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Subject: Deck of Thieves rss

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Jason Fordham
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Deck of Thieves






Deck of Thieves was designed to be:

1.) Easy to pick-up
2.) Easy to learn
3.) Fast to play
4.) Fun to play
5.) Portable
6.) Addictive
7.) Tactical

I had a lot of great help from Sean McMullin (artist for DIG: the Card Game), and his help, along with that of his two boys, has been invaluable. They were the pilot playtesters and LOVED the game in its current final form.
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Nate K
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Re: WIP: Deck of Thieves - A Cuthroat, Quick, and Tactical card game: PLAYTESTERS wanted.
Oh, shoot, I never did get back to you about this, did I? It looks really interesting! The mechanic of discarding a card to draw two seems really good. Do I ditch a mediocre card and hope for better cards, or do I try to use the cards I have to rack up points and end the game quickly?
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Jason Fordham
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Re: WIP: Deck of Thieves - A Cuthroat, Quick, and Tactical card game: PLAYTESTERS wanted.
You never did, no, but rest assured you are now off the black list!

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Celina
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Re: WIP: Deck of Thieves - A Cuthroat, Quick, and Tactical card game: PLAYTESTERS wanted.
We played a game of this tonight. My husband won, 40 points to the rest of us 3 who had around 20 each. It went very quickly, maybe 15 minutes with 4 players. I can't write you up a big summary, but we had a few questions:

Is the coin purse you remove the coin purse you give to the player at the beginning? (then we figured it out, but after I wrote it down)

Does the pickpocket's power (on play area) work for ALL turns or just the turn you put it down?

EDIT: Oh, & we liked it.
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Jason Fordham
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Re: WIP: Deck of Thieves - A Cuthroat, Quick, and Tactical card game: PLAYTESTERS wanted.
Celinashope wrote:
We played a game of this tonight. My husband won, 40 points to the rest of us 3 who had around 20 each. It went very quickly, maybe 15 minutes with 4 players. I can't write you up a big summary, but we had a few questions:

Is the coin purse you remove the coin purse you give to the player at the beginning? (then we figured it out, but after I wrote it down)

Yep! You give each player one Coin Purse from the deck. I will clarify that in the rules. Thanks!

Does the pickpocket's power (on play area) work for ALL turns or just the turn you put it down?

You can use it every turn. Will clarify. Thanks!

EDIT: Oh, & we liked it.


Thank you so much for your comments. Have a small tip.
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Sam Binney
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Re: WIP: Deck of Thieves - A Cuthroat, Quick, and Tactical card game: PLAYTESTERS wanted.
hey i saw this a day or so ago and i've finally got round to printing off your cards and rules. i had a game night last night so it might be a couple days until i get a chance to play it through with my group but i'll let you know. until then i may play a mock solitaire run to see if i encounter any problems then. i'll let you know what i think as soon as i can
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Sean M
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Re: WIP: Deck of Thieves - A Cuthroat, Quick, and Tactical card game: PLAYTESTERS wanted.
We did have a great time pilot testing this one, though after fifteen games
or so, I think I wore out my playtesters

I'm very interested to hear others' experiences with it.
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Jason Fordham
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Re: WIP: Deck of Thieves - A Cuthroat, Quick, and Tactical card game: PLAYTESTERS wanted.
panterasam wrote:
hey i saw this a day or so ago and i've finally got round to printing off your cards and rules. i had a game night last night so it might be a couple days until i get a chance to play it through with my group but i'll let you know. until then i may play a mock solitaire run to see if i encounter any problems then. i'll let you know what i think as soon as i can


Great, Sam, thank you! I look forward to your thoughts.

Jason
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Sam Binney
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Re: WIP: Deck of Thieves - A Cuthroat, Quick, and Tactical card game: PLAYTESTERS wanted.
hey Jason. i've had a mock run through as a solitaire run. i cant spot any obvious issues which is great. i can see that it will be a nice fast-paced game that be perfect to get people in the mood on my games nights. i jazzed up the cards when i printed them so my games group can identify the cards a bit faster to get a more accurate timing when i get round to play fully.
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Jason Fordham
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Re: WIP: Deck of Thieves - A Cuthroat, Quick, and Tactical card game: PLAYTESTERS wanted.
panterasam wrote:
hey Jason. i've had a mock run through as a solitaire run. i cant spot any obvious issues which is great. i can see that it will be a nice fast-paced game that be perfect to get people in the mood on my games nights. i jazzed up the cards when i printed them so my games group can identify the cards a bit faster to get a more accurate timing when i get round to play fully.


Wonderful! Yep, I'll be going through and formatting the cards a little better and adding some Google images to the cards pretty soon, just for quicker visual play. I won't spend a LOT of time on that as professional art/design is being commissioned pretty soon--I have been chatting with the artist today, and we're going to settle on a contract in the coming weeks.

