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Look upon my [game design] ye Mighty, and despair!

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Posts

  • El FantasticoEl Fantastico Toronto, ONRegistered User regular
    Had a thought about a boardgame idea that's still only really in the conceptual stages in my head, but getting them down on a document so I don't lose the idea and I think it'd be something I'd like to bring up.

    What do you do when you want to get started on making a playable prototype for your game?

    My game requires a board (square grid "tiles" would be drawn over a map) and cards. Lots and lots of cards. And tokens to represent coins/currency and victory points.

    akyxa17p3s5g.png
    PSN: TheArcadeBear
    Steam: TheArcadeBear

  • The SauceThe Sauce Alysandria Registered User regular
    Head to Gamecrafter. I've done all my prototyping through them.

    Triptycho: A card-and-dice tabletop indie RPG currently in development and playtesting
  • The SauceThe Sauce Alysandria Registered User regular
    edited January 13
    I may have been a bit hasty with the previous post. If you're wanting to do prototyping at an earlier stage, you'll want simpler handmade parts, probably.

    A common thing there is to use index cards. You can use different size ones for cards and board tiles. A publisher told me they've played and signed games that were entirely on index cards when presented.

    If you want something that feels more like cards, grab some solid back card protectors (I used Dragon Shields) and put poker cards in them. Create a spreadsheet with boxes set up the size of poker cards and copy to as many pages as you need, inserting the card text into the boxes. Print and cut them out (I bought one of those office paper cutters to do pages at once, mostly straight) and insert them into the protectors on top of the power cards.

    You can reduce your workload and promote rapid change by printing blank cards and writing in pencil so you can erase. Or, buy low graphics poker cards, skip the suits, and just write directly on them.

    For organization, you can use different colors of protectors for different types of cards.

    For tokens, pick up some generic tabletop tokens. I like the plain colored glass-looking counters. If you need a bunch of them and it's confusing, either print some cheat sheets with keys / quick lookup or make your own. Make smaller boxes than for the cards, put a letter or simple symbol on them, and print on thick stock and cut out.

    You can also use other random objects, like coins, dice, or pieces from other games.

    Expect to change things every time you playtest for the first like dozen times. I changed a few key terms after my first test, which meant I had to redo a ton of printed cards. It took hours. Make the first versions as easy to edit in place as you can!

    The Sauce on
    Triptycho: A card-and-dice tabletop indie RPG currently in development and playtesting
    El FantasticoJustTee
  • El FantasticoEl Fantastico Toronto, ONRegistered User regular
    I wrote down a list of materials that will likely be required, at this for this first test phase of the game.

    I have a bunch of different coloured plastic beads I can supplement for tokens for now. Mostly I need about 100 different cards (to start, might bump up to 200 if I expand to 4 players) and "tiles" to lay down a map, similar to how maps are "generated" every time one plays a game like Survive! or Settlers of Catan.

    I foresee a Michael's run later today to get some card stock or construction paper to get those cards knocked out.

    akyxa17p3s5g.png
    PSN: TheArcadeBear
    Steam: TheArcadeBear

    Elvenshae
  • NipsNips Luxuriating in existential crisis.Registered User regular
    If you're looking for cheap playing cards, I just picked up four decks of these for a prototype I'm making:
    https://www.eaieducation.com/Product/530658/Blank_Playing_Cards_-_Single_Deck.aspx

    They're a little bit on the thin side, but the price is an easy sell (I bought four decks, with S&H it cost less than $14 total) and they work as advertised.

    JXUBxMxP0QndjQUEnTwTxOkfKmx8kWNvuc-FUtbSz_23_DAhGKe7W9spFKLXAtkpTBqM8Dt6kQrv-rS69Hi3FheL3fays2xTeVUvWR7g5UyLHnFA0frGk1BC12GYdOSRn9lbaJB-uH0htiLPJMrc9cSRsIgk5Dx7jg9K8rJVfG43lkeAWxTgcolNscW9KO2UZjKT8GMbYAFgFvu2TaMoLH8LBA5p2pm6VNYRsQK3QGjCsze1TOv2yIbCazmDwCHmjiQxNDf6LHP35msyiXo3CxuWs9Y8DQvJjvj10kWaspRNlWHKjS5w9Y0KLuIkhQKOxgaDziG290v4zBmTi-i7OfDz-foqIqKzC9wTbn9i_uU87GRitmrNAJdzRRsaTW5VQu_XX_5gCN8XCoNyu5RWWVGTsjJuyezz1_NpFa903Uj2TnFqnL1wJ-RZiFAAd2Bdut-G1pdQtdQihsq2dx_BjtmtGC3KZRyylO1t2c12dhfb0rStq4v8pg46ciOcdtT_1qm85IgUmGd7AmgLxCFPb0xnxWZvr26G-oXSqrQdjKA1zNIInSowiHcbUO2O8S5LRJVR6vQiEg0fbGXw4vqJYEn917tnzHMh8r0xom8BLKMvoFDelk6wbEeNq8w8Eyu2ouGjEMIvvJcb2az2AKQ1uE_7gdatfKG2QdvfdSBRSc35MQ=w498-h80-no
  • NipsNips Luxuriating in existential crisis.Registered User regular
    edited January 13
    (Whoops double post!)
    Nips wrote: »
    If you're looking for cheap playing cards, I just picked up four decks of these for a prototype I'm making:
    https://www.eaieducation.com/Product/530658/Blank_Playing_Cards_-_Single_Deck.aspx

