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Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Battle Cards Spotlight 3a: Gameplay I

Part 3a: Gameplay

I'm not sure if my friends and I ever came up with a standardized way of playing Battle Cards. In fact, to my memory I can only remember playing about ten full games total. There were some mechanics that we never were able to completely iron out before the Age of Battle Cards came to an end, but I'll do my best to remember for the purposes of this post.

Understanding the Parts of a Battle Card
CARD NAME: This is the name of the Battle Card. Heroes have their hero class, followed by their actual name to distinguish them from other similar heroes.
HIT POINTS: These show how much life the Battle Card starts with. All Battle Cards, for whatever reason, have hit points in multiples of 10. When it reaches zero, the Battle Card is discarded into the dead pile.
ELEMENT: What subdeck the card belongs to. The basic elements are Good, Evil, Wild, Tame, Artifact, and Special Move. Some attacks do extra damage or special effects to certain elements as well. For an explanation of the different elements and their icons, see Part 2: Design.
APPEARANCE: A visual depiction of the item, troop, special move, or hero.
ATTACKS: Each attack has an icon, a name, and one or more effects. The effects will be detailed later.
DESCRIPTION/BIOGRAPHY: Every Battle Card has an description, which looks into the untold lore of Battalia. It may describe the unit's origin, practices, diet, etc. Heroes have more specific biographies. Also written here are any special abilities or rules the card carries with it.

OTHER FEATURES: "Credit cards" (see below) have a monetary value assigned to them (for example, 50$); One tame card, the Wind Wizard, had an MP stat alongside its HP that it used as a mana cost for its attacks.


As far as I can remember, this is basically the way a typical game of Battle Cards went.
  1. First, we would choose our deck. We would decide beforehand how many each person would get (for example, 1 hero, 1 artifact, and 10 troops). We would arrange them in the order we wanted them to fight in. This style of a "linear" sort of formation was later replaced by a style in which we could set out up to three cards in front of us, each taking its turn. This way we could choose which of the enemy cards to attack, rather than just the first one in the enemy deck (for purposes of explanation, the first style will be called style A and the second B)
  2. The first player would take his turn. A turn could consist of switching out your card for another one, equipping an item, or using an ability. If he chose an attack, it would take effect immediately on the enemy card. The card would take however much damage the attack was designated, or receive the designated status effect. If the card died, it would be discarded into the dead pile, and in style A any leftover damage from the attack would be carried to the next card(s).
  3. The next person would take his turn.
  4. Whoever destroyed his enemy's deck would win.
  1. No using the same attack twice in a row.
  2. God cards cannot be killed in one hit under normal means.
  3. Certain cards could be banned for being too "power-happy."
As you can see, there are a few glaring problems with these rules: Firstly, what limits are put on the card attacks? We recognized that Pokémon cards had those energy cards that were used as a sort of cost system for attacks, but we didn't want to waste paper making a buttload of those. So instead, we simply said that you can't use the same attack twice in a row. This worked okay, but if a card had one devastating attack, they could still use it every other turn for power-happy results. Secondly... well, let's do a whole section on "style A."

Concerning style A, as I arbitrarily refer to it in this post, I have no idea what we were thinking. I think we had a basic grasp on the gameplay of Pokémon cards, and I think they work the same way, with one Pokémon card being in play at a time. This makes sense regarding the whole system of Pokémon trainers sending out their Pokémon one at a time. But carrying over the damage? I think we wanted to make it realistic, in that if a blast of fire seared through one unit, it would continue with the rest of its fuel to harm enemies behind it. But this caused all sorts of issues like having to arrange your troops in a strategic order, which subtracted greatly from the fun. Also, what is the point of an attack that makes the enemy lose its next turn? It uses up your turn, which means it's automatically your turn again. You might as well not do it. And more than one turn would be unfair, because according to our rules you could do it repeatedly forever. I guess this would make sense if more than two people were playing, but style B makes a lot more sense, in that you would want to silence certain cards so that other cards could deal with them. In fact, it makes me sad that it took us so long to get to that point.

The rules were never completely ironed out, but oh well.

On the next Battle Cards Spotlight, I'll discuss specifics of the game such as Combat Effects and Attack Design.

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