Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Card Update Stuff!

Hey guys, here's some info from a backer-only post on the Mage Tower Kickstarter:

Okay, so basically after all the time developing Mage Tower, I found a few things I generally want a card to do, and went through every card and checked if it does that.  These things were:

#1 Synergizes with one or two cards, so you're looking for a good card to pair it with with when drafting.
#2 Synergizes with many cards, so you can build your whole deck around interacting with it.
#3 Synergizes with opponent's cards, hopefully disrupting their strategy.  These cards also have the benefit of making the game longer or shorter, since you're spending resources to help or hurt the opponent.
#4 Provides short-term loss for long-term gain or vice versa.  (So you can form all-in or long-term strategies.)
#5 Provides meaningful decisions or interactions after drafting, during actual gameplay.
#6 Does something unique that you can't experience in other games.
Card valuation is a huge part of any drafting game so cards don't *have* to hit these notes, but when they do it adds more variables to the mix and makes drafting more fun.  SO, basically I removed 12 cards that didn't have these traits, and added 12 cards that hit one or more of them.  Most of the cards I removed were pretty bland strategy-wise and won't be missed.
Let's check out three of the new cards.  These cards are pretty crazy looking so bear with me:
YES, that's right, this card hurts you before the game even starts!  But after that, it's way better than the basic Archer card which only does 3 damage for the same cost.  Ideally if you draft this card and take the penalty, you want a deck that can play it as much as possible.  So any way to draw through your deck quickly, search up cards, or re-use cards is good.  So it points you towards a long-term strategy, interacts with the opponent, and does two things that don't have an analogue in most other games (the Gamestart ability and the Demonspawn thing.)  Cool!
Looking at both these cards today, they might look a little counter-intuitive.  A card that hurts yourself, and this one gives your opponent cards!  The thing is, giving your opponent cards is bad for them 99% of the time.  Whatever strategy they have, getting two random cards might probably isn't going to gel with it.  It makes it take longer to draw their prize cards.  Blifferspell a couple times and their deck is going to be a fat mess with random cards they didn't draft, with any kind of strategy they previously had completely obliterated.  Consider this card vs. Brotweird's Grimace- if you fill their deck with random cards then they'll be unlikely to draw Brotweird's Grimace enough to make up for the 4 life they lost.  Since every card is balanced by its energy cost, gaining cards has no inherent value like in Dominion or other deckbuilding games.
Finally we have Mouth of Madness.  First I'll note- initially I was worried about the Gamestart mechanic adding complexity, or of people forgetting to use it, so I limited it to only four cards.  However people love drafting them, and it turns out the more there are in the draft deck the easier it is to remember to use them every game.  Anyways Mouth of Madness provides interesting decisions and interactions during gameplay (dealing 2 damage --> and losing a life is almost always a good thing).  You may play differently so you can gain control of MoM.  You might draft discard abilities so your opponent is less likely to be able to take it back.  You might opt for lower-costed cards with Intellect prize cards so that you can play lots of cards every turn.  This is probably my favorite new card to play with.
Anyways those are three of the new cards, I hope I explained them well enough.  Trust me they're cool!  Anyways next update I should have some more info on the PC demo app I'm developing, and at some point I'll update you on all stuff I've been planning to promote Mage Tower before release.  See you then!