Sunday, April 29, 2012

YANGI: Yet Another New Game Idea

I had meant to work on Alter Ego today, but like many of my game designs, instead of the design I wanted to work on, I thought of a whole new game. It's a card drafting game, and I even designed a bunch of cards (108 of them), printed them up, and sleeved them. I also made mats to put between neighboring players...

Perhaps I should explain the game a bit. I'm not sure what prompted it, but I was thinking about card drafting - M:tG Booster draft style, like is used in Fairy Tale, Notre Dame, and 7 Wonders. I thought it would be cool if there were 2 sets of cards - two different types - that were being drafted, and you passed 1 set in one direction around the table, and passed the other set in the other direction. I imagined a play-mat between a player and each neighbor with an image of the card backs for the different sets of cards, and a big arrow indicating which direction to pass that set. It might be the idea of that mat which really inspired me to work on the game! I made the mats double sided, so between rounds of the game you could flip them over to reverse the direction of passing for each set.

So what is this game about? How does it work? It's rare that I design a game completely
"mechanics first," but this time that's all I've actually got! I haven't thought of a theme that would fit. But I do have cards and mechanics :) Here's how it works:

As I mentioned, there are two sets of cards: Action cards, and Building cards. Each round of the game will consist of a Draft phase followed by an Action and Building phase.

Draft phase
Players will draft some Action and Building cards to play later:

  1. Deal 4 of each Action and Building cards to each player.
  2. Players choose 1 card from each set of 4 to keep, and then passes the rest in the direction indicated by player aids (placed between neighboring players). Place drafted cards in a face down pile in front of you.
  3. Repeat until all of those cards have been drafted.

Action and Building phase
In turn, each player will play as many Action cards as they like, followed by at most 1 Building card.
  1. Play any number of Action cards.
  2. Spend coins provided by Action cards to play 1 Building card
Action cards have 2 aspects: Coins to be spent on building, and a game effect. No matter how many Action cards are played, only 1 game effect will be resolved - the one on the card with the smallest number of coins on it! The fewer coins on an Action card, the stronger the game effect on that card, so stronger effects mean less coins to spend on building.

Building cards have a cost, a point value, and a game effect. Currently the Building cards get better (more points and stronger game effects) as they get more expensive, but I'm not sure that's the correct way to go. Generally speaking the point value of the Building cards are equal to the cost of the card in coins. I think perhaps the stronger game effects should be on the cheaper buildings so that players will have to choose between stronger effects and higher scores.

The effects I mocked up for my prototype are fairly straightforward for the most part...
Action card effects:
  • 0 coins: Tuck this card under any building, that building is worth an additional 2 points. Do not play a Building card this turn.
  • 0 coins: Tuck this card under any building, that building provides 1 coin each turn.
  • 0 coins: Discard any building in play and replace it with a Building card from your hand.
  • 1 coins: Take any Building card from the discard pile.
  • 1 coins: Take any Action card from the discard pile.
  • 1 coins: Discard any building in play of value 2 or less.
  • 1 coins: Each player (including you) must discard 1 building card from their hand.
  • 1 coins: Tuck this card under any building, that building is worth an additional 1 point. Do not play a Building card this turn.
  • 1 coins: Take any building in play into your hand and replace it with a Building card of equal or greater value from your hand.
  • 2 coins: Discard any building in play and replace it with a Building card of equal or greater value from your hand.
  • 2 coins: Discard any building in play of value 1 or less.
  • 2 coins: Discard a card: Take any Action card from the discard pile into your hand.
  • 2 coins: Discard a card: Take any Building card from the discard pile into your hand.
  • 2 coins:Put a Building card of value 1 or less into play. This does not count as your Building card for the turn.
  • 2 coins: Discard a card: Draw 5 Building cards from the deck, put 1 into your hand and return the rest in any order.
  • 3 coins: No game effect
Building card effects:
  • 0 cost/0vp: Discard this building from play: +1 coin this turn.
  • 0 cost/1vp: No game effect.
  • 1 cost/1vp: Play this card from your hand as if it were an Action card (provides 1 coin)
  • 1 cost/2vp: No game effect.
  • 2 cost/2vp: After drafting: Draw 1 Action card.
  • 2 cost/2vp: After drafting: Draw 1 Building card.
  • 2 cost/2vp: Discard this building from play: +2 coin this turn.
  • 2 cost/3vp: No game effect.
  • 3 cost/3vp: Play this card from your hand as if it were an Action card (provides 5 coin)
  • 3 cost/3vp: Discard this building from play: Take any Action card from the discard pile into your hand.
  • 3 cost/3vp: Discard this building from play: Take any Building card from the discard pile into your hand
  • 3 cost/4vp: No game effect.
  • 3 cost/?vp: Book icon. If you have 1/2/3 Book icons, this card is worth 2/3/4vp.
  • 3 cost/?vp: Guard icon. If you have 1/2/3 Guard icons, this card is worth 2/3/4vp.
  • 4 cost/3vp: +1 coin to spend each turn.
  • 4 cost/4vp: Play this card from your hand as if it were an Action card (provides 2 coins)
  • 4 cost/5vp: No game effect.
  • 5 cost/6vp: No game effect.
After 4 rounds of player turns, the Action and Building phase is over. All players discard any cards they still have in hand and Round 2 begins by switching the passing direction for each type of card (flip the player aids over). The game will end after a certain number of rounds based on the number of players:
  • 2 players: 6 rounds
  • 3 players: 4 rounds
  • 4 players: 3 rounds

I don't know if this game will pan out to be any fun or not, and I'm not sure if the double draft mechanism will prove to be too confusing or not, but who knows? I already know that the building effects are not balanced properly, and there are some timing questions about some of them. But maybe with some tweaking this could turn out to be a good game :)

2 comments:

Aahzmandius Karrde said...

I made the mats double sided, so between rounds of the game you could flip them over to reverse the direction of passing for each set.

Well you comments are called nitpicks, but why double sided? Why not just rotate the mat around 180 degres and you have the same effect of reversing the direction of both decks.

Seth Jaffee said...

Yes, you COULD do that, but I am a little obsessive/compulsive... I made the image of the card being passed tilted a little bit, and I wanted the card being passed to always be tilted AWAY from the player passing it, to emphasize and reinforce the idea of which cards are being passed TO you and which cards you are passing AWAY.

If you rotate the mat, then that will switch, so I made them double sided to keep it consistent.