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Help in adding Strategy/Depth

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Westmaas
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Hi there! I'm looking for advice and ideas on how to add some strategy and/or depth to my game. It works fine the way it is and has been played by many people, but I feel like there is a bit too much randomness.

The game currently consists of 20 cards and plays 3-4 (but I'm open to higher player counts). The object of the game is to be the person holding the key card whenever someone is down to just 1 card left. Everyone is dealt a hand of 5-6 cards (depending on player number), and turns proceed clockwise. On your turn you play a card from your hand and follow the action.

The card effects are things such as:

- taking a random card from someone else while they simultaneously take one from you
- every player passing their whole hand to the left/right
- changing hands with a player of your choice
- viewing someone's hand and taking a card of your choosing, etc.

So what happens is that the key card starts jumping around between people, and your job is to figure out who has it and try to get it into your hand by the time someone has only 1 card left, in which case you are then the winner (the key card doesn't have to be played)

While it is fun and light, and apart from a lot of it being mainly luck-based (randomly pulling a card from someone's hand and hoping it's the key card) the main problem is that a lot of which you do in the early going all goes to waste once you are forced to swap hands with someone, because now you have a different set of cards to play with. There isn't much strategy other than trying to keep track of who you think is holding the card, and playing your cards right to acquire it.

I'm curious if there's a way to implement some other features that can tighten up the game a bit, perhaps adding a deduction element (a card that allows you to 'accuse' who you think has the key card or something) or perhaps having to acquire different parts of the key card before being able to win? I'm not sure. Any help would be great!

questccg
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Hmm... Let me see IF I can help or not?!

Maybe a sort of "guessing" game on a turn. Like everyone puts down a card and the player with the KEY card MUST play it down. Player #1 chooses one of the three (3) other cards and then they exchange cards. And play continues until all players have had a turn.

What's the point???

Well it's pretty much like Poker and bluffing. You KNOW ONE (1) of the four cards IS THE KEY card. Which player has it, hmmm... Maybe you can deduct this using keen observation or body signals, etc.

So let me give you a more CLEAR example:

All players play one (1) card down. Player #3 has the KEY card.

Player #1 starts and chooses Player #2 card. Player #2 continues and choose Player #4 card. Player #3 is next and MUST choose another player to GIVE the KEY card to. Player #3 choose Player #2. And lastly Player #4 chooses Player #2 ... And ultimately Player #4 earns the KEY card...

Now WHY do all of this???

Well you can CREATE all kinds of EVENT cards that act like INSTANTS. In my example, Player #2 could have played a "CANCEL EXCHANGE" event which nullifies a trade, or a "SKIP YOUR TURN" and Player #4 would not get the chance to play. I'm sure you can think up a TON of Events ... That are FUN and have all kinds of consequences.

Again this is a bit different from the other EVENTS in your game... I'm just trying to give you some IDEAS to work with... See if you MIGHT be able to incorporate some or all of the elements of this design into your own game. Cheers!

Note #1: This is triggered by an EVENT card. Meaning that it could be a mini-game within the game itself. So much like passing your entire hand to another player or simultaneously drawing one card... The BLUFF Event (that's all I got for a name ATM) occurs to add some INFO as to where the card is. In my previous example, three (3) players know who HAS the card at the end of the exchange: Player #3 who originally had it, Player #2 who got it from Player #3 and lastly Player #4 who stole it from Player #2!

The only Player who knows NOTHING is Player #1!!! See how that can add some deducting power! So three (3) players think its Player #4 ... But then on the next turn Player #2 plays a "Swap cards" with WHO??? Obviously with Player #4 ... Because HE KNOWS Player #4 got the card in the last BLUFF event... And then Player #1 can deduct this fact too because everyone is targeting Player #4 ... It must mean that HE/SHE has the KEY card!

Interesting, no??? Just thinks for you to think about! Cheers.

Westmaas
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That's a really cool idea, I

That's a really cool idea, I like it! I can see that working. And going off of your last paragraph - the game definitely plays a lot like this already, where players are always taking note of who is being targeted, because that means they know who has the card - so you're constantly looking for signs like that :)

Another question I have is, sometimes a problem will arise where a player will be left with 2 cards - the Key Card, and another card whose effect is to trade cards with someone etc. Essentially what happens is that they are forced to play that other card, which in turn causes them to give up the Key Card because it is the only thing left in their hand. I'm wondering if there's some way to fix that?

questccg
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I may have an idea for this... But you may not like it...

Make every card to have 2 Actions. This way if you have one card that is for "Exchange one of your cards with any one from an opponent of your choice", the other Action could be "Skip your turn by playing this card". This might make the game more complex ... Because now you need to figure out what "pairings" of Actions that you want on each card.

This was only ONE (1) example. But something like this could allow you to have "work-arounds" for the various EVENTS in your game.

The reason I say you "May not like it" is because it makes playtesting a bit harder to do. Now instead of ONLY worrying about ONE (1) Ability per card, you need to concern yourself with TWO (2)!

What you could do is lower the Hand Limit like from 8 cards to 5 cards... For example. And a player can Draw ONE (1) Card at the start of his/her turn. This would LIMIT the amount AP (Analysis-Paralysis) because you have LESS cards to choose from.

I wasn't too sure IF you had Card Drawing from the pile. BUT if you do... This is a good solution...

Now I had a SECOND idea: Each card has an EVENT (involving the other players) AND it has a PERSONAL ability (involving only the Player -- YOU -- The player with the card).

So while the EVENT could be "Exchange one card with the opponent of your choice.", it's personal ability could be "Discard this card"...

See what I mean? Again two (2) abilities but in this case there would be TWO (2) TYPES of actions: Group and Personal.

Another Personal could be: "Draw +1 Card from the Deck"... or "Skip your turn this time around" ... etc.

This version might be SIMPLER since there are TWO "TYPES" of Actions. I personally like Group vs. Personal better than just 2 Actions. It seems more appropriate... If you know what I mean!

And it is less likely to create AP if you control the Hand Size and size of the overall Deck.

Let me know what you think ... And maybe you could share with us more of the type of Actions that there are. To see if we can HELP with the Group vs. Personal Actions...

