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More playtests and a "Question" for you(?)

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questccg
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So let me explain the conundrum and see if ANYONE has some GOOD advice or ideas to help me out!

questccg wrote:
The problem lies with the fact that SOME abilities like SCRY work best during a round (local resolution).

But OTHER abilities like ABSORB DAMAGE work best when all Monsters are revealed and there is interaction in the play area (global resolution).

Two important things:

1. local resolution is SIMPLER (there are a maximum of 3 Monsters per side to contemplate about).

2. But global resolution is more STRATEGIC because you can better use your Ability Pools more effective (you see ALL 6 of the Monsters in play).

So outcomes of Global Resolution is that it may lead to a bit of analysis-paralysis. But Local Resolution is less strategic and HARD to plan with (because you can't predict the Monsters the opponent will play).

Have I made this CLEAR enough??? Are my examples EASY to understand?? Do you have any IDEAS you are willing to share?

Thanking all that respond in advance... Cheers!

questccg
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Let me clarify a bit...

There are three (3) "Population Rounds":

1. Play three (3) Monsters

2. Play two (2) Monsters

3. Play one (1) Monster

So the question is... After EACH ROUND (local resolution) do I add a BATTLE Phase...? For Abilities like "SCRY 3 topmost Monster in your deck" means you take a peek at the 3 topmost cards and figure out IF you want to KEEP some of them ON TOP and which to place AT THE BOTTOM.

This could be VERY important if you are waiting on a "clutch" card in Round #3 for example... So you would play the Monster with SCRY in Round #2 and resolve it immediately before moving on to Round #3.

Very interesting, strategic and useful too!

If we go with battling at the END of all "Population Rounds" this would be like a Round #4: Battle!

This means that each player's Monsters are VISIBLE to them. There is no need to say: "Hmm... Maybe I should save some points for future rounds...?" And therefore the Planning is unnecessary because you use your points during Round #4... (During Battling which goes back-and-forth).

This makes total sense for ABILITIES which Interact with OTHER Monsters. Let's say I have a Monster who can ABSORB DAMAGE from an attack of an ADJACENT Monster...! Locally it is pretty useless as an ability. I mean at most you can absorb damage for 2 cards (Left and Right).

But globally you can expand this and maybe be capable of absorbing damage for 4 of your cards in play! So this ability is more interesting GLOBALLY.

Now I guess I could do BOTH. But again this can lead to POOR planning... IDK it doesn't "feel right" TBH. Maybe there is another alternative that I am not seeing...? Or something CLEVER that I have yet to think about which could offer me a solution to my dilemma(?!)

Anyhow if anyone has questions, comments, suggestions, feedback please feel free to ask away and I will do my best to answer you.

Cheers all!

Juzek
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Are the abilities tied to a

Are the abilities tied to a card in your hand? or are they part of the monsters?

If you are playing abilities from your hand, you could quite simply state on the card when is an appropriate time to play it such as "Reaction" or "Any time" or "Turn Start" or just add language describing it's application.

If its on the monsters themselves, I'd recommend making a symbol system that has the effect, and when and where it applies.

I do understand that a consistent ruleset will make it much easier for players. Is there a way to achieve the same sort of outcome with a different thing? like instead of a scry, maybe one monster lets you play with the top card of your deck revealed as a constant effect.

What you're trying to avoid is people forgetting to do their special things cause the particulars are too difficult to keep track of.

questccg
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No bearings on your thoughts... But...

I am thinking that the "Mathematical Equation" (Formulae) should total up to ZERO (0) Points. Otherwise things like "Minus -" or "Division /" are obviously not to be applied in the event that the HIGHEST score wins.

So if you have a Value of 9 and an Division by 3... 9 / 3 = 3 points.

Makes much more SENSE now to use a Division. Add to this a -3... 3 - 3 = 0.

Again making use of a subtraction operation. This hasn't really solved my issue. But it solved another one of my issues with various operators that seemed defunct because of the Victory Goal.


And to answer @Juzek's question: the abilities are on the Monster cards themselves. I don't want to share the card layout ATM ... Because it is a VERY Novel Card Design... The reason for me to continue with this DESIGN ... Is because every time I look at these cards, I think: "Hmm... These cards are cool and have much potential!"


I want to stick away from symbols and prefer explicitly listing the abilities on each card. It's much easier to read an ability than memorize it's symbol. Plus I have 15 Monsters each unique. I don't want 15 symbols, or one for each of the Monsters... When you view it that way, it's clearer with the ability as a description.

I also want to have a DESIGN that is "tight". What I mean is having operators for NO REASON blows. If you are NOT going to use some of them and only boost your deck with Additions (Plus +) for achieving the HIGHEST possible score is a bit TOO FAMILIAR.

But achieving a ZERO (0) as a form of balance... Sounds much better!

Let me think about it some more... And of course, other comments welcome too.

questccg
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Instead of ZERO (0)

I have another approach that may be more sensible: roll 3d6s (White) to determine the TARGET score by the formulae. This means 16 values starting at 3 all the way up to 18. That could provide more variability between ZERO (0) and HIGHEST score because it's in a RANGE. Otherwise players would never use MINUS (-) or DIVIDE (/) operators because this obviously LOWERS one's score. And WHY(?!) would you want to lower your score if the goal is getting the HIGHEST possible score?!?!

My new list of operators are now: Add, Subtract, Multiply, Divide and Exponent.

No values of zero (0) are permitted. If a Monster has zero or less health, that card gets flipped over avoiding the DIV/0 (Undefined). Same goes for MULTIPLY by 0 (= 0) which is also very bad in most cases (since it equals zero). So all those cases have been resolved.

So this is the positive outcome from yesterday's rehashing of my problems with this DESIGN. More to come, next is the discussion about COMBAT. What's come out of the possibilities to think about how to work the mechanics.

questccg
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More about the operators

While Add and Subtract are VALUE-Based operators, Multiply, Divide and Exponent are NOT. Meaning Multiply, Divide and Exponent by 1 all result in a stalemate of the VALUE (as computed in the formulae). This is good because they are NEUTRAL when it comes to using them for computing; meaning worst case you make your operand "1" and nothing changes.

That's very cool and valuable in a game where you are trying to compute a specific VALUE (in the 3 to 18 range). Sometimes lower scores impact the game LESS in that there are less resources to go around and therefore impacting the Monsters less ... What I mean you can impact the opponent's stack less because you don't have sufficient resources to make a deep impact (like exiling a card because it has dropped to 0).

BTW exiling means that the Monster gets flipped over and no longer has an impact on the formulae (scoring round). Simply that "Monster is exiled" and has no value or consequence when computing the overall score given the remaining Monsters/cards.

questccg
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Exponent operator

More on this... This is a NEW addition because it falls into y^1 = y or y^2 = y x y. With relatively low numbers the exponent operator is MANAGEABLE. But in the context of getting the "HIGHEST" possible score, that operator is too extreme because of things like y^3 or y^4 = y x y x y or y x y x y x y... Plus Players would load their decks with THREE (3) of cards and have them CHAIN to make impossibly HARD to compute values. I want simple MATH!

