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General Forge Forums => Independent Publishing => Topic started by: williamhessian on February 20, 2008, 12:24:07 PM

Title: my first post, my CCG, and pictures!
Post by: williamhessian on February 20, 2008, 12:24:07 PM
this is my first post. i am so excited to find this forum (i found it by searching google). In the last ten years i have designed 4 CCG (or varied CCG) games in my past, none of which got much further than play testing. Its the complicated system of statistical editing that I always get stuck on. but recently I came up with my best game yet:

(the images are very crude at this point, i will be signing a more polished design for the cards as I progress with the project)

I have hand drawn a test set of cards (35 of them so far) to be play tested. Currently I have played 25 games and have plans to continue adding new characters to my game.

My game is based on very simple rules, but within them is a very complicated strategic gameplay.

I am extremely excited to hear others journeys getting from concept to finished product. I run a gallery in Minnesota, and do custom airbrush art, when I get home I draw my own CCG.

I am trying to figure out how to print sets of my sample cards and then send them to interested parties to play test the game. I am not trying to make lots of money with my game, instead I am trying to merge artwork and CCG together and make cards that are very appealing and unique and hard to collect. So for those of you who might be interested in playtesting my game, getting sets of my promo cards, and give helpful critique of my game (to make it the best it can be) please email me and let me know. When the cards are ready I will be mailing out sets to those on my list.

more about my card game: (

my email:

Title: Re: my first post, my CCG, and pictures!
Post by: Nev the Deranged on February 20, 2008, 03:44:55 PM
Interesting card design. So, how's it work?

Title: Re: my first post, my CCG, and pictures!
Post by: williamhessian on February 20, 2008, 04:28:13 PM
Thanks Nev,

Its very simple, each side of the card is a statistic or catergory, when lined up against cards facing upside down sides match up and therefore battle. Your monsters must beat my monster by defeating two of the four sides of my monster/warrior. Although the design isnt finished, each red/green side rectangle will eventually have a tiny logo designating different elements or types. 

Also, my game is very limited in card numbers to enhance the relationship with your own deck of cards. You will have either 10 or 12 total cards in your deck. You will draw a hand of three warriors and will never have more then three cards. The goal is to simply capture/kill more of your opponents monsters then they do of your own.

The fun thing about the game, is that all cards have a point system which makes them more or less even to every other card. No rarity, just a different dispensement of powers. Thus also making it very easy for playing to create their own characters/ or create your own power scheme for each individual monster (in the long run future of the game).

There are a few other rules, and special cards that come into play, including playing cards face down to hide their identity, brick wall sides, point transfer characters, the all seeing eye, ect.

I've been able to explain the game to anyone that plays within 5 mins and play a competitive game within 20 minutes. Which i am very happy about.

I am currently going through a distribution system based on all my special cards and every possible pattern of point distribution and making sure their arent any unfair combinations or strategies which would prove to be unbeatable. So far it seems incredibly balanced.

Any other questions? Any concerns?

Title: Re: my first post, my CCG, and pictures!
Post by: williamhessian on February 20, 2008, 04:41:49 PM
two more promo cards to see.


Title: Re: my first post, my CCG, and pictures!
Post by: Nev the Deranged on February 20, 2008, 05:13:19 PM
Interesting. The side-dots remind me of both Z*G, and a martial-arts based card game of my own design that's buried in one of the many folders on my bookshelf. The round and square sections are kind of intriguing- I like symbols whose functions are not immediately apparent, but intuitive once you know what they mean. I also like symbols whose functions are immediately apparent, but I like them in a different way.

The art is clever, too. The little smog beast amuses me.

So, it sounds like you've done a lot of "alpha" playtesting (meaning, teaching people to play and then playing with them), and gotten good responses. That's cool. Have you done any "beta" playtesting, meaning giving testers a couple decks and the rules and seeing if they can figure out how to play based solely on the text of the rules, without any input from you? Having done some card/board game design myself, I can say that it's really easy to think you've written a clear set of rules when in reality half the rules are purely in your head.

