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Subject: Codename: Faction Wars rss

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Carl Frodge
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Faction Wars is the codename (I'll change it later) of a game I've started working on. It's a 2-player strategic card game similar to LCG/CCG's, but without the money-pit that those games create. It uses a deckbuilding mechanic similar to Smash Up, where 2 20-card decks are combined to form a players deck. It is meant to be self-contained. What follows are the rules and info about the game as I have it at the moment:

Components:
6 Faction Decks: Each deck with 20 Faction-based decks.
5 Commander Cards: Each of which has a unique playstyle.
1 Battlefield Play Mat: A representation of the battlefield including all zones and the like.
1 Rulebook: A rulebook explaining how to play the game.
X Command Tokens: Tokens used to pay the cost for effects.


Types of Cards:
Commanders: Commanders are avatars that represent the leaders of the faction world. Commanders are not faction-specific, and players may choose whichever Commander they like. Commander Cards are double-sided. One side represents the Starting Commander, and the other side represents and Upgraded Commander. The upgraded commander is more powerful.

Units: Units are a players’ warriors. They fight for you, they defend for you, they die for you. Units engage in combat with opposing Units and they attempt to attack and wound the opponent.

Actions: Actions affect the game in some way, whether it be detrimental to your opponent or beneficial to you. Actions are played and discarded, they’re one-shot cards.

Bases: Bases are played into your play area. They provide continuous effects that help out your units and your battlefield. Bases stay in play until they are destroyed by the opponent or until an established time limit has passed.

Unit’s and Bases are faction-specific, Commanders and Actions are not.

Features of Cards:
Commanders: Commander cards have a White background
•Name: The name of the Commander.
•Picture: The artwork of the card.
•Command Strength/Max Command: The number of Command Tokens provided at the beginning of each turn and the maximum amount of Command Tokens a player can have in their Command Pool (If a player has the maximum number of Command tokens, they gain none during their turn). Both of these numbers increase when a Commander is upgraded.
•Ability: The unique ability that only this commander has.
•Upgrade Cost: The cost that must be payed, in Command Tokens, to turn this Commander to its upgraded side.
•Life Points: A Commander’s maximum health and the amount of health they start with. If this number ever reaches 0, the opponent wins the game.

Units: Units have a background color specific to their faction.
•Name: The name of the unit. Every unit with the same name will have the same picture and the same ability.
•Picture: The artwork of the card. The picture has no in-game effect, but it’s nice to look at.
•Faction Symbol: A symbol representing which faction this unit is loyal to.
•Attack Strength: The amount of strength this unit uses when it attacks the opponent or other units.
•Defense Strength: The amount of strength this unit defends against attacks with.
•Ability: A special effect that only this unit and units with the same name has.
•Cost: The cost that must be payed in Command Tokens to bring this Unit onto the battlefield.

Actions: Action cards have a Black background
•Name: The name of the Action
•Picture: the artwork of the card.
•Ability: The effect of the Action. (What the action does)
•Cost: The number of Command Tokens that must be payed to play the action.

Bases: Bases have a background color specific to their faction.
•Name: The name of the base.
•Picture: The artwork of the base.
•Faction Symbol: A symbol representing which faction this base belongs to.
•Defense Strength: Bases have a defense. When a Base is attacked and is not destroyed, it becomes damaged. A Base’s defense is lowered by the amount of damage it has taken (and damage tokens will be placed on it accordingly). If a Base’s defense ever reaches 0, it is destroyed automatically.
•Ability: Bases have ongoing effects that happen as long as the base is in play. This ongoing ability could be an attack boost for your units, it could let you draw an extra card during your turn, gain extra command tokens during your turn, lots of possibilities.

A player can have up to 3 active bases at one time. Stronghold Bases must be destroyed before a players Commander can be attacked directly.

Battlefield:


Set-Up:
1.Each player chooses 2 faction decks and 1 Commander. They shuffle the two Faction decks together to form their deck, which they place in the Deck Zone, and place their chosen Commander in the Command Zone.
2.Each player sets their deck in the deck zone, then draws 5 cards.
3.A starting player is determined (if it is not the first game of the match, the loser of the previous game decides who goes first.)

Turns and Phases:
•During each players turn, they will go through each of the following phases in order:
1.Command: The turn player adds Command Tokens to their pool equal to their Commander’s Command Strength as well as any Command Tokens provided by other cards, such as bases.
2.Refresh: All of the turn-player’s Defense-Position Unit’s are changed to Attack-Position, and, if they had any damage tokens on them, one damage token is removed.
3.Draw: The turn-player draws 1 card from their deck and adds it to their hand.
4.Prepare: First, the turn-player may “Recall” 1 of their Unit’s from the Battlefield by returning it to the bottom of the deck. Then, the turn-player may do the following in any order:
a.Call a unit onto the battlefield by placing it in one unoccupied Battle Zone and paying it’s cost. (A player can do this any number of times as long as they can pay the costs)
b.Establish a base in the base zone by playing one from their hand and paying it’s cost. (If a player already has 3 Bases in their Base Zone, they cannot do this.)
5.Attack: One at a time, the turn-player may attack their opponent with any number of unit’s. A player must attack an opponent’s Defense Position unit’s before attacking their bases or LP.
6.End: The turn-player announces they are ending their turn, and then the opponent’s Command Phase begins.

