Moar Card Games

Thanks to my new card game website, I’ve been getting more interested in working on games.

I spent some of today looking back over cards from Student Wars, and it’s actually really fun going back and seeing all the people I knew and all the things I did. The game itself is amusing too… I came across things like rlambert’s “Math Math Math” attack: “Look at the top 3 cards of your deck. If all are characters with ‘Math’, deal 150 damage. Otherwise, deal 20 damage.”

Spent the rest of my time at home today continuing work on RPG Get and tweaking the card templates and rules for People Wars, with feedback from Ian.


The main difference is that the traits have been moved to the right-hand side of the card, instead of being along the bottom. This was primarily motivated by my desire to stop tying trait groups together (see the People Wars page, if you’re actually interested). The HP and retreat elements have also been tweaked so the card isn’t just all colored boxes. I think it looks quite nice.


One thing that seemed to make sense with RPG Get! is to have some fixed “starter” cards… for example, starting a game with a Fomar as your main character should automatically give you Foie Lv. 1, whereas starting with a Hucast should give you a Saber. It also seemed to make sense to limit starting characters to level 1. Therefore, there’s a new “Starter” bar in the upper right of the card with this information (starting number of reward counters, as well as a list of starting cards).
I’m not sure how I feel about its current position and size (although I think it makes sense to keep it small, since it’s only used for deck construction and in the setup step, before the game starts). I considered making it part of the rules (listing all the characters that could be starting characters, along with what they start with), but it seems to make much more sense as part of the actual card.
Thoughts from any design-minded folk would be useful.

Yay card games.

Card Games

I like working on card games. A lot. I thought it would be interesting to add a site with a history of all the card games I’ve worked on.

The result is tcgs.alanv.org, which has information, rules, sample cards, and even full game downloads for the various card games I’ve created over the years.

It’s interesting to see how my cards have grown gradually more complex over the years.


My first really developed card game, the Starcraft card game, had rather unreadable (and low-res) cards. The game was also rather unplayable.


The Website Card Game had low-res cards that were at least somewhat legible, but it’s rather obvious I had no idea I what I was doing in Photoshop.


The cards from The PSO TCG Version 2 are still small, but are actually readable and reasonable.


PPA TCG Version 2 cards are still among my favorite card designs. They’re simple, but I like the way they came out.


Student Wars has one of the more complicated card layouts (and are also text-heavy), but I think they look quite nice. Downside is the smaller card photo.


The cards of Zeke’s Nose were very basic, but I like the art style.


I like the cards I’m currently working on, for RPG Get Version 2.

The card games themselves have also evolved quite a bit, although that’s more difficult to depict visually. It’s interesting to see how my game design went from unfocused and unplayable (Starcraft card game) to unfocused and reasonable (PPA TCG and PPA TCG Version 2, which was also my most successful card game) to focused and reasonable (Student Wars, which was also my largest card game) to too focused and uninteresting (Student Wars Version 2, which was overengineered to a fault). Perhaps there’s a lesson to be learned in that.

Yay card games.

Thoughts on Life

Life goes, I suppose.

Today, I went to Border’s to use up my gift card on books, with the intent of picking up copies of Slaughterhouse-Five, Fahrenheit 451, and Brave New World (the last being the most important). However, of those books the only one that was not $15 was Fahrenheit 451 (seriously, if Amazon can sell these for $8 new, why can’t you?), so I picked up a couple clearance books instead. Spent the afternoon and evening reading through them. It’s nice… I haven’t really just sat down and read books for fun in a long, long time. (Perhaps the speed at which I go through books is a contributing factor, given I finished three 200-400 page books in 6 hours. Then again, given I watch most DVDs at 1.5x with subtitles, I probably go through all media faster than most people.)

Work goes. I find it strange how I can enjoy the work I am doing so much, yet be so frustrated by work in general. Perhaps it’s because it’s always the little details that annoy me, but the general work I’m doing is interesting and awesome. So it goes.
(As an example, I had to attempt to submit a changelist seven times today before it went through, over a period of about 2.5 hours. Frustrating.)

