Friday, November 2, 2018

Drafting Pokemon #04: Top Percentage

"Drafting Pokemon" is the blog post series chronicling the design of a Pokemon drafting card game. It was first started as a National Game Design Month project during November 2016. It wasn't completed. November 2018's #NaGaDeMon is a revival of this project.

Pokemon Gold/Silver

Pokemon's got a lot of variance in its core handheld game series, during battle. Every attack has a percentage chance for landing a hit. Many, if not most, moves are 100% chance of hitting (ignoring the very, very small chance of randomly missing just for kicks, even for 100%-chance-of-hit moves). And then all moves have a chance to land a critical hit. That's not all - some moves have a chance to inflict a condition upon hit, whether it's poison or paralysis, etc. Luckily, a computer game can handle all these calculations for you to make for an well-managed variance-fest.

For the Pokemon drafting card game, since it's a physical tabletop game that requires manual dextrous manipulation of game pieces, having so many aspects that are randomized isn't exactly a boon. For example, there are moves that land a hit only 85% of the time. To simulate this percentage exactly, you'd most likely need to roll 2D10.

Let us consider one of the most dooziest of moves to randomize for, manually - Fire Fang. Fire Fang is a move that has a 95% chance to hit, 10% chance of causing burn, and 10% chance of flinching the opponent. Simulating these stats exactly might then look like you're rolling four ten-sided dice. A cumbersome resolution for a chosen move.

Rather than try to match the video game exactly, I propose capturing the spirit of these percentages - have the chances be accurate relative to one another. It should be that one of he hardest things to do is to freeze a pokemon. And so on.


And with going for the "relative to one another" angle, that means a mapping of the video game percentages can be done to whatever dice with a number of sides you choose. But what dice to go with?

D4 - weird, but the least number of sides
D6 - familiar, comfortable, but still more sides than four
D8 - different, yet more flexibility
D10 - allows for the closest and most elegant matching of percentage chance to the video game - yet has many sides, which is diminishing returns when it comes to dice face real estate


...and we're just about out of time for this blog post. But the goal is:
1) Have percentages be relative to one another, instead of mirroring the video games
2) Have the manual rolling of dice be as pleasant as can be

Together, this should make fo a more fun physical card game experience than otherwise

Pokemon I Choose You!

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Drafting Pokemon #03: Revive

"Drafting Pokemon" is the blog post series chronicling the design of a Pokemon drafting card game. It was first started as a National Game Design Month project during November 2016. It wasn't completed. November 2018's #NaGaDeMon is a revival of this project.


Pokemon Origins


Two years is how often U.S. political elections occur. It's also how long it's been since I wrote an update about the Pokemon drafting card game project. Not coincidentally, the voting topic is related to this project dying off - the results of the last election had me feeling scared and super depressed, killing my enthusiasm for finishing the project.

It's November again, which means another National Game Design Month (NaGaDeMon, for short) challenge. Similar in purpose to National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), participating in a NaGaDeMon means your goal is to design at least a game prototype and playtest it at least once with the motive of having the satisfaction of having completed a game design project.

Last year, I chose a Magic: The Gathering direction to tackle the design challenges for my four-colors-matters passion project. I also didn't complete this project, with this update being my latest one.

This year, I'm returning to the Pokemon drafting card game project.


Restate

Pokemon Origins


Some card games incorporate a style of gameplay called "drafting." This means you're looking at a stack of card choices and choosing a smaller subset, usually one, from the choices and then passing along the rest of the cards to a neighboring player while your other player is doing the same, passing their cards to you. Then you'll get to see new choices - and all the ones your neighbor decided to pass up. Tabletop games that employ drafting are 7 Wonders and Sushi Go. Also, one of Magic: The Gathering's most popular game formats is booster pack draft.

There is a Pokemon Trading Card Game - which plays differently from the Pokemon video games. Where this drafting project differs from the Pokemon TCG is that the gameplay aims to emulate the video games' battle system while also incorporating the drafting style during beginning part of a game session. You draft your pokemon and moves and then you build your team in much the same manner as the video games. Then y'all battle, where it'll feel like you're playing the handheld games.


Recap

Pokemon Origins


Where we last left off, the types of cards you would draft would include the pokemon themselves as well as their moves. Currently, I'm rethinking whether or not I want to leave out held items as a draftable card type. At this point, it's still up in the air.