What's the theme of the game? The four creatures you've shown so far seem pretty varied... does the game have a fiction or setting, or is it just a "make up some wacky creatures and throw down" kind of thing?

Title: Re: my first post, my CCG, and pictures!
Post by: Ron Edwards on February 20, 2008, 05:24:59 PM

Usually, images aren't a good idea in Forge posts. I've been known to edit posts to change images into links, although I always put in a note when I do.

In this case, the images are important to the discussion, so the ones posted so far can stay as they are. However, for the rest of the thread, now that people have the basic idea of what the cards look like, please make links to the images, just links, so the pictures don't show up here.

Best, Ron
Forge moderator

Title: Re: my first post, my CCG, and pictures!
Post by: _haroharo_ on February 21, 2008, 08:14:18 AM
Hi William,

  The game looks interesting but what I am concerned about is how does it play? From what I understand gameplay will take place on some sort of grid-type of field where you can place cards next to each other. Is this correct? If so, this reminds me greatly of Triple Triad which is a card game in the Final Fantasy VIII videogame( ) although it seems a more complex version of that game as you plane to add special feautures to the sides like brick walls, etc. I like that it is easy to play but have you gathered feedback from players about the gameplay? Specifically, playtesters who are not your friends who critiqued anything or have commented on the actual fun factor of the game? I have a PlayStation Portable application for Triple Triad which I actually found quite addicting, but I was playing against a computer. Would this game actually be something you would want to bring to your friends to play? Why would I dump Magic: The Gathering for a simpler game that - excuse my phrase - is a dumbed down card game? Also, would I want to play more than one game in a row?

  So far your idea is good in that the gameplay is simple, the cards will be collectible with nice art, you'll hold give-a-ways, etc. But the main concern is how fun the game actually is.

Best of luck,

Title: Re: my first post, my CCG, and pictures!
Post by: Willow on February 21, 2008, 08:50:25 AM
Welcome to the Forge!

The images look cool.  I'd play a game with those.

I believe I read something about Guild of Blades starting up a POD Card Game service this year, though you'd have to get the details from them.

Title: Re: my first post, my CCG, and pictures!
Post by: Ron Edwards on February 21, 2008, 08:55:48 AM
Here are the threads that Ryan (Guild of Blades) posted about that: POD card printing, maybe ( and more recently (briefly), Guild of Blades, 2007 year in review ( Also, Nate Peterson has a lot of experience getting cards printed well and cheaply, so maybe he can add some pointers.

Best, Ron

Title: Re: my first post, my CCG, and pictures!
Post by: williamhessian on February 21, 2008, 09:04:45 AM
Nev, the theme of the game is sort of an orgy of monsters. I wanted to leave the world vague enough to be open to all possible characters/monsters. So it is a lot more along the lines of your random monsters throw down description at this point. You touched on a point of focus for me, which is having a card design that is completely wordless, and vague, yet mysterious. Once you learn the basic rules everything makes sense. The BETA testing concern is a very good one, I am currently building a list of interested people through craigslist and a few other forums to beta test once my prototype printing is finished.

Moderator Ron, I understand. No more images will be posted. Links from now on, thanks for the heads up.

Haro, you hit on some interesting points. My game is similar to Triple Triad actually, which I never got into enough to understand the core workings of that mini game. My game is slightly different because the grid is not limited to 9X9, it is an endless grid. Plus, as you mentioned the special characters add a different strategy to the game. As far as your concern for fun factor, that is basically what I need to find out next. I dont think my game will be a game people stop playing magic:TG for. Its more a game that deals with a different system of strategy and gameplay that hopefully is a fun alterior to already successful popular games. Playing more than one game in a row shouldn't be much of an issue because the games are extremely varied and different from one to the next.

Title: Re: my first post, my CCG, and pictures!
Post by: williamhessian on February 21, 2008, 09:38:05 AM
 thanks. im very glad to be here. it is a really cool forum.

thanks to you and Ron for the links to the POD thread. I have visited and left my interested reply. That would work perfect for me once they are able to allow orders.

when people go into BETA testing. what is the best way to find good testers? I dont want to be sending out proto type cards and questionaire to non experienced players, or people simply looking for some free cards. How do i ensure finding people who are really interested in trying the game and giving feedback?

any help?

