Creating a Card Game

I’ve been working on creating a card game for a few months now. The idea has been bouncing around in my head for over a year, and when I tried to translate it into a game that I wanted to make, I realized I didn’t have the skills to make it, but that I could rapidly create a paper prototype. So I did.

Second Class Supers is a book that my wife and I wrote and self-published thanks to Kickstarter. I created a card game that exists within that universe (though much earlier than the book).

I started with the basic mechanics. I wanted it to be a deck builder game, as that dodges the whole “person with the most money to buy cool cards wins” option that collectible card games have. I liked how, for the most part, Hearthstone is a “fair” game each time you play and had recently played Star Realms, which felt even more balanced.

I knew that I wanted to make it as simple as possible, but provide opportunities for depth of gameplay. I wanted someone to be able to learn most of the mechanics of the game in a single turn, and I feel that I was able to figure that out.

I have three primary stats to contend with: Power, Credits, and Alignment. Power is how much damage you can do to your foes. Credits are the cost of purchasing a card but also allows for positive balance cards that provide credits on subsequent turns. Lastly, Alignment is a mechanic that creates the hero versus villain option. Alignment controls what cards you should try to purchase, and when you can use them.

Each player starts with 100 Health, and I am hoping to make a game board with character markers in the future to visually show how healthy a character is.

Each player starts with a basic deck of eight cards and on their turn, they draw five. Providing more cards than the draw makes for more uniqueness in the starting round.

There are two flops of five cards each. One is for Supers, which are cards that cost 20,000 credits each but are persistent, meaning that they get added to your character rather than your deck and apply each turn. The other flop is for the main buying cards, such as henchmen, winning the lottery, removing an opponent’s Super, healing, and synergy cards for Supers.

So if you have telekinesis, you might also have “tanks are weightless to my mind”. These synergy cards quickly make a player very powerful, and health starts dropping quickly in the later rounds. Having “tanks are weightless to my mind” acts as a blank card in your draw if you don’t have telekinesis.

Credits and Alignment stall the game from being over too quickly. You can earn credits each round if you have certain cards, but then you might have the choice to save up for a Super or purchase a higher value credit paying card to be able to save up credits faster in future turns.

Alignment restricts the cards you want to purchase and use. Alignment ranges from -10 to +10. Some cards can only be used if your alignment is negative, and others if it is positive. I also created one card that says Super Hero and one that says Super Villain that can only be picked up or used if your alignment is +10 or -10 respectively. This card is considered a “quick win” card if you can acquire it. It doesn’t cost any credits to acquire and each time you draw it, you deal 10 power of damage. Other players might have cards that affect your alignment, making it more difficult to pick up or use.

In the end, I have play tested it about a dozen times with various people. Sometimes just with my wife and I, and we’ve had as many as four people play a version of the game. I think I’m on the seventh revision. Staples has been really nice to me as I’ve continually had them print and cut hundreds of cards.

Ideally, I would turn this into a product, but that process is very expensive. I am currently trying to figure out the art piece for the cards, as well as finding any other tweaks I might need. I am hopeful in the next few months to have the card art created, maybe even the board, and some other interesting pieces, and then get a prototype printed for Annie and me.

If anyone is interested in beta testing it for me, I can send you the PDFs of the cards as well as the rules. A print shop should be able to set you up for less than $10. The only pain is tracking health and alignment. For Health, we’ve been using the Ticket to Ride game board. For alignment, we’ve been using a computer text editor. Though, my nephew did make a cool web page with the ability to track the stats, which was super nice of him (I can probably send the link if anyone needs it).

Anyways, if you are interested in hearing or seeing more about the Second Class Supers Card Game, please let me know, and I’ll continue to add more information about it.

One response to “Creating a Card Game”

  1. David send me the game and the link and whatever else would help you out. I am sure Seth and his friends would love to beta test it for you…sounds right up their alley.

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