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    Wanna Make A Card Game?

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    Wanna Make A Card Game?

    Post  Paeter on September 26th 2010, 6:34 pm

    Just got back from camping this weekend and was reminded of the serious lack of any games using a traditional deck of cards that have a "gamer" sensibility.

    I suck at crunching numbers (a must for game design) but I've always wanted to create a strategic card game that uses normal playing cards and actually incorporates the pictures and symbols into the concept.

    Maybe some kind of strategy war game where you are trying to wipe out the royal bloodline (Kings, Queens and Jacks). And the suites all have rules significance that match their symbol. Maybe hearts are health/defense, clubs are related to agriculture/food/supplies, diamonds are related to wealth, and spades... I don't know, they look kinda like spears or arrows. Maybe they could be related to attack/damage. Not sure what role the aces might play. Jokers could be anything from court Jesters to assassin bards. I don't know. These are all just brainstorming thoughts.

    Ideally, the game would use just one deck(since in a pinch there is often only one on hand), but it may be that each player could have their own deck.

    How all of these elements could come together to make a cool game, I have no idea. But if anyone would like to brainstorm and see if we can come up with something, I'm on board.

    And for those wondering, I have heard of the game "Royals" and think it's a step in the right direction, but I'd still love to have something that incorporates the suites more.


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    Re: Wanna Make A Card Game?

    Post  Paeter on September 27th 2010, 12:07 am

    Paeter wrote:Just got back from camping this weekend and was reminded of the serious lack of any games using a traditional deck of cards that have a "gamer" sensibility.

    I'd still love to have something that incorporates the suites more.

    Hmm. That word is actually "suits", isn't it? Shows how much I love and play normal card games...


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    Re: Wanna Make A Card Game?

    Post  Paeter on September 27th 2010, 8:34 pm

    Okay, so here's the basic concept I came up with when I had nothing else to do yesterday. (Well, nothing non-work related.)

    Post your thoughts or improvements if you'd like. I'm sure it could use some! Many things I just took a guess at, in terms of how to keep the game balanced. So that may be the biggest area of weakness. But feel free to tell me how any of it could be better!



    "Bloodlines"


    Two Players, each needs their own standard 52 card deck of playing cards.

    The object of the game is to kill off the entire bloodline (Jack, Queen and King) of the enemy player.

    Players start by shuffling their decks and drawing the top card. This card determines the suit of each player’s bloodline. (If a joker or identical cards are drawn, draw again until each player has a different suit selected.)

    Suits can also be chosen in advance if the players prefer.

    A player’s suit determines their strengths and weaknesses and has significant effect on game play.

    Each player removes the Jokers, King, Queen, Jack and Ace of every suit that is not their own, as well as the Ace of their own suit, then reshuffles their deck. Each player then places the Jack, Queen and King of their own suit face up in front of them, with the rest of their deck face down to the right of them. (Leave room for another row of cards between the face up “Royal” cards and the edge of the table.)

    Each player then draws a hand of 4 cards. 4 is the maximum number of cards a player may have in their hand. (Players do not reveal their hands.)

    On the first game, flip a coin to determine who goes first. Otherwise, the loser of the last game goes first.

    Each turn is played as follows:

    1. Play or Cycle any number of Diamond or Club cards.(Discard down to 4)(This may be done multiple times at any time during your turn.)
    2. Draw a card (unless you already have 4).
    3. Play a card from your hand OR attack with a “unit” or a Joker. (Or purchase a Joker if you are the diamond suit.)


    Play proceeds with each player taking a turn until one player’s Bloodline of Royals has been completely discarded. A player whose deck has run out may no longer draw any cards for the rest of the game.

    The value of each card (number printed in the corner) is raised or lowered by one depending on your suit. All cards you have in your own suit have their number raised by one. All cards you have in another suit are lowered by one.

