dennis bennett
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i'm currently looking for ideas for a mechanic to "explore a dungeon" by using a card deck to represent that dungeon.
Important: The deck is supposed to represent the dungeon as a whole, unrevealed cards in the deck being the unexplored part of the dungeon. The revealed cards shouldn't be actual physical representations of rooms/space in the dungeon. I want it to be more abstract, so the whole deck represents the "experience of exploring a dungeon" but not the "actual dungeon", doesn that make sense?
So somehow players would be drawing cards that show features of the dungeon or encounters with monsters. I've been looking for ways to balance the way you progress through the dungeon. I want to have as few different decks to draw from (if possible just 1) as possible, but want to have some control over what kinds of monsters come into play (smaller, low level monsters early on, then stronger, larger monsters later on, or possibly the amount of monsters could also increase).

So far the game i've found that probably does best at using such a mechanic is Dungeon Crawler.
In Dungen Crawler you reveal cards from the dungeon deck. Each card has a point value (from 0 upwards) and you reveal cards untill a total point value (starting at 5) is reached. If a card is revealed that would increase the total current value to more than 5 it goes back to the dungeon deck.

Can anybody give any recommendations for similar mechanics in similar games?

So far i think my game could work like this:
You have a "dungeon deck" made up of different types of cards:
Monsters that you fight
Traps that you try to avoid or dismantle
Dungeon rooms that give bonuses to monsters or increase the dungeon level (=the depth to which you have explored the dungeon)
Treasures you collect
These cards all have different point values. At the beginning of your turn you reveal cards untill the total sum of the cards revealed equals your current "dungeon level" (which is a fixed number dependent on the number of players, their level and other effects in the game).
If a card is revealed that exceeds that number, you stop revealing cards and put that card on top of the deck (or shuffle it back in?).

This would be a nice mechanism to create a bit of control over what happens during the game. At the beginning you only encounter low level creatures but as you progress they will increase in level.
This would also allow to have high level treasures in the same deck as these would first become available once your dungeon level is high enough.

and here is a link to the thread about the simple combat mechanics of my game:
Dice combat mechanic for dungeon crawler/adventure game (yeah, again!)
thanks!
 
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Paul DeStefano
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Re: mechanic for representing a dungeon with cards, not a board or tiles?
THE poster child game (series) you're looking for is Dungeoneer: Tomb of the Lich Lord and it's half dozen expansions.

But the singular mechanic you want is a fairly common one where strengths of opponents are adjusted by how far along you've gotten (Dungeon Level +5 strength or such) as used very well in Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Rise of the Runelords – Base Set.
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Re: mechanic for representing a dungeon with cards, not a board or tiles?
You could have several different levels of dungeon cards that scale in power and stack them on top of each other to form a deck.

Level 1 cards that are fairly easy would go on top of the more challenging level 2 cards, which in turn are on top of the level 3 cards etc...

This mechanic is used in lots of games for various reasons and I've always enjoyed it.
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Re: mechanic for representing a dungeon with cards, not a board or tiles?
Isn't a card just a thin tile?
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Re: mechanic for representing a dungeon with cards, not a board or tiles?
Geosphere wrote:
THE poster child game (series) you're looking for is Dungeoneer: Tomb of the Lich Lord and it's half dozen expansions.

But the singular mechanic you want is a fairly common one where strengths of opponents are adjusted by how far along you've gotten (Dungeon Level +5 strength or such) as used very well in Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Rise of the Runelords – Base Set.

Thanks.
From what i understood (from reading and watching reviews), Dungeoneer isn't really cooperative and players have ways of playing monster cards at each other, right?
Dungeoneer looks like a really nice little game.

And pathfinder lets you customize the dungeon/adventure to a certain extent, according to rules depending on the scenario, right? But it doesn't look like you could be engaging more than 1 monster at a time…


 
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Re: mechanic for representing a dungeon with cards, not a board or tiles?
The Loneliest Banana wrote:
Isn't a card just a thin tile?

I guess it can be.
I ws thinking of tiles or a board as something you use to represent the actual space of a dungeon and then move meeples or miniatures around on.
I want to use cards as a more abstract representation. There will be no spacial relationship between the cards and no minis to move around on them.
 
