After doing dice games next, a natural progression for week 2 had to be a card game


Battle Cards


Battle Cards is a card game that pits two players against each other in a battle game of strategy. Players fight each other with face cards to destroy their opponent's shields, then deal the finishing blow.

Battle Cards Rulebook




The Good

The concept for this game was a desire I had to make Magic The Gathering, but with playing cards. I already had tried making this game a few years ago, so I had the original rules to start with. However the game was flawed, and it became apparent with a bare amount of playtesting that the game wasn't working. The combat system initially distinguished between attacking cards (spades and clubs) and defense cards (hearts and diamonds), where the number was what mattered (so you had to stack cards to reach a higher number to overpower the enemy). However this was way to complex and prone to luck. I then tried a Blackjack system, where you tried to reach 21, allowing you to attack the enemy's shields directly. However this was still to math-y and luck-based. Most damning of all was that the attacker almost always won.

I then decided mass simplification was needed and tried using poker hands for combat resolution, and everything clicked into place. The only major revision after this epiphany was balancing the higher hands with the lower hands, so that a player couldn't completely dominate if they happened to luck into a 4-of-a-kind or straight flush. I accomplished this by making it so attacking cards had to discard anything above a 3-of-a-kind after combat. This became a second epiphany. This made defending more powerful than attacking, but after some play testing I determined that attacking and defending had about equal strategic value, and there was a natural balance curve because of the odds for different poker hands.

The Bad

Nothing went wrong per se, except the early revisions which were pretty terrible. Luckily a single card game was such a simple goal that I was able to playtest multiple times over the week, and even with myself by playing both sides. This ironed out a lot of ideas that all were completely broken.

The Lesson

Simple is better, basically. The early revisions were flawed and adding complexity almost never turned out well, but starting from the basic idea of face cards fighting each other, with a simple, easily understood poker system, made everything work out. I didn't exactly make 'Magic The Gathering using playing cards' which I initial had wanted to do, but the game turned out better than I had expected.