Aaron Nakahara
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Hey BGG! I have a "quick" query that I've been mulling over for a week now regarding a personal project of mine. I'm working on a card game where there are different locations that you try to control and defend against your opponent's aggression while trying to eliminate their own resources and cards.

Different cards would serve as virtual zones that your characters fight over, and while your characters are free to move between zones at different points in the game they usually cannot affect things outside of their current location. Like, if Card A is at Location 1 any ability it plays can only target things at Location 1 and nowhere else, but, say, Card B has an ability that says it can target something at any location so if it's at Location 1 it could hit something at Location 2 or 3, etc.

So my question is, as a general rule should I always add on "-at this location" to those types of effects or should I establish in the rules that generally-speaking all abilities may only target cards at a character's original location and not in others, using "at any location" to denote if I want it to target any card in any location?

The reason why I was thinking of the former was because I don't recall many card games, if any, that have card effects that are split up by virtual board locations so I didn't want to rock the boat, so to speak. But then I figured that since it's my own game that I could establish the ruleset where character actions are limited in range to their own zone, unless stated otherwise.

It seems like such a fiddly thing but it's been bugging my brain for a while and I'm really on the fence on this one. Thank you in advance for any replies and for reading this long 'quick' question
 
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Brook Gentlestream
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Yeah.... don't put "at this location" on every card. That sounds like something intuitive and easy to remember once the rules make it clear.

If possible, I would also avoid using the word "target". It's going to help you out a lot later. There's really no advantage to using it, and the term imports a lot of baggage with it.
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lordrahvin wrote:
Yeah.... don't put "at this location" on every card. That sounds like something intuitive and easy to remember once the rules make it clear.

If possible, I would also avoid using the word "target". It's going to help you out a lot later. There's really no advantage to using it, and the term imports a lot of baggage with it.

Thank you for your reply The more I thought about it (as soon as I typed it out), I started gravitating towards just establishing it within the rules.

Instead of targeting, well... I guess I never thought of that. It makes sense I guess. Do you think there are any advantages to using the term at all or is it just not worth the nuance?

Thank you again
 
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Brook Gentlestream
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The only advantage is if you have effects that trigger off being targeted by an effect.

For example, "Stealth Device: If an enemy missile targets this ship, you may spend one power to destroy the missile before it hits."

If there's no real distinction between targeting something and effecting something, then there's no reason to have a separate targeting step.

If you're going to have a lot of effects that interupt other effects or redirect targets, then it becomes important to actually distinguish the target before the effect happens.

Very few card games I've seen that use the word "target" actually approach this level of complexity, however, and if only happens occasionally, if can still be done without putting the word 'target' in every other sentence.

Consider:
"Inflicts three soul-damage on target soldier."

This is a statement that makes sense to most Magic players and players of many card games, but means little to anyone else. The word "target" really contributes nothing here unless you importing a bunch of advanced targeting rules similiar to Magic.

Consider:
"Inflicts three soul-damage on any one soldier."
"One soldier suffers three points of soul-damage."

It's more clear. It's more precise. Doesn't use meaningless terms. Doesn't send you to the rulebook for several pages of basic and advanced targeting rules. Doesn't "imply" rules imported from other games.


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Aaron Nakahara
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lordrahvin wrote:

The only advantage is if you have effects that trigger off being targeted by an effect.

For example, "Stealth Device: If an enemy missile targets this ship, you may spend one power to destroy the missile before it hits."

If there's no real distinction between targeting something and effecting something, then there's no reason to have a separate targeting step.

If you're going to have a lot of effects that interupt other effects or redirect targets, then it becomes important to actually distinguish the target before the effect happens.

Very few card games I've seen that use the word "target" actually approach this level of complexity, however, and if only happens occasionally, if can still be done without putting the word 'target' in every other sentence.

Consider:
"Inflicts three soul-damage on target soldier."

This is a statement that makes sense to most Magic players and players of many card games, but means little to anyone else. The word "target" really contributes nothing here unless you importing a bunch of advanced targeting rules similiar to Magic.

Consider:
"Inflicts three soul-damage on any one soldier."
"One soldier suffers three points of soul-damage."

It's more clear. It's more precise. Doesn't use meaningless terms. Doesn't send you to the rulebook for several pages of basic and advanced targeting rules. Doesn't "imply" rules imported from other games.



Thank you very much for your reply I do have effects that take targeting into consideration, one that's very similar to your Stealth Device example actually, but I think I could reword/rework them to accommodate not having a targeting step. I guess it's just a nuance I've always used since I've played MtG for so long, along with a few other cards games that use targeting, so I just started incorporating it into my design set; I like the complexity of a targeting step but it does add needless complexity at times.

