Andrew H
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Wisconsin
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I'm finishing up my rules for the Solitaire contest, and starting to think of my next project. I was playing Space Hulk: Death Angel – The Card Game which is basically a dungeon crawler in space, and thought of some ways to add some character leveling and weapon/armor equipping which I thought would be fun, and more fitting to a fantasy setting. After doing a quick outline/brainstorming estimate, I saw that it could get big, pretty fast. So here's where I would appreciate other's thoughts.

I'd like to keep it to two decks. A treasure/armory deck, and a dungeon deck (layout, monsters, traps and treasure chests). This would be replacing the event deck from Death Angle, with something much more positive. I felt part of the fun of Death Angle was it's difficulty. My first question is what do others think. Should it continue to be a challenge? Would a third "event" deck be too many? Would mixing events into one of these two make sense?


Part of my concern is the size from the character classes. I had two attribute-like spaces that could be filled from a choice of four, and these could combine into ten classes. I'd like each class to have three pieces of equipment, and four monsters, which starts the game with 70 cards before I even start on the dungeon, traps or other equipment. I estimated these to need 50 cards or so, which makes a pretty big game. Events could add another 20-30 cards.

So this gave me a different idea. I could make a base game with 4 classes (about 90 cards, 120 if events are added), and then design each of the remaining class as a two page expansion, which comes with the character class, weapons and monsters. People would just print and build with the classes they wanted. A second idea I had, would be to remove the classes altogether, and instead use a color code for the four attributes. A blue defense plus a red attack attribute would combine into a purple class. Monsters and equipment would combine or be compatible in a similar manner. This would cut down on pages, but would also cut out some theme (which I like), and have some other issues like colorblind playability and ink conscience (i.e. no low ink files possible).

Does anyone have thoughts on this part. Is even a 90 card base game too much? I know without a game, it's hard to say, but I think it would help me organize my design ideas.

Thank you for your thoughts.
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Matt Kruczek
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Colchester
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Not the question you were asking, but might you be able to use multipurpose cards? A bit like the "two headed" cards in Friday: one way up it's an event, the other way it's a piece of treasure. You'd have to be careful how you match things up, but it would help keep the card numbers down.
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Will Bracegirdle of Hardbottle
United States
Muncy
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...the grey rain-curtain turned all to silver glass and was rolled back, and he beheld white shores and beyond them a far green country under a swift sunrise.
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I agree with your misgivings on anything that abridges the theme. this kind of game is all about playing out the theme, so don't go for colors etc that aren't theme related.
I muse on similar designs and often think that several decks of different kinds would work. Have one deck be the base from which the others are triggered. That would be the room or location card that tells you which decks to draw from-trap, treasure, enemy, event, or even another location. You could also increase the randomness by having the event and enemy decks have a wide array of overlapping effects.
Just some quick thoughts.
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W Scott Grant
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There are a lot of card-driven dungeon crawl games "out there." Some are simple (Dungeon!), some are moderate (Runebound), and some are very intensive (Ravenloft). In fact, I have one on my design shelf. If you're interested, feel free to check out my blog where I talked about it a few weeks ago: [url]http://indysligo.weebly.com [/url]

There are a lot of aspects with regards to a card-driven, character-based game. First you need to determine your core task-resolution mechanic (this includes combat) and how you intend for it to work within the context of your game. This drives the stats for your character sheets (cards/plackards, whatever) and what information needs to go on your adventure/encounter cards.

As for the number of cards, this again has a lot of dependencies. Here's what I recommend: Determine how long it takes to resolve the average encounter - 1 minute, 5 minutes, 10 minutes, whatever. Next determine how long the game play should be and what (more importantly) is the end-game condition and how the winner is determined. If your game is targeted for 2 hours (120 minutes), and it takes on average 5 minutes to resolve each encounter, you can figure that an average game will burn through 24 cards.

If your game follows a very specific predetermined path, then 24 cards is all you need. In other words, when all 24 cards are exhausted, you're done. The drawback is this game probably wouldn't have much replayability, but this concept works well for a lot of games. It just depends upon what else is going on around the cards. (Pandemic is a great example of this, though it's not a dungeon crawler)

If you want a wide variety of encounters and the end game conditions aren't directly related to the encounter cards, you'll want a lot more cards.

Another factor, which is something Runebound does well with, is scaling your encounter cards by type. In their case, it's "easy", "medium", "hard" and "boss". In this game, the end-game is when one player defeats 3 boss cards, or one specific boss card within that deck. In the game I have in development, the encounter types are based upon the terrain the characters traverse - mountain, plain, swamp, hills, forest, etc.

I hope this helps.
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Andrew H
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Thanks for the input, very helpful.
 
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