Psychochild's Blog

A developer's musings on game development and writing.

23 March, 2008

Weekend Design Challenge: Cards
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 11:53 PM

This week, we’ll be open-ended: design a game involving cards.

Some thoughts after the break.

The most obvious thing to do is to use playing cards. Can you come up with a new game using the standard 52-card poker deck?

Or, you could create a new system of cards. Magic is a notable example of this.

Or, you could use cards in a computer game. Perhaps as a theme for the game. Or, as a game mechanic. Or, even as a record of the game.

So, what is your idea for using cards in a game?







3 Comments »

  1. Heh, cool. I think cards are unique because they are a cheap vector. They can’t track rapidly changing complex variables, but if you can boil down the meat of your game enough, they can cut your dev costs by about 99.99999%.

    I think it would be hilarious to try to port existing PC or Console hits, not into specially manufactured card sets, but into the 52 card deck. I can’t think of a good one at the moment (the more I think about it, I think if you found you could do it, you’d have conclusively proven the game didn’t belong on the PC), but I did have an idea for porting MTG to 52 cards. This is going to be rough.

    Each player gets a standard 52-card deck. They shuffle and place face-down. Each player draws 7 cards. Play proceeds the way MTG normally would (or did when Ice Age came out, which is when I last played), with the following understandings:

    Aces can be high or low.

    Any non-face card can be played as a ‘land’. There are two colors of mana, red and black. When a ‘land’ is tapped, it produces the number and color of mana you’d expect: the nine of hearts produces nine red mana, and so forth.

    Any non-face heart card may be played as a spell or an instant which either gains life, or prevents damage. The mana cost (red) of this spell is the number of life points gained (or damage points prevented) is the number on the card.

    Any non-face spade card may be summoned as a creature, which then behaves as normal. The mana cost (black) of this summon is -double- the number on the card. The number on the card is the creature’s -defense-. The offense of the creature is zero upon summoning.

    Any non-face diamond card may be cast as an enchant creature, or as a direct-damage spell. The mana cost of this spell is the number on the card. If used to enchant a creature, it gives that creature +X/+0, where X is the number on the card. If cast as a direct-damage spell, it does X damage to any target.

    Any non-face club card may be cast as a spell. Mana cost is the number on the card. Spell allows you to search the bottom X cards of your deck (X is the number of the club cast) and select one, putting it in your hand. You must discard the remaining cards.

    Face cards (Jacks, Queens, and Kings) can be used the same way wilds are in poker. Players may say the number scale simply runs up to thirteen, or they may assign specialty proxy value to each card. “King of clubs is a Time Vault”, “Queens are Wraths of God”, and so forth.

    I think this design works for a couple of reasons:

    1) Balance. Each player has the exact same deck.
    2) Variety. The game can easily be changed by changing the wilds.
    3) Strategy. In addition to the usual MTG metrics, players may now prioritize mana over spells, or vice-versa. While it seems clear enough that the ten of hearts makes a better land than the ten of diamonds, refinement in multipliers might balance this out. Might need testing.
    4) Gameplay. Eliminates the “I got no lands/I got all lands” problem.

    I welcome criticism and suggestions!

    Comment by Bret — 24 March, 2008 @ 8:02 AM

  2. As I read back over it, it seems clear that casting costs should be -double- face value in all cases, not just creatures. Ok I won’t post about little details anymore.

    Comment by Bret — 24 March, 2008 @ 8:05 AM

  3. “All is fair…”

    52 cards
    13 cards
    12 turn cards
    1 saving card
    4 players

    Each player has 100 hit points.

    Rock paper scissor:
    Heart -[beats]-> Spades -[beats]-> Club -[beats]-> Diamonds -[beats]-> Heart

    So Heart beats Spades. Spades beats clubs. Clubs beats Diamonds. Diamonds beats Heart.
    The rest are neutral.

    2
    3
    4
    5
    6
    7
    8
    9
    10

    11 Jack – Turns the tables [suits]
    12 Queen – turns the tables [numbers]
    13 King – Half number other player
    1 Ace – Double number self

    Each player gets a turn clockwise or anti-clockwise.

    Player can attack any other player when he has a turn.

    Round 1:
    Defending player puts down their defending card backside up so the card is not visible.
    Attacking player then puts his card down with the backside down so the card is visible.

    Round 2:
    IF defending player won round 1, they get a counter-attack turn.

    Counter-attack turn:
    Defending player puts down his attack card backside up so the card is not visible.
    Attacking player puts down his defensive card backside down so the card is visible.
    OR Attacking player puts down his attack card backside down so the card is visible.

    IF defending player LOST round 1, they get another defensive turn:

    Defensive turn:
    Defending player puts down his defensive card backside DOWN so the card is visible
    Attacking player puts down his attack card backside up so the card is visible.

    Explanation 1:
    An attacking card does its number in hit points against the defending player
    A defending card reduces the other player’s card’s hitpoints against the player by the number of the defending card. If the defensive card’s number is higher than the attacking card than the remaining points are void.

    Example:
    Player 1 attacks player 2 with a number 8 card.
    Player 2 defends with a number 9 card
    8-9=-1 the defending player has no hit points taken, that one point is void.

    OR

    Player 1 attacks player 2 with a number 7 card
    Player 2 defends with a number 3 card.
    7-3=4 hit points are taken away from player 2.

    Explanation 2A:
    An attacking card does double it’s number in hit points against the other player if it’s suit beats the defending card’s suit.
    A defending card’s suit reduces half it’s number in hit points against the other player if it’s suit is beaten by the attacking card’s suit.

    Example:
    Player 1 attacks player 2 with a number 8 of Hearts
    Player 2 defends with a number 9 of Spades

    Hearts beats Spades.

    (8*2)-(9/2)=16-4.5=11.5 hit points are taken away from player 2.

    Explanation 2B:
    An attacking card does half it’s number in hit points against the other player if it’s suit is beaten by the defending card’s suit
    A defending card’s suit reduces double it’s number in hit points against the other player if it’s suit beats the attacking card’s suit.

    Example:
    Player 1 attacks player 2 with a number 7 of Clubs
    Player 2 defends with a number 3 of Spades.

    Spades beats Clubs.

    (7/2)-(3*2)=3.5-6=-2.5 the defending player has no hit points taken.

    Explanation:
    When the jack is used as a saving card is turns the tables of the suits. So now:
    Heart -[beats]-> Diamonds -[beats]-> Clubs -[beats]-> Spades -[beats]-> Hearts

    The Queen turns the tables of the numbers when used as a saving card. So now 2 is 10 and 10 is 2. Basically do 12-[original number]= [new number].

    Example:
    Player 1 attacks with a number 10 card.
    Player 2 uses the Queen as saving card.

    Player 1′s number 10 card is now reversed and counts as a number 2 card. (12-10=2)

    When the King is used as a saving card it halvates the other player’s number.

    When the Ace is used as a saving card it doubles the player’s number.

    The game continues till all cards have been used. (6 turns)

    OR

    The game continues till one player is left. When people are out of cards they are re-shuffled and everyone gets 13 cards again.

    You can change the starting hit points etc. as you like.

    Just thought of this quickly before getting groceries to participate in the post. It’s pretty rough but hope you get the idea ;)

    PS there’s a reason for the name “All is fair…” can you guess the reason? :p

    Comment by Roeland 'SandRock' Schoppers — 26 March, 2008 @ 6:55 AM

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