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Subject: Zanshin - fast-paced bluff-based samurai card game rss

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Maxim Steshenko
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Zanshin is a fast-paced bluff-based game about samurai fencing inspired by kendo and "Book of Five Rings". This game is my attempt to focus gameplay on "learn your opponent" rather than "learn in-game tactics".

Basic Overview
Each player has same hand of Mastery, Bluff and Attack cards and hand of Strike cards. Goal of this game is to play more Mastery cards than opponent and more or equal to a number on a Strike card.

Mastery and Bluff
Each player has Mastery and Bluff cards that represent their skill and ability to trick opponent. Mastery card worth one point that required by Strike cards and Bluff card worth nothing but used for obscuring player's bet. (Heh, I wish I would find better word instead of "bet"). Player play there cards face down during bidding phase and then simultaneously reveal their actions - attack, evade or wait opponents attack in order to get advantage.

Strike cards
Strike cards represent different attacks that players can perform. Each Strike card has required number of Mastery cards to be completed and different special effects. Players form strike card in a sequence and can't change it during course of the game. If player played more Mastery than opponent, enough Mastery for Strike and choose to attack - he inflicts Wound. Each wound reduces maximum number of Mastery cards and adds different penalties. There is no hit points or anything like that so player can win with first strike or slowly cut opponent to death.

Is it a Poker?!
My playtesters and one spectator recalled Poker during game sessions. So I think I should mention this here.
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Maxim Steshenko
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Re: [WIP] [2P Contest 2013] Zanshin - fast-paced bluff-based samurai fencing
Files
Latest Rules: -
Hight Quality Components: -

Problems


TODO
- Rework Initiative cards design with new assets. Vanished.
- Beg artist to update Samurai art piece.
- Make Zanshin: Dojo expansion.
- Try sumi-e style as new graphical design. Won't work.
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Patrick Robles
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Re: [WIP] [2P Contest 2013] Zanshin - fast-paced bluff-based samurai card game
Instead of "bid" consider "intent." It is a very oft used term in martial arts, it is what is meant when they say to strike "through" a target.

It relates to how much of your resources you are committing to an attack. In judo a feint is considered useless unless you can exactly mimic the intent of a real throw.
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Sturv Tafvherd
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Re: [WIP] [2P Contest 2013] Zanshin - fast-paced bluff-based samurai card game
silencewalker wrote:
Zanshin is a fast-paced bluff-based game about samurai fencing inspired by kendo and "Book of Five Rings". This game is my attempt to focus gameplay on "learn your opponent" rather than "learn in-game tactics".

Basic Overview
Each player has same hand of Mastery, Bluff and Attack cards and hand of Strike cards. Goal of this game is to play more Mastery cards than opponent and more or equal to a number on a Strike card.

Mastery and Bluff
Each player has Mastery and Bluff cards that represent their skill and ability to trick opponent. Mastery card worth points that required by Strike cards and Bluff card worth nothing but used for obscuring player's bid. (Heh, I wish I would find better word instead of "bid").

Strike cards
Strike cards represent different attacks that players can perform. Each Strike card has required number of Mastery cards to be completed and different special effects. Players form strike card in a sequence and can't change it during course of the game.

Is it a Poker?!
My playtesters and one spectator recalled Poker during game sessions. So I think I should mention this here.

Expansion Zanshin: Chashitsu.
This expansions adds a board with different terrain types and movement rules. Each terrain type adds special conditions that change basic gameplay. Movement rules allow to perform several skirmishes within one game, so player can get use to opponent style without rematches.



I'm really curious about the mechanics you plan to use. It almost sounds like you'll need some kind of card drawing engine.

I haven't played Yomi, but that was the first thing that popped into my head when I saw "bluff-based ... fencing". Oh ... and of course, I did have my own (PnP) Strike, Feint, Riposte! v1.0 (5-way RPS with a twist).

