Author Topic: Keys to making a good card game  (Read 2407 times)

Offline pilgrim14

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Keys to making a good card game
« on: July 13, 2015, 05:15:11 PM »
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I am making a Sci-fi card game, and I was wondering, what do you think are the keys to a good card game? Costs vs effect? Good turn structure? Diversity in strategy?

Thank you for the advice,
Pilgrim
"Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase" Martin Luther King, Jr.

Offline ChristianSoldier

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Re: Keys to making a good card game
« Reply #1 on: July 13, 2015, 05:32:25 PM »
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I have studied this much, since I love designing games, and much of my information comes from Mark Rosewater's Making Magic Column on the Magic: the Gathering site and the TV tropes So You Want To Make A Collectable Card Game page. But from memory I'm going to list several important things:

1) Don't go against human nature: Basically don't make your players do something they don't want to do. Let them make their own choices: make sure that your strategies aren't too prebuilt.

2) Make sure your players can interact. This one seems obvious, but especially if you include variable player goals, make sure that every avenue of winning is something that can be stopped under the right circumstances.

3) Multiple Paths to Victory: Even if you only have one victory condition (like Redemption is only won by redeeming lost souls), but it's good to have different strategies used to get that.

4) Pacing: Make sure your games pacing is feel right, if the game goes too fast it can get old quickly, if it's too slow it can get boring.

5) A way to comeback from losing: This one is important because it really stinks to be losing and having no way to come back from it.

I'm sure there's more that I'm missing, but these are the things that came to mind.
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Offline pilgrim14

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Re: Keys to making a good card game
« Reply #2 on: July 13, 2015, 07:35:17 PM »
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For number 2, would winning first be stopping the opponent? for example in MTG you lose if you deck out, but, if you kill the opponent when you have 1 card left, you still win.
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Offline ChristianSoldier

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Re: Keys to making a good card game
« Reply #3 on: July 13, 2015, 09:59:30 PM »
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For number 2, would winning first be stopping the opponent? for example in MTG you lose if you deck out, but, if you kill the opponent when you have 1 card left, you still win.

Sort of... MtG's primary win condition is being brought down to 0 life, usually by being attacked. You can stop them from achieving that by blocking creatures. I suppose not every win condition needs to be as stoppable, especially if they come up less often. The decking out is a rarity and isn't always caused by an opponent, unless your opponent is using cards to run your deck out, being able to stop it isn't really relevant, but not being able to interact with opponents attempts to win the game can be a problem.
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Offline kerfluffle

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Re: Keys to making a good card game
« Reply #4 on: July 25, 2015, 08:46:15 PM »
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I think good card art/design is something that draws people to a card game (it's definitely something I appreciate). There are some people who won't play Yugioh because it has terrible card design. Also I personally don't like how in some card games decking out means you lose. I think that the only way to lose should be a way within the rules of the game rather than the technicalities of it. Finally, don't make deck building rules strict/rigid. Give people lots of freedom to build their own unique deck.

Offline ChristianSoldier

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Re: Keys to making a good card game
« Reply #5 on: July 25, 2015, 09:20:22 PM »
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I think good card art/design is something that draws people to a card game (it's definitely something I appreciate). There are some people who won't play Yugioh because it has terrible card design. Also I personally don't like how in some card games decking out means you lose. I think that the only way to lose should be a way within the rules of the game rather than the technicalities of it. Finally, don't make deck building rules strict/rigid. Give people lots of freedom to build their own unique deck.

I agree good art can make or break a game.

Technically if "Decking out" makes you lose in a game, it's part of the rules, not just a technicality, in MtG it actually has flavor (while life is your body being destroyed, decking out is your mind being destroyed), and in Android: Netrunner the Corp Decking out I think means they ran out of resources to achieve their goals (the branch of the company had to shut down), and in some games decking out your opponent is the primary way of winning (Star Wars Customizable Card Game being the most notable one I know). Of course this isn't to say that you aren't entitled to your own opinion on what you do and don't like, but I don't think it is just a technicality.

I'm curious what you mean by deck building rules being strict/rigid, would you care to explain?
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Offline kerfluffle

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Re: Keys to making a good card game
« Reply #6 on: July 25, 2015, 10:43:31 PM »
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I think good card art/design is something that draws people to a card game (it's definitely something I appreciate). There are some people who won't play Yugioh because it has terrible card design. Also I personally don't like how in some card games decking out means you lose. I think that the only way to lose should be a way within the rules of the game rather than the technicalities of it. Finally, don't make deck building rules strict/rigid. Give people lots of freedom to build their own unique deck.

I agree good art can make or break a game.

Technically if "Decking out" makes you lose in a game, it's part of the rules, not just a technicality, in MtG it actually has flavor (while life is your body being destroyed, decking out is your mind being destroyed), and in Android: Netrunner the Corp Decking out I think means they ran out of resources to achieve their goals (the branch of the company had to shut down), and in some games decking out your opponent is the primary way of winning (Star Wars Customizable Card Game being the most notable one I know). Of course this isn't to say that you aren't entitled to your own opinion on what you do and don't like, but I don't think it is just a technicality.

I'm curious what you mean by deck building rules being strict/rigid, would you care to explain?

I just said it was a technicality because it could interrupt the flow of the game if you lost via decking out. Players who otherwise might win would lose because they decked out. Sure, it could be part of the rules and you could think of it as your body being destroyed and whatnot, but if there are other more common ways of winning the game then I think you should have to win the game that way. But, as you stated, preferences are preferences.

Also, for the rigid deck building thing, I hate to pick on Redemption but there are a lot of stiff rules for deck building if you want to build a tournament legal deck. And a lot of the rules don't apply to other card games (e.g. the amount of any card you can have in some games is 4 but in Redemption you can only have 1 copy of each card).

« Last Edit: July 25, 2015, 11:29:39 PM by kerfluffle »

Offline kram1138

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Re: Keys to making a good card game
« Reply #7 on: July 25, 2015, 11:25:27 PM »
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(e.g. the amount of any card you can have in some games is 4 but in Redemption you can only have 1 copy of each card).

If you like that, try T2!
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Offline kerfluffle

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Re: Keys to making a good card game
« Reply #8 on: July 25, 2015, 11:28:45 PM »
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(e.g. the amount of any card you can have in some games is 4 but in Redemption you can only have 1 copy of each card).

If you like that, try T2!

I'm a new player so I want to get used to T1 first :)