game ... And it didn't have anything SPECIAL. There was really nothing unique with this Card Game...

So I decided to shelve "Archon" and go back to "Monster Keep". After some playing around, I figured that "remembering" the different aspects of the game made me think: "Huh? This game has some potential!" I always kept the cards (prototype) that I had made... Because I FELT like there was SOMETHING worthwhile pursuing.

And just the other day... Bringing the "Archon" flavor to "Monster Keep" would be POSSIBLE, I'd just have to create a NEW "Prototype". But before I do that... I want to REVISIT the design a bit.

I had Spells, Keywords, and a couple Decks of cards.

Now that I have a better idea what the STRENGTHs (Mathematics, Blocking, etc.) ... I feel like I can just re-imagine the game. And I've got some inspiration to help me along. So this is where I am at: revisiting an older design.


Lot's of work ahead for this design

Although I am generally happy with the "direction" of this Design. There is a lot of work ahead before this design is "SOLID"! Firstly I am going from an RPS-9 to an RPS-5. I also changed the "Races" to be strictly monsters. So, things like Order, Life, Nature, Technology, etc. are being re-focused. I did not want any non-Monster related content...

There are five "Factions" and Monsters will be grouped into one of five (5).

I need to re-design the RPS-5 with all of the links/relationships. I guess that's my NEXT STEP: rework the RPS-5 such that it makes sense now under the rules of this NEW design.

When I have more news, I will ADD to this thread. Maybe once the RPS-5 is completed, I will add an image of it. Cheers!

Just a quick comment

The original "Monster Keep" (MK) is not "Crystal Heroes" (CH). And the reason is that game featuring "Game Tiles" was MOSTLY about "Heroes". I felt it was wrong to name it MK and traded the name of the game to CH.

MK is now the "mathematical game" and CH is the "tile laying/area control" game. The level of MATH is surprising but effective. Parents will encourage their kids to PLAY a game that has a strong mathematical component!

CH is very advanced in the "Art Design" phase. Before I submit the game to reviewers and complete the rulebook. That's right CH rulebook needs to be re-written such that the SIZE is more reasonable and easier to READ!

Bigger issues to tackle than the RPS-5

The prototype that I am working with ... is CONFUSING to say the least. I don't yet have a ROUND setup for the game, this is the major reason for the confusion. I have "too many" stats, turns and abilities. I am thinking about something SIMPLER: there are TWO (2) rounds.

In Round #1, you draw six (6) cards and are allowed to play four (4). Next you decide if you keep or discard the remaining cards (1 or 2) and refresh your hand to six (6) cards for Round #2. This is all GREAT. You can work on your equation and try to total the proper amount. Again all NICE and kewl.

What is troublesome are the "Abilities" on each card. If you play four (4) cards down and then you can EXHAUST each one ONCE... That makes sense. But the "Abilities" and "Health" are not working in that fashion... And here lies the problem.

I need there to be SOME KIND of interaction between BOTH players. HOW?! IDK -- yet! Otherwise it's like a Euro, you play and do your thing and I play and I do my thing. Nope. That's not going to work...

That's my problem ATM. And it is a BIG one. The RPS-5 isn't even on my radar at this time because there is too much "Abilities" and no Exhaustion (similar to tapping). It's going to take a while to THINK about this design some MORE. When I get some better direction, I will post some more about my progress. Hopefully soon! Cheers.

Three (3) stats instead of Mana

The current prototype uses three (3) stats instead of Mana. Those stats are defined by rolling 3d6s (White):

  • Power = Physical Attacks inflicting material wounds.

  • Skill = Abilities involving subterfuge, secrecy and stealth.

  • Magic = Magical Powers that are used to cast Spells.

And then there is one (1) Black Die which is the "Arcane" stat. It's sole purpose is to replace one of the other three (3) stats when they are used as resources. All this works GREAT!

The 3d6s (White) act as the equation TOTAL. So 3 + 4 + 2 = 9. The goal is to make an equation that equals 9. This also works great too!

So Mana is covered with the rolling of 4d6s.

There are five (5) colors/classes of cards:

  • Passion (Red): whether Anger, Hate or Love, this class is about focused and/or direct energies.

  • Serenity (Green): this class is about Calm, Patience, Peace and energies which embody Freedom.

