Author Topic: fixed hand size game mechanic  (Read 3096 times)

suffolk

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fixed hand size game mechanic
« on: April 04, 2010, 05:35:14 PM »
Here is an interesting idea that I thought I would share. 

How do you feel about a game that would have a fixed hand size and cards drawn.

Say for example you draw your opening hand of 7 to 10 cards. (and mulligan until you get a nice opening hand - reducing the hand size by one)

Then for the entire game those are the only cards you can play with.  Unless a card from you or your opponent tells you to draw/discard or change you hand the cards would remain the same. 

Say you want to cast the fireball spell, pay its cost, show your opponent, watch the effect, then put the card back into your hand.  Same for some type of creature spell.  You pay the cost, put a creature into play, but the card goes back to your hand to cast on another turn.

I am sure there would be some weird match ups, such as if you do not have a way to hurt you opponent, or no creatures.  Luck would be a deciding factor for how games resolved, but if card creation and deck construction was tweaked good it may not be as restrictive as initially thought.

But for argument sake, just say any type of resources are not from your hand, and the cards in your hand are all usable spells.  I am sure rules could be in place that will keep you from having size of less then 3, and if you did manage to get a hand size of three, you could then draw cards until your hand size was at the game minimum of 3, so that you could at least play something.

Would this type of hand limiting factor be something that would be feasible, or just too restrictive.



...?



Turonik

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Re: fixed hand size game mechanic
« Reply #1 on: April 04, 2010, 06:22:31 PM »
mmm I could see a set hand size being something as you always have to have X cards in your hand and when you have less than X, you draw until you have X. So when you play one, you draw one.

But from what you propose... I really think there needs to be some sort of drawing in the game so it doesn't become a test of luck of whomever gets the better hand.

However.... this idea gave me one, if handled correctly, what about a game where you pick the cards for your starting hand? You would have to REALLY watch combos that would  be way too good to  prevent  it from being like "ok this is my starting hand. Game." but I think it could be theoretically done. I could probably do something like that but  maybe not ever use it.
« Last Edit: April 04, 2010, 06:24:20 PM by Turonik »

Tokimo

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Re: fixed hand size game mechanic
« Reply #2 on: April 04, 2010, 10:13:31 PM »
You would certainly see people able to take this kind of system and flourish in it. It'd be a kinda frustrating experience though. You'd draw and right then that would be it for the whole game. Bad hand? Mulligan. Bag hand? Mulligan. Bad hand? You've just lost because you're now down too many cards to stay competitive on a later turn.

suffolk

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Re: fixed hand size game mechanic
« Reply #3 on: April 05, 2010, 12:38:03 PM »
like i said it is a weird idea, but honestly if you made built your deck around the rule set, you put good cards in the deck.  remember no cards are land/resource cards will be in your hand.  With say a 40 card deck, and a 4-card limit in your deck, in theory you could draw a beginning hand size of 10 and be competitive with close to 1 of each card in your deck.  Not really sure why you would want to mulligan, but I am sure there are those cases.  no need to play card and draw, because the card you just cast comes right back into your hand.  The minimum card rule was for in case you opponent forced you to discard each turn.  Thinking about it, that type of punishment would wreck a player.  but again cards would be designed around those restive hand rules.

Choosing you starting hand is yet another idea where players could choose a smaller hand size... say 7 cards of anything they wanted.  Show opponent who then removes 2 and then the game begins.  So if you really want your combo to make it threw to your starting hand, you will have to pick a lot of the same cards in your opening hand, but them you give yourself a disadvantage type of hand where you may have the key cards, but not have the cards that can get you to the place you need to be for the combo.  The idea is playable, but will need to be tested.

it could also be the fact that you pick 4 cards from your deck, anything you want and your opponent picks the other 4 which becomes your starting hand of 8.  Yet another way to twist up the 'choose your opening hand'

Another idea could be that you start by drawing 6 cards, after turn 3 you discard what is left in your hand and draw back to 6.  So in theory if you play one card a turn (that does not come back to your hand) by the end of turn 3, you should 3 cards left to discard and draw 6.  Similar to an automatic "wheel of Fortune" effect from magic.

So weird ideas for discussion  :)







Tokimo

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Re: fixed hand size game mechanic
« Reply #4 on: April 07, 2010, 07:50:34 AM »
Mulligans are not only about how many lands you have. I have a wurm deck that I mulligan if I draw 2 or more Panglacial Wurms because drawing a Panglacial Wurm is like drawing air. I have an arcbound deck that I mulligan if I don't have enough cheap creatures.

