As I’m thinking of the upcoming convention season, it’s always a good idea to have a few small card games in your proverbial design pockets, as it is something that a lot of publishers are interested in, especially some German companies who always publish one or two such games a year. Usually it is best to keep the components to 110 cards or less, with no other components, which can be quite a good restriction to breed creativity.

Today’s idea is meant to fill this card game slot, and is in part inspired by Bruno Faidutti’s game Castle, which I have never played, but remain quite interested in due to its wide variety of characters and effects in such a small game. I would like to see if I can make something in this same sort of vein – lots of crazy effects and combos!

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Day 35: The Guilds of Cardstown

The game would have 110 cards – 5 secret goals plus 105 guild characters (15 in each of 7 guilds). Players are trying to get various characters into their score pile, as these cards will be worth the points printed on them at the end of the game. Players will also gain points for achieving their secret goals, and the player with the most points at the end of the game is the winner!

There is 3 x 3 grid of cards in the centre that players are interacting with to play their characters, and to claim guild characters for their score pile. Each player has a hand of cards, and on their turn, they play a card on one edge of the grid. They can then activate the card they played if it has a ‘Play’ ability, and activate any cards in the row of column adjacent to the played card if they are of the same guild.

They then slide the card they played into the grid, pushing that row or column over, and take the card that was ejected and place it in front of them. Some cards give abilities while they are front of the players. Whenever a player takes a card of a guild that is already in front of them, they score the guild card that was there previously, placing it face down in their score pile. This is the only place from where the cards score, and before they get there they are not safe – various effects can cause cards in play to be discarded or returned to their owner’s hand.

There would be a wide variety of effects to play with the basic economies in the game, from taking more cards from the middle, to reactivating cards you’ve already played, to messing with your opponents. Once the deck runs out, everyone has one last turn, and then the game is over!

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I would like the effects to be fairly wide ranging, and possibly very powerful – hopefully the game won’t play for too long, and players can feel like they are getting to pull off some crazy combos along the way. What kind of effects do you think would be fun in a game like this?