  • Empathy (Blue): unlike the other energies which are about themselves, this class is about others and Understanding, Compassion, Comprehension, etc.

  • Courage (White): to others Courage means being Brave, Bold, Decisive and everything Honorable. But to some it means Honesty and Forthrightness.

  • Fear (Black): this class is about not only about being Horrified, it's also about Anxiousness, Cowardice and also Vulnerability.

So far all of this is real GREAT! And seems to work well with the mathematical aspect of the equation(s) too.

This means that each stat can have six (6) resources but I plan to have certain units which can add bonus resources to one of the stats. At the price of "Exhausting" a unit (Taping). I want to rid myself of the RPS system... It's too prohibitive, even if there are only five (5) classes.

Some cards are UNIQUE which means that there can only be ONE (1) in each player's Deck. That too seems reasonable and works okay on the Deck Construction side of matters. This is more of a competitive card game and therefore the composition of your deck matters.

For those interested, I will continue to explain further. And maybe one of you can shed some light on my "complications" on HOW to handle the "Battle Element" of the game.

Battling has been resolved ... I think?!

Each Monster has two (2) types of Attack: a Primary Tactic and an Advanced Tactic. Usually the Primary Tactic is some form of "direct damage" and consists of method to deal damage to opposing Monsters in play.

But aside from two (2) types of Attack, each Monster has a RANGE value which determines "what" Monsters they may attack. Range varies from 1 to 3, where 1 = Melee (Directly Facing), 2 = Range (Adjacent also) and 3 = Extended (Two Monsters away). So you just CAN'T "attack" whomever you like, the range determines what Monsters you can attack.

Next each Monster has "stats" in the form of 3 values: Power, Skill and Magic (as already explained in this blog entry earlier on). Generally speaking Monsters have between 5 and 7 "Health Points" (HPs) and are divided into three (or less) stats.

An example will explain where I am going with the Battling:

questccg wrote:
Example #1: Rock Golem.

Primary Tactic: Crushing Fist, can deal up to 3 Power of direct damage.

Advanced Tactic: For free, this Monster can Absorb 3 Power of damage from adjacent attacks.

His Range = 2 and has 4 Power, 2 Skill (6 HPs).

So when you play Rock Golem, it can "absorb" 3 Power damage for FREE. That is the Monster's Advanced Tactic. And it works on either the card to the Left or the Right (Adjacent attacks).

To DEFEAT this Monster, you need to deal 4 Power damage and 2 Skill damage. So this opens up the game to COMBOs and generally speaking I did NOT want it to be TOO EASY to defeat an opposing Monster. This is because of all the Math content (Equation Building)... But still I felt like there needed to be some "tension/disaccord" between the two dualists.

I will of course need to Design, Print and Cut all these cards to actually give them a TRY. It's cool to design stuff ... But the only way if you know the game is BALANCED is to actually prototype and give it a try. What I mean is this prototype has still been untested (no playtesting) and I am still in the "physical" design phase (working with Illustrator and designing prototype cards to be cut).

I'll post back once I am further into the "physical" design...

Finished 20% of the cards tonight...

I've managed to find a bit of a balance between editing and enjoy the amusement that is TB. Anyhow, I managed to complete 20% of the cards. With card distribution, I can really work on how "common" or "rare" a card is. This is great because it will allow some "common" cards to be more FREQUENT in a 15 card selection.

That another design decision, I've gone from 12 cards to 18 cards. Just for the sake of more variety and make certain cards more "relevant" like the "Scry" cards... Yeah I know that's a Magic: the Gathering (Magic) keyword, but I really could not find better. The game is nothing like Magic, BTW. It has it's own Mana or Resource system (explain previously in this blog entry... just scroll to the top), and the card are indeed different.

Doesn't even feel like anything like Magic. I just used that ONE (1) keywork... So don't worry. This is NOT a Magic clone... I am getting these card printed in Hong Kong (Sorry about earlier confusion that led people to believe I was going to use The Game Crafter). I am going to have these cards printed on Plastic Cards (ultra thin and very resistant). You don't need sleeves for these cards and they shuffle super good even thought they are a bit smaller than standard Playing Cards!

More about the cards tomorrow... That's enough "play" for one night!

Note #1: FYI I plan to code a randomizer for the cards according to a pre-determined distribution that I will use to generally control (semi) which cards get produced (in sets).

