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TOPIC: Cace

Cace 9 months 1 week ago #404

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I have thought of several ideas for TCGs, but this is by far my favorite. Every TCG I had previously thought of followed the old idea of battling creatures, and this one does too, but creatures are not the main cards you play. One day the idea struck me to have locations -- territories -- be the main cards you play. The idea is that the territories would produce resources and use them to train units and play other cards to them. However, the units you use do not have cards that you play to represent them -- rather, the territory would simply have an ability which allows it to train a specific type of unit. You would then take a card which does represent that unit, but rather than playing it you would put it to the side with a colored token on it. Then, whenever you train said unit, you would put a token of that color onto the territory it was trained in.

I independently decided on the idea of a game board, which (and I apologize if this sounds complicated) is made of octagons and squares The octagons are in a grid pattern (5x5) with the squares occupying the spaces between them. The purpose of this is to allow diagonal movement at the same speed as vertical or horizontal movement. If the board was made of just squares, moving diagonally would accomplish one vertical and one horizontal move at the same time. However, the way I designed it, a diagonal move from octagon to octagon would take two moves. Territories could only be played into octagons.

The two rows on your side of the board are your territory and the middle row is neutral.

You start the game with a variant of a territory, called a homeland, set apart from your deck. You place this territory in the middle of your first row. Every territory contains the following information: Settlement cost, starting units, units that can be trained and their costs, abilities of the territory, resource production, and the features of the teratory (i.e. mountains, forests, lakes). Homelands also have a special starting unit called the commander. The commander is exceptionally powerful and cannot be retrained.

To settle a new territory, you must have your units carry resources to another octagonal space in your rows or the neutral row, then play a territory from your hand by having those units pay its settlement cost and placing the territory in that space.

You win the game if you vanquish your opponent's commander and capture their homeland.

I can give further details if anyone likes.
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Cace 9 months 6 days ago #409

Wow! I like your idea a lot. It's genuinely original and interesting. First of all, I like your board design. I would have gone for a hexagonal board, just so you could put territories on every space, instead of having small "dead" squares in between, but your way is also interesting.

However, I think have some problems with the design of the game, at least from what you described so far.
First of all, what happens if your units move onto an octagon which still has no territory played on it? I assume they are allowed to do that, because otherwise your opponent can just keep to their side of the board and not connect their territories with yours, this way preventing you form ever reaching them.
I think you don't need to divide the board into "your side" and "you opponent's side", this way the map and distribution of the territories can vary a lot more from game to game.
Also, another concern is that if territories are the only type of card in your deck, there just won't be enough variety and replayability to the game. There are only 25 octagons on the board on which there can be territories, and in your version only 15 octagons where you can actually play your territories, so how big and varied can the players' deck actually be?
I think there should be a different type of card in your deck, that will change the properties of your territories. I think that buildings do the trick, because they can't move and are inanimate objects, so they don't really count as units. Things like a gold mine or a windmill can make the territories produce extra resources, things like a town wall can give your territory protection from incoming attacks, and things like military quarters or training grounds can give you more units to work with. Maybe some of them can have a resource cost, or a unit cost, meaning that you need at least x units on this territory in order to play them.

Another thing that may become a problem is the way you win the game. The way you have it now you need to both "vanquish your opponent's commander and capture their homeland" so you may run into the same problem I had in early Multiverse development, where the best strategy is to just go forward and not settle any extra territories. What about if you change the "and" to an "if"? So this way you can either choose to go after the commander, or try to capture the homeland. Or maybe just have the goal be to vanquish the commander, kind of like the king in chess. I don't know the details of your game, so I don't know for sure.

Anyway, I love that concept! I'd like to hear more :lol:
Keep it up!
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Cace 9 months 5 days ago #422

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Thank you so much for your comments!

Yes units can move into a space without a played territory, and thank you for your suggestion of removing the your-side their-side thing. I now realize your suggestion would be much better. As to variety, yes I have other cards that would be in the game: reinforcements, which add units to a territory and have some effect there; sabotages, which have a negative effect on a territory; structures, which do pretty much what you described (although I had not thought of the unit-cost idea); equipment, which gives a boost to all of one of your types of units; and vehicles, which can carry a limited number of units and move faster that the standard one space.