Cheers!

Westmaas
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questccg wrote:Make every

questccg wrote:
Make every card to have 2 Actions. This way if you have one card that is for "Exchange one of your cards with any one from an opponent of your choice", the other Action could be "Skip your turn by playing this card". This might make the game more complex ... Because now you need to figure out what "pairings" of Actions that you want on each card.

This was only ONE (1) example. But something like this could allow you to have "work-arounds" for the various EVENTS in your game.

The reason I say you "May not like it" is because it makes playtesting a bit harder to do. Now instead of ONLY worrying about ONE (1) Ability per card, you need to concern yourself with TWO (2)!

What you could do is lower the Hand Limit like from 8 cards to 5 cards... For example. And a player can Draw ONE (1) Card at the start of his/her turn. This would LIMIT the amount AP (Analysis-Paralysis) because you have LESS cards to choose from.

I wasn't too sure IF you had Card Drawing from the pile. BUT if you do... This is a good solution...

Now I had a SECOND idea: Each card has an EVENT (involving the other players) AND it has a PERSONAL ability (involving only the Player -- YOU -- The player with the card).

So while the EVENT could be "Exchange one card with the opponent of your choice.", it's personal ability could be "Discard this card"...

See what I mean? Again two (2) abilities but in this case there would be TWO (2) TYPES of actions: Group and Personal.

Another Personal could be: "Draw +1 Card from the Deck"... or "Skip your turn this time around" ... etc.

This version might be SIMPLER since there are TWO "TYPES" of Actions. I personally like Group vs. Personal better than just 2 Actions. It seems more appropriate... If you know what I mean!

And it is less likely to create AP if you control the Hand Size and size of the overall Deck.

Let me know what you think ... And maybe you could share with us more of the type of Actions that there are. To see if we can HELP with the Group vs. Personal Actions...

Cheers!

This is a really interesting idea that I’d like to explore further, because it could definitely patch up some of the little problems that hold the game back. The Group/Personal actions thing could work, as long as it’s not TOO much information for someone to process on their turn. There is no drawing cards in the game (everyone is dealt 5 to start) so if each card had 2 options, that’s potentially a lot of things to consider... but I think it can work! I’ll list out all of the different card effects that occur in the game because I’d love for you to expand on your thought, or have the most information to work with anyway :)

- Take a card from another player’s hand while they simultaneously take one from yours
- Take a card from another player’s hand
- All players take a card from the player to their left/right; you choose the direction
- All players pass their entire hand to the player to their left/right; you choose the direction
- trade hands with a player of your choice
- privately view another player’s hand and take a file of your choice
- you cannot be targeted by any card effects until your next turn
- choose a player, shuffle both hands together and then redistribute the cards between the two of you, dealing to yourself first
- choose a player, they must discard a card
- you may play the topmost card of the discard pile
- card with no effect when played (effectively letting you pass your turn)
- the key card (can’t be played)

Let me know any other thoughts you might have - the card I have that has no effect is there in the game so that if a player is holding the key card with just that at the end, they can play it so as not to give their victory away (forcing themself to exchange their card, etc)

Anyway, looking forward to thoughts!

questccg
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Weird question...?

What is the THEME of the game. I fully understand the Victory Condition and that's to be the player with the KEY card when there is a player with 1 or no cards.

The reason I ask this... Is because your card effects seem a bit "mechanical". Not that it's wrong or nothing... It's just I'd like to see if we can "abstract" them somehow.

And the "theme" can help me figure out what kind of "theme-related" decisions can be made.

I know this may sound strange ... But some times when we FOCUS on the theme, the abstraction results in more "depth of play". I know it will all be SIMILAR to a "mechanical" version ... But with a smidgen of abstraction via the theme... We may just get more refined set of effects.

Anyways that's my weird question (for now)!? Like IF we are Rogues all trying to unlock a Magical Chest and the player who ends up with the key, gets to keep the treasure... And the goal is to "steal" back the key because you deserve the treasure! lol

Or you are a Band of Misfits who have been thrown into Jail in Antigua for Pirateering and only one of you (the future Captain) can get the key to escape from the Jail... (I like this one... It's Pirates but different).

Anyways these are some of my own "theme" ideas when thinking about YOUR game. If you let me know YOUR theme... Well that will help to open up what is possible or not. It'll make it easier (to say the least).

Cheers!

Note #1: Like with my Pirate theme ... You could require TWO (2) items AT ANY TIME, you win the game. So if you have the KEY and the BALL & CHAINS... You ESCAPE and are the victorious Pirate.

See how a THEME can "inject" some interesting depth of the game...

Why is this important???

Well for ONE (1) ... You don't worry about the 2 Actions/Effects anymore, your goal would be to get BOTH cards simultaneously. Something MINOR like that could change the game... But "open-it-up" at the same time.

So before I continue to think about "improvements" ... Please let us know your THEME and from there we'll see how it can be improved upon.

questccg
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Just going with My Pirate theme ... To help illustrate things

Say your GOAL is to have at ANY TIME the KEY and BALL AND CHAINS to WIN! Sounds simple enough. But in order to WIN, you MUST NOT have any PRISON GUARD or GUARD DOG cards in your hand too...

This makes the game more complex ... But still reasonable.

Now you are working on TWO (2) LEVELS: A> to GET 2 cards B> to RID yourself of the other cards that BLOCK a victory.

How would this WORK??? Maybe it's all about "pairs". Like to rid yourself of the GUARD DOG, you need a matching DOG BONE! OR to rid yourself of a PRISON GUARD you need some GOLD COINS!!!

Things like this ... And it could be real easy to implement because it's all about SETUP (before the game even starts). For example, at the start of the game EACH Player gets one (1) PRISON GUARD and one (1) GUARD DOG.

Now players draw more cards from a DECK placed in the middle of the play area. This Deck contains all kinds of "cards with effects" and some with GOLD COINS and others with DOG BONES.

Do you see HOW the "theme" impacts the design and ... helps you make for a tighter design!? Again these are just some basic IDEAS that I've gotten just thinking about your "mechanical effects" and seeing if I can match them with a THEME that allows more "creativity" and "depth" to end up with a better game (in-the-end).

