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

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Posts

  • FuselageFuselage Bantha Three ValhallaRegistered User regular
    edited August 2017
    I meant that there would be three decks at the table for players. All the magic stuff (spells, cantrips, even magical social stuff) would go in the Mage deck so if you wanted a magical character you'd pull more from that deck. Likewise for Rogue and Warrior abilities. You'd be able to look at the colors of someone's cards and say "Ah, a Gish." or "Yeah, that's the wizard." If you were doing team PvP role-playing, which I'm on the fence about in this instance.

    The At-Will or Encounter would basically be "Use this once and discard it" or "Use this once and flip it over until the next encounter." You'd get to change your hand at the end of an adventure, probably.

    Like I was talking about in the Role-playing thread, I'd want each ability or spell to combine with one other card, OR two others of the different decks/suits.

    Edit: God, a somewhat randomized deckbuilder fantasy RPG with a grid and powers like 4e, the goal of grabbing treasure while the other players die and fight monsters like Frostgrave and Munchkin, and teams of heroes like any classic MOBA or Warcraft 3 Hero Arena map. That sounds like a nightmare. In that case I'd probably make the cards Offense, Defense, and Utility for less chance you get crapped on by shuffling the deck.

    Fuselage on
  • Zombie HeroZombie Hero Registered User regular
    edited August 2017
    I thought about it a little bit longer.

    I sort of envision a market row for each class: rogue, warrior etc.

    And then maybe separate discard piles for the types of powers. One default discard pile (I guess mostly at-wills but maybe some items or skill checks or whatever), one for encounters, and one for dailies. Normal deckbuilding you just have one discard pile, and when your deck runs out you reshuffle it back, but here you would only shuffle your default discard pile when cycling the deck, and leave out the encounter/daily discards until those conditions were refreshed.

    This also might mean that encounter/daily powers may need an alternate, 'at-will' use. Maybe not necessarily a power, but purchasing ability, or some other resources, etc. Because if a daily power was only a daily, it would clog up your deck if you wanted to hold on to it for the right situation.

    As for purchasing, you may need to figure out how much cross classing you want to allow. This can be restricted by having the resource costs depend on resources provided by that class type. For instance, maybe all the rogue cards also provide rogue currency. Low level of each class may require any type of currency, but maybe high level stuff needs rogue specific currency to focus on. Or the other option is just remove restriction - and now that i type it out it may be something that comes late in design.

    Are you planning for head to head battles, yomi style? Or dungeon crawling (like, Clank! maybe)?

    Edit: I think i might try just having an at-will and encounter. Then allow a player to skip their turn('rest' action) to add the encounter cards back into their main deck.

    Zombie Hero on
    Steam
    Nintendo ID: Pastalonius
    Smite\LoL:Gremlidin \ WoW & Overwatch & Hots: Gremlidin#1734
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  • The SauceThe Sauce Alek Sandria Registered User regular
    Fuselage wrote: »
    The At-Will or Encounter would basically be "Use this once and discard it" or "Use this once and flip it over until the next encounter." You'd get to change your hand at the end of an adventure, probably.
    4E was a major influence in my design of Triptycho, a deckbuilder RPG. Here's how I solved the At-Will / Encounter / Daily split for a card game:

    At-Will: These are represented in two ways. "True" At-Will are from your Gear, which are cards that you always have laid out in front of you. You can use them over and over. The second way is through cards in hand that have the Returning keyword on them. These come back to your hand after you play them.

    Encounter: These are normal cards. You discard them when you play them. A special type of Gear, called Items, are discarded when you play them, too (but you don't have to draw them, they're always before you).

    Daily: These are rarer and require using an extra resource to play. It's called Karma in Triptycho, a currency of sorts that you can earn as a reward for doing good things (helping someone with no monetary reward, for example, or talking your way out of unnecessary bloodshed). So you need the card and have some Karma to spend. Since Triptycho is a classic deckbuilder in that players build their decks before playing, I can do other things like put special restrictions like you can only have 1 of a particular Karma-required card in your deck. Additionally, some special treasure Gear has Karma options players can make use of without having to draw the card.

    An added bonus of this method for Dailies is that Triptycho lacks a mechanic for scoring critical hits, so drawing that Karma card when you need it offers a similar rush of excitement.

    These "dailies" are highly limited and rarely played, as you can see. This was intentional as I pretty much hate Daily powers in most tabletop RPGs; they tend to screw with balance and impose awkward rest patterns onto the story. With these restrictions, Triptycho's "dailies" are really more comparable to Action Points, something to use to prevent or get out of some serious trouble.

    To give a nod to old rest mechanics, I let players rebuild their decks whenever they have an extended rest. It doesn't help you regain any power or capability, but it lets you retool if you're headed into a different sort of area.

    Triptycho: A card-and-dice tabletop indie RPG currently in development and playtesting
    Fuselage
  • FuselageFuselage Bantha Three ValhallaRegistered User regular
    That actually sounds really great! I think I can put my idea to rest and just play your game.

  • Endless_SerpentsEndless_Serpents Registered User regular
    edited September 2017
    I don't know how much of a roleplaying game it would be (if at all) but I fancy making a card battling game based on players making a cute town, and trying to mess with their opponent's town.

    I just find the idea of meticulously making a deck, all the strategy and tension, then slam!
    "I play Pumpkin Patch, and tap my Dairy Farm on the same turn!"
    "You fool, you've activated my Rose Garden, there's no hope for you now!"

    Endless_Serpents on
    FuselageThe Sauce
  • webguy20webguy20 Registered User regular
    edited September 2017
    I don't know how much of a roleplaying game it would be (if at all) but I fancy making a card battling game based on players making a cute town, and trying to mess with their opponent's town.

    I just find the idea of meticulously making a deck, all the strategy and tension, then slam!
    "I play Pumpkin Patch, and tap my Dairy Farm on the same turn!"
    "You fool, you've activated my Rose Garden, there's no hope for you now!"

    I would play the fuck out of this game. Have a Game Mat and standard building types/locations but unique cards? MMMmmmm

    webguy20 on
    Steam ID: Webguy20
    Origin ID: Discgolfer27
    Untappd ID: Discgolfer1981
    The Hanged Man
  • Endless_SerpentsEndless_Serpents Registered User regular
    edited September 2017
    I haven't had much time to think about it, but the basic concept would be like:

    Two players, two mats, say four by four spaces for cards in size. You make your towns on these by playing locations. Beneath the mats would be four extra spaces for other card types.

    Players would lay down a location per turn, such as Roller Diner, Fancy Gallery, Pretty Park, Frog Pond. These would provide some constant bonus or per turn credit.

    Or they can instead play a bad location on their opponent's mat. Think Haunted House, Shady Club, Shipwreck Cove. These do the opposite.

    After X turns both mats are full, and the towns are complete, save some options to switch out locations by playing Y card.

    After towns are finished, or while making them, players can play stuff like Snooping Kids, Alien Sightings, Harvest Festival, Blue Haired Girl, Big Bully, Weekend Rain and such; fundamentally "creatures" and "spells" you'd get in other card battling games.

    The aim would be to have the prettiest, safest white picket town, or least messed up, by Z turn, when the Best Town award is issued.

    For themes, think Animal Crossing, Harvest Moon, Archie, all those Point n Click Adventures involving ambiguously lesbian teenagers.

    But now I'm thinking no, it should be something else... Hmm...

    Endless_Serpents on
  • The SauceThe Sauce Alek Sandria Registered User regular
    Fuselage wrote: »
    That actually sounds really great! I think I can put my idea to rest and just play your game.
    No need for that! You had several novel ideas just in those two short posts you've already made about it. I'd love to see what all you did with it and play your game, so if you're at all into the design side of things, please, continue!

    My game's not going to be available for awhile yet anyway. I'd hoped to Kickstart it next year, but I've done several redesign passes this year after getting it into a bunch of people's hands at conventions and other places and getting tons of feedback. I'm excited about where it is now, but I have to redo a bunch of testing and refinement passes, which is going to take some time.

    Triptycho: A card-and-dice tabletop indie RPG currently in development and playtesting
    Fuselage
  • FuselageFuselage Bantha Three ValhallaRegistered User regular
    edited September 2017
    The Sauce wrote: »
    Fuselage wrote: »
    That actually sounds really great! I think I can put my idea to rest and just play your game.
    No need for that! You had several novel ideas just in those two short posts you've already made about it. I'd love to see what all you did with it and play your game, so if you're at all into the design side of things, please, continue!

    My game's not going to be available for awhile yet anyway. I'd hoped to Kickstart it next year, but I've done several redesign passes this year after getting it into a bunch of people's hands at conventions and other places and getting tons of feedback. I'm excited about where it is now, but I have to redo a bunch of testing and refinement passes, which is going to take some time.

