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Subject: Zodiak Legends: A RPTCG (Role Playing Trading Card Game) rss

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August Larson
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Looks and sounds interesting. But why collectible? I recently finished development on The Candy Shop War Card Game which was originally intended to be a TCG/CCG. Many playtesters as well as fellow Geeks guided me away from the perilous path that is TCGs and into a single-box format. I am glad I made that transition, and I would recommend the same to you.
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Nate K
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This sounds interesting and I'd love to hear more, but I'm curious to know what aspects of the game make it a role-playing game? I mean, borrowing RPG mechanics and transferring them onto a card-driven game is great, but that doesn't necessarily leave you with a card-drive RPG.
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Dan Lanza
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Non-collectible card games have never really interested me because it makes tournament play boring and doesn't allow the player to become invested in the game's story.

I've worked on the Zodiak Universe for a few years now and as much as it's a game, I want the players to become engulfed in the story.

Along with this game I have another one in the works simply called Zodiak that is a customizable miniature's game that combines the strategy and tactics of Chess with the mechanics of a trading card game. So you could say from a story stand point that Zodiak Legends is a sort of side story to the conflicts within this universe.

If there was a way to still make decks customizable and offer players variety in the game using a purchase and play method I'd be willing to look into it.
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Dan Lanza
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kurthl33t wrote:
This sounds interesting and I'd love to hear more, but I'm curious to know what aspects of the game make it a role-playing game? I mean, borrowing RPG mechanics and transferring them onto a card-driven game is great, but that doesn't necessarily leave you with a card-drive RPG.



Borrowing from Dungeon Heroes (Which I still need to write my review for), this is a lunch time RPG. Something that while you still create your team, level them up, equip weapons (both single and dual weilded) and add to their stats, it all resets once the game is finished. What make it more like an RPG is the fact that anyone who also plays the game can come and sit down next you and become involved in the conflict with their own team. Open enrollment was something that I always admired about RPGs and always wondered why no1 thought to try and adding it to a card game.
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Nate K
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Zodiak Team wrote:
Non-collectible card games have never really interested me because it makes tournament play boring and doesn't allow the player to become invested in the game's story.

I've worked on the Zodiak Universe for a few years now and as much as it's a game, I want the players to become engulfed in the story.

Along with this game I have another one in the works simply called Zodiak that is a customizable miniature's game that combines the strategy and tactics of Chess with the mechanics of a trading card game. So you could say from a story stand point that Zodiak Legends is a sort of side story to the conflicts within this universe.

If there was a way to still make decks customizable and offer players variety in the game using a purchase and play method I'd be willing to look into it.


Well, Dominion and Thunderstone manage it just fine, and a lot of people like Fantasy Flight's Living Card Game model (Call of Cthulhu: The Card Game, The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game, Android: Netrunner), where new cards are introduced regularly, but in set packs rather than randomized boosters. ARC also manages to be customizable without being "collectible."
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Dan Lanza
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kurthl33t wrote:

Well, Dominion and Thunderstone manage it just fine, and a lot of people like Fantasy Flight's Living Card Game model (Call of Cthulhu: The Card Game, The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game, Android: Netrunner), where new cards are introduced regularly, but in set packs rather than randomized boosters. ARC also manages to be customizable without being "collectible."


Ahh you're right I overlooked that. That is the kind of style of "purchase" I like. I might have to look more into that. Though I'm a long way from that step as of right now. Step 2 right now is to enter that card game contest I've seen on here a few days ago that ends on October 10th.
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Dan Lanza
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I added some images for you guys to take a look at. Please let me know what you think.
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Dan Lanza
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Ok so took another look at the game and decided to go the route of LCG and I broke up Zodiak Legends into 12 different deck sets, each representing different Zodiak signs and their different play styles/strategies. I think I'm in love with this expansion set idea. Though the game will still offer the chance for players to mix cards and build more custom decks.
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Drew Dallas
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Well then in that case the concept sounds interesting. Any chance you can post the rules.