There are some more "rules" which state that in a Micro Deck, you can have at most three (3) of the SAME cards. I also canned the "unique" card rule and went to the three instead of only one. I know it's not impossible to bring back this rule (in the case of too strong cards)... Well see!

Note #2: Planning to use Letter-mail to send out these cards because the cards are thin enough to fit in a standard envelope with a clear, re-sealable baggie along with you a big "Thank You" to the gamers who bought the product. Letter-mail is so very inexpensive for the USA, I believe it $2.00 and for Canada is $0.75. That's also a GREAT PLUS for selling the game.

Finished ALL of the cards and printed them out...

Now comes the HARD part: cutting the cards! LOL I just cut the NEW score cards because there are only two (2) of them; one for each player.

The cards are a bit "random", I've set some distribution quantities ... But it seems like for now, I'll stick to what I have and then for real production, I will design that "Deck Design" code to create Decks for the people who BUY the game.

As of today, the plan is to sell a 15 Card set which will have a "controlled" randomization: 5 Common, 4 Uncommon, 3 Rare, 2 Mythic and 1 Promo... Only one promo card per Deck. I know this is not the usual booster set and really it's not, this is a very different game from your A-Typical CCG. The "set" is all you need to play the game and will cost $25 USD. The VALUE of said cards is approximately $40 USD. So, I will be giving great value to the people who buy the game EARLY.

Lot's of CUTTING to do today and tomorrow... We'll see how things go. If the game is at all "playable". That's the thing with "designs": before a prototype, IDEAS sound good... But sometimes can be useless and crappy when you actually TRY the game. So re-iteration is required to refine the game and improve on the problems such that challenges in the design get resolved!

Cheers all...

Now cutting the cards (4 sheets)

I'm about 25% done with the cutting... Did 2 out of 8 sheets. Not too bad. But I noticed that I used different colors which made them more readable than the current ones (too dark -- Need to lighten them up). After playtesting and seeing if I need to TWEAK cards, I'll have the RIGHT colors, because I already went through them all and changed each one to the LIGHTER color palette (they're all grey -- because I am using a B&W Laser Printer).

But printing at 1200 DPI ... And still they look a bit DARK!

Next batch will be better and we'll see about the BALANCING also. Keeping you all informed as to my progress with this game...

100% finished cutting of cards and even customized the decks

MK is occupying all my time recently because I got a bunch of FRESH ideas and I have been focusing on this design. As far as them "fresh" ideas, well it includes the following:

  • Mathematical equations/formulas

  • Improved Score cards (more resources available to players)

  • Combat using stats as opposed to Health Points

  • The use of "keywords" to shorten tactic descriptions

I want to get to a PLAYTEST in the next 1 or 1.5 hours ... A first type of duel. I created a CUSTOM Micro Deck (15 cards) but identical to BOTH players to see how it plays. Is it FUN? Is it PLAYABLE?! We'll know soon enough ... Excited to give this a go... It's been on my mind since the start of October!

Keep you all posted about the progression and how my playtests go...

Playtest #1 under way ... And...

It seems like the LATEST prototype ... is still much TOO COMPLEX! Why? Well because EACH card has "2 ways to Battle": a Primary Attack and an Advanced Tactic.

While this is COOL on the cards... (Looks impressive). I think I should re-iterate and refine those 2 ways into ONLY 1 way.

That will reduce the Analysis-Paralysis (AP) by quite a LOT. The Mathematics rules... So "battling" is a secondary task after you have set up your "equation"... Because players play cards facedown, it is practically impossible to determine the player's opposition.

The other matter to refine is the "stats" on each card. 3 Power, 2 Skills and 1 Magic "sounds good" ... But in reality the number of COMBOs required to conquer these cards is significant... Like I said I wanted "battling" to be a PART of the game, not the focus.

So some re-thinking of "stats" and a major overhaul is needed.

I figured as much... There was just too much going on. The 4 resource dice are great, the "new" Score cards are good too... A bunch of good stuff also (done right). But this is an iteration (one of many) ... And I need to re-edit all the cards AGAIN and stick to ONLY the Advanced Tactics as the method of attack...

It may sound a bit "dis-heartening" but that's the process: an iteration is only as good as it's number. Meaning the more you "retry" the better the outcome (until you have a SOLID design).

Cheers folks and will keep you all informed as to how things progress!