Anyhow ... Let me know where your thoughts are at. Cheers!

Westmaas
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questccg wrote:Say your GOAL

questccg wrote:
Say your GOAL is to have at ANY TIME the KEY and BALL AND CHAINS to WIN! Sounds simple enough. But in order to WIN, you MUST NOT have any PRISON GUARD or GUARD DOG cards in your hand too...

This makes the game more complex ... But still reasonable.

Now you are working on TWO (2) LEVELS: A> to GET 2 cards B> to RID yourself of the other cards that BLOCK a victory.

How would this WORK??? Maybe it's all about "pairs". Like to rid yourself of the GUARD DOG, you need a matching DOG BONE! OR to rid yourself of a PRISON GUARD you need some GOLD COINS!!!

Things like this ... And it could be real easy to implement because it's all about SETUP (before the game even starts). For example, at the start of the game EACH Player gets one (1) PRISON GUARD and one (1) GUARD DOG.

Now players draw more cards from a DECK placed in the middle of the play area. This Deck contains all kinds of "cards with effects" and some with GOLD COINS and others with DOG BONES.

Do you see HOW the "theme" impacts the design and ... helps you make for a tighter design!? Again these are just some basic IDEAS that I've gotten just thinking about your "mechanical effects" and seeing if I can match them with a THEME that allows more "creativity" and "depth" to end up with a better game (in-the-end).

Anyhow ... Let me know where your thoughts are at. Cheers!

Yes I totally know what you mean about how having a theme can help visualize and plan out different events and mechanics based on the setting! I’d love to share because you are helping IMMENSELY with all of your cool thoughts and brainstorms.

The game is called PASSCODE, it’s a hacker/cyber security theme in which each player is an ‘agent’ trying to secure the Passcode, which has been breached. The agent who is able to fend off the hackers and secure the Passcode wins. In the game, for thematic reasons, a card is known as a ‘file’, a HAND of cards is known as a ‘domain’, the discard pile is known as the ‘memory bank’. So for instance, the REPROGRAM card reads: “Trade domains with an agent of your choice.” Which would mean that you swap your whole hand of cards with someone you choose (probably someone you believe to have the Passcode).

At one point I did toy with the idea of having a card in your hand that won’t let you win if you have it - The VIRUS card used to do that... you couldn’t win if you had that and the Passcode at the same time. But that caused a problem at the end because I didn’t really know how to resolve that.

Your idea of having to acquire pairs in order to cancel themselves out is interesting! Would love for you to expand on your idea now that you know the theme. I wonder if it could work if there is no draw deck - if all cards are dealt out to each player, which is how the game currently works. I understand the need of making sure everyone has one of the ‘pair’ cards to start the game, so everyone is at the same disadvantage. Looking forward to hearing back!

questccg
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Sounds very interesting!

Give me some time to think about "matching", "passcode", "virus" ... I had thought about some kind of Cyberpunk game too. The concept sounds really good/cool!

Any maybe some of the other designers can "chime in" with their own thoughts... There are more than just me with "good ideas"... I know Let-off, Jay103 and even X3M have different ideas/approaches to games that are often very original too.

Get back to you soon... Give me a couple days to "reprogram" my mind! lol

I like to let an idea ... Just leave it be and see what my mind can come up with... In the meantime... Maybe another one of the guys can post/share their own ideas! Cheers.

questccg
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Some additional thoughts

Well you need a card called: "FIREWALL". This is the "Cancel/Stop" any other card event. Like say someone is going to play the "REPROGRAM" card with you... You can STOP/CANCEL it by playing the "FIREWALL" card/effect.

What is the logic...?! Well it's like someone was trying to "Hack into your domain to look at your files" and they cannot get by YOUR "Firewall"... This was better than an earlier thought.

Having the "PASSCODE" and "VIRUS" card ends the game... Everyone loses. Why? Because the "Virus infects the passcode making it useless to everyone..." Something along the lines of this sounds reasonable.

(More thoughts to come... Just off the top of my head... Cheers!)

Note #1: "COMPUTER CRASH" is like a "Skip your NEXT Turn" which you play AGAINST any other player. So while he/she would be hacking ... His/her turn they cannot because their "computer crashed"...!

I also like the IDEA of having a "BACKUP DRIVE" where you can place any one (1) file that cannot be stolen from you. However that file CANNOT be the "PASSCODE" or "VIRUS".

Getting BACK to the MATCHING idea (which you kinda liked)... Matching could be cool because it is "compatible" with the "BACKUP DRIVE" (in terms of concepts).

I will think more about this... I've already given you some effects/event cards and other "Play Areas" ("BACKUP DRIVE") where you can safely store one (1) file for future use...

Enough for now ... These should be some things to think about for now... Like I said, I'll wait until I get more thoughts about MATCHING in the context of a Hacking/Cyberpunk-type game.

Note #2: A "RESTORE FILE" card which allows you to Take the 3 TOPMOST files from the "RECYCLE BIN" and place one of them into your "BACKUP DRIVE" (which must contain no file for the transfer to occur)...

Again some more "flavor" with the concept making use of the discard pile and secretly choosing one of the three (3) cards in it (for future use). This is a bit of a memory game too... (Knowing when to RESTORE... And which cards are on the top of the discard pile)!

Note #3: To reveal a Domain (A HAND of cards) ... that could be called "OPEN SOURCE" which would mean all those "files" are OPEN SOURCE and revealed to the player who PLAYED the "OPEN SOURCE" effect...

Note #4: "FILESHARING": exchange three (3) files with the agent of your choice. "FILEDUMP": steal one file from the agent of your choice. Again more effects/events that could occur.

Note #5: "CORRUPTED FILE": force one agent to discard one of his files into the Recycle Bin. (Basically your run-of-the-mill DISCARD operation).

Note #6: Replace "Memory Bank" with "RECYCLE BIN". Seems more naturel TBH. For a better discard name...

let-off studios
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Brainstormin'

questccg to the rescue, once again. :)

It's been very fun to read this thread and see all the ideas emerge...!

questccg
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Actually it's a little bit FUNNY

let-off studios wrote:
questccg to the rescue, once again. :)

It's been very fun to read this thread and see all the ideas emerge...!

