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Subject: New Game. Too Many Cards? rss

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Matthew Gruenwald
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Hello All!
I'm new to the website! I actually joined from a reference from a friend.

I haven't played a whole lot of board games but I was inspired this summer to create my own.

The game is an open world game on a hex map layout (37 or 61 tiles total) based on the number of players.

I've already created cards and have the game ready to playtest. The big concern I have is that, as of now, there are 740 cards in a total of 13 different decks (not of equal size. some decks are significantly larger than others. Some decks are based on which space you land on. Others are craftable items.). Do you feel that, for a board game, that is way too much? Are there other good games out there that have lots of cards, comparable to 740?

Any thoughts would be helpful. Thank you.
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Jacob Schoberg
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The upcoming Gloomhaven has like 1400 cards or something.
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John
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You'd probably be better in the game design forum - I've flagged the post so hopefully a mod will move it.

Dominion has 500 cards (and expansions which add more) and is successful (though I've never played it).

However the fewer components a game has the cheaper it is going to be to manufacturer (whether commercially or print & play) and the quicker it is going to be to set up and put away. I'd have thought getting a decent number of play tests for a game with over 700 cards would be hard too - it's more difficult to make play test copies and you are likely need to play more games to see all the cards in use and find potential problems.

Good luck and well done for getting a prototype made!

(I'm not a game designer, I have play tested one game, I haven't played a game that sounds similar to your game).
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IMHO the bigger concern is not how many cards, but how effectively are they used. Are there some things you are doing w/ cards that would be better tracked/done w/ dice or maybe a peg board or something like that? Would tokens be a more effective way of representing what you are trying to do w/ the card? Additionally how "fiddley" is working w/ the cards? Are you constantly shuffling the various stacks? Are cards added/removed from the game (during the game, between games)? Cards are easy to deal w/ as long as it makes sense in the context of the game. Having to "needlessly" manipulate cards, especially when a different/better method is available, is annoying though.
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Matt Barr
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Having a large number of cards isn't necessarily a bad thing (check out something like Warage, which has 700+ for comparison)

The real issue is the cost of production and cost of dealing with how much artwork to use (too much repeated artwork - or plain text - is unappealing).

If the only details on the cards are raw stat/condition changes, it may be worth seeing if there are mechanical ways to reduce the number of components needed (dice-rolls, slider wheels etc.)
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maf man
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Welcome!

as mentioned above, here are the forums you may want to flip through:
https://boardgamegeek.com/forum/974616/boardgamegeek/board-g...

and also mentioned above, its not the number of cards its how you use them. Ask yourself "is there any way that these cards can be replaced by some other rule or item to give the same effect? Is each and every cards having a significant impact or can they be replaced with a rule or combined with another card?
 
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Matt Brown
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mrgruenwald wrote:
I've already created cards and have the game ready to playtest.


Playtest first and that will give you an idea if players feel there are too many. Any game which has that large of a number of cards only really does so for replay and uses a fraction per play as the others are left in the box. If you are using all of them all the time, then yeah, that's way too many.
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Austin Andersen
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You might want to break down the game into core game and expansions if you are thinking of publishing or getting it published to help break up the cost some.
 
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bbblasterfire wrote:
You might want to break down the game into core game and expansions if you are thinking of publishing or getting it published to help break up the cost some.


I was thinking along these lines. Talisman is one game which uses a huge number of cards, but these are spread over numerous expansions.
 
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Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Rise of the Runelords – Base Set may be a current game which is comparable to what you're looking at - it has many cards in many decks of variable sizes, and the base game is intended to be played with additional expansions. A sample card breakdown is here:

https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/133038/pathfinder-advent...
 
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Welcome to BGG!
mrgruenwald wrote:
The game is an open world game on a hex map layout (37 or 61 tiles total) based on the number of players.

I've already created cards and have the game ready to playtest. The big concern I have is that, as of now, there are 740 cards in a total of 13 different decks
Wow, that sounds remarkably similar to the game I'm working on!
bbblasterfire wrote:
You might want to break down the game into core game and expansions if you are thinking of publishing or getting it published to help break up the cost some.
And that's how I decided to solve it.

