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A simple goal in a card game

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X3M's picture
Joined: 10/28/2013

Seeing that talk about CCG/TCG. I was wondering if a game would be boring if there is only a simple goal.

"Be the stronger player at the end of the game".

The cards would have various RPS based warriors. And the whole deck would only be these warriors.
The thing is, you can play only 1 card each round. And in order to play this card. Another card gets sacrificed.
Players pick 2 cards from the deck every round.

In order to attack, you select the cards of the opponent. The opponent can decide, how to retaliate.
Cards get exhausted this way and will be able to attack or defend again at the beginning of the players next turn.

Eventually the deck is gone. The hand is empty and the attacks end up with 1 player being victorious or a stalemate with one of the 2 players having a bigger army.

In fact, a remise would be possible.

A bit too bland perhaps?
Or would players like to play such a game?

Joined: 01/27/2017
Single goal

Even MtG has a single goal... to bring the opponent(s) Life to zero.

However if there's a hand of two cards and only one card in play at a time, it's going to feel a lot more luck-based than skill-based. That's okay, so long as the theme and age range are appropriate.

I have a simple superhero fighting game idea that's certainly way simpler than Pokemon or MtG using an RPS system of powers, but each side has multiple characters in play so there's at least some strategy in choosing who to target. There's some luck, of course, since you might end up drawing a lot of "rocks" when facing a gang of "scissors."

Need to make a separate post about that game when I get a chance.

questccg's picture
Joined: 04/16/2011
Hmm... Try to think about of games that are NOT like Magic...

I do have one (1) WARNING to say:

questccg wrote:
If it requires Tapping and Exhausting, it may be seen as a stripped-down version of Magic.

Or declaring Attackers and then the opponent declares Blockers ... Those concepts sound a lot like Magic too...

And this is something NOT desirable. Because Magic players only play Magic and most Board Gamers like a moderate amount of complexity in their games such that there is sufficient STRATEGY.

What you need to do is IGNORE your "gut" and make a prototype and playtest it YOURSELF first... See if the game FEEL "exciting" or do you find it boring and tedious to play. I know, because I try all kinds of concepts that seem good ... But turn out "boring" when I playtest them.

If you believe that the game is "exciting" (or at least FUN) make a playtest with your cousin (or a friend). And ask them IF they like it or not. If you get a LIKE and they thought it was "exciting" ... Well then you have a *HOT* little game ...

There is no one who can tell you by "concept" alone. Sometimes simple things can be FUN too. And maybe your RPS is enough to make it engaging for gamers... IDK. Best bet is to make a prototype and playtest it YOURSELF...! Cheers.

Note #1: If you are having troubles thinking about HOW other games play (besides Magic) go to Fantasy Flight Games (FFG) and see the various collectible and LCG games that exist. Next, to gather some more Intel, go over to The Dice Tower and look for Videos for some of those games to understand better how they play.

That should help you see what OTHER games are doing... And you may be able to borrow a mechanic from here-or-there!

Note #2: Playing one (1) card per turn sounds a BIT like Epic (The Card Game) by White Wizard Games. The key difference is that you can only play ONE (1) Gold Coin card per turn. Otherwise the other characters you can play as many as you like. Again just sharing some concept with other games ... How they do it, etc.

X3M's picture
Joined: 10/28/2013
No one

Things got worse.

It seems I can only create a single player game.


No time to calmy go on the internet. Only pen and paper.


If everyone keeps getting bothered by that MtG mechanic. What else is there?


I remember a manga about a card game. Where a used card goes back to the deck. And the defeated card is gone.
There are cards that consume other cards.

Perhaps a mechanic where both players pick a card for the first round. Then the loser can simply pick a card (or more) from the deck in order to defeat the opponents card. The winner always leaves one card behind as a sacrifice. While the rest returns to the hand.

I guess that the decks should be based on total points and not a number of cards.
Everytime when cards are played, another sacrifice should be made.

Lets say, a maximum of 9 points may be played per round. If the player needs a higher score for that round, every additional point needs an additional sacrifice.

- how to start the first round?
- which card to leave behind?
- sacrifices needed?