His game reminds me of the First Edition of "Quest Adventure Cards(tm)" (Quest). It may be a different "theme" ... But the concept is relatively similar. How/Why?

Well in Quest you have "Steal a Quest", "Steal a Card", "Pass your turn", "Pass one card to your opponent", "Each player gives a card to you", etc. Similar to "PASSCODE" but different theme.

I couldn't get any traction with Quest because the game was TOO SIMPLE. Kids loved it. But marketing to kids is VERY HARD. I'd rather design games for Teenagers because some of them have part-time jobs, home chores (allowances) and such ... That they have a bit of disposable income.

If Millennials LIKE the game... 18+ well then I've designed a game with a much "broader appeal". That in my book is the best types of designs... Of course I would never discourage simpler designs ... You can still maybe get the game "out-there" into players hands. I'm not as gifted with sales to be able to do that for the younger kids... But nothing wrong with TRYING!

Note #1: If a 9 year-old likes the game... The question on everyone's mind is: "Will the parent spend $20 to buy the game for his child???" Is there sufficient INTEREST or is it just passing interest.

So good for a little while but not enough for a parent to PAY for the game. Know what I mean??? Whereas a Teenager or Millennial will decide then and there: "I can buy it for $20, do I?" The older the player the more likely if they LIKE the game, they'll pickup a copy!

Note #2: Games which focus on "Set Collection" and "Hand Management" are too simple in terms of designs. How do I know this??? Well I designed Quest and as my First Design ... Yeah, I realize that the game is much TOO SIMPLE. It also had some "Take-That" and that too was not enough (in terms of the design)...

All my current games do NOT focus on "Set Collection" and have minimal "Hand Management". I make the games about OTHER "Mechanics" like "Area Control", "Programing", "Deck-Construction", "Push-You-Luck" (PYL), "Engine Building", etc. More complex mechanics which require a more older crowd of gamers.

But a GOOD game is still a good game. Even if it is SIMPLE. Quest got a 3/10 rating from Purple Pawn ... Because he felt like the game just did not have enough. Of course, maybe I should have told him the game was made for 9 year-olds... Maybe that would have had an impact!

Juzek
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Sorry, limited time, I did

Sorry, limited time, I did not read anything below the first post yet.

What if having the key card is not the only objective? Throw in set collection.

Instead of playing cards into a discard pile, keep the played card in front of you. Each card played could be a color, and you need to have a set of 3 of the same color played in front of you in order to unlock them with the key.

This gives the players something to work toward while keeping an eye out for the key.

It seems like you are doing a more lighthearted party game. If you wanted to make it more tactical, take out some randomness. introduce an additional zone of play beyond your hand. perhaps your "Hold" which is cards stored face up in front of you. Now this information is available to everyone, but may be harder to get at.
Displaying that you have the key prevents it from being randomly hand swapped, but now everyone knows you are the target. include cards that can steal from holds, or prevent steals.

A lot of your actions sound wildly random and game changing. maybe less hand swapping. to combat randomness you want players to be able to plan ahead, so make it very rare that you loose all the cards in your hand. perhaps include cards that require discards or that require people to pick up cards, and the discarded cards are available for other people to pick up with other cards.

Hope this helps. Just glancing, it looks like Quest gave a lot of good feed back above too.

questccg
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Man Juzek that was very INSIGHTFUL!

I like the "Hold" Area concept. Maybe this be a color-coordinated set of "files". Maybe the goal is to get "5" of the SAME color + the "PASSCODE" to win the game...

And opponents may play other cards of a different color ... In this case to remove the "blocking file" you MUST "perform the action" of that card and then THAT card gets discarded.

Just some other thoughts on a different "TYPE" of matching. Cheers!

Note #1: As I let the concept just "flow"... I realized that I had something of an alternate idea (or maybe another version).

If your "Hold" Area concept was managed by COLORS: one (1) color per player. You could START with a 4 Player game (ergo 3 colors each player excluding your own color).

Now instead of just having the "PASSCODE" ... You'd need access to the domain of the opponent. So you are trying to get the REQUIRED "files" to access his/her domain. Again an opponent can PLAY OTHER colors to try to "block" you ... And when you have 5 same-color "files" you have access to the opponent's domain and then with the PASSCODE gain access to his network. At this point, THAT player is "defeated" (he/she has lost).

Play continues with the other remaining players and their domains. Ultimately you try to be the LAST one standing... With the PASSCODE to win the game over your opponent.

I think THIS type of game would be "better" because it is MORE than pure "hand management" and the "set collection" is complicated by the opponents. So it's not all-that simple.

Just some more ideas as I had promised the other day. Cheers!

Note #2: What if the FILES had "two colors": One color on the frontside and one color on the backside. Why?!

Well what if the cards FRONTSIDE (viewable by all) have a COLOR and then on the FLIP-SIDE the color is "secret" until revealed.

Play would be about "flipping" cards and trying to secure (maybe?) four (4) in a sequence (Like Tic-Tac-Toe)... And then use the PASSCODE to access the ROOT of that agent's computer and SHUTTING him down!

Again these are JUST "general" ideas. I have NOT fleshed them out... Just offering you ALTERNATIVE ideas to help remove much of the randomness and replace it with some kind a semi-complex strategy which could add some more DEPTH/STRATEGY to the game.

Of course, you would probably need to ADAPT the ideas... Like I'm saying they're only IDEAS ATM.

Note #3: I (personally) really LIKE the "flipping cards" idea (with the colors). How about ADD ROTATION too!!!???

What if instead how ONLY having cards in your HAND, you also have a COMMON field of cards based on 4 players: 16 = 4 x 4 (4 players) Grid.

At the start of the game, the "Cloud" is randomly built using cards from a Deck. Each player draws one "File", looks at BOTH sides and then plays it into one of the empty spaces (16 at the very start).

Players can ALTER the "Cloud" to get "Random Access" to the "File" they need. Flipping a "File" is like a "RENAME" (Rename because the file is different now). Rotating a "File" is like a "CHOWN" (Change Owner of the file. And means that you ROTATE the card Counter-Clockwise OR Clockwise.

