Mechanics for mind games

Discussion in 'Game Design' started by CCGer, Jul 10, 2012.

  1. CCGer

    CCGer Active Member

    "Mind games" on the title refers to games where you are constantly trying to get in the mind of your opponent in order to guess his plan and prepare the counter. There will be situations where you try to bluff or mislead your opponent while trying to guess his true plan. Perhaps we should call it psychological games or perhaps "yomi". Previously, I made the thread "Mecahnics that encourages yomi", which ended up being rather unsatisfactory. Instead of me getting ideas to work on, most of the posts was me trying to actually understand what yomi actually is. And then there is the arguement about yomi in MTG.... Ah forget that. Now, I just want to brainstorm about ideas about mechanics that encourages mind games. The focus on this thread will be on 2 player non-digital card games and if possible, can be done in a CCG. (Yes, I am trying to get ideas for my CCG again) What you can do is that you nominate a 2 player card game which you think has lots of mind games going on for me to check it out.

    As far as I know, most CCGs are heavy on building your own field of units rather than trying to counter what your opponent is going to do. Your deck is designed to use a particular strategy (swarming with low cost creatures or playing big bombs or to do that combo....) and you will be doing just that. Even if you know what your oppoent can do, there is nothing much that you can do. Although there are situations like creature buffs and counterspell, they won't always happen since it depends on what deck you are using or playing against. I will like to design a game where reading your opponent is something fundamental and a must to excell, regardless of how your deck is built. I have tried looking for information in euro board games, but most of the games are low on player interaction.

    Now, I think one of the obvious recommendations will be Yomi card game. This game uses the simultaneous action mechanic and it has mind games. (its name is yomi afterall) However, as far as I know, most of the cards only deal damage and seldomly has other effects. (I haven't play it much, forgive me if Iam wrong) A CCG usually has many different effects, from doing damage to increasing field presences to gathering resource... So far, I find it difficult to use this mechanic for a CCG.

    So, just name the game that fits, talk about its mechanics and I'll check it out.

  2. CWheezy

    CWheezy Well-Known Member

    How much is this assignment worth in terms of marks?
    zem and Gavisi like this.
  3. 2000 IQ Killjoy Gamer link6616

    2000 IQ Killjoy Gamer link6616 Well-Known Member

    I've been told there is a lord of the rings game that does this well but I don't know which.
  4. icewolf34

    icewolf34 Well-Known Member

    In Alteil, players choose and simultaneously cast spells. If you cast the same spell as your opponent, they counter each other. More commonly, you will do something like 'haste my creature' and he does 'kill your creature', so your haste is wasted.

    There is also an effect like 'sacrifice my creature to kill your untapped creature', so a very effective counterplay if you have the right read is the 'tap all my creatures, gain some mana' effect. Usually that counterplay would leave you horribly wide open, so it's quite a coup if it lands.

    The key is really the simultaneous choice though, the rest is just payoffs.
  5. CCGer

    CCGer Active Member

    Yep, this is basically simultaneous action. However, it is quite difficult to implement such a complicated simultaneous action in non-digital games.
  6. icewolf34

    icewolf34 Well-Known Member

    Wait, what? You just both take a card from your hand, and place it face down. Then they both turn face up at once. Then either they both resolve at once or you have some priority-choosing mechanism (speed written on card for example).
  7. CrystalChaos

    CrystalChaos Moderator Staff Member

    I think link is referring to the lord of the rings tcg.

    The way that game works is that you have to get to the ninth location to win the game. Each player has up to 8 cards in their hand. They can choose to either save Shadow cards (minions and other things to kill your characters) or Fellowship cards (characters and abilities to make it easier for you to move). Players take turns being the Fellowship player (the one that moves between locations) and the Shadow player (tries to prevent the Fellowship player from progressing).

    Each time you move (also most Fellowship cards you play), you give your opponent more of a resource (known as "twilight") that they can use to play Shadow cards. After they have played their Shadow cards, your characters fight. At the end of the fighting, the Fellowship player decides whether to move to the next location. If they do not move on, then both the Fellowship player and the Shadow player refill their hands, and all Shadow minions are discarded. If they choose to proceed, then the Shadow player gets to refill their hand while the Fellowship player does not, and all Shadow minions stay in play. The extra move also gives the Shadow player more twilight to try to kill the Fellowship player.

    The way the mindgames work is that often the Shadow player will spend little to none of the twilight after the Fellowship player's first move. The Fellowship player has to try to determine whether the Shadow player is saving Shadow cards (and twilight) to kill the Fellowship player after a second move or whether they only have Fellowship cards. Also, if there are many living minions left, the Fellowship player has to decide whether the Shadow player has enough left in their hand/draws to kill them.

    In this game it is often the case that the Fellowship player could win for free (complete the final move with little to no opposition) but instead chooses not to move on because they believe that the Shadow player is baiting them to do so.

    If you have any questions, I can clarify.
  8. CCGer

    CCGer Active Member

    Well, that seems to be the only way to implement simultaneous action without any other complex stuff. In Alteil, there are far too many things riding on the simultaneous action. It will be good if I can use simultaneous action where there are an army of units to attack each other on a non-digital card game. But, there is too many choices like which unit to attack, target of attack...etc. That is too much information for a non-digital game to handle. If you guys found a non-digital game that does that, you can recommend it to me.