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Dan Lanza
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Yeah. I'm in the process of typing up a formal version right now so I can enter the KBG Design Contest by the 10th. I should have them up here by Monday or Tuesday.
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Dan Lanza
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Here is the finished rough draft of the rules for Zodiak Legends:

Zodiak Legends

Materials:
- 3 Unit Cards
- 40 Card Enchantment Deck
- 6 Red D6 Dice
- 6 Blue D6 Dice
- 6 Green D6 Dice
- Battle Map

Zodiak Legends is made up of 3 Important elements:

- Units: The characters each player uses

- Enchantments : The deck each player uses

- Stockpile: Where all the Enchantments are played

Stockpile:
Your Stockpile works like a Discard pile but the Gold and XP from the cards placed into it are still available throughout the game. The orientation of the cards played in the Stockpile is important because it lets the players know what cards have available XP and which don't. Any card that is discarded from your hand or negated by an opponent’s Magic die do not earn XP and is placed sideways in the Stockpile so that the Gold appears in the top left corner and the XP value is not visible.



When determining your Stockpile’s Gold and XP Values simply add visible numbers of each Enchantment in your Stock.



Any card in the Stockpile that is destroyed, negated by a Reaction Enchantment or has had its Gold used to pay for a cost, is flipped face down and removed from the game. Cards removed from the game do not contribute to the Stockpile’s Gold Value.

Enchantments:
Your 40 card deck is called an Enchantment Deck, Thus all cards within it regardless of type are called Enchantments.

*Note: Units are not placed in the Enchantment Deck.
Enchantment Types:

There are 3 types of Enchantments.

Action:



Action Enchantments can only be played during the Action Phases of your turn.

Equipment:



Equipment Enchantments can only be played during the Action Phases of your turn. The effects of an Equipment Enchantment last as long as the card remains equipped to the Unit. When an Equipment or the Unit it’s equipped to is destroyed it's turned face down and removed from the game.

Units can have up to 2 Equipment Enchantments equipped at once, though some Equipment may restrict the Unit to only 1. On the top right of the Equipment’s Text Box is a fraction that will appear 1 of 2 ways.

1/2: The Unit can hold another Equipment Enchantment that is also a 1/2.
2/2: The Unit cannot hold any more Equipment Enchantments.

Reaction:



Unlike other Enchantments, Reaction Enchantments have a cost. Before you can play a Reaction Enchantment you must remove Gold in your stockpile equal to or greater than the value of the Reaction Enchantment. These cards have instructions on them letting you know when to play it and are normally played in a response to something your opponent does or prevents them from doing something.

Multiple Reaction Enchantments can be played on either player's turn and do not count as one of your 3 Enchantments for that turn.

*Note: All Enchantments are played from your hand. Reaction and Action Enchantments only last for the turn unless they state otherwise.

How to Play Enchantments and Paying Cost
In order to play Enchantments you must have the available Gold in your Stockpile equal to or greater than the amount of Gold listed on the Enchantment you're looking to play. Except for Reactions; Action and Equipment Enchantments do not subtract from the Stockpile but add to it.

(Example: If you have 2 Enchantments in your Stockpile equaling 2000 Gold combined, you can play a Action or Equipment Enchantment from your hand that is 2000 Gold, making your stockpile 4000 Gold).

(Example2: If you have 3 Enchantments in your Stockpile equaling 3000 Gold combined and you play a Reaction Enchantment that is 2000 Gold, you would need to use the 2000 Gold in your stockpile as a cost, making your Stockpile 3000 Gold).

An Enchantment’s Gold cannot be broken up into different costs. When using Gold as a Cost you must use all of that Enchantment’s Gold Value. Even if the Gold Value of the Enchantment is much higher than the cost.

*Note: Enchantments Used as a Cost for another Enchantment or a card’s effect are flipped face down and are removed from the game.

Your opponent has 2 ways they can negate an Enchantment card.