A "MOVE" in the "Cloud" is like a swap between two (2) cards in the "Cloud"... I know it doesn't sound too easy... But that's sort of the IDEA ... Add some more DEPTH such that the game is much more "sophisticated".

A "SAVE" in the "Cloud" is to take one card (facing your direction) and putting it into the "BACKUP DRIVE" (provided you don't already have a file as a backup).

Again some more idea dumps to see what might interest your FANCY! Cheers.

Westmaas
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questccg wrote:Well you need

questccg wrote:
Well you need a card called: "FIREWALL". This is the "Cancel/Stop" any other card event. Like say someone is going to play the "REPROGRAM" card with you... You can STOP/CANCEL it by playing the "FIREWALL" card/effect.

What is the logic...?! Well it's like someone was trying to "Hack into your domain to look at your files" and they cannot get by YOUR "Firewall"... This was better than an earlier thought.

Having the "PASSCODE" and "VIRUS" card ends the game... Everyone loses. Why? Because the "Virus infects the passcode making it useless to everyone..." Something along the lines of this sounds reasonable.

(More thoughts to come... Just off the top of my head... Cheers!)

Note #1: "COMPUTER CRASH" is like a "Skip your NEXT Turn" which you play AGAINST any other player. So while he/she would be hacking ... His/her turn they cannot because their "computer crashed"...!

I also like the IDEA of having a "BACKUP DRIVE" where you can place any one (1) file that cannot be stolen from you. However that file CANNOT be the "PASSCODE" or "VIRUS".

Getting BACK to the MATCHING idea (which you kinda liked)... Matching could be cool because it is "compatible" with the "BACKUP DRIVE" (in terms of concepts).

I will think more about this... I've already given you some effects/event cards and other "Play Areas" ("BACKUP DRIVE") where you can safely store one (1) file for future use...

Enough for now ... These should be some things to think about for now... Like I said, I'll wait until I get more thoughts about MATCHING in the context of a Hacking/Cyberpunk-type game.

Note #2: A "RESTORE FILE" card which allows you to Take the 3 TOPMOST files from the "RECYCLE BIN" and place one of them into your "BACKUP DRIVE" (which must contain no file for the transfer to occur)...

Again some more "flavor" with the concept making use of the discard pile and secretly choosing one of the three (3) cards in it (for future use). This is a bit of a memory game too... (Knowing when to RESTORE... And which cards are on the top of the discard pile)!

Note #3: To reveal a Domain (A HAND of cards) ... that could be called "OPEN SOURCE" which would mean all those "files" are OPEN SOURCE and revealed to the player who PLAYED the "OPEN SOURCE" effect...

Note #4: "FILESHARING": exchange three (3) files with the agent of your choice. "FILEDUMP": steal one file from the agent of your choice. Again more effects/events that could occur.

Note #5: "CORRUPTED FILE": force one agent to discard one of his files into the Recycle Bin. (Basically your run-of-the-mill DISCARD operation).

Note #6: Replace "Memory Bank" with "RECYCLE BIN". Seems more naturel TBH. For a better discard name...


I can't mention enough how grateful I am for all of these thoughts :) I've been working and thinking feverishly ever since posting on here. Loving all of it!

I do have a card called FIREWALL - however instead of playing it in retaliation, you play it on your turn and keep it in front of you until your next turn - it acts as a shield so that your domain can not be targeted or altered. I didn't want to have any cards that could be played out of turn, because it would be possible to end up with it & the Passcode, and not be able to play - also, sometimes people forget they are holding it and it can be frustrating to realize that you missed your chance to play it when someone was targeting you.

I also have RESTORE, which lets you play or keep the topmost file in the memory bank (discard pile) and also FILESHARE, which is the one where all players take a card from the player to their left/right. VIRUS is your 'CORRUPTED FILE'... however I've always thought maybe there could be a better use for the VIRUS card. I originally wanted it to be a card that couldn't be played, only TAKEN by players... and so you could unfortunately end up with this annoying card that you can't get rid of lol. But of course the endgame problem arose where what if you have VIRUS and PASSCODE at the same time, you wouldn't be able to play on your turn... I guess you would be forced to pass, but there is no other point in the game where passing a turn occurs so I think it would be bad design to have a rule specifically for that one situation... hmm

I thought about RECYCLE BIN instead of MEMORY BANK but I went with the latter because I thought it sounded a bit more 'secret agent hacker' and less like an everyday user computer type thing.

One thing you mentioned that I'm VERY interested in is the BACKUP DRIVE concept... I love the idea of being able to store a card on it. I'm wondering the best way for this to work, as I can definitely see this being the most promising addition to the game! I imagine that someone would be able to play BACKUP in front of them, but would they be able to play a 2nd card down on top of it on that same turn? Or have to wait for the next turn to do so? Hmm. And also, I'm not sure it would make sense thematically for a player NOT to be able to place the PASSCODE on their BACKUP card... it might be worth figuring out what happens if someone does, and how to actually obtain a card that has been placed in backup. Would there need to be another special card that can access it? ANd if so, what happens if that has already been played? Then effectively nobody would ever be able to touch the card placed on BACKUP, which could cause problems. I'll have to keep thinking about that but it sounds highly intriguing!

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Juzek wrote:Sorry, limited

Juzek wrote:
Sorry, limited time, I did not read anything below the first post yet.

What if having the key card is not the only objective? Throw in set collection.

Instead of playing cards into a discard pile, keep the played card in front of you. Each card played could be a color, and you need to have a set of 3 of the same color played in front of you in order to unlock them with the key.

This gives the players something to work toward while keeping an eye out for the key.

It seems like you are doing a more lighthearted party game. If you wanted to make it more tactical, take out some randomness. introduce an additional zone of play beyond your hand. perhaps your "Hold" which is cards stored face up in front of you. Now this information is available to everyone, but may be harder to get at.
Displaying that you have the key prevents it from being randomly hand swapped, but now everyone knows you are the target. include cards that can steal from holds, or prevent steals.

