General direction

Suggest and discuss creature and faction abilities.
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snowdrop
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General direction

Post by snowdrop » Sun Dec 18, 2011 10:53

Currently the following is in the Local Design Document:
Abilities

When the designing there are two types of abilities: Normal and minor. Minor abilities are the ones that have limited effects, while normal are the rest.

Example: "This creature can't be targeted by Enchantments." vs "This creature can't be targeted." The terminology minor and normal abilities won't be made official to the players via the cards. The wording won't be seen in the game and is primarily there to help us as designers to sort abilities into different tiers.

Creatures usually have between 0 to 2 abilities, with the exception that two minor abilities count as one normal.

Creatures with more than 2 normal abilities are a rare exception. A creature can't have more than three minor abilities in total.

Negative abilities - inabilities - can be used for balancing reasons to give a creature a drawback.
All abilities belong to one of four faction related groups:

Primary: These are faction specific abilities that are unique and only available to that specific faction. About 30% to 60% of the abilities available should be of this type.

Secondary: Abilities borrowed from a pre-defined "sister faction". About 5% - 10%. Substandard performance.

Tertiary: Abilities borrowed from a pre-defined "cousin faction". About 0% - 3%. Substandard performance.

General: Abilities that any faction could have. 10% - 30%. Example: Flying.
Feedback is needed on this structure, especially if it's constructive and can show some alternatives instead. The goal is to create faction identities and asymmetry, while at the same time not making factions to narrow. I want factions to feel unique and fresh, but not as if they can only do one single thing.
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Ravenchild
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Re: General direction

Post by Ravenchild » Tue Dec 20, 2011 11:08

What are your intentions with these "rules"? Is this only about balancing or are there other reasons to restrict abilities that way?
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Re: General direction

Post by snowdrop » Tue Dec 20, 2011 12:59

Ravenchild wrote:What are your intentions with these "rules"? Is this only about balancing or are there other reasons to restrict abilities that way?
Primarily it's about balancing, as you suggest: We need to have certain guidelines for how to create a card. Without them you will end up getting plenty of work done that is in vain since it will be non-compatible with the rest due to balancing. Design rules are there to be such guidelines. If they're sound, then the result will be ok, if not, then it will unavoidably lead to failure.

Secondary reason to have them is to organize and give factions identity and also some asymmetry. With no organized way of deciding what goes where, you end up with very strange so-called design in the end. I don't know of any other way to create factions that are planned somehow unless there are explicit limitations and features added to their design.

That said, I am not suggesting that the design rules are sound. They're a start and I need the input on how it could be solved in some other ways that can be used to balance + offer guidelines + give factions identity and asymmetry.
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Q_x
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Re: General direction

Post by Q_x » Tue Dec 27, 2011 08:47

Stupid me, left my i-net keychain at home. Again. No ability to post on forums. At least I remember my mail pass, all the rest was more or less disabled for me.

As for minor and major abilities - it will simplify calculating card cost, but I quite can't see any usage beyond that and just knowing if it's minor or major.

Dis/inabilities IMO are not to balance anything, but to add to model things, also in terms of asymmetry/tactical choices and strategies of a given faction. Most important is to prevent any abuse. Limiting it to balancing out card price is just not right.

The general problem is to start small, but in the right moment. Not all can be fixed with small steps later. I was complaining about it long while ago. I feel like it's all ready to liftoff (call it working
towards the release of a playable demo, if you like) - what's is missing are some tests, and what still is faulty, actually looks like can be fixed later.

Again, the problem is to start small. But how? With a set of cards that are needed for a single battle? Add a quest, some events and we're ready for initial tests, right? How about a set of guidelines we
already have, and a deck of blank cards? And play-by-e-mail (or via wiki?)? Dunno. Cardscape? Testing platform? It seems like an overkill for now, for the first batch of tests.

As for cousins and siblings - 3% of cards are 2 pieces per faction... Lets maybe
avoid making a design principle out of it? We need at least about 5-6 global
abilites, plus min. 6 faction-specific (per faction). This should suffice to
cover up to 15 slots with global and 25 with specific (original or
"borrowed") abilities, leaving up to 30 custom abilities/faction,
assuming 60 cards/faction, with 15-20%of the cards with 2 abilities or
more.

One more thing. A proposal. Lets have not only leaders as a card type,
but also heroes and giant creatures :). That's what I've proposed as a "tag approach" to card types. We may give all of them a faction-dependent, unique set of rules/abilities as well.
I think that alone can change a lot in terms of asymmetry, yet it will leave plenty of room for further changes and alternative rulesets.

