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short game idea

Started by Ripplez, December 10, 2009, 10:15:02 PM

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iv been attracted lately to the idea of coffe break tcgs, games that are short designwise and probably wont run more than a few sets but have value as games. last for less/equal to a reasonable game in magic and far simpler in terms of rules but has alot of hidden depth to it as well - but still easy to pick up and play for a few minutes to kill the time with a friend

so i have an idea for a game i was wondering if i should flesh out. it has the following criteria, i was wondeirng if anyone had ideas for balancing it out or its success just from its core design -

1) the game doesnt use a cost system but instead uses a threshold system for playing cards. i dont know what limiting system it will use for cards played-per-turn and balance
2) every card in a deck must be unique i.e. there are no copies of a given card in your deck
3) every card is available to play from the start i.e. there is no 'hand'
4) there might not be a discard pile - this needs working on
5) there is a positional element to the game
6) the number of cards in the deck will be short
7) the idea of every card being playable from the onset might be daunting so some limits on what can be played literally on the first turn might be in order
8) you dont win by reducing the other persons hp to 0

i see this as limiting card design in two ways -

1) outlines for card hand advantage become meaningless since all of your cards are available
2) uniqueness means that outlines for cards will be over much much faster

does anyone have any comment and/or ways to combat the limits on card design placed by such a system? maybe some naysaying or some words of encouragment, doesnt matter which. as long as criticism is relevant and constructive, i wont mind


Sounds more like a board game than a card game by it's fundamental nature. With no draw luck you'll have an extremely tactical game that can potentially play the same way each time (although in practice it won't).

Seems like you're going to want to use some sort of positional win condition, with a deck of 20 cards or less (potentially as few as 12-8).

For the threshold have each extra can use one extra threshold, so that if you want to play 2 different 1 threshold cards you're giving up the chance to play a 3 threshold card.


I agree this sounds much like a board game premise, or box set game since there is no more than 1 of any card in a deck and no "hand", the daunting aspect immediately that jumps to mind is how do you lay the cards out so you can access them? Is it a deck that you can simply look through for the card you want to play? Without the aspect of luck of the draw, it screams board game, strategy game etc...


i guess i have a different view of what a card game is :S

every card is in your hand at first. as a result, theres no shuffling, you can spread out your card so that you automatically know whats in it. its akin to lackey having two or three extra super zones only for creatures or sorceries, so that you have organised your cards from the getgo


How many cards would you play with? And would it matter that your opponent would be able to see you cards? If more than a "hand" full you'd have them on the table face up I assume to know what is available which takes away surprise in what is being played, and also you would have to really fine tune cards to rule out killer combos if every card you have is available to be played at anytime, instant combo death / win / etc... would have to really be taken into consieration.

But it could be a very interesting concept if it works out! Good luck!


Well, this seems like you're calling it a card game because it has cards (which is technically correct). But the gameplay is more like a board game (perhaps Stratego is a good metaphor), each player has information hidden from the other player, each player has full control over their information, the resolutions are deterministic.

Almost every card game differers from Stratego in three ways:
1. Players do not have control over their information (they don't get to pick their hands or which card they draw).
2. Players do not know all of their information (they can't see which card is coming next).
3. Players start the game with different information than their opponent (each player has a unique deck).

So that's why I say it sounds like a board game, because the only aspect of CCG remaining is the physical cards and the ability to come to the table with your own pieces (which actually is present in the subset of board games known as war games / miniatures games).

Not good or bad, just observations about some of the gameplay implications. I don't particularly enjoy the luck elements of CCGs.


I made a game that fit most of those criteria a while ago. Each player only had a hand of 5 cards, no deck, and you set them down matching to colors on the edges. You could put some cards next to your opponent's to "freeze" them, which flipped them face down so they couldn't score, or certain cards could boost the score of adjacent cards. The game took all of 5 minutes to play, but the fun was in constructing different arrangements of cards. Since there were only five cards per "deck" you could make a new one really fast, and try out new combos.


Anyone played Dominion? I would label it a card game though it doesn't necessarily follow all of the aforementioned card game requisites. Box-set, definitely not CCG approved, though they have expansions as well. Anyways, back to the subject.

Players all start off with the same "deck" and then, dependent upon what "base" cards were picked beforehand, build upon that by buying cards from a face up card pool. (If someone were to implement that in Lackey I'd play.)

Perhaps, instead of using all of the cards in the deck you would build a deck of 30 or 40 cards, deal yourself a "hand" of 20 and forget the rest. That way while your deck may be built around a certain premise, you never know for sure what hand you'll be playing with.

The position element sounds like some war card games I've seen played. I forget the name but in one dogfighter game your plane (card) changed position relative to your opponent's card depending on the situation. If you were "neutral" then the plane's noses would face each other, if one plane had an advantage over the other it's nose was facing the side of it's opponent, this gave a +1  for firing purposes. Now, if your nose was facing the opponent's tail it was something else (I forgot the term) +3 for firing purposes.

By the same company a battleship game. Weapons listed on each card have a certain range. Depending on how you have positioned your ships (not relative to your opponent, just your own) they would be near or far or something along those lines. (I haven't actually played this one.)

I would like to see something like this:

Shuffle your deck.
Deal yourself 20 cards, place the remainder in your case (or what have you).
Deal the top 5 face up in the front row.
Then deal the next 5 face down in a row behind the first. (You don't see what they are).

Now, this second row could be different things:
perhaps it's a reward for having won a battle/contest/etc. Once all the cards are turned over you've won?
Or maybe, you turn one over as a wild card reinforcement, when you're sol and don't have anything in your hand to help you. It would also serve as a threat to your opponent.
Or, sticking with the reinforcements line, once the first row has been exhausted through whatever means, these would be fresh soldiers coming in for the kill.

@sneaselx: that sounds like fun, have you thought about putting it up somewhere? I'd like to give it a try.


the point of having the whole deck playable from the start is to remove all random chance when it comes to deck drawing. i dont want this random element in the game, to be honest i dont see the point of introducing it

the reason i expect it not to play out exactly the same way is because of side decks. they will exist and will hold between 5 to 10 cards (not decided on the number. i want to say 7 cos 7 is cool and used alot :P). thats a significant percentge of a 20 card deck. since every card is unique, this has a greater impact on changing strategy when coupled with full availability of the deck and shouldnt play out the same way as it did pre-sidedecking. if it did, then youv done something wrong. i hope that there isnt an alt win count because of this (i win one, you sidedeck to beat my deck, i side deck to beat your sidedeck) but thats something thats hard to check without playtesting.

the positional element is how the cards are played out. every character card has a value for Left and Right as well as a threshold cost. every character card has a number of Destiny Points. The threshold determines whether or not you can play a character (you must play one only if you meet a threshold cost when compared to a card adjacent to where your playing it) and destiny points are used to play spells items and so on. the positional element is the locations the cards are played. you obviously start out with some threshold or destiny producer in play (otherwise youd never get started)

the win condition isnt fixed yet but im choosing between having a link of a number of characters in a row or a total amount of value in  of a given link. for example, having 7 characters in a row or having 15 value in total (2+3+3+1+3+4) of any link of cards

cards in your hand are hidden from your opponent and vice versa


I can see where you're coming from. At times I prefer strategy to luck of the draw. It just gets old sometimes.

Is your system mostly fleshed out yet or is there still a lot of progress to be made? I like where you're going with this and look forward to giving it a go.