The poker comment you made, however, made me think of Deadlands: Doomtown. So ... the question is, are you using some type of set collection mechanic? And if you are, are you using any kind of Japanese-themed imagery? (I would say Mahjong ... but I don't think that's Japanese).

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Maxim Steshenko
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Re: [WIP] [2P Contest 2013] Zanshin - fast-paced bluff-based samurai card game
Stormtower wrote:
I'm really curious about the mechanics you plan to use. It almost sounds like you'll need some kind of card drawing engine.
So ... the question is, are you using some type of set collection mechanic? And if you are, are you using any kind of Japanese-themed imagery? (I would say Mahjong ... but I don't think that's Japanese).


No, I won't need any engines. And no, I don't use set collection mechanic.) My main mechanic is a resource management. Players try to spend as few Mastery cards as possible. But if player plays too few cards, he will be helpless against opponents attack. If he plays too much card and opponent choose to evade this round he will lose these cards for nothing.
That's it. I think I'll upload new rules in this month.
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Maxim Steshenko
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Re: [WIP] [2P Contest 2013] Zanshin - fast-paced bluff-based samurai card game
It seems I reached certain point when any my new idea harms game instead of making it better. So, now all I can do is write rules and give them to last open plates. I rejected idea with a board because it expand existing game with new tactical layer that completely unnecessary here. I added optional rules for wounds and mastery restoring system, based on Pantelis Pesmatzoglou homerule but without dices. I tested 3-player variant and it seems it would work but it's very hardcore.

Also I expect new ink wash art in April.
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Maxim Steshenko
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Re: [WIP] [2P Contest 2013] Zanshin - fast-paced bluff-based samurai card game
Well, now my playtesters want to murder me horribly every time when I suggest to play in Zanshin.
cry

But I need it so badly. Recently, during a small talk with local game designer, who used to learn Kendo, he pointed out that if kenshi see that his strike won't reach target, he will transform it in new strike. That's mean each next strike is based on unsuccessful previous one. And this fact derailed my train if thoughts about Zanshin. In the beginning I built game around fact that throwing all Skill in attack can be punished with evasion, so players usually spend small amount of Skill and win because of opponent mistake/miscalculation. But after I'd carefully wrote down selection tree and lost in it, I realized that this idea may add interesting additional way to bluff. It makes game a little more complicated and, maybe, a little bit more forgivable. Last one is bad, but I can accept it in exchange from more bluff options. This games based on human psychology rather than on in-game tactics, so I can't be sure how this rule will work for other players. That's why I need feedback.)

So, here a brand new rules for brand new version of my game - basic rules, and 3 players variant.

In any cases you'll need to print 15 strike card, but you can proxy Master, Bluff and Attack in different ways. Basically, each player must have three type of cards (9 Skill cards, 6 Bluff cards, 1 Attack) with same back.
Examples:
Poker - Cards with red suits, cards with black suit and joker.
Dominion - Estate cards, Curse cards and any other card.
UNO - First set of two colors, second set of two colors and wild card.

And don't forget to post you impression about this game [listitem=2144126]here[/listitem] for GG! Also I'll be glad for any proofreading.
Here is thread for questions about game.
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Maxim Steshenko
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Re: Zanshin - fast-paced bluff-based samurai card game [2P Contest 2013]
Finally, this thread is no longer WIP. I still has something to polish and tweak, but overall game is done. I don't know how to provide game components for PnP, so I leave them in .zip outside of BGG unless I come up with something good for Zanshin Files section.
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Maxim Steshenko
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Re: Zanshin - fast-paced bluff-based samurai card game [2P Contest 2013]
Since this game failed to achieved at least 4 votes on 2P PNP Contest 2013 and didn't get any feedback aside from one gratitude (thanks, Ned) I see no point in further public development of this game.
I assembled a small session report to showcase game mechanics, so eventually it will appeared in game profile after pre-moderation eventually I'll add latest rules in Russian language, because it's silly not to have rules on native language, but that's all.
shake
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Nate K
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Re: Zanshin - fast-paced bluff-based samurai card game [2P Contest 2013]
I voted for it!