I have some specific ideas for abilities, however I believe it's not the right thread. I'll generate some more and overload you all later, that's if the idea will not be rejected.
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Re: General direction

Post by snowdrop » Tue Dec 27, 2011 17:20

Q_x wrote:Stupid me, left my i-net keychain at home. Again. No ability to post on forums. At least I remember my mail pass, all the rest was more or less disabled for me.
What is this epic keychain? A usb with a distro on it? :P

As for minor and major abilities - it will simplify calculating card cost, but I quite can't see any usage beyond that and just knowing if it's minor or major.
Yes. Right. That's because there is no other usage for it, nor was there supposed to be: It's strictly there as dev aid, and not for players in a direct sense.
Dis/inabilities IMO are not to balance anything, but to add to model things, also in terms of asymmetry/tactical choices and strategies of a given faction. Most important is to prevent any abuse. Limiting it to balancing out card price is just not right.
Agree. It's not suggested to limit using disabilities in such a way: They can and should be used just as you write. They can however also be used to balance cost. In general though, that should not become a standard.. I'll add that to wiki.

I feel like it's all ready to liftoff (call it working towards the release of a playable demo, if you like) - what's is missing are some tests, and what still is faulty, actually looks like can be fixed later.
There are no working cards, nor enough cards, and it is so since LDD has been missing and all have designed from their own point of view, what they (including myself) thought the game should play like and act like, even without knowing the rules for it. There isn't even an organized or any list whatsoever of abilities and what mechanics are associated with what faction. I can't concept test something in it's current state since I am not capable to. I would attend a session of others choose to do it though - just drop a thread in the forum with time and date.
Again, the problem is to start small. But how? With a set of cards that are needed for a single battle? Add a quest, some events and we're ready for initial tests, right?
I don't think so. I mean, I honestly don't know. lol. This is a huge problem for me and very hard to grasp: How does one concept/playtest a CCG?

Some things can be concept tested perfectly well with a very few amount of cards or even imaginary ones. These are very few though.

What I think I'll do is to try to create some kind of mindmaps(?)/flowchart-ish that lay out every creature in 2 factions: Gaia / Banner. Something that maps out what functions the creatures have or are likely to have. That way I'd see what the army, the core, of the faction is. By looking at that its also easier to move to the next step: Creating the rest of the cards for the factions. Would also start without havign any heroes around, or max 1 per faction.
And play-by-e-mail (or via wiki?)?
Dunno. Cardscape? Testing platform? It seems like an overkill for now, for the first batch of tests.
Play-by-forum seems better than Wiki... but all those scenarios would take ages to playtest anything at all. Why not just use gCCG? It works.
As for cousins and siblings - 3% of cards are 2 pieces per faction... Lets maybe
avoid making a design principle out of it?
I have a faint memory of writing some numbers a while ago but can't fine them in this thread nor in LDD in wiki. Where are they? :shock:

One more thing. A proposal. Lets have not only leaders as a card type,
but also heroes and giant creatures :). That's what I've proposed as a "tag approach" to card types. We may give all of them a faction-dependent, unique set of rules/abilities as well.
There is no restriction anywhere to what we can use as creature types (aka card subtypes of the creature cards). Only a very few Leaders will exist in core, between 2-4. They're there to work as a demo and something to make people excited and to look forward to coming expansions. Leader creature type is really just a normal creature that has some very faction boosting abilities, always altruistic, focusing on the team work of the faction.

Having rules associated with specific creature types seems like a smooth thing to do, but I am against doing it, for the following reasons:

Using creature subtypes that way is really, from a designers perspective, to just convert abilities and turn them into something that is not an ability any longer (yet it works exactly the same as them). We already have abilities. Why use creature types that way?

Answer is it frees up a lot of space on a card since we can tuck them away in the rulebook instead of the cards and then expect the players will learn them. MtG does that, and many other games also. In MtG "Wall" is a good example. It is a creaure type that has an associated rule with it: It can never be used to attack with. "Legendary" is another example: There can only be one copy of any Legendary card in play at the same time. If a copy is in play and another is played then both copies are discarded.

A drawback is that we make the referencing to the text rules of the game more frequent by "hiding" abilities in it (as creature cardtypes) instead of using spelled out abilities on the cards.

All this brings us back to a very important question: Should we tolerate this in general? Is it good, is it bad? I think we shouldn't, because it's bad design and forces you to have the rule book around. In the end there might be many cardtypes with own rules.

This is a question of balancing: Balance of space for text on card to have plenty of interesting content by creating that space with tricks like these and keyworded abilities VS having it all clearly written out every time. Balancing users will/energy to read all of the same text again and again on cards every time an ability is used instead of keywording it when it has been around for a while.

