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Spell Wards: Rival Sorcerers

Page: GameIdea.GameIdea-Spellwards-RivalSorcerers - Last Modified : Mon, 24 Jul 17 - 184 Visits
How much do you like this idea?

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Very Good (10/10) The game is very interesting, make it as soon as possible.
Good (8/10) Great idea but some modifications are required.
Fair (6/10) Interesting but a lot of things are missing.
Bad (4/10) Would need to completely redesign the idea in order to work.
Very Bad (2/10) It will never be interesting, abandon the idea.
Already Exist (0/10) Do not waste time on this game idea.

Status: CLOSED

  • The compactness of the game is very hard to handle.

Status: In design
Priority: High
Number of players: 2 players
Expected Play time: 30-60 minutes

Description

A master of magic micro game where each players use a deck of 18 cards to manage his city and covenant while trying to eliminate the opposing rival wizard in the same area.

Objective

Always obsessed by master of magic, I tried to find another approach based on abstract mechanism and that uses a small amount of components as I don't have time to play and design larger games. The goal is to have a large variety of game play with little components by combining 9 cards from a race/Civilisation with 9 cards from a Wizard/Covenant allowing various possible combinations as in the end, there should be 10 race and 10 wizards allowing 100 possible gameplay combinations.

Inspiration

Microcosm was my primary source of inspiration. I liked the idea of playing with few cards. But in the end, the mechanics seems much more different. I also got inspiration from the Epic card game cost to play cards as it gives the feeling of superiority of power that I am looking for. So in my game, all cards cost either 1 gold or 1 mana.

Priority Evaluation

Theme vs Mechanics: I did not build the prototype yet, but the mechanics seems pretty solid since the game was designed around mechanism and components restrictions. The theme makes relatively some sense with the mechanics of the game.
Video vs Board Game: This is a board game only type of game. Video game adaptation could be possible but there will be a lot of unique text ability. So it would require a lot of scripting.
Single vs Multi player: This is a 2 player only game. There could be some option for a single player variant with a specific deck of cards, but I did not planned anything so far. As for playing with more than 2 players, it's impossible due to how location ownership is marked. The only option would be with maybe a 2 headed giant mode.
Rating = 11/12

Design Plan

Theme

  • Master of magic theme is the main inspiration of this game.
  • There is a duality between Magic vs Civilization and Military vs Politics.

Constraint

  • Simple: I don't think the rules will be that complicated, it's the decision behind that could become complicated. The small amount of cards could make players take advantage of card cycling.
  • Small: The game has to be very small. Players only use 18 cards, and the game contains mostly cards.
  • Short: I want the game to be easy to setup with the low amount of components. I cannot say for the gameplay.
  • Social: The social interaction will be more minimal in this game, as most mechanics are strategic. There will be a form of bluffing mechanism.

Experience

  • Replay value by combining various wizard and race together to get a different experience every time.
  • Feeling of Superiority: In any MOM like game, a feeling of power and superiority is important.
  • 4X: Based on a 4X theme, the game should be 4X, but right now I am not sure I can do all of them.
    1. Explore: New areas can be explored and discovered
    2. Expand: Which can be captured or conquered from your opponent
    3. Exploit: By using the various units and assets you have available
    4. Exterminate: To eventually exterminate your opponent ... maybe. Related to victory condition but unclear yet.

Components

  • Magic cards
  • Civilization cards
  • City disk: Double sided to mark influenced controlled cities. Possibly a City disk will be used as the capital city. (Could be removed if no map)
  • Resource Markers: Not sure, indicates which resources are controlled by the player.
  • Map cards or map board: Try to use cards for more versatility. Smaller box required. Could be double sided but not sure, because hinder exploration mechanics. Maybe place a city marker on the card when the encounter is complete. Possibly to location cards for each Civilization. (could be removed if no map)

Mechanics

  • Players combine 2 deck of 9 cards to create their deck.
  • Players can attack their opponent by Military or Political influence.
  • Combat resolution table to have various resolution ending according to the number rolled
  • Icon system (not sure) maybe units has a series of icons and counter icons. Each uncountered icon gives +1 strength. Creates a form of complex RPS system with more versatility.
  • Play a card from the hand before conflict resolution to add a support value. Could add has a form of randomness to replace dice, or only to add uncertainty.
  • If would be interesting to create a system reusable for a civ theme or for a space theme.

Development progress

Problems that prevent development

The biggest issue with this game is card balance and diversity, make sure that each set is unique from each other and that each set is equally balanced allowing various set combinations for various game play. Which means that each set combination must be in average as powerful as other set combinations.

News, changes and updates

January 28th, 2017: I got new ideas lately for another game with the same theme that seems more advantageous to incorporate in this game, since they both try to make a small MOM game. Still, I am not exactly sure yet of the direction of the game and I have an hard time making a design plan. For now the game seems pretty abstract.

