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System Down: The Customisable Hacker Card Game!

Started by 3XXXDDD, March 01, 2012, 04:19:12 PM

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Updated with proper battle phase rules. Note Card Images need to be changed to accommodate said rule. Another thing, suggestions for "Insert Term Here" value term name?

The Customisable Hacker Card Game!

To Deck Out your Opponent.

Draw X (5 or 6)
1 Perfect Mulligan (You choose which cards to put back and which to keep).

Draw ? Turn Player may draw a card from their deck; If they do, they return a card from their hand to the bottom of their deck.
Upload ? Turn Player may upload any number of Virus or Anti-Virus cards. Input cards may not be activated by any Player.
System ? Turn Player may declare attacks against the non-turn player.
End ? Certain effects might activate here.

Each Player starts the game with a a RAM of 0. Each Virus card has a Negative RAM while each Anti-Virus has a Positive RAM.

When a Player uploads a Virus or an Anti-Virus card, their RAM is added (Anti-Virus) or subtracted (Virus) from the Player's RAM.

If a Player's RAM becomes negative, they must format their field by sending enough Virus Cards to their discard pile until their RAM is at 0 or higher.

Data Input Cards
Data Input cards may be activated by any Player at any time during the game except during the Upload Phase unless it is stated otherwise on the card. Each Data Input card has a RAM cost. To activate a Data Input card, you must pay the RAM cost by returning any number of Anti-Virus cards that have a total RAM equal or more than the cost on the Data Input card.

Battle Phase
During the battle phase, the turn player selects which Virus Cards he wants to attack his opponent with by turning them horizontally. The defending player may choose to block them with their Anti-Virus cards.

When an attack hits the defending player, they send a number of cards, equal to the Virus Card's power, from the top of their deck to their Memory. Then they may draw a number of cards equal to or less than the Virus Card's Recode.

When the defending player chooses to block an attack, they select which Anti-Virus Cards to block with and which Virus cards to block against. An Anti-Virus card can block any number of Virus Cards. However you can't block any Virus card with more than one Anti-Virus.

Then you compare the total of the Virus Card's power with the total of the Anti-Virus cards power. If the Virus Card's total power is equal to or greater than the Anti-Virus Card, the Anti-Virus card is destroyed and the attack proceeds to the Opponent. If the Virus Card's total power is less than the Anti-Virus Card, the attack is stopped (The Virus cards are not destroyed). After an Anti-Virus has successfully blocked an attack, it is returned to the defending player's hand. 

Image Templates

Anti-Virus/Virus/Data Input Base Image Template (Credits to Dabem)



- Variables no longer have the Quick and Normal Sub-Types.

- All Variables are to be activated from the player's hand and can do so any time during either player's turn (except for the Call Phase) unless stated otherwise.

- Creatures called to defend are no longer discard to the discard pile and are now instead returned to the defending player's hand if the attack was unsuccessful. If the attack were successful all defending creatures along with the original target creature are destroyed.

Also Q: Should the Variable description come before the battle system description?


I like this concept because it allows for a lot of variety in the creatures you play. Since you must play a positive one to play a negative one I can see a huge potential for synergy.

Since this seems to be so mathematical I suggest a physics/mathematics theme or a computer/programming theme.

May I suggest ORC-A or courier become your new favorite fonts?

Also the acronyms are grating on me just a tad. Perhaps NBVs should just be called negatives, PBVs, positives and BVs, nulls, respectively. It's the same amount of syllables either way it's just easier to read and say without the acronyms.


Maths/Programming could be cool, It could be Virus (Negative) versus Firewalls/Data/Memory (Positive) which would also reflect on reason as why one attacks and the other defends. I also have the whole idea of "Virtual Internet Matrix" to pretty much create whatever theme I want with it too, long as it has some techno-feel about it.

The acronyms are currently used in place of something more useful. They will be changed once I find the proper theme for the game. In the case of computer Virus/Data. Also a BV isn't always null, so it wouldn't be a good reflection of the concept.


If I were to adopt a Virus/Anti-Virus theme, I could probably change the terms as such

Total Balance Value = Memory
Positive Balance Value = Data*
Negative Balance Value = Virus

A Virus would eat away at your memory. *Maybe Datadisk/Storage or something that essentially increases the Memory on a computer. However, it's a great idea, since I can still explore other themes art-wise consider anything can be done with programming!


Update. Took your advice. I'm focusing on Virus/Anti-Virus conflict via the Internet Matrix which is a world of it's own. Also for the idea of background here's something I'd like to try for creatures/Data.

BVC: 1
Return 1 target Data to the owner's hand.

BVC: 1
You can only activate this card when your opponent declares an attack; All critical damage done during that battle is reduced to 0.

Quick Update
BVC: 2
Discard 1 Card. Draw 2 Cards. You can't activate another ?Quick Update? until after your opponent's next turn.