Basically, the game will be split into a core set (19 tiles) for two players with ~240 cards, a small expansion with an additional 6 tiles and about 100 cards (supporting solo play and allowing a third player to join), and finally three larger expansions with 12 tiles and about 200 cards each. So, total card count is actually ~940, distributed over five different decks: creatures, maneuvers, stances, equipment, and spells.

With the core set + small expansion and any one of the larger expansions, the game supports four players (on a board of 37 tiles); with all expansions it supports up to six players (on a board of 61 tiles).

Initial playtesting has shown that playtime is way too long, though (especially with many players), so everything's still in flux, and I may end up simplifying it a lot, resulting in a game with a much smaller footprint.
 
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Carlo Patek
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mrgruenwald wrote:
Are there other good games out there that have lots of cards, comparable to 740?


I think Talisman (Revised 4th Edition) with the expansions have a large(r) number of cards
 
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Millennium Blades has 800 cards, 1100 with expansions.

Sentinels of the Multiverse has more than 3000 cards for the complete collection

The 7th Continent should have about 1400 cards with expansions.

Legendary Encounters: A Predator Deck Building Game has 700 cards.

It's not so much about quantity that it is about quality.

Does each and every one of the card need to exist?

If so, then you have the right amount.

But it will be a pain to produce, and costly
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Matt Brown
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Razoupaf wrote:
Millennium Blades has 800 cards, 1100 with expansions.

Sentinels of the Multiverse has more than 3000 cards for the complete collection

The 7th Continent should have about 1400 cards with expansions.

Legendary Encounters: A Predator Deck Building Game has 700 cards.


Again, those are not the number of cards which are played within each game.
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matthean wrote:
Razoupaf wrote:
Millennium Blades has 800 cards, 1100 with expansions.

Sentinels of the Multiverse has more than 3000 cards for the complete collection

The 7th Continent should have about 1400 cards with expansions.

Legendary Encounters: A Predator Deck Building Game has 700 cards.


Again, those are not the number of cards which are played within each game.


Is the OP's game going to use 740 EACH game? Now that's maybe too much.
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Matthew Gruenwald
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Thank you everyone for the comments. The game itself is inspired by the "open world" videos games that exist out there - Fallout, Skyrim, The Witcher, etc. Those games have A LOT of elements that I want to recreate. The basic elements of the game are exploration over a large area, encountering/combating creatures, dealing with random events, using items, weapons and armor, crafting items/weapons/armor, gaining perks. The inspiration for the board game came from playing these massive open world style games but wanting to do so with other people. Basically, imagine playing a board game version of Skyrim with 3-5 others.

The main game play mechanics are similar to that of Talisman and Warhammer 40k. Exploration is like Talisman, but the Player has control over their movements and the combat is similar to that of Warhammer 40k. That being said, when you have a game similar to those mechanics with recreating an "open world" video game for a tabletop, I feel like it's necessary to have many cards. The total different decks are an "event/enemy" deck, 6 location specific decks, "quests", "perks", "crafted items" and "loot" decks as well as a few minor ones.

I did a quick run through of a turn with my friend, and to complete an individual turn from start to finish was around a minute (give or take some seconds). So I feel like the gameplay will go quickly. We're playtesting tomorrow, from start to finish to see how long it takes.

Thank you again for your input. If you have other info/questions/concerns to add, please don't hesitate to post.
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Matt Lee
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Considering what you are trying to do, have a look at how World of Warcraft: The Boardgame did, but know that ended up being a 5+ hour game. You could also look to see how Mage Knight Board Game handles the open world as well.

Both games use a lot of cards too, but tried to reduce the overall amount in different ways.

Multi-use cards and locations could also be something to look at like how Arkham Horror does.
 
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Lee Benson
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mrgruenwald wrote:
Thank you everyone for the comments. The game itself is inspired by the "open world" videos games that exist out there - Fallout, Skyrim, The Witcher, etc. Those games have A LOT of elements that I want to recreate. The basic elements of the game are exploration over a large area, encountering/combating creatures, dealing with random events, using items, weapons and armor, crafting items/weapons/armor, gaining perks. The inspiration for the board game came from playing these massive open world style games but wanting to do so with other people. Basically, imagine playing a board game version of Skyrim with 3-5 others.

When you have a game similar to those mechanics with recreating an "open world" video game for a tabletop, I feel like it's necessary to have many cards. The total different decks are an "event/enemy" deck, 6 location specific decks, "quests", "perks", "crafted items" and "loot" decks as well as a few minor ones.

