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Mahoujo Gameplay

Started by Tokimo, November 27, 2009, 03:16:14 AM

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Game Regions: The zones and card stacks of the game table

Deck a stack of 30-60 cards with some limit on duplicates. Players will draw from this during the game.

Storyline Pile a stack of 3-12 cards with no duplicates. Players will try to achieve the revealed objectives from this during the game.

Hero each player has 3 or 5 hero cards in play. Each hero card can have additional cards attached to them during the game. When a hero card has at least one other card attached to it, it is powered up. Any effect that causes the hero to power down causes all attached cards to be discarded.

Hand a set of 5-10 cards drawn from the deck. Using the Hero cards in play the player can move cards from their hand into play.

Discard Pile a stack of cards that have been removed from play or removed from a player's hand without being played.

Ally Zone the region where beneficial cards are placed once they're played if they're not attached to a Hero.

Villain Zone the region where villains are placed once they're played.

Basic Vocabulary: A quick primer on the game terminology

Rest & Exhaust All cards in play are in one of two states. Rested or exhausted. Moving from a rested to exhausted state is "exhausting" a card, moving from a exhausted to rested state is "resting" a card. To pay an energy cost a player must exhaust a corresponding number of energy cards. Some abilities will require exhausting a card to activate.

Discard when a card is discarded, it's placed in a discard pile. Cards can be discarded from play or from a players hand.

Spell is a card that is discarded immediately after entering play and creating their effect. Spell cards aren't placed in a zone when they're used.

Permanent most cards in the game are permanents. A permanent is any card that once played from the hand stays in play resting in a Hero, Ally, or Villain zone. Permanents stay in play until an another effect removes them from play.

Ability is a rule on a card. All abilities are either activated or reactive. Activated abilities go into effect when a certain cost (specified by the ability) is paid. Reactive abilities go into effect when a certain condition is met.

Turn Phases: The Mahoujo turn is divided into 7 phases: Start, Rest, Draw, Cast 1, Battle, Cast 2, End

Start During the start phase all card effects occurring during the start phase occur, if there are no such cards in play skip this phase.

Rest During the rest phase all cards a player has that are exhausted are changed to a rested state.

Draw During the draw phase the active player takes one card from their deck and puts it in their hand.

Cast During the cast phases the active player may choose to play energy cards, bring permanent's into play, and activate abilities on cards

Battle Once per turn the active player may send any or all of their Hero cards to attack a target Hero or Villain card. If the active player chooses to send their Heros to attack another player's Hero, the defending player chooses which other Hero cards they control will also join the battle. If the active player chooses to send their Heros to attack a Villain, another player will control the Villain during the battle.

Only heros or villains who are engaged in the battle are valid targets during the duration. During the battle only abilities and cards with the battle modifier can be used (and these abilities and cards can only be used during a battle). The attacking player will get the first chance to activate an ability, followed by the defending player. This goes back and forth until one player declares that they're retreating. The other player gets one last chance to use a power and then the battle ends.

End During the end phase all card effects occurring during the end phase occur, if there are no such cards in play skip this phase.

Card Types: Energy, Hero (Mahoujo), Ally (Friend, Mascot, Boyfriend, Girlfriend), Magic (Spell, Power, Aura), Trinket, Villain (Soldier, General, Sovreign)

Energy these cards will be attached to a Hero or Villain to be used to play other cards and activate abilities.

Hero cards are the primary tool of the player. They can have energy attached to them (at which point they are considered powered up) and can use that energy to bring cards into play and activate abilities. A powered up hero has an HP value, if they take as many points of damage as they have HP, they are powered down and lose all attached cards.

Ally cards are beneficial cards that don't directly attach to a hero. They can provide reactive abilities, as well as activated abilities. Because they're not attached to a hero they aren't discarded if the hero powers down.

Magic cards are cast by heros. Magic spells perform an effect immediately (some spells can only be used out of battle, some spells can only be used in battle, some spells can be used either place). Magic powers are placed on a hero or villain and provide an ability that can be activated by the hero or villain they're attached to (most magic powers can only be activated during a battle). Magic auras are lasting effects that go either onto the field or a particular target. Magic auras can either have reactive abilities or activated abilities.