1. On each Enchantment card there is an image of a Magic die in the lower right-hand corner, with a number on it. This is called the "Counter". If your opponent rolls the displayed number or higher the Enchantment is negated. Your opponent does this by selecting one of their Units with at least 1 Magic die and rolls it.





*Note: If the Unit selected to negate the Enchantment has multiple Magic rolls, your opponent can re-roll their Magic die again until no more are available. If your opponent uses up all their Magic rolls to negate a card they cannot roll to try and negate another until the following turn.

2. Your opponent can play a Reaction Enchantment to try and negate your Enchantment. Card negated by a Reaction Enchantment are flipped facedown and removed from the game. Your opponent does not get the gold or XP from the negated card.



*Note: you can either roll a Magic die to negate an opponent's Reaction Enchantment or play a Reaction Enchantment of your own to counter it.
If an Enchantment is negated by a Magic die or discarded it is still placed in the Stockpile. Negated and discarded Enchantments do not earn XP and are placed sideways so that the Gold appears in the top left corner.



Enchantments that are played successfully are placed vertically and stacked on top of one another so that the XP and the Gold values are visible on each card.



Units:
Each player starts with 3 Units. If all 3 of a player's Units are destroyed they lose the game.

Units have several important areas of information.

Name: The Unit's name.



HP: Each Unit has an HP value in each corner of the card. The first HP in the top left will always be the highest value and acts as the starting point for all Units. As the Unit takes damage it rotates counterclockwise.
*Note: Damage is always rounded down



(Example: Caprina’s HP is 11 – 9 – 6 – 3. If your opponent rolls a 5 and you roll a 1 for Caprina’s defense, Caprina will take 4 damage, because 11-4=7 Caprina is turned counterclockwise to 9HP. Once Caprina Reaches 3HP your opponent would need to do 3 or more damage to defeat it).

Stats:
Each Unit has 3 different stats:



Attack: This is shown by the Red square made to look like a die. Attack is used during the Combat Phase of the player's turn to inflict damage against an opponent's Unit.

Defense: This is shown by a Blue square made to look like a die. Defense is used during the Combat Phase of the opposing player's turn to defend against an opponent's attack.

Magic: This is shown by a Green square made to look like a die. Magic is used at any point during either player's turn to negate enchantments or activate effects. If a Magic die is used during that turn it is not reset until the start of the following player's turn.

*Note: The numbers shown in these boxes let the player know how many times they can roll that particular die in a turn. Every time a player rolls for a Unit's stat the number is reduced until they cannot roll any more. All stats are reset at the start of the next player's turn.

Gold Value:



Each Unit has a Gold Value above their Text Box. Player's add up the Gold Value between their 3 Units. Unit's Gold Value allows players to play Enchantments at the beginning of the game and when their stockpile is empty.

*Note: A Unit’s Gold Value cannot be used as a cost.

Text Box: In each Unit's Text Box is the following information:



Species: The World of Zodiak has many different species that exist within it. Players will know which of those species their Unit is.

Zodiak Sign/Allegiance: There are 12 different signs in the World of Zodiak.

Libra, Virgo, Aries, Gemini, Leo, Sagittarius, Scorpio, Cancer, Capricorn, Pisces, Aquarius, Taurus.

*Note: All Zodiak signs have different play styles and strengths. Not unlike the actual Zodiac, certain Zodiak signs cannot be combined and/or used by the same player.

Taurus vs. Scorpio
Libra vs. Aries
Virgo vs. Pisces
Leo vs. Aquarius
Cancer vs. Capricorn
Gemini vs. Sagittarius

Effect: If a Unit has an effect it will appear below the Unit's Species and Zodiak sign. Effects can only be used during a player's Action Phase unless otherwise stated.

Flavor Text: Flavor Text helps to give you some background to your card and some insight into the World of Zodiak.

Lv. Condition:
Level Conditions appear below the Unit's Text Box. There are 2 different Level Conditions that tell the player what that Unit needs in order to level up and increase its stats. Every Unit can Level up using a certain amount of Gold or XP from Enchantment cards in their Stockpile.