I did a quick run through of a turn with my friend, and to complete an individual turn from start to finish was around a minute (give or take some seconds). So I feel like the gameplay will go quickly. We're playtesting tomorrow, from start to finish to see how long it takes.


I'll second the suggestion to have a core set and possible expansions later. I know you want to give the feeling that anything could happen, but see what happens when you pare it down. Perhaps instead of 100 events, you could have 20 and focus on making those 20 really shine. (Heck, you could even have 10 and roll a d6 when you flip a card to randomly select one of the six events.)

The other thing I would consider is that you don't really need many multiples of the same card when you can just return cards to the deck and shuffle it. For example, if you have 3 cards worth $10, 10 cards worth $20 and 5 cards worth $30, this could just as easily be: 1 card worth $10, 3 cards worth $20 and 2 cards worth $30. When you go through all of them, shuffle the deck and start over.
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mrgruenwald wrote:
Thank you everyone for the comments. The game itself is inspired by the "open world" videos games that exist out there - Fallout, Skyrim, The Witcher, etc. Those games have A LOT of elements that I want to recreate. The basic elements of the game are exploration over a large area, encountering/combating creatures, dealing with random events, using items, weapons and armor, crafting items/weapons/armor, gaining perks. The inspiration for the board game came from playing these massive open world style games but wanting to do so with other people. Basically, imagine playing a board game version of Skyrim with 3-5 others.

The main game play mechanics are similar to that of Talisman and Warhammer 40k. Exploration is like Talisman, but the Player has control over their movements and the combat is similar to that of Warhammer 40k. That being said, when you have a game similar to those mechanics with recreating an "open world" video game for a tabletop, I feel like it's necessary to have many cards. The total different decks are an "event/enemy" deck, 6 location specific decks, "quests", "perks", "crafted items" and "loot" decks as well as a few minor ones.

I did a quick run through of a turn with my friend, and to complete an individual turn from start to finish was around a minute (give or take some seconds). So I feel like the gameplay will go quickly. We're playtesting tomorrow, from start to finish to see how long it takes.

Thank you again for your input. If you have other info/questions/concerns to add, please don't hesitate to post.


If you take inspiration from Skyrim, try to make exploration rewarding.
Exploration in Skyrim felt completely bland to me, as a lvl 20 characters destroys everything in its path and doesn't care for new loot or money since it has everything it needs already.

As for the game, it reminds me of The 7th Continent, which I mentioned before. Except cards in 7th are what you call tiles, for most of them.
I second the Mage Knight Board Game reference as well but don't remember that game having that many cards.

Anyway, sounds interesting.
 
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Zepheus wrote:
...The other thing I would consider is that you don't really need many multiples of the same card when you can just return cards to the deck and shuffle it. For example, if you have 3 cards worth $10, 10 cards worth $20 and 5 cards worth $30, this could just as easily be: 1 card worth $10, 3 cards worth $20 and 2 cards worth $30. When you go through all of them, shuffle the deck and start over.


Generally great comments, Lee. But I would think carefully about the above. I don't mind shuffling because gameplay demands it, as in Netrunner, if I've searched my deck for a card, I have to shuffle after, or in most games when the whole deck runs out. But if I had to stop the game to add some cards back in and reshuffle because I had gotten through a particular card too often, I would find that frustrating.

It also messes with the balance of the deck, as the odds of finding a particular card at the beginning are different than the odds of finding it later when the deck has been pared down. And if you draw the reshuffle cards too early on the second run through, you might end up drawing them MORE often than the balance leans toward.
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Lee Benson
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wombat929 wrote:
Zepheus wrote:
...The other thing I would consider is that you don't really need many multiples of the same card when you can just return cards to the deck and shuffle it. For example, if you have 3 cards worth $10, 10 cards worth $20 and 5 cards worth $30, this could just as easily be: 1 card worth $10, 3 cards worth $20 and 2 cards worth $30. When you go through all of them, shuffle the deck and start over.


Generally great comments, Lee. But I would think carefully about the above. I don't mind shuffling because gameplay demands it, as in Netrunner, if I've searched my deck for a card, I have to shuffle after, or in most games when the whole deck runs out. But if I had to stop the game to add some cards back in and reshuffle because I had gotten through a particular card too often, I would find that frustrating.