    Oh, I'm just using design as a hobby for now, and usually just come up with different ways to overcomplicate people's lives. The only game design street cred is making cards for an edition of Disgruntled Decks, which is just a different version of Cards Against Humanity. You'll make better use with my ideas than I will in this thread.



    But if you ever want to talk more, you know where to find me.

    Edit: I had another shower thought regarding cards and games that basically ended with "That's an Epic Spell Wars expansion." It just involved adding martial fighting styles with combos for a sword and sorcery deck to mix with the previous two ESW games so instead of pure wizards you'd be Eldritch knights, spellswords, duskblades, tricksters, etc. You'd also have minions like in the second expansion but they'd be squires, thugs, and assassins. I guess I should just email the company.

    Fuselage on
    The Sauce
  • The SauceThe Sauce Alek Sandria Registered User regular
    edited September 2017
    Something I've been thinking about how to deal with is the barrier to entry for CCGs. RPGs have an entry barrier with the giant rulebooks and complex-looking character sheets, two things I've succeeded in removing from Triptycho. But I've just replaced that with "buy a bunch of cards for a game you're not even sure you'll like."

    Previously I was thinking that an interested new player could just borrow cards from a group to join in a game. But unless that group has a level-appropriate set of decks already built for a guest to use, that's a pretty large time investment to put it all together. While it takes around the same time as putting a D&D character sheet together, it's harder to have ready -- you can always have a bunch of old character sheets floating around, after all.

    Not to mention, the group might not even own enough cards to make an entirely new character, depending on how I go about selling it.

    That's when the obvious solution hit me: add support for characters that don't use decks of cards!

    At first it seems counter-intuitive. Triptycho is a card-based RPG. It needs cards to play. That's, like, a core conceit.

    But then I remembered 4E Essentials, how they used some simple write-ups to create character classes that can fit in alongside PCs that use AEDU power selections. I realized I could do pretty much the same thing, and without the tables and paragraphs of text even. I could make it really simple.

    Roles already exist as individual cards that have things like HP, Initiative, Training (controlling Gear access), special ability, and extra dice like Search, Acrobatics, and Charisma. Basic attacks and defenses are already granted from Gear cards, which any existing Triptycho group will have plenty of (and if they don't have extras, they can just use one card for multiple players since it's the content of the card that matters).

    That just meant making abilities that are awesome enough to replace having a hand of cards from a crafted deck.


    To start with, I'm going to try out two designs per scenario (for a total of six roles). One design will be something of a support character, boosting the dice rolls of nearby allies. The other design is inspired by Blue Mages from Final Fantasy; they can learn enemy abilities and reuse them in a limited fashion. Both designs will have a wide range of Gear training so they have access to very solid basic abilities for any situation.

    The support character design is very simple, suitable for a guest who doesn't have much experience with these games, while the Blue Mage-inspired options give some meat for mechanics junkies to sink their teeth into. Neither is so well-rounded that they can replace the existing roles for an entire group (I don't want to promote complete deckless play, as then I'd just be making another pen and paper game), but they should both effectively complement existing card-using parties.

    Even better, I could maybe throw a few of these into the Starter Set to increase the number of players that set supports out of the box. With the large numbers of cards the game uses, I didn't think I'd be able to support more than 4 players, and that includes the DM. This would let me boost that to 5 or 6 players at fairly minimal cost.


    None of this may work out; testing may find that such play isn't very entertaining or balanced. In particular such characters are effectively immune to a number of harmful enemy effects that force discards or block drawing, and ally card draw effects won't work on them. We'll see what happens!


    EDIT: Not sure how I didn't think of this before, but this is also perfect for NPC player allies. Hirelings, temporary help, etc, controlled by the DM (or by the party as a group). The support set in particular is an excellent fit. I think I like this a lot.

    The Sauce on
    Triptycho: A card-and-dice tabletop indie RPG currently in development and playtesting
    SurfpossumFuselage
  • FuselageFuselage Bantha Three ValhallaRegistered User regular
    I think making a gateway into your game for new/casual players would be great. Why differentiate between Non-Player Character and New Player Character sheets? It could even be more flavorful if you hand a player that's just trying the game out something that says "Hireling" or "Mercenary". Then, if they do join the party and get a deck of cards they can make a new character OR they already have a backstory on how they know the party. I think having a simplified way to get into the game is a great idea, though.

  • The SauceThe Sauce Alek Sandria Registered User regular
    edited September 2017
    Yeah, that's what I love about it. To use the support roles as an example, I could hand a player 3 cards that makes them a Strategist/Retainer/Agent, half a dozen pieces of Gear, and they're in. Then if they join permanently and want to "graduate" from being the party Retainer and general support to something more focused and independent, then they can pick up some other roles and use a full deck like the other players. Or they could make a whole separate character, and the support character could stick around as an NPC, filling in when players are absent or just serving as a story element.

    I also love this for playtest purposes. Right now our main playtest group is down to 3 players after our 4th moved away for work. That's mostly okay as the game works fine for 2-6 players, but it's bad for boss fights. Bosses count as 4 players. While I can adjust them on the fly for 3 players, it's not a "true" test of the mechanics-as-written.

    But now I can just give them a quick deckless support character to control and we're off. Much less complex and time-consuming than if they had to manage entirely separate hands of cards.

    The Sauce on
    Triptycho: A card-and-dice tabletop indie RPG currently in development and playtesting
    Fuselage
  • The SauceThe Sauce Alek Sandria Registered User regular
    Just got back from an awesome playtest session for some major improvements to the interaction system. These are so new they haven't made it onto the rules wiki yet. It went really well!

    The biggest new element is a visual positioning component that shows who is currently talking to who, permitting movement, blocking / tanking, etc, in a way that still felt distinct and more like a conversation than a battle. It worked great! This unites all 3 systems with a visual mini / token system involving movement, so it should make it easier to learn despite new complexities.

    The other element is more subtle. Actions (attacks) and Reactions (defenses) now have a Trait, which can be one of Persuasive, Aggressive, Charming, or Comical. These sort of take the place of damage types, except they have more specific and nuanced tactical use. They wound up complementing the positioning system really well in that it can add a motivation to move to a position based on enemy Traits and the ones you selected for your deck and Gear. It provides another specialization option for interaction, and it's loaded with flavor.

    Can't wait to finish the updates, do another print, and get this in front of people at the local convention next month!

    Triptycho: A card-and-dice tabletop indie RPG currently in development and playtesting
    Endless_SerpentsFuselageMarshmallowIron Weasel
  • Endless_SerpentsEndless_Serpents Registered User regular
    The fact that Comical is a big enough part of the system to be named makes me really want to try this!

    WACriminalFuselageThe Sauce
  • The SauceThe Sauce Alek Sandria Registered User regular
    Well, I'm off to QuestCon! This is its inaugural year but expected to be quite large. Hoping we get plenty of great playtest sessions in. I'm all anxious-excited in that unique way before putting your creation in front of people.

    Triptycho: A card-and-dice tabletop indie RPG currently in development and playtesting
    Anon the FelonMarshmallowdoomybearFuselage
  • Zombie HeroZombie Hero Registered User regular
    The Sauce wrote: »
    Well, I'm off to QuestCon! This is its inaugural year but expected to be quite large. Hoping we get plenty of great playtest sessions in. I'm all anxious-excited in that unique way before putting your creation in front of people.


    Awesome, good luck!

    Steam
    Nintendo ID: Pastalonius
    Smite\LoL:Gremlidin \ WoW & Overwatch & Hots: Gremlidin#1734
    3ds: 3282-2248-0453
    Anon the FelondoomybearThe SauceDisruptedCapitalist
  • FuselageFuselage Bantha Three ValhallaRegistered User regular
    The Sauce wrote: »
    Well, I'm off to QuestCon! This is its inaugural year but expected to be quite large. Hoping we get plenty of great playtest sessions in. I'm all anxious-excited in that unique way before putting your creation in front of people.
    I can't help but liking every FB post about it, it really looks like a cool concept that I'd try in a heartbeat.

    The Sauce
  • The SauceThe Sauce Alek Sandria Registered User regular
    edited October 2017
    So, the convention went pretty well! We got to play several games and got mostly great feedback. Picked up some more FB followers, and one guy liked it so much he said he was going to evangelize it for us at his local gaming stores, which is awesome and might end up leading to some game store events in the future over thataway. A local guy asked about playing the game outside of conventions and events, so I might have picked up another local playtester, or even a new gaming group, which is great!

    Overall it was a really positive experience. Overall. But there was one game that was definitely not.