And thank you for your concerns about the games win condition. I have not completely figured out how the game's play will go, so I don't really know how I should design the win conditions. However, I do agree that it would not be best if one could just play their homeland and rush to their opponent's without playing any more territores. I will have to think about this more.

As to the dead spaces thing, perhaps i could make the octagons irregular by giving them four sides longer than the other ones. This way the octagons and squares would be about the same size so you could play territories into both.

Thanks again!
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Cace 9 months 4 days ago #427

Oh, ok! If you have so many other types of cards along with territories, then you'll be fine with variety! I don't know why I thought territories were the only type of cards in the game, it seems a bit extreme in hindsight. :lol:

I still have issues with the square and octagonal tiles, though. Sure, now you can play territories onto all of the tiles, but now you have a different problem: the square tiles only connect to 4 other territories, but the octagonal tiles connect to 8 other territories. This may not be that big of a deal, but it seems a bit weird, doesn't it? Why do some tiles connect in 4 ways and some in 8? To be fair, corner tiles will only connect to 3 tiles, and edge tiles will connect to either 3 or 5, depending on their shape.
Actually, now that I'm thinking about it this isn't necessarily a bad thing. It can be interesting that some spaces on the board are more valuable then others. It makes some tiles "easier to reach" than others. Maybe this will lead to more aggressive territories be played on the octagons and more defensive on the squares? This could be an interesting quirk of the board that makes the position of your territories even more relevant, because you can't move directly from one square tile to another.

Let me know all the latest developments on it, I'm very interested in what comes out of this game. I think it has a lot of potential!
Keep it up!
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Cace 9 months 4 days ago #428

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Thanks for your support! I would be happy to let you know how the game progresses.

For one I have a potential solution to the win condition problem. I would include a point system where the goal is to reach a certain number of points. Points can be obtained by: settling a territory, conquering a teritory, liberating an allied or own territory, possessing an opponent's homeland during the end of your turn, and slaying your opponent's commander. The problem of imbalanced strategies could be solved by simply adjusting the rewards for accomplishing these tasks.

I guess I could also tell you the different colors types of the cards. I have not thought of detailed descriptions of their strategies, but I tried to sum them up in a few words each:

Orange (mountains/caves)
Flexible and forceful

Blue (Oceans/seas)
Hit and run

Grey (Urban)
Development and Strength

Beige (Fields/Desserts)
Cultivation and Support
(should probably be split into two types given that desserts aren't exactly known for cultivation, or I could simply remove desserts)

Green (Forests)
Tactics and Effectiveness

Purple (Alteration)
No specific strategy, simply alterations for territories.

Thanks again.
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Cace 4 months 1 week ago #564

Hey, IDKLOL, How's progress on this game coming along?
Are you still working on it?
Keep it up!
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Cace 4 months 1 week ago #566

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Yes, life is just busy and I have been focusing on other things more.

Right now (and I realize these may be best resolved by playtesting) I am working on two pieces: battle mechanics (including keywords) and type definitions.

In TCGs like your game and MTG, when a unit attacks another unit, the defending unit usually is allowed to attack back; but I foresee a problem with this in my game. Since territories are fully self-sufficient to produce their own units, making resources and what are essentially token creatures, massive armies will continue to flow from just about everywhere. The reason universal retaliation is a problem is that if a battle is usually each side whittling each other down equally, will anyone make offensive progress? There will just be another big army right behind the one which lost, destroying the small remains of the victorious army. The root problem here is that the attacking army needs to have some kind of built-in advantage in order to make any progress. One seemingly easy way to do this is to simply remove retaliation and say the offensive player attacks first, but this could give the offensive player too much of an advantage. For example, if each sides armies are identical in terms of stats, say 6 2/2 units each, when the offensive player attacks, they will wipe out the defending player's army completely with theirs unscathed. One potential way to resolve this is to allow universal retaliation, but only once per defending unit. i.e. if two units attack one defending unit, the defending unit only gets to retaliate against one attacker. This of course, would only work if 2+ units were usually attacking each defender, which would only make sense if one units attack stat was not enough to defeat each unit. One potential way to accomplish this, would be to simply make most units hp higher than their attack, but this does not feel very clean. Anyway, I probably just need to playtest this, but any suggestions would be helpful.

