Hand card depletion, a good thing?

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ngoeminne
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Hand card depletion, a good thing?

Post by ngoeminne » Mon May 30, 2016 19:43

Hey folks,

Both ARC and ORC have a 2 card draw, and during the playtesting we could really go deep into the deck each game. The card rotation was high, and you have always plenty of cards to play.

The downside/upside of that is that there wasn't any card depletion at all, you roughly stayed at 5 to 7 cards in hand. It meant that you didn't have to save up useful cards, and made the game actually less difficult to play (strategy wise).

Decks build around card/resource majority will be hard to make. So, do we keep the 2 cards draw, change it to 1; or have the best of both world, high card rotation, but still have card depletion.

It could be something like the MtG scry; draw two cards, choose one and put it in your hand, put the other on the bottom of your lib. This ensures a high card rotation, yet also puts you on edge to keep the good card. Selecting a card for resource building also cuts a little harder.

What are your thoughts?

Kind regards,
Nico
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snowdrop
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Re: Hand card depletion, a good thing?

Post by snowdrop » Tue May 31, 2016 08:59

Hand depletion and having just 0-2 cards per turn in hand is usually a really tedious and boring state of the game in MtG. I'd say it makes almost no sense to actively aim for that in most games. I know it isn't what you are suggesting either, and you may have a point in that there is perhaps too small amount of incentive/reason or urgency in sacrificing a card as a resource. That might be true, in which case the Scry-suggestion could work.

and during the playtesting we could really go deep into the deck each game. The card rotation was high, and you have always plenty of cards to play.
All of which are pretty good things. :) Now, what that entails for the resource management and strategies overall, is as you point out, maybe a different story...

Turn 1: 7 cards drawn
Turn 2: 9 cards drawn
Turn 3: 11 cards drawn
Turn 4: 13 cards drawn
Turn 5: 15 cards drawn = 25% of a 60 card deck and the definitive ending of early game by now...

Turn 6: 17...
Turn 7: 19
Turn 8: 21
Turn 9: 23
Turn 10: 25
Turn 11: 27
Turn 12: 29
Turn 13: 31 = circa 50% of cards drawn, what in most cases would be in the end game?

If the above is correct, it gives me the impression that something between 20% to 40% of the cards in a deck will remain unused, while 41% of the cards drawn up until turn 13 will have been used as resources if the player chooses to drop 1 resource per turn until then (also unlikely decision in all decks).

If 20 - 50% of the cards remain in deck when reaching the end game I don't think we have an issue with going too deep in the deck, so that in itself, doesn't seem to be a problem.

This kind of details are intentionally not mentioned in the General Design Document (GDD, wiki). They should be decided upon in the Local Design Document for each ruleset: What does the designer aim at? Does he/she wants to go deep in the deck, or maybe even deplete it, or not? Why/not?

In ORC having 20% of the cards left in deck in an average game when the game ends isn't an issue since it's in accordance with my belief that it adds something to the randomisation and utilization of cards and strategies if you, during each game, are not guaranteed to mill through every single card in your deck. But that is just my own belief and understanding of how a fun CCG should look like, and I'm sure there are people out there that would prefer the opposite. In a sense I can also understand their view as it brings the game somewhat closer to "full information games" by removing one of the uncertainties of randomization.

you roughly stayed at 5 to 7 cards in hand. It meant that you didn't have to save up useful cards, and made the game actually less difficult to play (strategy wise).
If there are only up to 4 copies of a card in a deck, and most cards fill somewhat unique functions, it suggests that you do have to save some cards that might be much more useful later or soon, than they are currently. At the same time you try to balance things out by deciding what cards to sacrifice as gold resources, and keep doing an analysis of now - soon - late-game needs and what would give the best effects in regards of your decks build and the opponents.