    Card uses/abilities are as follows:

    Hearts- Hearts represent the defense (or “health”) of your royal family members. Heart cards are played in front of a royal (Jack, Queen or King) of your choice, and stay there until that royal is discarded. You may play as many heart cards on a royal as you wish. The card values are added up to determine the total defense of that royal. (Remember to add or subtract as appropriate for your suit.) A Royal with no hearts played in front of it has a defense value of zero. A “unit” may not attack a royal with a total defense that is greater than or equal to the total attack power of the unit.

    Spades- Spades represent the attack power of a military unit. Spades are played on the table between opposing players, on the side of the table of the player controlling them. They are either played alone or on top of an existing unit. Units consist of one or more spade cards on the table together(stacked but with their individual numbers visible) and the attack power of the unit is equal to the total value of all cards in the unit. (Remember to add or subtract as appropriate to your suit.) You may have more than one unit in play.

    A player may choose to attack an enemy Royal with a unit he controls on his turn, but may only attack a Royal with a defense value that is less than his attacking unit’s attack power. After attacking a Royal, both the Royal and the entire unit are discarded into their controlling player’s discard pile. Any heart cards the Royal had are discarded as well.

    Clubs- Clubs represent the food and supplies your kingdom has to support your war efforts. You may discard any club card to draw another card from your deck at any time during your turn. If your bloodline is the club suit, you may instead discard a club card and draw a number of cards equal to its value. (No more or less) You must then immediately discard down to 4 cards before doing anything else.

    Diamonds- Diamonds represent the financial resources your kingdom has to support your war efforts. You may discard any diamond card to draw another card from your deck at any time during your turn. If your bloodline is the diamond suit, you are wealthy enough to afford the most effective and versatile mercenaries in the land: Jokers.

    To hire a Joker, you must first build up a pool of diamonds with a value of 25 or greater. At any time during your turn, you may place any number of diamond cards in your hand into a diamond card “pool” off to the side. On your turn, instead of playing a card from your hand or attacking with a unit, you may choose to discard a diamond pool with a value of 25 or greater to place a Joker in play between yourself and your row of Royals on the table.

    Jokers are master performers and deceivers. You may use a Joker to attack a Royal instead of using a unit. In this case, the defense value of the Royal is ignored and they are instantly killed. (The Joker infiltrated the enemy camp.) The Joker is discarded as well.

    Alternatively, when one of your Royals is killed, you may choose to discard a Joker instead of the Royal (in this case the Joker was acting as a decoy), although all associated Heart cards are still discarded.


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    Re: Wanna Make A Card Game?

    Post  mindspike on September 28th 2010, 2:29 am

    Hmm, suits me.... rabbit

    There is an immediate power gap between the abilities of the suits.
    Hearts and Spades counter each other directly and have clear tactical value.

    The ability of Clubs to shrink the deck is of limited use in a game with as few variables as this. The "Suit" ability to draw multiple cards on a single club actually seems to hurt the player, as they then must discard the cards without playing them. The "Clubs" player will run out of cards in his deck much faster than everyone else, placing them at a huge disadvantage.

    The "Diamonds" ability is confusing to me. If that player is the only one who can hire Jokers, the ability is staggering and overpowered. If anyone can hire Jokers, the extra value of the Diamond makes no statistical mathematical difference.

    With the pool of Hearts defense restricted to number cards, I would prefer to see the Ace treated as a "1" and not as a Royal - that lets us divide 10 cards between three points instead of nine cards between four.

    I would also like to see the other face cards remain in the deck as the actual "strikers" that wield "units" of Spades, and as "Defenders" that wield units of Clubs.

    In this way, the Royals may control up to three other face cards (the others of their type) to attack and defend for them. Let's call these non-Royal face cards "Nobles".

    Hearts would be assigned to Royals to represent life. For ease of tracking, Heart cards must be removed as a whole without partial bleed through, so that four damage would remove the three of Hearts, but not leave any bookeeping to track one point of damage to the six of Hearts underneath the three. Hearts would be stacked, and removed in LIFO order. (Last In First Out) A Royal carrying no Hearts may be killed by any amount of damage.

