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I am working on a cross plattform Multiplayer CCG (web, android, ios).

Here are my goals in design:

  • I want to game to be easly accessible and understandable for non CCG players within the first minute of play.

  • a single game should be played by 2 - 4 players a once, without problems if one players drops out during play.

  • players should make their next turn simultaneous (without waiting for other to make their turns)

My current approach:

  • each Card has a point value for four Elements. In each Turn an Element is (randomly) selected and every Player chooses 1 card out of 3. The Player choosen the card with the highest value for that element wins the Round. After 10 Rounds the players a ranked by how many rounds they won.

Why does this approach seems not optimal?

  • It seems really to easy to determin the next best turn. Your own turn is to little affected by the play style of the others. I would love the have a system where some cards are better against other cards. A bit of rock paper scissors where you have to think about what next turn the other players will make or so. But really think freely.

I would love to hear ideas may it be additions or new systems to make a CCG with roughly the stated design goals.

Thanks

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You aer asking way too much for a single question. Focus your question on actual, objectively answerable problems. What you are asking is a complete design document, or at least for substantial parts of one. –  Hackworth Nov 14 '12 at 13:15
    
Thanks for your comment, but i can not really break the question down. I dont need a design document or anything. I described my current system within 3 sentences. As simplicity is a key element, the core concept should be explained in 3-8 sentences. –  TobiHeidi Nov 14 '12 at 13:24
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2 Answers

The problem here is that your game sounds to be entirely based on chance with no strategy whatsoever. The gameplay boils down to this:

  1. build a deck consisting with the highest point valued cards you own, evenly spread between the elements.
  2. play games, win or lose by the hand of fate because you always select the highest card of the given element in your hand.
  3. buy new cards with the highest point values possible and replace the lowest in your deck.

That's it. That's the entire game. There is no strategy that is 'better' than the above. You're success depends only on luck, and a luck based CCG is doomed to failure.

My advice is to scrap the whole thing and start over. Play some other CCG games to get ideas on how to make great gameplay. In fact, here are some places to start: Final Fantasy 8 and 9 had two simple CCG games that have many of the elements you mentioned. The old Sim City CCG is a totally different kind of CCG and is great for coming up with new ideas in this space. All CCGs seem to want to mimic Magic the Gathering, and that makes sense because it is so popular, but there are many ways to skin this cat. Find a better one.

Ideas:

Have players play cards on a grid, first to a spot gets it, once each player lays a card on the grid, they all flip, and the next turn begins. This minimizes the time players spend waiting and encourages them to act fast to be able to plan their next move and to get the best spots. The backs of the cards might indicate only what, about the card, allowed it to be placed legally. Or it could indicate nothing and because it is digital it resolves the problem a game like this would have in reality, human error.

Free Game Idea

Cards are square and are lined on the edges with up to 3 elements, better cards have more element icons along more edges, each edge has at least 1 element. A card can have 3 fires on one side or 1 fire, 1 ice, and 1 water; for example.

Cards are placed on a N X N grid (where N is the number of players times 2) in any location, upside down.

Once all the cards are laid, they flip and follow these rules:

Fire beats Ice beats Water beats Fire (add more elements if you wish) However 2 Fire stalemate with 1 Water and 3 Fire beats 1 Water. Cards have ownership that starts with who places them, if a card is beaten by a play, that card becomes owned by the owner of the winning card. When a card changes ownership, any cards next to that card that have not yet been flipped this turn due to being beaten are ALSO beaten and flipped, creating strategic chaining potentials.

Stalemates don't cause ownership changes if two cards have JUST been placed and flipped, but as parts of chains they act as wins. Think of this as all cards gaining 1 of each element if they have just been flipped, by any means.

Once all the slots are filled and flipped, the player with the most cards owned by them on the board wins.

This enables weak cards to still be of strategic value, when played correctly on the board.

In this model there are no unbeatable cards. 3 fires can be beat by 3 waters, cards with 1,1,1 are great for creating chains.

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You got the problems of my current system quit right (little strategy needed, to much luck based). The problem is i can not come up with a system that is simple, 2 - 4 players and simultaneous turns. My best guess is something "rock paper scissors" like but rock paper scissors is so focus on 2 player mode –  TobiHeidi Nov 14 '12 at 13:55
    
Simultaneous turns is antithetical to what most CCG games intend to do, which is mimic the game being played in reality. Imagine the chaos. But it CAN be done, and there are CCG games with simultaneous phases. You just need to play a lot of these games and decide what is best for you. –  DampeS8N Nov 14 '12 at 13:57
    
@TobiHeidi I've added a free game idea that is more in line with what you would need to bring strategy to this system. Consider it a starting point, or just something to give you ideas. –  DampeS8N Nov 14 '12 at 14:16
    
Thank you! That in fact is a greate starting point! –  TobiHeidi Nov 14 '12 at 14:24
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You could try adding a defense element to each card. So instead of having just a card with a fire attack of 4, you now have 4 cards with a fire attack of 4 (one with fire defense, water, etc.). A defense point will negate 1 point of attack from that given element. Then you can also assign different values to the defenses. So now you have N*(M+1) cards with a fire attack of 4. (N being number of elements, M being max value of a defense, and +1 if the value can be 0).

To expand on your want of a rock-paper-scissor style, certain elements can have an advantage over others. For example, water could either do 2x damage to fire, or simply have a fire attack card never have a water defense more than half its attack value. The winner of each round could be determined by taking the least amount of damage, dealing the most overall, or highest damage dealt to damage taken ratio.

This gives the touch of random luck that people get from opening packs where some cards are obviously better than others, while instilling a bit of strategy. High attack and high defense cards will be harder to get, and those with both high attack and defense will be even harder. Sure people will meta-game it and find the "best" overall deck setup, this happens in every game. But some people may focus on defending against a specific element, or attacking with a specific element. You could also force users to have all the elements, or just limit the number per element so maybe a 2 element deck is possible but a 1 element isn't. This way you can display the percent of each element remaining in an opponent's deck so you can play defensively based on how probable they are to play a certain element.

The overall gameplay is still very simple, and leaves room for many other forms of changes in the future.

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This just complicates the mental calculation, the cards still have a set max/min value and only increase your odds of winning randomly. –  DampeS8N Nov 14 '12 at 15:17
    
@DampeS8N if I have a 50% chance to throw a fire card vs 25% to throw water or earth, would it not be a strategic advantage for you to play a card with fire defense? –  Orin MacGregor Nov 14 '12 at 15:29
    
Correct, You must play the odds, and because the odds are trivial to calculate there is no strategy in deck building. See my three points in my answer. They still apply. Build the strongest deck, play the best odds, randomly win/lose, reinvest. It still lacks depth, it just gains complication. –  DampeS8N Nov 14 '12 at 15:32
    
I like the idea of having an attack and defense value based on an Element. You can see your opponents cards and thus make a guess which card would defend / attack the best. Even if your opponent has a high value card, if your defend / attack it with the right element you might still win. Biggest Problem still seems this works well for 2 players but needs something to work for 3 or 4 players. Thanks i might continue on this. –  TobiHeidi Nov 14 '12 at 15:40
    
I was simply suggesting ideas based on the original criteria: easy to understand in the first minute, don't have to wait for opponent to play to make your play, can be played with more than 2 people, and incorporates an RPS style advantage for cards. I could say that since I know my friend's deck I could construct my own to counter it, but others would argue that that is meta-gaming and shouldn't count. Yea I'm still picking the highest numbers to achieve said counter, but I might not have all the necessary cards to do so. I'd have to play (or pay) to get more, which means replayability. –  Orin MacGregor Nov 14 '12 at 15:45
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