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Full Blown TCG. Criticism and Suggestions please


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#1 fr0st2k   Members   -  Reputation: 133

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Posted 12 October 2010 - 06:39 AM

----=Game Description=----
Hey guys. First off, obviously this is a lengthy post, thanks for reading. A little background info on it. I came up with the idea a long time ago when I was pretty big into Magic the Gathering and YuGiOh. I liked the two for different reasons, and I wanted to develop my own game that included the concepts that I enjoyed from both games and combine them into one.

It was originally developed to be a physical card and table game. I discarded the idea because it was a bit too complicated to memorize certain creature statistics while playing. However. After realizing the game could be developed for an online venue, I decided that the game would be possible and actually easier to follow and decided to do a slight redesign. I'm posting here for criticisms and suggestions and for the slim hope that someone may like it and want to team up and start development.

The main difficulties I came across was 1) making it feel unique. 2) make it have depth, but also be simple to pick up and play. 3) be customizable and allow the player to develop multiple strategies. 4) Develop the rules in a way that would easily translate to an online client. 5) make sure its fun. So when critiquing if you could at least take those 5 options into account, It would be much appreciated.

Onto the rules

----=Phases=----
Each players turn will follow these 4 phases. Before entering the next phase, the prior phase must be passed. I will go into more depth about the 'Mana Phase" later because it is the main phase and a lot happens in it.

1 Standby Phase Time before the player begins his turn, where certain card effects may occur. Summoner Card gains small amount of mana. Mana for creatures Is refilled
2 Draw Phase Player draws a card
3 Mana Phase Players can use any ability channeled through mana use. This includes Summoner Mana(creature summoning,etc), and Creature abilities
3b Attacking When engaging with the enemy…..
a.Initiation: Attacking Player declares legal attack
b.Counter: Defending Player may choose to cast any defensive spells or activate any traps
c.Interaction: Offensive Spell hits monster. Damage is calculated. If HP = 0, then monster is removed
4 End Phase All end of turn effects occur. All HP of creatures are restored

----=Card Types=----

-=Summoner Cards=-
Summoner Cards are essentially the 'classes' Each card will represent a totally different way of playing the game. With different passives and unique abilities, the deck you build should be built with your Summoner in mind.
HP: dictates how much HP the player has. It is essentially the total Life Points of the Player. It varies on Summoner choice. HP does not recharge per turn
Energy: recharges per turn by 'x'. Used to summon creatures and cast spells
Passive: each Summoner Card has a passive ability that is active throughout the game
Unique: a special ability that can be used for a specific cost

-=Creature Cards=-
Creature Cards all have a Energy cost that must be paid for by the Summoner
HP: Creatures Hit Points . HP is restored at the end of each players turn
Mana: Used to cast spells. Fully recharges each turn
Melee: Doesn't require mana to use.
Ability: specific abilities each creature may have. Costs mana.

-=Structure Cards=-
Structure Cards generally have high HP, but no Melee and no Ability. Instead they have a Passive
Passive: an ability that is in effect as long as the structure remains on the field.

-=Spell Cards=-
Spell Cards can be equipped to creatures with corresponding element. All spell cards can be innately casted through the Summoner using the specified mana cost
Innate: The specific element the spell belongs to
Mana: The cost of the mana
Ability: The ability the spell grants

-=Trap Cards=-
Trap Cards are played face down and contain a onetime only ability activated when controller chooses

-=Charge Cards=-
Charge Cards contain abilities that can be played for free if they stay on the field face down for one turn. Otherwise, they can be channeled through your Summoner if you pay the appropriate mana cost.

----=Additional Info=----

Lets start with phases. I originally had a more complex system for phases, as I had a lot more types of cards. I decided however to add the mana system, so i had to essentially redo all the phases. The Mana system is unique and helps escape from MTG's(magic the gatherings) extremely complex battle phase. With a mana system, the game plays out more like an RPG, with each creature having respective abilities that can be cast whenever the player feels the need to. I feel that with this system, translation to an online medium would be much simpler, as, like Yugioh, players can perform 1 action at a time and allow the action to resolve without the need for complicated stacking issues. However, unlike Yugioh, you are not required to constantly destroy monsters in order to bring out stronger ones. Smaller, generally weaker monsters can be boosted via spells to become stronger.

For instance. Imagine a creature that costs a low amount of Summoner Energy to bring out, which is balanced as such due to its small amount of HP, and 0 innate spells but it could come with a rather large mana pool. At first glance it may appear weak, but once equipped a Shield Spell, and a strong Nuke spell, it could become quite formidable if the opponent doesnt take it out quickly.