    It seemed like it was going pretty good. We spent at least 2 hours with a group, starting with 3 guys and growing to 5 by the end, playing through the whole thing. The game worked well enough, though most of the players were rolling well, so they steamrolled some of it. But at the end when we asked for feedback? It was like a dam broke, and out came... well... anger.

    I know people have different tastes and wants for how they spend their hobby time, and I begrudge no one their opinions. I welcome thoughts from people who don't like stuff, actually, because that can be the most useful for advancing the game into a better state; our best test at MobiCon included a guy who really gave it to us regarding the exploration system, and he had a lot of really good points that wound up helping to inspire the new and improved version we're enjoying today.

    Often of course I disagree with some of the comments for changes, either because it's just general design preference or because of things I know about the game beyond the small sliver we can show in a convention adventure. But I always listen and try to take it into account, wondering at the very least if I can adjust how I present the adventure as a DM to get around something that feels off for some players or might be difficult to understand.

    But this feedback? "This is not an RPG." Yeah, no. Okay, at a con or similar public event I'll just kind of listen and not really say anything, because I'm definitely not interested in getting into debates or confrontations in that kind of setting. But this is a game design thread, so I'ma do some venting about this particular philosophy. Spoilered for rant.
    Don't you fucking play gatekeeper with me. Our hobby has way too much of that already.

    Like, on the one hand: I get it! Some people don't really like playing card games. Or they only like playing them in a casual manner. They enjoy the freeform power fantasy of RPGs where they can take their set of abilities, declare they're doing whatever comes to mind that they want to do with them to solve a problem, then challenge the DM to play Improv Game Designer to try to figure out a way to make the activity work. People with loud voices and strong personalities (like this guy) thrive in such games, to my experience, able to get the DM to go along with whatever plan they cook up. Lots of people play RPGs specifically to enjoy the broadest character action freedom they can, and they disdain video games and board games because they lack it (which this guy did explicitly as part of his tirade). And ya know, more power to ya. I enjoy those kinds of games from time to time myself. And there's a lot of them out there! It's a pretty crowded space. In fact it's so crowded that it's as if RPG designers are afraid to make anything else. The slightest step outside (D&D 4E) results in such an angry backlash that it literally cost the brand its crown as players rush off to competing systems (Pathfinder).

    Play what you want. That's totally cool. Say that you don't like other things. That's fine!

    But don't even start with this "This is not what an RPG is" nonsense, especially not with a load of anger that seems as though it could only come from feeling threatened. As if someone making a game that plays in a different way than what you're used to somehow means that your whole hobby is being threatened to be taken away from you and made for other people, like filthy casuals and video gamers.

    The "RPG" genre is broad, and it's grand specifically because it's so widely encompassing. There are RPGs where the only real mechanic is dice wagers to let players determine when they want to control the narrative, at the expense of having weaker narrative control the next time around. There are RPGs that offer near completely free-form character generation, and others where you're locked down to a predetermined chassis with a few dice rolls for random tweaks. There are games where you can choose to do anything and the DM decides how to respond, and there are games where every activity maps to a particular mechanic mathematically designed to provide effective balance.

    A game is not banished from the RPG genre because your ability access in any given moment is semi-randomly determined, such as through drawing cards (or rolling dice and referencing a table or whatever other mechanic). Yes, such things do limit a player's individual ability to control the game at any particular point in time. That's the whole idea! Interesting gameplay emerges from mechanical frameworks that provide some kind of limitation on player actions. Making the optimal choice (or at times, just the fun one) based on the current situation is literally how tactical turn-based games of all kinds work at their most intrinsic level. The more open-ended the game, the weaker the framework and less interesting the mechanical decision-making.

    This is a trade-off, and it's one made very consciously by the game's designers in order to provide a particular type of experience. That experience isn't going to be for everybody no matter where you choose to draw the line. But a game doesn't have to fit into some narrow corner of that gradient in order to be considered an RPG. These kinds of purity tests are bad for the hobby and in general. We have no need to establish or maintain any sort of superiority over other hobbies or types of gamers.

    I'm likely being a bit uncharitable here, but there's few things that get me quite so worked up as a philosophical gatekeeper. Like, the guy wasn't personally rude to me or anything, but as he talked he just kept getting madder and madder. By the end, when he was describing what a "real" RPG lets him do, he provided details about how when an interaction effort goes wrong, you pull out your sword and run it through the other guy while calling him various names, and he was literally shaking and shouting as he was describing the violence he would inflict on this person. I was starting to get a bit worried, but he left after that, and I was left with an anxiety spike that required slipping away into an empty room for twenty minutes and destressing.

    One of the other guys took the different but similarly infuriating approach of being condescending about it. "This would be... okay as... like, a dungeon crawl or something." Again setting up a gate and pushing this game out into the field of "lesser" games that are of some other style. The half-smirk as it was being delivered didn't really help.

    What has really stuck with me, though, was the guy in between his buddies. He was a quiet type, not really saying much beyond the specific things he was doing and the occasional question while playing, and when he spoke, his voice was a bit quiet. He looked between his friends with a little bit of surprise, and then was all "I really liked it!" He went into some elaboration about the offer of variety, soundness of mechanics, that sort of thing, before one of the other guys kind of jumped back in (without any real comment on that) to get back to the "not an RPG!" angle.

    I don't really know anything about how their gaming group goes. But I know I've been that person in groups before, and the loud, strong personality kind of dominates the table and controls the game, whether he's the DM or not. As the quiet one, you're just kind of going along with it, rolling dice when called upon and occasionally getting to do something neat. I think he recognized in Triptycho that everyone was playing on an even field, that someone's force of personality wasn't going to convey some advantage, that interacting with the mechanics would help bring your character to life and craft an emergent story.

    This isn't about whether someone likes the game or not. I've had plenty of negative feedback, and it's never bothered me before. Not even the one guy who started his commentary with the phrase "okay, now I'm going to tear your game apart." (and then he did!) But this stuff really got to me. I knew these kinds of players existed, having run into them before, and I knew it was only a matter of time before the encounter happened. It took the encounter actually happening for me to realize I wasn't really prepared to handle it at all.

    The thing is that I know I'm slaughtering sacred cows with this game. I'm doing a few things that, according to some people, you're just not supposed to do. I know people who feel that way won't like it, definitely not at first and maybe not ever, no matter how I present it or tweak it. That's just the reality, and that's fine! But seeing how mad it makes them is just another thing altogether. I've had some anger directed at my games over the years online, but in person it's just a completely different, almost scary, sort of experience.

    This is pretty much the exact attitude I'm taking aim at with this game. It is my opinion that closeminded views about what an RPG should be, rooted in the flawed philosophies of Gygax, are what's held RPGs back from evolving like they should have for how long they've been around. And that has spilled over into video games as well, where most computer RPGs being made today are only distinguishable from those of the 90s by voice acting, graphics, and world fidelity. The mechanics are barely evolved, and everything is still so combat-centric, because that's the only area where classic RPGs were willing to bend and create a systematic framework for mechanical resolution.

    At the time I felt like the two hour playtest was a monumental waste of my time and theirs. But, that's not true. Of course the one guy really liked it, but beyond that, I'm much more well-prepared, mentally, for the wall of anger that every game designer will eventually face from somebody. I know now that I need to stop and ask for feedback earlier, so that if I have gamers of this stripe at my convention table, I can find out 30 minutes in rather than 2 hours in of them simmering and building frustration until it explodes, saving everybody some time and clearing the way for someone who might enjoy the experience more (and provide more useful feedback).

    I'm hesitant to post this. It's probably a bit unsightly, coming from a designer and about a particular experience. But I feel like at least some of this needs to be said, and I'd rather do it now than wait until too much time has passed. If this game takes off at all, I'm sure it'll be a challenge I'll find myself answering constantly, and I'll probably wind up writing some less emotional, more measured philosophical essays about the game design approach. I'll spend some paragraphs explaining how drawing your spells randomly from a deck of cards is not any more dissonant to explain in fiction as choosing a set of spells and having them vanish after you use them once until a particular recharge point is met. In fact I think I could probably do it better than D&D ever did, either with its "the magic pulls its words out of your brain when you cast it" version or the "spells actually take hours to cast, so you cast 98% of them at the start of the day and then the last 2% in battle when you need it to finish" version, both of which I think are a lot more ridiculous than what I'd use.

    And I'll definitely put some effort into explaining how yes, in Triptycho, you can in fact end an interaction scenario early by pulling out your weapon and trying to stab a dude with it. Because of course you can, it's just that a convention adventure is going to be more streamlined and structured since it's serving a different purpose than a campaign module.

    And there was one good point brought up, one I've continued to struggle with, which is the distinction between Creatures that harass you in exploration scenarios and Adversaries you battle in combat scenarios. Why can't you pull out your sorcerer powers and blast that Creature in exploration, having instead to rely on your exploration skills and deck for such a thing?