As to keywords, I think I have to many. Any suggestions about which are the best would be greatly appreciated:

currently, battles are completely resolved with as many rounds of combat as necessary taking place before a player's turn ends.

Hiding#: Cannot be attacked for the first # rounds of combat. During this time, it cannot be retaliated against.
Protection: Cannot be attacked until all other allied units are slain.
Flight: Cannot be attacked except by other Flying units or ranged units.
Hunting: Can attack units with Protection, or reduce a units HIding # by its attack stat
Agility#: when attacked, roll a 6-sided die. If # or less, the attack is dodged.
Regeneration: At the end of each assault (one player declairing attacks during a round), this unit regains all health
Multistrike: an umbrella term for things like Doublestrike, Tripplestrike, etc. and Pollystrike. This means the unit can divide its damage among the implied number of units in any way you like (even when retaliating). (Pollystrike means any number of units.)
Oppening combat: the unit participates in a special round of combat before any other units.
Toughness#: damage dealt to this unit is reduced by #
Rampage#: For each unit this unit attacks in a round, its attack stat is increased by # until the end of the round.

I think I have to go now, which is for the better since this is getting long.

Anyway, thank you for all the help you have given :)
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Cace 4 months 1 week ago #568

Hmm, interesting. I think I understand the problem you're having with battles. I guess the simplest way to try and solve it is to give the attacking units a power advantage, so maybe if a unit is attacking it gets +1 power. It can be a general rule, or it can just be a common keyword.

Another way to solve the problem would be to add a randomness element to the battles, maybe implementing a battle system closer to the one in Star Wars TCG by Wizards of the Coast, where instead of dealing exact damage during every battle, the battling units roll a certain number of dice, and maybe add modifiers afterward, to determine how much damage they deal during battle. This makes battles less predictable, and I think it works better in games where you have lots and lots of soldiers battling at the same time. You can have a general idea of how the battle is going to go, but you can't be certain of the result.

As for the keywords, I can't possibly tell which ones need to stay and which ones need to go, you'll have to determine that by yourself through testing. Just look for the most interesting and relevant ones, the ones that make gameplay more interesting and fun, and keep them.
Keep it up!
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Cace 4 months 2 days ago #572

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Sorry, I will get back to you soon. I am busy right now.
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Cace 3 months 3 weeks ago #577

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Ah yes, I like the random-damage idea! I think that could help, I will have to playtest it. Now I have played Axis and Allies, which uses a similar mechanic. Units have an attack and defence stat. When on each respective side of a battle, you roll a die for it. If you roll its corresponding stat or less, you get a hit! Otherwise, nothing. Then, your opponent chooses a casualty from their units.

In my game, I would prefer to have attack and health stats, so I think the system I will use will be the following: whenever a unit attacks, you roll a die (6 or 8 sided; not sure which would be use yet). If the roll is the units stat or less, the attack damage is equal to the value on the die. If higher, no damage is dealt.

As to keywords, yes i now see I would need to playtest those. Thank you for that.

Now I have a new/old development to talk about. I liked the idea of a multiverse, since it would let me take the game to varying places. However, I didn't want to just copy the other games which have used this (MTG and your game). My solution is to set the game in a world that is made of an infinite plane. Obviously, a sun could not revolve around this, so instead the sun simply fades with night and returns with day. Actually, I lied, there are many suns. Each sun's light reaches only so far, and while an infinite number of suns exist, vast dark spaces exist between them. When the sun fades, moons appear, many of them per sun. They are scattered throughout the suns typical reach, giving some light on the space. At this time, the stars also appear. These stars are very important, as they are the embodiments of the laws of the universe, giving it its order. However, they are not themselves capable of accomplishing this, but rather channel their power through their sun by day and their moons by night. As no suns or moons exist in the dark lands, any residual ounce of order completely disappears.

All of this is especially important, because it allows for a new game mechanic: star cards. These are played on a board to the side of the game board called the star board. Star cards are free to play, but only one can be played each turn and each player can only have three in play at a time. The star cards have two sides: a sun side and a moon side. Each side has an effect, both of which are related, though not always the same. Every three turn cycles, the center piece of the board switches from day to night, flipping the star cards with it. While the primary purpose of the day/night cycle is to change the star cards, some other cards may have abilities that relate to the tie of day.