Not ((5^4)^3)^2+1)!!! Aghh! So complicated! = 59,604,644,775,390,626... Hahaha!

CRAZY SHIT! Would BREAK the game. Impossible to compute without a calculator. And just NOT REALISTIC either! But 4^2 = 16 or 2^3 = 8 ... Small values are manageable. So things like (2^3)/4 = 2... Are reasonable computations!

So this was a bit of look into this NEW "operator" because I felt like MULTIPLY and DIVIDE, this operator can be used for low computation fairly easy too!

questccg
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Okay so maybe I have some good ideas, maybe not!

My IDEAs are something like this:

1. Play 3 Monsters into Level 1 Position (first row).

2. Play 2 Monsters into Level 2 Position (second row).

3. Battle between all 10 Monsters in play (5 each side).

4. Play 1 Boss Monster into Level 3 Position (third row).

5. That Boss can attack the opposing two (2) rows (Level 1 & 2).

Now for some observations.

When the Battle Round first ensues, there already is a MAJORITY of Monsters in play (5 out 6). The only one left is the BOSS. This is a bit more flexible and perhaps not as "straight-forwards" as my original concept. But it does impact the game and make it MORE strategic.

Next when the Boss is played... The Boss CANNOT be attacked directly. He also has the capacity to attack ANY of the opponent's Monsters on the first two (2) Levels (1 & 2) but not the opposing Boss.

This using something like a SCRY can give your Boss a lot of POWER to make an impact into the opposing player's stack of Monsters. Again the majority (5 out 6) which is pretty reasonable IMHO.

So the Boss is a bit special and we have two "combat" rounds in the game. This is very much a COMPROMISE in terms of what I had originally and what I am now proposing. As you can see, it is a rather CLEVER solution which is sort of a HYBRID of Local vs. Global Resolution. And it makes some sense cases to leave some Mana for your Boss (if you have a good idea which Monster you will play into that position ... And therefore understand his impact) or ignore the Boss altogether and focus on the 1st Round of Combat (Level 1 & 2) only.

To me this solution seems like the BEST possible "compromise".

It allows for a more sensible population of the Monsters (5 out of 6) and gives you much forethought into what YOUR Boss is going to be in the 3rd Population Round. Battles are more strategic and also allow for planning with the Boss Monster.

This seems like a solution to a "complex" problem... It is not too "out-there" but it does take into the fact the model (Monsters, Levels and Abilities) for the game and makes it a less RANDOM solution. I get the impression that much thought was put into this "outcome".

What do you think???

Does this all sound more reasonable? Do you think there are other options?? And if you do, please feel free to share with me your feedback and comments.

This is rather NEW as a solution, so it's going to take me some time to absorb it and see if there are any issues with it.

Cheers all!

questccg
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Some additional ideas

Well I was thinking about how the HEALTH of a Monster impacts the "Operand"... One of my thoughts were that as you battle an opposing monster, the health lowers and that would mean you could have 1 to 2 as an Operand, instead of 1 to 3 (for example).

I thought about this for the last couple days... And it clearly meant that the opponent could "prevent" his opponent from using HIGHER SCORING values. But this wasn't enough... Basically I could use all "1"s and then there would be NO point in the "battle" rounds and the effect upon the Monsters.

Today I came up with a NOVEL idea:

Why not allow for points to be removed from either side of the health meters!

So "1" and "2"s can be removed ... But a "3" can REMAIN as the sole "Operand"... Meaning a player would be forced to use the "3" Value for that Monster...

This makes 100% sense... As the value vary in importance as per the OPERATOR!

For example, let's look at some cases and see their impact:

1. Add Operator (+): If I have values 1 to 4... It makes sense to work on the RHS and lower the effectiveness of the operator. Meaning "4" could be removed, allowing values 1 to 3 to remain.

2. Multiply Operator (x): Again if I have values 1 to 3... I may want to trim off "3" and then "2" to limit the efficiency of the multiplicate to only "1"!

I'm not saying that this will prevent the opponent from reaching the designated Score Total ... But it presents an interesting opportunity to the Players to "mess" around with their opponent's Monsters.

My earlier assumption was that the opponent could "damage" an opposing Monster. Let's say it was a "3" value Operand. So the opponent could force it to be "2" OR LESS (as per my earlier thoughts). If the opponent was wanting to use that monster as a "1", the ATTACK would be for nothing as he would need to reduce the monster to "0" if he wanted to limit the use of this monster.

And that seems "DUMB".

But now having the opportunity of removing WHATEVER Point Value you want... Make so much more sense... If I have a "6" and my opponent is looking to get a "5", I can attack and deal a "5" of damage... So my values would go 1 to 4 and "6" ... no "5".

Again this is CLEVER thinking... And was not apparent in the original design. But NOW it makes much more sense! I will try to figure out how to DOCUMENT this new way of "battling"... Because it adds to an interesting outcome.

Cheers all!

Note #1: The COOL thing about this NEW method of "Battling" is that it allows you to TARGET a SPECIFIC "Value" you want to remove from your opponent's CHOICES! This is GREAT because let's say you've been doing a LOT with "3" and you have a lot of "3s" and "9s", and then you have a DIVIDER. The opponent could TARGET the "3" forcing you to either use "1" to remain the same.

And if your opponent targets your "1" TOO... You have a "2" or a "4" that remain... Neither of which WORK for your "3s" or "9s"... Meaning you would need to figure out some ALTERNATE scoring and maybe dump your planning and go with something completely different (when scoring the formulae).

To ME, that sounds COOL! I like games that allow you to MESS with your opponent's plans and force them to re-think their strategy!

questccg
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Anyone else agree with that sentiment???

Do you also like games that DIRECTLY MESS with your opponent's plans??? Not like Ticket To Ride where you might stumble upon a track that your opponent required, no this is actually battling the RIGHT Monsters and leaving the opponent in quite "the pickle" where he/she needs to re-adjust their strategy to comply with the odd nature of the Monsters in-play!?

Please let me know in a comment other games that do something similar! Or give me some questions/comments/feedback concerning the approach and if you see any ways that it could be problematic.

Cheers all!

questccg
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Over the weekend...

I have cut the cards for 2-Player Decks of Fifteen (15) cards each. I've got one last sheet to finish and then I will begin the playtesting of this new version, with all of the above mentioned corrections and nuances.

I will report back when I get some progress with regards to playtesting.

These are dramatic changes... So be prepared to have more than one (1) round of the game. I may need to play like 3 or 4 times to validate each of the rules that were mentioned above.

