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Subject: Card game: Units attacking player or other units? rss

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K K
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In MTG, each creature declared to attack will attack the opposing player to damage his life. After the attacking player declare the attacking creatures, the defending player then chooses which of his creature is going to block and which attacking creature to be left unblocked. This means that the combat system favours the defending player since he is the one to choose which creature lives and dies.

Contrast MTG with Yugioh, where your creatures attack your opponent's creatures and the attacker choose which creature he is going to use to attack and which opponent creature to attack. Yugioh favours the attacking player and the match usually ends up with which player having the strongest creature wins.

I am actually trying to decide which combat system is better, whether to let creatures attack creatures like in Yugioh or to let creatures attack player and allow the defending player to choose creatures to block like in MTG.

The MTG way seem to have more strategic choices compared to the Yugioh way. I also know about WOW TCG allowing creatures to attack creatures but there are complaints where all you need to do is summond many creatures with high attacks and you win, making it more simple compared to MTG (I havent play enough WOW TCG to verify it.) I have also heard that WOW TCG favours aggro over control.

I want my game to have more interaction between the players. In that case, the game cannot focus too much on aggro since aggro is basically dealing damage fast enough before the opponent can set up any defence. If the attacking player gains more advantage than the defending player, the game will become heavily focused on aggro and I don't want that. I prefer the tense atmosphere of a control based game. However, I have seen many TCG following in MTG model(Duel Masters, Battle Spirits and many more) and I don't want my game to be another MTG clone.

Please advice me.
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Brian M
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You might want to check out Shadowfist for having the best and most exciting CCG combat I've seen.

In Shadowfist, your characters can attack opponent's characters directly, but your opponents can also block. You can also attack sites; taking control of enough sites wins you the game.

Gives a lot of combat options. The Shadowfist victory system of trying to reach a goal to win as opposed to trying to destroy the enemy to win also makes it work much better for 3+ player games.
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Ian Hedberg
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I've seen both systems done to death across CCGs.

Why not do something new? There is an endless number of victory conditions for card games, and CCGs are just card games that let you make your own deck. Trick Taking (bridge), betting rounds (Poker), set collection (Rummy, Go Fish), playout (UNO), and re-arrangement (Klondike and most other forms of solitaire) are ones I can think of off the top of my head and there are certainly more.

Earlier CCGs tended to have creative win conditions too. Star Trek CCG had players score mission cards by assembling teams of character cards whose skills satisfy the mission requirements, but were stopped by dilemma cards hidden under the mission. Combat, both ship-to-ship and hand-to-hand were possible, but extremely rare.

Netrunner had one player (the corp) play agenda cards face-down to win. Once the agenda had accumulated enough counters, it could be scored. Meanwhile the other player (the runner) made runs on the corp's cards in play, as well as on their hand, deck and discard pile. All of these were defended by ICE cards, which the runner could deal with using Icebreaker cards. If a runner snagged an agenda in a run, they could score it too.

Wars CCG had a similar system to the ones you described, except cards were distributed across various planets and sites on those planets, and players battled for control of those sites, which scored points each turn. Players could assign their cards to whatever site they wanted and move them around. If only one player had cards a site, they'd score it, but if both players did the cards there would fight until one side was eliminated.

If you absolutely have to do one, I would go with attacking players. This gives defending players more control over what happens, which makes play more tactical. It also allows players to use weak monsters in their decks.
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David Sevier
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Another option is to have the game use one style as a default by focus on individual cards that change the tactics.

For example, let's say you're using units in an army. The default option could be to 'Charge', which lets the defender choose who gets matched with who. But then you have different tactical options on the various units, as well as a bunch of tactical cards that mix it up.

Archers, for example, might have a 'covering fire' ability that lets them assist another unit without engaging directly or a 'return fire' ability that lets them attack other archer units.

Skirmishers could have a Flank ability that lets them choose who they attack, or maybe the ability to draw attention from another charging unit.

It's poorly thought out, but you could probably take that idea and do something cool with it.
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Nate K
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If you're trying to emulate an actual battle, it makes more sense to give the defending player the option of "blocking" or not. When two generals square off, one general can't say, "I'm going to attack your C Company and the 101st." They say, "I'm going to attack this site. Are you going to defend it, counterattack, or withdraw?"

So I think Magic does a better job of emulating that dynamic, but the system still isn't perfect. You may want to look for other ways to provide strategic and tactical combat decisions. Brian's suggest of the use of "sites," for example, seems like an interesting idea.

You may also want to look into FFG's Call of Cthulhu: The Card Game. Creatures never battle the other player. Instead, they compete over three available stories to gain Investigation points in that story. The first player to gain 5 Investigation points gains that story (which is then replaced from a small Story deck). The first player to gain three stories wins. Very different dynamic then what I've seen in other CCGs.
 
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Brook Gentlestream
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BattleTech CCG had the perfect compromise for this, by giving all units a speed value of Fast, Medium, or Slow.

You can declare any group of units to be an attacking party and the speed of the group was equal to the speed of the slowest unit. The group can directly attack any unit with a speed lower than it.

The defender may intercept with any unit that had a speed value equal to or faster than the group.

Any unit could be set to "guard" a particular target, in which case it could block an attacker regardless of its speed so long as the group was attacking that target (but it couldn't block any other attack).

The faster units were usually weaker, but had freedom to attack or intercept pretty freely. The stronger units were more powerful, but limited in their tactics due to speed. In general, stronger was still better, but being fast enough to attack defenseless targets was fun.
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K K
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I tried reading the rules of L5R, the game is too complicated. It has so many things to take note of and the rules are hard to grasp. And I still don't really understand the combat step, can somebody simplify it for me?

I would also like to know how the combat in WOW TCG look like. Is it done in such a way where allies only keep attacking the opponent's hero and players ignore the opponent's allies? I have seen some matches where both players attack the opposing hero with their hero and not using any allies.
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Drew Dallas
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CCGer wrote:

I would also like to know how the combat in WOW TCG look like. Is it done in such a way where allies only keep attacking the opponent's hero and players ignore the opponent's allies? I have seen some matches where both players attack the opposing hero with their hero and not using any allies.

It is possible for that to be a viable strategy, it is also a really good way to lose if you aren't careful. As with any CCG there are alot of variables to take into account and there are many times when attacking an opponents allies is a better strategy than only attacking the hero. Generally most decks have a middle ground where attacking goes back and forth between hero and various allies.
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