Game 3 of 2016 Design Notes

It is now well into July and the 3rd quarter of the year. Game 2, “Drone Tournament” is not finished yet as the multiplayer still needs more work, but I have a schedule to keep.

Since the beginning of the year, I knew I wanted to make a simple card type game this year. I really enjoy many card based games like MTG, Poker, Munchkin, Duelyst, and Cards and Castles and want to begin coming up with ideas in this area.

The Game

The design right now is based around some of the core mechanics from MTG with some of my own flavor and rules tossed in. Additionally even though I have not played Hearthstone directly, I may borrow some of it’s mechanics as well.


The goal is to reduce your opponents character life total to 0. Pretty straightforward. This will be accomplished through attacking with your various creatures and abilities.


For this game, the rules need to be spelled out pretty clearly since it can ostensibly be played 100% on paper and no computer is needed. The following rules may change.

Each player chooses a character to represent them in play (those familiar with MTG Commander or EDH this would be like a commander but also like a Planeswalker). This character can be attacked by opponents creatures and targeted by their abilities.

Each player takes a turn that sequences as follows.

  1. Renew Resources – resources that have been used are untapped then you draw a card
  2. Status Effects Happen – any status effects that are on creatures or players apply during this phase
  3. Main Planning – players play new creatures, increase their resources, use abilities, play equipment, and modify creatures during this phase
  4. Combat – players attack with creatures and or their character during this phase
  5. Secondary Planning – same as Main planning
  6. Turn Ends

Again these rules may change a ton.


Players can do all sorts of interaction with their opponent by attacking, blocking, and using abilities to disrupt their opponents plan.

Catch Up

The game is not over until it is over. Their will be abilities that can bring a losing player back into the game and some that can help stabilize a losing situation.


The steady increase of available resources will unlock the player’s ability to use more powerful creatures and abilities which will bring the game to and end sooner. Considering implementing the Cards and Castles rule that when a deck runs out of cards, the player’s life starts decreasing slowly.


Hidden information games always contains surprise. In games like this there are 2 main areas for surprise. First your own deck. You do not know what you will draw each turn and in what order. Second your opponents hand and deck. You do not know what he has planned for you.


With deck building, strategy comes into giving yourself a good percentage to draw a sequence of cards that can be used to win the game. This skill can improve over time. With play involving hidden information like this, the strategy becomes making the play that gives you the highest chance to win with the resources that you have available and might become available later.


I am borrowing the fun from several other games so I expect this game to be fun as well. If the art of game design is to be believed, fun is just problem solving with a playful attitude and a little surprise mixed in certainly helps. This game is all about that.


The flavor is sort of going to be borrowed from one of my favorite RPG’s called Geneforge. I plan on asking the creator of the game if I can use the flavor directly but if I can’t I will still use the ideas, just flavor them slightly differently.

A Hook

This one is actually gonna be kinda tough. There are so many TCG’s (Trading Card Games) out there that occasionally I see one and think to myself, “not another one.” But I am also hopeful about some. Regardless, I think the hook will have to be something along the lines of strategy, deck building, and defeating your enemies with your awesome monsters.

Final Thoughts

While I don’t necessarily think this game will be a huge hit, I am excited to try to make a card game with a pile of mechanics that I think might be cool. It’s not a bunch of new stuff, but it is a different mix.

If you can’t think of new things to make, try mixing old things.

I Want to Be a Better Developer