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Subject: Deck building into a common deck that all players draw from rss

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Scott Speak
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Hi all,

Is it possible to create a mechanic where all players build into and draw from a common deck?

If it is possible, would it hurt the major advantages of deck-builders?

--Lack of long term strategy because too much adaptation along the way is required. Also see lack of freedom of choices.

--Lack of agency because my actions mean less and less.


On the other hand I can see it increasing player interaction dramatically (which is an arguable weak point of deck builders).

----

I'm imagining color-coded cards that signal which player contributed that card to the deck.

In a most basic setting, when the "Red" player contributes a Village card to the deck, a red-tinted village card is added (as opposed to the green/yellow/blue tinted villages). If the red player draws the red-tinted village on a following turn he receives +2 actions + 1 card. If another player draws the red-tinted village they gain +1 card.

A "Red" silver is worth 2 trade for the red player and 1 for the others. A lot to balance out but you get the idea.

(The other mechanics I have in mind are not similar to Dominion, I only use that as a universally understood example).


Has this been done before? Do the drawbacks on agency and strategy outweigh the increased interaction?

Would love to hear your thoughts!
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Felix Brause
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This sounds interesting.
I can see such a mechanic either in a cooperative game, in which all the players create something together (an army that fights every round with X cards against an enemy force).
Or in an competetive game in which the players try to rig the deck in their favour. Maybe an economic game with the deck as "market demand" and you can influence the demand by literally creating it by adding the cards that favour your business model.
Nice idea. It sounds tricky but doable
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Scott Speak
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MrCleanOr wrote:
This sounds interesting.
Maybe an economic game with the deck as "market demand" and you can influence the demand by literally creating it by adding the cards that favour your business model.


This is actually closer to my ideas surrounding the goals of what cards go into the common deck (and by which players).

\get out of my head
 
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Alexandre P.
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What would be the point ?
To me it seems to require a lot of stuff and a lot of handling/sorting. Let's use the example of Dominion: you need 10 cards of each colour for each action card which you will need to sort and set-up (so 40 piles of action cards).

And ... how would you determine the winner ? By the colour of the victory cards ?

I have serious doubt on this idea: to me the point of deck-building is to create synergy and combos through the cards you add to your deck and with your game you would have 1/4th of the cards serving your strategy and the other 3/4th serving the others strategy and with a diminished strength for you.

For example, I can have a strategy "more action, then draw, then another action to have more action, then another action to draw ... then I buy the better coin/victory card I can afford" but with your system "+2 action" becomes "+1 action", "+3 cards" becomes "+1 card" and in the end I don't get an engine but a small bonus.

So it could also dragg the game (as in the game of Dominion where you have no cards giving you more actions and/or cards and/or purchases) and it could promote a unique strategy at the table so the weakening of the opponents' card don't affect it too much.
 
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Gustavo Herodier
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I did have an idea for a game with something like this as its main mechanic.

The way it worked there is that a number of cards were revealed from the communal deck at the start of each round, which would alter the rules for everyone until the end of the round. It would start out with fully balanced effects, but players would get to pollute with cards from their individual decks as the game went on. After a while, the player who's added a lot of cards of their "colour" would start getting rounds that were more heavily tipped towards their strategy than others.

tl;dr: you don't buy *from* the communal deck, you buy *into* the communal deck. once something is there, it just triggers its effect whenever it comes up.


Edit: ninja'd! Felix's second description (the competitive one) is pretty close to what I had in mind
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Scott Speak
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@ Xahendir, thanks for the critical comments. However, don't get too hung up on Dominion. I know I opened that can of worms with my example but admittedly a shared deck doesn't work with Dominions "actions" and VP cards.

However, the controlled randomness of deck builders may still play nice in other settings. I like the idea of players wrestling for control of the deck to play to their strengths.
 
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Adam Taylor
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Perhaps if each player starts with a couple of random powers that give them bonuses for certain types of card or action - then they would try to fill the deck with the cards that they get most benefit from (so you wouldn't need to track who's added what).
 
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lucia radici
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I play a very nice deck building game available for ios and android called: Ascension. Check it out.

 
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Adam Taylor
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kiramortis wrote:
I play a very nice deck building game available for ios and android called: Ascension. Check it out.



