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I'm writing a game in which users start with a few cards. They use those cards to play against other players. The winner can steal a card from the other player.

The aim is to get more/different/rare/higher-powered cards.

If everyone starts with 10 low-powered cards, how would anyone ever get higher powered cards? They'd just be playing against people who have the same type of cards as them.

How do you fairly distribute these more powerful cards among players?

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    \$\begingroup\$ I would test the waters in Game Development Chat Room : chat.stackexchange.com/rooms/19/game-development. You should get a more dynamic and well received response to such questions. \$\endgroup\$ – Shroeder Oct 13 '14 at 13:11
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    \$\begingroup\$ I thought it was obvious and this was the whole point of collectible card games: players have to BUY them with real money! ;-) \$\endgroup\$ – R.. Oct 13 '14 at 20:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ This is basically asking "please design my game for me", it's incredibly broad... \$\endgroup\$ – o0'. Oct 13 '14 at 21:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ Though the economic side of the game can be a major part, I've written most of the actual game and its rules before thinking about this. Its good to get some ideas for this kind of thing, which I have no experience with. \$\endgroup\$ – Michael Baldry Oct 14 '14 at 7:58
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Some suggestions to bring more cards into the game:

  • When a player wins a match, reward them with two cards: One from the losers deck and one newly created one. You might also consider giving a generated card to the loser to compensate for the loss, otherwise they would progress backwards, which is a real motivation breaker.
  • Reward players for playing by giving them some kind of resource after every match, and allow them to buy better cards with said resource.
  • Allow players to buy better cards with micro transactions.
  • Have a mechanic to convert multiple low-powered cards into one random card of the next higher tier - that way you ensure that players always have some use for trash cards they don't want to play with.
  • Allow players to earn new cards through actions during the match (however, make sure that winning the match is still important, or players will concentrate on earning cards, not on winning the match).
  • When you want to keep the stealing mechanic as the primary source of cards, allow the players to play against AI bots with better cards (the AI bots should not lose cards - when they lose a match, the earned card is duplicated).

Regarding fairness: When long-time players do not just have an advantage because of their experience but also because they have access to far superior cards, it will be very hard to gain any new players after a while. They won't just lose because of their inexperience but also because the game is stacked against them. This will cause many newbies to be frustrated and leave. To avoid this, you can do this:

  • A good matchmaking system which matches players against each other which have a similar deck strength
  • Avoid cards which are "just better" than others. A skilled player with basic cards should be able to beat a bad player with advanced cards. You can do this by making sure that cards which are numerically stronger have some kind of drawback or specialization, so that the more advanced cards are rather tradeoffs than upgrades.
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  • \$\begingroup\$ Great answer! Gave me some great ideas and things to consider. Thank you \$\endgroup\$ – Michael Baldry Oct 13 '14 at 16:03
  • \$\begingroup\$ It would be interesting if you could steal a card, and could then combine it with a card of the same level for a higher level card, in a non-random way. (if you choose to) \$\endgroup\$ – DoubleDouble Oct 13 '14 at 22:49

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