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  • Archive for February, 2011

    Playtesting a card based game

    2011 - 02.06

    As mentioned before, my primary thrust of game work has been with Project: CARDS.  The wiki itself is filling itself up with ideas and concepts, and things most definitely are taking shape.  The idea with Project: CARDS is that there is a battle field, you and an opponent traverse while casting spells at each other in the form of cards which take the form of a real spell ( i.e. a giant fire ball ) or a creature ( i.e. a Daemon Mole of Doom ).

    Both Inko and I contributed to a theoretical combat system, and constructed a pool of 20 cards representing spells and monsters.  All very well, but what is the point of creating a combat system unless it is fun?  So I decided it would be a good idea to actually roleplay a battle.  A new section of the wiki was created, and Inko and I randomly assigned ourselves a shuffled deck, and started to play a game.  Each turn was updated on the wiki, with the following template :

    • <whoevers> turn
    • A map to show castings/movement/damage
    • Our entire deck, with the ones in our hand in bold, an X to show a card that had been cast that turn
    • Current mana levels
    • Our thoughts and overall thoughts andstrategy for that turn and future turns

    The map we played on was quite small – we wanted to get into battle without spending ages getting ready.  The combat was vicious but fast – the mechanics as we played seemed to work really well – with the exception of manually updating a png of combat – every turn was quick.  The mechanics themselves are pretty simple, but really do work well.  As we had both written the combat mechanics, we both knew what was going on.  But even though we both thought the combat rules were pretty tight – it turned out there were quite a few things that we hadn’t thought of during the planning phase.  We used the talk page of the battle test to discuss and ask questions and agree on things when these issues cropped up.

    This play test was an awesome idea.  It raised a number of issues, as well as helped us cement the vision we both have of the game.  We both now have a much greater idea of how the game will play as well as starting to get an idea of balance.  It turns out our initial system of randomly making cards and costs wasn’t the best way to design the decks 🙂  We have identified some key attributes of the cards which will need to be thought about quite carefully before the next play test.

    So, to anyone else out there designing a card/board type game, let this be a heads up, playtest often and early!

    Oh, and the winner of the first playtest?  Inko – he melted my face off with a fire spell as I hid behind my large monsters.  D’oh!

    How I imagine I lost

    My face! My beautiful face!

    Not actually part of the playtesting procedure, but thought it would be nice to commemorate the first ever battle.