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Subject: Adding some strategy to the classic "War" Card game rss

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Eric Pietrocupo
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I want to use a combat system similar to the classic "War" card games for a civilization like game. Each card would be a different unit, players will flip their top cards compare their values and damage their opponents army. Cards does not change deck. The goal of the system: have a combat system that has a huge variety of units, that can be resolved fast and that does take much space on the table. ( This is one of the reasons I have removed dice rolls ).

Now, I wanted to add a bit of strategy to the game to make sure that it's not just about deck construction and card stacking. The idea I had is to add strategy cards to the deck. During the duel, if a strategy card is drawn, it is set aside an a new card is drawn. The player now has the option to use that strategy card. To prevent players from stacking strategy cards, maybe only the last strategy card drawn can be used, if they wait too much they are going to lose their card.

The strategy cards would mostly influence card play, here are some examples

Re-deploy: This card allows you to reshuffle your deck when you think all your good cards are gone.
Support: Draw a 2nd card to support the card already in battle.
Reinforcement: Draw 2 additional card and choose which card will fight

Other than that, there could be strategy in the deck construction, if a lot of options are available, and of course players will be able to cast spells from their hand to support the battle.

It think it will make a system which has some decisions but that is simple enought to be resolved fast.

What do you think?
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Andy Day

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That sounds pretty cool. There’s still a lot of luck to it. The strategy cards may not quite add in enough skill to satisfy the types that crave decision making and strategic choices. What if you ALWAYS had a strategy card on the side, and once you use it, you draw a new one? That’d require 2 decks of cards per player, which’d take up some space. And if you have 2 cards to draw, plus magic powers to cast from your “hand,” suddenly the game might get fairly hard to juggle. Especially for younger players w/ smaller hands, who would theoretically be the ones to profit most from a simple combat system.
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Sturv Tafvherd
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I like your idea.

But I'm not a fan of "two card types" in a "War" game. Still ... I like the idea of having "strategy" cards. So ...

Why not have every card have both a Unit and a Strategy ... and the player has to choose which "side" he'll put into play.



(Self-plug ... sorry)

My version of "War"
(LittleBox) InterPlanetary War (A quick space navy war game for 1 to 4 players; 8-15 mins)

InterplaNet War v2.0 Rules
pdf on Google Docs, not that much color

InterplaNet War v2.0 Cards
pdf on Google Docs, full color
note: download the PDF to see all the graphics; Google docs has a viewer that doesn't show all the pictures and colors
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Eric Pietrocupo
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One of the most important criteria is that it needs to be resolved fast. If players think too much between each card drawn, it will delay the game too much. I am aiming for a long 3h-5h game, so any gain of speed is important.

For example, if players could draw 3 cards and choose 1 to play, it would slowdown the process too much. But still, the game will be flexible enough to allow the players to do that if they really want more strategy.

Right now the strategic option would be:

- Occasional strategy cards
- Spells in hand
- Deck building (to develop)

The combat deck is mainly composed of unit cards. When you unlock new units types you add 2 cards (for each type) to the combat deck. But maybe there is more customizations that can be done. Maybe you could choose which strategy cards and how many of them can be added to the deck. Maybe there could have other type of cards like traps or defenses when defending your cities.

Like in Magic the gathering, More than 50% of the strategy of the game comes from deck building. Since the game is long, while some players are waiting, they could take the time customize their combat deck.

So I'll try to give some thought on how I could improve the deck customisation while keeping the resolution of the battles fast.
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Sturv Tafvherd
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larienna wrote:
I am aiming for a long 3h-5h game, so any gain of speed is important.


3 to 5 hours? wow, that is long.

This doesn't sound consistent with what I typically see as a "War" game.


Even a Magic: the Gathering game shouldn't take longer than 2 hours ... most are probably over within 1 hour, right?


Anyway, it sounds like you're getting to the point where you want complexity, but maybe there's already too many things going on with the game? I know a lot of us are somewhat spoiled by computers and game consoles that can do a lot of the grunt-mechanical-work for us ...

... but having too much of that on a board game can really make it "too long and not fun".

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Sturv Tafvherd
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Had to go back to the OP to add some more comments...

larienna wrote:
The goal of the system: have a combat system that has a huge variety of units, that can be resolved fast and that does take much space on the table. ...
...
It think it will make a system which has some decisions but that is simple enought to be resolved fast.