A player may choose to play a 1 point to see what the enemy does.

A player may choose to leave behind a low point as sacrifice. But there will be a time when the winning card needs to be left behind.

A player needs to keep track if sacrifices aren't to severe. When a 9 pointer can only be defeated by a 7 and another 7. Then 5 additional points are needed. If there are no 5 or less to make a nice 5. Then more is sacrificed. However, the same player might still have a good deck remaining.

The deck is in weight of points, not cards.
Meaning that a deck could have 45 of 1 point or 5 of 9 points. Or a mix of 9 cards that go 1 to 9.

Have the last laugh...

questccg's picture
Joined: 04/16/2011
There are a few things that come to mind

X3M wrote:
If everyone keeps getting bothered by that MtG mechanic. What else is there?

The FIRST is if you want this game to be "Collectible". Why? Because this means that the cards belong to each player and although they "interact" they don't get mixed together. This is HUGELY important because having YOUR cards and MY cards (Collectible) severely reduces the amount of OPTIONS for a game.

The SECOND is that you don't need to have HUGE decks especially when you are NOT going the "Collectible" route. Again why? Because in this case, all of the cards can be merged together into ONE (1) medium sized deck. This means that there are a lot more possibilities in terms of "interaction" between the cards if you don't need to worry about who is the owner of the cards involved in some more "fancy" mechanic.

The THIRD is hand size. Limiting the hand size to something like five (5) cards from a shared pool means that ten (10) cards are already being used. This reduces the amount of turns required to go through the deck. Another why?! Well you don't want play to go for an eternity. Reducing the deck to maybe fifty (50) cards (almost the size of a normal playing deck) is the "sweet spot". Sure you can go a bit higher to sixty (60) or lower to forty (40)... But playtesting will help determine the optimal deck size.

The FOURTH is re-shuffling an empty discard and re-using those cards. This will no doubt extend the duration of play time... But if you have some kind of "scoring goal" like the first player to reach 100 points... There is a cap on the game's length (generally speaking). It may take a bit longer than with no re-use of cards in a deck. But it may feel a bit more "strategic".

The FIFTH is "capturing" cards from your opponent. Again this can work with both "collectible" and non-collectible versions if you have very specific rules. For example: when you defeat an opposing cards you may KEEP the opponent's card in a pool of say five (5) cards. Like some kind of imprisonment or captured state where you can decide to use them at some other opportune later time. This is something that I've wanted to implement a long time... Without any success. So if you like the concept, feel free to "borrow" this game mechanic.

These are five (5) observations about CHOICES you can make to determine a bit HOW your "card game" will take shape and what are the strategic options that you will give to your players.

If you have questions/feedback/comments please feel free to respond and I will do my best to address your concerns. Cheers and enjoy designing your new "Card Game"!

X3M's picture
Joined: 10/28/2013
I think you are missing the point

O well.

Single player, or no player are my only options right now.

questccg's picture
Joined: 04/16/2011
Just to be clear ...

X3M wrote:
Single player, or no player are my only options right now.

You should be able to easily assume the roll of up to 4 players in any card game. Use Andrew Harmon's (@Harmon89) philosophy: play the best for all of the players in the game. That's how he made "Portals & Prophets". It's kind of a "light euro" with a bit of theme based on biblical events that have occurred during History.

If you need some help, well then you can "span-out" your moves. What I mean is make a move with 1 Player and then wait 10 minutes and come to the table for another player (Player #2) for example. This is a bit how I test my multiplayer games with different hands, it takes more time, but it allows me to focus on "one-hand-at-a-time".


Note #1: Generally speaking if you are playing several cards per hand, it becomes harder to remember them, especially if you are involved with other matters than just PLAYTESTING. So that 10 minute break could be check up on videos (YouTube), vacuum (a room or two), prepare a meal, read a chapter of a book, etc.

Things you normally do that would take your MIND off of the game (and the cards that you played 10 minutes ago). Giving you the opportunity to focus on the NEXT Player's Hand (without remember too much what you played for the PREVIOUS Player's Hand...)

questccg's picture
Joined: 04/16/2011
Many "card" games have simple goals too

If you think of most "card" games (the ones using one or more standard decks) have some kind of SIMPLE goal: player with the highest score wins, first player to reach "X" points, first player to collect "Y" cards, etc.