Obviously I hate cutting my own cards (for the prototype) ... But it is necessary as the design is NOT final and for sure I want to keep it under wraps until such a time where it is STABLE enough to share with the public (and my fellow designers).

Cheers!

questccg
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Playtest #1: Mixed results

While the two (2) "Population" round were cool, the first (1st) "Battle" round was less intuitive. I have it going back-and-forth between both players and ... It's less than overwhelming. Even with five (5) cards, everything that is going on them, leads to "confusion". I won't say "Analysis-Paralysis" but things that are less than intuitive.

Like Dealing 1 Power of Damage then the opponent HEALS it and then we repeat the exact SAME steps (1 Power of Damage followed by a 2nd heal)... Not at all what I need and expect from this "game".

Each Monster has a Primary Attack and a Monster Tactic. But due to the nature of the cards, some have multiple "Primary Attacks" (like 2 or 3 attacks) and that too is very misleading.

I'm thinking there should be some SIMPLIFICATION to reduce the "back-and-forth" of the "Battle" round such that each Monster ONLY have one (1) Primary Attack and one (1) Monster Tactic. I'm not 100% sure about this... but ATM this is the direction I will go in...

And then we'll see how it all plays out. The new Scorecards are GREAT! So that's a PLUS with this prototype.

I'm going to sleep on it... That is leave this prototype AS-IS. And see what I get as ideas overnight. I know I should be working on the "Crystal Heroes" (CH) rulebook... But I wanted to "tighten" MK's design. Oh well, we're not there quite just yet!

Sincerely.

Note #1: There needs to be re-focus on "Resources" (Power, Skill and Magic) to determine the VALUES per Monster. And then how the are combined to make HEALTH (or the values used for formulae computing).

Some noteworthy things to mention are as follows:

A Monster built up of all three (3) "Resources" is the HARDEST to defeat. It is possible but HARD.

Secondly I think the ATTACKS should be limited to ONE (1) Per Monster. So if you have FIVE (5) Monsters, you get FIVE (5) Attacks. And then we ADD the Monster Tactics, again ONE (1) Per Monster, giving FIVE (5) Tactics AT MOST.

This is sounding a bit A LOT AGAIN! But that's the whole point of the game is to have interesting Monsters with COOL abilities... Otherwise what will be the point of this "design"?!

Clearly more thought about how to SIMPLIFY the "design" a little to prevent too much "Back-And-Forth" and the ability to neutralize certain attacks with various decks. This is a Deck-Construction Game ... So you can perfect your own Deck off-line (and outside of matches).

Like I said, I won't do anything tonight... I'll just let it "sit there" and review the cards and see what I can do to IMPROVE the "Battle" round with some simplification. Just thinking what can be done.

TBH ATM the game is BORING! Because of the "Back-And-Forth" makes for crappy Take-That sort of mechanic when I was hoping for something MORE "organic". I really wanted something that FEELS "natural" and intuitive.

The current design is FAR FROM THAT! Much too much going on... And even if the cards are COOL LOOKING ... They still don't radiate some kind of amazing aura when you PLAY.

Step #1: Make the "design" look COOL = Done 100%!

Step #2: Make the "game" feel FUN to play = TODO!

Definitely more to work on and think about. Keep you all in the loop as I will focus on this design this next WEEK. I need a break from CH... We've been working on it for 1 Year and I need some time to just relax and focus on a design which is LESS intuitive.

Believe CH is WAY COOL as it looks and PLAYS. But the RULEBOOK needs a TOTAL overhaul and that's what is getting to me ATM.

So let's just relax with MK and see where we can take this "design"!

questccg
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Missing Reach may be a part of the "problem"?!

I had decided that the "Reach" would be used for COMPUTATION reasons with Values 1 to 3 and determine the order of the "formulae". Now I know I could RESTORE the "Reach" to it's initial purpose which was to restrict cards to ATTACK their corresponding opponents.

Right NOW with NO "Reach" it's much too OPEN. Anyone can attack anyone else and it is a virtual FREE-FOR-ALL!

Some other concepts is CARD COPIES: meaning if the SAME card exists on BOTH sides with the SAME "Reach", both cards are removed from PLAY. This is like a double-edged sword but I think it could work... Based on the first (1st) Row, you can see if you can automatically "blow-away" some cards using the "Reach" value given your second (2nd) Row selection.

More thinking in the SIMPLIFICATION of the "design" and make it much more TIGHTER with some overall arch-ing strategy.

I'll get back to this some more... As I look at the cards and ponder the more fitting OUTCOME as I PLAN to see what is MISSING and what it will take to BREATH some new & fresh cohesion to the design. Something that is badly missing ATM.

Like I said in my previous comment, the game is well ... BORING!

And I'll be the first one to say what designs are FUN and which are LACK-LUSTER and which completely MISS the MARK (and are BORING)! It's just so COOL looking it just deserves something COMPATIBLE in the gaming department...

questccg
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More thought on combat/battles...

Fundamentally this is a "Card Game"... And while "Reach" may be a part of the solution, I am not yet 100% convinced. See the thing is if we think that there may be TOO MANY CHOICES this may be a form of "Analysis-Paralysis". So a player doesn't know what he/she should do FIRST given FIVE (5) cards in play. Sure by adding a "Reach" which may LIMIT the interaction between the cards may SEEM TO FIX the problem... It just sort of "masks" it by LIMITING INTERACTION.

And that to me, sounds BAD!

Why would you want to play a game that is designed to limit your choices because the game's designer could figure out a BETTER method of resolve combat/battles???

Honestly, that to me SOUNDS like BAD DESIGN...

I was going to take the "generalized" version of stats and dumb it down also. What I mean is INSTEAD of players CHOOSING the Power Level of their attack, I was only going to offer options for example: 1P, 2P or 3P damage. Which means that AGAIN this is a form of LIMITING INTERACTION by forcing certain cards to interact BETTER with others (by design, obviously) and make it a more CLOSED system which sort of GUIDES a player into making the RIGHT DECISIONS.

Okay... So while it's not as GOOD as an OPEN-SYSTEM, it doesn't sound as BAD as the "Reach" concept (which forcibly limits interaction by design). Yes, it does serve to LIMIT INTERACTION A BIT but it's generally LESS forceful. So while a DAMAGE of 1P can interact with about 80% (12/15) of the card pool, if you go UP to 2P of DAMAGE that drops to about 50% (8/15) making that less useful. Of course, one thing important to note is do you WANT a damage of 1P for ALL the cards or only specific cards. Again a form of limiting the choices available to each card...

