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Subject: Need ideas for money management between game phases rss

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David Gregg
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I am working on Nightfall and am trying to find an elegant way to transition between the first and second phases of the game. The game uses rune cards similar to Magic: The Gathering's land cards for both purchasing and playing cards. During phase 1 players are drawing their runes from a small rune deck and then using them to purchase cards. Once all players have played out their initial rune deck the game moves on to phase 2 where players use their purchased cards for combat.

The problem I'm having is that players are able to play too many cards in their first couple turns in phase 2. I would like to avoid shuffling the runes back in with the other cards at the beginning of phase 2 for a few different reasons. I also want to avoid having a set number of cards that can be played each turn.

Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.
 
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Wyckyd
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I'm not really sure what the problem is you are trying to solve. Could you give some more detailed information about how the game works?

For instance, how do people play cards in fase 2? Does playing cost 'mana'? If so, how come they have too much acces to mana? Or do they have to many cards in hand? Or is it too easy to play a card (should everything cost more)?
 
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What Wyckyd says; it is difficult to form an idea of the problem without more information. Still, I'm going to try to offer a solution.

Is it necessary to keep a strict separation between phase 1 and phase 2? If you allow direct combat already in phase 1, players won't have too many combat cards, as they are still collecting them. So in those early rounds, they cannot play a lot of combat cards. Which is apparently what you want.
 
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David Gregg
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Sorry, I'll go into more detail:

At the start of the game each player is dealt 9 cards for an initial deck. These cards consist of 3 each of 3 different types of runes. Think having 3 each of 3 different colors of lands from MtG. Each turn you draw 1 rune from your deck, put it into play and then set (set = "tap") it to use it's energy (energy = "mana") for purchasing cards. Players can purchase as many cards as they would like so long as they have the energy needed to make the purchase. When every player has played all 9 of their runes the game moves to the 2nd phase.

In the second phase of the game, players start out with a 5 card hand and play cards using the energy from their runes. Each turn players unset their runes/creatures and draw 1 card. They are then able to play cards by spending the energy from setting their runes.

It often happens that players can play 3-4 creatures on their first turn. This is simply too much. The best idea I've had so far is to reshuffle the runes back into their deck and draw 1 purchased card and 1 rune card each turn, but this isn't a very elegant solution to the problem. Shuffling the runes in with the purchased cards causes all sorts of trouble with attempting to get the energy you need to play any cards at all.

Any ideas?
 
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David Gregg
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Whymme wrote:
Is it necessary to keep a strict separation between phase 1 and phase 2? If you allow direct combat already in phase 1, players won't have too many combat cards, as they are still collecting them. So in those early rounds, they cannot play a lot of combat cards. Which is apparently what you want.


It is necessary to keep the phases separate. The player's deck is their life points. When a player is damaged they remove 1 card from the top of their deck for each 1 point of damage they took from the game. So combat during phase 1 would prevent players from ever building up a deck.
 
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s3rvant wrote:
Whymme wrote:
Is it necessary to keep a strict separation between phase 1 and phase 2? If you allow direct combat already in phase 1, players won't have too many combat cards, as they are still collecting them. So in those early rounds, they cannot play a lot of combat cards. Which is apparently what you want.


It is necessary to keep the phases separate. The player's deck is their life points. When a player is damaged they remove 1 card from the top of their deck for each 1 point of damage they took from the game. So combat during phase 1 would prevent players from ever building up a deck.

What if you add defenses that have to be breached to get to a player? You could time it so that there are enough defenses to keep a player free from harm until phase 1 is over. And defenses can then bring some other strategy element into the game, with spells that can restore defenses and attackers (expensive ones, so that they cannot be bought early in phase 1) that can circumvent them.
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The obvious solution would seem to be: make the creatures more expensive in phase 2 than in phase 1.
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David Gregg
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Whymme wrote:
What if you add defenses that have to be breached to get to a player?


Interesting idea, will definitely look into that mechanic.

londonien wrote:
Make the creatures more expensive in phase 2 than in phase 1


This seems like a lot of complication to add just to solve this one issue.

Just had this idea, see what you think: At the end of phase 1 players turn their rune cards face down. Each turn during phase 2 players draw 1 card and then turn 1 rune of their choice face up again.
 
