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Interstellar Marines CARD GAME - Unofficial

 

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07th Aug 2011 01:27:10 CET. Edited 4 weeks after.

# 42152
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AnusCondus

So, in the absence of the dev team (vacation slackers :P) I thought I could make my own game based on IM!

So here it is! Ready to be printed and glued to a cheap card deck!

IM_CardGame_PDF_LetterFormat (8 mb)

So I haven't really gotten a chance to TEST the RULES, so feel free to help me! :D It's based on some logic and theory, but I am curious to see how solid it is.

Feedback is welcome!

EDIT: I've played it a few times and it has since the original received some revisions. Please provide feedback if you play it!

EDIT: Updated the link to version 1.81.


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07th Aug 2011 01:32:15 CET. Edited 22 minutes after.

# 41055
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Kosai106

Windfeld/Sensei, you're a God ! <3

Edit:// You can even get them printed cheap here!

Now sensei, design the back of the cards! :D

@ Zero Point Software: What about some official printed decks as prices? Would be kinda cool, if the rules of the game works, of course.


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07th Aug 2011 01:55:04 CET

# 41056
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AnusCondus

Backside, you say, eh? :D Sure, but before that someone reaaaally needs to play it so we can adjust the rules, add more cards etc (so it fits the 54 cards).


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07th Aug 2011 02:56:36 CET. Edited 4 minutes after.

# 41059
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TheSargeGuy

interesting idea hehe maybe a board game with the cards have different peices for different cards lol.


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07th Aug 2011 06:47:36 CET

# 41062
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Jerom

Oh god, card games.. No , don't do this to me, I have a weakness to card games....One more deck can't hurt, right? Let me tell you something my closet is overflowing with magic,yugioh and wow TCGs. Don't make me hurt you


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07th Aug 2011 09:13:38 CET. Edited 1 minute after.

# 41065
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Tacticalspoon

Oh god, card games.. No , don't do this to me, I have a weakness to card games....One more deck can't hurt, right? Let me tell you something my closet is overflowing with magic,yugioh and wow TCGs. Don't make me hurt you

But this one's non-collectible.

Feedback related: I'm not sure you need the IM logo on the top of each and every card. That's 1) where card titles usually go and 2) more appropriate to be on the card back :)


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08th Aug 2011 05:24:35 CET

# 41084
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Antonio38425144

OOOOH, an IM card game, what a great idea. I had a look at the cards and i say, WELL DONE. gives thumbs up


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08th Aug 2011 19:57:06 CET. Edited 0 minutes after.

# 41162
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AnusCondus

Okay, I juuuust played it. Hilarious and kinda well balanced considering it hasn't been tested. I (and a friend who helped me play it) have quite a few tweaks, so expect and updated version soon :D

Mr. T spoon: I concur :)


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09th Aug 2011 06:58:45 CET

# 41219
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AnusCondus

Bump. Complete with illustrated and simplified improved rules and card composition!


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09th Aug 2011 11:38:16 CET

# 41229
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AdaptiveMass

dude... awesome!


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10th Aug 2011 01:14:13 CET

# 41256
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AnusCondus

AdaptiveMass: Thanks!

I just uploaded a 'updated' version. I had a friend read it through and helped me figure out what needed to be cleared up. So it contains mostly typos and some rule clarifications.

I am playing with some people tomorrow to balance it. So today our lunchbreak went to finding a paper cutter and go over the revised rules since last playthrough.

I can strongly recommend if you do your own card game (or hopefully, take the time to try the IM game :D), use card sleeves and 'regular' cards to make them shuffle-able. You can by those anywhere where you get your regular magic and whatnot decks.

Can't wait to get beaten to a pulp in Deadlock!

Cheers! -A


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10th Aug 2011 06:25:28 CET

# 41258
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Kosai106

So it contains mostly typos and some rule clarifications.

