Designing a Card Game

suineg

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#1
So I made a post a little while back about an idea that popped into my head and I have pivoted on it but I am getting a little stumped on some of the finer parts. Here is the quote of what I came up with.

The current concept is 3 factions kind of like Starcraft but the game will be more like Dungeon Builder or maybe a Plants vs. Zombies. Something real lightweight.

You would have:

Trump - Rednecks and factory workers. Special abilities like (Fake News - deletes one opposing trending meme)
Hillary - Rich whites and internation businessmen. Special abilities like (Correct the Record - flip one opposing trending meme to your side)
Bernie - Hipsters and college professors. Special abilities like (Free Stuff - deploy a meme at 0 cost)

Putin - Unlocked when the game is beat once. Pick a side and you look exactly like them but it just puts a Russian hat on your character. Special abilities like (Twitter Manipulation - All your memes trend on twitter 10% faster)

It would be a back and forth game of trying to trend and gain a lead in the polls. The end is winning the election but past that are bonus stages listed as "scandals" and are all possible scenarios that have already played out or that might have played out if other people were elected.
So here is the pivot. Right now it's 3 factions of Democrat / Republican / Independent aka Hillary / Trump / Bernie (maybe also Gary Johnson). Yes I know that Bernie ran Democrat. They would be vying for the presidency through the game.

The gameplay ideas that I am tossing around are as such:

- Maybe you go for a state per turn which makes it 50 turns? 25 turns? 15 turns?
- You have your own small deck of "faction" cards and draw from the bigger pool of common cards.

I am having an issue when trying to come up with resource generation. I was thinking about automatic uptick every turn but that doesn't feel right. @Gavinmad suggested that I name it "Supporters" which is quite good. I don't know the proper way to generate them per turn though.

Anyone have some ideas that they want to bounce off?

I want to print this for real and kickstart it and future expansions will be past elections and some caricature futuristic ones also maybe. If you know that side of it also I would love to hear from you.
 

OU Ariakas

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#2
Easiest way to figure out a resource system is to throw together some proxies and start trying things out. Remember that the biggest question to keep asking as you test is 'are the players having fun?'
 

OU Ariakas

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#3
Go for Electoral Votes as the wincon. Making deals for electoral votes in exchange to be part of a party's ticket could be fun. Maybe the winning teams VP could have an advantage the next game played?
 

Daezuel

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#4
So lets get a test group together and play it out?
 

OU Ariakas

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#5
Resources could be campaign staffers, everyone gets one head staffer and there is a pool of other staffers for each party. You have to choose a party before the game and the number of staffers you get a turn is divided among the others of the same party.
 

suineg

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#6
Go for Electoral Votes as the wincon. Making deals for electoral votes in exchange to be part of a party's ticket could be fun. Maybe the winning teams VP could have an advantage the next game played?
Yeah that's why I was thinking states and you would get the votes from it.

Instead it could play to 270 points being the win regardless of how they are earned.
 

OU Ariakas

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#7
Yeah that's why I was thinking states and you would get the votes from it.

Instead it could play to 270 points being the win regardless of how they are earned.

That also opens up fun things like buying votes (pay to play) or stealing them a la Hillary from Bernie.
 

suineg

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#8
That also opens up fun things like buying votes (pay to play) or stealing them a la Hillary from Bernie.
Yeah I think it has a lot of potential to be fun if I can figure out how to generate resources well.

I think that's my first step. I thought about rolling 1D6 every turn to show the randomness of the people and you would get 1-6 electoral votes or supports or twitter followers or something.
 

Hateyou

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#9
For resources, what about trying split cards? Draw from a deck each round, each card has choice of two things you can play, either some kind of positive generation for yourself, or attack on the other persons resources. This way you’re random since drawing from a deck, but there’s also choice. Each player could either have their own deck to draw from, or a shared deck.

1d6 for resource sounds bad and too random.
 