(Although I could probably figure out the rules in Russian, too....)
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Maxim Steshenko
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I've just experienced a very odd thing. I've made possible to end a round in a tie situation and playtested this rule along with few other tweaks. Everything was fine until the third and final round. We both end up with low and equal number of skill cards, I failed to catch my opponent with opposite strikes. And during Reaction phase my opponent chose... evasion.
- Why you did it? - I asked him because I was very surprised. I thought we'll end the game with no successful strikes or will gamble around bonus skill points.
- Because I can't win, so I decided it's safer to disengage from combat, - he replied like it was something obvious.
And it was. It was a common practise for fencing, not for a board game. For the first time in my game player acts as a swordsman.
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Nate K
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Re: Zanshin - fast-paced bluff-based samurai card game [2P Contest 2013]
Woohoo! That seems like a good thing to me!
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Maxim Steshenko
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Re: Zanshin - fast-paced bluff-based samurai card game [2P Contest 2013]
My friend said "Stop torturing this dead horse and move on!" and gave me Dark Souls. Now I obsessed with Dark Souls and trying to bring it combat system on a table, but before this I don't want to leave Zanshin so unfinished.
Despite everything I showed this game on Rolecon a month ago. I know it's a bad idea to feature a board game in a place where people are only siting and talking for six hours in dark corners surrounded by paper sheets and piles of empty energy drink cans. But five persons played in Zanshin and it was well received. Or I think so. At least one guy said "It's excellent game to decide who will wash dishes tonight." And after his words I started to tweak this game further.
Here a list of changes that are not in a rulebook yet.
0) When players reveal opposite strikes (left hand/right hand or head/legs) required amount of Skill is ignored. If player played less Skill card than required, but more than opponent, he may win.
1) If both players choose Skill or Bluff as reaction, they will be locked in current round. This prevents players from skipping all five round with Bluff/Bluff choice.
2) I trashed initiative cards because they've been spoiling overall elegance of the game.
3) I wrote several minigames to boost learning process and cover each mechanic separately. Casual players found them more interesting than game itself. T_T
Also during Rolecon I noticed that players have no idea what to do with strike cards aside from deep psychological metagame. Opposite strikes are rare after all. So, my last effort is to add some synergy between strike cards. When players will assemble their sequences they will be able to see different "combos" that they can get. Don't know how to do this, but I'm sure there is a way. And of course I must polish BGG profile and add latest rulebook after this.
And I still need to beg for new art for strike cards. П_П

Side note. After I investigated slavic school of fencing I realised that I had made right design choices for Zanshin. There is no way to separate Strike, Parry, Block and Riposte moves in kenjutsu. Pace of Japanese swordsmanship is extremely hight and every move is an attack and a counterattack at the same time. The rest is performed by a specific execution of the attack.
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Boss Beau Blasterfire
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Re: Zanshin - fast-paced bluff-based samurai card game [2P Contest 2013]
I'm working on a game with a similar theme. The mechanics are very different, but the theme is similar. My game isn't fast paced, but there is a spatial tactical element to it as well. I'd be honored if you'd take a look and offer up any advice/feedback as I'm sure you have studied samurai duels to some extent in making your game and probably have more background knowledge into the subject matter than most.

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/1059913/wip-samurai-spir...


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Maxim Steshenko
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Nate! I think I've finally fixed the bloody thing. Well, after 7th iteration I honestly don't have a clue is it better or worst then the contest version, but it's definitely less fiddly and Strike cards are interchangeable with dice, bidding, auction, you name it. If you are interested you may grab current rules draft HERE, because I doubt that I'll update file section unless I finalize rules, components and all playtests i.e. almost never.... Anyway, if you drop a comment about your impressions that would be awesome. In terms of new components all you need is a 10 small handwritten inserts for any sleeved cards.
 
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