I'm in the middle of making an arena based fighting game and am very conflicted on this idea.
The idea is to have about 15-20 different abilities that each player will have access to at any point (provided they acquire enough resources to power it)
In the game I have all of the abilities working very well together and it provides a great variety of things that can happen in any given round.
I'm trying to avoid sensory overload and I feel that with 20 different abilities to keep track of that might be a little too much.
I figure the best way to mitigate this is might be to limit each player to 4 cards (which they pick out of the 20 abilities) and play with them for the duration of the game. The problem I have with this though is that in order for each player (6 players total) to have equal access to the abilities I'd have to print 120 cards for 20 ability types. Seems a little redundant. I also want to get rid of the random aspect of drawing from a shuffled deck.
What I wanted to do was print 6 (reference paper size) durable sheets that each player would have to keep track of these 20 different abilities, perhaps reference some rules in the game, etc.
As I was playing it with my pal, it was easy enough to keep track of it all. For example one of us could say we were activating 'fire storm' and as all of them are numbered on the sheet it was easy to verify what the ability did and proceed on forward.
I suppose the questions now are:
1) Is it too much to ask of a new player to work with a reference sheet for the 20 different abilities?
2) What would you say a magic number might be if not 20? as in maybe i should limit it to 12 abilities? 15,10,etc.
The magical number is seven, plus or minus two. Six or seven is enough to give each player a couple of attacks, a couple of defenses, and a few support abilities. It will also make each game unique, because they won't be playing with the same ability set twice.
And don't worry about not giving every player the opportunity to have the exact same ability set as everyone else. Just make sure the abilities are properly balanced.