Combined TCG Battle Game

Looking through my card collection last night, I realized that I have a shitton of different TCGs… and that maybe if there was a way to play them together it would be interesting. Thus, here goes my attempt.

Combined TCG Battle Game

This game has 4 types of cards: Leaders, Minions, Equipment, and Events. Each card game translates its cards over to these four types (translation is unique to each card game).
Each player must have exactly 20 cards in their deck, which can consist of any combination of the above cards, with a maximum of one copy of any one card. All 20 cards must also come from the same card game (and have the same card back in the case of split-back games).

Goal
The goal of the game is to win the most skirmishes. For two players, it’s best of 3. For multiple players, it’s the last player standing.
For two players, the player winning 2 of 3 skirmishes wins. For multiple players, players that don’t win any skirmishes in a combat phase are eliminated (and the game continues from the play phase with the remaining players).

Setup
Shuffle the 20 cards and draw a 5 card hand. If you do not get at least one Leader card in this hand, reshuffle and draw 5 until you do. Play that leader card face-up. Decide which player goes first.
Note: If your deck only contains a single Leader card, you may search for it and play it, drawing 4 cards instead of 5 to start.

Game phases
Play: Starting with the first player and going clockwise, each player either summons allies, plays events, or requisitions equipment equal to their maximum play value, or they pass. Once all players pass in succession, the play phase ends. When a player passes, they may draw a card.
Note: If your leader has a maximum play value of 3 and you can only perform 2 actions, you must pass… thus a leader with a play value of 1 has the flexibility of being able to pass at any point, while a leader with higher play values get cards out faster.
Note: You can still play cards after you pass if play comes around to you again (that is, you can play cards until every player passes in succession, no matter how often you pass during the play phase).

Combat: Starting with the player with the highest initiative, there are skirmishes (in case of initiative ties, resolve them in some mutually agreeable fashion to produce a discrete ordering of players). Each player attacks the player with the next lowest initiative. Battles are resolved based purely on the number of minions that player has (equipment and events may boost this, see card type explanations below). Each attacking minion sacrifices its life to kill one other minion (both players discard their minions). The player with minions remaining at the end wins the skirmish. In case of a tie, the attacking player wins the skirmish.
After all players have participated in a skirmish (or not, if an odd number of players), this phase ends.
Note: If you have participated in a skirmish during the combat phase, you don’t participate again. That is, if you attack or defend, that’s your combat for the round.
Note: If you have an odd number of remaining players, the player with the lowest initiative doesn’t participate in a skirmish and thus is automatically considered to win.

Resolution: In this phase, players discard all of their in-play cards except for their Leaders. At this point, they may choose to replace their in-play Leader with a new Leader from their hand (discard the old one). They then resolve their hands to 5 cards (discarding if they hold more, drawing if they hold less). The game then starts over from the Play phase until there is a winner.

Decking
Nothing happens when decked except that you no longer can draw cards. If you ever have 0 minions out during the combat phase (because you can’t or didn’t play any), you automatically lose (even if there’s an odd number of players).

Card types
Leader: This card summons minions, requisitions equipment, and plays events. The number of cards that you may play per turn depends on your leader (and is forced to be this much). You may only play Leader cards during the resolution phase to replace an existing leader; you may only have one leader in play at any time.

Minion: These cards do the fighting and win the game for you. Each minion (by default) has a strength of 1, meaning it destroys 1 other minion when it attacks (killing itself in the process). Equipment and events may change this or allow minions to survive attacks. Certain minions may also by default survive an attack or kill more than one with an attack (see translations for each specific game).

Equipment: Equipment is played onto minion cards and is essentially “part” of that minion. Various equipment does various things, depending on the game you’re using as your deck (see translations for each specific game).

Event: There are basically two types of events: Stop! and Draw. The translation to these two event types depends on the game, and certain games may define additional event types. Events can be played either during the play phase or during a skirmish.
Stop! Events are played during the play phase to stop additional rounds of play. That is, when you play a Stop! Event, once play gets back to your turn again, the play phase immediately ends. You can also player a Stop! event during a skirmish when you are attacked; the defending minion survives the attack (the attacker still dies; if the defender had Endurance, it still counts as one of the two required hits, but cannot count for any more).
Draw events are just that… when you play it during the play phase, you may draw up to two cards from your deck. You can also play a Draw event during a skirmish when attacking; both minions are considered to have strength of 1 (that is, the attacker can only hit one enemy, and the defender cannot survive the hit with Endurance or a similar “multiple-hits required” modifier). And yes, a Stop! event can be used to survive a Draw event.

