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Subject: Card Game: Keyword or Rule Text rss

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Timothy Pride
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I'm designing a game which use a lot of cards like MtG or such (don't worry, it's not a CCG). One thing that I wonder though, putting the rules in the card, should you make a keyword of it and put the actual rules in player aid, or just put the rules in the card

Ex. keyword wrote:
First Strike

At player aid:
- First Strike : This card attack before another card. And if that card is destroyed, then no damage taken for this card.


Ex. Rule text wrote:
This card attack before another card. And if that card is destroyed, then no damage taken for this card.



Of course there are some advantages and disadvantages for each. Mainly:
Keyword:
- Easier to repeat
- Easier to glance
- Can use lots of rules in a card
Rule text:
- More dynamic to personalize a card
- No back and forth reading between cards and player aids/rulebook

So, what are your thoughts about this? Oh and we won't be talking about iconography (like RFTG) since that doesn't fit my design right now.

Quick noob question: How do you make a pool in this forum?

Poll
Keyword or Rule text?
Keyword
Rule text
      20 answers
Poll created by Darkmot


Pool created!
 
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Kevin B. Smith
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Option #3 would be to rely on icons, whether entirely or just as a way to reduce the amount of text.

Personally, I would find only having "First Strike" on the card to be insufficient. But then I'm not really in your target audience, since having rule-heavy cards is also unpleasant.

To create a poll, you...um...I know I did it once. Can't remember now, though. Don't see it here. I'm sure someone will come along and help.
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Daniel Danzer
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For playtesting I would do this:

First Strike
Attack before another card
If destroyed, no damage


Put that on the card.
This way, you can easily take a pen and correct single cards, and players have all the info they need in their hand. Without the info, the rulebook goes from player to player, or every player needs a player aid with remarks to EVERY card ... shake If published, you can see, how to handle with that (probably in the same way, but illustrations or icons might leave not enough room ...).

Regarding polls: Just open (or edit) a post and click on the green "check" mark in the formatting row above (between tree and question mark. Then just follow the instructions, but be careful, because you cannot modify it afterwards.
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Tommy Occhipinti
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duchamp wrote:
For playtesting I would do this:

First Strike
Attack before another card
If destroyed, no damage


Put that on the card.
This way, you can easily take a pen and correct single cards, and players have all the info they need in their hand. Without the info, the rulebook goes from player to player, or every player needs a player aid with remarks to EVERY card ... shake If published, you can see, how to handle with that (probably in the same way, but illustrations or icons might leave not enough room ...).

Regarding polls: Just open (or edit) a post and click on the green "check" mark in the formatting row above (between tree and question mark. Then just follow the instructions, but be careful, because you cannot modify it afterwards.


For my card games like this I list the rules text at the top which in this case would just be "First Strike" and then also have reminder text at the end in a smaller font (so at the bottom it would say "First Strike: Creatures with first strike...")

Thus, a player can read the rules text and ignore the italicy reminder text if they don't need it, or read it if they do. Best of both worlds!
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Timothy Pride
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peakhope wrote:
Option #3 would be to rely on icons, whether entirely or just as a way to reduce the amount of text.


The thing with icon is, you can only have simple and intuitive abilities (like Race for the Galaxy). For example "Draw a card" or "Produce a goods". If you have more complex rules, it requires constant rules look-up a lot, and I think it defeats the purpose of icon (simplicity and easier to understand card's ability)

For example Troyes. One icon mean "If you have biggest red value, gain cube for red dice left" or something like that. It's a lot to remember, there's a condition, an effect, and since that card doesn't necessarily will come out each game, that means in 3-4 games there's quite a possibility that you still are not familiar with that card. For iconography, I think it's a failure.


duchamp wrote:
Regarding polls: Just open (or edit) a post and click on the green "check" mark in the formatting row above (between tree and question mark. Then just follow the instructions, but be careful, because you cannot modify it afterwards.


Thanks!



As putting BOTH keywords and rules text, I'm trying to avoid that. Couple of reasons:
- Keyword with rule text usually works for game with lots of expansions (like MtG). Since in future expansions you can expect people already familiar with the keywords so you can just put the keyword without the rule texts.
- In my game I was hoping to make each card "distinctive". To "personalize" the cards, since keywords abilities are usually shared with other cards, if I'm going to use keywords, I was hoping to give 3 to 6 keywords/abilities for each card.
- And if I'm going to use Rule texts, because of spaces, I'm gonna put 1 to 3 abilities for each card. But in hindsight, I can be more creative with the abilities, since I don't have to match the abilities with other cards.

