Another attempt at simplified rules

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Ravenchild
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Another attempt at simplified rules

Post by Ravenchild » Mon Mar 28, 2016 13:53

I was wondering how complex a simple ruleset has to be in order to still be interesting. I know from the world of modern programming languages that it's usually better to have a relatively simple programming language, but everything that is in that language is very powerful and versatile so that more interesting concepts can be created on top of it. This is also what I am trying to achieve here. I think the following rules are interesting enough to be turned into an actual game, but it's still only a suggestion.
General principle: Leave as much functionality of the game mechanics to the rule text
of the cards themselves. Special abilities like "flying" are not explained in
this general ruleset. The rules below are truly general and define a working
game. But any card may also change these rules.

Zones that every player has:
deck stack: Face down stack of cards
city stack: Face up stack of cards of type "city"
grave stack: Face up stack of cards that are dead
hand: A set of cards that is hidden from enemy players
battlefield: An area of cards of type "unit" and "promotion"

Every card has a name, a type and a ruletext. The types are "city", "unit" and
"promotion". Every card starts in the deck, and is moved to the hand. Cards can
be placed on the city stack or into the battlefield at no cost.

Card types:

unit: In addition to the general elements, a unit has a subtype that describes
its role in the world of Wesnoth. Furthermore a unit has a base attack and base
defense value. Whenever the damage that a unit receives in a turn is greater or
equal to its defense value, the unit is put on the grave stack. Units can also have
levels. Every unit starts at level 0 and can rise in levels by attaching
"promotion" cards to it. The level of a unit is equal to the number of promotion
cards of a specific faction. Depending on the level, different abilities may
be available for that card.

promotion: A promotion card can be attached to a unit and thereby rise its
level. Promotion cards usually come with additional bonuses.

city: A city is placed on the top of a player's city stack. Every game starts
with each player searching their libries for a city card and placing it on the
city stack. The deck is shuffled afterwards. Whenever a player has no more cards
on the city stack he/she loses the game. Even though a player can have several
city cards on the city stack, only the topmost city card is active. Every city
card has an attack and defense value. Whenever a city receives damage greater or
equal to its defense value in a turn, the city is removed from the top of the
city stack and placed at the bottom of the city stack of the player who dealt
the last damage to it (This simulates the conquest of cities).

Gameplay

During each player's turn that player draws a card from his/her deck. If that is
not possible, that player loses the game. The active player can attack other
players. Whenever a player attacks, the defending player may choose units for
defense. The defenders deal damage to the attackers and receive damage from the
attacking units. Any damage that is not being covered by the defending units is
dealt to the city card on top of the city stack of the defending player. The top
city card can also deal damage to attacking units if it has an attack value
greater than zero.

During a player's turn he/she may place cards from his/her hand into other zones
controlled by him/herself. Unit cards can be placed into the battlefield,
promotion cards can be attached to unit cards and city cards can be placed on
top of the city stack.

When there are no more enemy players, the game is won.
That's still a lot of stuff, but I hope it's understandable.

Let me give you an example for levels of units: Say we have a gaian archer with the following ruletext:
ranged 2 (This unit does not receive damage from other units in combat with a lower ranged value)
level GG: ranged +3
level GG1: ranged +2
level GR: Add 1 damage to every attack.
We can symbolize these level requirements similar to MTG mana costs. There can be faction-specific level requirements and faction-unspecific level requirements.

Here we have three levels. Two of them require only gaian promotions and one of them requires one gaian and one red banner promotion to be activated.
Once this unit reaches the gaia level 2, its ranged ability is increased by 3 (so that it is at 5). Once it has another promotion card attached to it (faction does not matter), the range ability increases by another 2 (and thus becomes 7).
Once it has one gaian and one red banner promotion, it deals 1 additional attack damage.

And thanks to ngoeminne for suggesting the name "cities".
Last edited by Ravenchild on Mon Mar 28, 2016 15:17, edited 1 time in total.
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Peter
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Re: Another attempt at simplified rules

Post by Peter » Mon Mar 28, 2016 14:48

Those are rather short :) I like them. And the quoted principle to leave as much as possible (like flying) to the card is very useful. :geek:
Kind regards and happy coding :)
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Ravenchild
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Re: Another attempt at simplified rules

Post by Ravenchild » Tue Mar 29, 2016 19:28

Thanks for the feedback. But I noticed that there is still something important missing. I did not describe how to handle combat i.e. how to deal and resolve damage during a fight. I also did not decide if attacking units are unavailable for defending afterwards. We could simply go the MTG route here, but there are also other possibilities. For example, unit cards could be placed in a formation so that some units are in the front line and others stay behind and give buffs or deal ranged damage. Wesnoth itself is a hexagon-based game. We could recreate the (temporary) positioning of units during battle in our cardgame. But then again, this thread is about a simple system. We can make things more complicated at a later time :mrgreen:
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xarn
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Re: Another attempt at simplified rules

Post by xarn » Sun Jun 19, 2016 05:37

I don't know why I only read it now ...but THIS should be the rules! :D
Honestly, it's simple, it's close to Wesnoth, and it sounds OK.