The same thing would certainly happen in a 'land'less game with cards that returned to your hand. You drew a hand and got two copies of Goblin Archer and two copies of Troll Ninja? Mulligan since the greater variety you'll get on next hand will be better.

sneaselx

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Re: fixed hand size game mechanic
« Reply #5 on: April 15, 2010, 07:52:43 PM »
I think it would be feasable, but would require some work. Notably, I think that you would need more complex cards individually, because with just 7-10 cards, the number of different interactions would suffer. Also, drawing permanently from a large deck seems  kind of redundant. Why go to the trouble of making a deck of 40 cards when you only get to use 10-12 of them? This would not attract a lot of new players. However, having many interesting cards would do this, and cards with a variety of effects would be extremely good for attracting new players. This would also allow more characterization (is that word relevant in games? You know what I mean. Maybe.) for cards, allowing each card to show individuality. The deck building aspect would be more fun, because the choice of "this card and not that one." would take on increasing importance.

fistsofthor

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Re: fixed hand size game mechanic
« Reply #6 on: April 19, 2010, 07:34:57 AM »
Well, certain effects would be way over powered, any spell that let you took an extra turn would go infinite.  Tutors would all be overpowered.  A single board clearing wrath effect would completely stop aggro (assuming no haste).  Combo decks would probably be more common, and a lot would come down to the first opening hand and the game would practically be done from turn 1 in the event that the two were mismatched.  Additionally, seeing your opponents hand and discard effects would be far more powerful than normal.  Things that wouldnt be as powereful:
creatures without haste.  Creatures in general, lightening bolt for 3 that comes back to your hand wins every day.  Artifacts and enchantments would be less powerful.  Resources excelleration cards would be more so.  Counterspells would be more or less good depending on whether they cost more or less than the spell getting countered.  Draw mechanics would probably be overpowered.

So, if we were to take, for example, magic the gathering, and try to attach these rules, I suspect we would see broken game mechanics.  In the sense that whoever goes first gets to win consistently.

sneaselx

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Re: fixed hand size game mechanic
« Reply #7 on: April 19, 2010, 03:37:22 PM »
Obviously, magic the gathering would be entirely unsuitable to the situation. It was not designed to fit with the mechanic. For example, tutors, in the way magic uses them, would not exist, precisely because they would be overpowered. The same to board clearing wrath effects and discard effects.

Sahaen

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Re: fixed hand size game mechanic
« Reply #8 on: May 12, 2010, 06:00:07 AM »
Hm... I'm not sure if you would consider this a tutor but how about every card having an effect which reads something like: "Discard this card: draw X cards" or "Shuffle this card into your deck: draw X cards". More powerful spells would net you lesser spells, well weaker ones would give you more. This is presumably "inverse mana-cost".

Kilravok

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Re: fixed hand size game mechanic
« Reply #9 on: January 19, 2011, 06:38:56 AM »
A fixed hand would be a game stopper and also would make the concept of each player having their own deck obsolete.  Using a pre-chosen start hand however is more feasable, especially when (as in the game I am working on) playing against someone one never played before and having to select the start hand BEFORE finding out what colour/faction/race/etc.. the other is. 
One would have to not only worry about the overal strategy of the deck but also wonder about getting the advantage/disadvantage on the start line. 
One can create before game a start hand that enables a combo that almost equals an instant kill....But an allmighty Killer Starter could be countered by Starter Killers...having interupt/spontanous cards in one's own start hand that can force the oponent to discard one or two random cards of his starthand, potentially ruining the start strategy...if both have those cards in the start hand then the start hand strategy might be ruined before it comes to play...with some luck however, the important cards for the start up combo remain untouched by the discarders.
Not knowing what Faction/Colour/ Race/... the oponent has makes it impossible to gues the special cards or the strategy of the oponent, thus one can not prepare specificly for one situation.  Everything that prevents or counteracts Powergaming is a good thing.
I am using the Starthand option in my game because it fits with the theme of the world the battles take place in.  But I also limit the choice of Starthand cards by using power tiers and limiting to certain power levels and type of cards allowed in starthand, thus preventing instant death. I even go as far as to have one or two cards already, face down,  in play before the game even starts.  Important is that those 'chosen' cards, in hand or already in game, are decided on BEFORE one knows what the other player has.