Speaking of rethinking - in the first update of this series, I stated my goal was to do the original 151 pokemon only. The reasoning included only having pokemon folks are familiar with. With the audience I might be playtesting this game with, this is definitely not a concern. Another reason for limiting to 151 was to make clear which monsters to expect in a given card pool - I think this can be handled well if I include monsters outside of the 151.

Here's why I'm stating the above of rethinking: not including dark or steel in the first iteration was bold in that there would be admittedly an uphill climb in battling psychic pokemon. Psychic's weaknesses are bug and ghost, and those are either in low supply or super weak.

And now fairy type is a thing! I'd rather not exclude now-three pokemon types and instead include those types and the appropriate pokemon of those types to help contribute toward a well-rounded, balanced, and fair draft environment, no matter what types you choose to play with.


Redo

Pokemon Origins


One development of this project that didn't get chronicled from about a couple years ago - I did a draft of just the pokemon themselves, with my best friends.

It was using nearly-blank white notecards - only the names of pokemon were written down. There were randomized packs of these notecards, for three draft rounds for three of us. We each had to choose pokemon with the goal of forming a diverse team and to prioritize pursuing achieving evolutionary lines (for example, drafting both a Seel and a Dewgong).

The experiment showed that it was realistic to be able to obtain the full evolutionary line of pokemon. That it was possible to have that as a reasonable thing you can count on happening.

And that's where I'm at now. Next, I'll be fulfilling a years-long promise to figure out then write about how this drafting card game will approach the problem of dealing with percentage chance that is present in the pokemon video games.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

#Moxtober 31: Slice

During the month of October is #Inktober! Each day has a single-word prompt, but instead of inking something, I design a Magic: The Gathering mechanic to fit the word. This is called #Moxtober.

(#Moxtober was previously named #Meltober, named after "Mel", the more mechanically-inclined counterpart to "Vorthos" of the aesthetic profile spectrum.)



Day 01: "poisonous"
Day 02: "tranquil"
Day 03: "roasted"
Day 04: "spell"
Day 05: "chicken"
Day 06: "drooling"
Day 07: "exhausted"
Day 08: "star"

Day 09: "precious"
Day 10: "flowing"
Day 11: "cruel"
Day 12: "whale"
Day 13: "guarded"
Day 14: "clock"
Day 15: "weak"
Day 16: "angular"
Day 17: "swollen"
Day 18: "bottle"
Day 19: "scorched"
Day 20: "breakable"
Day 21: "drain"
Day 22: "expensive"
Day 23: "muddy"
Day 24: "chop"
Day 25: "prickly"
Day 26: "stretch"
Day 27: "thunder"
Day 28: "gift"
Day 29: "double"

Day 30: "jolt"

Today's prompt is: "slice"








#Moxtober 30: Jolt

During the month of October is #Inktober! Each day has a single-word prompt, but instead of inking something, I design a Magic: The Gathering mechanic to fit the word. This is called #Moxtober.

(#Moxtober was previously named #Meltober, named after "Mel", the more mechanically-inclined counterpart to "Vorthos" of the aesthetic profile spectrum.)



Day 01: "poisonous"
Day 02: "tranquil"
Day 03: "roasted"
Day 04: "spell"
Day 05: "chicken"
Day 06: "drooling"
Day 07: "exhausted"
Day 08: "star"

Day 09: "precious"
Day 10: "flowing"
Day 11: "cruel"
Day 12: "whale"
Day 13: "guarded"
Day 14: "clock"
Day 15: "weak"
Day 16: "angular"
Day 17: "swollen"
Day 18: "bottle"
Day 19: "scorched"
Day 20: "breakable"
Day 21: "drain"
Day 22: "expensive"
Day 23: "muddy"
Day 24: "chop"
Day 25: "prickly"
Day 26: "stretch"
Day 27: "thunder"
Day 28: "gift"
Day 29: "double"


Today's prompt is: "jolt"






Monday, October 29, 2018

#Moxtober 29: Double

During the month of October is #Inktober! Each day has a single-word prompt, but instead of inking something, I design a Magic: The Gathering mechanic to fit the word. This is called #Moxtober.

(#Moxtober was previously named #Meltober, named after "Mel", the more mechanically-inclined counterpart to "Vorthos" of the aesthetic profile spectrum.)



