How to make a card game with tokens and extended gameplay

Step 1

Brainstorm!

Decide on a theme, idea or concept that you want to explore.

Step 2

Decide on a Game end goal/ how one wins the game.

This is where counters come in. How many does one need to win? Are they part of winning, or do you use them to retrieve other cards?

Counter examples: Health points in  Pokemon, a way to get assets in Netrunner, A way to count round victories (and bets in general) in Mahjong.

For the game I’m creating as an example, A certain number of each kind of token (Division and Romance) is needed to win the game.

Me trying to figure out the end goal + playstyle

Step 3

Balance in these kinds of games can be tricky.

I suggest using existing proportions from other things as a guide. For example, using the way currency is divided as a basis for card-to-token ratios. Nickels to Dimes to Quarters (20:10:4), as token type 1: token type 2: total cards, if you don’t mind having numbered tokens (or just a whole pile of them).  For the Example, to figure out how much of each type of card I wanted, I played off of the  average number of fic tags on any one work, and decided that balancing between 7 and 12 might do me good. Again, there’s no need to worry; play time with the game will help figure out the kinks, or even talking about the design with other potential players.

Handwriting,,, ugh
A look at me trying to figure out what I wanted the proportions to look like, with some name brainstorming at the top

Step 4

Design the cards.

The key to games that require reading is to make sure your font is legible for all your players. Using Dyslexic-friendly fonts, and making sure that the text is at a good size, especially if your players are on the older side.

Color-coding your cards can help distinguish them. Since tokens are involved, it can help to add any symbols on the tokens to the corresponding cards.

I used excel to help me with this step!

Color coding

A sampling of card names + some descriptions-in-progress

BOXES
The ruler on the top of this page was especially helpful in designing these

 

Hacker vs. Corporation: the Card Game a.k.a. , “Android: Netrunner”

While researching Magic the Gathering (I had heard it was a fun play), I came across something else that piqued my interest: an extinct game by the name of Android: Netrunner.

At the Brain-dead hour of 4 am, the fast-paced commentary on the Netrunner U.S. Nationals 2019 The Cut was a pleasant listen. From what I’ve gathered on a brain full of sleep soup (probably better known as melatonin), I’ve gathered that it’s a combination of Magic the Gathering and Poker.

The game runs as follows: You and another player oppose eachother; one plays a corporation, and the other plays a hacker. Each team has to get 7 “agenda points”. Hackers gain them from taking the cards from the corporation, and the corporation from completing agenda card requirements.

Entertaining, or at the very least, compelling!

This game involves Resource management, and much like our own monetary system, there is some complexity. The game involves 6 kinds of tokens, most of which are double-sided to signify different things.

The Artwork is lovely as well!

An Example of the art
“The Personal Touch” Card Art

For those who want a true cyberpunk experience, this is the game for you.

Since it was cancelled in 2017, there’s no chance of getting new cards, but there is an online deckbuilder/play site here.

How to make a Feats-Based RPG

What are Feats?

Feats are, boiled down, unique actions or abilities that one can do/have. A game that relies on feats over anything else generally has less reliance on stats or items, and is more about the imagery that comes from a more verbally-based adventure. Some videogames have them as part of a “talent tree”, in that feats have to be unlocked in  a certain order. In these games, some trees are blocked off if you’ve chosen a certain role or path. Games can use feats to boost base skills, or allow more flexibility in the actions your character can take.

Why Feats?

Feats let players do another level of customization, and lets them use something that isn’t for numbers, necessarily. Feats can allow for more fun and can create unique Interactions between other characters and the environment around them.

How do I make ’em? 

Feats tend to have limits of their usage in a certain time frame. That can help with balance in your game. A much stronger/ impressive feat will be given a longer time between uses than some thing simpler/weaker.  One can also have a limit per game of times each feat (or all feats as a whole) can be used.

You can bring Balance to your game through keeping things consistent, watching the usefulness of the feats, and allowing the feats to have in-game importance. Consistency can refer to the description used; keeping the feats at a similar level of power and/or versatility will help keep the players at a compatible level. Usefulness is also a factor in balance and also, consistency. Are your feats tied directly to the gameplay? Are they more for Aesthetic purposes? How you choose to integrate those will be based on the type of play you and your players are looking for. A more light-hearted game for comedy reasons may choose to have silly, more aesthetic-based feats, that do more for conversation than plot, because that is what players are looking for. 

Themes:

Themed around subject: What is unique to the chosen genre? What can only be done or be seen in the genre you choose? What tropes do you enjoy that can be integrated into your game?