I look forward to hearing how it goes! It's definitely designed to be a fast-fun-filler game.

Jason
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Sam Binney
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Re: WIP: Deck of Thieves - A Cuthroat, Quick, and Tactical card game: PLAYTESTERS wanted.
you seem really organised - that's great. im glad things are progressing with the artwork. i only did doodles on the prints i did to help the game flow as a prototype. im quite excited about your project.
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Jason Fordham
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Re: WIP: Deck of Thieves - A Cuthroat, Quick, and Tactical card game: PLAYTESTERS wanted.
Updated Rules and Cards:

Rules 2.4.2

Cards 2.4.2
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Sturv Tafvherd
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Re: Deck of Thieves - A cutthroat card game.
Heya CalebSkye! Long time no hear ... well, maybe that's me ... I've been lurking on BGG for the last .. oh ... 8 months or so.

Anyway, picking this up now and gonna try it when I get home.
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Jason Fordham
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Re: Deck of Thieves - A cutthroat card game.
Stormtower wrote:
Heya CalebSkye! Long time no hear ... well, maybe that's me ... I've been lurking on BGG for the last .. oh ... 8 months or so.

Anyway, picking this up now and gonna try it when I get home.


It has been a while.

Great, I'm glad you're giving it a spin. If it seems too complicated for what it should be (quick, fun, fast, pick-up-and-play) then I have a simpler version that your group may prefer--it has simpler card text and a little less card interaction, keeping it faster. Here it is:

Rules 2.4.5

Cards 2.4.5


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Matt Riddle
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Re: Deck of Thieves - A cutthroat card game.
Sounds cool. Hopefully I get a chance to give it a try
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Jason Fordham
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Re: Deck of Thieves - A cutthroat card game.
riddlen wrote:
Sounds cool. Hopefully I get a chance to give it a try


Thanks!
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Jason Fordham
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Re: Deck of Thieves - A cutthroat card game.
The newest incarnation of Deck of Thieves . . .

Take note:
This version of the game has been ratcheted back to a simpler, faster, quicker-to-play, less texty version.

1.) Cards have less and simpler text.
2.) Rules are very clean.

Give it a play and sound-off:

Rules 2.4.7 | Cards 2.4.7
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Timothy Sweetser
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Re: Deck of Thieves - A cutthroat card game.
I like the simpler text, but the bold/italic ability type made things a little more confusing, I think. Seems like there are few enough "alternate" abilities on cards that just stating "When in play area:" and "During any player's turn:" would make it easier to pick up and play. One less thing to think about while you're playing.
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Jason Fordham
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Re: Deck of Thieves - A cutthroat card game.
themadpoet wrote:
I like the simpler text, but the bold/italic ability type made things a little more confusing, I think. Seems like there are few enough "alternate" abilities on cards that just stating "When in play area:" and "During any player's turn:" would make it easier to pick up and play. One less thing to think about while you're playing.


Fair enough, Timothy.

We've gone back-and-forth with these ideas trying to get it just-right, balance of text, etc.

I'll consider that and upload a version accordingly for testing.

edit: Here you go: Cards 2.4.7.1

Thanks!
Jason
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Jason Fordham
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Re: Deck of Thieves - A cutthroat card game.
Updated rules and cards based on a new blind playtest:


Rules: 2.4.7.2

Cards: 2.4.7.2

Thanks to Sean McMullin (and his testing friends) for their excellent feedback on the game in its current state.
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Jason Fordham
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Re: Deck of Thieves - A cutthroat card game.
Art has been commissioned!
Proof sketches are due Sunday!
Exciting!

Jason
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Andy E
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Re: Deck of Thieves - A cutthroat card game.
I've been lurking at BGG for a while, but I finally registered to comment on this game. It looks really neat, but the rules need a bit of work:

1. It needs to be spelled out in the rules what it means to "counter" a card. I would suggest a card type distinction similar to instant/sorcery in Magic the Gathering, but with names matching the thief theme. E.g., any card with a bold ability is a Stealth card, and all Stealth cards can be played during an opponent's turn in response to an opponent playing a card/activating an ability. This is just a suggestion, but whatever you decide on needs to be spelled out in the rules.

2. There are some typos/inconsistencies. E.g., the Watchman "counters" an ability, whereas the Dagger "cancels" an ability. Also, should the Dagger say "Discard any one card" rather than "Discard any one character"?