    I don't have an easy answer for that. I mean, the simplest answer is "because that's how the mechanical systems function, and it's really difficult to engage two of them simultaneously." But that's super unsatisfying - the obvious retort is "well then change the systems, idiot." There's a longer answer, about how combat rounds last seconds while exploration rounds can be minutes, hours, or even days or weeks for long-distance travel scenarios. That obviously means that Creatures are simulating something different, something that moves around and harasses you and threatens you with injury or disease, but that you don't really battle like you would an undead knight wielding a broadsword. After all, if you run out of Endurance Points in exploration, all that happens is that at the start of your next turn, you suffer an Injury (max HP/EP/WP reduced by your level + 1) and recover to your (newly reduced) maximum EP value. So exploration (apart from, like, stealth or chase scenes) is all about getting through an area unscathed, not murdering all the wildlife in an area.

    So I do need to work on explaining that. And I might need to work on some of the flavor, too. After all, I have a Gelatinous Skulk in exploration that tries to eat you and can carry your engulfed body around backwards through regions, setting back your progress. That certainly feels like combat, and maybe that enemy does need to be moved over, replaced with something that feels more appropriate for a non-combat situation. I really like how it feels apart from that, though, and let's be honest - the Gelatinous Cube in D&D was always a trap, even if it had a monster write-up.

    I've toyed with bringing some cross-scenario abilities into play, where you could for example do a little combat thing inside of exploration. My playtest group has reacted quite negatively to that, however, fearing too much complexity and loss of balance. And they're right; that's not the answer.

    There may not be an answer. It might be better for the game to leave this as a potential weakness for some people rather than try to fix it, as the fixes could make the game worse by depriving it of fun and effective mechanics in the name of verisimilitude.

    But this has begun to meander a whole lot, so it's time to end this rant I think.
    To end on a high note, I've come away from the con and the games played with the general sense that the game is in a pretty great place now. The systems are matured and a lot more fun to engage with. I need more private testing in order to fine-tune some numbers and ensure balance through all the levels, so I'm going to get back to concentrating on that instead of major system revisions like after the last con.

    The next event is a little mini-con in a nearby gaming store, where they'll be open for 36 hours straight to play games for a weekend in December. That should be a lot of fun; it'll be rather quiet and intimate, and I'm hoping people will be really into the idea of being able to play a new game at an event like that. And since it'll probably be a small crowd, I might get to play some other games, too!

    Should be fun. But, lots of intense playtest work to do. Not to mention getting higher-level card images made up and printed. I'm excited to keep moving ahead!

    The Sauce on
    Triptycho: A card-and-dice tabletop indie RPG currently in development and playtesting
    FuselageAnon the Felonwebguy20
  • FuselageFuselage Bantha Three ValhallaRegistered User regular
    If role-playing games didn't have room for change or improvement we'd still be playing houseruled Chainmail and that would be enough.

    Is Chainmail flying off the shelves?

    Do our own shelves look right with just one set of RPG books?

    Even the groggiest of nards can't boast that. I like your concept and I'm excited for you. I'll need to watch it played some day.

    The Sauce
  • FuselageFuselage Bantha Three ValhallaRegistered User regular
    I'm just a tourist with regards to game design, but this idea crept into my head and now I'm wondering how to do it if it hasn't already been done.

    Fun Semi-Educational Geopolitical Party Game

    Everyone is a public country with secret roles in a U.N. type organization? Or only your council role is known but not the country you represent? Secret votes/orders like any voting game or a card version of Diplomacy?

  • The SauceThe Sauce Alek Sandria Registered User regular
    edited November 2017
    Something like One Night Werewolf but politics themed? And maybe instead of voting at a person you're voting about a policy?

    There would need to be some mechanics by which players can learn about the policy and bluff / argue about what it is. Something like a face-down card that some roles can peek at, switch for another, etc. Roles want to vote for or against various policies, perhaps depending on their properties.

    For instance a policy card might have a name and a picture, then checks for whether it's a War, Trade, or Science policy. Each role would have win/loss conditions for each of those three types, in a priority order. So one role might automatically win if a War policy is voted down and instant lose if a War policy is voted up, but can also win by voting up a Trade or Science policy if there's no War property. Policies can tick multiple boxes, so if it's a War and Trade policy, that role would only win by voting the policy down.

    Policies could instead be a set of cards, one for each property, perhaps. That way you can split up what the roles can do regarding peeking at the cards (for instance, a Role that wins or loses based on War and Trade properties might have the ability to look at the Science property card during the closed-eyes portion of the game). To add variety, those individual policy element cards might have some additional instructions on them for players that look at them to do something else (like choosing to replace that card with another random one from the deck after looking, or having the option to place a token that inverts the property assignment).

    The Sauce on
    Triptycho: A card-and-dice tabletop indie RPG currently in development and playtesting
  • The SauceThe Sauce Alek Sandria Registered User regular
    So there's a thing that's been happening with alarming consistency in our internal playtest sessions with Triptycho. In exploration scenarios, a player is often "stuck" unable to play an Action against an Obstacle that's blocking their progress. This isn't an issue with standard Obstacles that other players can take out (locked doors, walls of foliage, etc). However, many Obstacles are Persisting, which means they must be defeated individually by each player that wants to pass through (and they have 1/4 the usual Endurance Points to compensate). This includes things like walls to climb, water to swim, or narrow platforms to cross.

    This doesn't happen in our convention playtests because, aware of this issue, I took pains to ensure that every character was loaded with at least one Exploration Expertise with an Action valid for play against Obstacles. However, not every Expertise card has such an entry on it, and players trying to be frugal with their Wealth often skip a backup Expertise, relying instead on drawing cards. This often works, but sometimes it doesn't, and the game gets really frustrating when it doesn't. It also doesn't make any sense; why can't a player always at least try to do something to get past an Obstacle?

    A player suggested having an Action on your Craft card (your Role for exploration). I liked that idea, then took it a step further. There's long been a void in Triptycho's design, one I was waiting for the right opportunity to fill. This is it. Starting with our next playtest session (hopefully in a couple weeks), I'll be introducing: Backgrounds.


    Lots of fantasy games have a Race choice that gives you a set of stat tweaks and new abilities, and some of them also provide Backgrounds that stack lesser versions of the same thing. Triptycho's Backgrounds fit the role of Race in many games in terms of mechanics but use the themes you'd commonly see in Backgrounds instead. This is mostly because fantasy racism makes me pretty uncomfortable nowadays, but also so that Triptycho's mechanics will work ubiquitously across settings. This is particularly important for human-only settings where players aren't completely deprived of an important character customization choice.

    In terms of mechanics, Backgrounds work very similarly to Gear, particularly Expertise. Every player selects one Background for free at character creation, and it generally can't be changed, but of course you can always work that out with your DM.

    Each Background gives you 3 entries, 1 for each system. The Exploration entry is practically always an Action, and it's usually restricted to only be used against Obstacles (with a little variation). Interaction entries can be anything. Combat entries are usually Strategies that offer benefits that scale well with levels. The Augments and Rituals you get to improve your Expertise cards (both exploration and interaction varieties) will also improve entries on your Background card. You can't boost any combat entries on your Background, which is why they're generally Strategies that don't have dice entries with scaling issues (and also because combat has a wider set of Gear players can choose from already).

    Here's a few sample Backgrounds to give you an idea of how they work.

    Fae Lineage
    (Combat) Strategy - Chromatic Ward
    Until the start of your next turn, gain +1 to a Resistance of your choice and +1 Weakness to every other type.

    (Exploration) Action - Affinity
    In settings other than wilderness, this Action can only be played against Obstacles.
    Inflict: 1d6
    Damage: 1d6

    (Interaction) Strategy - Fair Charm
    Until the start of your next turn, increase your Charisma dice level by 1.
    Gambler
    (Combat) Strategy - Reckless Charge
    Until the start of your next turn, increase all Damage you deal or receive by 1 dice level.

    (Exploration) Action - You Only Live Once
    This Action can only be played against Obstacles. If you miss, deal the listed Damage to yourself.
    Inflict: 1d12
    Damage: 1d6

    (Interaction) Action - Wager
    Roll 1d2. On a result of 1, advance the Debate Counter one notch toward victory. On a result of 2, advance the Debate Counter one notch toward defeat. This Action is non-hostile.
    Patrician
    (Combat) Strategy - Give Orders
    One ally you can see can immediately Block a border in their occupied section.

    (Exploration) Action - Entourage
    You can only play this Action if you have at least 1 ally in your occupied region.
    Inflict: 1d8
    Damage: 1d4
    Special: Until the start of your next turn, Creatures and Seekers will only play Actions against you if there is no other valid target or if their Actions target multiple entities.