Day 01: "poisonous"
Day 02: "tranquil"
Day 03: "roasted"
Day 04: "spell"
Day 05: "chicken"
Day 06: "drooling"
Day 07: "exhausted"
Day 08: "star"

Day 09: "precious"
Day 10: "flowing"
Day 11: "cruel"
Day 12: "whale"
Day 13: "guarded"
Day 14: "clock"
Day 15: "weak"
Day 16: "angular"
Day 17: "swollen"
Day 18: "bottle"
Day 19: "scorched"
Day 20: "breakable"
Day 21: "drain"
Day 22: "expensive"
Day 23: "muddy"
Day 24: "chop"
Day 25: "prickly"
Day 26: "stretch"
Day 27: "thunder"
Day 28: "gift"

Today's prompt is: "double"





 Looks kinda crazy, eh? Here's what each keyword says:

Double (When you have exiled two cards with double, one card with toil, and one card with trouble; meld and cast them.)


Toil (When you have exiled two cards with double, one card with toil, and one card with trouble; meld and cast them.)

Trouble (When you have exiled two cards with double, one card with toil, and one card with trouble; meld and cast them.)

They all say the same thing! But, it means you're gonna have to cast two cards to essentially say "Double, double, toil & trouble" <-- the words that a witch says when brewing something.

So, the idea here is that each card that has "double", "toil", or "trouble" is 1/4th of a giant spell, when melded (transformed and pieced together). The design of the backside should be modular enough to be able to fit with any other parts. I'm skipping drawing out how this looks like. Let's pretend it works. ;)


But it would encourage creative piecing together of "ingredients" to form whatever giant spell would result with a successful "double, double, toil & trouble" meld!

#Moxtober 28: Gift

During the month of October is #Inktober! Each day has a single-word prompt, but instead of inking something, I design a Magic: The Gathering mechanic to fit the word. This is called #Moxtober.

(#Moxtober was previously named #Meltober, named after "Mel", the more mechanically-inclined counterpart to "Vorthos" of the aesthetic profile spectrum.)



Day 01: "poisonous"
Day 02: "tranquil"
Day 03: "roasted"
Day 04: "spell"
Day 05: "chicken"
Day 06: "drooling"
Day 07: "exhausted"
Day 08: "star"

Day 09: "precious"
Day 10: "flowing"
Day 11: "cruel"
Day 12: "whale"
Day 13: "guarded"
Day 14: "clock"
Day 15: "weak"
Day 16: "angular"
Day 17: "swollen"
Day 18: "bottle"
Day 19: "scorched"
Day 20: "breakable"
Day 21: "drain"
Day 22: "expensive"
Day 23: "muddy"
Day 24: "chop"
Day 25: "prickly"
Day 26: "stretch"
Day 27: "thunder"

Today's prompt is: "gift"





You can give yourself a gift (treat yo self) or someone on your team a gift. But nobody knows what it is until you open it. And then you gotta use it right away before the turn ends. A tension of "when should I reveal this?" A different execution of red's "impulsive draw."

#Moxtober 27: Thunder

During the month of October is #Inktober! Each day has a single-word prompt, but instead of inking something, I design a Magic: The Gathering mechanic to fit the word. This is called #Moxtober.

(#Moxtober was previously named #Meltober, named after "Mel", the more mechanically-inclined counterpart to "Vorthos" of the aesthetic profile spectrum.)



Day 01: "poisonous"
Day 02: "tranquil"
Day 03: "roasted"
Day 04: "spell"
Day 05: "chicken"
Day 06: "drooling"
Day 07: "exhausted"
Day 08: "star"

Day 09: "precious"
Day 10: "flowing"
Day 11: "cruel"
Day 12: "whale"
Day 13: "guarded"
Day 14: "clock"
Day 15: "weak"
Day 16: "angular"
Day 17: "swollen"
Day 18: "bottle"
Day 19: "scorched"
Day 20: "breakable"
Day 21: "drain"
Day 22: "expensive"
Day 23: "muddy"
Day 24: "chop"
Day 25: "prickly"
Day 26: "stretch"

Today's prompt is: "thunder"





I was going to have this just be "can't block", but expanded to "can't attack" so that other colors can user thunderous , which can be flavored in many different ways and used appropriately. Blue can have this restricted to only really being effective during opponents' turns (in a clever, elegant way, of course).

For example, red here can have thunderous only restricted to sorcery-speed cards and effects to ensure that only really the "can't block" portion is utilized, to stay in red's color pie.

Friday, October 26, 2018

#Moxtober 26: Stretch

During the month of October is #Inktober! Each day has a single-word prompt, but instead of inking something, I design a Magic: The Gathering mechanic to fit the word. This is called #Moxtober.

