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Subject: Balancing the cost of a card vs their abilities? rss

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Andrew Bruhl
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Hey everyone,

I've just finished a basic set of rules to the point where cards can be designed and placed into the game.

I've got some neat ideas currently and one of my first factions are nearing completion but I've stumbled upon a problem.

How does one successfully choose where to start with the cost of cards? I've evaluated tons of MTG, Hearthstone, Smash Up!, and Dominion cards but none of these games have true dual currency. You COULD classify MTG as multi currency in a sense but it's not true to my eyes.

I have a Gold/Mana currency system where you naturally gain 1 gold and 1 mana each turn. Depending on the Heroes you've chosen to play the game with (2 heroes) its either +2 gold, +2 mana or +1 gold/+1 mana per hero added to
how much you accumulate a turn.

Any ideas/thoughts?
 
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Jeremy Lennert
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It sounds like you've already decided that 1 gold and 1 mana are supposed to be roughly equally valuable (since players get a choice of +2 gold, +2 mana, or +1 of each), so as a first approximation, you can probably pretend they're the same for balancing purposes.

Since you are making a point of having a "true" dual currency, I assume you already have in mind some way that these currencies work differently or are good for different things? That would probably also be a useful starting point.
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Christian
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It's way easier to estimate things relatively to each other than absolutely, so you can try this.

A first approximation could be to place the cards on a scale from less powerful to most powerful.
Firs imagine the scale: how many steps do you think are useful and significant? 3, 5, 10?
Then place your cards by comparing them, asking yourself not "how much does this card should cost" but "Should this card be more expansive than this one?"

Or go right away with a matrix, with gold on one axis and mana on the other one, then place your cards in this matrix, guesstimating their cost relative to each other.
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James Arias
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Kris wrote:
It's way easier to estimate things relatively to each other than absolutely, so you can try this.



True! Also true for trying to assign "fair" points values to skirmish game units. Best I've been able to find for that is playtest, playtest, playtest to tune, vs. many best practices approaches.
 
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Tommy Occhipinti
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Decorah
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A lot of solo playtesting is a good way to hone the costs, after you inevitably misevaluate things. But be sure you do this before you ask other people to play with you, because miscosted cards will totally ruin play sessions, and you don't want to gather people, teach them the game, have them play, and have the only thing you learn from 4+ peoplehours be that Foo of the great Bar is undercosted.
 
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Vladimir Teneslav
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You need to assign value to game mechanics on the cards. For example in hearthstone the mana cost of a card can be calculated from the card's attack, health and text. If the ratio is skewed in favor of better stats then there comes the increase in rarity.

But you first need to assign value to mechanics.
 
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