Trinket cards are beneficial cards that attach to a hero. They can provide reactive abilities, as well as activated abilities. Because they are attached to a hero they are discarded if the hero powers down.

Villain cards are goblins and their agents. They will function very similar to hero cards with a few potential differences.

Additional Rules:

Targeting only powered up heros and villains can be targeted by effects that deal damage, or as the defender against an attack. Battle abilities may only target heros and villains who are in battle with or against them and can't be used outside of battle. The moment a hero is powered down they cease being a valid target to effects that deal damage until they power up again.


how does the game actualy play? like a sample turn?


Good question. I expect the games to start pretty slowly, although perhaps I'll tweak this. Let's start mid game so we can see a more interesting gameflow.

State of the world: Jane is playing a Flower deck, Bob is playing an Element deck. Both players have achieved 2 of the objectives in their storyline piles. Jane currently has the objective "End the turn with at least two powers attached to each of your heros", Bob has the objective "Defeat a two villains".

We enter during the start of Jane's turn. All of Jane's Heros (Iris, Rose, and Lily) are powered up with 2 energy attached to them. Rose has two powers attached to her already but Iris and Lily only have one each.
Start: Skipped.
Rest: Jane rests all of her cards.
Draw: Jane draws 3 cards (bringing her hand to 5).
Cast 1: Jane just drew the magic power card Sleep which costs 2 energy to bring into play. Jane exhausts 2 energy on Lily and then attaches Sleep to Lily. (hand at 4)
Battle: Jane doesn't declare an attack.
Cast 2: Jane doesn't play any cards.
End: Skipped.

Now it's bob's turn. Bob's Heros (Light, Fire, and Ice) are powered up with 3 energy attached to them and one power each. Fire has attached Fireball, Ice has attached Slow, Light has attached Sun Bath.
Start: Skipped.
Rest: Bob rests all of his cards.
Draw: Bob draws 3 cards (bringing his hand to 3)
Cast 1: Bob plays Goblin Knight from his hand. (Goblin Knight can deal 4 damage with each attack and has 15 HP) (bringing his hand to 2)
Battle: Bob declares that he's attacking Goblin Knight. Another player besides Bob needs to control Goblin Knight during the battle, since it's a two player game Jane controls Goblin Knight (need a system for picking in 3+ player games). The attacking player goes first. To start Bob uses Fireball (exhaust one energy, deal 4 damage). Goblin Knight is now at 11 HP, Fire has 2 rested energy cards left. Bob declares he's using Slow (it's a rapid effect so it can be used immediately before or after another power use by the same player, bob exhausts all 3 energy on Ice). Goblin Knight misses it's action. Bob uses Fireball again (exhaust one energy, deal 3 damage). Goblin Knight is now at 7 HP, Fire has 1 rested energy card left. Goblin Knight uses his built in power to deal 4 damage to Fire. Fire is now at 8 HP. Light uses Sunbath (exhaust 1 energy, rest 1 energy attached to each allied Hero). Ice uses her built in power Frost Shield (rapid, exhaust 1 energy, prevent next 2 damage that would be dealt to target) on Fire. Goblin Knight uses his power to attack Fire. 2 damage is prevented, 2 damage goes through, Fire is at 6 HP. Fire exhausts an energy to power fireball. Goblin Knight is now at 3 HP. Goblin Knight uses his power to attack Fire. Fire is at 2 HP. Fire exhausts her last energy (one got rested by Light in the middle) to deal 4 more damage to Goblin Knight, defeating it and sending it to Bob's discard pile. With the Goblin defeated bob places a counter on his storyline objective.
Cast 2: Bob exhausts 2 energy on Light to cast Spring Breeze to remove 8 damage from target. (bringing his hand to 1) Jane exhausts 2 energy on Iris to play Counterspell removing Spring Breeze before it occurs. (bringing her hand to 4) Fire is still at 2 HP.
End: Skipped.