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Re: mechanic for representing a dungeon with cards, not a board or tiles?
Endbringer wrote:
You could have several different levels of dungeon cards that scale in power and stack them on top of each other to form a deck.

Level 1 cards that are fairly easy would go on top of the more challenging level 2 cards, which in turn are on top of the level 3 cards etc...

This mechanic is used in lots of games for various reasons and I've always enjoyed it.

Yes, that sound slike a more obvious way to have control over a semi-randomised set of cards. I'm not sure i like the idea of separating and stacking cards though…
 
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Re: mechanic for representing a dungeon with cards, not a board or tiles?
Maybe look at the mechanics from The Tomb Raider CCG. I'm guessing the other games mentioned had similar dungeon building mechanics, but I'm not familiar with them.
Cards were oriented when you entered a room, you flipped the card so you came in from the bottom of the card, and the ways you could exit were clearly marked.

I don't clearly remember the set up rules, but I remember certain cards could only be on certain levels, and you built out a grid before you started playing.
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Re: mechanic for representing a dungeon with cards, not a board or tiles?
Chainsaw Warrior is the one that comes to mind. It's an old game (1987) but there has been a recent post interviewing the designer about it. You can get a computer version of the game very cheaply on Steam.

Bascially each card you draw is either the next room you enter, an item you find or a monster that attacks you.
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The Dungeon of D
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SimonSes wrote:
Chainsaw Warrior is the one that comes to mind. It's an old game (1987) but there has been a recent post interviewing the designer about it. You can get a computer version of the game very cheaply on Steam.

Bascially each card you draw is either the next room you enter, an item you find or a monster that attacks you.

That's awesome! (though a little too "old-school" for my taste, with all those charts to look up dice-results on… arghh…)

But yes, kind of how i want my game to work, explore the dungeon by revealing cards that show monsters, traps and other stuff.
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You could also combine a couple of these mechanics. Your location cards could have a small number icon (or none at all if it's empty) that corresponds to a Threat/Monster pile. During setup, you could sort the threats into ~6 piles based on difficulty, and then shuffle those piles - you could also throw some rewards/items into each stack. The deeper/higher difficulty the location, the higher difficulty the pile referenced would be.
 
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lardombardom wrote:
You could also combine a couple of these mechanics. Your location cards could have a small number icon (or none at all if it's empty) that corresponds to a Threat/Monster pile. During setup, you could sort the threats into ~6 piles based on difficulty, and then shuffle those piles - you could also throw some rewards/items into each stack. The deeper/higher difficulty the location, the higher difficulty the pile referenced would be.

Is your idea refering to the way that "locations" in pathfinder work?
So far i was thinking of just having a single location, or basically 1 deck representing a delve into a single dungeon. This helps to keep things simple and have a unifying theme (it will be more of a lich king's tomb/evil necromancer's catacombs kind of scenario). So really i'm trying to find a way of having several dungeon levels in a single deck. Or to state it differntly, a single deck that has some kind of self-manipulating mechanism that allows for creatures and rewards to become increasingly difficult/valuable.
 
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dennisthebadger wrote:
lardombardom wrote:
You could also combine a couple of these mechanics. Your location cards could have a small number icon (or none at all if it's empty) that corresponds to a Threat/Monster pile. During setup, you could sort the threats into ~6 piles based on difficulty, and then shuffle those piles - you could also throw some rewards/items into each stack. The deeper/higher difficulty the location, the higher difficulty the pile referenced would be.

Is your idea refering to the way that "locations" in pathfinder work?
So far i was thinking of just having a single location, or basically 1 deck representing a delve into a single dungeon. This helps to keep things simple and have a unifying theme (it will be more of a lich king's tomb/evil necromancer's catacombs kind of scenario). So really i'm trying to find a way of having several dungeon levels in a single deck. Or to state it differntly, a single deck that has some kind of self-manipulating mechanism that allows for creatures and rewards to become increasingly difficult/valuable.

Sorry, I've never played Pathfinder, so I can't comment on any comparisons.
My thought was a Tomb Raider-style grid of, say, 5x5 cards, locations laid out face down before you start. The locations at the top are easy, with lvl. 1 enemies and obstacles. As you move 'down' or deeper into the dungeon, things get harder, and each location only has so many exits, so you have to work your way through, backtracking if necessary.

