I knew this would be the perfect place to get some feedback on a card game I'm currently designing. I have written a blog post regarding it which I will share an introduction to it here:
All-Out War has broken out between the five powers. No quarter is being granted, no mercy is being shown as old wounds from the Napoleonic Wars burst open once again. Each army has called upon their greatest generals to win this all-out fight and secure the honor of their nation. Only one general will have the ability to outmaneuver and outwit his opposing generals. Will you be the last general standing?
What Is Tactics? Tactics is a card strategy game designed to teach the players about the various strategies used for warfare. You are a general commanding and using Infantry, Cavalry and Artillery units to outmaneuver and wipe out the opposing generals. The game can be played with 2-5 players. To start, there are five generals, one is chosen at random by each player:
Frederick the Great
Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington
Archduke Charles, Duke of Teschen
There are two decks to play with, a Unit deck and a Tactic deck.
The Unit Deck
- The Unit Decks consists of three types of units and the units special abilities:
Infantry - No special abilities, can be played anywhere on your board.
Cavalry - Breakthrough Damage: When this unit defeats the last unit in the opposing file, it deals 1 damage to the opposing general.
Artillery - This unit can attack an opponent’s entire file of units, but cannot split its attack between opposing units and the opposing general. Can only be played in your center.
The Tactic Deck
- There are 25 different tactics, with two cards per tactic, creating a 50 card deck of strategies you can use to outmaneuver your opponents. Your tactics can help your forces break through enemy lines or stop invading forces dead in their tracks. It all depends on your timing as a tactician.
One of the unique aspects of Tactics is how much board position matters. Your board position consists of your rank and file. Your rank is five slots across, and your file is two slots long. You have ten total board positions to deploy your allied units into, and once the allied unit is deployed, it cannot be moved. The board positions consist of your:
Flanks- The extreme right and left files on your board
Center - The three center file positions on your board Some units can only be deployed in the Center (artillery) whereas the other two (Infantry and Cavalry) can be deployed anywhere.
When playing, Tactics follows the shared turn pattern, which means each turn will have a person who “leads” for that turn. To help explain this, the turn phases are:
The leading player (player 1 for this example) will draw 1 unit card and 1 tactic card from the respective decks. On the next turn when priority is passed to the left, player 2 will draw 1 unit card and 1 tactic card from their respective decks.
Starting with the lead player, everyone places their unit cards face down on their board. Players may deploy as many units as they please, so long as they can fit on their board. Once everyone has played all of their units, each player reveals their units simultaneously, turning them face up.
The lead player decides whether or not they will engage an opponent this turn. If the lead player decides to engage an opponent, each player grabs a six sided die.
The attack pattern goes:
Attacking player starts from left to right, front to back.
Defending player goes from right to left, front to back.
Defending player wins ties.
Whichever unit that loses the die roll is discarded into the unit discard pile for being defeated. If the attacking player’s units have clear line of sight at the general (meaning there are no opposing units) then a unit may attack the general directly for 1 point of damage. Once a unit attacks it is considered exhausted, and cannot attack again. There is no limit to how many times a unit may defend.
After the first engagement during the engagement phase (meaning one unit from the attacking player has attacked and one unit from the defending player has defended -OR- the defending general has taken 1 point of damage) either player may issue a retreat. After a retreat has been declared, the opposing player may declare pursuit or simply let the opposing player retreat. If pursuit has been called, both players roll the die to see if the retreat is successful: highest roll wins and retreating player wins all ties.
If the pursuing player wins the die roll, then both players go through another round of an engagement before another retreat can be called. If the retreating player wins the die roll, they successfully retreat, and the current engagement ends.
In clockwise order, each player decides if they wish to engage in combat with an opponent. If they do, follow the rules of engagement as outlined above. If not, then the player may pass for the turn.
This is the cleanup step. All players discard down to their maximum hand size, all “End phase” effects trigger, and any other effects still going on end as well. Priority of the leading player is passed to the left, and a new turn begins.
Extras Here are a few extra rules that have been developed to keep the game balanced:
If you do not have any units on your field when the turn begins, you may draw two additional unit cards during your draw phase.
If a player has 9+ units on their side of the board and they become involved in an engagement, that player cannot call for a retreat until a (meaning either side) player has lost 3 or more unit cards during the current engagement phase.
If you are involved in an engagement, and you have a few tactic cards in your hand, but none of them are of any use to you, you may discard a tactic card for a +1 bonus to your next die roll. This can only be done just before your next roll, this bonus cannot be saved for later, and it can only be used if you’re in an engagement.
End of Game The goal of the game is to be the last standing general. In the event of a tie of life totals, then the player with the most units on the board is the winner. If there is still a tie with number of units, then a sudden death round is fought.
Sudden Death: Both players engage in a fight to the finish. No retreats can be issued, ignore any and all ties (just re-roll), and remain engaged until all units are exhausted. The player with the most standing units is the winner.
What I Need From You Now: what I need from you dear historians is to try this game out for yourselves. Below is a link which contains all of the necessary files to playtest Tactics in your own home. I’ve been playtesting the game using just these paper slips cut out from the documents. To get the appropriate ratios for number of units, make the number of copies for each sheet of the unit cards as follows:
Infantry: 14 copies = 70 Infantry units
Cavalry: 3 copies = 15 Cavalry Units
Artillery: 3 copies = 15 Artillery Units
We do not have a set finalized ratio of the above units, but we’re going to focus very heavily on finding that appropriate ratio. Any suggestions are more than welcome.
Tactic Cards: Print off as they are.
I want your feedback on the tactic cards themselves. Which ones work, don’t work, they need to be explained better, ones that simply need to be thrown out, etc.
I want to keep the game as balanced as possible, and the tactics do this really well in our testing results.
The Next Phase Once I've gotten some great feedback from our Beta testers and how the game plays for them, I will get started on a crowdfunding campaign to launch this game into reality. My goal is to begin crowdfunding no later than October 1st, 2014, but I've left the timetable fairly open. I hope you enjoy playing Tactics as much as I have developing it!
Click here for your free download to our Game Files
This includes a paper copy of all the cards needed to play and the rules of how to play in greater depth than what is explained here. I'm sorry to make you guys use your own paper, but this is the only practical solution. Once this is completed, expansions are sure to come with many of history's great generals. I only focused on these guys due to a flash of inspiration, and I want it to be completed before I go into the other eras of history.
Please help with your feedback and thank you so much!