    (Interaction) Action - Commanding Voice
    Argue: 1d12
    Special: The target is Hindered until the start of your next turn.

    We've also learned some things about the narrative "feel" of exploration under the new system now that we've had more time to play with it. For one, I need to make sure that Obstacles are things that block your progress, not just things that can be dangerous to cross. For instance, in a stealth scenario we ran earlier, there was a Noisy Staircase as a Persisting Obstacle that would take away stealth tokens if players failed their Action against it. This felt off, because to cross the Obstacle, each player had to deal a certain amount of "damage" to it to represent progress. Interpreting that narratively is awkward, which results in player disconnect and less fun. Creaky stairs should instead function as traps so that they trigger on movement, because it's not like it's hard for an adventurer to climb some stairs. Even at level one.


    In a related vein, I'm toying with the idea of enforcing that the party sticks together in travel type exploration scenarios. Individual rounds in travel scenarios can represent hours or even days, so if there are Persisting Obstacles (like, say, a Rough Trail or Poisonous Marsh), one player can wind up getting left behind for large amounts of time, and that doesn't make sense. But if I just make none of them Persist, it creates awkward situations of being able to go backward and forward freely across difficult terrain once you've done it once, or players that split up to do other things being able to just bypass such things once they get there.

    Traditional RPG design instinct is screaming at me that this is a design sin. "You can't require that players stick together! That reduces player agency! It takes away options!"

    I pondered how many times, in the previous decade of playing D&D and other games, that we ever split the party, narratively, in long-distance travel. The answer was zero. We've literally never done it once.

    There are lots of good mechanical reasons to enforce the party being in the same location. Not only does it make designing such scenarios narratively easier, but it provides ample design room for things like Vehicle type Gear cards. I've been toying with how to handle sailing on ships (seafaring adventures intended to be one of the first expansions to the game), and having a card for your Ship that all players navigate the scenario on is certainly a core element. That's much more natural if that's simply how long-distance travel is assumed to always work in the first place.

    And it's not like this removes player agency. If the players have a really good reason to suddenly split up in the middle of a lengthy travel narrative, then the solution is simple: end the scenario and do something else to model the split party (or run concurrent scenarios, which is possible and actually pretty fun if a bit of an "expert mode" approach).

    So yeah, I think I'm doing this, sin and all. I can embrace being an RPG Heretic.

    Triptycho: A card-and-dice tabletop indie RPG currently in development and playtesting
    Fuselage
  • WACriminalWACriminal Dying Is Easy, Young Man Living Is HarderRegistered User regular
    This is a game idea that will not leave my head, so I am putting it behind spoilers here in hopes that it will, Ring-style, choose to haunt someone else instead of annoying me all the time.
    SpaceChem/Opus Magnum meets Chrono Trigger meets XCOM.

    Genre is JRPG. You have a small party of adventurers, each with unique tendencies and proficiencies. Maybe 5 or 6, of whom 3 are active at any given time. You're going on a quest to save the world. From what? Don't care, that's not the point of the game design.

    Combat is turn-based, tactical grid combat, somewhere in the vicinity of old-school 90's XCOM, but streamlined. Face off against large squads of enemy mooks and unique monsters. Each of your characters carries a weapon called a Contraption.

    Contraptions are where the Opus Magnum element comes in. To build a Contraption, you first must acquire a framework, then spend time in your workshop customizing it similar to the way you build solutions in Opus Magnum. Each framework you acquire is a grid of limited size, with one or more fixed outputs for specific configurations of materials. For instance, say you start with a simple pistol framework, that has a small grid to work with, and accepts simple metal bullets to the output. You must add material inputs to the back of the framework, then construct a mechanism to generate a bullet from those materials and deliver it to the output. The more complex the mechanism you construct, the longer it takes to go from start-of-cycle to bullet output, the more time units it consumes to fire the Contraption during combat.

    As the game goes on, you progress in the following ways:

    1. Character stats, as usual. Aim, speed, health, etc.
    2. Acquiring new frameworks with differently sized and shaped grids, as well as different outputs -- some outputs take shotgun shells, some take energy crystals to fire beams, some take complex explosive charges, etc. Some outputs may allow you to submit multiple ammunition per action, allowing you to build a weapon with burst-fire capabilities.
    3. Utilizing elemental materials to customize your ammunition. For instance, you can construct a simple bullet with metal elements in a certain configuration, but later you may acquire the recipe to construct a bullet with a unit of water energy at its core, allowing you to deal water damage to your targets, as long as you can devise a Contraption to generate and deliver that recipe.

    So the gameplay loop involves collecting materials (as you can't fire your Contraptions without raw materials for input), constructing weapons, acquiring parts to construct more weapons, and so on. Allows you to perform better in combat if you're willing to spend a little while in your workshop getting your Contraption's cycles down a few ticks so you can fire it just a hair faster. Similarly, it forces you to weigh whether it's worthwhile to add 10 more cycles to a Contraption just so it can fire an elemental shell instead of a mundane metal one.

    I will never be able to build this game. I really want to play this game. I leave it here, in hopes that it will disappear from my head forever.

    The SauceFuselageDisruptedCapitalist
  • FuselageFuselage Bantha Three ValhallaRegistered User regular
    edited November 2017
    The Sauce wrote: »
    We've also learned some things about the narrative "feel" of exploration under the new system now that we've had more time to play with it. For one, I need to make sure that Obstacles are things that block your progress, not just things that can be dangerous to cross. For instance, in a stealth scenario we ran earlier, there was a Noisy Staircase as a Persisting Obstacle that would take away stealth tokens if players failed their Action against it. This felt off, because to cross the Obstacle, each player had to deal a certain amount of "damage" to it to represent progress. Interpreting that narratively is awkward, which results in player disconnect and less fun. Creaky stairs should instead function as traps so that they trigger on movement, because it's not like it's hard for an adventurer to climb some stairs. Even at level one.

    The way Index Card RPG handles this, for reference, is through Effort. Checks require you to pass a check, normal D&D style, but Effort requires you to roll a check and then a separate die for Effort. Basic Effort is a d4, Weapon Effort is a d6, Magic Effort is a d8, and Ultimate Effort is a d12. This is also how attacking and damaging is accomplished.

    Also it's probably unsafe for just one person to split the party anyway!
    WACriminal wrote: »
    This is a game idea that will not leave my head, so I am putting it behind spoilers here in hopes that it will, Ring-style, choose to haunt someone else instead of annoying me all the time.
    SpaceChem/Opus Magnum meets Chrono Trigger meets XCOM.

    Genre is JRPG. You have a small party of adventurers, each with unique tendencies and proficiencies. Maybe 5 or 6, of whom 3 are active at any given time. You're going on a quest to save the world. From what? Don't care, that's not the point of the game design.

    Combat is turn-based, tactical grid combat, somewhere in the vicinity of old-school 90's XCOM, but streamlined. Face off against large squads of enemy mooks and unique monsters. Each of your characters carries a weapon called a Contraption.

    Contraptions are where the Opus Magnum element comes in. To build a Contraption, you first must acquire a framework, then spend time in your workshop customizing it similar to the way you build solutions in Opus Magnum. Each framework you acquire is a grid of limited size, with one or more fixed outputs for specific configurations of materials. For instance, say you start with a simple pistol framework, that has a small grid to work with, and accepts simple metal bullets to the output. You must add material inputs to the back of the framework, then construct a mechanism to generate a bullet from those materials and deliver it to the output. The more complex the mechanism you construct, the longer it takes to go from start-of-cycle to bullet output, the more time units it consumes to fire the Contraption during combat.

    As the game goes on, you progress in the following ways:

    1. Character stats, as usual. Aim, speed, health, etc.
    2. Acquiring new frameworks with differently sized and shaped grids, as well as different outputs -- some outputs take shotgun shells, some take energy crystals to fire beams, some take complex explosive charges, etc. Some outputs may allow you to submit multiple ammunition per action, allowing you to build a weapon with burst-fire capabilities.
    3. Utilizing elemental materials to customize your ammunition. For instance, you can construct a simple bullet with metal elements in a certain configuration, but later you may acquire the recipe to construct a bullet with a unit of water energy at its core, allowing you to deal water damage to your targets, as long as you can devise a Contraption to generate and deliver that recipe.

    So the gameplay loop involves collecting materials (as you can't fire your Contraptions without raw materials for input), constructing weapons, acquiring parts to construct more weapons, and so on. Allows you to perform better in combat if you're willing to spend a little while in your workshop getting your Contraption's cycles down a few ticks so you can fire it just a hair faster. Similarly, it forces you to weigh whether it's worthwhile to add 10 more cycles to a Contraption just so it can fire an elemental shell instead of a mundane metal one.

