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Subject: Advice & views needed on card deck mechanic rss

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Ian Walton
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Hi all,

So I'm working on a game at the moment, where at various points in the game players would need to draw cards at random from a deck, and at other times be able to buy specific items within that same deck. This is leading to a bit of a conflict in testing whereby the cards need to be shuffled up in order to be able to deal random allocations to players, yet need to be sorted for ease when players are choosing something specific (there are 37 different card types in a deck of 108).

We've tried various ways of resolving this, including:

1. Keep the cards permanently sorted and use a dice roll (2d20) to determine your random cards when needed;
2. Keep them permanently shuffled, and sort through when you need something specific (which is a bit boring and slows things down)
3. Keep them permanently shuffled, but when you need a specific card, just write down what you got rather than looking through the deck - with all the different cards listed on the board to help you choose (disadvantage - less obvious what things you've got as there's not a card in your hand).
4. Have two decks - one shuffled, one sorted (disadvantage - double the cards).

I'd really welcome views on what's the best way to resolve this - which of the above would you prefer? Are there any other things we could try?

Thanks,

Ian
 
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patrick mullen
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How often do you buy them, and how often do you draw them while shuffled? If you predominantly buy them, I would keep it sorted and use some other mechanism for randomization. If you predominantly draw them shuffled, at 100 cards it's annoying but not that bad to go find one the times that you need to do so (this happens a bit in time stories and it doesn't slow the game down too much). You could speed up the search by using multiple decks instead of one big one, although setup/teardown gets longer. (you know that the item your buying is tier 2 = draw from the tier 2 deck).

Doubling the amount of cards definitely seems less than ideal for production.
 
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Jeremy Lennert
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Your 4 options all sound like they could be reasonable choices depending on the details of the game. I agree that they all have downsides.



Have you considered adjusting your rules to sidestep this problem?

Maybe instead of buying the exact card you want, you deal out 5 random cards and can choose to buy one of them.

Maybe instead of getting a random card, you choose a category of card and then an opponent chooses which card you get from that category (or vice versa).
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Casey Hill
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I recognize the annoyance of doubling the cards but I like number 4 for ease of gameplay the most.
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Ian Walton
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(@Patrick) Buying is most turns, or around half of the turns anyway, so it's fairly key. Picking up a random selection is less frequent - at the start and then a couple of other times as required. So that would point towards another mechanism for drawing at random (dice, or I guess rather than two decks maybe splitting the deck...)

Thanks for the thoughts, much appreciated!

Ian
 
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Laura Creighton
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I played a game with this problem, and the solution was to have a pile of chits that represented each card, or type of card. When you wanted to buy the thing, you bought the chit. Whenever a card came up, randomly, that matched a chit, the person who had the chit could choose to take the card. Or not. The cards were monsters, and even though you had bought the right to automatically defeat a such-and-such you might decide that, being in good health, you wanted to fight that one, and save your anti-monster sauce for one of the monster's siblings in the deck that you might run into when your health was low.

Ah, I see now that in your game buying is common and drawing is rare, whereas in this one it was the reverse. Not sure this is any help, then.
 
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Ian Walton
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Good thoughts, thanks Jeremy. There is a 'deal out 5 random cards' option but it still makes it a bit of a faff when you're looking for something particular (plus you then have to re-shuffle to make it random again).

I'll have a think about the categories thing, there might be something we can do there. Cheers for the ideas!

Ian
 
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Ian Walton
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(@ Laura) No actually that does help - it's definitely not something I'd considered and there might be a category-based mechanic that could be brought it in to make the whole thing run a bit more smoothly. I'll have a think - thanks for your reply!

There's half an idea in my head about a completely new mechanic (in as much as there are any completely new mechanics in games) where you could generate one of the cards without actually drawing it - maybe a spinner or a grid of symbols that you roll a token onto. Easy in an app, less so in a physical game. But I'll go to sleep think about it and see if I can dream the answer, which can be a really effective way of solving problems
 
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Chris Nash
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An app was actually my first thought. But forget a Token/spinner, just give it a list of the cards, when cards are bought it gets taken off the list, when you need a random card it tells you which card.

I had another thought, which was to keep them sorted but the other players choose. For example - gain a card costing 4. The other players all choose one for you, you buy one of them.

Kind of a reverse draft!
 
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