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【Board Game Miscellaneous】What Are The Magical Uses Of Cards In Board Games?
2020-05-27

It is rumored that during the battle between Chu and Han in the late Qin of China, General Han Xin invented a card game in order to ease the homesickness of the soldiers. Because the card surface is only the size of leaves, it is called "leaf play".

In the twelfth century, Marco Polo brought this game to Europe, and immediately aroused great interest from Westerners. It spread from the nobility to the people, and card games such as Contract Bridge and playing cards were born. In 1993, Richard Garfield designed the famous "Magic The Gathering" with cards.

The biggest feature of the card is that it can provide the richest information in the most appropriate size. It not only carries a certain amount of text, but also can be laid horizontally, turned over, and inserted into other accessories. The UI and illustrations on the card surface can also transmit information. The extraction of card cards has its own probability factor, which is the best carrier for designers to create a rich level of game experience. It is no wonder that in many games, cards are drawn + dice.

It can be said that the most popular accessory in all table games is none other than cards, and its form and function are constantly turning out new tricks with the development of the times, bringing people a variety of novel experiences. In addition to expressing and conveying game information, what other uses of cards are there today?

1. As a monetary resource
In modern board games, currency is a very common and important resource, and the combination of currency and cards is not surprising. However, in the hands of different designers, their combined expressions are also different.

The simplest form is that each card is only used to indicate the amount of money, but it is better to use a bunch of tokens to do so, so the designer needs to add some content and restrictions to the card.

There is a unique design in the board game "Alhambra Palace"-players need to obtain different types of gold coins, hire architects from around the world to build castles for themselves, and the types and number of these gold coins are represented by cards.

At first glance, it seems to be a new artist for the playing cards, but the designer has made changes to the values when balancing, so that the changes in the values during the game are more suitable for another part of the game: purchase and construction.

In addition, because there are four kinds of gold coins, the face value ranges from small to large, and the gold coins available to the player to choose each time are limited and random, so the designer has imposed restrictions on the player: in addition to the action of selecting a single gold coin, the player can also choose to take Take multiple currencies, but the total value cannot exceed 5. The purpose is to make the difference between the gold coins taken by all players every time not too large, and make the game unbalanced.

On the other hand, the game's first-hand exchange is determined by the number of gold coins in the player's hands. Therefore, the choice between a single high-value gold coin and multiple low-value gold coins has also become a strategic point of the game.

In addition to this, cards have another form of currency-fees. Taking the "land card" in "Magic: the Gathering" as an example, players need to use a horizontal land card to represent the payment of the cost of the operation, and how many land cards and what color to bring is also the player needs to think about when constructing Points, more bands and less bands will affect the strength of the deck.

In the change of the version of "Magic: the Gathering", the land card has only one color, and now it has added two-color land cards. Whether more types of land cards can appear in the future can be explored by designers point.

Similar to land cards, in many LCG and DBG games, there are also cards that are used exclusively as one-time fees. Many multi-purpose designs use "play card to get fees" as one of them.

For example, in "Ascension", the player's initial deck consists of cards that are used exclusively as fees and cards that are used to obtain combat power. Players can also purchase cards that can generate more fees at a time when buying new cards, and the game is using cards to obtain fees-use fees to buy stronger cards-strong cards bring more points to the cycle During the process, players also experience the growth of their decks with shuffles, draws, and cards.

In "Marvel Champions: The Card Game", except for a few cards dedicated to obtaining fees, the other cards are all dual-use. Players can use some cards in their hand as a fee to play another card, use its special effects, etc. This design ensures that the player will consume a lot of his hand every round, this ensures the operation of hand cards, library, and discard pile.

Second, as a random environment of the game
Unlike traditional poker cards, which only have two types of information: color and number, most of the cards used in modern board games are supplemented by a certain amount of text and various patterns. Usually the textual description on the card is called "card effect", in fact, it can also be regarded as a special rule and overrides the general rule.

For example, many rule books will indicate that card effects take precedence over general rules. The advantage of this is that the difficulty of getting started will not increase after the player nibble through the rules, and the strategy of the game can also be guaranteed.

There is a type of card that is commonly found in board games of various narrative types and exists as a random variable in the game environment, that is, an event card.

The most direct function of the event card is to add random variables to the game environment. The player's strategy needs to change according to this random variable. For example, in "Broom Service", a random event will be turned out every round, which means that the use of related cards in this round will be penalized. When all seven events have been turned over, the game ends, and the event card is still equivalent to the game progress bar. However, in "Broom Service", the amount of text in the event card is not large, just adding some changes to the game.

Once the volume of events as an environment has risen, especially in some adventure games, its changes and functions are given more room to play.

"Arkham Horror: Third Edition" is a good example. The "news cards" in the game, the exploration of the pile of cards in various locations, and the design of the script card all have an impact on the environment of the entire game: the exploration of the pile of cards often gives players a choice of two, paying the price to obtain information or resources; News cards have a random effect on players, making them more cautious in their actions. As for the increasing number of script cards, not only can players feel closer to the truth, but they can also realize that their actions will change the direction of the script. Enhance the player's sense of substitution.

3. As the game's territory
The size of the card is not limited to the size of common playing cards and Magic cards. Square and larger cards can also be used as a game layout, especially square cards, which have a place in the modular layout design. Forbidden Island is a good example.

In "Forbidden Island", players need to cooperate to collect four treasures and leave the island. The island's layout consists of square cards. Each card represents an area on the island. As the player explores, the island will gradually be submerged by rising seawater, which means that some areas will be removed from the game, and players can also reinforce an area (turn the card Face) to prevent the area from being submerged.

The advantage of using cards as layouts here is that the combination of layouts is more flexible and free. When players need to perform operations similar to turning over and removing a specific area, they can also easily complete the operation.

In Madre Games' "PAX Emancipation", the card also showed its unique effect as a layout. With the efforts of the player abolition movement, some areas in the game layout will be turned into a more conducive side to the abolition movement. This flexible reversal of the individual block layout is difficult for the general game layout to achieve. Provide designers with broader layout design ideas.

Fourth, as a random generator
As a random generator, cards have their natural properties: a certain probability increases with the number of draws. When rolling six-sided dice, each side has a probability of about 16%. Generally, the designer will make a "hit" value range, and then let the player roll multiple dice to increase the instability and joy of the dice. Sex.

But when a card is used as a random generator, once a card is drawn, it means that the probability of the card being drawn differently from it is further increased in the next round. The probability of drawing cards in games such as TCG / LCG is a bit difficult to calculate. After all, the card base is large and the variables for additional card drawing are also large. However, when a small number of action cards are drawn, it is basically possible to estimate the risk of action.

"Vinhos" and "Escape Plan" designed by Vital Lacerda have adopted the design of NPC draw card execution action. As they step by step, the player's heart is also grabbed, as if playing with an invisible hand in the dark, full of A sense of tension and excitement.

5. As a multi-purpose information carrier
This point "One Deck Dungeon" and "La Granja" have given us a lot of inspiration. Depending on the way it is inserted and placed and executed, a card can give players multiple choices such as resources, skills, goods, and tasks at the same time, and finally becomes one of them after the player determines it.

In this way, all strategic choices are concentrated on a card. The player's concentration of thinking is not easy to confuse, the main line of the game is also very prominent, and it can save accessories, which is a design method that is very suitable for players.

These are the main uses of cards in board games. In the future, cards may be given more missions. The excavation of card uses is still the direction that designers can work for. Let's dig and witness these card uses together













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