A great goal, and I think it is definitely possible. I'd definitely be interested in seeing a game do that.

larienna wrote:

Now, I wanted to add a bit of strategy to the game to make sure that it's not just about deck construction and card stacking. The idea I had is to add strategy cards to the deck.


Gonna stop here for a bit.

Consider Game of Thrones (the card game). You have Two Decks.

The Plot deck is essentially the part that gives you a variety of strategy. Perhaps that's a good way for you to use strategy as well, without having issues over how you can pull those cards out of one deck.

Game of Thrones also has different cards in the main deck. Mostly "Units" ... but you can put cards in there that make it easier to get units out ... or cards that make units better.

Plus ... challenge / battle resolution in Game of Thrones is pretty straightforward.



I haven't played the other LCGs yet ... but they may have interesting spins on challenge / battle resolution.
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mike
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Magic can be over in minutes in a tournament setting, it all depends on how the cards come out from your deck from the shuffle. With the right single theme decks, you can play a couple rounds in a hour between 2 player. more than 2 players slows the game down allot, so do complicated decks that require card combos
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Eric Pietrocupo
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Quote:
... but having too much of that on a board game can really make it "too long and not fun".


It's for my master of magic board game adaptation. Don't worry, the game will have multiple stages that introduce new mechanics as the game progress. The game will be very flexible allowing players to add and remove stuff from the game without changing it's balance. To play time is very flexible.

I am still aiming for 5 hours. I reduce the max nb of players to 4, exceptionally 5, in order to speed up the game.

The magic system already use a deck building mechanism (because it's simply the best mechanic for the theme so far) so this is why I do not want players to have 2 hand of cards. The combat deck explained above will never be hold in hand. It is used only during battles and the cards never goes in the hand. This is why I want a mechanic which is self contained and that does not depend on other mechanics (ex: drawing cards during the game that you could use in combat like it's the case for the Starcraft board game is the opposite of what I am looking for.)

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David Boeren
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Stormtower wrote:
larienna wrote:
I am aiming for a long 3h-5h game, so any gain of speed is important.


3 to 5 hours? wow, that is long.

This doesn't sound consistent with what I typically see as a "War" game.


Even a Magic: the Gathering game shouldn't take longer than 2 hours ... most are probably over within 1 hour, right?

... but having too much of that on a board game can really make it "too long and not fun".


Civilization type games and wargames both tend to be long, I wouldn't compare them to a CCG (which is usually pretty quick, maybe 20 minutes or so?) or a typical euro boardgame (45-120 minutes). They're simply different genres.

I've recently been trying to pick out some wargames to get for instance, and if you set a 3 hour maximum restriction it cuts down your selection significantly. 2 hours, and you're really cutting out a lot of stuff. And yet 2 hours would be considered too long for many euros.

Anyway, I think the OP is doing the right thing trying to streamline the game where he can. Over a game that long some minor simplifications can add up to saving a lot of time.
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Eric Pietrocupo
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The only reason why I referred to magic TG is because the biggest strategy part of the game is to build the deck. While you play, there is much less strategy because it's generally your hand composition will dictate what you will play. (Give the same hand to 10 different players and they will probably play it in very similar ways).

So one idea is that in order to add strategy, instead of focusing on strategy while the combat occurs, maybe focusing more on strategy outside of battle during the combat deck building. This way, players could take some times to think how they want their combat deck to behave while other people are playing.

So even if the strategy cards does not add that much to the game, the deck assembly could add a bit of strategy too. The combination of all 3 elements: strategy cards, spells and combat deck building would in the end give enough strategic choices for battle resolution.
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Sturv Tafvherd
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I may have missed something ...

but how many players (minimum and maximum) are you targetting?
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Eric Pietrocupo
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basically 3-5 (3-4 recommended), It might be able to work at 2 or even alone because there is some AI players on the board that are much more limited than regular players.

Why did you ask?
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Sturv Tafvherd
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larienna wrote:
basically 3-5 (3-4 recommended), It might be able to work at 2 or even alone because there is some AI players on the board that are much more limited than regular players.

Why did you ask?


Just that when I saw "War" card game, I was kinda limited to thinking about the 2 player only card game (yeah, the one that you get your kid to play and you try to get all the cards).

I think some people on this topic were also thinking "Wargame" ... as in ASL type games. But maybe I'm just over-reading things.

At any rate, now that I know that you're trying to go beyond 2 players, that kinda explains how you would say "work with your combat deck while the others are playing" ...

... cuz in a 2 player game, there's hardly any downtime.
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