Leveling Up:
Individual Units can level up, up to twice per turn but can only do so by using both Gold and XP. Individual Units cannot level up by using the same Lv Condition twice in a single turn.



(Example: Xaphan's Lv Condition is 5000 Gold and 1500 XP. A player can level up Xaphan by using 5000 Gold but cannot level him up again with Gold in the same turn).

You cannot use 1 Enchantment card’s Gold as a cost for 2 Unit’s Gold Lv Conditions.



(Example: Xaphan and Shadow Raven both need 5000 Gold to Level Up and you only have Deck Enchanting worth 10,000 Gold in your Stockpile. You Can only Level Up 1 of the 2 Units).

TIP: An Enchantment’s Gold cannot be broken up into different costs. When using Gold as a Cost you must use all of that Enchantment’s Gold Value. Even if the Gold Value of the Enchantment is much higher than the cost.
Whenever you Level Up a Unit's level, add one die to one of its stats and increase its HP to the next highest number (rotating it once clockwise).

*Note: Units can only be leveled up 5 times and each stat is maxed out at 5 as well. If at any point a Unit is flipped face down or destroyed, its levels and HP are returned to their original state.

How To Start:
Place your Enchantment deck and Unit cards on the indicated areas on the Battle Map. Unit cards are placed right side up, so that the text on the card can be read by the controlling player.

Place one die for each stat to the left of each of your Units (Red = Attack, Blue=Defense, Green=Magic). The number on the die should always reflect the Unit's current stat and will increase as that Unit gains Lvs. If a Unit does not start with any of a particular stat, it does not receive a die until it does.

Once the field is setup each player draws 5 cards from their Enchantment decks and rolls a die to decide who goes first.

How to Win: There are 2 ways to win.

1. Destroy all your opponent's Units
2. If your opponent’s Enchantment deck runs out and cannot draw

Game Play:
Each turn goes through the following phases unless otherwise instructed by a card's effect.

Phase 1: Draw Phase
The player whose turn it s draws 1 card from their Enchantment deck.

Phase 2: Action Phase
During this phase the player whose turn it is can activate their Unit’s effects and play up to 3 Enchantment cards from their hand as long as they have the appropriate Gold value in their Stockpile.

Reaction cards do not count as part of the 3 Enchantment cards you can play during your turn. Reaction cards can be played at any time during you or your opponent's turn, as long as it’s played at the appropriate timing.

(Example: Time Seal states "This card can only be played during your End Phase..." Which means you cannot play Time Seal at any other time but during the End Phase of your turn).



Once an Enchantment is played it is placed into the Stockpile unless negated by an opponent’s Reaction Enchantment or other card effect.


Phase 3: Combat Phase
The player whose turn it is can attack multiple times with all their Units up to their Units’ attack stat. No 2 Units can ever conduct battle against each other more than once in the same turn. Once damage has been inflicted or prevented, the attacking Unit can select another Unit for an attack (if they have any attack rolls left).



How to Conduct Combat:
The attacking player must first select a Unit of theirs to conduct an attack and an opponent's Unit to attack. Then the attacking player must roll an Attack die to decide how much damage their Unit will do. If a Unit has more than 1 Attack, they can either re-roll their Attack die until they are satisfied with their roll up to the attacking Unit's Attack stat.

*Note: If a Unit uses up their Attack by re-rolling an attack die, it cannot attack another Unit.

The Unit being attacked does not roll for defense until the attacking player is finished rolling for their attack. The player being attacked can re-roll their defense up to the Level of their Defense stat.

*Note: If a Unit uses up their Defense by re-rolling against the same attack, the Unit cannot defend against another Unit's attack.



No matter how many times Attack and Defense dice are rolled only the highest number is used.

Phase 4: 2nd Action Phase
During this phase you can activate your Units’ effects and play any Enchantments that you didn't play during the first Action Phase up to the 3 you are allowed per turn.