Like in our two (2) samples, 1P affects 80% and this could be good or it could be BAD. In theory, 1P is the most BASIC of operands (ie. the VALUE "1"). Most operators do little with this operand:

1. Multiplication (x1) = Same amount

2. Division (/1) = Same amount

3. Exponent (^1) = Same amount

Addition and Subtractions are also relatively low in term of impact. If you think in terms of GAME PLAY, -1 is less dangerous than -3 or -4. Same goes for Addition, +1 has less impact than +3 or +4...

So DAMAGE 1P is like a FILLER amount in almost all cases. It leads to little change... And this can be important in a game where your score is say 6 points in total. Filler operands & operators are KEY to be used in these contexts.

While 80% have a 1P Damage... I think 1P should NEVER be an option. Maybe this seems like too contriving: you can't remove the operand "1". Meaning that the WORST possible VALUE available to players as an OPTION is EQUAL to "1".

And the result of this is that WE DON'T CARE about the "1" operand. It is a permanent fixture on 80% of the cards and nothing can be done about it. I think this is a LOGICAL conclusion. If it's so STUPID that everyone wants to eliminate a player from using the VALUE "1" ... Let us REMOVE that choice and see what's left to players aside from the general need to remove something that causes so little IMPACT, yet is so very essential with decks using the stronger operators which have "0" impact on an equation.

This is sort of like a PART of several thoughts on WHAT I need to REALLY think about and not just implement a DUMB solution considering that what we want is something TIGHT and ELEGANT in terms of a design. We also want to eliminate the "Back-and-Forth" between players for reasons that are DUMB (like trying to eliminate all of the "1" OPERANDS)...

I'll post up another comment when I have more thoughts to share.

Right now... If you have any thoughts, feedback, ideas you feel like sharing, don't be hesitant... Feel free to express yourself!

questccg
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In continuation with Part #1, this is Part #2.

In Part #2, I will be discussing an important concept which is EXHAUST (or Magic's Tapping Mechanic). Clearly when you PLAY a card during the Battle/Combat Round, it should become EXHAUSTED or expended (which ever you prefer...)

See the thing is if EVERY Monster has "2" things it can do ... Not too bad. The problem arises which each cards can have 3 or 4 or 5 things it can do! That's another reason for possible "Analysis-Paralysis": too many options.

Picture five (5) cards with 3 or 4 things they can do: that's 15 to 20 ACTIONS!!!

Way too much... Albeit very cool LOOKING, for GAMEPLAY it is ridiculous. And so the concept of EXHAUSTING or expending a card is something else to examine...

@let-off studios: I actually don't have access to a GROUP we are in lockdown up here in Quebec (due to the rising cases of COVID-19). And even IF I could share the prototype with someone, I don't have any of the rules written for this design... I'm not set-up for sharing the prototype ATM. They are also just Illustrator files (4 pages per player plus the scorecards).

Alas there are no group venues in my area ATM. There aren't many designers who are SERIOUS about the "craft". Maybe only Eric (@larienna) which you see him post time to time about his game ideas or his Wizardry Video Production, etc. But we pursue our projects alone and discuss via BGDF. So not really a GROUP setting.

There used to be a Board Game Group at a FLGS ... But I don't know about their status. Again they usually PLAY games that are available to buy... Not prototypes. So I don't think I would get much use out of that group TBH.

I've done some playtesting (Honest!) via Skype with Hamish Sterling (The Pocket Sports Game Designer) @HPS74 ... But that's been like 3 to 4 years ago. We were working a on Pocket Mech game and then Hamish came up with his Samurai game... Which he shared with BGDF but got little to no traction.

I guess it's because everyone is engrossed in their OWN "Games" that finding time to TRY someone else's game is an activity that they don't have time for. I mean if you don't have time for this hobby because of Family obligations, work or other hobbies... Well then it will be hard to sit down, cut cards and MAYBE play someone else's design... If you know what I mean.

let-off studios
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Group Playtesting

Any chance you can put a prototype in front of other testers besides just yourself? Some collective wisdom can be tapped when others play what you currently have, and help you address your issues.

The most amusing thing about playtesting is that sometimes I would become so deep in the weeds with my own projects, at first playtesting solo, that even the first time there's "another set of eyes" on my prototype during a playtest session, the most amazing things become abundantly clear. I've frequently found myself slapping my own forehead and exclaiming: "Now, why didn't I see that before?!?!!?"

If you're in a place where you feel like your own prototype is "boring" but it's only been subject to your own brain and creative process, then it might be at the point where you can lean on some outside help for some insight.

Good luck with this...! It sounds like you're really struggling with it meeting your expectations.

questccg
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No worries...

let-off studios wrote:
Good luck with this...! It sounds like you're really struggling with it meeting your expectations.

Actually this is very TRUE. TradeWorlds and Crystal Heroes were instant success. I mean I did have to think and design ... But things came more naturally and the last 10% for TradeWorlds came from some of Mike's own ideas and thoughts. For Crystal Heroes, Joe Pilkus (@The Professor) will be taking a look once the game is suitable ready for external playtesting... We're almost there, all that remains is RE-WORKING the rulebook with the corrections and fixes.

let-off studios wrote:
If you're in a place where you feel like your own prototype is "boring" but it's only been subject to your own brain and creative process, then it might be at the point where you can lean on some outside help for some insight.

I know when a design is FUN. And Monster Keep just isn't FUN... The cards (even as prototypes) are AMAZING, they are so original looking and when you take a look it all seems to SIMPLE an ELEGANT. But it's not... The game is... well ... Boring TBH!

Maybe it needs some SIMPLIFICATION, IDK! But the design as-is is so NICE... Like I said, I'm not ready to SHARE the design with the World. And so I won't post it up on BGDF just yet.

Like I said, the DESIGN is very COOL! But the game is not at all FUN. Yes it is BORING. What can I say...??? If it was FUN, I would say so. But it's not. The cards look so COLLECTIBLE it's not funny. And the design looks pretty cool too. But the game or some aspect of it are just not entertaining.

I guess my biggest HURDLE is a SIMPLE one:

A> How to make a Combat Round that is QUICK, SIMPLE (easy to comprehend) and LIMITED (reducing back-and-forth of these rounds).

What I picture is something like this:

B> Okay you have "these" cards, so that knocks-out BOTH of these cards (Yours & mine -- quick and simple)

C> And that's it! This is the "Limitation" aspect: see I don't want it to be a CHALLENGE to understand the OPPONENT's Monsters/Cards. I want QUICK resolution and this means if you have "Frolicking Fairies" with a REACH="3" and I have the same card with same REACH... Both cards CANCEL each other out!

Then you formulate your equation from the remaining cards in play.

BUT -- And here it the BIG "BUT"... That removes the Primary Attack and Monster Tactics from the game. And simplifies the game IMMENSELY. Which is not necessarily bad but... Even if it might sound good because it's QUICK and SIMPLE, there is some kind of PROBLEM.

CLEARLY the Combat/Battle Round is the PROBLEM. If I remove all the DETAILS that are used for this aspect of the game... I am removing A LOT.

