Joe Baxter-Webb
United Kingdom
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Hey all,

First design-related post on here, as I mostly lurk and give feedback on other people's designs.

I'm working on "Dangercube" - a gladiatorial game where 8 fighters take part in a league to become the champion of a cyberpunk blood sport. Players take the role of different corporate sponsors, spending their time between matches to amass upgrades, sponsor fighters, and equip upgrades (or downgrades) on fighters they have equal/majority sponsorship over, or who no-one has sponsored yet. There will also be a betting element, but that's beyond the scope of this post.

I've developed a system based around hex cards. When a match starts, the augments (upgrades/downgrades) in a fighter's deck are shuffled and then arranged in a clockwise flower around them, starting in the top-right corner. As these are revealed, they potentially affect one of 3 stats (Cunning, Power or Resilience) which pushes a counter along a triple-tug-of-war style track, and after all cards have been revealed, the fighter who has won on 2 or more of these stats is the winner.


(placeholder character portrait is not mine)

Here's the thing - for an augment to activate, the edge touching the fighter's card has to feature one of the activation LEDs seen in the image. This means that in some cases, a fighter will have a 0% chance to activate a particular augment if the first light is on the left hand side (2 card-deck minimum) top left (3 card-deck minimum) top right (4 card-deck minimum) and so forth. This functions as a sort of XP/levelling system; you have to invest a lot in a particular fighter before the higher tier of upgrades will be usable by them.

This could be explained in the rules using a simple "Pay close attention to the position and number of activation LEDs on augments: some will require the fighter to have multiple augments installed to even have a chance of triggering".

Or, it could be something indicated on the augment card itself by a "Level" badge.

Or, it could be something I completely leave players to work out on their own, like the +5 Cunning item that a fighter keeps drawing in their 1st or 2nd slot, which never triggers.

I'm tempted to go with the third option for the next run of playtesting and just see if it creates a good "a-ha!" moment.

Would love to hear your thoughts on this design problem.


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Geoff Speare
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To me the question hinges on whether the discovery to be made is interesting or not (which will vary by person of course). This seems more on the mechanical side (whereas interactions of multiple augments would be more interesting).

I would suggest some sort of chart which describes the level concept you describe based on the minimum deck size needed before a card can be activated, plus a level indicator on the card, plus a mention that having, for example, a deck of 3 level 3 cards is not going to work too well.
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JPotter
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Explain the sequence of play / mechanics in the rules, add a tips section after the rules.

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Nick Henning
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Could have an example in the rulebook that shows not being able to activate the certain ability but then by having them linked it DOES activate the ability.

I will say from the description you gave I was/am somewhat confused about what you meant though, so hopefully the rulebook is more clear.
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Chris Ferejohn
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aesthetocyst wrote:
Explain the sequence of play / mechanics in the rules, add a tips section after the rules.



This. The strategy advice in, e.g., the Combat Commander rulebook (well, technically in the scenario book) I find super helpful, but I wouldn't want it interleaved with the rules. That also allows people to choose whether to read it (or perhaps to read it after a couple games, which is what I like to do).
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Joe Baxter-Webb
United Kingdom
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nickismyname wrote:
Could have an example in the rulebook that shows not being able to activate the certain ability but then by having them linked it DOES activate the ability.


That's basically it. If an ability doesn't have a light in the bottom left (position 1) and is the first card drawn, it'll end up in the top right, and won't be activated.
 
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Joe Baxter-Webb
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Koldfoot wrote:
Give some hint in the rules just to spare yourself the agony of having to respond to all the gloaters who will post threads bragging about how they broke your game and proceed to rate it a 1.


Haha! Totally this. I tend to give people too much credit for being nice.
 
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Joe Baxter-Webb
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Thanks for all your responses.

I think I'm going to go with "tips section after the rules" plus adding a level indicator to the cards themselves.
 
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Joe Baxter-Webb
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nickismyname wrote:

I will say from the description you gave I was/am somewhat confused about what you meant though, so hopefully the rulebook is more clear.


This is useful feedback in its own right. I'd like to think it's more a reflection of me rush-posting during my lunch break, but I definitely need to improve my technical writing.
 
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ace base
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It looks pretty complicated, so definitely give some strategy. I love when rules give minor hints like 'because he has more X, he decides its in his interest to do Y, thereby preventing his opponent from doing Z'
 
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Joe Baxter-Webb
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Yeah... it's a rule that relies a lot on visuals so kind of difficult to explain without diagrams.

Really it just comes down to "how many cards have to be in the deck for this one to be viable". So maybe using some kind of ranking system (this card has 3 stars which means it won't work at all unless the deck has at least 3 cards) would guide new players in the right direction.
 
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Chris Nash
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It took me a few read-through's, but it isn't THAT complex.

The point he's trying to make is this:

If a hex tile is empty in the first three LED slots (counting clock-wise from bottom left), then it will not augment if it is the first, second or third tile drawn.

That is, don't buy that tile until you know you have at least 3 other tiles (and probably more, to reduce the odds of drawing it early).

A key part of the game's strategy then becomes trying to have a weighted deck towards LED spaces which will appear early. Unless there's some way of starting your augments from a different space or otherwise manipulating the deck etc, which would be cool things to think about.

Game looks interesting.
 
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Joe Baxter-Webb
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Thanks!

I think it's pretty hard to explain without visuals, but always worth a try.

This is a sort of "on hold" design while I work on something for a contest, but I'm going to keep coming back to it, I think. My main goal is to try and make a betting game where players feel invested in developing the decks collaboratively, or trying to sabotage each-other's decks.
 
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