It also messes with the balance of the deck, as the odds of finding a particular card at the beginning are different than the odds of finding it later when the deck has been pared down. And if you draw the reshuffle cards too early on the second run through, you might end up drawing them MORE often than the balance leans toward.


Thanks for responding. This comment was generally referring to cards that have an instant effect as soon as they're drawn, and then are discarded, or at least cards that are discarded often. As such, you wouldn't really have to pause ther game that often.

Sometimes I think designers want to fine-tune the numbers, then you realize that a 1% difference on a card draw doesn't really affect gameplay.
 
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mrgruenwald wrote:
I feel like it's necessary to have many cards. The total different decks are an "event/enemy" deck, 6 location specific decks, "quests", "perks", "crafted items" and "loot" decks as well as a few minor ones.



Lets take the "Event/Enemy" deck for example. If instead of having 1 item on each card you had 6 items and had to roll a die to decide which of the 6 items was chosen you have already cut your deck by 1/6th. That would bring your entire game down to just over 100 cards, a much more manageable size. The other advantage of having more than one option on a card is that you have more control over which events appear more often. For example a common event could be created on a die roll of 1 to 4 while 5 and 6 offer different, less common events. This will give you more control when creating the environment. You could also use player modifiers to modify the die roll so that certain events are more likely to occur for certain character types.

You could even use a table for each deck which could feasibly cut your card count down to zero.
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One-minute turns? You may have a winner, if each turn gives meaningful results

When I see a lot of cards I feel like I'm getting something for my money. Dominion definitely gives you value for money, because it uses a subset. And if your game intends to use ALL the cards in a game, there's a great likelihood that you won't see all of them, which is reason to cut down a little.

The suggestions above to reduce card count are great. Randomise loot like the poster above suggests, and maybe have decks of items with slots for slider clips to indicate power level, if it's not required to shuffle loot to find into a player deck. Talisman uses a lot of die rolls for events, which means the variation with its card counts is ridiculously high.

Any spell/ability cards could probably have a lesser and greater effect with different costs/triggers, saving some cards if you can make the text compact enough.

Sentinels of the Multiverse's auto-scaling is also interesting enough that you could steal it. Many villain/environment abilities do damage or other effects using the number of heroes as a multiplier. Only a really tough bandit would dare to attack a battle-scarred barbarian, right?

Constant reshuffling is a potential problem with lower card counts and many players, if those decks are constantly drawn from. A 50-card deck with 5 players is shuffled every 10th round. Does that feel too often? Those sort of things will probably be tweaked a lot in playtesting.

I know from the usual duel card games where the card draw per round is low that running through a 50-60 card in one game is somewhat rare. Warhammer:Invasion may be the outlier here, where you ramp up your card draw by choice (and it usually doesn't go down), but most have either a hand limit and draws up to that, or a set number of draws per turn.

If your game is made more for occasional card draw (higher chance of finding no loot than a new toy), and they become permanent features on the game board, you'll probably not need fat decks of cards.

Try to move everything non-permanent into tables and multi-purpose cards, and optimise any loot cards. Too many cards in play are hard to keep track of.
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Matthew Gruenwald
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Hedyn

Thank you for the comments. We did 1 play through already and I made significant changes - reduced the game by like 200 some cards. We just did a second play through last night and the game was 3-4 times better. There were many cards that were never encountered or drawn in the game, but I think that'll be a nice feature of the game because it will be a different play experience each time. Much like Talisman.

Some of the decks were barely even touched, but that is because of the objectives that needed to be accomplished by the 3 of us to complete the game.

I miscalculated the time for a turn. Some turns from when we played last night look less than a minute, while others took 3-4 minutes. That was simply because of what the players were accomplishing on each turn and what cards they had drawn and what cards they had in possession and looking through them. The # of cards that players had in their possession was no more than 10-ish. So it didn't really take that long. The game play did seem to flow really well and everything done in a turn had purpose.

For a second play through of 3 players, the game took 4.5 hours. We're making some tweeks to the game to help with completing final objectives.

Again, since the game is inspired by the "open world" style games, a single play through might not expose everything the game has to offer each play and helps to make it so each play through will be different each time. I feel having both of these elements encourages a sense of "replay value"

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