    As for the Lord of the Rings TCG, it is certainly interesting. I will check it out. But, can you show me how do you yomi in this game? Do it in a yomi layer method, like this example:

    Yomi 0: Player A attacks with all his creatures.
    Yomi 1: Player B blocks with his creatures and attacks the undefended Player A next turn.
    Yomi 2: Player A plays overrun, killing all of Player B's creatures.
    Yomi 3: Player B takes the damage from Player A's creatures, attacks the undefended Player A next turn.

  9. CrystalChaos

    CrystalChaos Moderator Staff Member

    it's not that clearly defined, but here is an approximation:

    yomi layer 0: save Shadow cards, play as many as you can whenever you can
    yomi layer 1: save Shadow cards, wait until they move twice to have as much resources as possible, then play as many Shadow cards as you can
    yomi layer 2: save Fellowship cards (they assume you are saving Shadow cards and stop after 1 move)

    Edit: these are vague similarities, yomi layers are not a very useful measure in this case I think.
  10. Leartes

    Leartes Well-Known Member

    You can easily extend the 1-facedown card to a many facedown card mechanic. Like define a left wing, right wing and center. Then both players take all their played creature cards and put 1 creature facedown in every slot. Creatures could receive bonuses depending on their positioning and neighbouring units (Like: Light Cavalry receive bonus damage on a wing, or Shield Wall: Receive bonus protection in center.). Also there could be bonus effects depending on the opposing creature (Spears: Bonus damage vs cavalry and large creatures).
    Now both players reveal their facedown creatures and combat resolves.

    You could make it so that players can only chose creatures that were previously played onto the field and therefore are known to the opponent. Then you can have additional effects (camouflage, ambush etc.) to add more surprise effects if necessary.

    It is important to keep the creatures that are not put into the combat positions hidden until combat is resolved. Maybe the system is a hazzle if there are tons of creatures and many rounds of combat. It is the task of the designer to strike the right balance ...
  11. Gon

    Gon Active Member

    Check out that Yu-Gi-Oh cartoon series. Some great mind games when Yu-Gi battles Pegasus!
  12. CCGer

    CCGer Active Member

    Does anyone know a turn-based non-digital card game with lots of yomi without simultaneous action mechanic or the bidding system in chess2?

    It seems to me that the only way to implement yomi in a CCG is to either make it similar to Yomi card game or add a bidding mechanic to it. The yomi in MTG seldom happens. In many CCG, knowing what the opponent is trying to do doesn't help much. Sure, we have the Overrun trick in MTG:

    Yomi 0: Player A attacks with all his creatures.
    Yomi 1: Player B blocks with his creatures and attacks the undefended Player A next turn.
    Yomi 2: Player A plays overrun, killing all of Player B's creatures.
    Yomi 3: Player B takes the damage from Player A's creatures, attacks the undefended Player A next turn.

    What if Player B also have Overrun? In that case, perhaps the only choice player A has is to not attack, and this does not defeat player B at all. That would just be stalling. And, how is he going to deal with player B's Overrun? In Yomi card game, if you predict an attack, you may block, and although you do no damage, your opponent just wasted an attack card.

    What I am trying to say here is, I find it difficult to implement yomi effectively in turn based games. Lets say that we play RPS in turn based, if I play a rock on my turn, you will obviously play paper during your turn, since you saw what I did and you merely counter it. The only way to allow your correct prediction to pay off is by playing it simultaneously or in real time.
  13. Leartes

    Leartes Well-Known Member

    For this reason MtG has interrupts.

    Also you could go the Yu-Gi-Oh route and add some mechanic that allows you to commit hidden actions (e.g. face-down cards) that are revealed at any point later on
  14. CCGer

    CCGer Active Member

    Besides Yugioh, are there other ways?
  15. Leartes

    Leartes Well-Known Member

    The design space of games is innumerable just like the real numbers. I propose that the set of possible mechanics that induce yomi are of the same cardinality. The only limitation is the creativity of the designer.
  16. CCGer

    CCGer Active Member

    I hope that it is true. But if that is so, there should be plenty of recommendations by now. But currently I am still stuck. Perhaps I have reached my limits of creativity.
  17. Leartes

    Leartes Well-Known Member

    You have tons of baseline approaches by now.
    - interrupts from hand like mtg
    - previously committed interrupts like yu-gi-oh
    - simultaneous play like yomi

    Then there are variations of these concepts, like altail pre-build facedown-committed interrupts. Also there is yomi some amount of yomi in all games with hidden information, though the amount can go towards zero if the game is bad.
    I think almost any game that is fun and has hidden information also has yomi. Pick any random example you want and try to find the yomi. You don't need us to point you at it.
  18. Gon

    Gon Active Member

    ... Hidden information ... What one player goes the other player does not completely know what he did and has to make inferences from all available information.
  19. garcia1000

    garcia1000 World Champion Moderator (old) Staff Member

    High quality thread, I learned a lot.

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