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Do you like interrupt cards in a CCG?

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Hi guys. I wanted to know about your opinions about interrupt cards. Interrupt cards are basically cards like the Instants in MTG, where you can play them anytime during the game, including your opponent's turn. I am actually trying to create a CCG that is competitive, meaning that it involves a lot of deep strategic decission makings, but not too technical that it becomes too boring and not fun. It is mainly a one on one game but with possible multiplayer variant. Then I came across this problem, which is wether to include interrupt cards or not.

I think most people will agree that interrupt cards actually increases the interactions between the players, which makes the game fun. However, I realised that too much of interrupts can sometimes turn the game into a guessing game. The game will depend on a lot of bluffs and tells which are in my opinion not really a strategic feature. I consider bluffs and tells more of a social skill, which we try to study body language and the psychology of our opponents. I mean, social skills is good and all but I do not want it to overwhelm the strategic and tactical parts of the game. I wanted to create a game with more emphasize on strategic decission makings like chess.
Duel Masters does not have any interrupt cards in it (minus the shield trigers) and yet I find it very simple and mind challenging, which is quite elegant for a CCG. I really want to make a CCG like that.

However, I did consider a game without interrupt cards and found another problem. Sometimes the out come of games without any interrupt cards can be very predictable. Both players can just play a few turns and the winner of the game will be so obvious that there is little meaning to continue. Imagine a Yugioh game without any trap cards or quick spell. In the first 2 or 3 turns, once a player gets a firm grip on field presence (meaning the number of monsters on his field, no spell or traps in this case) it is all over. He can easily tribute summon, synchro summon or sacrifice monsters for big effects and mow you down when all you can do is put a monster in defence position. There will be no mirror force or torrential tribute or whatever to save you. Your opponent  can just easily go all out, summoning more monsters and keep attacking until you fall, without the need to worry about a nasty surprise from no where. I tried out something similar and find myself surrendering easily whenever the outcome of the game is clear, since there is no need to continue. I'll prefer a game where a catch up is possible even when one player is about to lose. Another words, if you are already winning and you started to be careless, your opponent can surprise you with an unexpected play to even out the situation. In this case, there'll be a need to play till the end even when you are clearly losing since there is a chance where you might still catch up with the winning player and even eventually become victorious.

For those you you that check out the Battle Spirits TCG, you will realise that it has a rather unique interrupting system called the Flash step. A flash step happens only when a player declares an attack and the defender always gets the priority. First the defender can play a spell and then priority is passed to the attacker and then to the defender against until both players pass.
And by the way, effects are resolved as soon as the spell is played, so there is no chains or on the stack. To give a clearer image, it looks like this:

Attacker Declare Attack------ Flash Step 1 (Defender gets priority)-------Defender Choses the Blocker---------Flash Step 2 (Defender still gets priority)----------Showdown (Results of battle, life loss if attack went through)

This Flash Step system actually makes the game less technical like in MTG where you need to wait for a respond each time you play something. It also makes the game flow smoother and faster. Another good feature is that, if you are unsure of what your opponent has and want to avoid risks, you can choose not to attack. In that case, they won't be any Flash Step and there will be no nasty surprises for you. Compared to MTG and Yugioh where every single thing you do isn't safe and can be countered with a sudden instant or trap card, I think the Flash Step looks better.

So, what do you guys think? By the way, I still haven't stabilize any rules in my game yet so I can't post them. However, I still want to know how you guys think about interrupts, wether you guys like them or not and which system you guys prefer.



--- Quote ---However, I realised that too much of interrupts can sometimes turn the game into a guessing game.
--- End quote ---

Too much or too little of anything can always be a problem. Why do you have to have "too much" interrupts? ;) Properly balancing is done via playtesting. It will show when something happens too often/too seldom and will allow you to adjust numbers, effects etc.

--- Quote ---The game will depend on a lot of bluffs and tells which are in my opinion not really a strategic feature. I consider bluffs and tells more of a social skill, which we try to study body language and the psychology of our opponents.
--- End quote ---

Not a necessity: It can depend on resource handling as well. For example, in MTG you know that when the opponent has few lands untapped he can usually not play a powerful interrupt. You can also deduct something along the line with that from the fact that he has only has 1 or 2 cards in hand - then it's less likely that he has the perfect interrupt than if he held 7 cards in hand.

Yes, the bluff is possible in games like MTG, but players probably seldom win by utilizing it. Just look at the champioships and you'll realize it's not very relevant for game play, compared with say poker.

Interrupt cards and bluffs are completely useless in Yu-Gi-Oh! now. Simply because of the new cards they made that negate this or destroy that. Yu-Gi-Oh! is no fun anymore because everyone runs the same cards. Always Blackwings, Gladiator Beasts, Lightsworn, Synchros or Assault. The game is broken now.

I think that if adding interrupts increases interactions between the players, it is naturally going to add bluffing and tells. When people are competing, and have hidden information, there will always be mind games. If you don't want them, you cannot have hidden information. However, I don't think this is a bad thing. The solution would be to add a controlled amount, similar, I think, to the Battle Spirits game you talked about. Also, you could make interrupts more strategic. Instead of having tactical instants, such as "Negate an attack", you could have more strategic ones. eg. "Deal 1 damage to attacking creature for every 'Dark' unit you control." These kind of cards mean that there is still quick action, but it is tempered by your strategic decisions, and could be guessed through the metagame.

Magic got rid of "interupts" and just made them instants but that's besides the point.

there's two major systems  a card game uses, unfortunately people only know of the magic style where there's a "priority system" and instants and all that. The problem I have with these is that they hinder interactivity than they promote. This system is about playing counters, cards that get rid or nerf the card as soon as it's played (not always counterspell counter.) SOrry but sitting on a card until it's best to screw over my opponent is not fun nor exciting nor all that strategic.

What's the other system? Pass/Play. This is more like chess. You make a move and then your opponent does, each going back and forth taking an action until all players pass. I like this in games since they have what I really call "battles", you do things during an attack instead of just chosing someone to attack with , wait for blockers, and see if your opponent has maybe a card to play. You have to pick your targets carefully and your priorities. You can't just sit on an action and pull it out as a safety. Do that in games with pass/play and you'll just pay for it with losing the battle and a ton of guys. There are things called reacts/reactions that more like triggers though since they say when you play them but you can play them while your opponent is taking an action. In some regards it's sort of like an "interrupt" but not really since they are not that many and they all have a specified condition to play them under.


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