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s3rvant wrote:
Whymme wrote:
Is it necessary to keep a strict separation between phase 1 and phase 2? If you allow direct combat already in phase 1, players won't have too many combat cards, as they are still collecting them. So in those early rounds, they cannot play a lot of combat cards. Which is apparently what you want.


It is necessary to keep the phases separate. The player's deck is their life points. When a player is damaged they remove 1 card from the top of their deck for each 1 point of damage they took from the game. So combat during phase 1 would prevent players from ever building up a deck.

Sorry for getting back to this point again. You can spend your rune 'mana' on either buying spells (in phase 1) or on activating spells (in phase 2), right? If you activate a spell in phase 1, you hurt your opponent immediately, but at the same time you are not building your deck, so you are weakening yourself as well. Especially in a game with more than two players, that would be suicide.

So I come back to my first idea. Even although they could attack, players generally won't want to do so in phase 1. They'd prefer to buy cards. Only when they can generate more mana than necessary to buy cards, they can use the surplus to cast spells and attack. Which means that they start with relatively weak attacks during the latter stages of phase one.

You could make some rule that you have to buy at least one card each round; when you skip this one turn, you are not allowed to buy any cards in later rounds either. That ensures that at the start, players will spend at least some mana to buy cards, and so they cannot attack in full force at that time. It also makes for a strategic decision; when to stop buying cards and be fully committed to the attack. If you stop early, your opponent gets hurt, but can still buy more serious critters for his deck.
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David Gregg
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Whymme wrote:
You could make some rule that you have to buy at least one card each round; when you skip this one turn, you are not allowed to buy any cards in later rounds either


Oh I like this idea very much. However, even with this idea I feel that players who make the decision to move from buying to combat will still have too many runes in play.

s3rvant wrote:
The player's deck is their life points. When a player is damaged they remove 1 card from the top of their deck for each 1 point of damage they took from the game.


If Player 1 moves to combat this turn, but players 2 and 3 wait until next turn just to buy a couple more cards, Player 1 would be able to do enough damage to both players 2 and 3 to remove their newly bought cards from the game. The problem remains that there is simply too many runes in play when the switch from buying to combat occurs.

Now I could combine your idea of choosing when to make the switch AND flipping over the runes so that if Player 1 switches to combat now then the other players would still have a couple turns before Player 1 would be able to gain enough momentum to really get going good.

What do you think of this: Players must buy cards during phase 1 until all 9 of their runes are in play. Any time after that a player may decide to move into "combat mode" by shuffling their purchased cards, flipping over their runes and beginning their turn in phase 2?
 
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Philip Migas
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I would need to playtest the game in order to fully understand your problem. So you are not having problems with the first phase of the game. In the second phase of the game, players have too much buying power on the first two turns.

Solution:
1. Increase the cost of commodities (combat cards). This may cause problems in later turns where players won’t have enough buying power to move the game along.
2. Decrease the amount of buying power. As players enter the arena they do not have all of their rune cards back from the purchase. There is a gradual increase of return as phase 2 progresses.
3. Increase the number of items that need purchased. Make players buy back their spent runes from phase 1. Or provide an activation cost or. It cost X to place the card in the arena. It cost Y to attack with the card. It is free to defend with the card. Players will need to decide to either purchase or attack.

Here are some brainstorming ideas for implementing a solution 2 fix.
1. Start with only one rune card and add one per turn. Simple-stupid.
2. Start with 5 in your hand. Players can place one of the rune cards from their hand and draw and place one randomly drawn card. This allows 2 runes per turn for the first 5 turns. The rune from players hand would be selected to benefit the player.
3. Start with one rune card and add on per turn per 1 above. In addition certain rune cards can be discarded to allow players to draw 2 rune cards at the end of the turn. At the beginning of phase 2 players will discard rune cards quickly to increase their buying power quickly. As the game progresses this will happen less. It also adds a strategic decision, do I discard Rune A (which I really need) in hopes that I draw another Rune A along with a Rune B or do I just hold onto Rune A.
4. Place 9 rune cards face up in the middle of the table. 1st player can draw 1 of these cards + draw one random. 2nd player draws 2 middle cards + one random. 1st player (3rd turn) Draws 3 cards from the middle + 1 random. 2nd player draws the remaining 3 cards +1 random. By the players 3rd turn they have 6/7 rune cards but they do not have them from the first 2 turns. You would need to balance this for multiple players.