Need to put in some more "thought"!

I realize that reducing the Monsters to only one "ability" can be VERY limiting. Especially because those abilities can be OTHER than "attacking".

There are some NEW thoughts about HOW to simplify the game such that a nine (9) year old can play the game. I'm working on it ...

Again more thought need to be given into this design.

Some early thoughts...

I believe that two (2) things need to happen:

1> First need to REVISE ALL cards and be sure that they will be useful in the *next* iteration. Specifically what I am looking for is cards that are not useful and cards that are TOO powerful.

2> Determine HOW I want play to be done. Again the problem here is over complexity. Having TOO much to think about (Analysis-Paralysis -- AP for short). But at the same time I don't want to STRIP out everything that is UNIQUE to the game itself!

More thinking about this TODAY as I play TB... Me and the Clan members were itching to ATTACK an enemy City for raiding one of our Gold Mines... Anyways looks like we will have to use diplomatic channels because of the ROE and we don't want to be ousted from our Clan (or our Clan to be Black Listed)... The JOYS of playing a GAME!

Note #1: One of the apparent issues is RANGE. Instead I am thinking that this should be REACH (instead). Meaning ANY "1" can attack an opposing "1" in the stack. This means that there would be THREE (3) Reach Levels (1 to 3). Each Level a sub-set of the monsters in the stack (meaning you can't attack everyone... You need to do some planning and figure out your most important targets.

This will OPEN UP the game a bit in that it doesn't matter WHERE in the stack a monster is ... It's the target's Reach that matters. This will allow me to COMBINE monsters and also allow BONUS "effects" to carry over also.

More notes as I come to further thoughts on the game!

I think ... most of the cards are NOT BAD!

Thinking about "Reach" vs. "Range" and this has changed my view on the game. It is now REALLY COOL! My only remaining ISSUE ATM is figuring out how many attacks are allowed PER ROUND. There are a TOTAL of 4 Rounds. And you have Global Resources (for ALL ROUNDs inclusively). So now it's a question of figuring out HOW to PLAY one (1) Round.

Are there Action points? Or perhaps the Arcane die has a DUAL purpose!? Hmm... That's not too bad of an idea! It can serve as a replacement die, but the Arcane die determines HOW MANY "Attacks per Round" (since it is a standard d6) that means from 1 to 6 ATTACKS. I need to playtest this... And see if it reasonable.

Another possibility is something like "Three (3) APs per Round". That could be a FIXED cost of attacking. But I like the "MAX 6" because it means more use of cards and total/complete annihilation (or more combat for sure).

We'll see... Another PLAYTEST will determine HOW I move forwards with this design... Cheers all!

Some observation following my latest PLAYTEST!

It would seem like "Power" is the pre-dominant stat. While most of Monsters have a Primary Attack requiring "Power", most of the cards have "Power" and another stat ("Skill" or "Magic"). The issue is that MOST of the cards have "Power" and not one of the other TWO (2) stats. So there seems to be a "kind-of" BALANCING that needs to be done to ensure that there is MORE variety in terms of the stats.

Like IF some units could use "Skill" to deal "direct damage", that may be more interesting than say, most cards that use "Power".

It's about 50% done design-wise. Another iteration is definite ... But some re-think on the cards (stats-wise) is required.

In my brief time to think about the game last night...

I took down three (3) items that need to be reviewed/re-iterated:

1> The Monster Stats (Power, Skill, and Magic) need revision.

2> Primary Attacks need to be revised also.

3> Some balancing needs to be done to some of the "Monster Tactics".

BUT some operations like Minus ("-") and Division ("/") are not great in having sufficient of an equation to MERIT having a divisor or a negative value... So "+3" is great ... but "-3" SUCKS to start with. And then "/2" DIVIDER SUCKS also... Which means that not all paths lead to reasonable equations.

With FIVE (5) PLUS "+", FOUR (4) MINUS "-", THREE (3) "/" and THREE (3) "x" the game is difficult to play because the computations are off in the stack for MOST paths. And this makes it EASIER for the opponent to ONLY target the GOOD paths available to the player.

I will be thinking hard on HOW to improve the odds of success and how to improve the Micro Deck... We shall see what I can come up with!

