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Skeleton of a game - help with where to go next

Started by Captain.Kaulu, September 09, 2016, 07:23:09 PM

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So I've been working on this game / game system for many years off and on. This isn't the most complete version of it that I've had along the way, but it's what I've got now (I've thrown out a number of ideas / subsystems in the hope of simplification).

The Core (stuff that I don't want to change)

Alongside each deck are a small number of cards that I call Secrets (name subject to change). These are relatively powerful cards with ongoing effects, and you don't even have to be lucky enough to draw them from your deck! However, they also keep track of your opponent's score, so the more of them you have active or in play, the closer your opponent is to winning! You start with them all face down, and each time your opponent "completes a Quest," you flip one of them over and its game text goes into effect. When you have no more to flip over and your opponent completes another Quest, you lose.

Like most CCGs, cards in your deck have a number on them that indicates their cost, with a higher number for more powerful cards. I call it the card's Fortune Number. However, in this game, the Fortune Number doesn't restrict when you are allowed to play the card. Instead, it's used as a random number generator whenever a card needs to have a random chance of doing something or not: you reveal the top card from your deck and compare its Fortune to a given threshold. This is called Scouting. If your Scouting result is lower than the threshold, something (good) succeeds or something bad is prevented. Opposite if your Scouting result is greater than or equal to the threshold.

At the end of every turn, you can (without needing any card to allow it) Scout to complete a Quest. The threshold number you need to beat to complete this Quest is the number of cards placed in your Invested Pile. Lots of cards let you place other cards in your Invested Pile (with restrictions, such as once per turn). Then once you complete a Quest, of course your Invested Pile resets to zero cards.

So the game is a race to fill your Invested Pile faster than your opponent (and/or have lower Fortune cards in your deck than your opponent) so that you can complete Quests faster than them -- but each time you complete a Quest, your opponent gets to activate a Secret card to help them fight back.


More Depth - But this stuff is subject to change

For the main cards in your deck, there are three types that I'm primarily planning on: Heroes, Places, and Hazards.

Heroes represent characters from whatever theme I end up choosing for the game.

You can only have one Place active at a time; the others get set off to the side. When you change to a new active Place, you are "Moving." Moving can be done more than once per turn, but it's one of the primary triggers that allows your opponent to play Hazards at you.

Hazards are one-use cards that you play against your opponent, in response to specific actions that trigger them. They're your main form of defense, working to slow down your opponent's ability to process all their cards the way they would like to and Invest as often as possible.

There could be more card types than these -- probably at most two other types, one that sticks around persistently and one that gives a one-time benefit.

In the past I've had your Heroes in play get separated into Active and Support categories, but I'm considering dropping that distinction for simplicity. I did like how it worked out in the old LotR CCG though.

Having your Heroes directly Battle your foe's Heroes is a mechanic in the game, but it has to be enabled by specific cards. This, I hope, will keep it from becoming the main focus of the game; I want the game to be more of a race than a direct kill-the-opponent-to-shut-them-out thing. Along those lines, I'd like to keep the Battle mechanic nice and simple.


Ideally in the long run, I'll be able to adapt this style of rules to several different themes. In the meantime, though, it would help me to have a strong Theme in mind for (the first iteration of) the game. Suggestions are welcome!

Possibly because of the lack of a theme, I'm also having trouble coming up with specific cards to make in Lackey so that I can playtest the rules. This is odd, because (based on making up dream cards for CCGs I play) I always thought that coming up with the specific cards would be the easy part! Anyone else get stuck on this part of the design process? If so, what ways have you found to overcome it?



I'm working on a game as well and have just gotten enough of a framework to start making cards... I've found that it really helps in hammering out the details of your system.

The trick here is knowing that the cards you design earlier on will be rubbish. Just crank them out, don't even put a theme on them, just numbers and stats. You can at least use them to playtest to help you find the proper balances and conventions.

As for your system, I really like your ideas! It seems like it could make for a fun and dynamic game.

One question: are Quests actual cards, or just an action you take?

The system of Secrets seems intriguing, but it seems like they'd have to be fairly weak to keep some sort of a balance. It's very counterintuitive; I'm not saying it won't work, I'm saying it might throw everything off balance and might not be worth the headache.

I'd encourage you to post a few cards to give us an idea of the game's direction, and to help you hammer out some details. I'll try to think of some theme suggestions.


I should really post and say -- thanks, gwago, for your interest. Getting a reply was very encouraging. I've just been really busy and haven't gotten around to responding.

Quests in my game aren't actual cards, they're just an action you take. (I tried it the other way, and found it hard to come up with cards that should represent Quests. It's much easier to think of cards that just let you Invest and therefore make gradual progress towards a Quest.)

Next time I get time/the urge to work on my game, I'll come here and post some sample cards I've come up with.


I think your core ideas sound like really fun mechanics, I would definitely be interested in trying this out if it is something you've kept working on.

Have you played Star Wars CCG by Decipher by any chance? Reminds me of that a lot, but in a really good way.


Thanks! I haven't worked more on the game in the last month. (What I do have is the work of many years of percolating.) But I really should post more, even if it's cards I came up with in a version of the game that I don't love anymore.

I haven't played Star Wars CCG, but I did take a lot of inspiration from Star Trek CCG, also by Decipher. Particularly the idea that "kill your opponent" isn't the primary goal.


I had a friend who is interested in this game move in as a roommate yesterday, so hopefully I will start working actively on this again. He agrees with Cyrus that the game invokes the Star Wars CCG in many ways.

We're thinking of bringing back a separate Support area for cards in play. That means there will be eight areas where you can have cards in this game: Deck, Hand, Support, Active, Invested, Cycled, Destroyed, and Secrets.


not sure if your game is playable state but if it is you should start establishing your game by having a defining rule book of your game, dont worry about needing to constantly change rules if it atleast have a stucture it be easier for you and followers to keep up with the game's current state. Also it helps if to start desgining card's apperanc early on it dosent have to be perfect but it should be like the design u goin for us MS Paint if u need too XP. If you need some card game design help or lacky help you can join my discord server can help with that stuff . Early warning is that server is a devlopment server so you are expected to help my game in some way when u first join.