One twist regarding promotions. I'd make these cards only playable on a unit having successfully attacked, and replace it with this upgraded version. It seems nice.
ngoeminne
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Re: Another attempt at simplified rules

Post by ngoeminne » Sun Jun 19, 2016 09:27

Hey all,

To mine opinion, the rules here are ok, and they 'look' simple enough, because they are short.
However they only describe the main idea. When digging a little deeper and having a full featured description, it will be just as long as the ORC / ARC.

Xarn stated somewhere, that he created his VSR because the ORC was to long to read.
It is and it isn't. It is if you want to get started and play, it isn't if you want to cover all mechanics of the game.

An example:
- "Combat is done the MtG way" (single line, every MtG player will know how to play)
- Compare it to what's written in the ORC
Combat sequence

I.

The attacking (active) player may choose to attack during a Move/Attack phase using any number of creatures in his/her Front.
Creatures assigned to attack are called attackers.
Please note the distinction between an attacking player and attackers: The former is a player that launched an attack, the latter are all Creatures that are currently attacking.
The player chooses and announces all attackers that will fight that turn by marking them & announcing them as attackers.
The target of these attacks is always the opposing players currently active Region.
In cases where there are more than one attacking creature the attacking player must announce and choose the order of the attacks, which is first, then second, and so on.
Once the attackers are announced, the passive player gets a Response phase, that gives him/her the opportunity to play one Event card or one Ability (but not both at the same time).
The attacking player then gets the same opportunity, and this process is repeated until both players make a pass on the opportunity to play something in the Response phase. When the players pass on the Response phase the attack continues as follows:

II.

All creatures assigned to defend are called defenders for the duration of the battle.
The defending player may choose to:
Defend against the attack(s) with the top creature from one or more of the 3 Domains in his/her Kingdom. (Civilian Defense)
Defend one or more of the attack(s) with one or more creatures from his/her Front. (Military Defense)
Allow the attacks to go on undefended.
If the player decides not to defend the attack his/her Region loses HP that's equal to the total amount of damage dealt by the attackers.

III.

If the player decides to go for a Military defense with creatures in hio/her the front he/she:
May assign any number of creatures as defenders to any number of attackers.
Must clearly show which defender(s) is assigned to which specific attacker.
A specific defender can only defend against one single attacker.
Several defenders can be assigned to the same attacker.


If the player decides to go for a Civilian defense with creatures in his/her Kingdom he/she:
May assign up to 1 creature - the top one - from each of his/her Domains to the attacker(s).
Must clearly show which defender(s) is assigned to which specific attacker.
A specific defender can only defend against one single attacker.
Several defenders can be assigned to the same attacker.
Defenders from the Domains do not strike back on the attackers, meaning they can only be used to soak up damage that the attackers deal, and never kill an attacker themselves by using their ATK.

A player may choose to defend against some creatures, and let others be undefended against so that they deal damage to the players Region.
A player can not compose a defense made up of both creatures in the front and in the domains. Defenders must always come from either the Front, or the Domain(s).


IV.

Each individual combat takes place. In each combat the players take turns with Response phases.
When both players pass instead of responding to the other player's actions the combat is resolved:
Take into account all effects and then compare the values of the Attackers ATK value with the Defenders DEF value.
If it is higher or equal the Defender will die. If it is lower the Defender will survive.
Regardless of the outcome the Defender successfully protects the defending players Region from that attacker.
Regardless of the outcome the Defender always gets to strike back at the Attacker if he is defending from the Front: Compare the Defender's ATK value with the Attackers DEF value - if it is equal to or higher then the Attacker will die.
When combat is over place all dead Creatures into the discard piles, along with all Events that were used during the combat and also any Enchantments that were attached to the Creatures.


In the rules in this post case the combat-mechanics are not explained, nor the resource/casting cost. The table setup, etc ... When you go and actually try to play them, you'll have to invent/agree on a lot of things with your opponent in order to be able to play at all.

My point is, that the ORC / ARC aren't much more complex than the rules posted here and there on the forum. Rather they are (or try to be feature complete).