    Nobles would wield Spades to damage, and Clubs to defend. So that combat looks like: Jack with 6 Spades attacks a Royal with 4 Hearts defended by a Noble with 3 Clubs. 6 minus 3 leaves only 3 damage left, not enough to remove the 4 Heart card.

    Diamonds could be used to "buy off" opposing Nobles, causing them, and any Spades or Clubs invested in them, to be discarded. It would cost an amount equal to the Clubs they carry, and Clubs could be bought off one card at a time in the same way as Spades affect Hearts. A Noble carrying no Clubs may be "bought off" for a single Diamond card.

    Setup would consist of laying out the three Royals, as well as a seven card draw to provide an intial defense. Limit hand size to three or four cards, and let players draw two cards a round. Any number of cards may be played in a turn. Each Noble may attack once per turn. Defending Nobles are chosen by the targeted player.

    So that's my initial reaction.....
    More thoughts?


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    Re: Wanna Make A Card Game?

    Post  Paeter on September 30th 2010, 12:37 am

    I wondered if you might eventually pipe in on this one. (Woohoo!)

    Love where you're going with this. I was trying to figure out a use for the discarded Royals, so I like the idea of putting them on the battlefield. Sounds like you're suggesting to do away with players each adopting a suit, which is cool by me.

    (As a side note, I wasn't using the Aces as Royals or anything else. I was just setting them aside with the unused Royals.)

    I'd still love to have a cool use for the Jokers. And the only point I'd like to refine is the suggested use of clubs.

    Before, I had them connected to the food and supplies, since you could loosely argue that the clover is a symbol of agriculture. One of the things I wanted to do most is have every card used in a way that makes sense, given the symbol used for the suit. I'm not really seeing a connection between clovers and military defense. Is there another use they could be put to that would connect better to the image?

    In any case, my brain hurts trying to mentally cut and paste your rules into what you would still use of mine. Would you mind posting a brand new, self-contained rule-set for what you're proposing?


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    Re: Wanna Make A Card Game?

    Post  mindspike on September 30th 2010, 2:24 am

    After reading your initial posting, my friend Curtis and I spent a few hours coming up with two different sets of rules for card games. When I logged on to post them ... you had something completely different in mind. cyclops

    So .... recap a blending of the posts so far.....

    No accounting has been made for Jokers.
    Clubs imagery resembles a shield, hence the Defense attribute.

    Bloodlines v1.5==================================
    Ground Rules:
    Each player gets his own standard deck of poker cards.
    Ace has a value of "1".
    Face Cards have no numerical value.
    One suit of Face Cards are "Royals". All other Face Cards are "Nobles".

    Nobles are always played in front of a Royal of the same Face Card.
    When a Royal is discarded, all associated Nobles are discarded.
    A Noble without a matching Royal may not be played.
    Hearts are "Life" and are always played on a Royal.

    Life cards are always removed as a whole card in Last In First Out order.
    Clubs are "Defense" and are always played on a Noble.

    Defense cards are always removed as a whole card in LIFO order.
    Defense cards are added together when compared to an Attack value.
    Spades are "Attack" and are always played on a Noble.

    Attack value is always compared to a single Noble's Defense value.
    Attack cards are added together when compared to a Defense value.
    When Attack is lower than Defense, the attack ends.
    When Attack is higher than Defense, the difference is compared to the associated Royal's Life cards.
    If the remaining Attack is equal or greater than the top Life card, that Life card is discarded, the total subtracted from the Attack, and this step is repeated.
    If the remaining Attack is less than the top Life card, the attack ends.
    If the Royal has no Life cards, the Royal is discarded.
    A Royal may not be discarded by the same attack that discards its last Life card.
    Diamonds are "Wealth" and are always played from the hand.