Cyrus

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Re: fixed hand size game mechanic
« Reply #10 on: January 19, 2011, 05:48:02 PM »
At first I wasn't completely into the idea, but the more I thought about it, the more I thought you could actually make a pretty fun game using this sort of mechanic. Here's what I've come up with...

Your deck would only be a little over twice as many cards as your starting hand. I dunno why, but I have the number 12 in mind for a good starting hand size. So, decks are 25 cards.

Cards would be, like someone else suggested, much more "individual" than magic cards. Actually, to start out, you should probably throw away all notions that this game will look anything like Magic besides that you'll be trying to defeat an opponent.
Some things from Magic would probably not exist or at least be much more expensive, such as discard effects, cards that allow you to draw cards, board wipers, and tutors. I'm sure many, many others.

For resources, at the beginning of each turn, you MAY place the top card of your deck face down in your Resources (you'd be allowed to look at these cards). I say MAY because many cards will not be able to be retrieved from your Resources, although mechanics allowing it would allow for a totally different style of play (probably would be what Control decks end up looking like, decks that can, at a price and slowly, find other cards from their Resources). Perhaps a keyword Mechanic would allow some cards to be swapped from your Resources to your hand, or only be playable if they are in the Resource row to begin with. Lots of possibilities here.

A way I like to think about designing a game is what kind of decks you could make, and how you could design cards and mechanics to fit it. So, we touched on Control a bit, which would have high-but-not-requiring-resource-ramp costed cards, and perhaps try to win with a combo or a heavy hitter after surviving the storm of aggro. (In design, you'd have to be very careful about possible combos). Wading through your resources would be a good way to find the cards you need to survive, so those mechanics would be matched to a Blue or White style of playing, in Magic terms. In Magic, Control decks win based on the theory of card advantage. If you see more cards, you should win the game. So this fits here as well. Actual drawing has been mostly cut off, but manipulating cards from your Resources and your Hand would be the key to seeing more cards and playing the Control match.

Pure aggro decks wouldn't really give a crap what cards land in their resource row, only that their opening 12 cards had enough damage in it to kill an opponent. This is essentially the same as Red in Magic, because in a game that goes the way Red wants it to, they barely see more than 12 cards anyway, especially if you didn't count land.

Ramp style play would obviously be possible. In your 12 you'd be hoping to see a couple big, game ending dudes and a bunch of stuff that lets you get there before you should be able to. Ramp would be as simple as placing more cards into your Resources from your deck. There would have to be something in the design to prevent Control decks from taking advantage to basically draw cards...perhaps Ramp cards require some sort of Structure to be in play first (that is cheap to begin with). Then extra Resources you play go under the Structure instead of into your normal Resources, so the Reserve mechanic wouldn't work from there. When you think about it, though, Blue/Green is a powerful strategy in Magic, so Ramp/Control could be equally viable, just gotta make sure it isn't too broken.

The only thing I'm not sold on is cards not actually being played, like you'd just be making copies of the cards as you play them. I think there is a more flavorful way to do it that allows more interaction, and would make a decent amount of sense in a sci-fi setting, which I was hoping to get a chance to play with anyway. Basically, cards like Lightning Bolt would, instead of being a 1-cost, 1-time blast for 3, would look more like a 3-cost card that can be "tapped" every turn to deal some damage. Since you only have a 12 card hand to win the game with, and won't see very many others during the game, each card can look game ending, and I think that'll make the game seem more exciting. Its like starting a game out with tons of power-creep over the years already implemented, and your solution to that problem was telling everyone they can't draw cards anymore :D

As far as life totals, attacking, and all that stuff goes, I'm actually thinking it would remaining fairly "Magic-y." Maybe I can come up with something better though...but I like what I've got so far, if no one else is jumping on this no changing Hand mechanic I may just try to put a couple decks and the rest of the basic rules together and try it out. Anyone down to give it a try if I do?

PS. Sorry this reply got soooooooo long.... TL;DR: I like this idea, I may just use it :D

tac-tics

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Re: fixed hand size game mechanic
« Reply #11 on: January 27, 2011, 11:47:18 AM »
suffolk, I am actually considering a similar mechanic for my game.