Kind regards,
Nico
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snowdrop
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Re: Another attempt at simplified rules

Post by snowdrop » Thu Jun 23, 2016 08:49

Raven wrote: I know from the world of modern programming languages that it's usually better to have a relatively simple programming language, but everything that is in that language is very powerful and versatile so that more interesting concepts can be created on top of it. This is also what I am trying to achieve here.
That's a really good description of one of the golden rules of good design. Especially in a CCG i think it's the correct approach since the game genre is so modular - whatever isn't necessary for the games core design and structure and isn't reoccurring shouldn't be in the core ruleset. It should be printed on cards instead.
Special abilities like "flying" are not explained in
this general ruleset. The rules below are truly general and define a working
game. But any card may also change these rules.
Exactly. But there is also a difference between listing such info in the rules, or listing the info in a separate document or an appendix to the rules. There is an added degree of simplicity for the players that easily want to look up what x does and how y works et.c. if that info is compiled and organised somewhere. But having it as some kind of necessary reading and as a core rule does indeed make no sense.
Whenever a city receives damage greater or
equal to its defense value in a turn, the city is removed from the top of the
city stack and placed at the bottom of the city stack of the player who dealt
the last damage to it (This simulates the conquest of cities).
While I'm weak for this and like it, I also suspect that it is a good example of what is actually an issue in many games, including Wesnoth itself: The runaway leader-problem, where due to how we design a game, the person that starts leading will just keep expanding on that lead in something a kin to an exponential way.

My point here is that at a first glance it looks like the player that lost a city first 1) gets punished for getting closer to loss then at the same time 2) the other player gets further away from his/her own loss by getting the city. This is in fact a "double-punishment" that stimulates the runaway lead, where the same event triggers to variables to go in opposite directions.

Reason this can be an issue is if the average players prefer even games, in the long run, in contrast to ones where one side stomps the other, and also prefer games where you haven't lost after 5 minutes but have to spend another 25 being humiliated ;) Hence, runaway leader is perceived as real issue by most designers.

In ORC I try to mitigate the runaway effects to some degree by a) allowing card draw when losing a region and b) making the regions more powerful towards the end game. I'm not sure that will be enough, and our original plans were to also include some treasures there et.c, but that will have to wait until after playtesting.

About the ruleset
It remind me a lot of how fast "Epic the card game" plays out, and has basically the same rules as it. I'd recommend you check out the rules for that game or even try it out - I'm sure you can mash up your own with stuff from there and get something really good.

The ruleset(s) are action centric and create a brawler/hero vs hero type of game. It's not a full fledged CCG, but doesn't try to achieve that on purpose. Instead you get speedy and action filled plays. It would be really cool to try out - I'd be happy to play a couple of games if "somebody" just creates all the cards and balances them a little first ;) And yeah, really do try "Epic" - it will be huge help for this set, and I happened to post a short review of the game in "Chaos" some days ago.
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Ravenchild
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Re: Another attempt at simplified rules

Post by Ravenchild » Thu Jul 07, 2016 20:45

Thanks for the positive feedback! That was actually kind of unexpected because this was more of an experiment than an attempt to create a real contender for (one of) the official rules. But if you like anything you see, feel free to take the ideas and use them.

@snowdrop: I have to agree on the issue of making the winning player even stronger by gaining additional city cards on conquest. While this mechanism might be exploited by the losing player by using cities that have downsides and will now plague the winning player, this still needs some more thoughts to solve these general issues.

And yes, to be a complete CCG, we would also need cards that are like instants and sorceries in MtG: Cards that are being played, that have an immediate effect and that are then placed on the grave stack. I mean, in principle you could work without these, but my gut feeling is that they would be nice to have.

@ngoeminne: It's difficult to tell if you are right on the issue of real ruleset length. I think this ruleset is pretty self-contained but there might still be some corner cases that I haven't thought of. And yes, the combat system needs to be defined. But everything else should be in place. Resource management is described: Cards have no costs but you have to choose where to place your promotion cards. Table setup should also be defined in enough detail by the zones rules. Someone who is completely new to CCG might need more explanations but I think the concept of stacks and zones/areas should be clear to everyone else.

I might have missed it, but do we have a short summary of the ORC?
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Re: Another attempt at simplified rules

Post by snowdrop » Fri Jul 08, 2016 06:22

Ravenchild wrote:I might have missed it, but do we have a short summary of the ORC?
No, I didn't want to/won't maintain two documents while it's still not in place. As it is now I think it will be pretty stable, and there might be a reason to have a quick-play-version of them. If you or anyone else feels like creating one in wiki it would be nice.

(Once they're actually set there should be both what you ask for and also how-to-play videos... that's a goal.)
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