    Any number of Wealth cards may be played at once.
    When one or more Wealth cards are applied to a Noble, it is compared to the top Defense card of the Noble.
    If a Noble has no Defense cards, it is discarded.
    If the Wealth card is lower, it is discarded.
    If the Wealth card is equal or higher, the top Defense card is discarded.
    If the top Defense card is discarded, the remaining Wealth is compared to the next Defense card, discarding Defense cards until insufficient Wealth remains to discard Defense cards.
    A Noble may never be discarded by the same Wealth that removes its last Defense card.
    Maximum hand size is five.
    Draw is two cards.
    When the last card is drawn from a deck, the discard pile is shuffled and forms the new deck.

    Losing Condition:
    A player is removed from the game when his last Royal is discarded.

    Setup:
    Place the Jack, Queen, and King of one suit in front of you.
    Draw seven cards and play all Face Cards, Clubs, Hearts, or Spades desired.

    Play sequence:
    Draw two cards.
    Play Nobles, Attack, Defense, Wealth, or Life cards.
    Each Noble in play may attack once.

    Nobles target a Royal when they attack.
    The defending player may choose to defend his Royal with a matching Noble.
    The defending player may choose not to defend.
    Play Nobles, Attack, Defense, Wealth, or Life cards.
    Discard down to five cards.
    ============================================

    Does this make your brain hurt a bit less?
    We haven't got to extensively test these rules, but initial games consistently see a player's first Royal discarded within a few turns. We haven't yet had to reshuffle the discards into the deck. Only tested with two players so far. With only four variables, strategic options seem fairly limited in game play. For more complexity, additional bookkeeping and materials would need to be introduced, which would defeat the concept of the game.


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    Re: Wanna Make A Card Game?

    Post  Paeter on September 30th 2010, 8:09 pm

    mindspike wrote:

    Does this make your brain hurt a bit less?

    My brain definitely hurts less. Thanks! Now if I can only get my wife to playtest with me!


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    Re: Wanna Make A Card Game?