    They're a little bit on the thin side, but the price is an easy sell (I bought four decks, with S&H it cost less than $14 total) and they work as advertised.

    I'll also heartily endorse the sleeves/cards/printed slips technique. Great for modularity and adjustments mid-design, but it's very time consuming.

    Nips on
    JXUBxMxP0QndjQUEnTwTxOkfKmx8kWNvuc-FUtbSz_23_DAhGKe7W9spFKLXAtkpTBqM8Dt6kQrv-rS69Hi3FheL3fays2xTeVUvWR7g5UyLHnFA0frGk1BC12GYdOSRn9lbaJB-uH0htiLPJMrc9cSRsIgk5Dx7jg9K8rJVfG43lkeAWxTgcolNscW9KO2UZjKT8GMbYAFgFvu2TaMoLH8LBA5p2pm6VNYRsQK3QGjCsze1TOv2yIbCazmDwCHmjiQxNDf6LHP35msyiXo3CxuWs9Y8DQvJjvj10kWaspRNlWHKjS5w9Y0KLuIkhQKOxgaDziG290v4zBmTi-i7OfDz-foqIqKzC9wTbn9i_uU87GRitmrNAJdzRRsaTW5VQu_XX_5gCN8XCoNyu5RWWVGTsjJuyezz1_NpFa903Uj2TnFqnL1wJ-RZiFAAd2Bdut-G1pdQtdQihsq2dx_BjtmtGC3KZRyylO1t2c12dhfb0rStq4v8pg46ciOcdtT_1qm85IgUmGd7AmgLxCFPb0xnxWZvr26G-oXSqrQdjKA1zNIInSowiHcbUO2O8S5LRJVR6vQiEg0fbGXw4vqJYEn917tnzHMh8r0xom8BLKMvoFDelk6wbEeNq8w8Eyu2ouGjEMIvvJcb2az2AKQ1uE_7gdatfKG2QdvfdSBRSc35MQ=w498-h80-no
    JustTee
  • El FantasticoEl Fantastico Toronto, ONRegistered User regular
    Last night, I hit up Michael's, got a couple of foam boards, some card stock, and some markers.

    I finished up my map tiles and player "base" tiles, for lack of a better term. The map will scale in size for up to 4 players. I now just need to colour each tile to represent a resource, similar to Catan, though unlike Catan, they won't be randomly assigned a number. Players will fight for control over specifically marked tiles and earn VP for each one they manage to maintain at the end of each player round.

    Most of the tiles will just be "road" tiles though - no fights to be had over those. They would just count as empty spaces to use up a move action en route to the more valuable tiles.

    akyxa17p3s5g.png
    PSN: TheArcadeBear
    Steam: TheArcadeBear

    Endless_Serpents
  • Endless_SerpentsEndless_Serpents Registered User regular
    edited January 21
    Eh, I’m pretty sure Neon Oblivion is just a passion piece at this point. One of those quaint indie roleplaying games no one will actually play, but I’m having to make it as it wishes to be made, you know? Which means it’s now a diceless narrative story game thingy!

    All the rules and character moves are just acting constraints really, but I’m enjoying making it, which is the point I guess.

    I’m fairly close to daring to show it off, too!

    Endless_Serpents on
  • MrBlarneyMrBlarney Registered User regular
    To add another option to Nips' suggestion for blank cards, I've had a fair amount of luck with these: 500 bridge-sized cards. Sure, they're not as wide as standard cards, but they're sturdier than index cards and handy for quick notes.

    chirisigtext.png
    Nips
  • El FantasticoEl Fantastico Toronto, ONRegistered User regular
    Had to make some new "base" tiles, as using 6-sided hex tiles does not make a 4-player game easy to lay out a map for if you want the players to use north/east/south/west seating positions.