I like the "any one 'x'"-syntax, I think I'll try working with that
 
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Mauricio Montoya
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And try to not clutter the cards with unnecesary text. As said above, if an action in your game has a aspecific restriction (in your case, that a card can only affect the region it's being played on) put that as a rule in the manual specifying that there may be some cards that say otherwise, then you only have to add a bit like "in ANY region" to the few cards that break that specific rule.

Otherwise you'll end with a lot of cards with redundant and very similar text (and maybe too much of it). After a few cards are played, people will start glossing over the text and can easily miss the ones that DO have important exceptions.
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Aaron Nakahara
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mearendil wrote:
And try to not clutter the cards with unnecesary text. As said above, if an action in your game has a aspecific restriction (in your case, that a card can only affect the region it's being played on) put that as a rule in the manual specifying that there may be some cards that say otherwise, then you only have to add a bit like "in ANY region" to the few cards that break that specific rule.

Otherwise you'll end with a lot of cards with redundant and very similar text (and maybe too much of it). After a few cards are played, people will start glossing over the text and can easily miss the ones that DO have important exceptions.

Thank you for your reply I've been discussing the idea of targeting with a few folks, some are designers and others are more players, but one suggestion was to put the system of targeting in the manual but not mention it on the cards; the idea was to give more invested players the specificity of a ruleset like targeting but leave it open for casual players to not fuss with as much. Do you think something like that would be a good idea? My gut is saying no, that if I put something like targeting in then I should use the terminology on the cards themselves, but if I take it out then it should be out completely as a system.
 
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My opinion differs, I suppose. Most of the players I have access to to playtest my rulesets are Magic players. They also aren't necessarily the same group every time. But MTG players generally want very precise syntax. They aren't going to be reading the rulebook; I'm going to be teaching them the game. Could I tell them any target actually means any target at this location? Yes, but they will probably ask why that isn't specified.

One of the best things about playtesting with serious Magic players is that they're very good at exploiting rule sets. After all, that's what building decks in Magic is all about.

If I were concerning myself with a finished product I would want to reduce text and focus on keywords or iconography, but for the sake of playtesting I would likely keep the text as precise and easy to access as possible.

My 2¢
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Brendan Riley
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debiant wrote:
If I were concerning myself with a finished product I would want to reduce text and focus on keywords or iconography, but for the sake of playtesting I would likely keep the text as precise and easy to access as possible.
But if you don't use the text you plan to use, you have to playtest again when you refine it...
 
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Charles Ward
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Without reading all the comments, my response is:

If you rule book states that "character actions are limited in range to their own zone, unless stated otherwise." Then the card text does not need to include "on this location"

Glad you asked.
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ex1st wrote:
If you rule book states that "character actions are limited in range to their own zone, unless stated otherwise." Then the card text does not need to include "on this location"


Include in the rules the default or common case. Put on the cards the exceptions or special case.
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Aaron Nakahara
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debiant wrote:
My opinion differs, I suppose. Most of the players I have access to to playtest my rulesets are Magic players. They also aren't necessarily the same group every time. But MTG players generally want very precise syntax. They aren't going to be reading the rulebook; I'm going to be teaching them the game. Could I tell them any target actually means any target at this location? Yes, but they will probably ask why that isn't specified.

One of the best things about playtesting with serious Magic players is that they're very good at exploiting rule sets. After all, that's what building decks in Magic is all about.

If I were concerning myself with a finished product I would want to reduce text and focus on keywords or iconography, but for the sake of playtesting I would likely keep the text as precise and easy to access as possible.

My 2¢

This is in line with most (just about all) of my local playtest group, as a majority are very serious MtG players who, like you noted, desire specific syntax for cards and card actions. There are two folks who are very particular in trying to find exploits and abuses/loopholes in my system, which I really appreciate since they found one really glaring one I missed, but so far so good.

I used to play MtG and WoWTCG a lot but in the recent years I had to cut back for various reasons, so my interest in current cards and sets have been very casual. That said, I'm glad to have a playgroup that is a bit fastidious when it comes to rules and are pretty good at catching some holes that I've missed.

cosine wrote:
ex1st wrote:
If you rule book states that "character actions are limited in range to their own zone, unless stated otherwise." Then the card text does not need to include "on this location"


Include in the rules the default or common case. Put on the cards the exceptions or special case.

Right now that's my goal, to move the general base rules into the rulebook and keep exceptions to the case on the cards, if anything to clean up clutter and keep the card text much more vital rather than redundant.

The debate about targeting is still going on, every player I talk to says to keep it while a majority designers/developer says to cut it; interestingly the designers/developers who are heavily invested in MtG or other similar games are the exceptions who say to keep it...

Again, thank you very much for the replies, I really appreciate it
 
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