Note #1: What if the operation was to be CHOSEN by the player??? Maybe this COULD WORK! In a previous iteration, I TRIED to make the OPERAND be arbitrary (you could choose the value). It didn't work very well and I was forced to "hard-code" a value. But maybe with the OPERATION it might be more interesting... Hmmm... I've been saying that there is no NEED for "minuses" and "divisions" ... But WHY not leave that up to each path in the stack and let it be decided by the players!

Note #2: I'm thinking that as Monsters get knocked off, the remaining Monsters and their operations will be subject to EDITING. So even if something is a "+3" ... It could change later on to becoming a "x3" (for example). This would mean that the game would be more DYNAMIC and the loss of Monsters LESS DRAMATIC. So far, great thoughts on how to IMPROVE the game during this next iteration (before re-editing, re-printing, re-cutting and re-playtesting)...

Let us think about the STATS and see what we can determine

In thinking about the STATS, the earlier goal was to ensure that NOT too many Monsters get slain and therefore cause there to be no PATH on the stack without the four (4) cards to complete the equation.

And so the solution was to have POWER and (SKILL OR MAGIC). Since the quantity of resources depend on dice (and their rolling), it made sense to BOOST up your POWER because most of the cards had a POWER value.

So the goal was to have some kind of COMBOs: two (2) cards (Monsters) to defeat another Monster. But ALL the cards have a POWER ability (Primary Attack) but few cards have SKILL and MAGIC. So TOO MUCH Power and NOT ENOUGH Skill and Magic.

This is indeed my FIRST PROBLEM: too many cards dealing with "Power".

So I've worked on almost ALL the Monsters tonight

I am only missing four (4) that I will take care of TOMORROW. The good news is that I have simplified the abilities (less Stats and more variety). So now some Monsters do "Skill" Primary Attack Damage or even "Magic" as a special type of attack unique to that Monster.

The idea of requiring COMBOs remains ... But there are LESS Stats to concern yourself with.

For example: Instead of three (3) "Power" attacks, it's only ONE (1). And each Monster's Strength has been lowered from a four or a six to a 3 or a 4.

I've tried to address all THREE (3) of the above issues at the same time. It just worked out that way, while making EDITs, it because obvious that there needed to be modifications or corrections to make the game more "playable".

I will wrap up tomorrow morning and hopefully get a chance to PRINT and CUT the new cards tomorrow late-afternoon... Cheers all!

Some cool "effects" of REACH...

So as I explained earlier, I decided to TRANSFORM "Range" into "Reach". To summarize "Range" was supposed to be some kind of "distance" factor.

When I came up with "Reach", it meant the type of TARGET you can affect.

For example, if your card has "Reach 1", it means that you can target ANY card with a similar "Reach 1"... And sometimes there are Monster Tactics which take more advantage of targeting to allow you to affect adjacent cards to the opponent's targeted card (for example)!

I know there still needs to be MORE balancing. Because the "Reach" means that groups of cards can do battle. But say Group #3 has only 3 Monsters currently in it. And it means that given the cards for that GROUP, no Monsters can be SLAIN.

This clearly makes for "incompatibilities" between slaying and NOT having enough "resources" to DEFEAT the cards being attacked (Or perhaps abilities on the monster cards themselves...)

I will finish off this iteration, PRINT/CUT/PLACE this NEW batch of cards to determine when I can playtest. Maybe as early as Sunday afternoon!

As of today...

I have only three (3) "Reach" values: 1, 2 and 3. But because this is no longer about "distance" (like the "Range" concept), it's NOW about GROUPINGS and what this means that even if ATM there are ONLY "3" reach values, in the future there opens up the possibility of six (6) more "Reach" values: four (4) to nine (9)!

Now I need to refine the existing cards a bit. Correct their "Reach" (maybe?!) or ensure that there are ways to combat and defeat SOME cards. Granted it might be a bit boring if say "Reach 3" could never be defeated no matter what cards you have from Edition I. And that may be a VALID statement: currently you cannot beat any "Reach 3" with an opposing card.

I'm not 100% sure, but I get this impression this is TRUE.

I am working HARD to refine the cards and ensure there is as much COMBO-ing being done to battle opponents and remove them from the opponent's stack. But I'm not sure IF I did a good job at this. More analysis needs to be done... And so for the time being, I will NOT cut the cards that I printed. Not until I do further analysis into each GROUP (and see what are the possibilities for "interplay").