All in all, the mana system is there to provide deep customization, and to allow new strategies to develop in any scenario.

Moving onto the Summoner Cards. In the initial card release, I would like no more than ~5 Summoner cards. The balance on these cards would take time to adjust as they would essentially dictate how your deck should play.

Example of 2 different Summoner Cards

A Magic centered Summoner Card (MagicMan). Lets say that MagicMan focuses on Summoner Channeled spells(casting spells directly through the Summoner instead of through creatures) Now we get to play with his passive and ultimate to ensure that kind of playstyle. His Passive ability might increase all spells of a certain element to deal 1 extra damage. Where as his Ultimate might be something like: Sacrifice a creature, MagicMan gains Energy equal to half that creatures mana. A good player would then build a deck focusing around strong spell cards and weaker creatures.

Another totally different type of Summoner Card could be someone who focuses on survival in order to bring out strong creatures. ShieldMan could have an innate shield that recharges each turn. This means, in order to deal damage to that player, the opponent would have to each through his shields first before permanently damaging his LifePoints. This would allow that player to take a hit or 2 and save mana to summon bigger creatures faster without having to worry about taking critical damage.

Summoner Cards would be created to fit different play styles. Over the course of the games lifespan, more and more unique summoner cards would be made, and the players options would expand. The idea is that two identical decks could be played, but have completely different outcomes based on the Summoner Card chosen.

Onto creature cards. I wanted creatures to be figurative clay for the player to mold. One thing I HATED about Magic AND Yugioh is that if you had a bad draw, you got screwed over for it. With open equipment slots for spells, if you have a bad draw you could always beef up one of your weaker monsters to ensure your survival. I could have gone and done equipment just like Magic and YGO, but I felt a mana system was more flexible. Equip spell card, cast spell card. Again, it makes your creatures feel like RPG characters more so than fodder.

Structure cards came out of another card game I made. I liked them a lot and decided to put them into this game as well. If you have played Magic, they are like enchantments, but ones that can be destroyed when attacked. They can have any number of purposes and really help to give a unique feel to the game.

Traps are straight out of YGO. They are great for bluffing, and can instill fear into your opponents. They were a great idea and should certainly be part of any new card game imo. Going along with Trap cards are Charge cards. I needed 2 more types of cards, instant cast, and cards that could also be played face down with Trap Cards to help with bluffing. The Charge card does just that. It allows you to play it for free at the risk of losing it due to a card effect (or being attacked), and allows you to play it instantly at the cost of setting your Summoners Energy back a few bits.

Onto actual implementation of the idea into the online realm. If you have ever played League of Legends you would know how well a game like this could work online. Packs would be sold via an online store, and players would compete in a ranked league for prizes and glory. I am currently working on a mock layout for the player vs player screen, and will post if this post shows any interest.

I also have a whole Google Doc dedicated to minor rules and such which I will exclude at this point so I dont get TOO technical. Thanks for reading and I look forward to some constructive feedback and discussion.

[Edited by - fr0st2k on October 12, 2010 3:32:37 PM]

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#2 Dir3kt   Members   -  Reputation: 166

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Posted 12 October 2010 - 08:46 PM

Hi fr0st2k,

Your TCG concept looks quite promising. It seems you have a solid ressource system. The only drawback could be the risk of having a 'creature centric game'. In fact creatures are the jack of all trades of your game. They can attack, they can cast spells and they provide ressource (they generate their own mana). But still this is only a minor issue and will just need some balancing.

Personally I come from MTG and WoW-TCG so I don't have the YGO background. So for me the Trap thing is a bit unclear. Also I'm interested in knowing a bit more about combat.

Onto specific points and ideas know..

- For consistency why not say that creatures have Energy instead of Mana (can go the other way round and say Summoner as Mana)?

- You say 'Spell Cards can be equipped to creatures with corresponding element'. Why not also apply this to the Summoner? So the Summoner can only play spells with corresponding elements, else he has to equip the spell on a creature (which can they play it).

- I also like Structures and they are in most of my game design ideas too ;) One static ability I though of was 'Siege (this creature deals 50% more damage against structures)'.