My challenges are:

1. OVERSIMPLIFICATION.

2. Keeping the "core" aspect intact SOMEHOW.

3. Making the "STATS" simple enough that it doesn't cause any "Analysis-Paralysis".

It's clear that ELIMINATING cards quickly, reduces the over complexity of the REMAINING cards. So if you can knock-out 1 or 2 cards, there are less cards that are left to BATTLE with.

Now ... I will TRY something like I HAD before: using REACH values. I will at first try HARD CODED values (pre-defined) and then play another match with USER DEFINED values (player's choose their value).

I realize that knocking-out 1 or 2 cards greatly reduces the remaining cards in-play and simplifies the interaction left over... These are the two (2) playtests I will do tonight. And then I will report back later tonight and you will know what the result is in term of PLAYABILITY.

So let's leave it at that FOR NOW! Two (2) different ways of playing and we shall see how the game fares with these two methods of play. Cheers all!

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Knock-Out Round

I am going to go with some "over simplification". Namely Combat Round will know be referred to the "Knock-Out" Round. I will REMOVE all "Primary Attacks" and "Monster Tactics". Admittedly this sounds a bit "harsh" and in a way it IS. But from another perspective, it keeps things SIMPLE & QUICK.

The BOSS Round is played after the "Knock-Out" Round and here is where I am AT!

Using your Mana Pool, you ENABLE options on your Monsters which are related to the HEALTH of each Monster. Much like before "2P" means the that an OPERAND can have the VALUE "2" by spending one (1) Power Unit. The MAXIMUM is six (6) so this is where variety in your Deck goes a long way.

Again this focuses on YOUR cards and not the opponent. I like this A LOT! See the major problem with across the table cards is that YOU DON'T SEE THEM. Well you do but not very well. So if you FOCUS on only YOUR cards and worry about the opponent's cards ONLY during the "Knock-Out" Rounds... I think this may be more elegant.

At the very END (last round) the Formulation Round occurs and by using the remaining cards in Play and your Mana pools, you each configure your equations.

I will STOP HERE ATM! But my thought process is not yet over... Tonight I will playtest this version and see how it goes (as well as the variable REACH vs. the pre-defined REACH)...

Note #1: With variable REACH the game is just "problematic" AT-BEST. Why? Well players spend more time "knocking-out" their opponent's cards leaving you with one (1) card each + the BOSS. Again in-spirit with this version, just an underwhelming performance TBH.

Next TRY: pre-defined REACH. And for this I will go back to an EARLIER prototype that had the REACH figured out!

Note #2: After some "thought" .. You don't NEED "pre-defined" REACH... It simply boils down to IDENTICAL cards in PAIRS. Meaning without a REACH on ANY of the cards, the only way of "knocking-out" cards is just by playing your own version (same card). So IF the opponent played a "Masked Shaman" ... All you need to do is play the SAME card and "knock-it-out"!

I came to this realization when examining the area of play from my last playtest. It immediately came to me that REACH (if preset) would not be needed. And for the moment, this is a GOOD thing. Less to worry about, the better. Right now BIG POINTS for "oversimplification"... It's on it's way! Like I said in the OP: Needs more TLC!

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This is a testament to what is IMPORTANT (mostly)

See I wanted the game to be about SIMPLE "Maths". And the Formulation Round was always in existence ... But the strategy I am favoring now is the OPPOSITE of what I had before. I'd rather players rack their brains out during the Formulation Round than worry too much about the Knock-Out Round(s).

You know the issue with seeing cards "across-the-table". They're upside-down, far from the viewer and honestly NOT in an opponent-friendly way. Relying on TWO (2) VARIABLES: Name of the Card and it's REACH is simple. Reading a "1", "2" or "3" and the card name (given identical artwork too) is EASY (as compare to reading stats and abilities, et al.)

I have to TRY this over-simplified version. It seems like my ANSWER to FAST and FURIOUS "FUN"! We'll see... Cheers all!

Note #1: Okay so I've put-in some more thoughts, looked at the play area and I figured that REACH was no longer necessary (as in the previous comment). But then came to the EARLY conclusion that if a card is duplicated, then that card would be automatically "knocked-out". Again this seemed too SIMPLE... Yes it's QUICK ... but no, it's not FUN! It just means that all your cards get discarded and there will be only a couple cards to formulate your equation (which is BAD ... Because you may want it to happen SOME TIMES; not each playthru).

However there is an ALTERNATE method to PLAY which is sort of coming to mind.

Basically when you PLAY a CARD (Monster) into the Play Area, you invest in it by using your Mana Pools. So TWO (2) opposed "Masked Shaman" with BOTH having the value "1" SELECTED "cancel each other out"! But if ONE (1) of them had the value "2" ALSO, that card remains in play while the opponent is "Knocked-out"!

Now it becomes more "Tactical"... There is a COST associated with MATCHING your opponent. There is also your own formulation of your own equation which is at play too... You are doing two (2) things:

1. Trying to knock-out an easy opponent.

2. Trying to formulate the best possible equation for yourself.

Another PLAYTEST will be required... I'll get to it tomorrow. It's getting late tonight and we've had some good conclusions and things to work on. Ridding myself of the "REACH" concept is good... Because like I thought, it was at it's "core" a BAD concept.

Let you all know how things progress in the PM tomorrow.

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Also ...

I think MAYBE(?!) I could have "Monster Tactics" but DIFFERENT than what I have currently. Currently the Tactics are focusing on DAMAGING opposing Monsters. I would have to CHANGE this to become more like "Boons" or "Curses"... Still need more thoughts on this.

WHY???

Well TBH I think that re-introducing such an element ADDS to the OVERALL "complexity" of the design of each card. And then as you remember there is the whole "Analysis-Paralysis" problem. I think I will need to use a "case-by-case" approach to figuring out WHICH cards have a Tactic and those that do not.

Again needing to focus on SIMPLE design. And not BLOATING the design with too much more.

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I managed one more playtest tonight and...

It's MUCH BETTER! Not perfect, but it's getting more strategic and "FUN"... I cannot say with full certainty because there are BONUS "Tactics" that I did not have in this playthru. Luck and outwitting your opponent are clear indicators that this "new" version is much improved.

I played on the "conservative" side of things and had some Resource Pools with additional "rezz"... But overall the Resource Selection was better. Considerably going in the RIGHT DIRECTION.

It's not 100% over just yet... But for the most part, the game is BETTER!

Note #1: It sort of now feels like a journey into the swamplands... With the foggy mist masking the true reality of your circumstances and keeping hidden all the details as you carefully wade deeper into the swampy land. And then every once and a while the veil of mist clears and suddenly it becomes CLEAR what move you should take NEXT! And then it all makes suddenly so much SENSE!!!