I will be obviously looking at this tomorrow. It's starting to get late. I may take a quick look today and start the process.

Keep you all informed how the NEW version (with the revisions of tomorrow) goes when I PLAYTEST it AGAIN...

I've been doing some IN-DEPTH ANALYSIS

Here are some of my finding on the six (6) "Reach 1" Group:

1> 2 out of 6 can be BEATEN by traditional attacking.

This is because most of "Reach 1" do "Power" Damage and two (2) Monsters ONLY have "Power" as a stat.

2> 3 out of 6 have a 2nd Ability which means they CANNOT be beaten.

These ones have like "+1 Magic" or "+1 Skill". With no cards ATM that can attack using "Magic" or "Skill" (Again in the "Reach 1" Group) means that for the moment, these cards are invulnerable and CANNOT be defeated.

3> 1 out of 6 is in left-field and has 3M (so 3 "Magic").

This is the Promo card, the "Witch Doctor" ... It's a cool card with a Monster Tactic called "Rain of Fire"! It allows you to do 3 Damage of your CHOOSING (Power, Skill or Magic).

So 2 out of 6 (or 33%) can be beaten EASILY in "Reach 1" Group. The Promo card makes the "Group 1" all VULNERABLE to being defeated, so you'll probably "Cause Fear" or "Entangle" the "Witch Doctor" card to limit the amount of DAMAGE caused by this card.

Even to beat the 2 EASY Monsters that only rely on "Power", it needs to be a COMBO of the other cards in PLAY (again "Reach 1" Group ONLY).

Therefore you need to think as you BUILD your Micro Deck of 15 cards, do you WANT to include these two (2) WEAKER cards??? Agreed that both of those cards have COOL "Monster Tactics" but you could land up seeing those cards be on the CHOPPING BLOCK (and defeated). Do you risk this??? IDK.

As a side note, while I continue to design this game, the purpose of the Promo card ("Witch Doctor") is going to be a SILVER card... My version of a FOIL card. There is also GOLD too (as a possibility) but not for now. The silver will be my first adventure into colors other than basic "white".

TBH I'm understanding that knowing which cards CAN be defeated vs. the cards that CANNOT is a bit... underwhelming.

But at the same time, during this ANALYSIS, I have not been looking at the OPERANDs. And while 2 cards may be WEAK, they are functionally (for the Math in the game) rather GOOD cards to have in a DECK. So there is RISK and yet there is a REWARD. But at the same time, I just can figure out WHY(?) you would add cards that can be BEATEN into your DECK!!!

And so I need to work on this. Perhaps another ALTERNATIVE is "Reach" starts at "1" and can go up to "9" (at some point in the FUTURE) but a "Reach 2" CAN ATTACK a "Reach 1" Group. As long as the group is EQUAL OR HIGHER, that card can attack/combo. This would definitely OPEN UP the game a little. But then you would ONLY put LEVEL "3" in your deck such that the opponent cannot attack you (or BARELY...)

I'm working on seeing HOW to "Break the game" EARLY. And understanding that if "Reach 1" can attack only "1", the game is NOT broken. But you can avoid the cards which can be defeated and NOT include those in your deck... Making those cards ones that nobody wants to OWN or PLAY!

See what I took a look at next ("Reach 2")!

Oddly enough "Reach 2" was already BALANCED!

The monsters in the 2nd Grouping ("Reach 2") were ALREADY "balanced"! Wow what a surprise, I knew I had done a good job... But once I reviewed "Reach 1", I wasn't so sure anymore. And figuring that I had to do some editing of Group 1 to ensure that the monsters "could" be defeated... I figured that "Reach 2" (Group 2) would be the same.

I only had to do one SMALL edit and that was to go from 1 Power to 2 Power for one of the monsters "Primary Attack" (PA). Otherwise the remaining PAs were 100% fine and the was various ways those cards could COMBAT each other.

Next is the final STEP: "Reach 3" (Group 3).

I will post my results after I conduct a bit of analysis. There are ONLY four (4) cards to verify... So my conclusion is that the Group 3 cards cannot be defeated. That's my gut telling me so. We'll see! Cheers.

Funny same goes for "Reach 3" (Group 3)...