(#Moxtober was previously named #Meltober, named after "Mel", the more mechanically-inclined counterpart to "Vorthos" of the aesthetic profile spectrum.)



Day 01: "poisonous"
Day 02: "tranquil"
Day 03: "roasted"
Day 04: "spell"
Day 05: "chicken"
Day 06: "drooling"
Day 07: "exhausted"
Day 08: "star"

Day 09: "precious"
Day 10: "flowing"
Day 11: "cruel"
Day 12: "whale"
Day 13: "guarded"
Day 14: "clock"
Day 15: "weak"
Day 16: "angular"
Day 17: "swollen"
Day 18: "bottle"
Day 19: "scorched"
Day 20: "breakable"
Day 21: "drain"
Day 22: "expensive"
Day 23: "muddy"
Day 25: "chop"
Day 26: "prickly"

Today's prompt is: "stretch"







#Moxtober 25: Prickly

During the month of October is #Inktober! Each day has a single-word prompt, but instead of inking something, I design a Magic: The Gathering mechanic to fit the word. This is called #Moxtober.

(#Moxtober was previously named #Meltober, named after "Mel", the more mechanically-inclined counterpart to "Vorthos" of the aesthetic profile spectrum.)



Day 01: "poisonous"
Day 02: "tranquil"
Day 03: "roasted"
Day 04: "spell"
Day 05: "chicken"
Day 06: "drooling"
Day 07: "exhausted"
Day 08: "star"

Day 09: "precious"
Day 10: "flowing"
Day 11: "cruel"
Day 12: "whale"
Day 13: "guarded"
Day 14: "clock"
Day 15: "weak"
Day 16: "angular"
Day 17: "swollen"
Day 18: "bottle"
Day 19: "scorched"
Day 20: "breakable"
Day 21: "drain"
Day 22: "expensive"
Day 23: "muddy"
Day 25: "chop"

Today's prompt is: "prickly"




Wednesday, October 24, 2018

#Moxtober 24: Chop

During the month of October is #Inktober! Each day has a single-word prompt, but instead of inking something, I design a Magic: The Gathering mechanic to fit the word. This is called #Moxtober.

(#Moxtober was previously named #Meltober, named after "Mel", the more mechanically-inclined counterpart to "Vorthos" of the aesthetic profile spectrum.)



Day 01: "poisonous"
Day 02: "tranquil"
Day 03: "roasted"
Day 04: "spell"
Day 05: "chicken"
Day 06: "drooling"
Day 07: "exhausted"
Day 08: "star"

Day 09: "precious"
Day 10: "flowing"
Day 11: "cruel"
Day 12: "whale"
Day 13: "guarded"
Day 14: "clock"
Day 15: "weak"
Day 16: "angular"
Day 17: "swollen"
Day 18: "bottle"
Day 19: "scorched"
Day 20: "breakable"
Day 21: "drain"
Day 22: "expensive"
Day 23: "muddy"

Today's prompt is: "chop"









"Chop" made me think of someone doing a karate chop. And, like in Pokemon with monsters like Machop, being likely to do a "critical hit", where you're striking a weak point of the opposition. Thus, "critical strike."

Red is the obvious color for flipping in general, but since the flip relates to combat and abilities that white has, this card is showing how the critical strike flavor can be placed in white's color pie.

So, we've had first strike, double strike, triple strike, and last strike. All of them are static and not dynamic. Critical strike introduces dynamic strike where you're not sure whether the creature is going to deal a certain "strike".

This is "after blockers are declared" instead of "when this attacks" both for strategical reasons and for flavor reasons. A "critical strike" should vary from subject to subject, when one applies hits to the correct critical point of a dragon vs. a human fighter, etc. Strategically, this is so that it's still an element of uncertainty for the defending player when choosing to block.

If this was upon attacking, the uncertainty onus is only placed upon the attacker, which isn't as fair.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

#Moxtober 23: Muddy

During the month of October is #Inktober! Each day has a single-word prompt, but instead of inking something, I design a Magic: The Gathering mechanic to fit the word. This is called #Moxtober.

(#Moxtober was previously named #Meltober, named after "Mel", the more mechanically-inclined counterpart to "Vorthos" of the aesthetic profile spectrum.)



