. /../Noctis Card Game Ideas/ 1
written by Kristos on May 21, 2012 22:56
Okay, so somebody said Noctis Card Game, and the wrinkly blob in my head started turning.

Players take turns. Each turn, you may TRAVEL (NEW), TRAVEL (OLD), REFUEL, or LAND/EXPLORE.

To TRAVEL (NEW), you can draw a card from the STAR deck, the PLANET deck (if you are in a solar system that is not fully explored) or the MOON deck (if you are in a planetary system that is not fully explored). It costs 10 fuel to travel from star to star, 3 fuel to travel within a solar system, and 1 fuel to travel within a planetary system.

The card you draw will list the name of the body, the class, a brief description, and how many planets/moons are orbiting it. Place your drifter on that card to indicate you are presently there. Keep the card with its relevant cards (parent star, moons, etc)

To TRAVEL (OLD), use the appropriate amount of fuel to go to a previously visited site.

To REFUEL, if you are orbiting the appropriate class star, refuel a certain amount per turn. If you do not have sufficient fuel and are not at such a location, you may expend turns using the "free" EMERGENCY REFUEL, which gives you far less fuel per turn than scoping for lithium.

When you use the LAND/EXPLORE action, you draw from the appropriate pile of surface exploration cards, depending on the planet class. These could result in a number of different happenings, though you can only have a limited number of discoveries per planet or moon, indicated on the planet or moon card. (Could be ZERO for hostile atmospheres.) Example cards are "Discovered civilization ruins", "Found X species", "Procured X ore", "got lost, found nothing", and "so much water".

Each discovery (STAR, PLANET, SURFACE, etc) has a value indicated on the card, and the value could multiply with certain combos. The goal would be to get the greatest discovery value. Players might could trade cards some, to try to benefit from the combos.

It would be ideal to have a large amount of cards, and only play with a small amount of each deck. That way, discoveries would not be repeated every game. Alternately, several cards could be drawn to make up a discovery.

When drawing cards, you may end up with a number of other types of cards, such as one that might allow you to (one time use) visit another player's solar system, or one that might provide some lithium.

These are just the ideas floating around my head. Tell me what you think.
i do my own stun-- avatars
written by Albeyamakiir on May 22, 2012 00:07
Too much random (no strategy to collecting points), not enough decision-making (many of your choices are made for you; for example, based on your fuel).

Most boardgamers don't seem to agree with me, but I find victory points to be boring and arbitrary.

Also, how would you display the STAR, PLANET, and MOON cards that have been drawn? STARs can be at the start of every row, with their PLANETs being across that row, but where would the moons go? Or are these cards kept by the players?

Now, when designing a game based on another work in another medium, most people tend to make something that looks the same, because that seems obvious, rather than something that feels the same, which is harder to pin down. It's why Puzzle Strike feels more like StarCraft than the StarCraft boardgame does (which feels kinda meh).

So try to figure out what playing Noctis feels like, and try to turn that into a board/card game. Not to say you can't take the themes, too.
written by Kristos on May 22, 2012 01:57
The point of the combos and trading was a first attempt at adding strategy. I'm at a loss of how to make a totally Noctis feeling card game that also has strategy. If you have any ideas, please ship them to me!

Yeah, STARS and PLANETS would be simple enough to handle, but adding moons on complicates things. It could work out, but it is a lot of fuss possibly.
i do my own stun-- avatars
written by Albeyamakiir on May 22, 2012 05:11
Well, to start with, you've created gameplay, and then attempted to add strategy and goals afterwards. While there's nothing saying you can't make a good game this way, I think it is more reliable to start elsewhere.

Are you set on this being a card game? Is any kind of non-computer game ok, such as a boardgame? Dice game? Game played in the forests with paint-ball guns? I get the feeling you want to avoid making a video game, here, which makes sense, as Noctis IV already exists, and Noctis Twilight isn't being very successful.

Similarly, going back to my previous post, do you want to make a Noctis card game, or a Noctis themed card game? If you're ok with the latter, you can still make a good game (though your first idea needs work). It just won't evoke the same feelings.

Often-times, I'll start making a game with a few goals in mind, and the rest of the game will develop itself (though I have to find which way it wants to go, which can be tricky).