I think you're talking about a more linear deck, with progressively more difficult encounters. I think you could still do essentially what I'm thinking.
-Choose a number of levels to the boss, let's say 7.
-Design 7 decks of 5+ cards, each one corresponding to a level. These would be mostly enemies/obstacles, with some rare items. Shuffle each deck
-Pull 2 (or whatever you choose) random cards from each deck to build the dungeon, with the level 7 cards at the bottom
-As you play, flip the top card of the deck, deal with it, and move on

To make setup easier, you could use different card backs for each level
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Multiple locations on each card?

Suppose you have 9 levels to the dungeon, each card has 3 distinct locations, each with 3 sets of slightly different stats. The card represents the location (and stats) corresponding to the current dungeon level.

E.g.

Levels 1-3:
Prison cell
Players must fight the warden. If victorious, they may take 'Warden's hat'
Level 1: Fill in warden stats here
Level 2: Warden gains +2 strength
Level 3: Warden is accompanied by a minion (insert stats here)

Levels 4-6:
Armoury
Players must fight the guard(s). Players may each choose one normal weapon before combat and attack first.
Level 4: Fill in sleepy guard's stats
Level 5: Bored guard! Players may choose a weapon before combat OR attack first
Level 6: Gambling guards. As sleepy guards, but there are 2.

Levels 7-9:
and so on...

With a decent iconography (like race for the galaxy, for example) the different flavours of each room could be very concise, allowing plenty of different levels.
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Re-reading your original post, I see you were looking at more of a big, random deck, and the value of your encounters varies as you go.
I'm reminded of Resident Evil Deckbuilder. That game has you buying resources, Dominion Style, and choosing to attack a random enemy deck. Things you don't kill deal you damage and go to the bottom of the deck. The problem is that in addition to piddly enemies, the few really powerful guys have a good chance of showing up before you can handle them and just ruining your day early.
That's why I suggested having multiple decks of increasing difficulty, and only using a randomly chosen set from each of those decks, so it's not just fighting all the level 1 guys every time you play.
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lardombardom wrote:
Re-reading your original post, I see you were looking at more of a big, random deck, and the value of your encounters varies as you go.
I'm reminded of Resident Evil Deckbuilder. That game has you buying resources, Dominion Style, and choosing to attack a random enemy deck. Things you don't kill deal you damage and go to the bottom of the deck. The problem is that in addition to piddly enemies, the few really powerful guys have a good chance of showing up before you can handle them and just ruining your day early.
That's why I suggested having multiple decks of increasing difficulty, and only using a randomly chosen set from each of those decks, so it's not just fighting all the level 1 guys every time you play.

All helpful! thanks people!

Resident evil sounds interesting.
The problem with "high level enemies" showing up too early could be mitigated with the Dungeon Crawler mechanic, where monsters of a point value > dungeon level simply get shuffled bakc into the deck. By the time the show up again your dungeon level might be higher.
I also like this idea flavour-wise as it gives you an idea of what kind of horrors are awaiting you lower down in the dungeon.
You could interpret an early reveal of a big dragon as just being able to hear his roars! (but he's still too far away so you shuffle him back in the deck)
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dennisthebadger wrote:
lardombardom wrote:
Re-reading your original post, I see you were looking at more of a big, random deck, and the value of your encounters varies as you go.
I'm reminded of Resident Evil Deckbuilder. That game has you buying resources, Dominion Style, and choosing to attack a random enemy deck. Things you don't kill deal you damage and go to the bottom of the deck. The problem is that in addition to piddly enemies, the few really powerful guys have a good chance of showing up before you can handle them and just ruining your day early.
That's why I suggested having multiple decks of increasing difficulty, and only using a randomly chosen set from each of those decks, so it's not just fighting all the level 1 guys every time you play.

All helpful! thanks people!

Resident evil sounds interesting.
The problem with "high level enemies" showing up too early could be mitigated with the Dungeon Crawler mechanic, where monsters of a point value > dungeon level simply get shuffled bakc into the deck. By the time the show up again your dungeon level might be higher.
I also like this idea flavour-wise as it gives you an idea of what kind of horrors are awaiting you lower down in the dungeon.
You could interpret an early reveal of a big dragon as just being able to hear his roars! (but he's still too far away so you shuffle him back in the deck)

I love that idea. I'm going to steal it!