I hope you mean it DOESN'T contain typos. ;)


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11th Aug 2011 05:02:45 CET

# 41304
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AnusCondus

Kosai: Yes, I like typos! Especially if they completely mess up the sentence :D

Behind Interstellar Marines - The Card Game

Okay, here are some ramblings for those interested in game design theory. Well, my take on card game design theory :D I recommend you read/skim the rules to understand the context.

‘Real’ Cards

First of all, do not underestimate the value of making your cards FEEL like cards. Suddenly it felt like a game and became a very strong motivation. Even while playing we had ‘outsiders’ walk in saying: “Hey, what game is that?!”! Yes, it actually looks pretty awesome when you are well into a game!

First mistake

So, stepping back to the first prototype. I did a bad thing. Ish. I started by designing the cards before knowing the system. I got lucky, but I wouldn’t recommend it! It took longer to change the cards after I came up with some ‘obvious’ rules and feedback from people who play card games more than me (like having the logo on each card, d’oh!).

Simultaneous turns

Playing the game showed many flaws. I wanted players to play their chosen card at the same time, but my ‘this card goes before this card’ was very unhandy and I hadn’t really pre-thought who gets to ‘place’ their cards first if there were identical!

So we ended up fighting while trying to place cards and moving them around until the other player had ‘let go’ of his card. So we came up with a “write a number that equals your position” system which was very clunky. Rule nr 2: KEEP IT ELEGANT!

For this game I had this idea of simultaneous turns, I could keep the players more engaged. No need to be ‘waiting’ for your turn. I wanted to keep this value.

That is how the Initiative system was born. Now each card has a unique number that will determine several things. The essence of elegant: Use one simple solution to solve several problems. After trying it out, it proved to iron out all the wrinkles of simultaneous play (even adds a tactical element if you really want to adapt to your opponent!).

Randomness vs Determinism

So if you have been following the development over the last few days, the biggest change in the latest ‘edition’ is the main deck has been divided into Territories (previously Locations), Units and Equipment/Tactics [1].

While playing the old version, my opponent brilliantly pointed out: “You are asking me to play tactically, but I don’t have enough control to adapt” (or something like that). This made me start asking: “So how much randomness vs control does the game have?”.

In this case, too much randomness. You share the deck, so you can never be sure what cards are left (or in the hands of your opponent). You don’t know what type of card you will have or what hand composition you will end up with and you don’t know what your opponent will play. Everything else is more or less known.

So we wanted to keep some randomness[2], but give the player just a tad of more long term control. We decided to give the player the option choosing his hand composition. We divided the main deck into the three categories and gave them different colored backgrounds (in this case, card sleeves). This became another elegant solution as it added a deep sense of suspicion when you could see what from which deck your opponent is drawing cards!

Tomorrow we will try this new card division system on some unsuspecting soul.

[1] I’m still considering renaming equipment/tactics to be the same ‘type’ to make it simpler. I’ll get back to you on that.

[2] Enough randomness to make the game unpredictable (unique) and thus requiring a slice of adaptation to win …

Balancing combat

I pad myself on the back for using very, very simple numbers. What a headache it could have been. Even the first game we played was reasonably balanced - and the things which were unbalanced were easily adjusted. The only two big ‘adjustments’ was the MCT (Minimum Controlled Territory)[3] and reducing the defence value of all units with 2 to 1.

[3] We introduced MCT so players would think twice before spawning a very powerful unit early game.

And finally … Documentation and rules

Probably the most ‘hard work’. BUT, nonetheless, I needed it to be downloadable and understandable by the Zero Point team who are 5000 miles away. So I made my poor colleagues read it through before playing and then just letting loose. This revealed a lot of obvious misconceptions or details I took for granted. The sentences that were kept simple were the ones that were never questioned - everything else got bashed until I rewrote it (coders are evil … in a good way!)

And remember: Pictures/Drawings are your friend :D

Final words

I am starting to sense it could be one of those games that are easy to learn, but hard to master. Not that it by any means is finished or compares to the masterpieces out there, but it has taught/reminded me of a few design lessons. I have to admit the process has been more fun than anticipated. Hopefully, someday when I am happy with everything, I can print them on real cards for my own amusement, and if I am lucky, others.