    Using a 5-4-5-4-5 layout however, means the players can take the "corners" of the grid and the map works for 4 players. For 3 players, the map would be laid out like a pyramid as 5-4-3-2-1, with each player taking a tip of the map. And 2 players would have a 1-2-3-2-1 map layout, which is perfect for a small game with constant skirmishes for the VP PoIs.

    akyxa17p3s5g.png
    PSN: TheArcadeBear
    Steam: TheArcadeBear

    Elvenshae
  • JustTeeJustTee Registered User regular
    Index Cards are great for things that will have symbols or text, or will be shuffled / handled often. Use a pencil, and get a good eraser that doesn't destroy paper. I'm partial to the pentel white block thing.

    Poker Cards are awesome for wet/dry erase markers, and good for things that need to be hidden during play. The Paper in a card sleeve with a Poker card inside is also a great tip if you get to the stage where printing cards en masse is a thing that you're doing.

    Initially though, try to break down each concept and part of your game into the *smallest chunk* possible. I saw you mentioned 200 cards for 4 player multi player - but don't prototype 200 different cards. Prototype what I call "The One Key Round" of the game. For your game, that might be anywhere in the beginning, middle, or end. But it's the moment of the game that sings the clearest. Make just enough cards to test *exactly that* stage, and nothing more. You don't need follow up rounds yet. You don't need lead in rounds. Just get that stage of the game working. Iterate until it's great. Expand outward from there.

    This also lets you firm up the fundamentals of the game, the key decisions needed, the key rules needed. With that done, you can start to iterate how some cards might deviate from or break the rules. And you can always mix and match techniques. So at a later stage in development, when you've printed up cards and sleeved things and gotten everything ready - don't be afraid to hand right balance/adjustment changes and throw them in the sleeve, or to add a new blank playing card, or slip of paper, or whatever.

    I think the most important lesson I learned from futzing around with my own board game is to not be tied to specific *things* in your game. Have a design vision and design goals, but specific mechanics, no matter how brilliant, need to be cut without mercy when they need to be cut.

    It's like DMing. Sometimes you have an epic plan for a dungeon that your players will never see. And that's fine - the work you put in crafting that dungeon isn't wasted. It's just material for a later session (or in this case, game).

    Diagnosed with AML on 6/1/12. Read about it: www.effleukemia.com
    Elvenshae
  • Anon the FelonAnon the Felon In bat country.Registered User regular
    Never be afraid to kill your darlings.

    NipsJustTee
  • El FantasticoEl Fantastico Toronto, ONRegistered User regular
    edited January 23
    JustTee wrote: »
    Initially though, try to break down each concept and part of your game into the *smallest chunk* possible. I saw you mentioned 200 cards for 4 player multi player - but don't prototype 200 different cards. Prototype what I call "The One Key Round" of the game. For your game, that might be anywhere in the beginning, middle, or end. But it's the moment of the game that sings the clearest. Make just enough cards to test *exactly that* stage, and nothing more. You don't need follow up rounds yet. You don't need lead in rounds. Just get that stage of the game working. Iterate until it's great. Expand outward from there.

    So I took this advice, and made enough cards for a 2-P game where the "round" can be played out a few different ways, a few different times.

    When players get into a battle over a point of interest on the map, it's going to use a card game system similar to Final Fantasy 8's Triple Triad, where you have the 3x3 grid to lay out cards, and the cards will have a stat ranging from 1 to 10 to represent each facing direction. If my number beats your adjacent number, I win your card, but you can always take back your card (or take mine) by laying a card next to it with a face that has a higher number.

    Most people have played Triple Triad, so we know the mechanics work, and the popularity for the game is there. Where we can deviate a bit from TT and add some flavor and depth is in what the cards (consider them like army units) can do besides just attacking number to number. Some cards will have some of TT's regional rules built in as a special effect, like a unit that doesn't need to win by 1+, but can just match (the Same rule) a 5 versus a 5 and win. Other units, once played, can let you rotate a card on the field so you can shift each number 90 degrees in any direction to try to attack with a different number.

    To that end, I had to make different cards to try out a few of these mechanics so the players weren't just fighting with the same 5 units every time to test the round. Each player controls a faction (humans, undead, elves, beastmen) so the units in each faction deck and their special abilities are thematically different, but that's going to take some advanced planning and thought as balancing powerful unique cards between each faction will definitely be a concern.