    I will never be able to build this game. I really want to play this game. I leave it here, in hopes that it will disappear from my head forever.

    That's a really cool idea, even though I have played exactly none of those games.

    Right now I'm thinking of what system I could hack into to simulate Warcraft 3: The Role-playing Game. Your character is any of the heroes in the game and that would be easy to figure out (highest level is 10, true to source material) but I don't know the best way to simulate building an army with you. I want it to be simple because the strength of computer games is they do the math for me while the strength of tabletop games is your increased creativity within the framework.

    Fuselage on
  • The SauceThe Sauce Alek Sandria Registered User regular
    So tracking Positions in Interaction has been a pretty solid addition to the game, but we've found that limiting Positions to an abstract concept alone was severely limiting.

    The idea was that Positions would model sub-conversations that happen within a larger scene, and they were seen as necessarily abstract because many Interaction scenes don't involve any actual moving around. The standard go-to example here is a conversation over dinner with a noble and her crew. You aren't constantly getting up from your chair and moving around over dinner in typical circumstances, and the system shouldn't encourage this as a default.

    However, just because some scenarios need an abstract Stage, that doesn't mean all of them should be forced into it. It's no problem to segment an area into an actual map that you move around in, especially if it's reasonable to do so for the scene. Even better, this allows for "terrain"-like effects in the different positions, adding to the depth of strategy and creating a more narrative experience.

    Consider, for example, the classic RPG scene of gathering information in a tavern. Triptycho models this with an Interaction scenario (Debate Axis win means you talked and charmed your way into getting info, whereas a defeating all enemies win means you threatened and even roughed up some people to get them to talk). Now with the Stage, the tavern can have a layout, divided up into Positions that grant unique effects. Here's an example from a playtest we ran earlier:
    [Common Tables] – [Standing Area] – [Bar] – [Privies]
    Spirited Youth – Traveling Musician – Raconteur – (empty)

    Common Tables: Charisma ties are in favor of the blocker
    Standing Area: All Actions gain Special: Draw a card.
    Bar: No effect.
    Privies: Cannot be affected by anything played outside the Privies (regardless of range, etc). Can spend Action Phase to draw a card.
    So in this scene, the PCs can try to get information out of the Spirited Youth, a Traveling Musician, and a Raconteur. The Youth begins in the Common Table area; the special effect there puts opposed Charisma rolls in favor of the blocker instead of the mover, making it slightly more difficult to get out of a conversation once you're in one. The Musician starts in the Standing Area, and everyone who plays Actions there draws a card, representing the greater options that exist with the background people and ease of moving about between conversations (and being a Mini-boss type, the Musician gets to draw an extra card, too). The Raconteur tells stories at the Bar to anyone who will listen, with no special effects from sitting there.

    Gotta go to the bathroom? The Privies are available, and they can protect you from any long-range Actions and other wide effects. It's a good place to regroup your mind and get your act together with the ability to draw cards, and sneaky ranged caster types (Occultist and Magician) can use them as cover to safely (and hilariously) weave magics on the unsuspecting townsfolk back in the tavern room.

    The result is a narratively-rich scene as PCs and townsfolk mill about chatting with each other in various configurations. It has some emergent story features, which is pretty cool!


    Our next playtests will involve boss enemies, which currently are first available at level 2. This is where the Stage features can really shine, turning what might have been a boring back-and-forth with a single opponent into something with deeper gameplay and proper utility of groups.

    The first example of this is a court appearance scene where the murder hobos adventurers are called before the authorities to defend their honor and innocence. The Magistrate is a Boss type, meaning it gets 3 turns per round and a full hand of cards. Here's how I set up the courtroom:
    [Bailiff] – [Bench] – [Jury Box]
    All entities begin in the Bench. The Magistrate does not and cannot move from the Bench.

    Bench: No effect.
    Bailiff: PCs may plead to the Bailiff for more time to make their case by playing a Persuasive Action with Argue dice against the Bailiff (not counted as an actual entity). The Bailiff plays a Persuasive Reaction having Rebuttal: 1d6. If the PC wins the opposed roll, no results of their Action take place, but the Round Limit is extended by 1. Argue dice levels are reduced by 1 for every other PC in the Bailiff position.
    Jury Box: PCs may present an argument to the jurors by playing a Charming Action with Argue Dice against the Jury (not counted as an actual entity). The Jury plays a Persuasive Reaction having Rebuttal: 1d6. If the PC wins the opposed roll, no results of their Action take place, but the Debate Counter is advanced one notch toward victory. Only 1 PC can play an Action against the Jury each round, and only if there is at least 1 PC in the Bench.
    Tactically, this winds up feeling something like a MMO boss fight, only with flavor and narrative suitable for an interaction sequence instead of an epic battle. At least one PC will need to be in the Bench at all times, trading Actions and Reactions with the Magistrate. Since the Magistrate can play 3 Actions per round, it's probably best for PCs to swap in and out through each round depending on the quality of their Expertise (at-will) Reaction and what they have in their hand.

    At least one PC will need to play an Action in the Bailiff each round to keep the scenario going (as the Round Limit starts at a paltry 3, far too little time for success). But if the PC fails, hopefully they can move out, because crowding the Bailiff makes subsequent Actions harder as each PC enters. Another PC will want to be playing Actions at the Jury Box, for it has a much weaker Reaction than the Magistrate and thus gives the PCs a pretty easy chance for at least 1 positive Debate Counter movement each round.


    As a final example, consider a prisoner interrogation. Combat in Triptycho isn't always life or death, and often victory means all the enemies fled; capturing one may require winning a Chase type exploration scenario immediately after. But if you really need information (indeed, if that's your whole goal), it can be worth it. Once you've caught the foe, you need to wring the information out of them. In this scene, I'm picturing the enemy as being tied up, such as to a chair, and the PCs are interrogating as a group (which is usually how you want to do things in Triptycho). How can the Stage add flavor to this? Here's the setup:
    ~ [ Left ] – [ Front ] – [ Right ] – [ Back ] ~
    The Prisoner occupies all positions. The Prisoner cannot block PC movement.

    Front: The Prisoner can only play Actions against a PC in this position.
    Left & Right: PCs reduce all Damage dice levels by 1.
    Back: Only PCs in this position can impose conditions on the Prisoner. PCs reduce all Damage dice levels by 2.
    This scene depicts the PCs able to surround the prisoner; the Stage loops back around so you can move between Left and Back. So it's a circle, just like you'd expect.

    Special rules make it so that PCs can play Actions against the Prisoner from every single position, but damage is reduced if they're not in front. Condition users like the Magician want to be behind the Prisoner, while others will move from the sides to the front based on their ability to withstand Actions from the Prisoner. Of course PCs are completely safe if no one is in front, but remember that interaction scenarios have Round Limits; taking all those damage penalties might result in failure via time. It's worthwhile to do if you're going for Counter movement instead of a damage win, but that's particularly difficult against this foe. As a Strategy, the Prisoner can discard a card to move the Counter one notch toward defeat. That's three notches per round, so you'll need some serious Counter movement if you're going to overcome that (or copious use of the Dazed and/or Muddled Conditions to prevent using Strategies or drawing cards, respectively).


    The possibilities are pretty wide-ranging for this! I've got demihuman lairs with skull totems that deal auto-damage to occupying PCs that lack Fear Resistance, City Gate Stages where PCs can create distractions with merchant carts to draw off annoying guards, and tons more. I'll probably keep things simpler and abstract still for convention appearances (since I use interaction as the first scenario to teach people how to play), but the full game is going to have tons of great stuff like this. And I can still use abstract positions for those dinner party sequences without any difficulties. I could even make each Position be a particular conversation topic, with thematically-appropriate special effects...

    Triptycho: A card-and-dice tabletop indie RPG currently in development and playtesting
    Iron Weasel
  • Endless_SerpentsEndless_Serpents Registered User regular
    edited December 2017
    I love reading your posts The Sauce, they’re like the game design equivalent of watching a professor do a complex math equation on a giant blackboard.

    I’m very excited for your game.

    Today I’m starting a quick idea just for the fun of it, it’s gonna be... tadpole capture the flag turn-based board game pinball?

    Endless_Serpents on
    The SauceDisruptedCapitalistFuselageRingo
  • Endless_SerpentsEndless_Serpents Registered User regular
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/16s__lxWDMMViOvrGo-iOWOOTWYMWQhvwgKUAZS6Bico

    Tomorrow I’ll utilise my very rusty art skills to make sense of this, I’m calling it Puddella!