It would seem that the "Reach 3" (Group 3) was also balanced with a couple of the Monster Tactic which deal "?" Resources of damage. These are good cards because the attacking player can decided which kind of damage he/she feels like doing. And since it is VARIABLE, whatever the situation requires is what is best for the Group because it allows for some BALANCING.

So this means that the game is NOW "Balanced". Each "Reach"-Level has been examined to see if the game allows for Attacks/Victories in which the various Monsters CAN be defeated but not necessarily true.

Later this evening, I will proceed with making the EDITs to the cards and re-print the NEW versions of the cards. Obviously it means that the print in-between the 1st new batch and this 3rd batch will be useless and need to be destroyed. Oh well, at least I didn't waste time CUTTING them.

Once I edit, print, cut and playtest the latest version, I will be able to see how the game feels and truly see IF the game is as FUN as it should be. Cheers all!

Tomorrow I cut the Edited/Printed cards!

Yeah I've reviewed the cards and ensured that each card had a place in the first series... They are now done (editing and printing). All that remains is to Cut and Sleeve these babies! Sure it would be nice to upload and just order a batch ... However these cards are "non-standard" size because of this fact, I need to work with sleeves and pre-printed card backs.

With tomorrow having completed the cutting and sleeving, MAYBE I can get a playtest done as EARLY as tomorrow evening/night. We'll see how the mood moves me... I dislike cutting (because it's never perfect) and I like things to look as professional as possible, even with the prototypes that people will NOT see...

So I guess I'll check-in tomorrow and report back my progress and how things feel ... Is the design crystallizing yet -- or do I need to do another iteration. TBH I feel like the design is "as-good-as-it-gets"! It's just a matter of looking at Analysis-Paralysis ... Making sense of the cards and understanding what to TRY...

This is VERY MUCH "a learning game". And what I mean by this is ... You may not be good in your first game or maybe your fifth game ... But eventually playing more and more, you will get a better grasp of the game and it's quite the challenge at FIRST. But if you embrace the game and give it a real TRY... You'll most likely think that the game is very cool. And that the mathematics are enjoyable... Making this kind of game great for kids to practice their math skills in addition to card game strategy!

Took some time tonight to cut some of the cards

I've managed to cut about 1/3rd of the cards (part of a 3-step process). I should be good for finishing the remainder of the cards tomorrow. Clearly I have never seen anything SIMILAR ... And so this is going to be a very creative card game. It uses minimal components: 4d6s (3 White dice and one of another color -- prototype is Black) and a dry erase pen.

You'll be able to write directly onto the cards themselves and use a tissue to remove the ink once it dries (1 minute wait-time).

The game has roots in many, many iterations of the game. It's been a hard process because there were always things that were WRONG with the game. I find it cool that the design *might* crystalize tomorrow... We can all hope that it does... That would be "nice" knowing one of my other designs is just in need of a RULEBOOK to wrap up the design (90%).

Of course no game is complete without development and critique. So for sure that means this could be another one of the games that is DONE "design-wise" but waiting to be reviewed, blindly playtested, etc.

But it's exciting because I KNEW that I had something special with this particular design. It just so very NOVEL and original ... I know we probably say this about all our games... This one has the most general appeal because it can be played by all ages of card players. And it's has enough moving parts that it is HARD to master and EASY for new players who are not yet proficient with the depth of strategy offered by the game.

We'll see how it goes tomorrow. Let's all keep our fingers crossed and hope that this is the "final" iteration before moving to development!


It would seem that making the OPERATOR "blank" and allowing the PLAYERS to choose their operators is ... FANTASTIC! Really works nice with the game. There is a UNIQUE challenge to this game (the Math...!)

Aside from that working *nice*... There is still a bit of CONFUSION surrounding the STATs and Attacks. Previously I had some kind of COMBAT setup each time the stack was being built. But there is partial information and it really makes it HARD to make GOOD decisions without ALL the info... My thoughts are now that player build their stack and during the LAST round of play, players can "battle" the opponent.

Something SIMPLER like that... Because you really DON'T KNOW who you can attack at each step of the stack.

The only real issue that I see is that there will be 10 cards per player in each player's stack. That's a LOT of INFORMATION to process. My worry is that there will be too much Analysis-Paralysis ... not sure just YET.

I will do more playtesting tomorrow. This was just to figure out is IT BETTER... And the OPERATORS being "blank" is AMAZING!