In Magic (and most CCGs), the cards in your hand are a limited resource. You spend those resources to achieve board position (casting creatures or other spells, etc). In Magic, this resource is required for almost all actions, but it replenishes very, very slowly. Thus, drawing more cards than your opponent, with all other things even, is an indicator that you are winning the game.

However, this is just one possible design.

The Spoils is a game designed with the help of one of Magic's highest ranking players, Jon Finkle. It is mechanically very similar to Magic. But one interesting difference is that you may essentially pay 4 "mana" to draw a card at any time. This makes your handsize a much less limited resource. Of course, it doesn't make it unlimited. You are still constrained by the most important resource in any game: tempo.

In a game where cards go back to your hand after they are destroyed, things are different. You can never "remove" a threat from the board, but you can "delay" it. Instead of gaining a material advantage, you get a time advantage.

There are many kinds of game other than card games that operate under similar assumptions. For example, in fighting games, there is no way for you to "remove" your opponent's ability to do a dash attack. However, if you throw a fireball, for a short period of time, your opponent can't dash (he'll get hit by the fireball). You have delayed this threat. This gives you a small window where you have an opportunity to take the advantage. Perhaps you can bait your opponent into a jump-attack, where you can dodge and counter. Perhaps, if your opponent blocks, you can run up and throw him. But, regardless of the outcome, your opponent will still have his ability to dash attack you later in the game.

If you're choosing to go with a design like this, here is my advice. Make sure that players are able to fully take advantage of the delay. Magic is a poor example of this. Unsummon is a card that returns a creature to its owner's hand. In most cases, though, the player will simply replay the creature the very next turn (or the same turn, if you unsummoned it during his attack!)

One possible idea is to require that cards cannot be played again instantly. Maybe creatures take time to summon, depending on how powerful they are. Perhaps instead of returning them to the opponent's hand, the creatures are simply "disabled" for a few turns, depending on "how badly" they were damaged. (You could use counters to represent damage, and they can't "untap" until they are fully healed).

Another suggestion I have is you want to be conscious of how many choices a player has at every point in the game. If a player has only one good choice every turn (ie: play the creature that was destroyed the previous turn), it becomes very boring. If a player has too many choices (ie: on turn 10, you have a hand with 20 cards, and you have to figure out which is the best to play), the game becomes overwheling. Part of this means try to control how many cards are in the player's hands. Magic starts with 7 cards, but that number is only as high as it is because you need to be able to draw into your land cards early on. If your game uses a different resources system, you can get away with 3-5 cards. Netrunner and Dominion, for example, starts with a hand of 5 cards. Fluxx, with a hand of only 3.

You also want to make sure there is variety in what cards players can play. Seeing the same cards over and over gets stale. Even if cards are "invulnerable", perhaps there is a limit to how many you can use at one time. Drawing into new (and more powerful cards) requires that you throw away other cards in your hand. If you are thinking about only letting players play with 10 or 15 cards out of their deck each game, perhaps games should play out very fast. (Maybe you'd call them "hands" or something, similar to casino card games. A "game" of poker can take hours, but each hand (played with only 10 to 20 cards) only lasts a few minutes).

Also, I'd like to say, don't listen to detractors who say this kind of game is impossible to make. It requires a lot of design, testing, and it's probably much harder to "do right" than a Magic clone with Ninjas. Think about what would work (the "suspend" ability from Magic seems to fit in well) and what doesn't work (Magic's fireball wouldn't really work so well). Steal lots of ideas, but steal them from everywhere, not just Magic.

Good luck!

Cyrus

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Re: fixed hand size game mechanic
« Reply #12 on: January 27, 2011, 01:48:52 PM »
I wrote up a really short rulebook on how a game with a fixed hand could work, but it is on a different computer. I'll try to remember to post it up later. I need to add mechanics to it anyway as well, like the ones I mentioned in my previous post

Monox D. I-Fly

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Re: fixed hand size game mechanic
« Reply #13 on: April 05, 2016, 08:36:24 AM »
Urban Rivals has a deck of only 8 cards, which in each match both players draw 4 and use only those 4 cards for the rest of the game. It works well, though. In fact, Urban Rivals is one of the biggest CCG online which has a lot of fanbase. What it differs from your idea in the first post, though, is that there is no reusable card in Urban Rivals in a match. Each rounds, a player choose 1 of their own cards againts to fight against each other (all cards are Characters, by the way). The used cards can't be used in the remaining rounds. So, each match consists only 4 rounds unless a player has run out of LP before the 4th round occurs.