  • furlionfurlion Riskbreaker Lea MondeRegistered User regular
    My son has started trying to design his own card game. He is only 7, so you can imagine how it is going, but today we had to explain to him what copyright infringement was. That was kind of tricky but I think he got it. It is pretty cute watching him make up these cards and rules with no sense of balance or fairness lol.

    sig.gif Gamertag: KL Retribution
    PSN:Furlion
    DisruptedCapitalistThe SauceEndless_Serpents
  • Endless_SerpentsEndless_Serpents Registered User regular
    edited January 1
    furlion wrote: »
    My son has started trying to design his own card game. He is only 7, so you can imagine how it is going, but today we had to explain to him what copyright infringement was. That was kind of tricky but I think he got it. It is pretty cute watching him make up these cards and rules with no sense of balance or fairness lol.

    So any first edition ccg game? Nice!


    Edit: Ack! I’ve had a neat idea for a card game about smugglers/thieves in space. I’m sure there are games like it, but I think I’m on to something fun.

    It’s not a deck builder per say. All the cards would come with the game.

    It’d be like, a target is drawn first, like a casino. Then you all play a card to rob some cash, and get one over the other players, but you’d also be trying to avoid heat from the evil Empire? Basically a bluff game.

    Endless_Serpents on
  • Iron WeaselIron Weasel Dillon! You son of a bitch!Registered User regular
    edited January 9
    Hello Game Design Thread,

    I’ve lurked in this thread for months and months and I now feel ready to share my own Adventures in Game Design. I hope you won’t hate this post!

    I’ll be musing about my ongoing freshman design, working title: OTHERWORLDS
    I enjoy creative writing, and inspired by Dead of Winter’s Crossroads cards, I wanted to create a game where players would draw and resolve Encounter cards, earning Victory Points and resources for success. They would be able to hire assistants and buy equipment to improve their odds, and the whole experience would take place against the backdrop of a race to (X) Victory Points to be recognized as The Best There Ever Was. I wanted the game to be straight-forward and (hopefully) easy to grok, so I decided to go with a series of Encounter decks, each representing a different “world” with unique character and challenges. Each card would include one or more Tests that players would attempt to overcome by rolling a D6. As they succeed, the players draw closer to the their goal. If they fail, they suffer setbacks.

    I didn’t like the idea that players would roll the die, miss the target number and just fail, so right away I adopted the idea of re-rolls as a resource that players could buy and use; in-game they’re called Supplies.

    After raiding my game collection and the kids’ art supplies, I hacked up my first prototype:
    YTbzYE9.jpg
    I separated two decks of poker cards by suit, pulled every card with a value of 7 or more and used each suit as a different world. The number on each card was the target number I had to achieve on my D6 roll.

    The coloured cubes represented 3 resources: Supplies (red), Wealth (yellow) and, er, Resources (black). Players moved their pawns from the central Staging Area to a world of their choice, and would then draw 3 Encounter cards. Cards they successfully completed would award capital-R Resources, while failure would deduct them. Players kept cards they succeeded at, and the first person to get 10 cards won. Players could remain on a world from turn-to turn, or return to the Staging Area, buy additional Supplies, and then head off somewhere else.

    I learned a lot from this experiment, most importantly that the experience wasn’t terribly compelling because there wasn’t any real decision-making. The re-rolls felt right, but the rolling wasn’t super exciting. I decided to work on introducing assistants and equipment; these would provide players with choices to make regarding what to acquire, and in turn make it easier to succeed at the Tests. Combined with Supplies, I hoped that players would succeed more often than they failed, in order to maintain the tempo of the game.

    Obviously different helpers and equipment would be used for different tasks, so I solidified the four types of Tests: COMBAT, MIGHT, ALACRITY and WITS, respectively covering combat (duh), feats of strength and toughness, acts of speed and coordination, and displays of cleverness and alertness.

    At this point, I settled on a theme that loosely combines rival explorers a la Indiana Jones and classic sci-fi, complete with fishbowl helmets and cigar-shaped rocket ships. I realize that for many designers, theme is something that comes much later in the process – but given that this was going to be a game driven by reading text off of cards, I felt I needed to know what I’d be writing about.

    A couple of months later, I had a new prototype:
    Rd1amjH.jpg
    A lot had happened. I had written up a bunch of encounter cards, focused on four planets, which fell into various classic sci-fi architypes: a dinosaur world, a desert world, a robot world and a mystery world. In this version, the round planet tiles start face-down, and are only turned over when someone ventures there for the first time. The idea was to create a feeling of venturing into the (somewhat) unknown. At this point, each planet also had special rules that applied to players exploring them – for example, BATYR, the dinosaur world, had Low Gravity, which made MIGHT Tests easier and ALACRITY Tests harder.

    The Staging Area is still present and has had its role expanded – it’s now the place where players bought Gear or Specialists from the available “Pipeline” cards. At this point I had also introduced a playsheet (the “Expedition Journal”) that would allow each player to track their cards and resources. I’d had the ‘great’ idea to replace the static “draw 3 Encounter cards every turn” with the concept of an Expedition Level (represented by a die that started at 3), that could be increased or reduced by various game effects. For example. being Injured (red chips) or getting contaminated (green chips) reduced a player’s Expedition Level by 1. The 3 resources are still present, and the idea is that players use (yellow) Wealth to buy (red) Supplies and/or combine them with (blue) Resources to buy Pipeline cards. There’s also a turn counter (the player with the most successful Encounters when the counter reaches 0 wins), and in the top right is a simple legend that describes the rewards and penalties for succeeding or failing a card, based on the target number to be achieved (yes, I was such a tool that I had actually written cards that required more than 6 to succeed). I'd also created a small deck of Fortune cards, which provided small benefits when played.

    I was very pleased with the amount of work I’d done, and proudly gathered a few friends for a new playtest.

    It was a complete disaster.

    The 3 resources were too hard to acquire, and people hated that there was a resource called Resources. The Injuries-Reduces-Your-Expedition-Level mechanic was a catastrophe, because there weren’t enough ways to remove Injuries or Contamination. One unlucky player found themselves literally unable to do anything on Turn 2. The idea of having one deck for Specialists and Gear, but keeping them separate on the playsheet was counter-intuitive. Each deck had a “Story” told over six cards – but these were shuffled normally, and if you drew a card out of order, you placed it on the bottom of the deck and drew again. This made it very likely that a player would never get all the way through a Story – and frankly, there was little incentive to do so, anyway. The Fortune cards were determined to be inadequately compelling to bother getting.

    Fortunately, my friends were very supportive and we had a long and very fruitful discussion about the path forward.

    I did a ton of re-design over the following month, and finished with something that finally felt like a game. The changes included:
    • Added new Encounter cards for the Staging Area (now called Wayfinder Station). These are generally low-risk, low-reward activities that players can undertake. They aren’t as lucrative as venturing out to the worlds, but they were an opportunity to write up some Encounters that didn’t fit thematically in the existing Encounter decks, and there's some fun stuff in there (like playing Rock-Paper-Scissors to determine the winner of a race)
    • Dumping Expedition Level in favour of static Action Points – every player gets 4 AP per turn, and they are used to move, draw Encounters, buy cards, etc.
    • Doing away with Resources as a resource (because, honestly)
    • Dropping the Pipeline and instead separating Specialists (now called CREW) and Gear into separate decks that players pay to draw from.
    • Changing Injuries so they instead remove a Crew card or an Action Point (player's choice).
    • Removed special rules for each world; I'm leaving it to the writing to communicate the theme.
    • Added a bunch of Achievements to earn Victory Points through the course of play (for example, having a full Crew complement, or completing Encounters on more than one world)
    • Eliminating the linked Story cards and replacing them with extra-difficult “Challenges” that awarded lots of VP and fall into four broad narrative categories:
      [**] Champion: Overcome a great obstacle or defeat a mighty foe.
      [**] Discovery: Uncover a great truth or find something new
      [**] Romance: Find love among the stars.
      [**] Riches: Claim treasures or gather wealth.
      These have generally worked a lot better. Champion cards can be a bit samey, and Riches remain tricky, since everyone who completes one wants to know how many Wealth tokens they get and ... they don’t actually get any. The "Riches" are, like, thematic, not literal. Hmm.
      Discovery cards have been fun to write, and Romance was a good exercise, since I decided immediately that they couldn’t depend on an assumption of the player’s sexual identity or preference. I don’t know if I’ve been entirely successful, but (for example) the Robot Princess only cares that you rescue her.

    Overall, this was a great improvement, but there were still problems: getting Contaminated now required a player to return to Wayfinder Station to get decontaminated, but that’s actually proved to just a be a huge pain in the ass and not fun to deal with. So now I’m working on a different idea, where Contamination instead disables your Crew and/or Gear cards until you Decontaminate. The idea is to combine temporarily stripping a player’s resources with a bit of push-your-luck, since it’s up to the player to decide when to abandon adventure in favour of a clean up.