I'd try to examine the traits (any traits) that Noctis has and work out their suitability for non-electronically-assisted gaming. Considering that Noctis only qualifies as a game under broad definitions, it may be tricky to get much out of this, but let's see:
Loneliness/isolation. Not great for a multiplayer game, but there are certainly games where interaction between players is minimal. Then it becomes a challenge of who is more efficient. Since Noctis doesn't even have any shared resources, interaction is at zero (well, not quite, see below). You may as well play a solitare game. :/
Exploration. Many board/card games use this mechanic quite well. However, few games have unexplored areas by the end of the game, which Noctis would, if there was an end game. It probably should be decided later as to whether this trait should be preserved.
No end game. I don't know of any game that does this, aside from some nomics, but it could be a desirable trait. Would make a very different kind of game, though. It's important to note that, while there may not be a goal, there may be an aim. But it is not one that can ever be reached. Basically, explore more. See the sights. Stuff like that.
Scientific accuracy (higher than average). It doesn't let realism get in the way, which is nice, but still relies on a special version of reality and takes it's laws and mechanics from there. Can't take much gameplay ideas from this yet.
Resource management (lower than average). One of the strange (to Noctis) things with your idea is how much resource management there is, though I'm not surprised. It's one of the first ways people try to gamify things. In Noctis, there's only fuel. Fuel is freely available, but consumable.
Information sharing (sharing, but no interaction).The guide is quite unique. It is also the only form of interaction in the game. If you want to make a game that is not better played as solitare, this is one important feature you should focus on.
Procedural generation. Like exploration, many games have this. Shuffle a deck/place tiles face down/etc.
Beauty. Um... Not exactly gameplay, and yet vital to the Noctis experience, is the weird kind of beauty it has.The weather, the trees, the view from on top of the stardrifter, even down to things like the tricky action of catching a bird (which I have never done, I'm sad to say). Much of the game is designed around actions and events that are otherwise superfluous to games. They exist for beauty alone. I don't know what to take from this, just yet.
No lose condition. So, no player elimination, which isn't very fun anyway. Seriously, though, this will also be a challenge. With no lose condition, comes no win condition, either. Plenty of games have shared win or lose, where all players can win, for example. But many fewer have neither condition at all. If you want this, you have to try to disrupt the other important elements as little as possible.

There are likely other important traits. I've just listed the ones I can think of. That should help start you off. A little bit...

You've set up quite the task for yourself. Noctis wasn't made with boardgames in mind, and it's traits don't easily lend themselves to that style. I hope you have some prior experience in this area, because to do this successfully will be a massive challenge. You'd win so many awesomes if you did, though.

Or maybe I'm being a perfectionist. As I said, you can still make a good, or even fantastic, game that is simply themed like Noctis. Go wherever your game design takes you.

As you can see from my previous post, I'm quite blunt in my criticism (I can be blunter, if you like ), but I'd be happy to look at what you do and give advice.
written by Kristos on May 22, 2012 06:28
Thanks for the lots of thoughts and information and criticism! I have made card games before, and at least two of them were fun (), but never have I attempted something so... unorthodox... as this. It may not succeed. I'll keep thinking. There is nothing set about any of my ideas, I just think it would be cool if a reasonable Noctis card game could be developed.

Be blunt.
written by Cryoburner on May 22, 2012 17:08
As Albey said, Noctis might be rather hard to form a compelling card game out of. There are practically no competitive aspects to the game, which limits one's ability to form interesting interactions between players. Sure, you could aim for gaining the most exploration points as suggested, but without the ability to impact the other player's points, it largely comes down to luck for whether you end up with more points than them.
Unless strategic Fationic Cannon strikes are implemented. :3

I do like some of the ideas here though, like drawing cards to build star systems. To simplify things, moons and planets could just be counted together as major bodies of a star, rather than distinguishing between them. Perhaps large planets, like gas giants, could provide bonus moons, and modifier cards could give each planet features like high radiation levels, low gravity, and so on, affecting their initial stats.

However, I think that system might be better off in a game about galactic colonization or something, where there could be interactions between players, like claiming planets, trading resources, developing technology, and so on. In the Noctis universe, you can't really do those kinds of things while keeping it somewhat faithful to the source material.

Making cards with interesting pictures of planets, creatures and so on would be cool though. I was actually going to suggest developing the game as a video game first, to test out ideas in a format that doesn't require completely remaking physical decks of cards each time some gameplay aspect is tweaked. This does seem like the type of game that would require a lot of cards to keep things interesting, after all.
written by Kristos on May 22, 2012 21:49
Yup yup. Thanks.

The game could be 1-player, where you explore as much as you can. See how much of the universe you can discover before you have to send out a distress call. The distress call would, of course, be a game over because the presence of another Felysian breaks the solitary atmosphere.
written by Kynreeve on May 22, 2012 22:18
Kristos said:
The game could be 1-player, where you explore as much as you can. See how much of the universe you can discover before you have to send out a distress call.
Reminds me of Weird Worlds. It's not exacly a card game, though.
written by Logicalerror on May 23, 2012 00:14
Weird Worlds is awesome. If you could make a card game like noctis with that much production value I would gladly demand that you requisition my currency.
i do my own stun-- avatars
written by Albeyamakiir on May 23, 2012 06:47
Idea!

Ok, so you have a game that you set up on an unused table somewhere, because it's going to stay there for days. Maybe even a month or more. People can stop for a bit to play a turn when they walk past, but only if there's no one else around. Keeps the solitary nature of the game, while simultaneously allowing the shared info of the guide.

Uh, that's where my idea ends for the moment, though.
Hmm...

Played on a large sheet of paper?
Only allowed to have a turn if the state of the board has changed since your last turn?
Hmm...
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