Design Diary for the Unnamed Card Game, Part 3

With the basics in place my still unnamed card game was looking good, it was shaping up to be a match-the-sets game with a Science Fiction theme and a slight twist. Finding an end point was proving a challenge though.

There were plenty of possible solutions: I could make a time track that ticked down every time the deck ran out and was reshuffled, or a pool of counters to remove. I cold even tie these tracks into the deterioration of the planet imposing a countdown and problematic new rules to add all sorts of fun tension to proceedings. While this sounded great I like card games to consist of cards with no other bits and pieces tacked on. Little bags of counters just bug me.

So I liked the representation of the planet collapsing and I thought that each step could limit a different category of resource in the way that fuel is limited in the beginning of a game. I would have to find a way of doing this with cards though. I didn’t want a second deck of cards full of disasters and catastrophes so I figured they would just have to be shuffled into the main deck.

This of course posed new problems. Having catastrophes popping up throughout play sounded great but just sticking them in and activating them as they come up would have them all in play by the end of the first pass through the deck. Not ideal. So I figured that the first action in every turn should be a disaster check; the player flips the top card of the deck, if it’s a disaster it comes into play, anything else gets discarded. This would keep things nice and random, help every game play out differently and keep every game working towards a conclusion as the disaster cards and their limitations upon resources build up.

Great! I had a way to draw the game to a close and it was going to add variety and, hopefully, interesting tactical considerations to the mix. Sure, the disaster check at the start of each turn was a little odd, but it did help speed through the deck. There was also the small issue that if a player ever drew a disaster card  when not doing a check that player would then have to discard it and draw another. So not ideal, but it sounded like it would work. Probably. Perhaps…

Next up: Finally putting a deck together!

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