So generally you see that FREQUENTLY in most "card" games.

My thoughts on you designing such a game are POSITIVE, you understand that once you have a SIMPLE and ELEGANT game, you can see if you can ADD something to add some more depth to the game... We often talk about "streamlining" a game and removing all of the "un-necessary" clutter from it until we have a LEAN game.

BUT the opposite is also possible: a super lean game that requires some additional elements to increase the level of strategy...

Nothing wrong with designing in the OPPOSITE direction, the goal is the SAME: to have as lean of a game possible with sufficient elements that the level of strategy is sufficient for the players to feel engaged and in "control" of their playing efforts.

So how you design is your business... There is no one "absolute" way. If you just start with one or two mechanics that you ABSOLUTELY must have in your game... That's a good way to start lean and add more as you see fit.

Cheers and keep us informed as to how your designing goes!

X3M's picture
Joined: 10/28/2013
If I can get 1 player

Then a single player card game could be born.

Then the AI could be replaced by another player.

Right now, I got a lot of "no time to test" responses. Or it is in their own time. Alone...


My idea is to have some sort of 1 dimensional chess.

I think that if players had a deck based on points. That the decks in hand are small.

When cards are played and return to the hand. The fog of war is slightly lifted. Just like Stratego.

Oh gota go.

questccg's picture
Joined: 04/16/2011
Tabletop Simulator

Your solution might be to purchase Tabletop Simulator (TTS) and then connect with playtesters (Friends and Family) over the Internet. Protospiel Online was mostly run by TTS Events which allowed people from all over the USA to connect with Game Designers who participated in the event.

The software is only $20 USD and you CONTROL your own DLC content which you can make available via G-Drive to only the people you want to TRY the game. So this means you can "control" who PLAYS the game you are designing and you can have Versioning of your DLC (Down-Loadable Content).

In a way it's very GOOD because you can play with ANYONE in the WORLD. The only problem is that it is embedded into "Steam". And I really hate "Steam" because of how it updates and how it slows my laptop. I don't have the fastest thing and anything which requires monitoring of the Internet for things like Updates... Just slow down my hardware.

But I am seeing that TTS is the best solution to get people to PLAYTEST your game(s) (and mine for that matter)... Cheers!

questccg's picture
Joined: 04/16/2011
Could be something very CLEVER indeed!

X3M wrote:
...When cards are played and return to the hand. The fog of war is slightly lifted. Just like Stratego...

Well this is definitely interesting. This could encourage hand-cycling... The longer you KEEP your cards, the more VUNRABLE you become! Is this something you were considering?!

So while revealing part of your HAND is partial information (but perfect information on those cards) ... You could be able to PLAY or CYCLE your hand by discarding cards, providing misinformation and take down your opponent.

Sounds very CLEVER to me! (If this was not your intent, my apologies... I guess I got a different vibe from what you typed in...)

questccg's picture
Joined: 04/16/2011
Some early thoughts...

The reason Stratego is BORING is because most HIDDEN information becomes eventually PERFECT information... The fog of war gets lifted and is NEVER replaced.

But correct me if I am wrong, in your little Card Experiment, you have the capability to "refresh" your hand and the cards that have been revealed (PERFECT information) and that that becomes a form of PARTIAL information with again MORE HIDDEN information...

I had something SIMILAR in mind for "Archon".

With two (2) different Victory Conditions, you have to be very careful. You want to have an "exit strategy" with the Ruling Card (5 Points) and you also don't want to be stuck with losing ALL the Fodder Cards (1 Point each x 5).

You also have to be keen and notice IF the Ruling Card was played in the game, meaning that your opponent timed it enough to find an "out" for that card... And was also careful not to lose ALL his Fodder Cards during that match...

In any case, your card game is starting to sound more appealing and with "Fog of War" (FOW), your focus should be on MANAGING "information" about the cards in your hand (revealed or hidden), to the cards in play (perfect) and lastly to know what to expect from the Deck...

