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Subject: Card Driven Games rss

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Brian Sielski
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I was in a discussion, and I'm trying to figure out the history of card driven games and deck building games. Clearly, deck building games are the off-shoot of the card driven games, and when first published, the card based game of Up Front created the wider exposure needed for future "card based" games.

Soon after Up Front came the card-driven games like "We The People" and "Hannibal: Rome versus Carthage."

And then the deck building games came, but what were the first deck building games? Was it Pokémon or Magic: the Gathering?
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Jeff Hall
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Magic was the first one to have a collectible, customized deck-building aspect to it.
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Christopher Taylor
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I prefer the term "deck construction" to describe Magic and other CCGs.

Deck building is a game where you build the deck during play. Deck construction is where you construct the deck before play.

That would make 52 Pick Up a deck re-construction game, btw.
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Mike Szarka
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I think there is negligible design similarity between card-based wargames such as Up Front and We the People and deck-building CCGs, beyond the common presence of cellulose in the cards.
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Keegan Fink
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In addition to M:TG, let us also acknowledge Jyhad / Vampire: The Eternal Struggle & Netrunner
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Brian Sielski
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mcszarka wrote:
I think there is negligible design similarity between card-based wargames such as Up Front and We the People and deck-building CCGs, beyond the common presence of cellulose in the cards.


Perhaps ... but look at the history. For 50 years prior to Up Front, there were no card driven games ... but after, there was an explosion.

It stands to reason then, that the appearance of a card game (i.e., Up Front) acted as the catalyst for many others to open up their design creativity away from hexagons and a six sided die. I can not discount that.

And thanks for the M:tG info. That’s what I thought.

Doc
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Dr Brian wrote:
mcszarka wrote:
I think there is negligible design similarity between card-based wargames such as Up Front and We the People and deck-building CCGs, beyond the common presence of cellulose in the cards.


Perhaps ... but look at the history. For 50 years prior to Up Front, there were no card driven games ... but after, there was an explosion.

It stands to reason then, that the appearance of a card game (i.e., Up Front) acted as the catalyst for many others to open up their design creativity away from hexagons and a six sided die. I can not discount that.

And thanks for the M:tG info. That’s what I thought.

Doc


I wouldn't be surprised if Up Front had an impact on actual CDG wargames, but for CCGs like Magic or deck builders like Dominion I seriously doubt there's a connection.

Richard Garfield cited Cosmic Encounter and I believe Wiz War as sources of inspiration for Magic: the Gathering. I doubt he'd even heard of Up Front. You're discounting the special card interactions in games like those two and Dune which are the direct antecedents of such games (edit: by which I mean CCGs and deckbuilders). Also, they predate Up Front by a few years (well, not Wiz War).
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Matt Price
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The bgg advanced search function might be a good way to see what's out here and provide grist for your proverbial mill.

Filter on things like boardgame category > card game

or boardgame mechanic > card drafting, deck building or hand management

have fun!

edit: ah, but I now see the year does not come up in the advanced searches, and I'm not sure how to download and manipulate the bgg database itself...
 
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James Fung
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I don't think deck building games share much game DNA with card-driven wargames besides having cards. By which I mean the designers did not say, "Hmmm, I want to design something in the vein of Up Front." More like: "Hmmm, what else can I do with a deck of cards?"

This is my chronology of wargames:

1) 1981: Storm over Arnhem is alternative to monster hex-based wargames, and spawns series of successful games. The most important effect of the impulse turn order is that players can't do everything they want to do. They have to prioritize and time their moves.

2) 1983: Up Front has one sequel: Attack Sub. Same designer as Storm Over Arnhem, Courtney Allen. If I remember the designer notes correctly, the original idea was to distill Squad Leader into a card game. (And like SL, while the base rules are great, taking on vehicles, weapons, and rules exceptions makes the game more cumbersome.) Again, there's an underlying theme that you can't control everything and are as much reacting to events as you are driving the events. The difference is that what limits you now is that you can only do what your cards allow.