One could suggest that we need only have x creature types that have hard coded rules associated with them. If so, which ones, why only them and not anything else, and when does something become a creaturetype ability with rules instead of a keyworded ability? These questions need answers. Before we start handing out keyworded abilities and creaturetypes with rules.

To me, this is a pretty confusing topic that has no apparent answers... I like the space that can be created, and dislike the very fuzzyness all around this.

I have some specific ideas for abilities, however I believe it's not the right thread. I'll generate some more and overload you all later.
Do do. :P
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Re: General direction

Post by Q_x » Wed Dec 28, 2011 13:32

snowdrop wrote:
Q_x wrote:Stupid me, left my i-net keychain at home. Again. No ability to post on forums. At least I remember my mail pass, all the rest was more or less disabled for me.
What is this epic keychain? A usb with a distro on it? :P
A database that holds all my passwords + some software to use it. Single file, I've forgotten to transfer on a pendrive.
There are no working cards, nor enough cards, and it is so since LDD has been missing and all have designed from their own point of view, what they (including myself) thought the game should play like and act like, even without knowing the rules for it. There isn't even an organized or any list whatsoever of abilities and what mechanics are associated with what faction. I can't concept test something in it's current state since I am not capable to. I would attend a session of others choose to do it though - just drop a thread in the forum with time and date.
You're probably right. It may be too early to test anything.
What I want to point out though is it's perfectly possible to test some rules without having any cards, really. You just make the cards as you go, or write down costs and types prior to tests and mock up a card to your needs later.
Play-by-forum seems better than Wiki... but all those scenarios would take ages to playtest anything at all. Why not just use gCCG? It works.
You need cards to make gCCG game. We don't have any real cards, cause we don't have abilities, right? Following whole "rules > abilities > cards > card images > plugin > test" cycle will not make any rapid progress.
As for cousins and siblings - 3% of cards are 2 pieces per faction... Lets maybe
avoid making a design principle out of it?
I have a faint memory of writing some numbers a while ago but can't fine them in this thread nor in LDD in wiki. Where are they? :shock:
It's here, in first post:
Tertiary: Abilities borrowed from a pre-defined "cousin faction". About 0% - 3%. Substandard performance.
Having rules associated with specific creature types seems like a smooth thing to do, but I am against doing it, for the following reasons:

Using creature subtypes that way is really, from a designers perspective, to just convert abilities and turn them into something that is not an ability any longer (yet it works exactly the same as them). We already have abilities. Why use creature types that way?

Answer is it frees up a lot of space on a card since we can tuck them away in the rulebook instead of the cards and then expect the players will learn them. MtG does that, and many other games also. In MtG "Wall" is a good example. It is a creaure type that has an associated rule with it: It can never be used to attack with. "Legendary" is another example: There can only be one copy of any Legendary card in play at the same time. If a copy is in play and another is played then both copies are discarded.

A drawback is that we make the referencing to the text rules of the game more frequent by "hiding" abilities in it (as creature cardtypes) instead of using spelled out abilities on the cards.

All this brings us back to a very important question: Should we tolerate this in general? Is it good, is it bad? I think we shouldn't, because it's bad design and forces you to have the rule book around. In the end there might be many cardtypes with own rules.
One could suggest that we need only have x creature types that have hard coded rules associated with them. If so, which ones, why only them and not anything else, and when does something become a creaturetype ability with rules instead of a keyworded ability? These questions need answers. Before we start handing out keyworded abilities and creaturetypes with rules.
I think we perceive things a bit differently.
What I thought those hidden abilities (tags) would do is quite simple. But, as usually, I've failed to explain things.
If we're making faction-specific keyworded abilities/tags, those are made to differentiate factions a bit. Let's just stretch this on card types as well. RB big units could be different than imperial ones in the sense that eg. Empire has bundled their own machines with needed crew members.

Orc hero may have a different impact on his comrades, than imperial general on his legionists. Big ettin may work a bit differently than an arkballist. Any orc hero, any imperial general, any big orc or any imperial war machine will work on similar principles though.

You can apply it as a general rule - as with Legendary cards now. Like "Only a single leader in a given battle can use his abilities" or "War machine needs at least one single creature to operate it during the battle" (this is not a complete rule proposal, just an example. For a real one we should describe how an operator and machine works together ans what would happen if one of it would be defeated - it's one more good reason to put it into rule book rather than on cards).

Is it better to keep things faction-dependent or universal depends on the learning curve we want the game to have. "No faction-specific rules" looks like easiest approach for learning things quickly.

After all certain skills/restrictions/needs correspond to certain type of cards rather than anything else, so why not to make a "tag" out of it?

And what should be keyworded? If you want to conserve space - take most common stuff. Most often, widely used. No mystery for me ;)
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