Enough scribbles from this madman. Hope you got something out of reading this jibba jabba!

Cheers! /A


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11th Aug 2011 12:32:25 CET

# 41318
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LordMord

Looks pretty amazing. Just didn't have time to test it out. But since today is my last day of work before my vacation, i should habe plenty of time to play it.

I hade this idea of making an Unity3d game out of it so we could play together. Since i am currntly trying to understand the networkingpart of Unity this would be a good Project to learn. But i can't promise anything, cause sometimes i just don't finish stuff. And anyones help who understands the networking of Unity or wants to help otherwise is greatly appriciated.


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11th Aug 2011 16:52:46 CET. Edited 0 minutes after.

# 41326
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Kosai106

Looks pretty amazing. Just didn't have time to test it out. But since today is my last day of work before my vacation, i should habe plenty of time to play it.

I hade this idea of making an Unity3d game out of it so we could play together. Since i am currntly trying to understand the networkingpart of Unity this would be a good Project to learn. But i can't promise anything, cause sometimes i just don't finish stuff. And anyones help who understands the networking of Unity or wants to help otherwise is greatly appriciated.

I actually suggested AnusCondus... (I hate saying that name; Please go back to your Windfeld account!) ... That we made it into an Unity game, buuuuut he said it would be too difficult, and then the conversation took off in another direction.


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12th Aug 2011 01:26:58 CET

# 41366
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AnusCondus

Kosai: I can't use that account as I will look like an employee :( Means I can't swear and have to be polite etc :P

Now who would want that? :D

LordMord: Absolutely! When Kosai proposed the idea I declined due to two reasons: 1. I can't code even if my life depended on it and 2. Balancing/creating rules is too cumbersome to implement in code compared to just playing it manually. I assume you would want to limit the amount of times you have to rewrite the code :D

Feel free to take upon you the task of creating the framework until I get the rules nailed :D The outline is most likely not going to chance, but you never know with those crazy designers :D (in other words, I'll be happy to supply you with the graphics)

Iteration nr … ehm … 4?

I played another round today (or rather, I was observing two friends playing: One who played yesterday and one who had only read the rules with no explanation). So now that I’ve started using this thread as a blog, I’ll write down some observations and the upcoming ‘adjustments’:

1. Using the initiative

The initiative is really good, but late game the moving phase becomes increasingly mind boggling and slows down the game. Not good. The values you have to compare are exponential in proportion to the number of units. So I’ll simplify by making it “You move all your units, then I move all mine”. Who goes first? Well, the simplest idea we could come up (with a non-persistent outcome) would be the initiative of the cards played that turn. The ‘most’ exciting moment of the game is when each player reveals their card, so by making the initiative part of the reveal made a lot of sense. To make this more reasonable compared to the equipment (with high initiative values), I have to start mixing them with the units. Ie Units (previously 500-1000) and equipment (previously 1500-1800) to be mixed between 500 and 1800. Territories, being ‘slow’ between 000-500, are fine as they are as they have a long term benefit.

2. Dropships

Dropships are overpowered, so they are going to be turned from equipment to a one time Tactic card. (imagine the combo of having two units, one equipped for high defence and another with a assault rifle and both with dropships … yes, oh shit …)

3. Cardlock

So you get stuck with cards you can't/won’t play. Doesn’t happen often, but happens enough to do something about it. To go around this we are going to add a 'draw cards corresponding the number of controlled territories” and add to your hand. Then discard all but 3. This way, you have a lot larger pool if you have a lot of territories, but still only have the same amount as your opponent. And also, you have the option of replacing your hand as you see fit. (this changes one of the end conditions, but that’s a detail). Also, you should never have less than 3 cards :D

4. Territories and limits

MTC is too restrictive and you don't get too much benefit from expanding territory. Thus, the rule of MTC will be RT - Required Territory and NOT Minimum Controlled Territory. This means that conquered territory STILL counts towards your MTC/RT limit.