Common terms
Double attack – A minion with this ability hits two enemy minions when attacking (and killing itself).
Endurance – A minion with this ability must be hit twice before dying. Note that a minion with endurance is still killed when attacking.

Game Translations
Just three games for now…

.hack//ENEMY
Leader – PC cards represent leaders. Their play value is their destiny value. Ignore the strength, any special text, level, and endurance.
Equipment – Item cards represent equipment. All equipment cards with any strength boost (higher than 0) give “Double attack” to the attached minion. All equipment cards with any endurance values (higher than 0) give “Endurance” to the attached minion. Ignore the type, element, special text, level, and destiny.
Minions – Monster cards represent minions. Total initiative is the sum of all in-play minions’ strengths. Ignore all other values and text on monster cards.
Events – Actions and Event cards represent events. Event cards are all Draw events and Action cards are all Stop! events.

Star Trek CCG (First Edition)
Leaders – Ships represent leaders. The number of staffing icons is the play value. Ignore all stats, class, special text, and traits.
Equipment – Equipment represent equipment. Equipment cards give “Endurance” to the attached minion. Ignore all text.
Minions – Personnel cards represent minions. Personnel with even Integrity have “Double attack” but are all killed when one such personnel is attacked and killed (basically, all even Integrity personnel die together; dying when attacking does not count). Initiative is the sum of half the CUNNING value (rounded down) of your in-play minions. Ignore all other values and text on personnel cards.
Events – Events and Interrupts represent events. Event cards are all Draw events and Interrupts are all Stop! events.

Star Trek CCG (Second Edition)
Leaders – Ships represent leaders. All ships count as having a play value of 2 (ignore all values).
Equipment – Equipment represents equipment. All equipment cards give “Double attack” to the attached minion. Ignore all other values.
Minions – Personnel cards represent minions. Personnel with even strength have “Endurance” but only deal half-damage when attacking (so you must target the same enemy twice with even-STRENGTH personnel to kill it). Initiative is the sum of half the CUNNING value (rounded down) of your in-play minions. Ignore all other values.
Events – Events and Interrupts represent events. Event cards are all Draw events and Interrupts are all Stop! Events.

3 thoughts on “Combined TCG Battle Game

  1. Fascinating. I always wanted to try something like this, but never came up with anything remotely close to working.
    A few random thoughts as I read through:
    1. If you take a mulligan because you have no leader, would it save time to just set your hand aside and draw five new cards, repeating until you have one, and then reshuffling the rest? Or is that fundamentally different from reshuffling between every attempt at drawing?
    2. Minor conflict I’d like to see disambiguated: Attacker wins in ties, yet having zero minions is an automatic loss. If both attacker and defender have zero, do they both lose, or does the “tie” mean the attacker wins? Or can you not attack if you have zero minions, implying if the highest initiative leader had no minions, that player would lose without entering combat, leaving the second highest to attack the third?
    3. Random question on Star Trek translation: When calculating initiative, do you sum the full cunning value and then half/round down, or take half/round down the cunning value on each character and sum it? The way it’s worded my brain parses the order of operations as half each value, then sum, which is fine if that’s what you intended, but seems like more work than summing first.
    Overall, very impressed. Can’t wait to see if you can insert Magic and Pokemon balanced.

  2. Decided to take a crack at a possible Magic translation. Having not played .hack ever or Star Trek in years, my play and initiative values might be the wrong order.
    Legendary creatures are Leaders, with a play value of their attack power.
    Enchant Creatures are equipment, with red enchantments giving double attack and white enchantments giving endurance. (disambiguate that gold cards with red and white casting cost give neither bonus, not both) May be better way that would allow other color enchantment cards.
    All non-legendary summons are minions. Maybe first strike creatures have double attack while walls have endurance. May need some balance mechanism similar to the Star Trek “all double attack characters die when one does”.
    Events are instants. Similarly for equipment, pick two colors for stop and draw (red and blue?) or some other method to allow other colors.

    Final random questions:
    Can the same minion have multiple equipment?
    How does equipment stack? Presumably two double attack equipment (or one on someone who has it naturally) means 3 attack, not 4, or does it still only get 2 attacks?

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