3) 1994: We the People by Mark Herman spawns a flood of card-driven wargames. The cards limit what you can do during your turn. The hand size / turn structure means players have to prioritize and time their moves.

As much as I would like it Up Front to get the glory, I think Storm Over Arnhem and other area-impulse games contributed more to card-driven games than Up Front. UF contributed cards and hand management aspects. Area-impulse games gave rise to the idea that the player isn't a god ordering whole armies around the battlefield in perfect synchrony. Rather, there's a limit to what a command staff can do, how many hours there are in a day, and friction is a reality of warfare.
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Marty M
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Astron was released in 1954, and is definitely card-driven - you play a card from your hand to move your spaceship a certain number of spaces forwards, backwards, sideways or diagonally; or to shift the 'board' forwards. You then draw a new card from the draw pile.

Astron is a racing game, rather than a wargame, but is an interesting bit of history with regard to CDGs.



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Brian Sielski
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James,

Thanks for your chronology. I never did consider Storm over Arnhem. Interesting line of creation....

Regarding this post of yours ...

fusag wrote:
I don't think deck building games share much game DNA with card-driven wargames besides having cards. By which I mean the designers did not say, "Hmmm, I want to design something in the vein of Up Front." More like: "Hmmm, what else can I do with a deck of cards?"


I agree with the part of "what else can I do with a deck of cards" statement. But that, to me, does mean that they share the same DNA, as the much wider distribution of Up Front did push the creativity of other designers to get away from hexagon/dice games further, and the introduction of area movement (as you pointed out), created the perfect storm for a new genre.

The ability of Avalon Hill to produce and market Up Front and Arnhem allowed others to push their creative card based designs to the front. It was a new market within an amazingly small niche market.
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James Fung
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Dr Brian wrote:
I agree with the part of "what else can I do with a deck of cards" statement. But that, to me, does mean that they share the same DNA, as the much wider distribution of Up Front did push the creativity of other designers to get away from hexagon/dice games further, and the introduction of area movement (as you pointed out), created the perfect storm for a new genre.

The ability of Avalon Hill to produce and market Up Front and Arnhem allowed others to push their creative card based designs to the front. It was a new market within an amazingly small niche market.

I think one might argue that Up Front had an impact among wargames, but to say Up Front inspired games outside of wargames ignores a wide range of non-wargames.

1954: Mille Bornes is another racing game. You have cards representing miles traveled, problems to throw at your opponents, cards to fix problems with your car, etc.

1965: Nuclear War, cards represent bombs and delivery platforms and various special events.

1971: Sleuth, a deduction game. One card is removed, and players have to figure out what is it.

I think if you want to know what inspired Mark Herman to design We the People as he did (which in turn caused many designers to emulate WTP), just read the designer notes. Up Front may be one of his inspirations, but I doubt it's the only one.
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Orion J.N. Winder
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elirlandes wrote:
Astron was released in 1954, and is definitely card-driven - you play a card from your hand to move your spaceship a certain number of spaces forwards, backwards, sideways or diagonally; or to shift the 'board' forwards. You then draw a new card from the draw pile.

Astron is a racing game, rather than a wargame, but is an interesting bit of history with regard to CDGs.






Loved THAT game!! Still trying to find a reasonable playable copy, as the one I played as a kid belonged to a neighbor of my grandmother's, and I'd go play it at her house. The little cast metal ships were great!
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Matthew M
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Moved from Up Front to General Gaming
 
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Enrico Viglino
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chiron.42 wrote:
Magic was the first one to have a collectible, customized deck-building aspect to it.


And preceded Card Driven Games as expressed by that term (CDGs),
though there were many games driven by cards previously.
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Enrico Viglino
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Dr Brian wrote:


Soon after Up Front came the card-driven games like "We The People" and "Hannibal: Rome versus Carthage."



Not that soon - and there were plenty of games driven by cards
prior to Up Front. Remember that MtG's big splash came right around
the time WtP started being developed; it seems far more likely to
have been a major factor in sparking the design (though Mark Herman
does not recall - he certainly was aware of the phenomena of MtG).
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