I have been working on the redo of RPG Get!… again. It’s now on its fourth revision (second, as far as the general public is concerned), and will hopefully be ready for limited playtesting this weekend. With the rules revamp came a template revamp (although this was actually not necessary this time). Playing around in Photoshop is always fun, and I’m hoping to be able to do so for each expansion set released as I redesign the templates to fit the particular source material.

Personal life continues to be very nice. I suppose I don’t write about that enough, but I don’t really know what there is to say. Things go well and I am very happy. Whee.

I feel like I haven’t been sleeping well lately. I should attempt to rectify that now.

LivingSocial fails

I feel like LivingSocial’s recent $20 Amazon gift card promotion backfired on them. I, at least, will not be returning to them as a customer, despite having followed their website for the few months prior. (If anything, they had me as a customer before, and don’t now.)

First off, their site just wasn’t ready. I read reports of the validation of “one per customer” being client-side only, and the iPhone app apparently didn’t have restrictions at all. That wouldn’t surprise me (given how many deals got cancelled). That’s just poor design.

Secondly, the terms of the deal changed throughout the day. They first allowed DealBucks to be used on it (effectively making it cost $5 if someone sent you a referral link), which was changed overnight. The deal apparently first allowed one per person, then was changed to one per household, then was apparently changed to one per some unspecified metric.

I say unspecified metric because I continue to see reports of people having their deals canceled despite being legitimate purchases and following the rules… at least, following the rules that were in place at the time of purchase for them. It’s not unreasonable to cancel deals for people who broke the rules (signing up multiple accounts to bypass the restriction, bypassing the restriction with Firebug, etc), but it is unreasonable to expect every person who had purchased one to continue checking the site to notice the changes and proactively cancel their own purchases. (One report, for example, is a husband and wife who purchased during the “one per person” phase and had theirs canceled due to sharing a credit card.)

And, in the end, even if most of the reports going around are false, that’s not what really matters, is it? The fact that they are out there and people are reading them is enough. I can’t imagine I’m the only person reading them and being disgusted by their handling of the situation. And if I was one of the people who had my purchase canceled, I can’t imagine I would ever want to go back.

Third, I have a huge issue with their referral system. They seem to offer two “rewards”… a $5 credit of DealBucks when someone signs up and buys a deal, and the current deal for free if three people purchase it using your link. But these are separate links. I see absolutely no reason why this should be, because it forces messages like, “Click on this first link to sign up, then click on this second link to purchase.” I didn’t know about the $5 credit (because it’s hidden in your profile) and instead sent around just the deal link, which I accept is my fault. I just think it’s poor design on their part to not have a referral link automatically do both, if they are not already a customer. (You did, after all, refer a person there and got them to sign up.)

Speaking of referral links, it would be nice if they actually worked. I know four people purchased yesterday using my referral link (because they told me they did afterward), but my deal was still not free. There is also no way to tell when someone purchases using your referral link (at least, not after a deal has ended, and I didn’t see one while it was happening, though the twitter account reports it exists). Email notifications never worked for me (in fact, email never seemed to work for me; I never got Thursday’s deal by email). Poor design again. Regardless, I would trust my friends more than I would trust a website anyway.

I suppose this might just be my expectations being unreasonable (American consumers always feel so entitled, eh? After all, I did get a $20 card for $10, which was pretty much what was advertised…), but this entire experience has still left me with a bad feeling.

So, thanks LivingSocial, for the free $10 for Amazon. But I think I’ll stick to Groupon.

And apologies to everyone I spammed on Wednesday.

Oh Pittsburgh…

Via Greg (via Youtube) comes this terrifying video demonstrating the iciness of Pittsburgh yesterday.

That fuzzy object on the left that the second car hits (before hitting the other car and stopping) looks like a large pine tree. And it just goes flying.
:X

Fortunately it was above freezing for most of the day, so the ice had mostly melted by the time I went out, but still…