Themed around the character’s species, for example, if the character is a merperson(triton, mermaid, generally aquatic),  a feat can be “Once a day, the player can issue a command to nearby lake or sea creature. The creature must do a wisdom saving throw of at least 15 to resist”. The feat is unique to the specie’s upbringing and environment, and can lend flavor to an encounter.

Themed around the character’s job. Things that only that particular class can do, even split into subgroups of effect types. For example, a wizard. A Wizard feat could be being able to duplicate a spell, or change the effect type from fire to ice. Subgroup examples include: feats that effect weapons, feats that affect the Player, feats that affect other players/NPCs, feats that effect the environment.

Your game can be themed around the players. People enjoy things that are unique to them; it makes them feel empowered and even loved! Including something specific about those that you care about can be a way to make that connection be brimming with joy, adding a sparkle in their day!

What do I actually write down?

At the heart of it, you want a name and a description.

The name should be an accurate summary that piques the interest of the player.

The Description should be clear and concise.

It can be helpful to add in any identifying traits (like if the feat is specific to the species/job) beside the name.

How to make your own card game

How to make a card game from concept to completion

What do you enjoy in the card games that you play? What will entice others to play?

For this example, I tried to create a card game that my friends would play. They enjoy relatively simple games, that one can do while talking or conversing. I chose Uno to be the base game, as all agreed that that was their favorite game.

I like the aesthetic of tarot cards, so I also added in their number system (1-10, then page, knight, queen, and king).

I chose a theme, next. I enjoyed the tiktok trend of “vaguely terrifying beasts as pests that just bother you occasionally” as the theme, and boiled down their appearance to “Oblong form in mask”. Simplifying the appearance of the card’s design increases it’s readability. Making your images overly complex can confuse your players (or yourself when coloring them).

After deciding on those, it’s time to design the cards!

I chose to match the number of the figures to the number on the card, to keep it consistent visually. Other options include making the numbers of objects equal to the value of the card (ordinary 52-card deck), creating symbolism to match the value (most tarot cards), or even just putting the value of the card as the main focus (a-la- UNO).

Consistency is key to make sure the players can distinguish different groups of cards from each other while still recognizing it as part of the group.

Matching color-schemes or patterns is the common route to solve that problem!

For mine, each group (distinguished by color) has its own pattern as well. To make sure that all the cards -regardless of color- are read as from the same game/set, I used the same line-art for the base. Making all the figures the same helps tie the card set together.

The video has the rest of the process!

Transformers: Battlegrounds

Transformers: Battlegrounds was released on October 23rd for PC, PS4, Xbox One, and Switch. It’s published by Outright Games, known for publishing family-friendly games across a range of titles from Ice Age to Adventure Time. Transformers: Battlegrounds is an XCOM-styled strategy game. The player controls a team of up to six autobots that include fan favorites like Optimus Prime and Bumblebee. In each fight, the player will battle decepticons in turn-based combat using coordinated strategy. The game also features an overarching story about the hunt for the allspark and the fate of the universe.

Optimus Prime
The player can take control of a range of classic autobots.

Autobots, Roll Out

Transformers: Battlegrounds features an original story with a familiar plot. Megatron is invading the Earth in his hunt for the allspark and the autobots need to stop them. The battles will take you to maps across the Earth and the transformer planet of Cybertron. On Earth, fights will unfold in desserts, forests, cities, and even Cybertron itself. Plus, each controllable autobot has a unique Ultimate ability to be unleashed when their Energon meter is full. After you complete the story mode, the game also features local multiplayer. You can team up with a friend and play in co-op mode against the decepticons. Or, you could go head-to-head in battle against each other.

Screenshot of battle between transformers
Different autobots have different specialties in combat.

Fights against the Decepticons

Transformers: Battlegrounds features 3 difficulty modes to facilitate fun for players of all ages. The digital deluxe version include four skin packs and Cube mode. Cube mode is a capture-the-flag styled battle where the autobots and decepticons fight for the control over the allspark. All-in-all, Transformers: Battlegrounds is straight-forward in what it provides to the audience. If you enjoy the XCOM series or are a fan of turn-based combat, then you might enjoy this game. It’s definitely unlike any other Transformers game released in the past.