    El Fantastico on
    akyxa17p3s5g.png
    PSN: TheArcadeBear
    Steam: TheArcadeBear

    JustTee
  • JustTeeJustTee Registered User regular
    JustTee wrote: »
    Initially though, try to break down each concept and part of your game into the *smallest chunk* possible. I saw you mentioned 200 cards for 4 player multi player - but don't prototype 200 different cards. Prototype what I call "The One Key Round" of the game. For your game, that might be anywhere in the beginning, middle, or end. But it's the moment of the game that sings the clearest. Make just enough cards to test *exactly that* stage, and nothing more. You don't need follow up rounds yet. You don't need lead in rounds. Just get that stage of the game working. Iterate until it's great. Expand outward from there.

    So I took this advice, and made enough cards for a 2-P game where the "round" can be played out a few different ways, a few different times.

    When players get into a battle over a point of interest on the map, it's going to use a card game system similar to Final Fantasy 8's Triple Triad, where you have the 3x3 grid to lay out cards, and the cards will have a stat ranging from 1 to 10 to represent each facing direction. If my number beats your adjacent number, I win your card, but you can always take back your card (or take mine) by laying a card next to it with a face that has a higher number.

    Most people have played Triple Triad, so we know the mechanics work, and the popularity for the game is there. Where we can deviate a bit from TT and add some flavor and depth is in what the cards (consider them like army units) can do besides just attacking number to number. Some cards will have some of TT's regional rules built in as a special effect, like a unit that doesn't need to win by 1+, but can just match (the Same rule) a 5 versus a 5 and win. Other units, once played, can let you rotate a card on the field so you can shift each number 90 degrees in any direction to try to attack with a different number.

    To that end, I had to make different cards to try out a few of these mechanics so the players weren't just fighting with the same 5 units every time to test the round. Each player controls a faction (humans, undead, elves, beastmen) so the units in each faction deck and their special abilities are thematically different, but that's going to take some advanced planning and thought as balancing powerful unique cards between each faction will definitely be a concern.

    Yeah, there's no real right answer for the quantity of cards you need to model the key decisions. From the stand point of an independent person who has to manually make each card by hand, without any sort of budget or assistance, I think a big key is to do the minimum necessary work to test.

    Once you have the base stat line plotted, and the base round plotted, then you start adding rounds and decisions. But don't focus too much attention on balancing the power at this stage. Just start adding unique abilities and seeing how they change the decision space. Don't get too into the weeds on "should this add +1 or +1.5".

    A good balancing technique for this stage of early development is the simple maxim: "If it seems weak, double the effect. If it seems strong, halve the effect".

    Mostly right now you just want to see what kinds of effects add decisions and value, and not necessarily focus on long term winning strategies before you have the basic game play loop nailed down.

    I'll say it again in another way, just to stress this point:
    No amount of fore thought will make whatever game you end up with perfectly balanced. So, essentially, the more time you spend thinking ahead to the end state meta, the less time you spend iterating your design. That's bad.

    Balancing concerns should basically be the last thing on the slate, and it should be based on play testing feedback of the overall total game.

    Diagnosed with AML on 6/1/12. Read about it: www.effleukemia.com
    El FantasticoEndless_SerpentsThe Sauce
  • Endless_SerpentsEndless_Serpents Registered User regular
    Neon Oblivion works!

    It does not work well enough.

    But it is the first game I’ve ever even thought to commission art for, so that’s something.

    It’s a diceless Apocalypse World-ish game that’s all about gaining and spending credibility, avoiding taking heat and moving progressively closer to the centre of the club Neon Oblivion to do whatever it is you’re going to do with the Administrator.

    And pushing everyone else back/forcing them to take heat and lose cred.

    I could go full board game on it at this point, but it’s my thing and I says you have to act!



    Meanwhile the tiny devil that lives in my thumb says I really should also start work on “Love, Justice, Transformation”—a roleplaying game for if you want to be a magical girl or something.

    JustTeeThe Sauce
  • Endless_SerpentsEndless_Serpents Registered User regular
    @WACriminal

    How’s that X-Com-like game going?

  • WACriminalWACriminal Dying Is Easy, Young Man Living Is HarderRegistered User regular
    @WACriminal

    How’s that X-Com-like game going?

    It's buried somewhere under house-buying paperwork right now. It still exists, though, LOL.

    JustTee
  • Endless_SerpentsEndless_Serpents Registered User regular
    No worries, my own game is sidelined by life. Plus I’ve deleted it and started again a lot this week.

  • The SauceThe Sauce Alysandria Registered User regular
    Latest thing to fix:

    Controlled condition lets the controller pick your Action (generally, an attack) and the target, as well as move you.