Title: Re: my first post, my CCG, and pictures!
Post by: masqueradeball on February 21, 2008, 10:57:45 AM
Just so you know, IMO, you shouldn't change the look of the cards. There very cool in that "hand made" sort of way, you can totally see the care that was put into making them, and it makes them look totally unique. Just my opinion though, maybe more polish is the way to go for you.

Title: Re: my first post, my CCG, and pictures!
Post by: williamhessian on February 21, 2008, 11:05:17 AM
hmm. i really appreciate your comments about the handmade look. i do want to have a background, which will be beneficial for gameplay and for visual appeal. the background will be varied for each card, but will fade to white at the tops, thus making them more distinguishable to which way is up. This is important for clarification purposes in the actual gameplay.

i do also have a huge network of artist friends and will be looking for artists to draw, and divise power schemes for their own characters. this way there will be a diverse group of characters as the game rolls along.

maybe your idea of keeping them completely hand drawn is smart.

any other opinions?

Title: Re: my first post, my CCG, and pictures!
Post by: Nev the Deranged on February 21, 2008, 03:02:15 PM
It may be short notice for you, depending on how far in advance you like to plan, but Forge Midwest, coming up in March, might be a good place to get some beta playtesting done and get some good feedback. Quite a few people use FMW as a testing ground for their games-in-progress. I have not yet decided if I am going, but if I do, I'd be up for trying your game.

Also, look around and see if there isn't a local game day or Go Play event or other such mini (or macro) con in your area where you might find willing testers.

Title: Re: my first post, my CCG, and pictures!
Post by: williamhessian on February 21, 2008, 03:39:50 PM
good thinking. where is forge midwest held? i think if i went crazy trying to get cards ready I may be able to have stuff ready to try. id be scrambling though.

i will also search around for local events. I am always on the lookout for those types of things, but less proactively than i probably should be. thanks for the help Nev. much appreciated.

Title: Re: my first post, my CCG, and pictures!
Post by: Nev the Deranged on February 21, 2008, 06:14:50 PM
Info on Forge Midwest can be found on the planning thread, right here: (

Title: Re: my first post, my CCG, and pictures!
Post by: _haroharo_ on February 21, 2008, 07:51:43 PM
  I actually am starting to see the many possibilities for this idea. You could advertise it as an easy way to break into CCGs without having to invest all the money most CCGs require. It sounds pretty simple and easy to get into which is exactly what makes lots of things greta. Of course, now the concern turns to, "Is it too simple?" If you read Scrye magazine you'll find reviews of many CCGs that are failures because they don't have much substance. They have a simple mechanic which becomes more monotonous as you keep playing. Do you really have lots of ideas for the different features of each card? Something more than the generic "beats anything" feature or "is not affected by cards attacking from the left"? One idea would be that if the card gets captured it can immediately be substituted for a drawn card or something like that. Just effects that change things up a bit. Although I was addicted to Triple Triad(and the version I played actually almost plays like your game because different cards have different elements and when you land on spaces with the card's element the card gets a boost, or certain cards cannot be captured from a certain side, etc.) it did not make me feel like it was innovative which could be partly because it was a throw-away add on to a game.

  So basically, how do you intend to change things up a bit? Will there be different ways to play(King of the Hill mode where players struggle to stay in the middle of the grid for a certain number of turns) or a diverse array of effects for each card?

  Also, to answer your craigslist question, I would call each person up and ask them about their CCG experience and make sure that they understand they are playtesting a game and that you require them to give you feedback. I would even tell them that after the test they need to return the cards to you when it is all over and will recieve a free booster pack at the end of playtesting.Then when you are done just tell them they can keep the cards that way they will really work to help you out because they think they will get something(which is atually true because they get to keep the cards whic hare probably more rare than a booster pack because they are Beta cards). Alternatively you can offer them a small sum of money like a $5 gift card or something.

  Where can I find your post on craigslist? I am very interested in playtesting your game.