Your game seems different than many games. I don’t know if this was helpful or a completely stupid post.
Good luck
 
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David Gregg
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pmigas wrote:

Solution:
2. Decrease the amount of buying power. As players enter the arena they do not have all of their rune cards back from the purchase. There is a gradual increase of return as phase 2 progresses.

Here are some brainstorming ideas for implementing a solution 2 fix.
1. Start with only one rune card and add one per turn. Simple-stupid.

Your game seems different than many games. I don’t know if this was helpful or a completely stupid post.
Good luck


Yep, Solution #2 - Brainstorm #1 is what I want, I was just pondering over how best to do it. Since all 9 are in play when phase 1 ends I think I'll just have players flip them face down when phase 2 begins. Then each turn you can draw a card from your deck and turn back over 1 rune. It'll be a few days before I'm off work again to play test this, but I'll make sure to post back afterward with how things went.

Thank you everyone for the ideas!
 
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Will
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s3rvant wrote:
Need ideas for money management between game phases

Well, I came across a very neat idea recently. Buy $25 gift cards every month to your favorite game store (such as Boards & Bits), then once it reaches the free shipping level you can order a few games you like.
This way you can manage/budget your money between big game buying phases.

That was your question wasn't it?
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Joe Mucchiello
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Still not really understanding the problem. But why let that stop me. whistle

It seems like the real problem is the runes reset each turn and thus all 9 are available at the start of phase 2. So why not have a rule in phase 1 that you can only reset 1 rune per turn. So on turn one, you play a rune and can buy a 1-rune cost card. On turn two you play a second rune and now you have a decision. If you play a 1-rune cost card, you will have 3 runes available for use next turn or you can play a 2-rune cost card and will only have 2 available runes for next turn. And so on until the 9 runes are out. Then phase 2 starts and players with more cards will have fewer runes with which to activate them and vice versa.
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s3rvant wrote:
londonien wrote:
Make the creatures more expensive in phase 2 than in phase 1


This seems like a lot of complication to add just to solve this one issue.

Not really. There's one cost to buy a creature, and another one to activate it once bought. Not very complicated.

s3rvant wrote:
Just had this idea, see what you think: At the end of phase 1 players turn their rune cards face down. Each turn during phase 2 players draw 1 card and then turn 1 rune of their choice face up again.

I don't see why turning all the rune cards face down is better than shuffling all the rune cards again.
 
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David Gregg
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@Yargo - lol

londonien wrote:
Make the creatures more expensive in phase 2 than in phase 1


There are tons of small effects that have small costs here and there. If cards are more expensive to play then they were to buy, then there will be far less player interaction. I want a lot of player interaction.

Whymme wrote:
I don't see why turning all the rune cards face down is better than shuffling all the rune cards again.


Lets say you shuffle your runes into your deck of purchased cards. You draw 5 cards at the start of phase 2. What are the odds that you'll draw the runes you need to play any of the cards in your hand? Very low. Not only that, but it will be possible to not draw any runes at all and also possible to draw nothing but runes. I do not want players to spend 20-30min carefully purchasing cards for their deck just to lose to bad luck.

Even if you shuffle the runes into their own deck, so you have a deck of purchased cards and a rune deck, it would be possible to draw a hand full of lets say blue cards and draw no blue runes. Again, bad luck ruins the game.

By turning the cards face down and being able to choose which one to turn back over, you are able to get the runes you need in order to play the cards you drew every time. I'm play testing this will a few of my old MtG friends and this is their favorite solution so far. I'll get back with you on how it goes.
 
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s3rvant wrote:
Whymme wrote:
I don't see why turning all the rune cards face down is better than shuffling all the rune cards again.


Lets say you shuffle your runes into your deck of purchased cards. You draw 5 cards at the start of phase 2. What are the odds that you'll draw the runes you need to play any of the cards in your hand? Very low. Not only that, but it will be possible to not draw any runes at all and also possible to draw nothing but runes. I do not want players to spend 20-30min carefully purchasing cards for their deck just to lose to bad luck.