    It does not, however, allow the controller to pick your Strategy (think Move Action). So, no equipping new things, for instance.

    Dropping things is free and can be done any time, no stipulations.

    Players finally put this together tonight. Get Controlled? Drop your weapons and lol.

    Oops!

    Triptycho: A card-and-dice tabletop indie RPG currently in development and playtesting
  • El FantasticoEl Fantastico Toronto, ONRegistered User regular
    edited February 4
    Project: Tactical Card Fantasy had it's first quick playtest on the weekend, with someone who has never played Triple Triad before.

    We played a quickened version of a 2P game, basically enough rounds to cycle through 3 "fights" because that's all I made cards for.

    Quick Notes:
    - The 2P map is too small. Either I reduce how many moves each "commander meeple" is allowed to make, or I make it more strategic by allowing all commanders to move up to a total of allowed movement. Likely the latter.

    - Because of the small map, fights were too frequent. While the new player enjoyed the card battle mechanics (who doesn't love TT?) he felt some my cards were too powerful. This is not normally going to be an issue - I included 3 of the top tier cards with special abilities because I needed to test them, but in a full game, 10 rounds with 5 new cards being drawn per round means you won't always have a top tier card in your hand.

    - For consideration, expand the map so it is not a setup of 1-2-3-2-1 but 1-2-3-4-3-2-1. If I allow each "commander" to make their own moves, this larger map lets more moves happen, and fewer fights, but depending on the tile layout, could mean the players never engage unless they want to. Will need to test this to see if it adds anything.

    - One of the factions is Undead, but my tester thinks not every unit in the faction should be "undead". Example: Spiders and undead are like peanut butter and chocolate, but a spider is not technically undead. This means some of the special abilities some of the top tier units in the undead deck have won't have an effect on a few of their units. Will consider for balance...

    A friend will be coming by on Wednesday so I can test a 3-player game, which means I'll need to take some time tonight to design 15 new cards for a third faction to participate.

    El Fantastico on
    akyxa17p3s5g.png
    PSN: TheArcadeBear
    Steam: TheArcadeBear

    JustTee
  • Endless_SerpentsEndless_Serpents Registered User regular
    You’re making something like Triple Triad!? Awesome!

    Maybe change undead to “horror” or something that you can classify both a zombie and a spider as.

    JustTee
  • ToothyToothy Registered User regular
    They could be Infected/Infested, so they're not actually in control of their own actions and still alive. The spiders could literally be pulling the strings. Maybe have some of the more powerful things still be undead creatures with their own special rules as a rarity.

    Endless_SerpentsJustTee
  • El FantasticoEl Fantastico Toronto, ONRegistered User regular
    edited February 4
    I like your ideas. I'd need to test a bit to see if I like the idea of some of those cards that target "undead" should affect all the units in the deck, or just some/most.

    I'll give you some more context. I have an "Avatar of Darkness" unit, that when in play gives all other undead units +2 to facing stats. But, should that be all undead (whole faction) or all "undead" (cards listed as undead, like zombies, mummies, skeletons, but not spiders, or living necromancers?)

    El Fantastico on
    akyxa17p3s5g.png
    PSN: TheArcadeBear
    Steam: TheArcadeBear

  • ToothyToothy Registered User regular
    Decide what role you want it to be: a general buffer for your team, buffer of the rank and file, or a strong buffer - which I think should require hoops such as unit type or within a radius so there's counter play. I only barely remember the rules for TT, so this might not be helpful!

    I am curious to see what you've got in a write up, once you've iterated a bit. Faction designing/theming can always wait until after you get the basics down pat. Just make sure you keep all the mechanic ideas somewhere separate, and eventually you can mix and match them.

    The Sauce
  • The SauceThe Sauce Alysandria Registered User regular
    Yeah, focusing on what makes the most sense for the flavor / context / setting / theme of your game is a total trap when you're still in the early to mid stages of mechanical design.

    You can rename, reflavor, or retheme anything to fit your mechanics. You can let your intended theme guide and inspire you (after all, the best games have an excellent marriage between the two), but don't let it dictate mechanics except in the most broad ways.

    Triptycho: A card-and-dice tabletop indie RPG currently in development and playtesting
    Endless_Serpents
  • Endless_SerpentsEndless_Serpents Registered User regular
    Alright universe, fine!

    I can’t seem to wrangle Neon Oblivion at the moment, so I think I’ll start something new to freshen me up. Not even with the plan to complete it, just look into concepts and mechanics. I’m thinking expressly not a roleplaying game...

    So is it time to doodle up an elaborate card game? We shall see!

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