I'm not sure that you've read the OP.
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Magnus Carlsson
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For me there would be an increased interaction, so that's definitely good.

You might want to be careful so the composition of the central deck is easy to understand, it would be painful if everyone needed to remember the contents and try to calculate probabilities or that there was a certain hidden order.

Maybe something:
When you buy in everything is shown in a public discard row, that row is then shuffled into a new draw deck. Depending on the theme you could keep the row as is, allowing player to better plan ahead of upcoming events, maybe introduce some other uncertainty like how many of the cards that is activated each turn.

Give it a go!
 
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Freelance Police
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I thought there was already a game like this?

Anyway, sure, coop would work. You could have a generic fantasy game where the players are building a deck, and the deck needs to deal with some threat, like a monster or something.

Before deckbuilders, most games had a common deck which players drew from. You could add a deckbuilding twist to these games, particularly ones which have so many cards (eg. from expansions) that the deck needs to be trimmed.

Players could have conflicting goals, so their objective is to modify the deck to fulfill their own goal. Some boardgames have the players change the what's on the board. Players could have their own decks, so, as part of the game, they play cards from their hand, some to add to the common deck.

Okay, time to design another generic fantasy dungeon crawl game... laugh
 
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Scott Speak
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Sam and Max wrote:
I thought there was already a game like this?


Any links would be appreciated.
 
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L S
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I'd argue that what you're proposing is essentially a variant of card-driven gameplay.

If you take Twilight Struggle as an example, one aspect of the gameplay is to effectively stack the deck in your favor for the later rounds. Since you go through the shared deck roughly 2.5 times, triggering one-time enemy events during the early war while playing your own events for OPs (thereby conserving the cards for later rounds) means, in a sense, that you're "deckbuilding" for the late game. While TS only allows for modification of the deck via removal of event cards, there's other CDGs where new cards are introduced during gameplay based on various game conditions (e.g. Here I Stand).
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Gustavo Herodier
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I think a political theme could work really well here...
the central deck can be congress/parliament/royal council, and each player represents a company/industry/guild trying to get lobbyists into the central deck. The more lobbyists you have in there, the likelier they'll legislate in your favour.

There could be a public track showing how many cards each player has contributed to the deck... not what those cards are, just how many they've added.

My gut instinct is that you'd want to remove a card from the central deck whenever you add a new one - I think odds would be easier to calculate like that (especially if theres a nice, round, fixed number of cards in there).

Edited to add: replacing cards instead of just adding them also means you would get power moves later in the game, where you replace an opponent's card from the deck instead of a neutral starter.
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Scott Speak
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Heh. Adding hidden cards to the deck and then feigning ignorance when they come up.

"Who put that there!?"
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Kevin D.
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Ginkgopolis has a bit of this. The bulk of the game is not centered around building the deck though. It's more about claiming the cards when they are drawn.
 
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Ugur Dönmez
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Check out Spellbound, a cooperative game where players build a common deck.
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Freelance Police
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Reformations wrote:
Sam and Max wrote:
I thought there was already a game like this?


Any links would be appreciated.


Sorry, not sure what the game is. blush

Also came up with the generic fantasy game, although the common deck is used to generate resources, rather than any sort of action common to deckbuilders. laugh
 
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Jeremy Lennert
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At one point, I was working on a game concept a bit similar to this.

Instead of a single common deck, there were several common decks representing different locations, like a mine, a factory, and a market. When a location is activated, you draw a certain number of cards from its deck, and those cards can increase production, control what gets produced, move resources between locations, introduce new problems or obstacles, or provide ways to overcome problems.

Players draw cards from a common supply and can either play their cards for one-off effects or seed them (without revealing them) into any location deck, changing how that location will behave in the future. (You seed cards to the bottom of the deck, and every deck contains a card that forces a reshuffle when it's drawn, so you will always reshuffle before getting to the bottom, and not every card will get played with equal frequency.)

Each player has a hidden goal that they're trying to accomplish. At the end of the game, it's possible that more than one player has completed their goal...or that none have.

I also had this subsystem where there's a deck of cards listing the different locations (plus a couple of blanks), and each turn you draw 3 cards from this deck, reveal one to activate that location, and discard the others face-down. You can make one location more active by choosing it more often, but your choice is constrained by hidden cards, so there's a certain amount of enforced evenness and other players can't tell whether that was your first choice.