Day 01: "poisonous"
Day 02: "tranquil"
Day 03: "roasted"
Day 04: "spell"
Day 05: "chicken"
Day 06: "drooling"
Day 07: "exhausted"
Day 08: "star"

Day 09: "precious"
Day 10: "flowing"
Day 11: "cruel"
Day 12: "whale"
Day 13: "guarded"
Day 14: "clock"
Day 15: "weak"
Day 16: "angular"
Day 17: "swollen"
Day 18: "bottle"
Day 19: "scorched"
Day 20: "breakable"
Day 21: "drain"
Day 22: "expensive"

Today's prompt is: "muddy"





Mud is both cumbersome to cake yourself with but also camouflage. When you've got mud on you, you can't be targeted or blocked. But once you strike, your cover is blown - so you might as well let the mud shake off of you further once your cover is blown.

Monday, October 22, 2018

#Moxtober 22: Expensive

During the month of October is #Inktober! Each day has a single-word prompt, but instead of inking something, I design a Magic: The Gathering mechanic to fit the word. This is called #Moxtober.

(#Moxtober was previously named #Meltober, named after "Mel", the more mechanically-inclined counterpart to "Vorthos" of the aesthetic profile spectrum.)



Day 01: "poisonous"
Day 02: "tranquil"
Day 03: "roasted"
Day 04: "spell"
Day 05: "chicken"
Day 06: "drooling"
Day 07: "exhausted"
Day 08: "star"

Day 09: "precious"
Day 10: "flowing"
Day 11: "cruel"
Day 12: "whale"
Day 13: "guarded"
Day 14: "clock"
Day 15: "weak"
Day 16: "angular"
Day 17: "swollen"
Day 18: "bottle"
Day 19: "scorched"
Day 20: "breakable"
Day 21: "drain"

Today's prompt is: "expensive"



When I saw "expensive", I thought of expensive mana costs. So, I wanted to tie a mechanic to paying expensive costs. But what was expensive? Well, since Limited is the most restrictive format in this regard to design for, and assuming this mechanic would be for a standard-legal set, I wanted to make sure to care about what would be "expensive" for Limited. But what is that number? To determine this, I took to polling Twitter:




I only let the poll go for four hours before making a decision, as I needed to write the post you're reading now at the time I'm writing it. But it seems clear 7 is when spells are "expensive" in Limited. From seven, I thought of "lucky number seven." So, I chose to just focus on the number seven and not just "seven or more."

The mechanic ensures you have luck counters placed on permanents, of which many different applications of said luck counters can be applied. In today's card, I chose to design the potential penultimate card, make it a little easy to get rid of, but also make it a legendary creature to be used as a commander, in the colors of which previous cards using luck counters can be included in the deck of. Both Chance Encounter and As Luck Would Have It are alt-win condition cards that use luck counters. And Gemstone Caverns also uses a luck counter.

(I'm always on the lookout for potential "Commander design space" whenever opportunity arises, even in these theoretical situations, to train myself to not miss that chance, or else you get a situation where you miss a legendary werewolf for original Innistrad block.

Keep in mind that Scourge was a set that cared about converted mana cost six or more, and it was in a block that had cycling - so the potential Limited environment would probably also have ways to include seven-cost cards in addition to your cheaper cards with seven-costed abilities.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

#Moxtober 21: Drain

During the month of October is #Inktober! Each day has a single-word prompt, but instead of inking something, I design a Magic: The Gathering mechanic to fit the word. This is called #Moxtober.

(#Moxtober was previously named #Meltober, named after "Mel", the more mechanically-inclined counterpart to "Vorthos" of the aesthetic profile spectrum.)



Day 01: "poisonous"
Day 02: "tranquil"
Day 03: "roasted"
Day 04: "spell"
Day 05: "chicken"
Day 06: "drooling"
Day 07: "exhausted"
Day 08: "star"

Day 09: "precious"
Day 10: "flowing"
Day 11: "cruel"
Day 12: "whale"
Day 13: "guarded"
Day 14: "clock"
Day 15: "weak"
Day 16: "angular"
Day 17: "swollen"
Day 18: "bottle"
Day 19: "scorched"
Day 20: "breakable"

Today's prompt is: "drain"





My first instinct was to design a Vampire card. This makes sense as I also was also concepting "partake" from a vampire's point of view. There's blood being drawn. Let's have the creatures enjoy a bit of it, too.

With lifelink being an MVP for triggering partake, I figured partake would be good in black and white colors. Black is also good at inflicting hurt while white is good at gaining life. Another color I thought would be suitable is green, with its life gain spells and its natural inclination to cause some pain to the opponent via creature damage.

Since I figured black is "obvious" for this mechanic, I wanted to showcase white and green dabbling in partake. With white and green being more communal, I felt "partake" evoked a sense of sharing.