Title: Re: my first post, my CCG, and pictures!
Post by: williamhessian on February 22, 2008, 10:28:36 AM
Haro, awesome post. Lots of good things for me to respond to here!

I do agree my game could be a way to lead people who have never played or tried CCGs to be introduced to them.

I really respect your concerns about my game being too simple. Here are a few of the things that make my game a little more diverse within its very simple rules.

current special powers:
1. hidden cards: cards may be played face down to hide their identity (this is actually not a special power but an aspect of normal gameplay)
2. eyeball stats: (which equal zero for the catergory) but have the effect of revealing all hidden cards while in play
3. brickwall cards: i have brickwall cards which have a brickwall on one side and does not allow any card to be played next to the brickwall on the grid, thus effecting the layout of the entire game.
4. power transfers: you mentioned that this was a basic effect, but it does change the strategy of the game
5. mirror: this allows the card to reflect the same power/speed as the opponents power/speed

Special powers I plan to add or play test: (these are ideas i am trying to decide if they will be useful or fun to add into the game, if anyone has feedback about these cards please leave me feedback)
1. Piggyback: A few other ideas that I havnt tried yet but want to try, includes piggyback characters that can actual be stacked on top of an existing character (to protect a card, change stats, delay the destruction of a character)
2. key cards: Key symbols which would unlock a one time ability to search the deck for a specific card instead of drawing at random.
3. Tiny Tim/David and Goliath: A card that has little to no value but can defeat insanely powerful monsters.
4. Spider Webbing  : An ability to stick opponents cards to a certain grid spot (this needs developing- since it would only be beneficial at the end of the game- overtime)

However Haro, I love your feedback, if you have any other ideas for neat card effects or special abilities, because I will create those cards and playtest them right away to test effectiveness and balance. So if you, or anyone else has an idea of special cards that would add some diversity to my game I am all ears! I would love to try out as many possibilites as possible. 

Your idea of the king of the hill mode.....awesome idea. I may play around with that concept.

The power to be replaced immediately be card once captured is also a very interesting idea, which I will also playtest.

I'm looking forward to more of your wisdom Naro.

Title: Re: my first post, my CCG, and pictures!
Post by: Nev the Deranged on February 22, 2008, 02:51:09 PM
Something to consider, is going the MCG/ECG route rather than the TCG/CCG route. M and E being Modular and Expandable, respectively. Reiner Knizia's "Blue Moon" game comes complete, with enough to play right out of one box. If you like, you can buy themed expansions, but you don't have to.

Frankly, I think people are becoming burnt out on collectable things, card games in particular. I know I am. Sure, there are still lots of people playing them, but every time I go to the store I see five new CCGs based on every property you can think of. Do you really want to compete with all that?

Also, I think CCG players are a more limited market than family/board gamers. I know plenty of people who enjoy games like Blue Moon or Testimony of Jacob Hollow, or even Carcasonne or Settlers of Cataan, which aren't card games but still use the modular approach, who wouldn't even look at a collectable card game.

Plus, as far as I'm concerned, collectableness sucks. But that's just me.

Title: Re: my first post, my CCG, and pictures!
Post by: Nev the Deranged on February 22, 2008, 02:54:31 PM
Also, other grid/adjacency-based games you might want to look at include Castle, Girl Genius: The Works, Maelstrom (which is now defunct), and Hecatomb. I'm sure there are others. A few of my own game designs use similar concepts, but I think there are still a lot of interesting possibilities that have yet to be tapped.

Title: Re: my first post, my CCG, and pictures!
Post by: williamhessian on February 22, 2008, 03:49:48 PM
Wow, i havnt heard or played of any of those grid games. Which scares me a bit. I wonder if im overlapping concepts that have already been done.

As far as your collectableness idea, I actually have the opposite attitude. But i come at it from a much different point of view. I grew up collecting baseball cards, i never played magic but i always wanted the cards, more for the art than the game and am an artist more than a card game creator. My love of games, playing them and creating them was recently reinspired when I started drawing these tiny bunnies:

I've sold about 40-50 of them and have been also hiding them around in parks. I also do miniature artwork hunts. In the process of doing all of that, and seeing these bunnies I thought it would be really neat to have people realize later on that these prints were actually part of a game. So I have people that collect my goofy little drawings without any game or purpose attached to them. I'd love to do the same thing with these and hide some framed cards in goofy locations and trade some in artist trading card (ATC) markets and market them as artwork on one hand and also market them to game players and later the game players can realize that they are also art prints.