So, having both keywords and rules doesn't really answer my problem right no. But, I'll save it for the last resort.

Others, please chime in

 
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Daniel Cassar
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The effectiveness of using keywords depends on the number of keywords that people will need to remember and how often they are used during the game and how they are grouped.

If you have less than 8 keywords that are commonly used then people will soon pick them up and it shouldn't be too hard to stay in their short term memory.

Having more than 8 or having keywords that are only used a couple of times in the game then you will start to have back and forth between the rules and it may be preferable to have text on the cards for these descriptions.

It may be a case of finding your 7-8 most commonly used actions and creating a keyword for these, then for all your other actions you may want to leave them expanded a bit.

Obviously the less "keywords" people need to remember the easier it is for memory retention. Gamers would find it easier than non-gamers as they are generally more use to common terminology from other games as such a non-gamer could easily start to struggle with 6 or so keywords but a gamer may only need to remember 2 or 3 as the others are more instictive to them, it really depends on the game.
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Andreas Pelikan
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djcassar wrote:
It may be a case of finding your 7-8 most commonly used actions and creating a keyword for these, then for all your other actions you may want to leave them expanded a bit.


Dominion does almost a good job there. There are a few keywords, a few color coded card types, text for more complicated rules, but unfortunately only a single icon. If the icon had an associated keyword, and the keywords had associated icons, I think I'd love the game:

+2 Money
+1 Action
pepper +1 Buy

If you nuclear dispose bla bla ...
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Kevin B. Smith
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Darkmot wrote:
peakhope wrote:
Option #3 would be to rely on icons, whether entirely or just as a way to reduce the amount of text.


The thing with icon is, you can only have simple and intuitive abilities (like Race for the Galaxy). For example "Draw a card" or "Produce a goods". If you have more complex rules, it requires constant rules look-up a lot, and I think it defeats the purpose of icon (simplicity and easier to understand card's ability)

For example Troyes. One icon mean "If you have biggest red value, gain cube for red dice left" or something like that. It's a lot to remember, there's a condition, an effect, and since that card doesn't necessarily will come out each game, that means in 3-4 games there's quite a possibility that you still are not familiar with that card. For iconography, I think it's a failure.

Actually, Race is an example of a hybrid game. Their icons cover a lot of ground, but can't cover all cases. So some of the cards have the rules spelled out in text as well.

Contrast that with Fairy Tale or 7 Wonders, where they rely solely on icons, and the abilities are kept simpler. (and at least with 7W and especially Leaders, you end up in the rule book quite a bit in your first couple games).

Humans are (largely) visual creatures, and even if you go with keywords, having an icon consistently associated with each will help with speedy recognition, and perhaps with rules recall. For that purpose, the icon doesn't have to describe the whole rule. It just has to be recognizable to trigger the memory of what that keyword means.
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James Hutchings
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peakhope wrote:
Option #3 would be to rely on icons, whether entirely or just as a way to reduce the amount of text.


If you used icons, you could use a single set of cards and have the rules in different languages. This would be easier than having to make a new set for each new language.
 
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Timothy Pride
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Thanks for the input guys. Maybe I need to combine both after all. As for icons, the card already have other statistics like Atk, Def, and such. So having more icon in the text box would be too much I think.
 
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Sam Mercer
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I am in the EXACT same situation with my game AtomPunk

http://boardgamegeek.com/article/7527327

My cards will be layed in a horizontal line and have a power bonus to the left and right. Their will be mechanics for positional spacing within the caravan (1,2,3,4,5,6). As well as monster combat and active abilities: I have a lot to do.

My ideas were to try and use symbols and equations of symbols for the most part, then supplement extreme rules with text.

So something like "Adds +3 Combat value to any caravan element up to 2 spaces to the right or left" would be



And even with the limited bgg icon set you can kinda get the idea of what I am trying to do.

As far as the equations are concerned, I would probably icon-ify the phrase:
If you spend 2 fuel and sacrfice one caravan, then gain 4 water and re-order your caravans.

So to sum: I would say
1)icons if possible,
2)then keywords (no morethan 5-7 to start),
3)then condensed text,
4)then full text

In that order but remember that whatever the case, include a card explanation section in your manual. As per dominion - even the full text cards need further explaining against obscure interactions with examples.
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OHMS Gaming

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One other advantage of keywords (and icons) is that you're able to easily refer to them with other cards. These designs early on can promote a modular design that is easier to add to later on (and modify throughout if necessary; changing the writeup in one place is easier than on every card using a similar rule). Personally I'm a huge fan of keywords (and icons/symbols) though.
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