#3 Acharis   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3891

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Posted 13 October 2010 - 02:15 AM

What is the difference between designing boardgame and computer multiplayer game.
In boardgames all palyers are sitting in the same room they watch what others do and wait for their turn. Therefore you want to make the turns as short as possible, you want other players to interfere during active players turn, counter it, react, observe.
In computer games players do not see each other and when their turn ends they might leave and make some quick snack or to toilet, etc. They won't be there when there is their time to react. This causes delays. That's why when making computer games you want to make turns as long as possible, so the "switching" downtime is reduced to minimum. The perfect lenght of turns for boardgames and online games is opposite.

You directly copied the rules from card game, the counter phase was excellent for face to face playing, but for the same reason it is bad for online play. I would rethink that one first.

This would be even more crucial if this was PBEM (imagine the downtime then, one battle could be taking then like 2 weeks if there would be plenty of units and you had to wait after each attack for enemy counter decision).


#4 fr0st2k   Members   -  Reputation: 133

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Posted 13 October 2010 - 06:26 AM

Quote:
Original post by Dir3kt
Hi fr0st2k,

Your TCG concept looks quite promising. It seems you have a solid ressource system. The only drawback could be the risk of having a 'creature centric game'. In fact creatures are the jack of all trades of your game. They can attack, they can cast spells and they provide ressource (they generate their own mana). But still this is only a minor issue and will just need some balancing.


Thanks for the feedback.

That is definitely a good concern, though im wondering if that can't be fixed due proper and balanced card design. Obviously as you stated, creatures will be the bread and butter of the game, and as such, it should be difficult to destroy them due to the fact that players will be focusing on upgrading them and investing a lot of their cards into making them stronger. If they are killed, you will be losing a huge investment...that is a really good point and something im going to have to look into when developing some cards and determining extra card draw and deck size restrictions.

However, I dont believe they are /as/ strong as you have pointed out. Spell cards must first be equipped to a creature, and then can only be used once per turn only if they have sufficient mana. A Summoner Card can instead cast these spells instantly, and also cast Charge Cards, which Creature cards are not allowed to use. I also considered including "Ultimate Spells" which are unique to Summoner Cards that can be quite devastating. These "ultimate spells" would typically cost more mana than the Summoner Card has, requiring you to boost mana either permanently or temporarily using card effects in order to activate the spell.

Part of the unique feel put into the design of this game was indeed focused on making creatures feel more empowered. Obviously, without seeing an actual card, its tough to discern whether they are TOO powered or not. I'll work on bringing in a few examples.

Quote:
Original post by Dir3kt
Personally I come from MTG and WoW-TCG so I don't have the YGO background. So for me the Trap thing is a bit unclear. Also I'm interested in knowing a bit more about combat.

Onto specific points and ideas know..

- For consistency why not say that creatures have Energy instead of Mana (can go the other way round and say Summoner as Mana)?

- You say 'Spell Cards can be equipped to creatures with corresponding element'. Why not also apply this to the Summoner? So the Summoner can only play spells with corresponding elements, else he has to equip the spell on a creature (which can they play it).

- I also like Structures and they are in most of my game design ideas too ;) One static ability I though of was 'Siege (this creature deals 50% more damage against structures)'.


Trap cards in YuGiOh worked like so: You would play them face down so that the opponent wouldn't know what they are. When the opponent attacked, or performed some other kind of action which corresponded with the traps conditions, you could activate it and perform a special ability. For instance. I play trap "Mirror Force" which destroys all creatures in face up attack position. When the opponent attacks, I activate it, and his attacking monster is destroyed, as well as all other monsters that are capable of attacking that turn.

In this game. Trap cards will function in almost the identical way. However, I have been toying with the idea of instead, calling them Decoy Cards, and require the opponent to physically attack them in order for them to activate. But its tough to figure out a reason why the opponent would want to attack them, other than requiring all cards to be destroyed before your Summoner Card can take damage. Suggestions?

I decided to change Summoner Mana to Summoner Energy because Energy has slightly different properties than creature mana. Energy refills slowly over the course of the game (+1 a turn for instance), where as mana is refilled every turn. Energy can also cast Charge Cards, Spell Cards, and Summon Creatures, whereas Mana can only cast equipped Spells Cards.

About equipping elements cards only to Summoners with corresponding elements...It is certainly a possibility. I won't know for sure until more cards are designed. The reason I have chosen not to commit to that idea yet is so that Players wouldn't be pigeon-holed into bringing only 1-2 element cards into each game. They could theoretically bring in a card of a different element than their deck at the disadvantage of being unable to equip it, and ONLY be able to cast it through their summoner. Perhaps some sort of negative consequences could be put in place when this is attempted...like it costs more mana to use, or the effect is lessened. Or, Summoner Cards could have multiple Elements(which is a great idea actually...thanks).

