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Subject: Placing information on the back of the card rss

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Eric Pietrocupo
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I am working on a card game where players create a deck of cards by combining 2 sets of : 9 civ cards and 9 magic cards into 1 deck. Civ cards cost 1 gold and magic cards cost 1 mana to play. The card play is similar to the 1 gold in the "Epic Card game"

Now because the cards hold information for 2 card using a card layout similar to the game below:



I do not want to use tapping in my game because it could become confusing. So I have 2 option, place tokens on them to indicate they are inactive (like in Scarab Lords) or simply flip the card face down. Fliping cards seems more convenient and does not require additional components.

I intend to make the refreshing of a card cost 1 gold or 1 mana at the start of their turn. Now the problem is that when the cards are face down you don't know if it cost a gold or a mana to refresh. So I need to look at each card to see which cards I can refresh.

A solution could be to put the type of card on the back so that you can know what is the cost to refresh. I could also place more information like identifying the card set for easier sorting later.

The drawback is that during game play, the opposing player will know if is opponent has civ or magic cards in hand. Players can also see from the top of the deck from which set the next card is coming.

My question is: Does it really matter?

Considering there is only 2 sets, it does not reveal that much information on the content of the card, and both civ and magic cards have the same type of gameplay, so you cannot really predict the opponent's behavior. Since players will draw in average 2 cards per turn, knowing the next card is not that much of an advantage

One thing predictable is since a player only has 3 cards in hand, if he has 3 magic cards in hand, you know he is going to play only 1 card this turn. Else If I have special abilities that trigger according to the type of cards in hand. For example, if a somebody plays a cards that say "your opponent discard a magic card" then the attacking player can know in advance if his spell is going to work or not. Which could be a good or bad thing according to my design objectives.

This is why I am asking because both solutions seems to offer interesting behaviors.

Finally, I could split cards on the side of the deck like shown in the picture above, but cards also have a political and military strength, so players might be more tempted to split their cards according to that criteria instead of the cost.

I know some trick taking games that shows the suite of the cards on the back of the cards, but it's already much more info than mine as those game can have 4-6 suites.

Do you know other games that does that?
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Graham Muller
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I think you have hit the nail on the head when you say both options provide interesting game play.

I would say play test both ways (Possibly use sleeves so you can test with same backs and different backs quickly) and see what they gameplay feels like and which you prefer.

Note: you could also use different areas of the playing area to place civ and magic cards so they know which side requires what to refresh.
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Anthony Haines
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This isn't really answering your question, but here's another alternative:

Create an ambigram of the words "gold" and "magic" (or "money" and "spell", or "gold" and "mana" or whatever).
Put that in the centre of the card back in the appropriate orientation for each type.
When you're shuffling the deck, specify that you shuffle, rotate half the deck and shuffle again.

Now what sort of card the top of the deck is isn't revealed, and high-level players can keep some of the cards in their hand upside down to shroud type until the cards are played.

Other slightly less fun alternatives would be indicating which type the card is either by position (i.e. gold-requiring on the left, mana-requiring on the right) or card orientation (i.e. gold-requiring portrait, mana-requiring landscape).
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John Breckenridge
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Since the cost to refresh is the same as the cost to play, just return the inactive card to the player's hand.
 
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Eric Pietrocupo
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Quote:
Since the cost to refresh is the same as the cost to play, just return the inactive card to the player's hand.


Interesting idea, but not really what I was looking for. But your comment could be interesting for game balance.

I think the advantage of keeping the card on the table, is that you get resources to refresh cards and resources to place new cards. So being already in play gives the advantage of being able to refresh and place a new card on the same turn.

But maybe if you don't have a card to play, you could refresh a card instead of playing one. In Epic, you have 1 gold in your turn and your opponent's turn. In my game it's 1 gold/mana to refresh, play cards, and in your opponent's turn. I am wondering if I should just put everything in a large pot and let the player handle the resources.

 
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Dave Schroeder
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You could solve half of the problem by placing the mark in a corner of the card (or the middle bottom), so that it would be naturally obscured when held in a hand. It would still be seen on top of the deck, and would be visible when on the table.
 
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Eric Pietrocupo
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Yes, that is a solution I though, only mark a corner, but somebody with a good memory would remember. And I don't want players with a good memory to have an advantage over players that don't (which includes myself ).
 