Could be interesting by my early conclusions... Cheers!

X3M's picture
Joined: 10/28/2013
Stratego ends when the pieces are known

My game would be more of a chess game. Since players keep sacrificing.

The idea of the deck also being the hand is something that came to mind since I don't want randomness.

The only randomness there is, is the opponents deck choice.

So, both players start with a card of their choice. It can be any card, from 1 point to 9 points. Obviously a 9 pointer has the highest chances to survive the first round. But immediately will die by excessive RPS effect in the second round.

And the other player can choose to have this done by any set of cards. It doesn't even have to be worth 9 points. In fact, tieds are possible. Where one bazooka could kill a super tank by being sacrificed. And then both players have to choose a card again.

So the first round is a "gamble". And every next sutuation where a sacrifice took place.

If more than 1 card is used. One card is left behind, ALWAYS. So a player could also choose to choose 2 cards that won't die. But only 1 will retreat. This one is now known to the enemy.

X3M's picture
Joined: 10/28/2013
So far

The game has a vanilla RPS.

A card consists of:
- Value
- Armor; 1, 3 or 9
- Damage; 1, 3 or 9 (x Multiplier if possible)
- Attributes

The attributes so far:
- Fast (forms a cancelation with Ranged, also has levels)
A fast unit can dodge one enemy unit while still doing damage itself.
- Ranged (forms a cacelation with Fast, also has levels)
A ranged unit can do damage and perhaps even defeat an enemy
- Air (still needs anti-air in order to fight other air)
- Anti-Air (still needs air in order to avoid ground)


Each player has a deck with a value. The value's are displayed on the cards in the upper right corner. So players can easily determine if the opponents deck is fair without showing the other statistics.

A fast small game has a deck with a value of 20.

The deck is also the hand at the same time.
A defeated card is removed from the game.

First round:
Each player picks 1 card to play and place it face down on the table.
Once both players played a card. The cards are revealed.

Several situations are possible now:
- Both cards are defeated
- One card wins
- Both cards can't defeat the other card

Following rounds:

When both cards are defeated in round 1. Players repeat the proces of placing 1 card face down on the table.

When one card wins in round 1. That card will remain on the table. The losing player may now place 1 or multiple cards of no more than a total value of 9 on the table, in order to defeat this one card. Once done, the player reveals his squad. And decides which card stays on the table, while the other cards are returned to the hand.
However, if the squad is entirely defeated in the proces; both sides are thus defeated.

When both cards are not defeated. Both players will act as if the opponent was the survivor. They both select a squad of 1 or more cards in order to defeat the card that was left behind. Then after revealing. Both players will select one card that will stay behind. Both players will have 1 card that stayed behind as if this is the first round.


The game is over when 1 or both players can't play anymore. Or a loop or remise emerges.

The player with the highest remaining value will win the game.

Next time some card examples I guess. So people here could write them and play a game???

X3M's picture
Joined: 10/28/2013
The first 4 Cards, first round, first problems solved, tldr

Light Infantry:
Cost 2
Armor 1
Damage 1

Combat Tank:
Cost 8
Armor 9
Damage 9

Important to know:
9 damage can be only targeted at one card.
And thus can kill only 1 Light Infantry at a time.

Flame Tank:
Cost 8
Armor 9
Damage 4 times 1

Important to know:
The Flame Tank can kill 4 light infantry at a time.

Bazooka Infantry:
Cost 5
Armor 1
Damage 9

A "balanced" deck will contain 20 Light Infantry, 8 Bazooka Infantry, 5 Combat Tanks and 5 Flame Tanks.
A total value of 160 and 38 cards.


So, I play test this.

The first card to play?
In the first round, both players play 1 card and reveal it once it has been decided.

- Light Infantry:
obviously a move to loose the first round on purpose. No matter what is played, the second round will surely make a kill move on whatever the opponent had placed on the table in the first round.
In the first round, it is able to kill the Bazooka Infantry.

- Combat Tank:
The combat tank will take out any opponent. But can be destroyed by the Bazooka Infantry and another Combat Tank.

- Bazooka Infantry:
The Bazooka Infantry can also take out any opponent. But will die in the proces.
In one case, this is bad. In 2 other cases, this was profitable.