And thanks for that structure idea. It has made me start thinking about how their static abilities might work. Target all creatures on the field? All enemy creatures. Target 1 creature? Target 1 Fire(element) creatures only? Dunno yet. Again, will have to start developing cards.

However, thanks again for input. Has really helped me answer some questions i haven't thought of.

Also. There is a TCG program out there called "Magic Workshop" I intend to make this game through that program first for playtests, once im happy with the basic ruleset of course.



#5 fr0st2k   Members   -  Reputation: 133

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Posted 13 October 2010 - 06:52 AM

Quote:
Original post by Acharis
What is the difference between designing boardgame and computer multiplayer game.
In boardgames all palyers are sitting in the same room they watch what others do and wait for their turn. Therefore you want to make the turns as short as possible, you want other players to interfere during active players turn, counter it, react, observe.
In computer games players do not see each other and when their turn ends they might leave and make some quick snack or to toilet, etc. They won't be there when there is their time to react. This causes delays. That's why when making computer games you want to make turns as long as possible, so the "switching" downtime is reduced to minimum. The perfect lenght of turns for boardgames and online games is opposite.

You directly copied the rules from card game, the counter phase was excellent for face to face playing, but for the same reason it is bad for online play. I would rethink that one first.

This would be even more crucial if this was PBEM (imagine the downtime then, one battle could be taking then like 2 weeks if there would be plenty of units and you had to wait after each attack for enemy counter decision).


Certainly an interesting problem to think about. I was imaging the game to play out in Real Time, definitely not PBeM.

It would be difficult to make a card game(one as complicated as Yugioh/Magic) without requiring the opponent to perform any actions on his turn.

They have access to Spell Cards/Charge Cards/Trap Cards that they can play during specific times on their opponents turn that could help change the tide of that attack. That is definitely something I would want to keep in the game, though if there is a way to simplify it, that would be great.

Including Offensive and Defensive spells opens up a lot more room in deck building, and also requires the defender to respond to their opponents actions. For instance, a strategy could be to include defensive creatures, and use your Summoner to spit offensive Spells(burn deck).

Made me think of another problem though..How should melee respond to an offensive spells? Should melee only be for attacking? That would mean that melee only decks would probably never be made, or melee attacks would have to be a lot stronger than the majority of spells. If it CAN defend, how should it happen? I was thinking perhaps if Melee is stronger than the spells damage, then it would be nullified, otherwise the creature defending with melee would take the full brunt of the offensive spell. The whole offensive/defensive/melee idea seems like it needs a full reworking.

Thinking more on the subject, the melee skill actually fits well into the whole process. Battle should thus work like this:

-Before any attack declaration, player may activate any legal charge/trap card. He may also decide to channel a spell card through Summoner.
-No Offensive/Defensive Spells. It isn't needed.
-Creatures may only attack one other creature. Only the creature being attacking may defend. No other creature spells may interfere, unless specifically stated
-After declared attack, defending player may activate any legal Charge/trap cards.
-Attacking player may then respond by activating his own legal Charge/trap cards
-Defending player may now choose to activate any of this creatures equipped spells.
-If he chooses not to, or has no mana, the Melee attack is used.
-Damage Calculation. If the strength of any spell or melee used is higher than the defending creatures HP, that creature dies. Essentially, there is no real defense other than their HP. Each monster blasts the other monster, and damage is calculated.

I think I will want to change the term "melee" to something that fits better for this scenario.



#6 alagtriste   Members   -  Reputation: 145

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Posted 13 October 2010 - 08:39 AM

Some random thoughs not about the game design itself but the distribution model. Instead of making another pay per cards CCG you could try to make it free to play.

Players play between them and winners are awarded cards based on a ranking system (players cards bets could also be in place). Then If you develop a game that is entertaining and it gains in popularity you could develop an ebay like (card) trading system (where you take part of the transfer money).

What's more, if the game is fast paced and you could come up with a tournament system (maybe multiplayer rules) them there could be free and pay tournaments (think about sit and go poker tournaments).

So, you make the game and if people enjoy it you could come up with profits.

#7 fr0st2k   Members   -  Reputation: 133

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Posted 13 October 2010 - 11:16 AM

Quote:
Original post by alagtriste
Some random thoughs not about the game design itself but the distribution model. Instead of making another pay per cards CCG you could try to make it free to play.

