Recommend
2 
 Thumb up
 Hide
28 Posts
1 , 2  Next »   | 

BoardGameGeek» Forums » Board Game Design » Board Game Design

Subject: Not sure where to start. rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Philip ONeil
Australia
flag msg tools
Hi. I'm new here. I hope I have posted in the right place.

My background is in mathematics and statistics.

I am thinking of designing a print and play card game with around 10,000 cards. The game is kind of a cross between Pokemon and Top Trumps. I use a mathematical technique to guarantee that all cards have unique mathematical characteristics. The game also has the potential for large games to be played with up to 200 people playing the same game.

I want to make at least two versions of the game. (One with creatures and one without) The creature version of the game will take a lot more time to make and should be more popular. The other version requires programming skills and should be a lot quicker to make.

My view on the art of the game is to find people who want to be involved to create the art. I'm interested in getting the mathematics right as I believe the success of the game is a combination of the correct unique traits and also the artwork. I am not sure where the best place to start is here. I am currently building my database of all the card details. That will keep me busy for the next month or so.

I have a copy of a draft card that I made. I am happy to receive constructive criticism


I've never made a card game or board game before. I am interested in advice people can give me.

The dream is to have a game that children can play instead of games like Pokemon in a print and play format which should be significantly cheaper and children can pick their favourite cards instead of getting a random selection in a packet. It should also be fun for older people as well. It can be played in a way to help children with their mathematical skills and so I would consider promoting it as an educational game. I also have a plan to make a 990,000+ card set if the 10,000 card set works but it is too early to think about that card set.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Brad Miller
United States
Seattle
Washington
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Nobody is going to want to buy/print 10,000 cards.

Good luck!
7 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
いい竹やぶだ!

South Euclid
Ohio
msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmb
Unfortunately, such a game would only work as a computer game.

It one person several minutes to shuffle six standard decks of cards (= 312 cards) properly.* I don't know how shuffling time increases with number of cards, but it has to be at least linear, and I suspect it's quadratic.

*Based on watching blackjack dealers in Las Vegas
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Brook Gentlestream
United States
Long Beach
California
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb

Is this for the Phylomon Ecosystem Game?
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Philip ONeil
Australia
flag msg tools
Pokemon has around 9,000 cards and they have sold over 14 billion cards. Magic - The Gathering has over 10,000 cards.

The appeal for having 10,000 cards is to offer a choice of which cards to use. If you say children tend to like to have 50-150 cards, there is appeal for children to customise their own sets and manually pick out which cards they want. It is fun for children to compare their sets with other peoples sets and merge sets for different games with different friends. You only need about 40 cards to play a game.

Not related to the Phylomon Ecosystem Game.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Brad Fuller
United States
Virginia Beach
Virginia
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
My advice would be to start smaller. Magic the Gathering is the best selling card game ever, and in 18 years they have made 12,246 cards. Get a good working foundation and then worry about expanding
6 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Brook Gentlestream
United States
Long Beach
California
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Phoj wrote:
Pokemon has around 10,000 cards and they have sold over 14 billion cards. Magic - The Gathering has over 20,000 cards.

The appeal for having 10,000 cards is to offer a choice of which cards to use. If you say children tend to like to have 50-150 cards, there is appeal for children to customise their own sets and manually pick out which cards they want. It is fun for children to compare their sets with other peoples sets and merge sets for different games with different friends.


I recommend you start a bit less ambitious to begin with. Even magic and pokemon space out their releases over time and don't try to produce a 10,000 card set. The Game of Thrones LCG releases only 216 cards in their core set, many of which are duplicates. Each "deluxe expansion" includes 60 unique cards.

You only need about 200 cards or so to start 2 players playing and start creating unique decks. Then you can start looking at expansions of about 100 cards or so.

Even much of the appeal of Magic comes from this "release schedule", as kids want to see the new cards that have recently come out. But only if they are already interested in the game.

Having to buy (or print) 10,000 cards to get into a game isn't going to appeal to anyone. They want to create a simple starter deck that allows them to get into the game easily, and then they want to expand easily from there.

I suggest you start by creating pre-constructed decks. That way people can try the game. From there, they can print out small themed expansion packs (such as the Birds expansion pack, or something).

Please, each expansion release gives people something new to discuss, advertise, and review.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Philip ONeil
Australia
flag msg tools
Re:
The mathematical constraints of the cards mean that 10000 is close to the limit in the number of cards. In order to ensure that the features of the cards remain unique, I need to design all the features at the same time. Releasing the cards will be a gradual process as the artwork for 10,000 cards is more than 5 years work (based on an hour per card)

Thanks everyone for your feedback.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Levi Mote
United States
Vancouver
WA
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
There is something to be said for designing a game with expand-ability in mind. Too many games find that expansions kill the game, so by designing the game for 10k cards you have an advantage in that sense.