(Example: If you played 2 Enchantments during your first Action Phase you can only play 1 during the 2nd Action Phase).

Phase 5: End Phase:
End your Turn and you opponent begins theirs starting with the Draw Phase. After your turn has ended all dice become available again.
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Thomas King
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Zodiak Team wrote:
kurthl33t wrote:
This sounds interesting and I'd love to hear more, but I'm curious to know what aspects of the game make it a role-playing game? I mean, borrowing RPG mechanics and transferring them onto a card-driven game is great, but that doesn't necessarily leave you with a card-drive RPG.



Borrowing from Dungeon Heroes (Which I still need to write my review for), this is a lunch time RPG. Something that while you still create your team, level them up, equip weapons (both single and dual weilded) and add to their stats, it all resets once the game is finished. What make it more like an RPG is the fact that anyone who also plays the game can come and sit down next you and become involved in the conflict with their own team. Open enrollment was something that I always admired about RPGs and always wondered why no1 thought to try and adding it to a card game.

That doesn't actually make it an RPG, it's still a head-to-head PvP game
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Dan Lanza
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You're correct. After this past week I was tinkering with the game and writing the rules and I decided to remove some clunky mechanics that seemed to be trying to hard and replace them with simpelr ones. Now the game is a straight forward card game with dice mechanics as its main system.
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Dan Lanza
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Edited Rules/ Added Equipment rules/ fixed noted Typos
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Dan Lanza
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One last revision. Added "cost", and dividing of Gold.

Please let me know what you think of the rules and if you notice any loop holes. I will be uploading a print&Play version very soon to get people's feedback. Thanks in advance!
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Jessey
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Reading Rules:

-Introduce the terminology before you use it. ie: What's a stockpile? You first mention the stockpile in the first section but don't define it until much later.

-Don't use the world 'milled' or other game specific or non-common usage terminology.

-You say the Battle Mat is optional but then describe game set up in a way that makes it mandatory (remove the optional note).

-The game components just list 18 dice, but dice come in three colours. Break that down into a number of dice of each colour for the sake of clarity.

-The Time Seal example illustrates a possible consistency problem with terminology:

Quote:
Time Seal states "This card can only be played at the end of your turn..." Which means you cannot play Time Seal at any other time but during the End Phase of your turn).


The card *should* read "This card can only be played during your End Phase" -- if you are going to utilize a phase structure (I think) it is more clear with card wording to reference the phase names and not the idea that the phase represents.

-This phrasing is very awkward "The player whose turn it is takes turns attacking their opponent's Units with each of their available ones."

-During combat phase you describe a whole bunch of details about rolling that only make sense later when you go into this in more detail... Much like with definitions, present the relevant details either *as* they are relevant or *before* they come up -- never after. IN fact, how to conduct combat is the last thing you describe.

The entire section on Enchantments is confusing. Having physical cards / images of cards will probably improve it. It's a lot of information. Also, I noticed your example gold costs are all divisible by 1000 -- without loss of generality you can probably just divide all of those values by 1000 and the result will be *a lot* more approachable (having big numbers for the sake of big numbers just adds clutter and volume - I honestly believe it detracts from game play).

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Dan Lanza
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You couldn't have been more right. I was rushing to get it done for the KBG contest and I over looked a lot of explanation.

I now added example art and cleaned up the text and rearranged the order of information.

About the Gold values. I can't go lower than where they are because XP always stays lower than Gold. Some Enchantments are only worth 200 Gold while XP is anywhere between 25-50 and I'd rather avoid decimals. With the added 0 I avoid the problem all together.

Thanks a lot for your input. Please let me know what you think of the updated rules.
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Jessey
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Zodiak Team wrote:

About the Gold values. I can't go lower than where they are because XP always stays lower than Gold. Some Enchantments are only worth 200 Gold while XP is anywhere between 25-50 and I'd rather avoid decimals. With the added 0 I avoid the problem all together.