Players play between them and winners are awarded cards based on a ranking system (players cards bets could also be in place). Then If you develop a game that is entertaining and it gains in popularity you could develop an ebay like (card) trading system (where you take part of the transfer money).

What's more, if the game is fast paced and you could come up with a tournament system (maybe multiplayer rules) them there could be free and pay tournaments (think about sit and go poker tournaments).

So, you make the game and if people enjoy it you could come up with profits.


oh exactly! I can't believe i left that idea out.

I may have brought up League of Legends(if i didnt ... oops). They give free point to player for playing games and winning matches. Using those points you can eventually build up enough to purchase a character. I would follow a very similar method for booster purchases. However. For those who feel that gaining points takes too long, or they are just longing for one particular card to complete there deck and want to open up a bunch of packs, they will have the option to purchase those packs/bundles through a store for more money. Of course, this would NOT be the only way to get cards, but just an option

Another thing I would want to do is give away "Free" packs once a week simply for returning to the game. This would give players a reason to check in on the game each week(or whenever it is decided to give the free packs), hopefully keeping interest.

If they fail to open it in a certain number of days, they lose it. I always felt like a F2P card game would be my dream one. It is way too hard to stay on top of most card games due to their ever expanding card sets. I play legacy(includes ALL expansions) in MTG simply because I dont want to have to spend thousands of dollars every expansion to stay competitive.

Thanks for that reminder!

#8 Dir3kt   Members   -  Reputation: 166

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Posted 14 October 2010 - 01:04 AM

A F2P model is definitively better to start building a player community.

I think that Acharis made a really good point with his post. Check Shadowera (if you PM Kyle he should invite you to beta), it is an online TCG with no players interaction during turns.

You have a nice way to greatly reduce the "switching" time in the so called Trap cards. One idea might be that Trap cannot be activated by its controller, neither attacked. Instead they all have a trigger condition and they get activated automatically as soon as the condition is met. This way you can, during your turn, play cards that will interact with opponent's turn without breaking the flow of the game.

Some examples of traps:
"When a creature attack, destroy it."
"When you receive damange, heal 3 damage from yourself."
"When a card is played, interrupt it."
"When a creature defend, deal 1 damage to its attacker."

Going further this principle of trigger can also be applied to creatures so they automatically perform action during opponent's turn (e.g. "When this creature defend, it deal 2 damage to its attacker.", "When this creature defend, prevent the next damage dealt to it."). This would help reducing the switching during combat too. Some triggers can also trig during the controller's turn.

One building I though of one day was:
Wall
"Opposing creatures must attack this building if able."

Quote:

I play legacy(includes ALL expansions) in MTG simply because I dont want to have to spend thousands of dollars every expansion to stay competitive.


I don't fully agree with this. For people like me that joined the game lately, Standard/Bloc is much cheaper. Also drafting help reducing the cost, if you are good at it ;)

#9 Noctrine   Members   -  Reputation: 120

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Posted 14 October 2010 - 06:17 AM

I recommend checking this out. Wizards of the Coast has a patent on Trading Card Games and they may take legal action if you use any of the elements listed in their claims.

http://www.google.com/patents?vid=USPAT5662332

#10 lithos   Members   -  Reputation: 413

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Posted 15 October 2010 - 10:55 AM

For a decoy card I would have something like this.

Each turn that a decoy is face down it collects a counter.

The player can choose to turn it face up and use counters as an energy source for that specific card. Or an enemy could attack the decoy and trigger its decoy effect, which is usually something completely different from its face up effect.

Something like: 1 Counter: Target creature has damage that would be dealt by a summoner negated, use this effect as if it were a trap. Decoy: The owner of the creature attacking this does not gains one less mana next turn.

_______________

Personally if I were to want to play another card game I'd want it to have something besides 40 to 100 card decks with randomness to go with it.

I think it be cool to see something like players creating 3, 10 card "books". When they first start the game they choose a book as their hand, then after their book is empty or they discard the whole book they choose a different one(of their choice). If the game some how manages to last too long or they play fast and furious they can draw 10 random cards from the discard pile at the penalty of losing a turn.

Also I think you should from the get go design the game for more than 2 players. For EVERY card game I've ever played we've had to hack together rules so 3 to 5 people could play(pokemon, yugio, MTG).

edit: Also I think you would universally be better off going with a "player" book style card game, rather than booster pack.




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