Board Game Design Day: Balancing Mechanics for Your Card Game's Unique Power Curve - c4gamingstudio.com

Board Game Design Day: Balancing Mechanics for Your Card Game’s Unique Power Curve

GDC
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In this 2018 GDC talk, The Pokemon Company’s Dylan Mayo sets some base truths and examines the curves of some of the biggest games in the CCG space, including Magic: The Gathering, The Pokemon Trading Card Game, Hearthstone, The Spoils, and Clash Royale.

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44 Comments

  1. Did my man just say Annoy-O-Tron was a top tier 2 cost card?

    Sure it’s sticky but it’s not that good

  2. The other tool Pokemon has is energy. You can make a pretty beefy basic Pokemon but if it's main attack costs 4 differently colored energies to use, it's not going to immediately have the option to attack for full force.

  3. crazy to think that mana cost in magic is more like a float while hearthstone is like an integer

  4. Maybe if we all scream rally reallty loud the game will balance itself

  5. There are cases where some things you might not expect can happen when you combine effects.

    Take these two pieces in a chess-like game:
    The Gnu: moves like a knight (2,1) or a camel (3,1).
    The Princess: moves like a knight (2,1), or a bishop (1,1 slider).

    If you just guessed, you might say that the first piece is worth about 5.5 pawns, and the second maybe 6.5 pawns, based on their components.

    However, this isn't the case in reality. The Gnu is indeed worth about that amount, but the Princess is absolutely murderous and worth about 8 points. Maybe even a bit more than that. It's close to a queen in strength and arguably a bit more flexible than one.

    The reasons for this are not fully understood, but we do know that it is experimentally correct for human and engine play.

  6. i wish this talk covered more depth on how to balance the values. A lot of information about different games was given but not so much about how to balance

  7. Having 2 cards and one of them being better in every situation is a way to make collecting new cards desirable but also can push away players who don't want to grind for new cards or and don't want to pay to unlock these faster. Alternatively all cards could be situationally good but that reduces pay-to-win potential. Games where you can pay to get more cards / equipment of any sort have an incentive to make the game pay to win but in such way that it isn't obvious to most players. I quit hearthstone when I realized people who spend more time in the game or more money have cards that are better in all situations but take a lot of loot boxes to get.

  8. i wish this talk covered more depth on how to balance the values. A lot of information about different games was given but not so much about how to balance

  9. If you are told to mature and stop playing games, tell them that kids do not play with toys and board games. They only use screens. So tell them to stop being childish for using screens and mature and play board games.

  10. This sounded like an intro to "what is a mana curve" and then it just ended before getting to the title of the talk?

  11. it kinda pizzes me off to see after 25 years of mpdern boardgame renaissance it is only uno, monopoly, chess, backgammon, majong, different versions of monopoly, different versions of uno,risk, etc, all the borimg braindead classics so to speak both mostly in asia where they are pretty cheap but even in europe in most places, so my question is WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO REPLACE ALL THAT GARBAGE FOR KIDS OF TOMORROW TO BE AVAILABLE TO BUY THESE MODERN GAMES INSTEAD OR ATLEAST THAT THEY SHARE THE SPACE IN MOST CONVENIENCE STORE, NO IM NOT TALKING MAINLY TOYS ARE US OR BOOKSTORES NOW!??? IA THERE KIMDA SOME KINDA OF MAINSTREAM POWER MONOPOLY HERE THAT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO BREAK??☹️☹️🤔🤔🧐🧐🤦‍♀️🤦‍♀️🤦‍♀️😐😐😐😵😵😵

  12. Yeah I'm understand this video is about "Board Game Design Day: Balancing Mechanics for Your MANA/ENERGY BASE Card Game's Unique Power Curve" so Yu-Gi-Oh! not include it.

  13. Fucking knew that half these comments would be "Erhm, ackshually that isn't how X card game works specifically"Yes, you genius, he was simply showing how depending on how your game is built the power curve will end up being different and that a game designer needs to understand how to look at their own games power curveThis was not a talk about how to build good decks in Hearthstone/Pokemon/MtG, it was a talk about their cost bases and resulting power levels

  14. The mana curve in Project Phoenix is… Odd, to say the least.You naturally acrue mana similar to Hearthstone, with up to 10 natural mana generation. You can accelerate that process at any time by discarding 2 cards for 1 mana, which you can still use to replenish 1 mana when you've capped out- and any unspent mana is turned to overflow, with a max of 10 as well.Because cards can be converted directly into mana, you need to be bribed to play anything in the early game at all, but you also need to be rewarded for saving up and waiting, so the curve is more of a wave.In playtesting, games are really fast, typically ending around turn ten, but with both players already having had ten mana for a few turns.I enjoy it, but the warping of the power curve is a definite challenge.

  15. Dunno why i should care about these card names and by some extent levels… those means nothing to me… so doesnt explain much, doesnt even provide a pathway to solutions since talking some specific random game stuff.

  16. He's obviously not such a good pokemon player, you'd be silly to put 1 lower evolution pokemon for every 1 higher evolution pokemon in a deck. You want to be able to evolve your pokemon and have a high chance of doing so, so for every 1 higher evolution pokemon, you'd need 2 lower ones. But I was 15 back then, i'm not sure how the game is now- I did won all my friends consistently until no one played with me anymore though.