    I've also adopted some simple iconography to help save precious space on the cards: TACTICS (formerly COMBAT) is represented by a crosshair, MIGHT is a flexed arm, QUICKNESS (originally ALACRITY) is an arrow and WITS is a light bulb.

    The Achievements felt like a good idea, but after a couple test games with them, they've only felt distracting. I think this might be because I introduced too many (at one point there were nine or ten). For the next version, I’ve massively reduced the number of cheevos down to just a few that are easy to track (and attain). Ideally, they’ll provide nice VP boosts to keep the game close(r) and quicker.

    Another sticking point has been a lack of player interaction. People agree that reading the cards and resolving them is fun, but it feels very much like four people doing their own thing. I initially tried to address this by re-tooling the Fortune cards into something more like Action cards, which enabled players to mess with each other – though not too much. I don’t want this to be a game of cutthroat competition, so my rule when designing the Fortune cards was that they would be more akin to "shooting out the other guy’s tires than shooting him in the back".

    However, players still don't seem compelled to look much beyond their own playsheets, so I’ve had to go back to the drawing board again. I’ve increased the frequency with which the now-styled Rivalry cards are awarded, and once again drawing inspiration from the Crossroads system, I’ve made most them dependent on other players’ actions. The idea is that once you have these cards, you’ll need to see if the other players are fulfilling the trigger conditions. I’ve also created rules that allow players to (temporarily) Assist one another to overcome Encounters; I’m anxious to see if these changes prompt more player interaction. If not, I’ll have to go back to the drawing board.

    And on top of all that, I’ve had something of a crisis of faith regarding using dice for resolving everything. On the one hand, rolling dice is inherently exciting – there’s always the chance that you’ll roll a 6 and succeed against all odds (and of course there’s the lovely schadenfreude that comes from someone saying, “I just need to roll 2 or more on two dice...” and then getting snake eyes). Plus rolling dice is fast.

    On the other hand, I’ve been wondering if it might be more interesting to give players a hand of "Effort" cards, with values from, say, 2-5, and let them spend those in place of rolling dice. Then an encounter card becomes a kind of puzzle: how best to combine Effort, Gear and Crew cards to succeed as efficiently as possible? But then this makes each card take longer to resolve, and you lose the possibility of Unexpected Success that comes from a great roll. So I dunno.

    ANYWAY, this has gone on a while, so I better wrap up. I’ve included samples of various cards for the curious, and the current version of the rules is here: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1H1qikUWn15idDkVIJeYg-Uh5UvEMdFqoVSZwrOfZpBw. I’m happy to receive any questions or comments!

    Encounter Cards
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    exbwuoF.jpg LXgasVG.jpg 5tuIfuj.jpg 3PrFi2p.jpg
    xDaeUJg.jpg szeWcGV.jpg

    Crew cards
    degxvVZ.jpg Wley7Y0.jpg

    Gear cards
    uvxoHXh.jpg WXnltdv.jpg

    Rivalry cards:
    jmVX3Sf.jpg MgCBCsy.jpg

    Iron Weasel on
    Currently Playing:
    The Division, Warframe (XB1)
    GT: Tanith 6227
    FuselageDisruptedCapitalistdoomybearThe Sauce
  • The SauceThe Sauce Alek Sandria Registered User regular
    What a great write-up; your game sounds really fun! Thanks for sharing that, and I'd love to hear about your continued testing and development going forward.

    I haven't read the full rules or anything yet, but one thing that occurred to me when I read about player confusion with Riches vs Wealth and the sample challenge card you provided--

    Maybe you could reflavor that to Power? Specifically political power, connections with powerful people, etc.

    Triptycho: A card-and-dice tabletop indie RPG currently in development and playtesting
    FuselageIron Weasel
  • Iron WeaselIron Weasel Dillon! You son of a bitch!Registered User regular
    The Sauce wrote: »
    What a great write-up; your game sounds really fun! Thanks for sharing that, and I'd love to hear about your continued testing and development going forward.

    I haven't read the full rules or anything yet, but one thing that occurred to me when I read about player confusion with Riches vs Wealth and the sample challenge card you provided--

    Maybe you could reflavor that to Power? Specifically political power, connections with powerful people, etc.
    Thanks! I will be sure to keep you all up to date on my progress.

    And I super-duper love the idea of reworking Riches to Power (or perhaps Influence or Clout). The nice thing is that I can probably preserve Challenges that talk about stealing a huge block of gold or whatever, since that kind of power often flows directly from being filthy rich.

    I should have posted here ages ago.

    Currently Playing:
    The Division, Warframe (XB1)
    GT: Tanith 6227
    The Sauce
  • Iron WeaselIron Weasel Dillon! You son of a bitch!Registered User regular
    An update!

    Over the weekend I got together with a friend who designs serious simulations for government agencies, and runs what is essentially a play-by-email megagame every year for the graduate-level political science class that he teaches. He also has a massive collection of hobby games, so he seemed a good person to talk to about Otherworlds. It was just the two of us, so I took it as an opportunity to see how the game scales at that number.

    I got some great feedback. Some of the comments came down to personal preference – he doesn’t like “tapping” cards and would rather use tokens to denote when a card has been used, for example. He expressed some concern about the size of the cards, which I share – I’ll likely have to increase to tarot- or even jumbo-size cards (3.5 x 5.5).

    He thought the aesthetic, writing and core gameplay were enjoyable (phew!), but was not enthusiastic about the Rivalry cards because he felt that they broke the overall narrative of the experience. “I just killed a reclusive giant moth,” he said at one point, “which somehow resulted in me getting a Hypno-Beam that I can use on you - even though you’re on another planet.”

    Now, I see where he’s coming from, but I can’t yet decide if I fully agree. I mean, anyone who’s ever played a video game has had the experience of clubbing a baby rhino over the head, only to have a magic sword pop out of its carcass.

    We then theorycrafted the idea of removing Rivalry cards altogether, and instead having various Encounter cards become “playable” once successfully completed; you’d take such a card into your hand and play it (once) for its effect at an appropriate time. The playable effects would be related to the card they came from, so there would (hopefully) be less narrative breaking. For example, if you succeed at the “Dino Rider” card and go for a joyride on a tricepratops, it might have a Playable Effect that lets you draw a card from the same deck for free (because you are moving fast).

    I talked about how the Rivalry cards were intended to foster player interaction and that in turn provoked a lively discussion about a possible new card type: the Dark Secret. A player that succeeds at a Dark Secret can then give it to a rival, exposing this Terrible Truth and imposing penalties. But if the player draws and then fails the Dark Secret’s tests, then they must play it on themselves, as their failure has exposed something rotten about them. I like this idea a lot and have started sketching out some ideas.

    The comment about somehow affecting players on other planets, does reflect the “camping” issue I’ve consistently observed: players will pick a planet and stick with it throughout the game, because there is no incentive to go anywhere else. This segued nicely into a further discussion of how to motivate players to switch locations. The example we hit on was good ol’ Escape Velocity and the idea of “delivery mission” cards that offer a nice payout if the player takes them somewhere else (I actually already have a couple of cards like this, where the players is tasked with moving something precious from a doomed world).

    The next day, my friend emailed me with some further thoughts, and introduced me to the Pulp-O-Mizer, with which I created some card back ideas. Let me know what you think!
    OQPHaAh.jpg


    Currently Playing:
    The Division, Warframe (XB1)
    GT: Tanith 6227
    AuralynxThe SauceWACriminaldoomybearFuselage
  • The SauceThe Sauce Alek Sandria Registered User regular
    The cards look great!


    Personally, I'm opposed to eliminating game mechanics merely because the narrative comes across a bit wonky sometimes. If the mechanic is fun and functional, then it should stay in place. Narrative / flavor is easy to change by comparison; you're unlikely to have cascading effects on other systems just because you reword some explanations for things versus ripping out or adding in mechanics.

    Also if you're not going to self-publish, the reality is that any publisher that picks up your game is probably going to reskin your narrative and setting anyway (along with providing all the art). That's just how it works.

    It's worthwhile to try to avoid instigating that mental disconnect in players, though. Many will enjoy the experience more if it seems consistent and immersive. Given that, it could be worth doing some mulling about what narrative structures might need to be in place in order for players to affect each other on different planets (or see if it's reasonable to require them to be on the same planet to do so, and see if that works well with the motivation to get players moving about more). You could also look for opportunities to make use of new elements as you add them to the game; for instance, if you decide that there should be a phase of the game where players regularly return to some kind of Station base hub to do some things, you could have that be the time where players can play cards against each other.

    Triptycho: A card-and-dice tabletop indie RPG currently in development and playtesting
  • WACriminalWACriminal Dying Is Easy, Young Man Living Is HarderRegistered User regular
    Oh my god that site is so cool.

    Auralynx
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