The problem could simply be that the cards are to similar in function or that there isn't enough of spread in their power level for it to matter if you save them or turn them into gold. It could just be a card design problem: If it even is a problem to always have 5 cards in hand, as it is something you strive to achieve as a player since it always gives you more possibilities and choices, opening up for supposedly more strategies, and not less.

The way I read your post is that there could be a reason to worry that the resource handling itself isn't challenging enough - that it hardly matters what card you drop as a resources and what you keep, and that dropping a card as a resource seems to be a no brainer and something that happens each turn, while you would want(?) it to be a somewhat heavier decision (which indeed it becomes if you draw in a slower tempo). If the issue is in ARC with various currencies for gold, it would also be an even greater in ORC which only has one.
It could be something like the MtG scry; draw two cards, choose one and put it in your hand, put the other on the bottom of your lib. This ensures a high card rotation, yet also puts you on edge to keep the good card. Selecting a card for resource building also cuts a little harder.
If the problem is real then this would probably solve it. I wouldn't use it in ORC though as a part of the rules (while I'd happily see it as a card mechanic on some cards) because it adds more admin.

A solution I'd try would be something like:

Code: Select all

Each turn the player decides if he/she wants to a) play a resource card and only draw one card from the deck or b) draw two cards from the deck and not be able to play a resource card
It removes the extra admin each turn that scry-like solutions introduce, and it actually also makes a much bigger impact when deciding of you want to play resources our not, while at the same time allowing you to refill hand quite easily if you are happy with your current economy. The wrong choice of (not) dedicating your turn to resource buildup and not knowing when to do it or go for extra cards will indeed hurt you during the course of the game the longer the game goes on, putting maybe needed focus on resource management.
ngoeminne
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Re: Hand card depletion, a good thing?

Post by ngoeminne » Mon Jun 06, 2016 21:01

Hey Snowdrop,

Thanks for your input.
On your suggestion I've tested the following draw rules.

The player decides any of these combinations during draw:

a) draw 0, put down 2 resource cards
b) draw 1 card, put down 1 resource card
c) draw 2 cards, no resource cards are allowed.

It made the bootstrap of the game much more interesting, and I like it better then the default two card draw. On thursday we'll have another round of playtesting, we'll see how it turns out.

Kind regards,
Nico
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snowdrop
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Re: Hand card depletion, a good thing?

Post by snowdrop » Tue Jun 07, 2016 18:17

draw 0, put down 2 resource cards
It seems liberal enough to make it much harder for the designer to actually evaluate how/when the "power curve" develops in an average game. In MtG it's easily done due to restrictive rule of 1 landdrop/turn, so you know that at worst, if all goes as plans, in an average deck, you will have 5 mana during your fifth turn, suggesting that you can create relations of when a card is supposed/expected to be played (early, mid, late game) and/or the power and cost of a card.

Imagine I have an expensive deck. On 3 turns I can drop 6 resources and then play the 7:th card, costing 6 gold. Hence, it is hard to predict where/when a 6 gold card will be played.

This example in itself would have to be done at a very steep cost (no card draw for 2 turns, and then no cards left in hand, and no other actions 3 first turns of game = should be a drawback). Yet, the example isn't the point - the shifting and less predictability of the power curve is, and may perhaps cause issues. Hard to say though until it has been seen in action and with a greater card pool, as two precons can't capture it.
ngoeminne
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Re: Hand card depletion, a good thing?

Post by ngoeminne » Wed Jun 08, 2016 15:21

Hey snowdrop,

It might be harder for the us devs to know when a card can be played.
However it does allow for the player to vary in tempo and I'm all for that.
snowdrop wrote:This example in itself would have to be done at a very steep cost (no card draw for 2 turns, and then no cards left in hand, and no other actions 3 first turns of game = should be a drawback). Yet, the example isn't the point - the shifting and less predictability of the power curve is, and may perhaps cause issues. Hard to say though until it has been seen in action and with a greater card pool, as two precons can't capture it.
Anyway, we'll see how it turns out.
Kind regards,
Nico
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