Let me qualify that by agreeing with most of the others who have posted in that you need to decide what the "core" set would be and get those playtested to death.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Philip ONeil
Australia
flag msg tools
So Levi,

I gather from your comment that it is better for me to focus on getting a starting game to test with and getting others to help refine the basics of the game than worrying about improving on the b-grade quality artwork that I produce this early on in the project.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Angela Hickman Newnham
United States
Eugene
Oregon
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Here are a couple quick ideas for you.

1. Just because there are 10000 mathematical variations you COULD use doesnt mean that you should. If the difference in the cards is sheer math values, where is the inherent interest? Why will people prefer some more than others? If the reason to select and choose certain cards is based off of themes or effects, then developing your core set is a much better use of your time than crunching out all of the possible combinations. Having different numbers on the cards does not mean that there is any interesting gameplay there, really think about what you are trying to accomplish and what the "hook" of your game is.

2. Magic and Pokemon work on a very different model than what you are proposing. The reason people want to make decks and show off their collections is because the cards are visually and mechanically interesting (they do different things in the game- they are not just a combination of different numeric possibilities). Both Magic and Pokemon were built up by creating a very good play experience, and creating (or tapping into) a marketable brand. If your goal is to create a game with the variety and depth of something like those games, you need to have far more going on mechanically than just numbers. You need thematic effects, you need to find ways the game bends or breaks its own rules or lets players do something special. You need to have solid gameplay, and that can only be developed by creating a small set and playtesting it over and over and over until it works smoothly and is FUN. If you want to release it as a customizable print and play game, you STILL need it to work as a GAME, or else no one will care about it enough to bother. Then you need to make each different card choice interesting so that people will care which cards they are putting into their decks.

I think your idea of creating a customizable game that appeals to kids is a great starting place, but before you spend a lot of time or money on pushing forward and creating 10000 cards, I really suggest you work on the basics.. getting good gameplay and creating a resonable set for playtesting.

Good luck to you. This forum can be a great asset to game designers, so even when the advice goes against your current thoughts, please take it into consideration. Designing and developing games is a lot of work, and it's WAY harder to make a good game than many people imagine. Take all the advice you can get and be willing to adapt and revise and your game will be better off for it!





5 
 Thumb up
0.25
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Sam Mercer
United Kingdom
Southampton
Hampshire
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmb
Hello Philip!

First of all: lovely to meet you man.

Second of all: that test card you showed is phenomenal - I love it Haha!

Third of all: Everyones advice on here is very sound. Angela's advice (just before my post) is especially helpful. The truth of the matter is that designing a game that starts with so many cards will be pratically very hard. You also say that due to your mathematical approach you are using; the rules for these cards will need to be mapped out and tested before you start releasing the cards with their appropriate skills and abilities as well.

So this to me means that you will have needed to playtested and balanced the game entirely before you can start pumping out the specific cards (which may well be released with time).

This will be, genuinely and almost entirely: impossible for one person who has just started designing.

Wizards of the coast and bandai are huge huge organisations that have had multiple years of tests and trials, and employ a huge staff number, and have access to silly silly money.

Unfortunately Philip: we do not! (at least not yet!

The thing is, that lets just say you did have 10,000 cards worth of full colour fashionable kid-friendly artwork (I would budget about $50-200 for a reasonably good and cheap single artwork piece), and massive print resources, and an enormous marketing budget (remember a single television advert at least here in the UK costs between £15,000 and £60,000 - then you have to pay the marketing ad as well!) EVEN if you had all of that stuff, you would still need to playtest and weight the game fairly.

So you and your playtest/design team would need to (at some point) have played every single card combination against every other card combination, to assess if any cards are particularly "overpowered" or game-breaking.

As a statistician you can see the kind of rediculous time scales that would take im sure.

Advice
Definately definately definately set your total card number MUCH lower, at LEAST for the first iteration of your game. Honestly a good starting number is say, between 50 and 100 cards.

Dominion and Race for the Galaxy qualified into publishing territory with many more card types than that, but the publisher was clever enough to break the game up and release it in sections. Meaning that the first base set of each of those games had relatively few card numbers. And remember this is what made them famous.

Another aspect you need to remember is that if you would like kids to pnp the game, they need to know about the game - it needs to be accesable. One of the reasons that pokemon did so well is that it had an enormous fan base before hand! It had many series of tv shows, loads of comic books, very highly regarded nintendo games etc x 1000.

So the best you can do is to aim much smaller to start.