I never took the game to the prototyping stage, though. As these things so often go, another idea came along before I got around to it, and now it's far enough down my list that I will probably never get to it.
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John A. White
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Antistone wrote:

I also had this subsystem where there's a deck of cards listing the different locations (plus a couple of blanks), and each turn you draw 3 cards from this deck, reveal one to activate that location, and discard the others face-down. You can make one location more active by choosing it more often, but your choice is constrained by hidden cards, so there's a certain amount of enforced evenness and other players can't tell whether that was your first choice.


This is kind of cool. the cards in hand would be the deck type buy/draw authorisation.


Weird Idea:
The galaxy size and common pool deck counts are large 10+ each one unique and needed more of the same to work.
Then you are a single ship landed there. If you or someone teleported your ship to the other side of the galaxy your hand is trash, and you got to fly back to your location where your cards work. This could be a slight exaggeration to a cool design constraint.

 
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John A. White
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heroes182 wrote:
I did have an idea for a game with something like this as its main mechanic.

The way it worked there is that a number of cards were revealed from the communal deck at the start of each round, which would alter the rules for everyone until the end of the round. It would start out with fully balanced effects, but players would get to pollute with cards from their individual decks as the game went on. After a while, the player who's added a lot of cards of their "colour" would start getting rounds that were more heavily tipped towards their strategy than others.

tl;dr: you don't buy *from* the communal deck, you buy *into* the communal deck. once something is there, it just triggers its effect whenever it comes up.


Edit: ninja'd! Felix's second description (the competitive one) is pretty close to what I had in mind


I might be way off based on misunderstanding the idea, but this might be a good press your luck / trigger an event (one threat, biggest monster triggers if any). Finding ways to reduce/reset a common build up would be cool.
 
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Gary Heidenreich
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Huh. I like this.

So, you have four at the table and each person starts with a hand of cards (5, 7, 10). Each round they are to put in one card into say a deck of 10 (making it 14). Then the 14 cards are played out. You know what 10 of the cards do PLUS the one "special" card you put in.

Details? Don't have any. But this, for me, is something to ponder on.
 
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Nathaniel Grisham

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I think, that if all players are adding to a common deck, then they should also be removing cards from that deck in some way. Most likely, they would be building a tableau or some sort of engine that represents whatever their strategy is.

I like the idea of having to decide what you are adding to the deck, though. A player has to decide whether they should add cards that they really, want, or if they should focus on adding cards that are bad (or just not as good) for their opponents.
 
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Scott Speak
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Grishhammer wrote:
I think, that if all players are adding to a common deck, then they should also be removing cards from that deck in some way. Most likely, they would be building a tableau or some sort of engine that represents whatever their strategy is.

It gets a bit weird as players scale from 2 to 4. My current thought is the deck would start with some generic cards. In 2 player games these generic cards would stay longer whereas in 4 player games the generic cards would get replaced faster. This way each player feels like they are contributing to ~1/3 of the deck.

There still needs to be interesting interaction between Red cards that come up on Blue player's turn. Can Blue ignore them? Are they just weaker?


One option I'm toying with is each player can 'override' a card on the opponents turn. Overide means the Red player takes a red card that happened to be drawn on Blue's turn. The overidden card is removed from Blue's 'hand' and Blue gets to draw one more card. Red player will then add that card to his hand on his following turn. A player may override multiple times before his turn comes up but only one card gets added to his hand. An overriden card that gets overridden again goes to the discard pile.

This should take a good chunk of variance out of the shared deck. If Red has a super strong card he is still guaranteed to see it every shuffle due to the override mechanic. However, overriding on a regular basis is likely giving your opponent better hands on average.
 
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Kerstin
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I am actually thinking and would maybe take a look at the mechanics in Steam Park and Clank!: A Deck-Building Adventure.
In Steam Park you can add meeples of the color you want to draw to the common bag which increases the chances to draw the ones you need, while in Clank! you have to add cubes of your player color to the pool of cubes and the more you put in the more likely you're going to get attacked.

While both of them are not "deck building" as both don't involve cards, they might as well be cards and then represent something you might me looking for.
 
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