5.Move and Initiative values

Now using initiative in combat changed the game completely. As you only compare inits to the opposite units (unlike moving which was against all units) it was still reasonable to figure out. Some units turned out über powerful … yes, the sharks. I kinda like that, but then they should be more specialised as shock troops and not survive long if caught in long term battle. So I’ll be reducing their health from 3 to 2 (as they indirectly got boosted when switching to the init system). The fast attack robot was way underpowered with 1 attack. So I’ll switch him up to having 1 health, 1 defence and 2 attack.

6. Init modifying cards

Now the init system is proving powerful, their might need to be a card or two to modify those values. If the players know there is a init modifying card, they will be more careful.

7. Results of using the 3 decks

If there was any concern, then it would be that your opponent could see what type of card you were going to play. So the players ended up selecting secretly and slapping the card on the table on the count of 3. Should the cards have the same backside to avoid this? It is hard as it makes it easier to remember what your opponent drew last time. And now with the ‘draw a lot of cards and pick 3’ solution, it will be much harder to sort them without the colored sleeves. BUT, apart from this minor detail, the 3 decks worked perfectly as intended!

Some typos, clarifications etc …. That’s it for now! Back to the drawing board!

/A

PS: The result of the game was interesting: Paul, being the guy who had only read the rules, started off getting pounded. Paul was defending his last territory while Patrick, the first to play with me, got cocky and expanded two locations. Paul managed to out maneuver and eventually build up a force strong enough to turn the tide and overrun his opponent. The fact that you can flip the tide this way makes it very interesting! Heck, I had fun watching (and taking notes of adjustments) :D


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12th Aug 2011 06:14:03 CET

# 41379
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Jerom

The rules seems quite straight forward, do mind if I give it a shot at trying to code it? I might scramble it (as I haven't touched real coding since 2002 and I doubt that my practical knowledge of Rexx,JCL and Cobol would apply.) but it be cool to try and have an interactive program.


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12th Aug 2011 13:10:22 CET

# 41383
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LordMord

LordMord: Absolutely! When Kosai proposed the idea I declined due to two reasons: 1. I can't code even if my life depended on it and 2. Balancing/creating rules is too cumbersome to implement in code compared to just playing it manually. I assume you would want to limit the amount of times you have to rewrite the code :D

Feel free to take upon you the task of creating the framework until I get the rules nailed :D The outline is most likely not going to chance, but you never know with those crazy designers :D (in other words, I'll be happy to supply you with the graphics)

Coding the game itselfe should not be a problem for me. But making it Multiplayer will be a hard task, cause i have never done it before. I am going to take a look into this right now.

The rules seems quite straight forward, do mind if I give it a shot at trying to code it? I might scramble it (as I haven't touched real coding since 2002 and I doubt that my practical knowledge of Rexx,JCL and Cobol would apply.) but it be cool to try and have an interactive program.

Did you ever use Unity3D befor? It is easy to create stuff in it and uses C# as Programminglanguage. And if you want to help me i think we should talk about that on Skype , Google+ Hangout or at least some realtime chat.


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12th Aug 2011 13:58:42 CET. Edited 3 hours, 42 minutes after.

# 41390
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Kosai106

Did you ever use Unity3D befor? It is easy to create stuff in it and uses C# as Programminglanguage. And if you want to help me i think we should talk about that on Skype , Google+ Hangout or at least some realtime chat.

Dude, he used to work om Interstellar Marines! ;)
+ A friend of his, himself and partly myself made this; Fragilebrain.com -//- MechCraft :D


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12th Aug 2011 14:39:55 CET. Edited 0 minutes after.

# 41386
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LordMord

Did you ever use Unity3D befor? It is easy to create stuff in it and uses C# as Programminglanguage. And if you want to help me i think we should talk about that on Skype , Google+ Hangout or at least some realtime chat.

Dude, he used to work om Interstellar Marines! ;)
+ A friend of his, himself and partly myself made this; Fragilebrain.com -//- MechCraft :D

Sorry my bad. Did not know that. The game is fun. Just the last levele is to hard and i don't like the flying mechanics that much.

And the link is broken, i neede to google it.


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