    Post  Dunadwarf on October 6th 2010, 5:33 pm

    I was thinking about your idea and I have a plan in mind if you'd like another idea:
    Based on your use of the four suits, I created "Commonwealth".
    The goal of Commonwealth is simply to have the highest stable population, which is determined when the deck of cards has been gone through. This is the ticking clock of the game. It can be played with nothing more than a single deck, though if you play with more than, say, three players, it'll be a short game unless you double up.
    Each player gets 10 cards dealth to him or her. The rest of the cards are left, face-down, in the middle of the players. The basic game play is that each player, on his/her turn, draws a card AND discards one into their own discard pile. A player can draw from either the central, face-down deck or the topmost card from any player's discard deck.
    Hearts stand for peasants/civilians, Spades are soldiers, Clubs are food resources and Diamonds represent wealth or money. At the end of the game, each citizen (Hearts and/or Spades) listed in their numbers counts as a point toward your population, but only if they are also supported by resources. Peasants need food (Clubs) and Soldiers need money (Diamonds). For example, you have 7 Peasants, 4 Soldiers, 6 Food Stores and 4 Money Stores at the end (the numbers are the total of all the numbered cards of that particular suit). It would seem at first that you have a population of 11, but with only 6 Food Stores, you can only support 6 Peasants, so that's all that counts toward your total. All 4 Soldiers have Money, so they all count.
    There are, of course, other cards. Royalty (Kings, Queens and Jacks) all improve the acquisition/utilization of their resource of expertise. In other words, they improve the total score. At the end of the game, Jacks double the lowest card value in your hand in their suit, Queens double the highest card value and Kings double the total sum of their suit. There is no limit to the number variety of royalty.
    Throughout the game, a player can declare war against any other player. This is done by marching Soldiers (or Peasants, though each one only counts as 1/2 a soldier in the total, rounding down the fractions) in waves. There is no limit to how many Soldiers can march against an enemy, and Royalty can be used to shore up the battle numbers just as they are used to shore up the population score at the end, though you risk losing the card(s) in the battle. The attacked player then responds by laying down Soldiers and/or Peasants of their own in a wave that totals at least the same amount (remember to halve, rounding down the odd numbers, the Peasant total in this compilation). If the first wave of a war is successfully countered with an equal/greater force, the attacker must counter that wave in the same way, if he/she can. The war ends when a player can or will not counterattack. The victorious player (whoever laid the last successful wave) then takes a card, without looking at them, from the loser's deck. They also get to reclaim their winning card(s), but all previously utilized cards are permanently lost to the discard deck.
    Aces are Ambassadors, which can be played to elicit trade. If, say, a military Ambassador (Ace of Spades) is sent to another player, he or she must exchange all their cards of that suit (in this case, Spades) with the player. The Ambassador is retired (discarded). This can be a risky move if a player ends up giving away more than he/she had.
    Finally, Jokers are (and this is another Paeter idea) undercover court assassins. When played against someone, ALL ROYALTY (Jacks, Queens AND Kings) are discarded. This is especially brutal to play against someone near the end of the game when they are depending on their Royalty to boost their score and cannot retool their hand in time to account for the loss. Jokers are then discarded (into the bottom of the victim's discard pile so they cannot be reused) regardless of how many Royalty they killed.
    A few odd rules:
    ~Jokers cannot be used in war. They are secret assassins, not soldiers. They, Royalty and Ambassadors do not count toward to the population total directly, only the Royalty affect population, and only by their doubling properties.
    ~Unsupported citizens (Peasants and Soldiers without Food or Money, respectively) are simply discarded at the end of the game.
    ~Trading and/or alliances are permitted (even encouraged), and can take place openly or in secret as the players see fit, if they can keep their secrets.

    What do you think, Paeter?

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    Re: Wanna Make A Card Game?

    Post  Paeter on October 7th 2010, 9:34 am

    Dunadwarf wrote:
    What do you think, Paeter?

    Me thinky me likey! Very cool! Done any play testing on this yet? Love the name "Commonwealth", too! Also glad you incorporated battles, instead of it just being an economics game.

    Mindspike is pretty good with game design and play balance. Maybe he'll weigh in too. But I can tell you I love the concept! Thanks!


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    Re: Wanna Make A Card Game?

    Post  mindspike on October 7th 2010, 5:21 pm

    My first impressions of the "Commonwealth" rules:

    Just as written, your rules sound like a Gin Rummy variant, only with larger hands. At 10 cards in the hand, a two player game will take about 30 minutes, and a four player game will take about 10. Strategy is limited, and games will depend almost entirely on the initial deal and the first 2-4 draws.

    I have a few suggestions that would expand the strategic element:
    1. Use one deck per player, Canasta style.
    2. Draw two cards, discard one.
    3. Use a single discard pile.
    4. Use a layout style, limiting the number of Spades/Clubs able to be played by the number of Diamonds/Hearts already in play. In this way, players must lay out Diamonds/Hearts before they can lay out Spades/Clubs.
    5. In War:
    --a. Uses resources already in play.
    --b. May be supplemented from the hand, but cards played this way are discarded at the end of the round.
    --c. Takes away resources in play from the losing player. The difference in value between players is awarded to the winner in the form of cards in play, any suit. This allows War to claim any of the four resources. Face cards need to either be immune, or have a value assigned.
    --d. Allies may attack/defend together, combining their "armies", but the main attacking/defending player gets to decide how spoils are allocated.
    6. Aces/Jokers should target either the hand or the cards in play, chosen at the time they are played.
    7. The King ability is too strong. I would use Kings to "lock" a set of cards in play, making a set of Spades/Diamonds or Clubs/Hearts immune to being involved in "War".

