Friday, July 09, 2010

Cards that break or change the rules

One of my projects lately is an extension of earlier games. The general subject is card games, especially card games where cards can break the rules temporarily (quite common) or change the rules semi-permanently (much less common). Collectible Card Games rely on rule-breaking within the context of a single game, though in the long run CCG are effectively about breaking the rules. New cards are produced (and old cards banned) so that the winning strategies of the game are quite significantly changed. Designers of CCG say, if you have a tournament where the same kind of deck dominates, that dominated a year ago, you have failed. The whole point is to change the game so that players must buy the new cards (and that's why I strongly dislike CCG, an extrenal factor, how much money you're willing to spend, makes the game unfair).

Event cards, present in many boardgames, are usually rule-breakers rather than rule-changers.

Fluxx is a well-known game where many of the cards change the rules of the game "semi-permanently" (until someone else plays a card that changes the rules again). The result is very chaotic.

My game Law & Chaos uses both a board with piece placement (not movement) and cards, with the cards providing some rule-breaking, but more rule-changing, as victory conditions and capture methods change over time. In my card game Kung Fu, I stuck to cards that break the rules rather than change them. In the new game, I've tried a mix of cards, combined with a board and piece movement.

So far I'm not happy with the result, as the board seems too static, too territorial (which doesn't happen with L&C). We'll see if I can get away from that.

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