A lot of your actions sound wildly random and game changing. maybe less hand swapping. to combat randomness you want players to be able to plan ahead, so make it very rare that you loose all the cards in your hand. perhaps include cards that require discards or that require people to pick up cards, and the discarded cards are available for other people to pick up with other cards.

Hope this helps. Just glancing, it looks like Quest gave a lot of good feed back above too.


Hey, thanks for taking the time to write and help out! The Set collection idea can totally work. I guess each card can be colour coded to one of 4 different colours (red/green/yellow/blue) so only until you have 3 matching colours in front of you, can the game end by playing the Passcode. That's definitely not bad! I'll have to work out how many cards in total there would be (currently there are 20).

I'm also thinking now that, combining an earlier idea, each card can be played for it's effect into the discard pile OR played in front of you, for no effect, but counts as a colour toward obtaining the Passcode goal. Perhaps those cards placed in your 'domain' can only be stolen by specific cards like you mentioned, of which there may only be 2 or 3 total in the deck so it's a bit of a rarity to do that. I understand now that this addition to the game might only work if the idea of losing cards constantly is lessened, so yeah, adding some effects that allow you to play a card but still keep it in hand might be good, and also ones that let you pick up from the discard pile (so you're essentially not 'losing' any cards in the process). This could work!

I'm imagining a scenario in which someone just needs 1 more RED card to play face down in front of them, but 2 other players are also trying to collect RED, so there just isn't enough RED cards to go around - in which case of course the stealing from domains comes into play. On the other hand, maybe it could also work where each player is assigned a character colour, and they have to acquire that specific colour... though that could lead to players holding other colours hostage. I'm torn between just having SOME cards have the colours on them, or all of them... and trying to weigh the difference between how many different colour suits there should be.

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Starting Colours =/= Assigned Colours

Westmaas wrote:
I'm imagining a scenario in which someone just needs 1 more RED card to play face down in front of them, but 2 other players are also trying to collect RED, so there just isn't enough RED cards to go around - in which case of course the stealing from domains comes into play.
You could also allow players to have one of -each- colour, so even those who steal from their domain might not know the colour they're going for. It's more efficient to go for a matching set of three, but depending on the game dynamics going for one of each of the four colours may be an effective choice. It's only known to everyone when one player has put down a fourth card, then everyone knows all they need is the keycard and they win.

This way, stealing the cards becomes a way to hamper a player, but doesn't give all information away. Additionally, players will be able to "change horses in mid-stream," so to speak, if they notice that other players are also scrambling to collect the colour they originally went for.

Regarding players being assigned colours: I don't necessarily recommend this, but I do recommend randomly assigning a "starting card" to each player during the setup of the game. Pick one of each colour, mix them up, then deal them face down to each player to start their set. If there are more players than colours, add in multiples of the same colour as necessary.

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Love Letter

Hi, you may want to have a look at the game Love Letter. This sounds a lot like that?

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Very similar...

ceethreepio wrote:
Hi, you may want to have a look at the game Love Letter. This sounds a lot like that?

I've never seen or played "Love Letter" ... But I agree some of the mechanics seem very similar between "Passcode" and "Love Letter". I watched the Dice Tower review of "Love Letter" just to see what the similarities between both concepts/games are.

A bit why I was commenting on "adding a layer or two" was because the TOO simplified "Hand Management/Set Collection" was a bit too familiar. It reminded me somewhat of "Quest" (my first game). So needless to say that I had suggestion from MY game that could be incorporated to add more depth to "Passcode".

But yeah I do see similarities... The Color-Matching Set Collection would definitely take "Passcode" to the "NEXT LEVEL" IMHO.

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Color-Matching Set Collection

Maybe there can be a "hidden component" as part of the game. Like say for 4 Players you get nine (12) cards (4 cards x 3 players) of a randomized assortment of cards. You can VIEW your own cards at any time ... But your opponent CANNOT (since they are face down!)

What you are trying to do is to "MOVE" the cards around to re-organize them such that your have FOUR (4) of the SAME color in one of the three (3) ROWS.

Then when you have the "Passcode" card, you can access the domain using the "Files" in your area of PLAY. You would then reveal all 4 cards and the Passcode and that player would be eliminated from the game.

This is a "Working-idea". That means it's not 100% fleshed-out. Just some concepts to think about and see how to adapt/improve them. I'm just trying to make the Hand Management more about the "Files" in front of you and less about ACTUAL "Hand Management" (I pass my entire hand to player X, etc.) Cheers!

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ceethreepio wrote:Hi, you may

ceethreepio wrote:
Hi, you may want to have a look at the game Love Letter. This sounds a lot like that?

Hey there! Yes I know of the game you're talking about, and there are definite similarities in that they play very quickly etc. But there are a lot of differences in that Love Letter has a draw 1/Play 1 operation whereas in Passcode all the cards are dealt out - also in Love Letter, the cards have values and combat each other, leading to player elimination (last one standing wins) whereas in this game there is no comparing of values or elimination... and the end goal is pretty different as well. I do agree that they are in the same 'family' of games though, which I see as a good thing!

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Quote: You could also allow

Quote:
You could also allow players to have one of -each- colour, so even those who steal from their domain might not know the colour they're going for. It's more efficient to go for a matching set of three, but depending on the game dynamics going for one of each of the four colours may be an effective choice. It's only known to everyone when one player has put down a fourth card, then everyone knows all they need is the keycard and they win.

This way, stealing the cards becomes a way to hamper a player, but doesn't give all information away. Additionally, players will be able to "change horses in mid-stream," so to speak, if they notice that other players are also scrambling to collect the colour they originally went for.

Regarding players being assigned colours: I don't necessarily recommend this, but I do recommend randomly assigning a "starting card" to each player during the setup of the game. Pick one of each colour, mix them up, then deal them face down to each player to start their set. If there are more players than colours, add in multiples of the same colour as necessary.

I love the ideas posted here and have been sizzling my brain over this for awhile. I've been weighing the pros and cons of having the set collection being 3 of a kind OR 4 unique colours - part of me thinks I should go with one or the other to keep it simple? Or maybe just work with 4's entirely (4 of a kind, 4 unique) so there's only one number to remember.

