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Some more thoughts on DCGs

Last time I talked about DCGs, i was a comparative approach to all of prominent ones. This week I’ll look at individual elements of the genre and pontificate.

Timer: I honestly cannot understand why any digital game wouldn’t use a chess clock for two reasons. The first is that it lets a person think through their options in the more difficult parts of the game, not all parts of the game are created equally. Secondly, given the fact that these are games are online means that the timer can be used as a sort of buffer for technical problems.

Patching cards: I’m a split mind of this. On one hand, given the constricted nature of play, having dead cards from bans is lame, cause no one can play them. Compared to say magic, where no one will begrudge you for playing a Jace the Mind Sculptor in decks that would otherwise be classified as Modern legal. Online, if you ban a card it’s effectively dead until the games live long enough that you can have multiple formats. Which is not in the immediate future. It also compensates for the smaller size of playtester teams. On the other hand, assuming the cards aren’t insanely busted, having some cards stand out like that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s something that I would want to see happen sparingly once the games officially leave beta. Until then, aggressively change things in order to see what works and what doesn’t for the future.

Not playing things on your opponent’s turn: I’m not sure I agree with the idea that people want to click through all the stops of mtgo so we should only do stuff on our turn mentality. While the system mastery required to make mtgo work is counter intuitive and unfun, the use of instants isn’t in a more confined game space. Solforge not having instants makes sense in a confines of wanting to design a game meant for pick up and play a turn gameplay. Hearthstone’s secrets could be ported over in the future to Solforge. None of the existing games are really well built to do any kind of instants but it is something to keep in mind for the future.

Trading: These games really need trading and by trading I mean a way to meaningfully interact with other people in order to build your collection.  Crafting systems are nice in the sense that they provide a means to have control over what a person is collecting but the’re intentional hard to use.  Tag cards as either acquired for free or for money and only let the latter be traded.

Matches are better than games: In any sort of competitive atmosphere it makes the game more balanced. It reduces the effect of variance and rewards skill. Yes it also takes more time but the trade off here is worthwhile.

That’s it for this week, happy new year. May the new one be better than the last.

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