I was really excited about this lore and mechanic and wanted to talk about it. Any thoughts?
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Cace 3 months 3 weeks ago #578

You know, this three-turn cycle sun/moon mechanic is almost exactly the same as a mechanic tested (and ultimately scrapped) during the design of Innistrad expansion in Magic: the Gathering. Mark Rosewater talks at length about it in a few of his podcasts.
It's a neat concept, but I don't think it's necessary to your game, at least in its base set. You need to keep in mind that the simpler your game is in its gameplay, at least at the fundamental level, the easier it will be for people to learn it and start playing it. You can add mechanics like that in future expansions, obviously, but I would advise keeping the first set as straight-forward as possible.
A lot of the time you can get caught up in adding complexity and detail that doesn't seem overly complex to you, but to a brand new player, it will be overwhelming.

In terms of the lore, I like that idea! You don't have to have a multiverse if you want to have all your sets taking place in one big fantasy world.
So, from my understanding, the world in your game is an infinite flat plane with stars and moons going around it, rather than a sphere orbiting a star. I don't quite now what the physics of that would be, but it's fantasy after all, anything is possible!
It kind of makes me think of the Discworld series by Terry Pratchett.
Keep it up!
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Cace 3 months 2 days ago #599

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Oh man, sorry I took so long to get back to you.

Anyway, thank you for pointing that out! Yes, I see now that it would make sense to add a mechanic like a day/night cycle like that in later. At the very least, the star mechanic does not require the day/night cycle, but perhaps it would be better to add that later too. I realize that this would not require changing the lore, just that not all parts of it would have ramifications in the game right away. I suppose this is similar to how MTG had planeswakers in the lore the whole time, but didn't add actual cards for them until the game developed more.

As to the lore, sorry if I could not explain that very well. Yes, the land is an infinitely long plane, but the sun an moons don't move. They stay fixed in their positions during the night/day. When the day begins to come to an end, the sun simply fades away until the morning: during the night, it is not there anymore. Then the moons reverse-fade back into the sky and vice versa. I am not exactly sure how this is accomplished yet, but maybe they shift in a fourth dimensional direction. Oh well, that can be developed later. Because of this, there are vast areas of total darkness where no light ever falls. Because there are no suns or moons there for the stars to channel their order through, the universe has no laws of physics in the dark spaces. Not exactly sure what that means yet, but oh well.

However, as I think about this maybe your interpretation would be better. One problem I had was the question, "If no one and nothing could travel from land to land because of the lawless dark areas, how could a player put cards from both into a deck?" That just wouldn't make sense. maybe it would be better if the suns and moons did move across the sky. Now they wouldn't orbit, as you can't orbit an infinite plane in three dimensions, but would just move in straight lines, or something. Maybe they would all move in the same direction or different ones, but the big deal with this is that you could travel from land to land, explaining the flavor inconsistency.

Now I do have a method to explain how this would work in the original interpretation, but I will have to think about which I will use.

Also, I made some cards and tested the game a little (playing against myself). Straight away I could see that the way the game was then, it was too complicated. It wasn't that the mechanics of the game were overly complex, it was the unit cards. Having to check back and forth between token and card or territory ability and unit card was too hard. Now normally I love complicated games, but this just gave me a headache. To solve this, I have decided to scrap text-based abilities for units. They will only have their stats, as well as 0-2 keywords (usually 0-1). The key here is that all this can be written on the token itself, as well as the cards that train the units. To save space and make things manageable, units no longer have names, but just their race and class (which I use instead of type and subtype).

The exception to this is commanders. These were always supposed to feel epic, not just in stats but also numerous and exciting abilities. Thus, they will need cards to represent them, but that can be managed as each player has only one instance of one commander.

This will also make collecting the cards easier, as the unit cards were just a pain. As I hope that any boosters for this game (however far out in the future) would contain 9 commons, 3 uncommons, and one rare, this just leaves 2 more spaces to reach a nice 15. I also want to include a homeland in every booster, so with the commander card, that makes 15.

Anyway, thanks for waiting :)
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