Some things I'm testing out and wondering: What is everyone's thoughts on these new colour coded cards... should they be an entire separate deck apart from the cards that have effects on them? OR should each effect card also have a colour to it, so that when it is played, it is kept face up in front of you to denote which set it belongs to? Do they get played face down so only you can look at them, leaving others to merely guess at what you are going for?

Also curious if they should be mixed in and dealt out with everything else (20 effect cards, 20 'code' cards). I'm also trying to visualize a turn - perhaps now instead of playing an effect card, you can simply put a colour card down in front of you (getting rid of it from your hand frees up your hand limit of 5, but also makes it susceptible to steals).

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questccg wrote:Maybe there

questccg wrote:
Maybe there can be a "hidden component" as part of the game. Like say for 4 Players you get nine (12) cards (4 cards x 3 players) of a randomized assortment of cards. You can VIEW your own cards at any time ... But your opponent CANNOT (since they are face down!)

What you are trying to do is to "MOVE" the cards around to re-organize them such that your have FOUR (4) of the SAME color in one of the three (3) ROWS.

Then when you have the "Passcode" card, you can access the domain using the "Files" in your area of PLAY. You would then reveal all 4 cards and the Passcode and that player would be eliminated from the game.

This is a "Working-idea". That means it's not 100% fleshed-out. Just some concepts to think about and see how to adapt/improve them. I'm just trying to make the Hand Management more about the "Files" in front of you and less about ACTUAL "Hand Management" (I pass my entire hand to player X, etc.) Cheers!

Impressed with all of your great ideas! I spent some time thinking about this, wondering how to implement that. I'm wondering if I have your idea correctly: each player has a 4x3 grid in front of them of varying colours, and on a turn they are allowed to move a file around in order to create a colour matching sequence? At that point, if they have acquired the passcode, they can play it and win the game?

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I've since added a few more

I've since added a few more cards -

INFILTRATE - Take a file from another player and reveal it to everyone. If it is the Passcode, you may keep it - otherwise, return it to the player. (this way if you get it, everyone now knows you have it... and if not, at least you uncovered someone elses card and gained a bit of information)

BACKUP - Place a file facedown in front of you. Until your next turn, it can not be accessed or taken by another player. (essentially lets you 'guard' one of your cards, so even if someone swaps hands with you, that card stays put)

OFFLINE - Place this file in front of another player. They miss their next turn

GLITCH - This file has no effect (allowing you to pass your turn without giving up a card)

I think the BACKUP card will help mitigate some of the possible frustration of losing a valuable card if someone decides to swap hands etc.

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At this point I'm really

At this point I'm really trying to make the set collection thing work because I think playing colour cards down in front of you to create a sequential code before you can play the passcode is pretty great and strengthens the game. Just not sure if there should be a separate draw deck of those cards (perhaps with a different back so people know they are 'code' cards when stealing a card from your hand), or if a players hand should be a mixture of both... or as mentioned before, if a card just contains all of that information.

For example, REPROGRAM would be coloured green and would let you swap hands with another player. When you play it, you place it down in front of you and now everyone can see you have a green sequence starting. This could work because sometimes you have to play a card you don't want to in order to get the colour it has.

OR

My hand consists of both effect and code cards. So my hand is: 1x Reprogram, 2x Transfer, 1x Spyware, 1 Green Code Card, 1 Blue Code Card. On my turn I can either play an effect card or place one of my code cards facedown/faceup to start/continue a sequence (perhaps with a limit of 4 in front of you... if you wish to play more you h ave to cover up one in front of you, or return one to a discard pile)

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Here are some more ideas fleshed out...

Westmaas wrote:
I spent some time thinking about this, wondering how to implement that. I'm wondering if I have your idea correctly: each player has a 4x3 grid in front of them of varying colours, and on a turn they are allowed to move a file around in order to create a colour matching sequence? At that point, if they have acquired the passcode, they can play it and win the game?

Yeah maybe since you DON'T want "Player Elimination" maybe you should setup 3 or 4 Categories. What I mean since you like the idea about have the files setup in play (in front of the player, face-down)... Maybe you have some kind of SET-UP you are aiming to achieve.

Right now, I'm trying to NOT work with the theme... You can re-skin the concept once you have something that is working.

For example: Make it 4 x 4 = 16 cards laid out in front of you.

The idea is to obtain ONE (1) Series of FOUR (4) Cards to "unlock" and PLAY the "Passcode" to WIN the game.

The idea is to MOVE files from one network to another. So let's say there are 4 colours. There are also 4 matching cards in each COLOUR but they must be in the correct order: 1-2-3-4 + Passcode to WIN.

Right now I'm using NUMBERS ... But you can make this something more thematic at a later time.

You may force a card UP or DOWN, or RIGHT or LEFT. But only one card. And it forces the card to move a position and subsequent cards realign.

So if you have in ROW #2: 3 4 1 2 and you push the "2" to the RIGHT, the result is: 2 3 4 1 (you push all the other cards).

If it's a COLUMN #3 (and you push the "1" DOWN):

3 1
2 3
4 2
1 4

Sliding the remaining of the cards. YEAH this is MORE COMPLEX. But I also think it's MUCH cooler than simply swapping cards. AND it setups only ONE possible match at a time (because it is harder too).

Something like this could be REALLY cool IMHO. Never seen this kind of re-arranging (ok maybe I have seen it on Survivor! The Reality Show...) Or those miniature puzzle games... Anyhow not in a Cyberpunk game with cracking and hacking your way to success.

Let me know if you have any questions.

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questccg wrote:Westmaas

questccg wrote:
Westmaas wrote:
I spent some time thinking about this, wondering how to implement that. I'm wondering if I have your idea correctly: each player has a 4x3 grid in front of them of varying colours, and on a turn they are allowed to move a file around in order to create a colour matching sequence? At that point, if they have acquired the passcode, they can play it and win the game?

Yeah maybe since you DON'T want "Player Elimination" maybe you should setup 3 or 4 Categories. What I mean since you like the idea about have the files setup in play (in front of the player, face-down)... Maybe you have some kind of SET-UP you are aiming to achieve.