Okay, I probably won't steal it, but I think it's awesome and one day I might give some thought into using some modified version of it.
 
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McTeddy wrote:
dennisthebadger wrote:
lardombardom wrote:
Re-reading your original post, I see you were looking at more of a big, random deck, and the value of your encounters varies as you go.
I'm reminded of Resident Evil Deckbuilder. That game has you buying resources, Dominion Style, and choosing to attack a random enemy deck. Things you don't kill deal you damage and go to the bottom of the deck. The problem is that in addition to piddly enemies, the few really powerful guys have a good chance of showing up before you can handle them and just ruining your day early.
That's why I suggested having multiple decks of increasing difficulty, and only using a randomly chosen set from each of those decks, so it's not just fighting all the level 1 guys every time you play.

All helpful! thanks people!

Resident evil sounds interesting.
The problem with "high level enemies" showing up too early could be mitigated with the Dungeon Crawler mechanic, where monsters of a point value > dungeon level simply get shuffled bakc into the deck. By the time the show up again your dungeon level might be higher.
I also like this idea flavour-wise as it gives you an idea of what kind of horrors are awaiting you lower down in the dungeon.
You could interpret an early reveal of a big dragon as just being able to hear his roars! (but he's still too far away so you shuffle him back in the deck)

I love that idea. I'm going to steal it!

Okay, I probably won't steal it, but I think it's awesome and one day I might give some thought into using some modified version of it.

Go for it!
it's not really even my own original idea, just a mash up of all kinds of dungeon games, notably Dungeon Crawler.
 
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Another option, similar to a post above, is that you could have different information on each side of every card, and the player draws four cards and uses a different side from each to describe the situation. For example, one side describes the room and or exits, another has the stats for a monster, another the traps or treasures, and the last could do special effects (draw another monster, raise difficulty of game, remove x card from game, etc.).
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Unfortunately, I think you are describing a slightly altered Munchkin. Though it has two decks instead of one.
 
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CyanideNow wrote:
Unfortunately, I think you are describing a slightly altered Munchkin. Though it has two decks instead of one.

oh my god i hope not! that would be terrible!
it's ages ago that i played munchkin. only once. never again.

Edit: went to the trouble of checking out a video review of munchki and no, my game will be not much like munchkin at all…

2. edit: please never ever tell anyone againg, unless you're really sure, that their game is similar to munchkin! that's just cruel!!!
 
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So this is how the "Location" cards could look and work:
The dungeon deck has 60 cards. Mostly monsters but also a couple of treasures and then 8 (or 10?) Location cards.
You start a turn by revealing cards with points (each card has a point value, stronger monsters have a higher value) equal to your current dungeon level (a number based on the number of players and the number of "location cards" in play), adding up the points as you reveal the cards. As soon as a card you reveal would exceed that point value you stop revealing cards, the card that exceeded your dungeon level is put on the bottom of the deck.
All cards revealed this way are now in play (if they are monsters, those monsters will be fought in the next round of combat).
If you revealed a "location card" that card stays in play for the rest of the game and increases your dungeon level.

This could work a bit like in Pandemic, in that you shuffle some (maybe half?) of the defeated monsters from the discard pile back into the deck to make sure the main deck doesn't run out of cards.

It could be a nice and simple mechanic to slowly increase difficulty and rewards throughout the game (more valuable/high level treasures would be put back in the deck if the exceed your current dungeon level).

You could also change the length and difficulty of the game by adding more location cards.

 
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dennisthebadger wrote:
CyanideNow wrote:
Unfortunately, I think you are describing a slightly altered Munchkin. Though it has two decks instead of one.


Edit: went to the trouble of checking out a video review of munchki and no, my game will be not much like munchkin at all…


Oh, good. Crisis averted.
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CyanideNow wrote:
dennisthebadger wrote:
CyanideNow wrote:
Unfortunately, I think you are describing a slightly altered Munchkin. Though it has two decks instead of one.


Edit: went to the trouble of checking out a video review of munchki and no, my game will be not much like munchkin at all…


Oh, good. Crisis averted.

i'm still in shock. not sure i'll be able to sleep well tonight. i'm still digesting. i will heal but it will take time.
 
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