BVC: 3
Destroy 1 target Data.

Pop-Up Blocker
BVC: 6
You can only activate this card when your opponent activates a Variable; Negate the activation and destroy that Variable.

Quick Download
BVC: 2
Reveal 1 Data Card from your deck and place it on top of your deck (after you shuffled the deck.). You can't activate another ?Quick Download? until after your opponent's next turn.

Sort Icons
BVC: 2
Look at the top five cards of your deck and place them back on top of your deck in any order you like.

Recurring Infection
BV: -1
When this card is destroyed as a result of battle and sent to the discard pile, draw 1 card.

Data Logger
BV: -2
When this card inflicts critical damage to a player, that player discards a card.

Undetected Trojan
BV: -3
This card can't be targeted by any Variables that destroy.

Alpha Client
BV: +1
When you call this Unit, you can reveal 1 ?Beta Client? from your deck and place it on top of your deck (after you shuffled the deck.)

Beta Client
BV: +2
When you call this Unit, you can reveal 1 ?Release Client? from your deck and place it on top of your deck (after you shuffled the deck.)

Release Client
BV: +3
You can discard this card from your hand to add 1 ?Alpha Client? from your deck to your hand.


I love that you're running with the computer programming element.

I came up with this for a preliminary card design. What do you think?
It draws heavily from early computer and coding influences.
I thought about making the text box white, but thought this was easier to look at.

I was also thinking you could also have certain Icons represent certain keywords and put them either beside the image or in the blue part of the window before or after the text.

[attachment deleted by admin due to age]


a few questions on cards:

since SK 9-11 are so much better than SK 12-14 why would I ever use 12-14? The names on 12-14 should probably vary a bit more, and they should have a keyword that connects them like Malware or Bots or something. That way even though they may have no effect by themselves you can write variables that affect the keyword.

Alpha Beta and Release clients seem to have the potential for getting out of hand since they can all call each other. I can see the turtle decks forming before my very eyes.

I don't see the point of quick update, since you end up spending 2 cards to draw 2 cards. I guess it helps you reach the good stuff faster?


The vanilla's are just mainly there to test to the actual benefits of various relative BV's without effects clouding it. Their names aren't particularly thought out either.

Alpha/Beta/Release are good but considering their stacking each other, I don't think they would be anything to worry about over-all. I could be wrong though but that's what play testing is for.

Quick Update, simply yeah, a draw card, filler. It would be interesting to see such a card in a game with a very minimal deck size (30).

Also, I do enjoy the use of a classic text box for a text box.


Quote from: 3XXXDDD on March 27, 2012, 05:09:26 PM
The vanilla's are just mainly there to test to the actual benefits of various relative BV's without effects clouding it. Their names aren't particularly thought out either.
Got it. Playtesting purposes.

I have a friend that would abuse the heck out of Alpha Beta and Release, especially since there doesn't seem to be any consequences for having an insanely high BV. I could demonstrate once we're able to playtest. Perhaps there should be a BV cap.

Quote from: 3XXXDDD on March 27, 2012, 05:09:26 PM
Also, I do enjoy the use of a classic text box for a text box.
Thank you. It seemed appropriate. The colors seem a tad harsh, but they make sense thematically. Any other thoughts on the design?


I don think a cap is the answer, I could add that each card destroys their previous incarnation when called which would slow the increase down to w minimal extra 1 bv while also making sense from a thematic point of view.

Also how about making the text box, more modern and relatable to everybody rather just then hardcore programmers. By which I mean, blue bar/grey box. Also my idea.since this game's inception is to keep the image to the top half and the text (including name) to the bottom half.


I just realized that having a bunch of positive valued cards isn't as broken as I thought if they return to your hand when you use additional cards to defend.

I'll try implementing those design ideas tomorrow. Should I get rid of the 'terminal' elements which only programmers might recognize? Is the green on black too 'oldschool' or harsh or does it add to the theme?


Green on black is good I just think the general contrast shouldd be softer (as in the picture I posted above)


There is an interesting amount of flavour to pop up after changing this to a Data Matrix Hacker theme. Such as

Players = Hosts
Decks = PCs (Personal making so much sense)
Play Zone = Matrix
Calling Creatures = Loading Data or Programming Code
Discard Pile = Spam Folder or Recycle Bin

We also have some icon uses such as
Cursor = Target/Select
Del/Thrash Can = Destroy/Discard

Any other thoughts?


Those sound great. I love the idea of the decks being your 'desktop PC'. I'm not sure how I feel about targeting being cursor. Select makes sense, but cursor would be hard to figure out if you haven't read the rules. The recycle bin sounds awesome for the discard. What happens if you empty your opponent's recycle bin?

I'm loving these ideas. How long before we prototype?

I can perhaps come up with some card ideas too if you'd like. For now I'll focus on design.