I am not trying to market the game nationally or sell the game to a publisher, and the reason for that, is that I dont want my idea mass produced. I would much rather be a grassroots things that grows from within, and build a neat base and mixture of artists and game enthusiasts. Whether or not they are succesful as a game or as an artwork is what I need to work on. I have a good group of artists that might want to submit artwork and help distribute their own cards to collectors. Granted I will be paying for a lot of the printing, and doing all the leg work, but in the end hopefully people become interested in the concept and want to be apart of it.

I might be trying to merge two worlds that dont fit together, but im stubborn and enthusiastic about it, and therefore i am going to give it my best shot. If i get some printing done by June, I plan to use my Miniature Artwork Hunt Art Tour in June 2008 as a way to begin hiding cards in the Midwest and Westcoast cities and parks across the country. If nothing comes of the game, i still get to hide art prints in parks, and I love doing that. Heres more art tour info if you are interested:

Probably more than you ever wanted to know.

But I'd like to hear your thoughts.



Title: Re: my first post, my CCG, and pictures!
Post by: Nev the Deranged on February 24, 2008, 04:08:37 PM
Nothing to be scared of. Certainly it's a good idea to check out games with similar concepts or mechanics, both to make sure you aren't being too derivative, and also to get ideas for your own designs. No game is 100% new, and for the most part, the game design community is unconcerned with borrowing and reworking mechanics and such. There's room on the shelf for many variations on similar themes and concepts.

You have some unique and interesting ideas about distribution. I've actually given thought to some similar concepts, as the idea of games one might sort of stumble into appeal to me greatly... I'm not sure how practical it is to actually pull off, though. The attempts I've made along those lines generally led to a lot of wasted effort, in that you cannot force a finder of your item to care about it, or guarantee in any way that it will be found by someone who would. The idea remains intriguing, though.

Are you familiar with GeoCaching? (

Title: Re: my first post, my CCG, and pictures!
Post by: williamhessian on February 25, 2008, 09:25:05 AM
I am familiar with geocaching, although ive never done it, i know lots of really cool people that do. I'm a big fan of that type of stuff.

My current idea, tell me if you think it has any possibility of working (which it might not) is offering one free card  (maybe two or three actually) to anyone in the world with a SASE. included in their free card, would be an offer challenging the person to hide one of their cards, take a picture of where it was hidden, send it to me and I will in turn send them 2 cards. If they hid all 3 cards, they would get six cards (up to a maximum of 10 cards-enough for a deck).

***warning....i begin to ramble on at your own risk***

This process would allow for hiding of cards to take place all over the place at one time, meanwhile getting people involved into the game on a more active level. Not to mention then seeing their hidden card on the website. Now as you mentioned, with anything hidden, you are going to get 90% of the time, not the response you are looking for. So a lot of cards will be sacrificed in the name of hidden treausres never to be seen nor heard from again. But a small percentage of people will be hooked by this card and want to know more.

I am running into the same conflict i always do with this type of project. I would love to do the hidden thing and spent time and money making the game something special, however to be three years down the road wondering why i spent all this time on something that hasnt really gone anywhere would be a shame. I like my gameplay enough that maybe its not a good idea to make the cards so painfully hard to come by. Then again, ive never been a fan of mass production and prefer one of a kind attention to all works, even print runs of a card game.

I also find myself wondering if my monster designs make the game less artistic. While i like my creatures, I dont want the game to simply appeal to kids, nor turn anyone away. I want to classify my game a bit. Then I wondering if I trying to create two games at once here.

I'm going to try to write my rulebook 3.0 and see if I can determine what I really want to do with this game.


