Does this kind of game exist?
February 14, 2018 12:43 PM   Subscribe

All of the collectable/customizable card games I'm familiar with involve playing individual cards from your hand to use against a single opponent. Are there any CCGs that have a playstyle more like traditional playing card games?

I've literally just had an idea for a card game that involves building a custom deck then drawing and discarding from that deck to build the strongest hand you can. It would involve drawing "face" cards whose value increases depending on what other more generic cards you have in your hand. You have a limited amount of time to build the strongest combination of cards you can, then you and your opponent(s) reveal your hands and whoever has the strongest combo of cards wins the round.

For example: You draw the Empress card from your deck, which on the card lists various Aspects that boost her value. An Aspect, for instance "Justice," alone is worthless, but when paired with Empress raises her value from one point to two points. Then near the end of the round you draw the Relic "Scepter" which doubles the value of monarch-themed combos, which in the end helps you beat your opponent's "Barbarian" with "Rage" and "Wild" aspects.

It would combine the simplicity and group play of standard playing card games with the strategic (and monetary) aspects of building a deck in a CCG. This idea seems so obvious to me that it has to have been tried before. Does this ring anyone's bells? Am I just missing some really obvious game everyone else has heard of? Is my idea not as good as I think it is? Am I taking a terrible risk publicly explaining this before I patent it?
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Does it have any interaction with the opponent, or is it basically double-solitaire play?
posted by inkyz at 1:32 PM on February 14, 2018

Am I taking a terrible risk publicly explaining this before I patent it?

If you're planning on patenting, it's not a "risk," it's a disqualification. Have this post deleted and I'll try to forget I read it.

Cf. In poker, a 4 is useless. But collection of two, three or four 4s becomes increasingly powerful.

Likewise, a 2 is useless, but combine it with a 3, 4, 5 and 6 and it becomes something significant.
posted by JimN2TAW at 1:32 PM on February 14, 2018

Sushi Go! is kind of like this, though your deck is viewable by other players as you build it. But you're each trying to build the strongest hand. A single Tempura is worthless, but with its pair it is 5 points. Maki rolls are useless unless you have the most or second most. Acquiring dumplings or putting down a wasabi is risky but holds reward if following cards are in your favor.
posted by LKWorking at 1:54 PM on February 14, 2018 [1 favorite]

This reminds me of Tides of Time, which is a two-player drafting/set collection game. Like you've described, the basic principle is building the strongest set possible, based on card rules and interactions, and then revealing and comparing with your opponent at the end of the round. It has a Sushi Go!-like drafting mechanism, with players passing the cards back and forth between them.

But Tides of Time is almost a microgame, with a very pared-down set of interactions — by saying CCG it sounds like you want to do something a lot bigger in scope. So your idea would be targeted towards a different niche, for sure.
posted by fire, water, earth, air at 2:25 PM on February 14, 2018

Does it have any interaction with the opponent, or is it basically double-solitaire play?

I'm envisioning something closer to poker than Magic: The Gathering but ideally I'd like there to be different variant ways to play with the decks, like traditional playing card games. Basically you have a deck that you stack with cards that combine together and each player tries to build the best combo they can by drawing and discarding poker-style, ideally involving poker-style wagers as well. Like poker, the interaction comes from bluffing your opponent and calling them when you think you have a winning combo. I'd like to have variant games more like Rummy or Bridge, but they'd have to have rule differences to keep everyone's personal decks separate.

The CCG aspect comes in by having lots of different possible combos from various themed decks and trying to make a deck that will get good combos into your hand consistently. The vast number of possible combinations is made simpler by the fact it can be reduced to a point value. Whoever plays the combo with the highest value wins the round. There would have to be requirements for deck size and duplicate cards, but that's like any CCG.

All that aside, I'm more interested in "Has anyone tried to make a game like this before?" than "Is this game even a good idea?"
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 2:39 PM on February 14, 2018

In a roundabout way this is how deckbuilding games work. Games of this ilk include:

-Dominion (probably the most famous)
-Trains (Dominion with trains, but better than Dominion)
-The Legendary series of games
-Aeon's End (my current favourite)
-Thunderstone and Thunderstone Advance (both out of print, but a new version in the works)
-Star Realms and Hero Realms

In a roundabout way this is also how LCGs work. Games of this ilk include:

-The Lord of the Rings
-Arkham Horror (which I favour over LotR)
-Legend of the Five Rings (haven't played it).

For deckbuilders, every player starts with an identical hand. It will usually be some combination of resources (gold, mana, whatever) that will be used to purchase better cards as you play, and action cards (attack, build, do) that let you interact either with the game or with other players.

The idea is you start with a deck of low-powered cards and, as you play (either other players, or with the game's own decks) you a) purchase higher-powered cards and b) attack or defend or build and c) scrap dud cards. So you start with a thin deck of rubbish cards and build it into a thick deck of power cards that can do all sorts of things.

LCGs, you build your power deck to begin with from whatever cards you have available, and then battle other players (in the case of Five Rings or Netrunner or the like) or battle the game itself (LotR and Arkham). If you win, great, you move on to the next scenario. If you lose, you go back and tinker with your deck to give you a better chance next time.

Neither game type is exactly what you're asking about, but might be worth exploring. Star Realms would be a good start as far as deckbuilders go (there's a smartphone app too), and I personally would go for Arkham Horror if you're interested in the idea of LCGs, since it's a newer game and doesn't have as much content as Lord of the Rings (which is extremely long in the tooth, very clunky, and overdue for a reboot).
posted by turbid dahlia at 4:28 PM on February 14, 2018 [2 favorites]

Like poker, the interaction comes from bluffing your opponent and calling them when you think you have a winning combo.
The vast number of possible combinations is made simpler by the fact it can be reduced to a point value.

The metagame is the engine that makes a CCG work. A card or deck or even strategy will be strong against some other cards / decks / strategies, but weak against others. Choosing what cards to include is hard because you don't know what situations you'll be in, or what other decks you'll go against. Without that it the deck-building part of the game is solvable - there is a best deck, and if you have it you will win more. And once anyone figures out what that deck is, then if you want an edge, it's just a question of how many bad cards you have to buy before you get the good cards. Is there any reason to keep cards that aren't in your strongest deck?

(Okay maybe here's a reason: in a bluffing game, you could maybe fool around with high-roll combo decks vs more consistent decks. I'd be skeptical that's enough to create a lively metagame though)
posted by aubilenon at 5:41 PM on February 14, 2018

Your game description didn't remind me of a CCG, but it did remind me a little of Havoc: The Hundred Years War, which features card drafting to build a hand, some bluffing, and very poker-like scoring.
posted by Wobbuffet at 7:50 PM on February 14, 2018

Fantasy Realms is a fairly close match. Each turn, you draw and discard (from a shared deck, not a personal deck), and you’re trying to get sets and combos. For example, the King scores more with the Queen, and both increase the value of The Army suit; the Beastmaster boosts the Beast suit; Floods are individually high scoring but may reduce the scores of other suits. Unlike a deck building game, you only use the cards at the end of the game. Player interaction is via the shared discard pile, that every player can draw from.

Unlike your idea, there is a single shared deck; and the game ends after ten draws rather than on players calling/bluffing.
posted by siskin at 11:53 PM on February 14, 2018 [1 favorite]

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