Game Mechanic For Hire

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Card Draw, 9.4.08

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I love to draw. Don’t you? …Cards, that is. Oh, sure; paper and pencil is all fine and good, but a hand full of cards is… potential. Today we will delve into that potential: Card draw. Many times, a standard hand size that is always maintained after play is acceptable, or even necessary (gin/rummy). You play a card, you draw a card. Nice and easy. That doesn’t always cut it, though…

-Actions Vs. Options. The players have the choice on their turn between taking actions on their turn or drawing cards that may give them an edge. For this kind of mechanic, the cards should be strong to create the tension, but not overpowered. Or instead of giving up all action for the turn to draw a card or two, give it an action point cost. Say you have a jungle exploration game, where you lay hexes as you move and build the board as you go. Instead of drawing blind and possibly getting stuck in quicksand, you could take a turn to consult your map to look at the top three tiles and add one to your hand instead of drawing blind. Or, make it a global exploration game. You can draw cards as an action, but you need to be in a city and it costs you X dollars. You just added travelling salesman and resource management to your action/hand management. WOO!

-Pay For It. Players may pay to draw cards, as much as they can afford. This can add an additional level to your resource management mechanic. Sure, you can spend your money on drawing more cards, but there is no guarantee that they will be what you need. In an investigation game, this could be buying drinks at the bar to draw rumor cards to put together a verdict on the case.

-Not Until You Clean Your Plate. Players may only draw once their hand is empty. This can create interesting tension, as not every card in the deck is especially good. Even angrier (and funnier) if there are outright bad cards in there, too. You may not want to play that card that takes away all your toys, but you can’t draw until you do… In a mafia game, cards could be events or special actions you can take. But god help you if you play that Government Informant card…

-Static Turn Draw. Each round has a set number of cards each player receives. A variant of the previous mechanic, this helps regulate how many ‘special’ things players can do. Or, if each turn requires a card play, an additional way to track round length. For a record label game, it could be how many new albums you have for the upcoming turn; for better or worse. Or, in a spy game, it could be how many gadgets you have for the current mission.

There you is. Some card draw. Just be sure to not draw too many…

Keep on designing, yo!



Written by krinklechip

August 18, 2009 at 1:25 am

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