Even if you shuffle the runes into their own deck, so you have a deck of purchased cards and a rune deck, it would be possible to draw a hand full of lets say blue cards and draw no blue runes. Again, bad luck ruins the game.

And how do you prevent this later on in the game?

I kept wondering whether the runes and spells would go into one deck (as in M:tG) or each have their separate decks. It is still not clear to me.

As an alternative: why not have players have a separate board with their runes? That gives them total control about which runes to activate.

Perhaps it would be interesting to have runes power up for a few turns before they can be used again. Say, in phase one, you can activate one rune a turn; you put a counter on a rune to show that it's activated. So in the first round you can spend 1 rune power, in the second round 2, and so on.
The second phase starts with nine runes, all covered with a counter. Now at the start of each round you can remove, say, six counters. When casting spells you can only use the runes that have no counters on them - but now you have to play two counters on each rune that you draw power from. That makes players have to use some kind of mana management.
 
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In the beginning of the game each player has a 9 card deck consisting of their runes ( 3 of each type ).

Turns in phase 1 are in 4 steps:
1) Unset (untap) all of your runes
2) Draw a rune from your deck and put it into play
3) Set runes and spend the energy to purchase cards from the supply ( I call it the spell cache )
4) End your turn

When all players have played out their rune deck the game moves to phase 2. As of this moment players will turn their runes face down ( I'm thinking "exhausting" them ), shuffle the cards they've bought into a new deck and draw an initial hand of 5 cards.

Turns in phase 2 are in 6 steps:
1) Unset your runes and any creatures you have in play
2) Flip an exhausted rune face up ( "refresh" it )
3) Draw 1 card
4) Play creature cards
5) Combat
6) Discard down to 5 cards and end your turn

As players take damage from combat and spells they remove cards from their deck from the game ( your deck is your life ). When you have no deck remaining and take damage you are out of the game.

*Note: Your discard pile gets reshuffled into a new deck each time your deck runs out like in Dominion, so you'll have to have no deck AND no discard pile when you get damaged to be removed from the game.

Whymme wrote:
s3rvant wrote:
Lets say you shuffle your runes into your deck of purchased cards. You draw 5 cards at the start of phase 2. What are the odds that you'll draw the runes you need to play any of the cards in your hand? Very low. Not only that, but it will be possible to not draw any runes at all and also possible to draw nothing but runes. I do not want players to spend 20-30min carefully purchasing cards for their deck just to lose to bad luck.

Even if you shuffle the runes into their own deck, so you have a deck of purchased cards and a rune deck, it would be possible to draw a hand full of lets say blue cards and draw no blue runes. Again, bad luck ruins the game.
And how do you prevent this later on in the game?


Since the exhaust/refresh system lets you choose which rune to refresh you'll never be short/flooded with runes. And since the runes are separate from your purchased cards you'll never waste a draw on a rune when you might be needing a creature or other spell.

Whymme wrote:
Perhaps it would be interesting to have runes power up for a few turns before they can be used again. Say, in phase one, you can activate one rune a turn; you put a counter on a rune to show that it's activated. So in the first round you can spend 1 rune power, in the second round 2, and so on.


You could definitely add more depth to the rune system by using counters, however, I am aiming to make the game completely card driven. This is something that always bothers me when playing other card games such as MtG, Dominion, etc is that they more or less require other components such as dice or counters to be able to play any of the more complex cards. This is precisely the reason why I decided to make your deck your life points.

I hope this clears everything up.
 
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Joe Mucchiello
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s3rvant wrote:
In the beginning of the game each player has a 9 card deck consisting of their runes ( 3 of each type ).

Turns in phase 1 are in 4 steps:
1) Unset (untap) all of your runes

I'm still confused. What was wrong with my suggestion that you not reset all runes in phase 1. Instead only reset 1 per turn. This gives the player a choice buy "big" cards in phase 1 but lack the power to use them immediately in phase 2. Or they can buy smaller cards and have most of their power available on the first turn of phase 2.