1. To keep the kids interest (if I gave a 10 year old a choice of 10,000 cards, it would be too overwhelming for them)
2. It will be MUCH easier to develop
3. It will be MUCH cheaper and less hassle to illustrate (remember that kids games scale a lot better than adult games do with good artwork)
4. Even starting with such a high number at this stage is somewhat irrelevant - I can almost genuinely state that this will be impossible to keep under control (I mean I've only got 80 or so with AtomPunk and I'm already snowed under!)


So is there anyway you can rejig your algorithm and your number approaches to have a similar kind of idea but having the number of cards top out at about 200 for now?


hope I've helped buddy

sam
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Matt Lee
United States
East Meadow
New York
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Keep in mind that Magic started with a 363 card set (with at least 9 cards that broke the game and a few other very powerful cards). It was obviously not tested well enough, but succeeded anyway but has been tweaked a lot since then, but for new players, the sets are much smaller than the several thousand cards available so it isn't as overwhelming.

Thepotential for 200 players simultaneously sounds great in theory. If it takes 4 hours to play a turn because of the number of players, you've got a useless game, not to mention the years it would take to properly test each iteration of numbers of players ot see where it is really fun at.

Looking at the layout of the cards without knowing the rules, I have to say it looks boring and shows it to be the mathematical exercise you are presenting. Just a bunch of numbers with nothing to define the differences than color of the circles. And colors are an absolutely useless way to separate them for people who are colorblind or under bad lighting. The numbers in black already blend in a bit in the blue, red and purple circles, for example (and monitor colors do not translate to print accurately like this).

Guessing based on the layout and your description: 9 attributes (I guess?) with numbers if it's like Top Trumps seems awfully simple but yet too derivative to be successful with Top Trumps already sold so much and known. Why buy a game that is so similar to a more popular and already availabel game with a big audience? It needs much more to separate it from that game.

If these are attributes, use symbols to distinguish them better and lay out the cards to that they can be more easily read at a glance, such as along the left side in a single column. Easier to compare numbers instead of saying "We are comparing the purple attribute. Hold on while I look for it." It slows the game down more to hunt for the attribute in this layout as opposed to along one side where you are looking vertically vs vertically and horizontally.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Philip Migas
United States
Akron
Ohio
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
New designer looking for recommondations, I have 3.

Playtest, Playtest, Playtest.

Has the game been playtested outside family and friends? Have you played it with kids? How old? Pokeman is geared toward younger kids. They may not be able to do the math.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ben Pinchback
United States
Leonard
Michigan
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
My first step would be to self print about 200 of the cards and test it out with friends then strangers to see if it was fun. Also, if kids are the target audience then they should be included in the testing obviously.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Alex Weldon
Canada
flag msg tools
designer
mbmbmbmbmb
I'm thinking this thread must be a brilliant troll. Every detail seems to be designed to cause a different type of poster here to have an aneurysm.

Sorry dude, if you're serious, but this is the worst idea on several different levels, as others have been pointing out. Where to start is back at the drawing board, with a simple game that doesn't involve absurd numbers of cards, doesn't involve the expectation that a bunch of artists are going to volunteer to work for you for free, and with the realization that although there's some math involved in game design, it's fundamentally more art than science and there's no algorithm to generate fun.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
AJ Quinn
United States
California
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmb
I'd love to hear about the 990,000+ card set and how you see that working out--why it is warranted, how you imagine people interacting with it, etc. A million cards will probably take up about 50 cubic feet or roughly the size of a queen size bed set.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Alex Weldon
Canada
flag msg tools
designer
mbmbmbmbmb
Runeward wrote:
I'd love to hear about the 990,000+ card set and how you see that working out--why it is warranted, how you imagine people interacting with it, etc. A million cards will probably take up about 50 cubic feet or roughly the size of a queen size bed set.


Phone: Ring! Ring!
Steve: Hello?
Fred: Hey, Steve!
Steve: Oh, hi Fred. What's up?
Fred: I just got this new game. Ever heard of "One Million Pick-Up"?
Steve: No, I don't think so. Did it just come out?
Fred: Come outside, I'll show you. I'm right downstairs. We'll play on your lawn.
Steve: Oh, cool, I'll be right down.
Fred: Heh heh.
Phone: Click!
Dump Truck: Beep... beep... beep...

(But seriously, the guy did say it was meant to be played like a CCG, with people only printing the cards they want to use to build their decks. But given the mockup, I'm guessing that these 990,000+ cards differ only in their numerical stats and he's planning on having every possible combination of them within some sort of balancing formula.)
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
mike
United States
columbus
Ohio
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
The first thing I would ask is do you have children?

If not then you clearly do not understand your target market. Kids do not want anything to do with games that remind them of school work and a card with all numbers regardless of having colors or a picture is going to remind them of flashcards and that’s not a good thing. Even if you’re trying to get something into teacher’s/educational stores that do sell games to teach math, numbers etc, the idea of 10,000 cards isn’t going to work.