Fyff

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#10
What if your resources are your deck. There are many ways to do that. Vs. you can play cards face down as a resource or face up as their card. Other games you play X cards per turn and your deck is your "life pool". Something like Epic you get 1 coin per turn and you can play two cards, one with zero cost and one with 1 cost.

The first place to start is asking yourself the simple questions -
How long do I want the game to last (both in turns and time)?
How much player interaction do I want in my game? (e.g. - Dominion has very little where Legend of the Five Rings has a ton)
Are cards being placed statically on the board or are they cycling every turn? (Magic versus Star Realms)
 

Hateyou

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#11
My suggestion, based on your faction idea. Have resources be tied to the factions. Make them equal amounts, just names different. Hillary is trying for money, trump for Twitter followers, news for ratings, Putin for Russian bots, Bernie for neighbors money.
 

Enzee

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#12
1d6 adds waaay too much variance. If you were gonna go that kind of route, i'd say like 2d6, pick best one. Or, choose to take a flat 3 after rolling (if both are 1 or 2). The difference between only getting 1 or getting 6 of a resource, especially if it's important to the core game, is too huge. 3-6 is still potentially too much luck for my tastes, but most people enjoy more randomness then me.

However, this could also tie in with the factions. Maybe one of them gets an extra re-roll of the dice each turn, to show that they make 'money' or 'votes' better.

My thought is you make it 3 resources. Money, supporters and votes (or whatever). Each can be converted over to the others at a reduced rate, but each faction is better at generating a certain resource. Money can buy supporters (ads), supporters can create votes (volunteer campaigns), votes can be sold for money, etc..

3 resources, each used to purchase/create/craft electoral votes/states, and first one to get 270 wins. You can then either try to focus on your economy, sabotage opponents economy/votes or even steal them completely with different cards. Each faction would be a little better at certain things.

If you go with this system, I'd make it so each faction generates X of each per turn, but they get more of the one they are best at. ex: Democrats get 2 money, 1 supporter, 1 vote. Republicans get 1, 2 and 1. Independent gets 1, 1 and 2. You get the idea.
 

Enzee

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#13
I'd also break it down into phases. Start of turn, generate resources, then there is an exchange phase where you can swap 2 of one for 1 of another resource. You make the cards cost certain resources, so you have to plan out which one(s) you plan to use ahead of time. Then, there is a phase where each team takes turns playing a card. Whoever is currently ahead in electoral votes has to play their card first, helps prevent someone from running away with the game, but it goes around until no one wants to play anymore cards. So, you could play many cards if you have the resources, while an opponent didn't play any, because they are saving up resources. Seeing what your opponent plays first should be an advantage, to help whoever is losing to stay in the game. But, not so big that no one tries to get electoral votes early on. Maybe you can only get so many electoral votes per turn, to prevent someone saving up and 'buying' them all at once they can win.

The card effects themselves is where the real depth would come in. ex: Republicans could have a 'trump card' (eh? get it??) That might cost 2 supporters, 1 money, and gains control of a card played this round (opponent does not get the benefit, you do). Democrat card 'Celebrity fundraiser' costs 2 money, 1 supporter, 1 vote. Gain 5 money, 3 supporters and 2 votes. Independent card 'Grassroots campaign' Costs nothing: gain 2 supporters, 1 money.

These are very basic mechanics and ideas, just to illustrate the core concept. I saw your original post had an idea for incorporating 'memes', but dunno what you wanted the mechanics of that to be. There's all kinds of stuff you could add to these core mechanics, though. Memes could be the equivalent of 'permanents' in magic, and the other cards are just 'spells'. They can generate ongoing resources for you, if left unchecked, but opponents can interact with them.
 

pharmakos

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#14
Shouldn't resources be donation dollars? Ranging from grassroots to Super PAC.
 

Omayga

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#15
So maybe something similar to how resources are spent / generated / converted like Agricola?

Money, Time, People seems to be the 3 big resources that you can interchange around for your basic building blocks.