Title: Re: my first post, my CCG, and pictures!
Post by: williamhessian on February 25, 2008, 02:33:52 PM (

Nothing too new here:

I just copied some of my description earlier in the thread to a blog and posted a picture of my first 45 cards laid out. I still need to color them, and start building them on photoshop. But for now, I have 45 playable cards.

So if you want to see two pictures of my first 45 cards. Click the link over to my blog.

Any questions, I'd love to answer.


Title: Re: my first post, my CCG, and pictures!
Post by: Nev the Deranged on February 25, 2008, 06:10:59 PM
I really dig the artwork. I'd say that's a major point of interest, rather than a detracting influence. The creatures are quirky and unique, which appeals to quirky and unique people of all ages, not just kids.

I have tried setting up "findy" things similar to what you describe, both via geocaching (which is a community of individuals dedicated to finding things of this sort), and through various other mediums, and had pretty much zero luck. I don't mean to be discouraging, I'm just saying it needs a lot more thought about how to go about it in a manner that might be more satisfying. If you can make something work, my applause will be among the loudest.

For now, though, I'd focus more on playtesting the hell out of the game and making sure you have something worth sharing before you launch too far into how you plan to share it. Putting the cart before the horse, so to speak. I think it has promise, but then, I'm basing that on some card art and little else, so that's not saying much.

I'm debating myself which, and how many, of my projects I might bring to FMW, if any at all. It'll depend a lot on what I'm jazzed about closer to the event itself, which may be just playing other people's stuff..

Title: Re: my first post, my CCG, and pictures!
Post by: williamhessian on February 26, 2008, 10:56:42 AM
Nev, thanks about the artwork. I have a few card designs completed i would like your opinion on, i will be uploading them soon.

I do agree that hunts in general are very hard to pull off. I have had success doing my miniature artwork hunts in communities. I've done three very successful ones so far (see: ( ). On the other hand this is something very different.

I wonder if it would be possible to convince (or pull off without prior knowledge) of hiding large numbers of these cards at comicons, game conventions, etc. where you know the target market is already there, and that the hidden cards would actually be something they might enjoy.

anyways, cart before the horse, as you mentioned. Which is a good point. Playtesting has been a blast for me at this point, I really want to get a few prints made, even if very crude, simply to get people outside of my circle of friends to play it. And as was mentioned earlier in this thread is the daunting task of creating a simple easy to follow rulebook. That is one of my main goals in the upcoming month.

Nev, ideally i'd love to throw at you one copy of all 45 cards made at Forge Midwest and let you play or pass it on as you see fit. I would also be very interested in seeing your games you have created. I would especially like to play them.

my own record in the game is 14-3. and ive watched 8 other games. each game consists of a best of three series. i plan to play with all of my friends one on one and then hold a tournament for the game here at my gallery, and see how it all plays out. should be a fun way to playtest and distribute the game.

Title: Re: my first post, my CCG, and pictures!
Post by: williamhessian on March 08, 2008, 12:12:51 AM
Just an update to my cards. I currently am playtesting a few new additions to my game. I have just finished the third draft of my rules. I've been working on a playtest response form, for those who playtest my game to give me constructive feedback.


Card design (

Please check out the link to see the pictures of some sample card designs I am playing with. I would love some feedback on the look of my cards. Any response would be appreciate on my end.

Title: Re: my first post, my CCG, and pictures!
Post by: btrc on March 11, 2008, 06:00:25 AM
Interesting design. My only question is about the "hidden" cards. Since adjacency is important, how do you handle flipping these cards over? After all, flipping them over right to left gives a different set of adjacencies than flipping them lengthwise. Do you simply get to choose the orientation you want after revealing it, or do you have to choose one way or the other and live with the result (which might be illegal if it ends with a brickwall adjacent to another card).

Greg Porter

Title: Re: my first post, my CCG, and pictures!
Post by: williamhessian on March 11, 2008, 10:07:41 AM
BTC, great questions.

cards are always facing you, and opponents cards are always facing them. Therefore there is only one up, down, left and right for each card. Therefore playing a card face down (hidden) on any spot would already determine its orientation.

and brick wall cards cant be hidden. they always must display which side will be blocked from play, and no card hidden or not can exist on the blocked grid spot.