Michael Monast
Canada
British Columbia
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Good Day all,

I'm looking for some insight into the following section of my game design, on which route I should try.

Let me start by giving some background on the game:

--

The game is a Cooperative Deck builder, you play a dragon, defending its island lair from Vikings who have built a village on the island and are bringing in more Vikings to attempt to defeat you.

The game works like most deck builder styles, except cards picked for your deck are based on your dragons race - each dragon has access to 3 different abilities, and they are picked out to form the abilities used in the game, based on the players total.

The game functions from solo to 6 player, and the objective is to bring the towns population to 0 - achieved by slaying vikings as they try to reach the town.

--

Onto the actual question:

I'm currently working on building out the Viking cards, that are summoned each turn to try to make it to town - each Viking has different stats in terms of what damage they deal, how much health they have, and what abilities they do when they reach town (anywhere from building structures to give vikings permanent advantages to increasing population of the village to summoning Norse Gods [the games version of boss battles])

My question is as such; In trying to create the Viking deck I see two possible ways to achieve this, either creating smaller themed decks (i.e. one deck devoted to a specific Norse god, with unique units tied to it) or creating one single large deck, with all of those units merged together.


The advantage I see to the smaller decks is I can make a more interesting theme, the disadvantage is it becomes rather scripted when using smaller decks for enemies (as it's easier to tell what is coming based on what you have already fought) - on a design term it also leaves a large chunk of cards unused in each game, increasing cost somewhat needlessly.

The advantage I see to the larger decks is it makes for more options for varied combat, and adjusting strategies on the fly based on what's up, the disadvantage being with a larger deck the unique factors can become diluted - or with a bad shuffle you could get overrun with the more powerful units


Most deck builders I've seen that work on this aspect use smaller themed decks, so the latter seems to be the lesser used option - I'm just unsure of the best way to do this - I'm leaning towards one larger deck currently, just thought I'd pose the question.
 
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Paul DeStefano
United States
Long Island
New York
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Why not make the cards function differently for each faction, so what might be a unit of berserkers for factions A, B and C is a healing card for factions D, E and F.

This way a new level of cooperation appears, as certain cards may be better for certain players and debate over which player is served best by the bonus given.
 
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Michael Monast
Canada
British Columbia
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The Viking cards serve as the AI controlled enemy, so they don't adjust to what players are currently playing - I like the idea of having a card that changes its affects based on what enemy faction / dragon race is playing - so I may try to implement that in.
 
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Colin Moore
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Here are a few ideas you may find useful.

-A mixed deck. There is a General Viking deck that is always used, and then at the beginning of the game a specific deck is mixed into it. So perhaps the viking deck for a particular game might be "general/Freya" or "general/Seers". If you are concerned about having too many elite units near the beginning (and I'm assuming the specialist decks have the elite units) then you could add a deck stacking element to this, for example the first fourth of the deck will be all general vikings, the second 2 fourths of the deck will be a mix of general and elite, and the last fourth will be elite, or a similar scheme accomplished by just laying out a method of how the viking deck is prepared.

- The game is started with just the general Viking deck, but at some point a specific deck will be added to the viking deck, or replace it altogether. For example, perhaps there are priest Vikings that if the get to the village erect a temple. The players draw a temple card from a separate pile and see which god's temple is now in the town, and that god's specific deck is added to or replaces the general viking deck. Maybe if a priest gets into town when there is already a temple, he summons the god. Alternatively instead of priests and temples, just have some god cards in the General deck that tell you to switch to/add the specific deck for that god. The point is that at some point into the game, a randomish trigger happens that changes what sorts of enemies the players are up against, and will force them to adapt their play style.("Oh hell, We are fighting Loki-Vikings, all my illusion spells are going to be useless, I guess I'll just discard them to power up my breath-weapon. Joey, you should start buying blablablah")

I would like to say that there is nothing wrong with a generic deck. I would actually suggest using a generic deck for most of your building and playtesting of the game, and then once you have a good grasp of the challenge level, timing, and balance of your game, then work enemy variants into the game.
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Michael Monast
Canada
British Columbia
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Soul Proprietor wrote:

- The game is started with just the general Viking deck, but at some point a specific deck will be added to the viking deck, or replace it altogether. For example, perhaps there are priest Vikings that if the get to the village erect a temple. The players draw a temple card from a separate pile and see which god's temple is now in the town, and that god's specific deck is added to or replaces the general viking deck. Maybe if a priest gets into town when there is already a temple, he summons the god.


That is a good point - I'm already planning to utilize a mechanic similar to this, in terms of summoning a boss - a Herald of Loki, once it reaches town would summon Loki - but it could also cause the deck to shift to include those specialized units.

I was also trying to think of a factor for a loss against a boss battle - rather then eliminating the players, the particular god could do an effect that makes everything harder - having that new deck shuffled in be that detriment could work quite well.

I'm still quite a bit off of having a balanced game, as I am constantly tweaking the stats of the Viking cards (have all of the dragon cards built and pseudo balanced, so almost there) so I agree with your statement that utilizing a combined deck until the kinks are worked out is a great idea.
 
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Benj Davis
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Summer Hill
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You could even have a during-play faction selection thing, whereby you go with a standard Viking deck, plus a smaller set of cards for each of the Viking groups. You start play with just the standard deck, but in that deck there's a card for each Viking group and when that card is played, you add in that group's cards (either shuffling it into the draw deck, or just plopping it into the Viking discard pile, so it will take a while to "arrive"). So you don't know what group this village is until partway through.
If one of the other cards is turned up later, you trash it and draw a replacement card. Or the current faction may have an alternative effect when other faction cards come out (like the equivalent of Legendary's Master Strike dynamic), that could be cool too.
 
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