You could combine this idea with your new exhausted idea. In phase 1, you never tap runes you exhaust them. So step 1 of phase 1 becomes the same as step 2 in phase 2. "Flip one exhausted run face up." Now they have the tactical issue of spending lots of runes early to get one big card out. Or play conservatively so they will not be crippled in phase 2.
 
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jmucchiello wrote:

I'm still confused. What was wrong with my suggestion that you not reset all runes in phase 1. Instead only reset 1 per turn. This gives the player a choice buy "big" cards in phase 1 but lack the power to use them immediately in phase 2. Or they can buy smaller cards and have most of their power available on the first turn of phase 2.

You could combine this idea with your new exhausted idea. In phase 1, you never tap runes you exhaust them. So step 1 of phase 1 becomes the same as step 2 in phase 2. "Flip one exhausted run face up." Now they have the tactical issue of spending lots of runes early to get one big card out. Or play conservatively so they will not be crippled in phase 2.


The reason for bringing the runes into play the way I am in phase 1 is for allowing the slow buildup of buying power. There are only 18 cards that can be purchased for 1 rune. After that players would have to wait 2 turns or more for each purchase. This would either make phase 1 take a very long time to finish or leave players with very small decks. In play testing phase 1 works great. By the time you have enough runes to start buying the bigger cards, the 1 rune cards have sold out and the 2 rune cards have about half left. I'm also using the playing of the runes as a timing mechanic to move the game into phase 2. The 9 turns that players currently have leave them with 15-25 cards in their deck depending on number of players ( range was 17-19 in a 5 player game ).

If I wanted to combine the ability to exhaust cards in phase 1, I could add that you can exhaust a rune in phase 1 for an additional energy of that type for spending, but you still can't refresh until phase 2. This would add the tactical ability to snatch a big card before others at the cost of later buying potential and ramp up the energy available on the final round or two of phase 1.

What do you think of this idea?
 
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Joe Mucchiello
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s3rvant wrote:
What do you think of this idea?

Or you still have all 9 runes available at the start of phase 2. It doesn't solve that problem.

Note: your analysis is incorrect. Each turn (except the first) you would have at minimum 2 runes face up. One you flipped and one you played that turn. You can play a 1-mana card every round and start phase 2 with all runes available. You can play 2-mana cards every round (but the first) and start phase 2 with only 1 rune available.

So buying 3-mana (and up) cards requires restricting yourself to buying 1-mana cards (or doing nothing). That seems like a good strategic trade off to me. As I said (or intended to say if I forgot) you might need to rebalance the cost of the cards with this rule.
 
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jmucchiello wrote:
s3rvant wrote:
What do you think of this idea?

Or you still have all 9 runes available at the start of phase 2. It doesn't solve that problem.

Note: your analysis is incorrect. Each turn (except the first) you would have at minimum 2 runes face up. One you flipped and one you played that turn. You can play a 1-mana card every round and start phase 2 with all runes available. You can play 2-mana cards every round (but the first) and start phase 2 with only 1 rune available.

So buying 3-mana (and up) cards requires restricting yourself to buying 1-mana cards (or doing nothing). That seems like a good strategic trade off to me. As I said (or intended to say if I forgot) you might need to rebalance the cost of the cards with this rule.


Ah, your right, that would allow buying of 2-rune cards. Even still, this would drastically decrease what you can purchase in phase 1. Half the cards are currently 3-rune or 4-rune. The current rune system in phase 1 works great for its intended purpose as I've already said.

jmucchiello wrote:
Or you still have all 9 runes available at the start of phase 2. It doesn't solve that problem


What problem? I'm planning to exhaust all 9 runes at the start of phase 2 and let them refresh 1 per turn to slowly develop your creatures regardless as to whether or not I choose to use exhausting in phase 1.
 