So yeah that's what the NEW version "feels" like... It's a bit blurry, not a 100% focused effort and then with a whist it suddenly all comes together!

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Ok so I ADDED for each card a "Monster Tactic" PLUS...

I made for a "Default" Value for each card. So like "2" is a FREE "Value" that comes automatically when you PLAY this card. Obviously you don't want to play that card without any additional Resource Points (because it may be too easy to Knock-Out -- 0 Resources used) by simply putting the same card into play...

But this means that AT LEAST there are six (6) Values (Operands) that are pre-defined...

I'm going to have to ponder more about the "Knock-Out" Round and the layout of the cards.

1. If the DEFAULT is "2" and both player choose "1" as their additional Resource, that means BOTH cards are knocked-out (because they are IDENTICAL).

2. But if one chooses "1" and the other chooses "3" ... BOTH card remain IN-PLAY (because they are DIFFERENT).

3. The last scenario is if one choose "1" and the other chooses "1" & "3"... This would mean the first player would have his card knocked-out (because the second one SUPERSEDES the first)!

We'll see how ADDING the Monster Tactics "complicates" the game ... Is it only a little more complex or is it just TOO MUCH?!?! TBD.

Note #1: Safe to say that the "Knock-Out" Round is really what it IS about. You're spending Resources to TRY to "Knock-Out" one of the opponent cards. It seems a bit "complicated" but in truth it is very simple. There are only three (3) scenarios (as mentioned above) and how SAFE a card is depends how INVESTED the player is in keeping it IN-PLAY.

Note #2: The other thing is that Tactics are either Passive or Instant. Passive means that they go into effect as soon as the card is REVEALED. Instant means that you can play it at ANY TIME even in response to an opposing action (when relevant).

Note #3: I'm a bit on the fence about the "DEFAULT" values. I added them because it was part of my thought process not that it was something that I had validated FIRST. I guess it's going to take me TOMORROW to work some more on yet another SET of prototype cards. This is version 14.2 now ... Yeah there has been a lot of DESIGNING and "scrapping" too! Major re-designs from the initial concept to what it is TODAY.

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The major problem with the design idea was...

I wanted to take a simple "matching" game and add a "combat" layer to it. And the "combat" layer in all the earlier version was too complicated. Yes, like I have admitted the cards look FABULOUS with all the stats and such even as they are only prototypes... But in terms of game FUNCTIONALITY... Well honestly they just sucked so bad. Much, much, much too complicated.

Now with BOTH "passive" and "instant" tactics, it makes it easier to determine when a Tactic may be used. If it's "passive" the minute the card is revealed, that Tactic takes immediate effect. If it's "instant", the player has the choice to wait until the best possible moment to use the ability. And it can be in response to an opponent's actions too.

But there is NO "back-and-forth" to determine DAMAGE or what resources are being used for a direct attack. Like I said, I FLIPPED the game around and made everything about THE PLAYER. Sure the Knock-Out Round is a bit of a equalizer or game changer... The decisions PRIOR to this Round is what makes for a more decisive "Knock-Out" Round. Poor planning or poor resource management can lead to OPEN attacks to "knock-out" a card from the opponent's card pool.

On the average a max of two (2) cards can be knocked-out per player. That leaves four (4) cards for making the equations. Secondly in some rare and unfortunate circumstances maybe another card may get "knock-out" too... Rare but possible.

It depends on what strategies will evolve from the player decks.

I'm really happy with this NEW "direction". Of course I had to ESTABLISH GOALS for what I wanted the game to be. I wanted QUICK, SIMPLE and LIMITED Rounds that kept things very local to each player. And that meant that some of the STATS needed to go. Because that STYLE of play was "useless".

Tomorrow I will work on yet another prototype ... And hopefully get everything done by the PM ... So I can do more PLAYTESTS in the evening prior to 9:00 PM. I have morning appointments on Monday (8:00 AM) so I want to get to bed a bit earlier in preparation for those appointments.

Cheers all.

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Didn't happen ... unfortunately

You know what they say about "Good Intentions"... Anyhow I have begun editing TODAY (Monday), a day late in my schedule... But I am working on "Monster Keep" (MK) until the end of this month (January 31, 2022). I've got my schedule a bit organized and have some open time to "focus" this design into something very innovative.

I'm about 60% done in terms of designing the NEXT prototype. I'm not sure HOW it will fare, I'm a bit fidgety about the design. The Monster Tactics are probably OKAY... It's the "Knock-Out" Round that concerns me the most ATM.

See it's clear that IF I put a DEFAULT, that's all well and dandy. Makes for an additional value if the card DOESN'T get "knocked-out". But that's kind of the problem ATM: If you see your opponent's previous "row", you can definitely determine HOW and IF you can knock-out two (2) cards. However you may only choose to knock-out only one (1) card because you are pursuing your own strategy further and NOT wasting a card slot for a knock-out.

Anyways for the moment, I'm not going to ask for any ideas or thoughts... Not unless you really need to voice your opinion or have something brilliant I should be ready to learn from. I'm always OPEN to suggestions, so if you have feedback, questions or simply a comment, feel free to post away. But I really need to TRY this NEW prototype and SEE HOW it performs.

Maybe I'll find some answer in this design that makes it more apparent how I need to "tweak" the design ... To improve it.

Note #1: Well I got through all the EDITING today. Which was good ... But I am behind schedule just a bit. I don't think I want to start cutting the cards tonight... We'll see... Maybe in an hour or so I may start!

I'm really TRYING to figure out a more "accurate" MATCHING system. I know it's all based on STATS but ... At the same time, you're spending your valuable Resources to "knock-out" cards.

This ASPECT is still "unclean" ... It's a bit muddied and too easily focused upon by players forcing "knock-outs" (maybe 1 or 2 is okay).

I have another IDEA: "Locked".

A card becomes "Locked" when all it's Resources are consumed. So a "3 Power" card which has a DEFAULT "2", if the player spend 2 more Resource points ... that card becomes "Locked".

This concept comes on the "eve" of me deciding that Multiplications and Division deserve more "Resources" to make it harder to "match" during the "Knock-Out" Round. As you can see "more thinking" in perfecting this design.

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More on the Matching aspect

Clearly there need to be some DEFINED Guidelines for "Matching" during the "Knock-Out" Round. Here are some of my early thoughts on the matter:

1. If two (2) cards are IDENTICAL, that means BOTH cards stay IN-PLAY.

This is a bit of a deviation from my earlier thoughts... But it makes sense if you both play a last-minute ditch card and use NO RESOURCES (thanks to the DEFAULT "Value") ... BOTH of those card should remain in-play.

What this does is AUTOMATICALLY enforce the axiom ... Of MAX RESOURCES = Card in-play always.