3. You should specify the following in the rules:
- "Play" means put a card from your hand into your play area (or another area if specified) and use its ability. (Note: if this is defined to be the default behavior for this term, you don't need to say "Play to your play area" on all of the cards.)
- "Sacrifice" means choose the appropriate number of cards from your hand and give them to the appropriate opponent (or opponent of your choice if it's not clear?).
- "Steal" means take a card from an opponent's play area and put it into your own.

4. I'm not a fan of having lots of references to specific cards in the rules. (I'm looking at the "Notes" section; the glossary is fine, although it should include game terms as well as cards.) Anything worth commenting about a specific card in the "Notes" should just be written/clarified on the card itself.

5. It looks like all of the cards with italicized abilities specify that those abilities should be used only if the card is in play for consecutive turns (similar to losing summoning sickness in Magic the Gathering). First, if your intent is for all (or most) italicized abilities to work like this, then this should just be part of the rules so it doesn't have to take up space on all of the cards. Second, can you clarify whether the card should be in YOUR play area for consecutive turns or in ANY play area? E.g., if my opponent plays Pickpocket on his turn, then I play Pickpocket on my turn stealing his Pickpocket, can I immediately steal an additional Gold Coin? If the answer here is no (i.e., if the Pickpocket needs to be in your own play area for two consecutive turns), then what about the following: with the same setup as before, on the following turn my opponent plays another Pickpocket stealing back his initial Pickpocket. Now the initial Pickpocket has been in his own play area at some point during consecutive turns. Can he now steal one of my Gold Coins? Or would his initial Pickpocket's turn count have been reset by my stealing it?

6. I haven't gotten a chance to play this yet (hopefully in the next few days/week or so I'll get some friends together to play this), but it looks like the Watchman is really strong. In Magic terms, it's a free counter which cannot be countered itself (with the available card pool), and also gives you 3 victory points.

These details aside, this game looks really neat. I look forward to playing it, and there's clearly a lot of design space available for expansion. Well done!
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Jason Fordham
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Re: Deck of Thieves - A cutthroat card game.
Thanks so much for the comments and questions. I've answered what I can in your quoted text below:

andye wrote:
I've been lurking at BGG for a while, but I finally registered to comment on this game. It looks really neat, but the rules need a bit of work:

1. It needs to be spelled out in the rules what it means to "counter" a card. I would suggest a card type distinction similar to instant/sorcery in Magic the Gathering, but with names matching the thief theme. E.g., any card with a bold ability is a Stealth card, and all Stealth cards can be played during an opponent's turn in response to an opponent playing a card/activating an ability. This is just a suggestion, but whatever you decide on needs to be spelled out in the rules.

Great call-out. I'm trying to keep the rules incredibly simple and straight-forward, which, as you can see is very difficult. Anytime you try to keep something simple, it always requires additional explanation for exceptions. I'll rethink this based on your suggestions, for sure.

2. There are some typos/inconsistencies. E.g., the Watchman "counters" an ability, whereas the Dagger "cancels" an ability. Also, should the Dagger say "Discard any one card" rather than "Discard any one character"?

I'll make both cancel/counter references match, thanks! Dagger only "kills" a character, so it has to be a person card--not a Lock Box, Coin Purse, Thieves' Tools, etc. I'll attempt to further clarify that distinction, thanks!

3. You should specify the following in the rules:
- "Play" means put a card from your hand into your play area (or another area if specified) and use its ability. (Note: if this is defined to be the default behavior for this term, you don't need to say "Play to your play area" on all of the cards.)

That has been tricky. Some cards go to the play area, some are played to another's play area, some may be played to your play area (as points) or played later on as a counter + points, etc. Again, it's the simple-versus-complex dilemma. At some point I have to clarify the exceptions. Ideas on how to break that down in a simple, low-text method?

- "Sacrifice" means choose the appropriate number of cards from your hand and give them to the appropriate opponent (or opponent of your choice if it's not clear?).

Good idea to define this.

- "Steal" means take a card from an opponent's play area and put it into your own.

This is currently on the cards themselves to make the rules less wordy. The idea was the make the game easily playable WITHOUT the rules once the rules are learned. Do you feel it should be in the rules and not on the cards? Do you feel it should be in in both places?

4. I'm not a fan of having lots of references to specific cards in the rules. (I'm looking at the "Notes" section; the glossary is fine, although it should include game terms as well as cards.) Anything worth commenting about a specific card in the "Notes" should just be written/clarified on the card itself.

This is in keeping with my statement above regarding keeping things on the cards. However, we ran into a wall-of-text problem in earlier versions--there was so much text on the cards it was too much reading (and not attractive considering I've commissioned professional art that will be full-bleed!). I need a happy medium, and I will consider your suggestions strongly!