    Aside from the terminology, this would be a classic Canasta variation. Game play would take about an 90 minutes for four players or about 60 minutes for two players.


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    Re: Wanna Make A Card Game?

    Post  mindspike on October 7th 2010, 5:56 pm

    We didn't name this ruleset, but here's one of the games my friend and I worked out.

    For 1-4 players.

    Setup:
    Use 1 deck. Remove the Jokers.
    Lay out three face cards of one suit in front of a player.
    Deal a hand of five cards to each player.
    All players get to play cards from the hand horizontally or vertically on their own setup.
    Cards are valued at 1-13, Ace through King.

    Winning Condition:
    Remove all face cards from in front of the other players.

    Game Play:
    Exactly match the value of cards in play with cards from the hand in order to discard a stack of cards in play.
    All discarded cards go into a single discard pile.
    If the deck runs out, the discard pile is recycled.
    A player may use any face card for its value.
    Cards in play are added together to determine a total value.
    Cards may be played vertically to add to a player's initial face card layout.
    Cards may be played horizontally in front of a player's initial face card layout.
    If a player draws one of their own initial face cards due to the discard pile being reshuffled, they may play it vertically as in initial setup.
    All horizontal cards in front of a vertical layout must be discarded before the vertical cards may be discarded.
    A player may play cards horizontally or vertically on any player's setup.
    Horizontal and vertical stacks of cards may not be partially discarded.

    Sequence of Play:
    Draw two cards.
    Play cards from the hand.
    Discard down to five cards.

    This game is a variation on King's Court Solitaire. Games lasted 10-15 minutes for two players. We never recycled the deck. Haven't tried with four players yet.


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    Re: Wanna Make A Card Game?

    Post  Dunadwarf on October 9th 2010, 2:24 pm

    mindspike wrote:My first impressions of the "Commonwealth" rules:

    Just as written, your rules sound like a Gin Rummy variant, only with larger hands. At 10 cards in the hand, a two player game will take about 30 minutes, and a four player game will take about 10. Strategy is limited, and games will depend almost entirely on the initial deal and the first 2-4 draws.
    Yeah, but that's what I intended. I wanted to make a game that plays quickly, involves strategy and is simple to learn.
    I didn't want a game that lasts an hour, nor one where you have to spend a whole game's worth of time learning the rules. There's nothing wrong with complex, but there reaches a point where it gets convoluted. The point of this game is that, with a few minutes of learning the gist of the game, one's situation becomes self-evident. Values are based on the numbers. The value of Royalty increases with the rank of the card. Aces provide simple exchanges. Jokers get rid of all Royalty. The strategy might be limited, but there's also less opportunity for piddling little rules to ruin the fun.
    One more note; the reason I had every player have their own discard deck was to increase strategic options by giving each player more than one option for a visible card to draw, and more chance that he/she can still get the card they really needed that was discarded a few turns before them.
    I just offered these rules as a simple way to play a strategy game, as opposed to a 90 minute card game. If it's fun, people can play repeatedly. If it's not, who wants to waste over an hour grinding it out?

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    Re: Wanna Make A Card Game?

    Post  mindspike on October 9th 2010, 7:28 pm

    Dunadwarf wrote:I just offered these rules as a simple way to play a strategy game, as opposed to a 90 minute card game. If it's fun, people can play repeatedly. If it's not, who wants to waste over an hour grinding it out?

    After a few test hands, I'd say you're on target. What your basic rules really need is score tracking between games, to give some purpose to short games. We never had a two player game go longer than 15 minutes, or a four player game go any longer than 10.

    As for who's going to grind out an hour on a game they don't enjoy ... well, I'm no quitter, not like all those folks in AA. rabbit


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    Re: Wanna Make A Card Game?

    Post  Dunadwarf on October 13th 2010, 5:02 pm

    I'm glad it works!
    Perhaps you can play over a series of generations (hands) and see who was the greatest civilization repeatedly, say, over 10 generations.

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