Right now, I'm trying to NOT work with the theme... You can re-skin the concept once you have something that is working.

For example: Make it 4 x 4 = 16 cards laid out in front of you.

The idea is to obtain ONE (1) Series of FOUR (4) Cards to "unlock" and PLAY the "Passcode" to WIN the game.

The idea is to MOVE files from one network to another. So let's say there are 4 colours. There are also 4 matching cards in each COLOUR but they must be in the correct order: 1-2-3-4 + Passcode to WIN.

Right now I'm using NUMBERS ... But you can make this something more thematic at a later time.

You may force a card UP or DOWN, or RIGHT or LEFT. But only one card. And it forces the card to move a position and subsequent cards realign.

So if you have in ROW #2: 3 4 1 2 and you push the "2" to the RIGHT, the result is: 2 3 4 1 (you push all the other cards).

If it's a COLUMN #3 (and you push the "1" DOWN):

3 1
2 3
4 2
1 4

Sliding the remaining of the cards. YEAH this is MORE COMPLEX. But I also think it's MUCH cooler than simply swapping cards. AND it setups only ONE possible match at a time (because it is harder too).

Something like this could be REALLY cool IMHO. Never seen this kind of re-arranging (ok maybe I have seen it on Survivor! The Reality Show...) Or those miniature puzzle games... Anyhow not in a Cyberpunk game with cracking and hacking your way to success.

Let me know if you have any questions.

Ah fascinating! Reminds me a bit of like a 2D rubik's cube puzzle... and also makes me think of a mechanic from another board game called ROOM 25, where players have to shift the rooms of a complex around to get out!

That's pretty neat, and I imagine all of the cards are faceup in front of everyone, otherwise it would require too much memory of course. I can see that making a neat little code-breaking concept!

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I've added another card to

I've added another card to the base hand-swapping idea, but looking for opinion on which version is better... I'm undecided.

INFILTRATE

'Reveal a file from another agent's domain for everyone to see. If it is the PASSCODE, keep it - otherwise, return it to the agent.'

or

'Reveal a file from another agent's domain for everyone to see. If it is the PASSCODE, you immediately win the round - otherwise, return it to the agent.'

So the 2nd option is basically having an instant win card, which could be kind've cool and add some suspense for whoever gets to play the card, when they choose to. One worry is that it could be one of the first cards played, and the game could end very quickly on a random guess.

The first option is neat because you don't win if you draw the card, but now everyone knows that YOU have it. And if you don't pull the passcode card, at least you've gained some information about what card that opponent has.

An interesting point to make regarding this card is that someone holding the PASSCODE could play this card and make everyone think they don't have it - almost like throwing them off the scent.

Any thoughts on which version might work better in your imagination?

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Infiltrate

Right off the first reading: personally, I'd prefer the first option. I'd only go for the second option if I am okay with "instant win" conditions. If you want rounds to go quickly, only then should you consider the second option. But realize that it could be a completely blind choice, and players could possibly end a round after one or two card pulls.

There's nothing in the rules that states players must keep the cards in their hand in a specific order, correct? For example, if I play INFILTRATE and draw the PASSCODE, I could mix the cards in my hand as much as I want, correct?

To make the second option less of a blind choice, you may want to consider something like this: "If you gain the PASSCODE and have a total of less than three cards in hand, you win the round." This prevents the PASSCODE from being stolen when hands are down to just a few cards. Also, INFILTRATE becomes even more useful later in a round, after cards have been swapped and players have had a chance to make guesses as to the PASSCODE's location. It's not -quite- an instant win at that point.

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let-off studios wrote:Right

let-off studios wrote:
Right off the first reading: personally, I'd prefer the first option. I'd only go for the second option if I am okay with "instant win" conditions. If you want rounds to go quickly, only then should you consider the second option. But realize that it could be a completely blind choice, and players could possibly end a round after one or two card pulls.

There's nothing in the rules that states players must keep the cards in their hand in a specific order, correct? For example, if I play INFILTRATE and draw the PASSCODE, I could mix the cards in my hand as much as I want, correct?

To make the second option less of a blind choice, you may want to consider something like this: "If you gain the PASSCODE and have a total of less than three cards in hand, you win the round." This prevents the PASSCODE from being stolen when hands are down to just a few cards. Also, INFILTRATE becomes even more useful later in a round, after cards have been swapped and players have had a chance to make guesses as to the PASSCODE's location. It's not -quite- an instant win at that point.

Thanks for the response! And yes, mixing your hand up is definitely part of the game, because you don't want someone to know exactly where a card is once you've taken it. I'll also mention that someone shuffling their cards like that can ALSO be a sign that they've just acquired the PASSCODE, so it's a 'tell' that players might want to watch out for!

I pretty much agree with your opinion, because I'm also worried about an early blind pull ending the game really quickly. It's a short game no matter what, but I think that it could be a bit deflating to end like that. If it were an instant win card, I would prefer that it's used after a few rounds, that way the person using it has more of an educated guess... so taking your last idea, perhaps it isn't about how many cards they have left in their hand when they get the PASSCODE, but maybe how many cards they have in their hand allows them to play INFILTRATE (providing it's the instant win scenario).

So for example, it could be "This file can only be played if you have 3 or less files in your hand" Or something like that? Just trying to spin off of your last idea.

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Looking for advice on another

Looking for advice on another couple of dilemmas as well...

I'm trying to incorporate a good defensive card to the game, called FIREWALL. The current iteration has some flaws unfortunately. Right now, a player plays the card and their domain is untouchable until their next turn. The problem is, there is also a card called RESTORE that allows players to duplicate the last card played (the top of the discard pile) So in a 3 player game, someone could play FIREWALL, the next person could duplicate it, and then the third person wouldn't be able to play because they have nobody to target, which I don't like. I thought about adding the disclaimer 'This file cannot be restored' to the FIREWALL text but that seems like hiding bad game design.

Curious if there's another way a defense card could work - preferably something that doesn't have to be played out of turn, because I'm trying to avoid those (sometimes people forget to activate them so I'd rather everything be done on your turn).

Any suggestions??

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