2. To knock-out a card, you need to have HIGHER Stats. This card is then "knocked-down" but NOT "Exiled".

The idea here is your version of the card MUST be STRONGER than the opponent. Which means that you must have INVESTED more Resource than your opponent and knowing that he/she did not MAX-OUT the card ... Puts it at RISK of being "Exiled".

3. "Knocked-Down" vs. "Exiled".

If a card is "Knocked-Down" because it was WEAKER ... The player can "restore" that card if he invest the SAME or GREATER Resources to keep that card in-play.

Again this is GREAT because it gives players a way to COUNTER or ANSWER-BACK if they have the Resources to do so... So all those Tactics that grant more Mana in one of the three Pools are key to keeping your card protected.

If after the 2nd Round (consecutive) the card is "Knocked-Down", it becomes "Exiled" due to its inferiority. Meaning the more Powerful cards dominate and weaker ones get flipped-over as if "Exiled" from the area of play.

This seems like GOOD advancement in the right direction.

We want "Knock-Downs" and "Exiled" cards but we don't want to be the SOLE purpose of PLAY. Yes AGGRESIVE player will try to knock-out as many cards as possible because they are A-HOLES and want to F-ck everyone's Monsters! But with the above mentioned rules, it is possible to maybe save one (1) card...

And that one card can be important strategically.

I didn't want Back-and-Forth action on cards. But simple Resource spending makes much more sense to me... At least given these three IMPORTANT concepts!

Note #1: I will see if Item #3 is required or not. I don't want to make players feel like there are NO CHOICES to be made. That's also very important for the game and the FUN in playing it. And since this is pretty much an ALL-OR-NOTHING type of game (plays in 15 minutes), I need it to have STRATEGIC-Focus and ensure that the game is NOT "dumbed-down"!

Note #2: I have decided that following some MORE CHANGES, I will need to make some more editing. And that's great because I had yet to START cutting the cards for some much needed playtesting. Changed all the cards, added DEFAULTS, improve the STATS of the Monsters, etc. All good stuff for improved game play.

Just need to EDIT and RE-PRINT everything an additional time!

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More advancement

So the area on the cards reserved for REACH will now become one of two things:

1. Tourney Points.

Used in Tournaments to increase the level of difficulty of the game. This will allow players to be creative with their Deck-Construction skills and craft decks that will be able to take on difficult to almost impossible decks to win with.

2. Deck-Construction Limits.

Similar but going in the opposite direction. These limits would impose a Deck maximum which is allowable in the event of tournaments or aggressive matches where there is importance in HOW you construct your deck. Again could be used for tournaments and such.

Between these two (2) options, I am leaning on Option #1, Tourney Points. Why? Well it's easier to check instead of scanning through an entire Deck (of 15 cards) like in Option #2... And it's easy to comprehend as well.

How will it work, you ask??? Here are some of the simple rules that I have come up with:

A> Winning the Math Equation grants you +5 Tourney Points.

B> Using various cards in combinations grants you additional Tourney Points as well. Values go from 1 to 3 and you add them up to see who wins.

Something along those lines...

Note #1: As of now, the latest prototype features Option #1: Tourney Points. I will play as before for one playtest and then depending on how well it goes, I might play a second game with the Tourney Points to see how this fares as well... We'll have to wait and see how the game plays.

Note #2: One of the issues with the current design is that a player may ONLY include Addition ("+") operators and ... Well that is a bit boring. Or much too easy with sufficient Mana. So my idea was to give the other operators more VALUE (Tourney Points). It may force a player to play a Multiplier instead of an Addition to try to ensure he/she wins the match-up.

But yeah, this is definitely something to be concerned about.

Who would use Division if all I need is to Add values ONLY! Even with the Operands not being available, it's still easier to pump out a "Junior" Deck with only Additions. And while this is OKAY to LEARN the game... I want the masters to use all of the Operators in their Decks.

So that's another aspect to test in my 2nd+ playtests.

Note #3: I definitely think that there will be some "fine-tuning" with regards to the "Tourney Points". Not sure 100% but it's seeming near impossible to WIN a game without being the player who WINS the "Formulation" Round (Equation). I will keep this in mind as I get around to the other playtests (given the amount of time to TEST all the NEW features and functionality).

But focusing on this Design for the last couple of weeks ... Has definitely IMPROVED the game 10x... It's really getting to the level where it is a SOLID filler-type game (with 15 minute games, you can play best out of 3) is something FUN to play.

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The major problem with Tourney Points is...

A player may ignore the Formulation Round and win by points. I'm not saying he/she will not make an equation... But the Bonus +5 Tourney Points may not be enough to catch-up to a player that plays ONLY high-scoring Tourney Point cards.

I guess I cannot "prevent" BOTH from happening?!

My initial issue was preventing a Deck with ONLY Addition ("+") from winning by ignoring the Point Total. But then as I was thinking, what if a player goes the opposite way and ONLY uses Subtraction ("-") ... He'll score a lot of Tourney Points independent of that Point Total again. Similar issue different strategy.

Adding +5 Tourney Points is GREAT for getting sufficient points to WIN. The real goal was to do BOTH: uses a variety of operators and be closest to the Point Total. Not only use a simple strategy and ONLY play on subset of operators...

More thought needs to go into this... Obviously there is the "Knock-Out" Round and we need to figure out IF you can play MULTIPLES of the SAME card into a player's play area... How will that impact the "Knock-Out" Round, etc... There are a bunch of tricky details to examine and ensure that they work correctly!

Note #1: It's very clear that it is a FINE LINE that I try to balance my way across. You want the game to be strategic but at the same time, you want players who PLAY the game (not just some bogus deck with the most possible Tourney Points) best wins the match.

More playtesting with various scenarios will be necessary. But it's COOL that I am testing the heck out of the various Deck configurations to ensure that the game is both FUN and STRATEGIC. It is, of course, my opinion that someone who goes with a "Tourney-heavy" Point Deck PLUS playing to get the Target Point Score will of course ALWAYS win the game. What this means is it's a TOUGH DECK to play with and optimal use of the Deck to reach the Target Points is also a bit harder... But when a player DOES THIS... He is PLAYING the game to the maximum possible for sure!

Note #2: The other ALTERNATIVE which I have NOT yet explored is the Deck-Construction Points. This would eliminate the worries of having a deck which is TOO POWERFUL in nature simply by limiting the number of points!

This may be SIMPLER instead of using TOURNEY POINTS + BONUS (Total Points) in the event that it's NOT possible to BALANCE the various cards... The "Deck Points" may be a way of "averaging" the deck such that the 15 cards suit it... Maybe something like 30 Points to build a Deck ... Would be more interesting and the player who is closest to the Point Total wins. Nothing more complicated than that.

We'll see. This sounds like a GOOD option too!

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Reviewing some of the different Decks I've pre-designed and...