I like the idea of something similar to Risk where states generate something, maybe electoral votes, followers, money etc, but maybe each has an upkeep or a cost associated with the benefit. California might be great for the votes, but if you have to do a whole lot of crazy shit to win / maintain it then it may or may not be worth going after to secure almost 20% of your electoral votes

If you develop a multi-resource system you could even make it so that you could play a traditional campaign where your predominantly red or blue states start off already on that team (so cali, florida, new york are blue) and texas + midwest is red and then you just battle over the swing states and maybe try to flip one of the other trams major states. It could cost the democrats much less resource to keep california blue and a colossal amount of resource to turn it red (which may or may not be worth the opportunity cost) but you would almost need a blind bidding way to allocate resources. That could mirror nicely to the election where you have The Dems thinking they won a state only to find out afterwards that Trump put a lot of time, focus and effort into it in the last week to flip it red.

You could also just have an open brawl mode (with any number of parties) where everything is neutral and you land grab and battle it out, with each party having its own strengths and weaknesses and pretty balanced against each other.

I like the idea of it!
 

Enzee

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#16
I don't know if he's doing a hybrid board/card game, but if so then i really like those ideas. Having a board of the US and taking over states. That might be too much work to make each state have different attributes, and making a game board, and kind of punishes the other factions that aren't Dem/Rep (though that's more realistic to real world, lol).

If not, it may just be that we make each state be worth so many votes and cost certain things to acquire them. Maybe there's a card for each state and they are dealt into their own deck? Each turn, X of them are flipped out into a row, and those are the ones available to 'acquire' but only if you can afford it. Kind of like how Star Realms works, if anyone is familiar, but they don't go into your 'deck' here. States with more votes require more resources. So, maybe Cali is like.. 12 money, 10 supporters and 8 votes whereas iowa is just 1 money, 1 supporter, 1 vote. You have to save up for multiple turns to get it. Also, there could be a few ways to steal a state from someone even after they acquired it, or special cards that take the state even if you can't afford it.

So, some examples, maybe the Independents have a card that lets them use any resource to meet the requirement for getting the state. If they have 10 money, and it costs 5 supporters, 5 votes, they can just use the 10 money to get it. Russia could be great at preventing people from getting states, with cards that block states from being taken from the row for X turns, so they can save up for it.

Also, some states could have passive bonuses, like generating resources for you, drawing extra cards, etc.. Or, be cheaper/more expensive for certain factions to take.

In my mind, I'm seeing a game that has parts of Settlers of Catan, Magic and Star Realms. The resource generation/exchange is sort of like Settlers, the phase of playing cards is sorta a cross between magic/star realms, and the acquiring of states is sorta like most deckbuilding games (such as Star Realms). But, my idea might be far off from what he originally intended, not sure.
 

Enzee

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#17
BTW: I'm very interested in helping out with this in some way, maybe a developer? I've played various ccgs for over 20 years, mainly magic, and have always enjoyed coming up with card designs for fun. If I can help develop the different cards, as well as help balance them, once you've decided on some core mechanics, would love to do that. Plus, I can be the token moderate democrat to balance out your moderate conservative point of view :)
Unfortunately, I don't have a ton of knowledge on the publishing aspect, but I might know someone who does. He's an actual indie game creator who's gotten one or two of his ideas made into actual products by some smaller publishers. Haven't talked to him in a few years, since I worked at a game store, but I'll see if I can reach out to him.
 

suineg

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#18
Yeah more and more I am feeling like this is a board game. I just don't know a good way to do it card. I wanted it to be quick with very little rules necessary that you can just pick up and play.

Yeah I am for sure going to develop it and put it on kickstarter also if we get anywhere close to being fun.
 

Enzee

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#19
The rules I outlined above is pretty simple and intuitive if you had the cards in front of you. Creating a game board with all the states would add more complexity to it.

I'm not understanding what part you can't express in cards, though your initial post (the quoted one) made it sound more like a mobile app game.