#Transformers #Battlegrounds #Outright

Solasta: Crown of the Magister

Solasta: Crown of the Magister is a turn-based RPG in early access, available on Steam for 20% off until December 22nd. The team behind the game, Tactical Adventures, are longtime fans of traditional tabletop RPGs like Dungeons & Dragons. It’s their goal to bring that traditional RPG feel to a PC in the smoothest way possible. Dice rolls and character creation are a huge part of the game, just like old pen-and-paper games. Despite the game being single player, you create an entire team of heroes.  Even though you play by yourself and the game is still being fleshed out, its community is already growing.

Bird's eye view of combat
Solasta features turn-based combat where damage and hit chance are based on dice rolls

Saving Solasta

Playing as a team of four, the player must embark on a journey to save the would of Solasta. The player will traverse through varied areas, from ruins and forts to deserts and forests. The game features a dynamic environment where much of the game can be interacted with. For example, bridges or walls can collapse and crush both your team and your enemies. Solasta: Crown of the Magister features a few other special mechanics that are callbacks to certain tabletop games. The management of light sources is an important mechanic. If you emanate a lot of light, you’ll become a target for enemies. But if there’s not enough light, you won’t be able to see your enemies. And just like D&D, every attack in the game has a dice roll behind it.

A ruin, crumbling
With dynamic environments, enemies can get wiped out if they’re standing in the wrong place. But the same can be said for your team.

A Perilous Journey

The player will find enemies in many forms. There will be an assortment of monsters in their way, including giant spiders, orcs, and the undead. Without being tied to a board on a table, the game is also in three dimensions. This gives players the ability to climb, crawl, fall, or fly around the game. Like any good mythical RPG, there are many options when it comes to creating your characters. You can customize their race, class, background, looks, and stats. Whether you want to be a sneaky archer, a loud warrior, or a behind-the-lines healer, Solasta gives you the chance to pursue whatever you like. If you’re a fan of traditional RPGs like D&D, keep following this game as development continues.

#Solasta #RPG #TurnBased #PCGaming #Fantasy

A Total War Saga: Troy

Total Way Troy logo

A Total War Saga: Troy is SEGA and Creative Assembly’s newest entry in the Total War series. It’s currently out on the Epic Games store and will be coming to Steam in August 2021. The game takes place during the battle between the Greek kingdoms of Troy and Mycenae from the Bronze Age. This would make it the oldest era that Total War has ever centered a game around. This game takes a few pages out of the successful Total War: Three Kingdoms, where it is largely based off of historical events, but there are also many heroes that have legendary strength and participate in legendary battles. 

Fight for Greece

This game holds the central Total War experience in tact while taking us to the oldest time period we’ve seen yet. Fans of Total War: Rome 2 that purchased the Greek States culture pack might find themselves with a sense of déjà vu, as the entire map is now centered around Greece, with numerous hellenic units as the stars of the show in this game. The battles in the campaign will be focused on brutal combat that you’d expect from an ancient battle. Huge battalions comprised of swordsmen, spearmen, cavalry, archers, and various other warriors need to be used strategically in order to achieve victory. But battles only make up half the war. In order to grow your empire and repel foreign invaders, you must also effectively navigate your nation’s politics, your economy, your infrastructure, your food supply, your population, your diplomatic endeavors, and various other obstacles that might get in the way of your expansion towards total Greek domination. Like every modern Total War game, Troy has come out with their infamous “gore” DLC, where players can pay a small fee for a bloody version of the game.

The strategic view of the game's map
Like every Total War game, the player switches from a map of the entire conquerable world to individual battles.

The Blessing of the Gods

More like TW: Three Kingdoms than TW: Rome 2, TW: Troy introduces individual characters that are heroes and can have an enormous influence over certain battles. Total War has always had respect for historical figures such as Julias Caesar or Attila the Hun, but they were still treated as human beings that weren’t capable of battling hundreds of men at once. Three Kingdoms provided a “romance” version of the game, where players could choose to deviate a bit from historical accuracy and allow their generals to become far more powerful. Influential figures in historical China now had the ability to take out entire platoons of enemy forces all on their own. While this might not have been terribly historically accurate, it provided the player with a fun way to become even more personally invested in the life and growth of their top generals. The Total War series has been following a trend of deviating from history, as some of their most successful titles have ended up being the only games that have zero reference to historical events, Total War: Warhammer 1 & 2. In Troy, you can see legendary heroes like Achilles engage in an epic battle with the opposing general as the rest of the soldiers duke it out on the battlefield. Because this game is inspired by Homer’s Iliad, this ends up playing well into the overall campaign that the game presents to the player. If you’re interested in experiencing Total War in the Bronze Age, give the newest iteration of the series a try.