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Anthony Haines
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larienna wrote:
Yes, that is a solution I though, only mark a corner, but somebody with a good memory would remember. And I don't want players with a good memory to have an advantage over players that don't (which includes myself ).


Did you dislike the ambigram suggestion above, or not know what I meant?
an ambigram is a design which gives information (the same or different) from multiple orientations.
I thought it could work quite well for gold vs mana, so I've taken the liberty of designing one:



So its just a rough version, but it seems like it could be quite elegant.
I've put both orientations in the image for easy reference, but the idea is that you'd just put one of them on the card back.
Provided the cards are well mixed in orientation and the card back is otherwise symmetric, it would not be possible to tell which type of card you have on top of the deck.
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Eric Pietrocupo
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Oh! I see, hmm! it could be worth exploring.



 
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John Breckenridge
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Ambigrams can be more interesting when the letters don't convert one-to-one.
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Anthony Haines
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heh. There's lots of scope in these.

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Eric Pietrocupo
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I was wondering if in the end a player with experience could easily identify it from anysides (his cards and opponent cards).
 
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Anthony Haines
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larienna wrote:
I was wondering if in the end a player with experience could easily identify it from anysides (his cards and opponent cards).


Once it has been played and the orientation is known, yes.
But theres a corollory that's possibly the only drawback of the ambigram approach:
Assume that when face-up you have them upright, and you turn them over on the long axis; this means that a civ card says 'gold' and a magic card says 'mana' from your perspective.
However, it also means that a naive player sitting opposite you would read them as 'mana' and 'gold' respectively (i.e. with meanings reversed).

That's okay if it doesn't really matter to your opponent what resource you need to refresh them, and it's also OK if high-end players care, but can mentally reverse them.
It's not OK if players decide to randomly flip their card on the other axis to hide the type - but then they'd have to remember or risk using the wrong resource. You could allow it, but have a rule that punishes such an event (for example, such resources are lost and the card isn't refreshed). Or you could disallow it (for example, a rule that face-down card orientation can be challenged- with misoriented cards fined or forfit)
 
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The Joker
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I guess, i have a similar problem.
I'm thinking about a coop deckbuilder and i thought, i could print a little icon in the middle of the card back.
It would help with sorting the cards (items, enemies, skills…) before/after the session. In the hand of other players, you will only see the icon of a single card. But you could see the back of the cards, which they will pick up. Also, you can always see, what they have on top of their pile.

Any opinions?
 
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Brendan Riley
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Regarding the OP -- you could make the back of the cards uniform but not symmetrical. Perhaps all the cards are purple toward the top and orange toward the bottom. Then, when the player flips the card over, they orient it one way or another to remind themselves which is gold or mana.

Unless you have some rule that prevents people refreshing their memory by peeking at the card, I think putting distinct backs on the cards is not a good idea.

jkrenner wrote:
I guess, i have a similar problem.
I'm thinking about a coop deckbuilder and i thought, i could print a little icon in the middle of the card back.
It would help with sorting the cards (items, enemies, skills…) before/after the session. In the hand of other players, you will only see the icon of a single card. But you could see the back of the cards, which they will pick up. Also, you can always see, what they have on top of their pile.

Any opinions?


Just put the icon in the corner of the face of the card. Then you can still sort but it doesn't add extra info to a space that shouldn't have info.
 
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Eric Pietrocupo
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Hmm! that could be interesting.

I could still make sure that the way the cards get flipped that it will flip on the right side, but once shuffled, you could keep track of it if the cards are shuffled straight.

Else, I put the same pattern for all cards, the player can flip cards in a certain direction if it's gold and in another direction if it's mana so that you can never guess a type.

It's worth exploring.
 
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A Deal with Death
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DrLoris wrote:
[q="larienna"]






It may just be my own sad Freudian psychology, but my inner middle schooler is enjoying this design way too much.

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Reed Dawley
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ByDeadlyHands wrote:
DrLoris wrote:
[q="larienna"]






It may just be my own sad Freudian psychology, but my inner middle schooler is enjoying this design way too much.



I was thinking the d looks like a D. I am glad I am not the only one giggling...

That being said, this is a way more clever idea than I would have come up with.
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