A Return to Resources

June 22, 2016

Hey everyone! Sorry I’ve missed a post this week, it’s been far, far too hot. Today, though, we’re gonna examine another important aspect of game design in card-based games and continue to look at Touché!

We’ve skimmed the top of what decks are and how deck building works. Before we can build on how deck building functions in any game, though, we have to look at the ecosystem that decks exist in. Or, to be less cryptic, we need to look at how a turn operates and the kinds of cards that are important in play. Since Touché! is a simple game, it’s a lot easier to see how turn order is important.

As a reminder, there are two types of cards in Touché!’s design right now; action cards and stance cards. Unlike most card games, player turns in Touché! happen simultaneously;

STANCE – Each player may change their stance from their current stance to a stance allowed by their last played card. On the first turn, no player may change from EN GARDE.

ACT – Each player reveals one card from their hand. Once the card is revealed it cannot be changed. Each player reveals their card at the same time. The action numbers are compared between players – if a player’s total attack value is higher than their opponent’s defense value, the defender is STRUCK.

RETURN – Each player who has been STRUCK loses a health marker, each player discards a number of cards from their hand up to their Weapon’s limit, then draws back up to their maximum hand size. The played Action card is placed in the discard pile for their deck.

So it’s a very simple turn order, and the resources are very clear.

The Hand – these are the cards each player has access to use in a particular turn, and each turn refreshes the hand and allows a player to ditch cards that aren’t useful in their fight. As a form of emulation, this represents the “working memory” of a fencer trying to outsmart their opponent with whatever techniques they can remember from the stance they’re in.

The Stance – While each weapon has a different number of stances in the current design (some more stances, with more specialization, others with fewer but more flexible stances), the Stance itself is an important resource for both players. It’s public information at the beginning of the turn, letting each player know what their opponent is capable of. The stances themselves, as well, provide options and bonuses to their techniques. This provides a player a fallback position to either bluff a good technique or rely on a bad technique to scrape by without being injured this round.

Health – Each player has 3 health markers, or blood markers, that represent if they’ve been struck in combat by either a slash or a thrust. After 3 health markers are taken, the fencer is considered Wounded and unable to continue, and their opponent wins the game. It is three, however, and that means that a crafty player might sacrifice one health marker to get their opponent in a position favorable to their techniques.

The Decks – The decks are important information for both players as well, thought hey rely on knowledge of “the meta”, or information about the game outside of the match. Each weapon has different rules – different stances, different hand sizes, and different discard rules. Some weapons are more flexible and have more options, some are more focused on a particular style. These also are reflected in the actual numbers on the cards; which are better at striking, which are better at defending, which have better footwork as part of their system, and which weapons try to just bash through any attempt at parrying or running. These changes can be important for deciding a plan of action against one’s opponent, since knowing how their deck works can make it easier to figure out when to be aggressive, when to be defensive, and what kinds of techniques to focus on.

This is a relatively simple game, but it’s how resources are used by players that make the game interesting and tactical. This is also a game in progress from a design perspective, so this is only a starting place.

Later this week, hopefully tomorrow, we’ll look at what the numbers on the cards are, and how you can win when playing.

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