#SEGA #TotalWar #Troy #rts

A battle between warriors
Generals have the power to beat down waves upon waves of enemy soldiers.

Yakuza: Like a Dragon

Yakuza: Like a Dragon logoYakuza: Like a Dragon has just been released for Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PC, and PS4. It’s coming to PS5 on March 2, 2021. This is the newest entry into SEGA’s Yakuza series and it’s made a great deal of changes in story-telling and gameplay that make this game unique and sets itself apart from the older games in the series. The player takes control of a brand new character, in a brand new Japanese city, and the gameplay during combat is totally different, too.

Japanese Crime Syndicate

Just like its predecessors, Yakuza: Like a Dragon puts the player in the shoes of man who must fight against a deadly and dangerous Yakuza clan. You primarily play as Ichiban Kasuga, but this new entry into the series has a huge difference from every other game. You actually play as a team of four players. Instead of being a beat-em-up style fighting game during combat, the combat is actually turn based. There are still a wide variety of traditional and wacky enemies that might require some skillful strategy to get through the game, and you’ll need to take advantage of the strengths of all your characters. Like the past Yakuza games, this game also has many minigames throughout the city. Traveling through the city of Yokohama, you can participate in everything from kart racing to batting cages to arcade game to karaoke.

Karaoke singing

They take karaoke very seriously in Yakuza.

A Fresh Take on Yakuza

Yakuza: Like a Dragon has also opted to make various other changes to the game. Every Yakuza game from 2006 until now has been exclusively voice acted in Japanese. You now have the option for the game to be played out with English voice actors. Voice acting legend, George Takei, plays Masumi Arakawa. He is Kasuga’s patriarch and father-figure from his yakuza past. The Yakuza series has always focused on telling a long story while providing plenty of side-quests, minigames, and memorable boss battles. Despite the vast differences in the way that Yakuza: Like a Dragon plays and tells its story, it still has the same core focus that past releases have had. Whether you’re a long-time fan or a brand new player, this game could provide many hours of entertainment. If you’re a fan of Japanese storytelling or turn-based games, give this game a try.

A Yakuza battle
Changing to a turn-based combat system will give the battles a very different feel.

#Yakuza #SEGA #Next-Gen

XCOM 2 Collection

XCOM 2 Collection was released for IOS on November 5th, 2020. Originally published by 2k in early 2016, XCOM 2 was the direct sequel to the turn-based XCOM: Enemy Within. The game’s plot revolved around the player as the “Commander” of an elite international team of soldiers that must fight off the aliens that are invading the Earth. This time around, the Commander is leading XCOM as a renegade group of freedom fighters that are trying to fight back against ADVENT, the army of genetically modified humans that are slowly dominating more and more of the planet. XCOM 2 Collection will also include the War of the Chosen DCL and the Reinforcement Pack’s 4 separate DLCs.

The War for Humanity

XCOM 2 has become an acclaimed leader in the turn-based combat industry. The game offers a wide variety of choices and options for how the player chooses to develop their individual soldiers and XCOM as a whole. In XCOM 2, your entire base is an alien supply barge that’s been commandeered by your team. You will meet various scripted characters that help you improve your base and your soldiers. Central Officer Bradford makes his return to the XCOM series as your chief middleman with managing XCOM. Dr. Richard Tygan, an ADVENT scientist that has defected to your team, guides you through your technological and scientific progression. Meanwhile, Lily Shen replaces her father from XCOM: Enemy Within as your guide through your engineering upgrades.

An XCOM soldier wields an enormous gun

This class, the grenadier, carries a huge gun and focuses on heavy firepower.

The Fight Rages On

XCOM 2 and its DLC have brought numerous additions to the XCOM series that make the game unique and different. The DLC alone add 4 new classes of soldiers, bringing the overall total of classes in the game to 9. All 9 play totally differently and will force you to completely change how you try to complete your objectives in each level. Beyond class selection, there are numerous weapons and special traits that you can give your characters, which will cause you to truly care about the well-being of your soldiers. If you’re playing on a hard difficulty and find yourself growing attached to your characters, you can expect to load to old saves pretty often if you can’t except the death of an important character. You can also choose nearly everything about the soldiers that you recruit, from their attire, to their gender, to their nationality. The game gives you a great deal of choice in progression and style, all while maintaining an excellent story with engaging strategic combat. This game is a must-have for lovers of turn-based  gameplay.

Chosen Warlock
The Chosen Warlock is one of the powerful aliens featured in the DLC.