Back to Jane's turn.
Start: SKipped.
Rest: Jane rests of of her cards.
Draw: Jane draws 3 cards (bringing her hand to 7).
Cast 1: Jane attaches an additional energy card to each of her Mahoujo (although she could chose to only attach an energy to one or two of them).
Battle: Jane declares that Iris is attacking Fire. Bob's heros are all exhausted already so he doesn't want to expose any of his other heroes to harm and he lets Fire face her fate alone. Jane acts first since she's attacking. Jane exhausts 2 energy on Iris to use one of Iris's attached powers (Venus Fly Trap), Venus Fly Trap says "Battle {2}: deal 4 damage to target. If target is powered down or defeated by this power, rest 2 energy on caster". Fire takes 4 damage powering her down. Fire's Fireball power and 3 attached energy cards are discarded. Iris gets to rest her energy cards per Venus Fly Traps rules. Battle ends.
Cast 2: Jane exhausts 2 energy on Iris to play the power Dreams to Iris.
End: Jane has completed the conditions of her storyline card (ending her turn with 2 powers on each Mahoujo), so she turns over a new storyline card. This one says "End your turn with one trinket on each Hero".

I hope that gives you a better sense of what I'm envisioning. Of course, the numbers have a LONG road of tweaking ahead of them. I think the current power down penalties are probably too harsh and will lead to aggro control where you curb stomp your opponents heros every turn (that sounds super unfun to play against, so reducing the severity of cards lost when powered down might be sufficient (perhaps discarding a attached card of your choice would be punishment enough)).


if your opponent plays his own villain cards to defeat for his objectives, how will you be able to support them and prevent their destruction if your deck doesn't already revolve around it? te card isnt in your deck, unless you already know whats going to be played, how will you know what monster support to run? this is like a game idea i had but the thing is, this is a very solitaire-ish idea; if you play the monsters for your opponent to use, then you hold all the cards when it comes to dealing with it. if that is not a problem, then suppose you do play a monster. since you will be expending energy and heroes and HP to fight it, how do you avoid the situation that occurred in your sample turn? can you give an example where Bob can beat the goblin knight (even if over several turns) and not die immediately after?

i do not understand the purpose of powering down, thematicly or gameplay-wise. sorry. if this effect happens when a character 'dies', thn why is it bad to discard everything from them, theyr no longer in play. if the character doesnt die, then yes this would be a bad thing. i have a suggestion but its beter if you playtest around further

does accomplishing a storyline give no immediate benefit?

thanks for the sample turns :)


Well, one option would be that the villains are built to be self-sufficient. So the goblin knight hits so hard. This doesn't really have a very tactical feel to it, there's a question right at the beginning of "can my team beat that goblin if it's played well" with no surprises. I've been struggling with how to make villains make sense. At first the thought was that each player would control opposing villains for the other players, but such a model implies that you have to have villains in your deck, which is a gross choice to make.

In this case what I showed where Bob's Mahoujo get's powered down is the product of two things: Bob pushed the fight to get the kill, even with having a Mahoujo powered down, he still is closer to winning now. The other thing of course is the counter spell on the heal. Without the counter played by Jane, Bob's Mahoujo would have had 10 HP and been able to retreat (only taking 4 damage before escaping).

Powering down is the Mahoujo's magical energy being exhausted. It's a temporary state and they are likely to be powered up again during the next turn. The reason I'm concerned about discarding everything from them is I can imagine a situation where one player gets a solid lead and then every turn smashes the bannanas out of the other player's Mahoujo, keeping them from getting the big spells back into play (imagine in Magic if creatures could attack lands, then once an aggro deck got a lead they'd just keep the other player landless falling further and further behind).

At this point there is no plans for storyline accomplishment to give a benefit. I don't want to give an advantage to the winning player. I've pondered giving the the opponent of the player who completes a storyline a benefit to make the games run closer.

Thanks for asking for the sample turns, it really got me thinking about some of the problems (the power down aggro beat down, the villain weirdness).