Phases in detail:
1.Command: The turn-player looks at their Commander card and adds Command Tokens from the supply to their Command Pool equal to the Commander’s Command Strength. They also add any Command Tokens provided by other cards, such as bases. Some Actions can (only) be played during the Command Phase.
2.Refresh: If any of the turn-player’s unit’s are in Defense Position, they are changed to Attack Position (changed from horizontal to vertical). Any Unit that has a damage token(s) on it removes one of them.
3.Draw: A single card is taken from the top of the turn-players deck and added to their hand. Some Actions can be played during this phase.
4.Prepare: Before doing anything else, the turn-player is given the option to “Recall” one of their Unit’s. They do this by selecting a unit from one of their Battle Zones and placing it on the bottom of their deck. After doing this, the turn-player may call unit’s into battle by placing them in an unoccupied Battle Zone and paying the listed cost on the Unit. (Remember, all unit’s come onto the battlefield in Defense Position.) The turn-player may also play a base from their hand into the Base Zone by paying it’s cost. (Remember, a player can only have 3 total bases in their base zone, and cannot attempt to play a new base while there’s already 3 bases in play (even if they’re severely damaged). Most Action Cards can be played during this phase. During this phase, the turn-player may change any Attack Position Unit’s to Defense Position.
5.Attack: In the Attack phase, the turn-player may attack their opponent. First they choose an Attack Position Unit to attack with. If the opponent has any Defense Position Unit’s on their side of the field, all of them must be destroyed before the turn-player can attack the opponents bases or their Commander directly.
Attacking a Defense Position Unit:
•When an attacking unit attacks a Defense Position Unit, the Defense Position Unit takes damage (has damage tokens placed on it) equal to the Attacking Unit’s Attack Strength.
•If the number of damage tokens meets or exceeds the Defense Position unit’s Defense Strength, that Unit is destroyed and goes to the Cemetery.
•If the Defending Unit is not destroyed, it still takes damage equal to the Attack, but stays on the field. (Some Unit’s cause Recoil Damage when they are Defending. When an Attacking Unit attacks these Defense Position unit’s, after the attack, they will take this Recoil damage (by placing damage tokens on the attacking unit).
•If an attacking unit destroys a defense position unit with an attack exceeding the defense of the destroyed unit, they may continue attacking with the difference in attack. (Ex: If an attacking unit with an attack strength of 7 attacks a defense position unit with a defense strength of 5, they destroy that unit and can continue attacking with an attack strength of 2.)
Attacking a Base:
-For the most part, an attacking player is never required to attack a base, but it may be beneficial to, as it will continue providing it’s ongoing effect as long as it is in play. Once it is destroyed, it no longer provides this effect. An opponent’s Stronghold Bases, however, must be destroyed before the attacking player can attack their opponents Commander directly.
•When an attacking unit attacks a Base, the base takes damage (a number of damage tokens are placed on it) equal to the attacking unit’s Attack Strength. Oftentimes bases will have a high Defense Strength, which makes them harder to destroy. Some bases have effects that are triggered when they are attacked.
•When a base is destroyed, it is placed in the cemetery.
•If a Unit attacks a base with an attack strength that exceeds the defense of the base, they may continue attacking other bases or their opponent’s Commander with the difference. (Ex: The opponent has a base with a total defense strength of 10, but it has 6 damage tokens on it, reducing it’s current defense strength to 4. An attacking unit attacks this base with an attack strength of 7. The base is destroyed, and it took 4 damage to destroy it, the attacking unit can continue attacking with an attack strength of 3 (7 - 4 = 3).
Attacking an Opponents Commander:
-If the opponent has no Defense Position unit’s and no Stronghold Bases in play, the attacking player can attack their opponent’s Commander. When they do so, the Commander takes damage (a number of damage tokens is placed on the Commander) equal to the attack strength.

Attacking a Commander is like Attacking an opponent’s lifepoints directly.
6.End:
-During the End Phase, you announce that your turn is over. Some Action Cards can be played during this phase. After all action cards are played, the next player’s turn starts.



Thoughts/suggestions/comments/ideas?
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Ed Okonik
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Hey Carl,

This sounds really interesting and has potential I think. I guess the main questions I'd have are:

1. Apart from not being a CCG / LCG, what makes this substantially different from existing head-to-head card games in terms of playstyle?

2. If players have complete freedom in which faction decks and commander they can combine, certain combinations could easily be OP. How will you make sure that factions compliment each other while still maintaining balance?

3. Just wondering, what sort of theme do you have in mind?
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Carl Frodge
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okonik wrote:
Hey Carl,

This sounds really interesting and has potential I think. I guess the main questions I'd have are:

1. Apart from not being a CCG / LCG, what makes this substantially different from existing head-to-head card games in terms of playstyle?

Thanks for your response! I really appreciate it. To answer your first question, not a lot. I have a lot of ideas for additional mechanics and things, but I haven't playtested anything yet, and I want to make sure the core mechanics work before I add more. If you'd like me to post some of my ideas, I'd be happy to, I just don't want it all to get bogged down with different play mechanics before I even find out if it works.

Quote:
2. If players have complete freedom in which faction decks and commander they can combine, certain combinations could easily be OP. How will you make sure that factions compliment each other while still maintaining balance?

That's a good question! I'm not entirely sure how to answer it and that's partly because I honestly don't know. I think there are a few options here. It could just be a matter of playtesting each faction combination, and making sure nothing is too OP, or at least that each complete deck is a relatively fair match. I think, once I start figuring out the cards going into each faction deck, that it will come together more clearly which factions will work together and which won't, and which one's will be more powerful than others. I kind of want to find a balance, where each faction has 1 or 2 factions that it works well with. I actually made up a card list for the first faction, which I can post if anyone's interested. That's a starting point at least.

Quote:
3. Just wondering, what sort of theme do you have in mind?

At the moment, the theme is relatively thin. One idea I had is warring planets, where each planet's environment is different, and so the types of aliens that live there flourish differently. And their different environments would explain the different playstyles and the different types of weapons or strategy they have. But again, I haven't thought through the theme a whole lot as of now. (I'd be very open to suggestions). I generally come up with mechanics a lot more easily than themes.
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