5. It looks like all of the cards with italicized abilities specify that those abilities should be used only if the card is in play for consecutive turns (similar to losing summoning sickness in Magic the Gathering). First, if your intent is for all (or most) italicized abilities to work like this, then this should just be part of the rules so it doesn't have to take up space on all of the cards. Second, can you clarify whether the card should be in YOUR play area for consecutive turns or in ANY play area? E.g., if my opponent plays Pickpocket on his turn, then I play Pickpocket on my turn stealing his Pickpocket, can I immediately steal an additional Gold Coin? If the answer here is no (i.e., if the Pickpocket needs to be in your own play area for two consecutive turns), then what about the following: with the same setup as before, on the following turn my opponent plays another Pickpocket stealing back his initial Pickpocket. Now the initial Pickpocket has been in his own play area at some point during consecutive turns. Can he now steal one of my Gold Coins? Or would his initial Pickpocket's turn count have been reset by my stealing it?

We didn't think this deeply (at all) when we were testing, nor did my other test group, but, of course we should have! It is meant to mean in your play area. If a card gets stolen, it "starts over" in the new play area. Again, that's an exception that will have to be either noted in the notes, elaborated upon in the glossary (my preference), or added to the card, creating more text. Good catch.

6. I haven't gotten a chance to play this yet (hopefully in the next few days/week or so I'll get some friends together to play this), but it looks like the Watchman is really strong. In Magic terms, it's a free counter which cannot be countered itself (with the available card pool), and also gives you 3 victory points.

Yep! This is definitely a cut-throat, press your luck, quick and easy card game. I played M:TG, too, several years ago and while I love that game--it's near perfect, or used to be, in my opinion, in its beauty, complexity, and depth, I wanted Deck of Thieves to be one of those games you can enjoy without too much thinking, too much strategy, or too much worry. The three-game variant gives a little balance to the luck, I hope, and being careful what you play when is definitely a good way to win, but you are correct, it is a powerful card. We've had so much fun yelling at each other when someone plays something on our play, etc, and it's GREAT. But, to each his own, of course, and I might offer a variant, of removing a Watchman or two from the game, etc.

These details aside, this game looks really neat. I look forward to playing it, and there's clearly a lot of design space available for expansion. Well done!

Very kind, indeed. I completely appreciate your objective look at the game, and I hope you take my responses to be merely comments/explanations for what was in my head during the design. I look very much forward to your feelings about the game once you've played, and I welcome further criticism, as well. If you hate it, please tell me why, so I can learn from your experience.
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Jason Fordham
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Re: Deck of Thieves - A cutthroat card game.
These files fix the counter/cancel correction.

PDF Files [Updated 12/28/2011]:

Rules: 2.4.7.3

Cards: 2.4.7.3
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Andy E
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Re: Deck of Thieves - A cutthroat card game.
Thanks for the quick response. It seems that simplicity (both in the rules and the card text) is a key goal. Presumably this is to have the entire rules fit on a single 2-sided piece of paper to be folded and placed in a single deck box holding the entire game? I would recommend eliminating the card list from the Glossary section of the rules. Use the space to define a small set of keywords and slightly more formal rules. This will naturally simplify the cards.

I still haven't played against others, but I've goldfished the game a few times. I've noticed some significant design issues with regards to expansion. Do you have any plans to design expansion packs for this game? If so, consider that many current cards reference specific other cards. Maybe it's easy to get both a Cutpurse and the Thieves' Tools when playing only with the base set. But if you expanded the deck to, say, 100 or 150 cards, the Thieves' Tools would basically become useless.

I'm also not a fan of the Watchman being singled out by the win condition. If the game expands, this becomes a less useful tiebreaker. Also, it seems like a strange tiebreaker anyway. It may be simpler to use a tiebreaker such as (just an example) whoever has the lowest sum of victory points left in his hand is the winner.

I recommend implementing card types. It seems that all of the cards so far are one of the following types:

Character: E.g., Trickster, Traveling Merchant, Dirty Thief, etc.
Item: E.g., Lock Pick, Thieves' Tools, Dagger, etc.
Money: Only Gold Coin so far.
Protection: E.g., Coin Purse and Lock Box.
Other: Guild Hall and Market Day. (Perhaps "Place"?)

Cards of different types would be played the same way as each other. But now you can reference card types instead of specific cards to leave room for expansion. (E.g., instead of protecting 3 Gold Coins, a Coin Purse can protect 3 Money cards.)

I've written up a quick set of rules/card text using more precise terminology. The rules fit on a single 2-sided piece of paper, as before. Link. Notice that in trying to avoid specific card references, some cards changed a bit. For example, the Traveling Merchant gets a bit stronger when you can search for any Item card. But I don't think it's too strong, and it means the card will continue to be relevant when you eventually expand the game.

I'll keep playing and hopefully have some useful comments about game play, rather than just rules and phrasing.
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