Game Design Blitz #13

And today’s card is…

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The Card

Color: Pink

Number: Queen

Piece: Meeple

Mechanic: Trading

The Definition

In games with a trading mechanic, the players can exchange game items between each other.

The Idea

Trading games have one issue that makes them a little more limited than other game mechanics, and that is that they can typically not be played with two players. Other than that the mechanic is quite open. I’m going to start by deciding a theme, and then designing the mechanics to utilize that theme.

I think I’ll stick close to my own interests and go with the theme of collectible card games. Millennium Blades has already tackled this to some degree, but I’m going to focus solely on the trading aspect of the game. So in this game we will start with what is known as a rotisserie draft. Essentially, a number of cards are placed face-up on the table and then each player will draft a card in turn order. When the last player is reached, that player will draft two cards and the order is reversed. Once all of the cards have been drafted, we will enter the economics aspect of the game. Now, in the collectible card game that I play, there are many reasons that people trade for cards from being “collectors” having to get complete sets, to being “speculators” who are only trying to generate the most profit off of their trades to “Players” who are collecting certain cards so that they can make the best game deck. I think that we will introduce player roles of being either a speculator, collector or player; each with a different goal. In a three player game there will be one of each, with each additional number of players just adding in additional counts of each. The goal of the collector will be to get complete sets of all cards, the goal of the speculator will be to collect the most valuable cards and the goal of the player will be to collect sets of four of certain cards. There may also be need to have two different category of player, casual and competitive. The casual player would also be collecting sets of cards for play, but only some will overlap with the competitive player.

As in the real world, the values of all of the cards will fluctuate. The speculator and gamer will overlap to a certain degree, because the fact that a card is good for players means more demand which will drive up the price.

The game will go in rounds during which players are attempting to trade with each other, the market will shift and adjust. Perhaps there will be tournament reports indicating which cards have done well, which will increase their cost and the desire for the players to obtain them. Additionally, the market can be influenced by cards getting too popular. Typically these get overused in tournaments because that strategy is dominant, then the card is banned and it is no longer desired by the competitive players, causing the value to tank.

Each round will have a trading phase, then a market phase and after a certain number of rounds a scoring phase. The value of each of the cards will fluctuate and be tracked over that time and players will score based on their category.

Now that I think about it, players may also fluctuate in their category after scoring a round. Thus competitive players can get fed up with the nature of that game and become speculators, collectors or casual players. Perhaps in the last round each player can have multiple goals? After all, in my own experience with the collectible card game I am both a casual player and a collector. After a certain number of rounds the game will end and the player with the highest score will be the winner.

The Pitch

The next CCG sensation is about the hit the shelves and you couldn’t be more excited. As this new game comes to your FLGS (Friendly Local Game Store) the buzz is building and it can’t be anything more than a hit on multiple levels! Competitive play will be tight and those players will trade aggressively to get the cards they need to build out their ideal deck. The speculators will be in on the trade as well, looking to trade for cards when they are lower in value so that they can earn the most profit on every trade! Filling up game store and kitchen tables in kind, the casual players just want to play and have fun, and will trade for fun cards over competitive or valuable ones. Finally, the collector. The collector just wants to complete their collection. They want at least one of every card available. CCG players can be fickle though, and each round of the game could see players not only trading cards, but trading in that competitive player hat for the casual, collector or speculator hat. Players will trade and grow their initial collections in an attempt to meet the scoring criteria of their particular player type. The overall tournament scene greatly impacts the CCG market. Some cards will spike, some will softly lower or raise in value, and occasionally a dominant card can get the ban-hammer! After several rounds, the player who has best balanced their goals with the ever-changing market will have scored the most points and will be the best CCG Trader in the game!

CCG is a drafting, trading and set collection game in which players have specific goals that they are attempting to achieve each round. Players will draft a starting hand as well as a starting goal. They will trade each turn, draft new cards and attempt to meet their own scoring goals. Each turn will also see the market fluctuate due to the latest tournament report. After a number of turns players will score their current collections and then draft new roles, maybe trading in their old roles, maybe adding to those roles, and a new round will begin. After three complete rounds the game will end and the winner will be the player who has best balanced their trading, drafting and goals to collect the most points.

 

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