- Flame Tank:
Has a certain overkill in the first round on any infantry choice. And can't kill the Combat Tank.
It will be destroyed against the Bazooka Infantry and Combat Tank. It will trigger the enemy to play a Combat Tank or Bazooka Infantry in the second round. On which the player can anticipate.


The second round...

There will be no Light Infantry nor a Bazooka Infantry that stays behind after round 1.

When a Combat Tank stays behind. The opponent might choose 9 Light Infantry. This strategy can be used until there are insufficient Light Infantry. In that case, the choice would simply be a Bazooka Infantry. You cannot mix Bazooka Infantry with Light Infantry, since the opponent will select the Bazooka Infantry for efficiency.
Then there is this rule of no more than 9 points unless there are sacrifices. With 9 Light Infantry, you need 9 points worth of sacrifice. Let's pretend, it was 8 for now. Which would mean that 5 Light Infantry worth should be sacrificed. And thus this would be a bad, bad tactic.
Of course another Combat Tank remains. Which would clear out the table and trigger a new "first round".

When a Flame Tank stays behind. The opponent can use a Bazooka Infantry to clear out the table. Or use a Combat Tank in order to win. In a rare situation 9 Light Infantry might be used. And it is only in this situation that 4 Light Infantry will die. Due to the design, the losses are equal. And 1 Light Infantry will stay behind. If a game would only consist of Light Infantry and Flame Tanks. The Flame Tanks will have the last call. Since you need a minimum in order to destroy the armor.
The funniest situation would be that another Flame Tank is used. Because then there would be a double fight. And this could even cause a chain reaction. Where both players have all 5 Flame Tanks out. Needless to say, this only happens when all Combat Tanks are already gone. But here is the joke: If one of the Flame Tanks gets help of 5 Light Infantry, that squad wins. 4 Light Infantry die. And the player can choose to leave either the Flame Tank or the last Light Infantry on the table.


Was that interesting enough for the first 2 rounds?
[idk, you tell me?]

Should I allow multiple cards for when a table is clear?
This could result in a bit of chaos.
[idk, you tell me?]
At the end of this post, I kinda decided on this.
But I need more play testing.

Should I remove the sacrifice rule?
Then the Light Infantry beating up a Combat Tank is a good option.

Should I force players to leave behind all surviving cards?
Then if the Light Infantry (9 went down to 8). Would surely fail against the Flame Tank afterwards.
The player would do better if there are at least 10 Light Infantry to begin with.

Should I allow players to retreat cards when they suffer losses, but did loose entirely?
The Flame Tank would kill the 8 Light Infantry in 2 rounds. And both players can't do anything about it. But if a losing side suffers losses. Then that squad could be allowed to retreat. So the Flame Tank would kill only 4 Light Infantry.

On a side note. Once Grenadiers are used...

Costs 3
Armor 1
Damage 3

3 Are needed to kill a Tank. But against the Flame Tank. All 3 Grenadiers would die.
You need less Grenadiers than Light Infantry. But the sacrifice is one more.

Should I allow players to have a front and support squad instead?
It would become very complicated. Although Tanks could protect the Infantry. Thus Bazooka Infantry could survive longer. The maximum points could return again. Since you can mix units now in order to win.

But what would be a nice maximum this time?
[Most expensive card x2]

Should sacrificed be allowed?
The one where you pay double by already removing cards from the deck.

X3M's picture
Joined: 10/28/2013
Testing the 2x most expensive card hypothetis

And the result is that you need to have 2x the highest armor that is in the game. Not the highest costs.

So if a wall that costs 4 would be the most expensive thing in the game. It would also have 9 armor. And thus allows for a total of 18 points to attack.

A wall of 6 has 17 armor.
So 34 points are allowed in that one :D

Either way, here is the list of all the types of the game with nice round numbers:

Costs vs Armor/Damage
1 - 1
2 - 3
3 - 6
4 - 9
5 - 13
6 - 17
7 - 22
8 - 27

Although I will only design with the costs of 1, 2 and 4 for now since the armor/damage is also in the single digits.

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