The Expert deck has 21 Points. Two (2) Skilled decks have 28 Points. One Novice deck has 30 Points (with some tweaking). The Novice deck was a 32 Points and I decided that's TOO HIGH... So with the lowered limit to 30 Points, I made a bit of a FIX to get the 30 Points instead of 32.

I'll review again ... But it seems LOGICAL that this should be the method of designing the Decks rather than rely on Tourney Points which are much too fidgety IMHO!

Tourney Points are much too HARD to "balance". Plus if you have MORE cards that are created in the Future... Tourney Points become problematic because of things like CHEATING the system with ONLY 3 Point Subtraction cards ("-")... 3 x 6 = 18 points... That's the MAXIMUM amount of Tourney Points PLUS 5 Bonus points for the Point Total... 18 - 5 = 13 Points across 6 cards is also possible... But you would need 14 Points to beat the Subtraction Deck(!)

I'm definitely leaning toward the Construction Deck Points at 30 Points and players can work with TOUGHER decks if they want to: 21 vs 28 vs 30.

Note #1: I will explore this further; since it is rather easy to figure out if the Deck Limit is respected and my current EXPERT deck that I am playtesting is only 21 Points out of 30!

Winning is done by being CLOSEST to the Target Point Total... That's it.

Note #2: The other point is that having a Deck-Construction Limit sort of forces players to mix-and-match the "operators" and that is EXACTLY what I was looking for. What I was trying to prevent is DUMB Deck-Construction: like ALL "+"s or ALL "-"s, etc.

I think with the Build Points (BPs) that will solve the issue and force players to think OUTSIDE the box. Mix things up a bit to get the BEST most flexible Deck of 15 cards out-there.

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I finally managed to CUT another prototype

What a process... Takes a good 4 hours to cut two (2) 15 card Decks. I still call them "Micro" Decks because they have less than 18 cards which is the limit for Booster Packs (with CCGs/TCGs). But those card games require upwards of 60+ cards per Deck. So clearly a 15 card Deck is indeed a "Micro" Deck.

I will reserve tomorrow for some additional playtesting of the NEW prototype and we'll see how well it works... With all the "changes" I definitely am HOPING that this iteration unveils some interesting and FUN gameplay. Keeping the game relatively simple as well.

I am really happy with the progress made on "Monster Keep" (MK) during these last two (2) weeks. I really needed to spend some quality time to REFLECT and FOCUS on what/how I wanted the design to take shape.

Pretty sure that the current design is about 75% done. Another 15% to go when I playtest is the "Knock-Out" Round and the "Formulation" Round to see how the Expert Deck that I have constructed performs. Is it GOOD, GREAT or MEDIOCRE.

For sure I feel like the design is WAY BETTER than any of the previous iterations... That's for sure!

Right now there is no "panic" to edit/print/cut another prototype with the Build Points (BPs). I have already a good grasp on how the decks can be made and I've already designed 4 pre-built decks. I think there may be some others here over on BGDF.com also.

I'll re-read some blog entries about the MK decks.

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I'm currently playing the NEW prototype...

And one of the issues is controlling the "Population" Rounds. Selecting which cards you want to PLAY is one thing. But then figuring out what cards you want to counter with in addition to "spending" Mana to boost the STATS of your cards is a bit "confusing" at the moment.

Is "Population" one Round and then Mana attribution another Round(?!)

Do you get to see what the opponent has a far as cards are concerned ... And then the next step is to figure out how to give Mana to the cards... Not sure. But selecting the cards to play is definitely ONE PROESS. Figuring HOW MUCH "Mana" is definitely ANOTHER STEP...

So #1 Populate and then #2 Give Mana... Seems like this is the way to go. And of course, Passive abilities take effect in Round #1 (during Population) and Instants can be played in BOTH of those Rounds (I think?!)

Trying to keep the process as LEAN and SIMPLE as possible.

The confusion lies between "selecting cards/Monsters" AND then "giving them Mana". You don't want this to happen simultaneously ... because it will lead to AP (Analysis-Paralysis). Why? Because you are asking the Players to do TOO MUCH on one turn:

1. Select 3 Monsters from 5 in your hand and play them hidden.

2. At the same time, for each one of them decide how much Mana you want them to use.

That clearly seems like a recipe for disaster... Again, because you are asking too much from the Players and all at the SAME time.

I'm going to work with the STRATEGY and see what is best... And just feel my way through this FIRST (Early) test of the new prototype. For sure this is a 1st attempt ... So I'm not basing all my criticism on the first try... I'm just observing what works naturally and better than the previous prototype.

I will finish off this first game and report back my final conclusions next!

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Some interesting STRATEGY has emmerged

BOTH Players opted to have ONE (1) Monster (Card) removed from play (Knocked-Out) in order to simplify the operations used to making up the equations (during the "Formulation" Round). This means that BOTH sides will rely on five (5) cards to compute the best possible equation.

It's a bit DIFFERENT than what I thought the gameplay would be. But surprising enough the thought of being able to "cancel" certain cards to simplify the "Formulation" Round is well... Very Interesting (and Strategic too!)

The "Boss" Population Round has occurred... And now for the reveal and see what the outcome of this Round is!

Player #1: Scored 8/10. We'll see what Player #2 does...

Player #2: Scored 6/10. Player #1 WINS the match!

Note #1: Definitely CLOSE but this is a HARD deck to play with considering the is a lot of Dividers ("/") and Subtractions ("-") to compute and make the difference between the two players.

But overall... NOT BAD! Much better than the earlier playtests. Like I said it's vastly improved ... But I've got some DOCUMENTING to work on. To unify HOW players play and what are the various ROUNDS.

In my mind its: Population, Seeding and Knock-Out. And this happens for each Row of Cards played into the Play Area (The Keep).

Again more to document... Maybe tomorrow night! Enough for tonight, got places to be tomorrow and will be busy all day. So maybe in the evening, I can reflect more on this "match" to understand better HOW to effectively play the game.

Note #2: Tomorrow I will probably CEMENT the turns and phases of the game. Really there is no AP if the cards are divided into two (2) separate and distinct phases: Population + Seeding.

What do I think about the OVERALL "Game Play"???

Well it's interesting and has some good strategy to figure out HOW to seed your cards with more options. Obviously this 21 Point Micro Deck is VERY HARD to work with. And that's why I am playtesting with a HARD Deck ... To iron all the possible issues that can arise out of using an "Expert" Micro Deck.

The hope is that by testing it with the TOUGHEST of possible Decks, that will make the game that much appealing given some of the more "flexible" Micro Decks that have 28 or 30 Build Points.

I'm trying to make it HARD. Identical Decks, low Build Points and a knack for "Knocking-Out" cards too. As aggressive play as I can to see what the game needs in terms of improvement and "clarity".

The "design" has definitely come MONTHs ahead over the last 2 weeks.

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