  17. Good stuff! I'm designing my own ccg right now and it is really tricky to do well. Even something like how you generate mana is crucial.

  18. I swear I've heard a couple of the voices of the people who were asking questions, before, but I can't pinpoint who they are.

  19. Objectively this was concise and full of information. However, virtually all of this could be learned firsthand just by learning to play Hearthstone and/or Magic in the same amount of time.
    There are more systems out there to learn from, than just repeating the two everyone already knows.

  20. I feel like he completely ignored the aspect that cards can combo with one another.

  21. Well, I didn't rly like this talk. The idea of his speech: here we have some kind of mana system, so one card is stronger because we typed such text in it, now look at MTG, they have more flexible mana system, so they're good

  22. "Board Game Design Day: Balancing Mechanics for Your Card Game's Unique Power Curve" is an inappropriate title for this video. There is no discussion of underlying design principles that determine why particular mechanics are included in a game preferentially to others. Rather, this is a narrowly focused presentation of a few variations of mana systems in a few card games, omitting mention of many card games with fundamentally different mechanics – Yugioh, Thea the Awakening, and Prismata to name a few.

    It's not a bad video for someone that knows nothing about the card game genre, but for a "Game Developers Conference", I really have to question both the presentation and its title. If your boss sent you to watch a video to say company representatives had researched a topic, this gets the job done; the title sounds nice, a lot of high profile game names are dropped. If your boss sent you to watch a video so you could actually get things done – what about card combinations, tempo, actual calculations with actual numbers, and so forth? If you were making a game that involved cards, if you'd done any serious research into some of the major popular card games, some of which are mentioned in this video, this presentation would contain nothing of value.

    If there's no section that presents specific comparisons with specific numbers for a number of different situations, and no section that discusses a number of different alternative mechanics, stating a presentation is applicable to "your game" is overselling. If this presentation were titled something like "Presentation of Some Basic Aspects of Mana Systems in Hearthstone, Magic the Gathering, and Pokemon Card Games", I would consider it appropriate.

  23. That's not a bad conference, but the power curve used is the opposite of what is really used in Hearthstone: small cards are actually better than big cards. The formula at 6:00 "Expansive card has to be better than cards " is totally false in Hearthstone. Using your example, 2x crocilisks 2/3 is more valuable than a yeti 4/5.
    And that is because of the card advantage notion. When you play two different cards, you have a card less in your hand and deck for the rest of the party.
    Very confused at how such a fact is eluded.

  24. Bring on more content on board games! =)

  25. Mana cost in pokemon is evolution not the cost of abilities? This has to be an oversimplification of mana costs. Not to mention in Hearthstone the example of Northshire Cleric is SO much better of ratio that something like Dr. Boom. Can you imagine a 1 mana 1/3 with an ability meaning a 7 drop would have to be a 14/14 with a better ability? The fact is that having a 7/7 means it can takeout 7 1/3s so it is stronger with less over curve power.

  26. Can you make a video clip to better explain why pot of greed is sooooo broken compared to the more balanced draw system in pokemon.

  27. TL;DR

    make sure P2W stuff is ahead of the curve

  28. A maximum of one mana every turn, in Magic? Green says hi!

  29. Loved Magi-Nation! What an unexpected treat!

  30. color pips in MTG are typically more about color pie than they are about power level. Green often lets you play an additional land that turn. Those cards will likely have two green pips. Black has `destroy target creature`, those will typically cost 2+ black pips. Blue has counter spell, typically 2 blue pips. The weaker versions of these abilities may not. `target opponent sacrifices a creature they control of their choice` would be one black pip. `counter creature spell` one blue pip. You have to be fairly devoted to that color in your deck to reap the benefits of the real strength of that color. If you want to do 4 damage to any creature, you can throw in a couple red cards in your deck. Wanna do direct damage to the player, you'll likely be playing double red and thus will be pretty devoted to red at that point. Anyways, pips are less about the power of the card, more about the color identity.

  31. Wait wait wait… a guy that works for the Pokemon tcg is lecturing on power curb?

    Anyone else misses the days when 200hp was the maximum and only was seen on a Wailord?

  32. Id love to see a documentary that showed the steps they took to make the game. ive started before but get overwhelmed. im not sure how much to flesh out before beginning to tes

  33. Wow. That was a great talk. It helps me learn about power curve. I am glad to try hearthstone, even though I quit soon afterward. It is enough to help me follow along. Maybe I ought to try out even more games just to see what is out there. For a long time I have been a Pokemon and WOW fan. Then I begame a MTG fan last year. There are more games worth trying.

  34. And then theres yugioh where it has a power curve that exists covering this entire grid as well as far beyond the atmosphere. U have cards like foolish burial that r theoretically bad cards but is semi-limited for a reason. Then u have cards like lightning storm that r super powerful on paper that r in practice just reasonably powerful, not op.

  35. Yu Gi Oh is too broken to even be a part of this discussion

  36. Am I tripping or did this guy say "enbies" in 2018?

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