esther okorie
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Before I make my card game, I'm currently doing research on them and trying to find gameplay on them.

Now the main theme of this one is that you play as a bug shaman defending his hut from a rival shaman.

Now here's the similarities come in. In order to use cards, you must use a totem pole to gain mana of a certain element. I'm trying to find ways to help the player record how much mana he has from each totem.

Another thing is avoiding being labelled a magic rip off.

 
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B C Z
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There are thousands of games in the BGG database.

One of them is Magic: The Gathering.

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Adrian Pillai
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Instead of starting out worrying about how to differentiate your game from any other, particularly something as ubiquitous as mtg, start with what your game is.

Is it a collectible card game. Yes? Then mtg comparisons are coming. As well as a lot of disgust.

Is it a deck builder? Then Dominion comparisons are coming.

Does it have set collection? Are cards multi-use? Is mana the term or would you rather collect bug juice? Or Shamana mana (do do do do do do).

Besides that check out Android: Netrunner. That is the new standard of card games that take over your life.
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JPotter - Bits77
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All card games are magic rip offs.

Track mana in various elements ... tokens on a number track? colored countdown dice? If you want to stick with cards, have a mini deck of element cards in various denominations?

Or, the old school classic, tell players to devise and agree upon their own method.

Like, a pen and paper surprise

Or hey, make an app for that ... no app budget? have players use their phones memo / notepad app
 
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Ryan Keane
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Tons of games rip off MTG mechanism wise. Don't worry about that. Avoid MTG terminology like mana. Focus on what makes your game fun and unique.

What's a bug shaman? A shaman who's a bug in some fantasy world? A shaman that speaks to bug spirits? That eats certain bugs to go into a trance state? That drops a cup of bugs on the ground and predicts how I will die from which ways they crawl around?

I may be wrong, but I don't think totem poles were considered mystical or sources of magical power, at least by Native Americans (I know less about totems in Polynesia, Africa, etc.). I understood them to usually be more like a sign post, telling a story about a place or event of special significance, marking a burial or a chief's home, that sort of thing. Basically pictographs.

I don't think a shaman would attack another shaman's hut. He'd attack his spirit, like on an astral plane.

Sorry, the thematic ideas got me interested. For tracking magic or spirit resources or whatever, just use counters, like little gem stones. Many CCG's and MTG-inspired games broke from the MTG "1 land = 1 resource, use it or lose it every turn" system, which I think is a pretty bad system, and instead use some variation of "a card produces X resources each turn, marked by counters on the card or added to your pool, and you can use none, some, or all the available counters, saving unused ones to the next turn" system.
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Robin Gibson
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I think the answer to your question is as follows: Play lots of games that aren't Magic. The wider a pool you draw from, the more unique your designs will feel.
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Jacek Wieszaczewski
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If a card game is about both players fielding their "creatures" (which can be fantasy monsters, starships, warriors or whatever else makes sense in chosen setting) and then creatures fight the other side, it will resemble MtG to some extent. You can tinker with a resource system to make it different (although most likely you will find someone invented something similar before, 2-player symmetric customizable games is a genre that was explored thoroughly by multiple designers), or you can try to break out from 2-player symmetric. In this case, I think you should start from looking at other works of Richard Garfield

1. Assymetric. Already mentioned Android: Netrunner, which is a remake of Garfield's game Netrunner. The trick is that the two sides of your game are completely different - separate card pools, separate rules, differing win conditions. Let's say you could have your shaman defend his tribe not from other shaman's tribe, but from external forces - weather, conquerors, evil gods etc. One player plays the shaman, the other plays against shaman and tries to destroy him, after they're done, they switch roles. Other interesting example you could study is The Lord of the Rings Trading Card Game with the added twist of shuffling both decks together and switching turns instead of playing two separate games, so that you have to manage your hand between your two decks and not let one starve the other.

2. Multiplayer. If you aim for a game that needs 3+ people, the feel will be different. The best known example is Vampire: The Eternal Struggle, a game which, according to BGG polls, is best with 5 people. The problem when designing multiplayer games is making sure an alliance of players cannot easily take one person out - this can be solved by limiting interaction so that it's impossible for multiple players to gang up on the same opponent. In your game you might for example make shamans live with their tribes on islands and due to changing pattern of sea currents you have limited choices when trying to invade your opponent, so that you can't all turn up at a single island and annihilate the tribe living there due to strength in numbers.
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I'd say any game which doesn't have specific resource (land) cards is already different enough from MtG I think.

My fave (and most cost-effective, tidiest) method of recording resources is having the cards be the resources, although this shifts design to two split uses.

One edge of the cards would have a resource symbol, perhaps a value, and be put in a staggered fashion on the table to show total resources of each colour. This could be the totem representation, and the maximum amount of power to pay for costs of that element each round.

(Idea stolen from the Call of Cthulhu LCG/CCG, but many other card games use cards as resources, most recently Final Fantasy that I know of.)

Limits on how many times players can play a resource on the totem per turn are usually smart, of course. Making every card a resource means players must balance summoning and building power, but they won't complain about running out of power.
 
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Ryan Keane
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hsiale wrote:

2. Multiplayer. If you aim for a game that needs 3+ people, the feel will be different. The best known example is Vampire: The Eternal Struggle, a game which, according to BGG polls, is best with 5 people. The problem when designing multiplayer games is making sure an alliance of players cannot easily take one person out - this can be solved by limiting interaction so that it's impossible for multiple players to gang up on the same opponent. In your game you might for example make shamans live with their tribes on islands and due to changing pattern of sea currents you have limited choices when trying to invade your opponent, so that you can't all turn up at a single island and annihilate the tribe living there due to strength in numbers.


Vampire is good. A less well known but better multiplayer CCG IMO would be Shadowfist. One problem with multiplayer Magic (and Vampire) is they have player elimination. Vampire limits who you can attack based on seating order, to prevent teaming up/grabbing low hanging fruit, but this limit your choices in the game, negotiation, diplomacy, etc. and feels very old-school/lazy design. Changing sea currents is a cool idea, especially if there is some player control like the bidding for wind direction in Winds of Plunder. There are many other options of course. The game can end before players are able to get eliminated based on achieving a win condition or triggering end game scoring. You can provide strong catch-up mechanics, with players knocked out able to jump back even stronger than before, so players are incentivized to hurt opponents but not too much. You can design it that that weaker players don't have much of value to take, so you are incentivized to go after the stronger players to directly help you win, not just hurt the leader. The list is endless but ideally whatever you do, it should make sense rather than feeling like arbitrary limits set by the designer to make the game "work."

The whole rarity/booster pack model is almost completely dead for new games - I would never consider that as a designer today. But also, the 2-player CCG/LCG concept, where players use pre-constructed "faction" decks, customize their pre-constructed decks with some cards, or completely design their own deck from scratch, is a pretty well-trodden market. I think you are more likely to be successful and appeal to a wider market if the customizable deck part is just one aspect of a larger board game design. In other words, rip off Gloomhaven more than MtG.
 
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esther okorie
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So far I thought of having it be more of a shaman keeping his place and making sure no other shaman upsurps him. By the way, What I mean by bug shaman was a humanoid bug person that happens to be a shaman.

I'm going to replace totems with runepillars instead.
 
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Jo Bartok
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check:
Epic The Card Game
Sorcerer
Android: Netrunner
Mage Wars
Summoner Wars
Doomtown: Reloaded
Ashes
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esther okorie
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South Carolina
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ionas wrote:
check:
Epic The Card Game
Sorcerer
Android: Netrunner
Mage Wars
Summoner Wars
Doomtown: Reloaded
Ashes


that is a really quick suggestion
 
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