How do you track these things then? When XP comes in increments as small as 25 but can collectively be as large as 1500 (the Demon card above has a 1500 XP cost), and gold the same. This just feels so very clunky and awkward.

I'm not sure how the scaling works in your game, but it might be to your game's benefit to rethink it and scale down those numbers (which doesn't necessarily mean that you will also have to re-balance them, just use smaller values as your unit value... like one).

Why have '25' and '100' be your base values when you can use '1' and '5'?

Can you get 1 XP or 1 Gold in any way what so ever? If no then you can (somehow) reduce the values and preserve their ratios. If you can, then that the values get up to the thousands makes me think you can probably compress the 'income' curve.
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Dan Lanza
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I haven't actually made any 25xp cards yet but I wouldn't really be against it. I suppose if I really wanted to I could reduce it all by a 0 and have things start as a set base number. I think I was originally going for the theme and feel of a large stockpile of gold or earning a large reward of XP like in an RPG type game.

I'll bring it up tonight at my test play group and see what they think. I'll also be bringing the newly done rulebook as well.

Thanks a lot for your help! What did you think of the revisions I did?
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Dan Lanza
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Test play last night went really well! I printed out the rules and people still had a few questions but after playing a few hands they were able to fully grasp the game and seemed to really enjoy the new mechanics.

I asked people what they thought about the Gold values and if they should be reduced from 3-5 digits to 2-4 digits. No one seemed to mind the added zero and it never made the game difficult to play. Soemone said Zodiak Legends was better than Magic and I grinned from ear to ear lol.
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Zodiak Team wrote:
Test play last night went really well! I printed out the rules and people still had a few questions but after playing a few hands they were able to fully grasp the game and seemed to really enjoy the new mechanics.


I hope you took notes about the questions! Those questions will indicate the kinds of details you need to shore up on in your rules

Quote:
I asked people what they thought about the Gold values and if they should be reduced from 3-5 digits to 2-4 digits. No one seemed to mind the added zero and it never made the game difficult to play. Soemone said Zodiak Legends was better than Magic and I grinned from ear to ear lol.


It's probably a personal preference thing (I prefer the simplest possible expressions to ones made of large numbers for the sake of large numbers - not everyone will agree with me).

Good to hear you had a successful playtest. You should revise your rules based on that night of feedback and then start putting together some test kits (make a few more copies of the game) then find some blind playtesters and send them copies. You'll get a proper evaluation of the game if testers can try to learn it, play it and evaluate it without you there to help.
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Ed G.
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When speaking with your playtesters, and also when observing them play, note the terms they use to describe parts of the game. The playtesters' own terminology is valuable when you create the index of the game's rules.

[Edit: spelling]
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Dan Lanza
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Yeah most def. I've been taking a ton of notes with all my play tests though I didn't think to write down their own terms.

I'll be doing some more play testing this weekend before I go to Vermont for a work trip and when I get back I signed up for a game designer's group in the Boston area on MeetUp.com so I'm sure they'll help me out with the growth of Zodiak Legends as well.

What I'll do is send out some prototypes for people to play next week that I know will give me an honest review. As well as make a print and play version for people to try out as well. If anyone is interested in a Print & Play version please let me know.

What I'm looking to do now is to ocme up with 12 different play styles (1 for each Zodiak sign) for each Deck to use. Anyone interested in taking a shot?
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Nate K
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Zodiak Team wrote:
What I'm looking to do now is to ocme up with 12 different play styles (1 for each Zodiak sign) for each Deck to use. Anyone interested in taking a shot?


Theoretically yes, but I am WAY too busy for the next few months to be able to add anything to my plate
 
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The game looks well-conceived and nicely polished, but I agree with the comments to go with a living/expandable card game instead of collectible. A collectible card game only "works" if you hit a critical mass of players. An non-random expandable card game can live well even if it only has a couple of players in a town.

Is the artwork specifically commissioned for the game, or did you get it from another source?
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