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Just had an interesting idea for handling the runes throughout the game, see what you think of this:

When the game starts:
[*] Deal 3 of each rune type to each player
[*] These are shuffled into your initial deck

Each turn in phase 1:
[*] Unset all of your runes
[*] Draw 1 rune from your deck and put it into play
[*] Set runes to generate energy for purchases
[*] You may exhaust a rune instead of setting it to generate double it's normal energy
[*] Runes do not refresh during phase 1

Then when phase 1 ends:
[*] Unset your runes
[*] Shuffle your purchased cards into a new deck
[*] Exhaust as many of your runes as you want
[*] Draw an initial hand equal to the number of runes you just exhausted

Each turn in phase 2:
[*] Unset your runes
[*] Refresh 1 rune
[*] Runes can no longer be exhausted

Edit #1: Added the game start section
Edit #2: Added "Runes can no longer be exhausted"
 
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Joe Mucchiello
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Did I clip too much? Read this again:
s3rvant wrote:
jmucchiello wrote:
s3rvant wrote:
If I wanted to combine the ability to exhaust cards in phase 1, I could add that you can exhaust a rune in phase 1 for an additional energy of that type for spending, but you still can't refresh until phase 2. This would add the tactical ability to snatch a big card before others at the cost of later buying potential and ramp up the energy available on the final round or two of phase 1.

What do you think of this idea?

Or you still have all 9 runes available at the start of phase 2. It doesn't solve that problem.


What problem? I'm planning to exhaust all 9 runes at the start of phase 2 and let them refresh 1 per turn to slowly develop your creatures regardless as to whether or not I choose to use exhausting in phase 1.

If the player decides not to use the extra energy, his runes don't end up exhausted. That's why I proposed there be no "tapping" of runes in phase 1.

Quote:
Ah, your right, that would allow buying of 2-rune cards. Even still, this would drastically decrease what you can purchase in phase 1. Half the cards are currently 3-rune or 4-rune. The current rune system in phase 1 works great for its intended purpose as I've already said.

The cost of cards could be different in phase 1. You could say players have a "free" mana as well as whatever mana they gain from exhausting a rune. Then buying 3-rune cards is the "norm". The players have to stretch for 4-rune cards. And a strategy of 2-rune (or smaller) cards gives them an advantage in phase 2: the extra unexhausted runes.

Since runes work differently between phase 1 and phase 2 anyway, giving them a floating extra mana can't hurt if it helps you maintain your previous balance.
 
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jmucchiello wrote:
Did I clip too much? Read this again:
s3rvant wrote:
jmucchiello wrote:
s3rvant wrote:
If I wanted to combine the ability to exhaust cards in phase 1, I could add that you can exhaust a rune in phase 1 for an additional energy of that type for spending, but you still can't refresh until phase 2. This would add the tactical ability to snatch a big card before others at the cost of later buying potential and ramp up the energy available on the final round or two of phase 1.

What do you think of this idea?

Or you still have all 9 runes available at the start of phase 2. It doesn't solve that problem.


What problem? I'm planning to exhaust all 9 runes at the start of phase 2 and let them refresh 1 per turn to slowly develop your creatures regardless as to whether or not I choose to use exhausting in phase 1.

If the player decides not to use the extra energy, his runes don't end up exhausted. That's why I proposed there be no "tapping" of runes in phase 1.


I said very clearly that I was originally planning to exhaust all of the players runes when phase 2 starts. Here are current rune rules:

Beginning of game:
[*] Each player is dealt 3 of each rune
[*] Each player shuffles their runes into an initial deck

Each turn in phase 1:
[*] Unset all of your runes
[*] Draw a rune from deck and put it into play
[*] Set runes to make purchases

At end of end phase 1:
[*] All players shuffle their purchased cards into a new deck
[*] All players exhaust all of their runes
[*] All players draw an initial hand of 5 cards

Each turn in phase 2:
[*] Unset all of your runes and creatures
[*] Refresh 1 rune
[*] Draw 1 card

As the rules are now, phase 1 works great. Purchasing happens at the desired speed and players have the desired number of cards in their deck at the end of phase 1. I may play test other options with runes in phase 1, but it is not necessary. The 2nd step at the end of phase 1 is the new rule I've created from this whole discussion and needs play testing, but I suspect it is exactly what is needed to help slow down phase 2.

jmucchiello wrote:
Since runes work differently between phase 1 and phase 2 anyway


See, they don't work differently. I was throwing around ideas asking for input, but from current rules you always set to gain energy and it's always a 1:1 ratio. You only exhaust between phases. So in both phases your gaining 1 rune per turn, but in phase 2 you get to pick which rune you want to refresh whereas in phase 1 the rune you draw is random.
 
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