MTG may have over 10,000 cards now, but it didn’t start that way and it came out in 1993, so that’s almost 20 years of base sets, expansions, updates, rules, changes etc to get to that.

Same with Pokemon it’s been out for years.

Players are not tapping into the whole pool of cards to build their decks, more than likely they are going with this year’s base set and block of expansions

200 people all playing at the same time…..yeah ok, have you ever been to a game convention or tournament? There is a reason games are broken out into small manageable groups.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jason
United States
Champaign
Illinois
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmb
Phoj wrote:
The dream is to have a game that children can play instead of games like Pokemon in a print and play format which should be significantly cheaper and children can pick their favourite cards instead of getting a random selection in a packet. It should also be fun for older people as well. It can be played in a way to help children with their mathematical skills and so I would consider promoting it as an educational game. I also have a plan to make a 990,000+ card set if the 10,000 card set works but it is too early to think about that card set.

You should strongly consider implementing this as a digital game via website or app. Simple physical logistics are against you with a 10,000-card set, let alone a 1,000,000-card set.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
I. J. Thompson
Canada
Toronto
Ontario
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmb
I, for one, can't imagine anything funner than sifting through 10,000 different cards to decide which 40 cards I want to include in my deck. Rock on!
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Shaun Toochaos
msg tools
This wont work really for pnp simply based on cost lets say u can get 10 cards to a page (you cant btw) at ¢50 per page its 500 dollars and realistically at standard shape and size ur at 4 cards per page. Ie better on a computer platform than pnp just on cost alone
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Philip ONeil
Australia
flag msg tools
Thanks for all the feedback everyone. You've given me a lot of constructive feedback. This looks like a very friendly forum. I really appreciate all the time you have given to guide me on what to do next. I'll start paying attention to this forum as it looks like there is a lot to learn from the members.

This is an idea that I have had for years but only in recent weeks have thought it is worth pursuing. I guess I was inspired last month when I saw the printing cost at printerstudio.com. I'll try and get a basic draft 52 card set and see if people like using it with playtesting. This will take me a few months as I am busy with my career as well.

I know it is quite similar to Top Trumps and I did contact the Top Trumps team to see if they were interested in working with me. As they haven't responded, I haven't done anything with them. I feel that I am building on their game and adding to the potential gaming experience with a different variation of their game. I don't think I should waste my idea because they are too busy. I am happy to work with them if they do contact me.

The 10,000 cards deal with the variations of numbers between 0 and 100. The 990,000 cards deal with the variations of numbers between 0 and 1000. Basically the mathematical characteristics of the cards are that no two cards share more than one number in common based on the colour categories. Currently, the aim of the game is to defeat cards with your card by picking a primary colour and secondary colour and you defeat other characters by having a higher or lower number for your primary colour or secondary colour if the primary colour numbers are the same. I have in mind a couple of variations of this.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Alex Weldon
Canada
flag msg tools
designer
mbmbmbmbmb
Phoj wrote:

The 10,000 cards deal with the variations of numbers between 0 and 100. The 990,000 cards deal with the variations of numbers between 0 and 1000. Basically the mathematical characteristics of the cards are that no two cards share more than one number in common based on the colour categories. Currently, the aim of the game is to defeat cards with your card by picking a primary colour and secondary colour and you defeat other characters by having a higher or lower number for your primary colour or secondary colour if the primary colour numbers are the same. I have in mind a couple of variations of this.


Okay, but how exactly does the game benefit in terms of depth from having that many cards? What if you just had numbers 1-10 and 100-ish different cards? Would deck construction strategy really be much different? Would anyone realistically mull over whether to take the card with a rating of 768 in purple and 451 in red vs. an otherwise identical card with 767 purple and 452 red?

Rule #1 of design (whether we're talking about game design, or graphic design, or whatever) is "Less is more." It seems like you want to make a game with a ridiculous number of cards just because it seems like more options is better... but no. It's not. Also, you should realize this as a statistician, but even with 100 cards, if people are making e.g. 40 card decks from them, there are already over 10 octillion (10^28) possible decks you can build. There's really no need for more cards.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
AJ Quinn
United States
California
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmb
Phoj wrote:
The 10,000 cards deal with the variations of numbers between 0 and 100.... Basically the mathematical characteristics of the cards are that no two cards share more than one number in common based on the colour categories. Currently, the aim of the game is to defeat cards with your card by picking a primary colour and secondary colour and you defeat other characters by having a higher or lower number for your primary colour or secondary colour if the primary colour numbers are the same. I have in mind a couple of variations of this.


The part in bold is key. How would the primary colors ever be the same if the entire premise of your system is to never have two cards have the same number in any color category?
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
1 , 2  Next »   | 
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.