I was thinking of using ideas from the "Wrath of the dark prince" board game, especially using a small number of large areas for the map and managing cubes and city tokens across the board. So the idea could be to have 2 tiles with 4 areas for each player that you connect to each other. Similar to another game called "Star Borders". Use cubes for armies, disk for cities. Some spell and maybe race cards, resource tokens and a few other things.

Instead of using a dash board for civ progress, I was thinking to put everything on cards. Not sure if I would use multi function cards, like the more abstract version of the game. Still, I could keep the same abstract mechanics and only add a map with cubes and disk for more interaction with the board. The presence of the board makes location less unique, but does not require cards for locations. It also reminds me of pocket civ where players has a small map with territories.

I first though of making it a multi player game, but If I am to use the card system, a 2 player game gives much more advantages. First, you could simply flip cities to indicate influence from the enemy. In multiplayer, you would require an additional piece of that player's color (like in Clash of culture). Second, there less issue with empire size and proportional vs multiple actions since players cannot gang bang on the same player. So the larger empire is not that much disadvantaged in number of action for a larger empire to manage, vs smaller empire which has the same nb of actions for a smaller territory.

I think I would love to have an only card game, because I find it neat and compact. The fact each card is unique adds flavor to the game, but I have an hard time defining game objectives and the experience I want the game to give.

March 26th, 2017: I thought that I could make my game like a tableau builder game a bit like master of orion board game did it. I made a thread on BGG to ask for more information about tableau builder game (the thread is here ).

I was thinking in using dual use cards where you have a "building" and an action. Which now got me back into microcosm and it actually unfolded many ideas. I was thinking in reusing the microcosm system where you start with a certain number of cards in your hand. Then you can do 3 basic actions with your cards:

  1. Acquire new cards: Each player will have his own market of 3 cards. They would have a cost to acquire and build.
  2. Build a card: Place one of you card in your hand into plain to gain it's benefits permanently.
  3. Attack your opponent: Destroy a card in your opponent's tableau.

Each action leads towards a victory condition. Then you have the 4th action which is always available:

  • Recover cards: This is a special action that does not require any cards which consist in recovering a part of your discarded cards.

I also thought of a cool idea for special abilities. There would be 3 types of abilities, but they can be triggered from the hand or from play. So not all cards needs to be built to be used. Which is somewhat different than tableau builders, but still look like a neat idea:

  • Actions: Those cards gives new actions besides the basic one. Can be played from your hand instead of the basic action, or if in play, can use it as an action every turn.
  • Action passive ability: Boost one of the basic action. If played from hand, the basic action will get the benefits. If built into play, all basic action of the same type will benefit from the ability.
  • Permanent ability: Not related to any specific action, so useless when used in hand. But when put into play, it takes effect every turn. It's normally a rule breaker, free resources, etc.

Finally, microcosm involves revealing icons, to make it less predictable in combat and to be able to accumulate resources, you will have a gold and mana track. You gain 1 of each per turn, action cost one or the other. But the remaining unused stacked gold/mana will count as an icon for action resolution. So if you attack your opponent with an army, you will use icons in your tableau + icons in hand + the amount of gold. This is your attack strength. Also if you need to purchase or build something expansive, you can simply not use your gold and mana action to save for later.

I made an exploration test using microcosm cards, it seems interesting, the dynamic is a bit weird or not as expected. Still it's a start, I could explore more tableau games and see what I can integrate to it.

I really prefer this new idea component wise as I do not need a map, only 2 sets of 9 cards per player, plus a sheet with two tracks for gold and mana. I have to work more on the card dynamics and victory conditions. There is also the main issue as with all games with special abilities, will the possibility space be big enough to handle all those semi-unique abilities to do (180 unique cards).

Related Threads

Board game Geek: Placing information on the back of cards (30-oct-2016)
Board Game Designer Forum: Placing information on the back of cards (30-oct-2016)
Board game Geek: Could you recommend good dual/split cards for layout design (13-oct-2016)
Board game Geek: How to keep a large area of effect (or Possibility Space) for abilities in card games? (30-sep-2016)
Board Game Designer Forum: How to keep a large area of effect (or Possibility Space) for abilities in card games? (30-sep-2016)
Board Game Geek: R&D: games with maps created out of cards (28-Jan-2017)

Development Log

DateTypeDescription
28-jan-2017IdeaI think the main problem with the "map" is that it's not interesting and you can attack anywhere. Maybe cards could be used to create a map. Maybe cubes and disks could be placed on the cards for additional interaction. Maybe explore the idea of cards as map. Problem with owernership, unless use disk instead of flipping cities. Else could use a predefined map pattern for 9 cards (3x3) or (3-4-3) then add home realms.

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Prototype Pictures

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Playtest Log

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