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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27 Comments

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

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

  5. 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

  6. "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.

  7. 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.

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

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. TL;DR

    make sure P2W stuff is ahead of the curve

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

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

  14. 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.

  15. 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?

  16. 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

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

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

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

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