So until tomorrow when I let you all know what the results of my other PLAYTESTS determine... Cheers all!

The stack may be TOO BIG...?

I realize NOW that maybe the "stack-size" being TEN (10) is maybe leading to too much Analysis-Paralysis. Maybe if LIMITING the game to LESS cards per player, might also be less confusing. I have to think about it and do more tests to see IF this MIGHT be better. TBD.

Hard to convince myself, let alone others...

I know "beauty is in the eye of the beholder" ... But my present cards for the Monsters in "Monster Keep" (MK) are really AWESOME! No seriously, I have, for the life of me, seen anything similar. They look real COOL! And they are still prototypes but the CONTENT of the cards is something ... to be seen.

As far as the "stack-size" being LESS than ten (10)... I have been thinking about FIVE (5) cards. And therefore two (2) Round of playing cards, followed by a Combat-oriented Round and lastly a third (3) and final Round to replace losses.

You draw five (5) cards per round (with the exception of the Combat Round). So the Micro Deck size is only 15 cards!

The FIRST (1st) Round is a bit RANDOM... You're not too sure about the equation you are formulating and you can't figure out HOW to compute the OPERANDs... It's very much still a complex design... With only FIVE (5) cards in the Rounds, it seems like NOTHING. But it's the opposite: it's actually DIFFICULT to choose 3 out of 5 cards for the 1st Round.

But it's DO-ABLE ... but still a bit RANDOM. I'm trying to wrap my head around HOW to formulate the equation knowing that the 2nd Round will give a more concrete definition to the equation each player is building!

More playtesting for sure... Later tomorrow!

Somethings to consider

It's CLEAR that choosing three (3) out of five (5) cards is relatively easy and less difficult than more than that amount of cards. So when I had hands of say six (6) cards and choose four (4) ... That was a bit HARDER TBH.

But formulating the equation is HARD because you cannot predict the 2nd level of cards (in Round #2). So if the target roll = 9 points. And you have to play THREE (3) cards in Round #1... How do you PLAN to score points for the 9 points, if the inter-connecting cards are yet not AVAILABLE!

I know it's ONLY two (2) additional cards in Round #2 (out of five again)... But then you have the full view of the stack and operands... It's just a matter of using OPERATORs and seeing if you can compute the nearest/closest equation.

Again more playtesting tomorrow... Maybe I'm over-thinking the STRATEGY part of the game. We'll see...

Chatted with @X3M to see his thoughts

As far as @X3M was concerned, he said that a five (5) cards in play with the stats on the cards was not too difficult to understand. Moreover he said that the amount of stats seemed "reasonable" and not leading to Analysis-Paralysis. So I gave the game ANOTHER try, played 4 out 5 Round where Player #1 won 10 to 9. The Victory Score was 10. Player #2 tried to do some damage... But Player #1 had cards to counter the attack, and so Player #1 won the game by 1 point.

I guess it's not as "fluid" as "Crystal Heroes" (CH). Hands down CH is a FANTASTIC game. Simple, quick, easy to grasp and focuses on Area Control which is a lot of FUN trying to "out-think" your opponent(s). That game is either 2 Players or 4 Players. So it's a game in-itself... But there is a "collectible" aspect to the cards themselves.

I'm going to play yet another game to see how it goes. Right now I feel like there is a GAME but something more "technical" when it comes to the STRATEGY. The cards are FREAKEN AMAZING... That no-doubt there. But the gameplay is more difficult than your standard game of Magic which is what concerns me. Yes Magic has different Deck-styles and yeah it's not always obvious what to play when. But "Monster Keep" (MK) requires more thought.

Sure IF you become VERY familiar with your DECK and you design a deck to be HIGHLY "strategic" (which IS POSSIBLE) you can maybe win MORE games than your average player.

More playtests to see what the results are ...!

Note #1: I think it's because it's more of a REASONING game than one requiring more "cunning-ness". CH is about out-thinking your opponent and starting the skirmishes on your own terms. MK up to this point is more a PLANNING type of game. You PLAN your equation and then you PLAN your defenses (and attacks). If you are on the LOSING side of a game (with lesser Victory Score), it's in your best interest to do Battle with the opponent in the 4th Round. But that can sometimes be planned against (like in my last playtest) and work-out to the opponent out-smarting his willing opponent.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
Syndicate content

blog | by Dr. Radut