To design a trading card game series that could be incorporated into a franchise spanning multiple mediums.
The game I chose to make is called Superbrawl, a card game based around the battles between heroes and villains. The game would be based around using heroes and villains in conjunction with the effects of other cards to make an opening in the enemies defences and defeat them. Magic: The Gathering, Pokémon, and Yu-Gi-Oh were the inspiration for how the game would play.
Most card games have players use multiple card types in tandem with each other. To that extent, I chose card types that would incorporated three variations of playable cards:
Character – A card representing a person or creature. Characters have life points and attack strength, along with a skill or a set of skills that can be used to various effects.
Tool – A card representing an item or object. Tools come in these three varieties: gadgets, which are equipped to a character to grant an extra skill or continuous effect; weapons, which are similar to gadgets, only they also boost the ATK value of that card; items, which are single use disposable tools that don’t incur a
Ability – A card representing a spell or superpower. Abilities incur a Call Cost, and are functionally similar to a card’s skill, except that they are discarded after use.
All cards are also one of two factions (Hero or Villain) as well as a type that determines how they are affected by the effects of cards in play: Power, representing beings whose powers are based on physical strength; Mystic, representing beings whose powers are based on supernatural abilities and magic; Tech, representing beings whose powers are based on the use of machinery and robotics.
The above is the card layout I chose to follow. I chose to keep all of the text information at the bottom of the card so that it is easier to read all of it in one, and so that if counters are placed on top of it, they can all be placed on the art panel and the text won’t be obstructed. That being said, the art panel itself, which depicts the character or ability/tool, is sized appropriately so that the art can have as much detail as necessary. The details of the card, from top to bottom, are as follows:
Life – The amount of damage a character can take until it is defeated. Represented as a series of green circles, up to a maximum of 12. When a character takes damage, a counter is placed on the card, one for each point of damage it has taken.
Art Panel – A visual depiction of the character, ability, or tool the card represents. Serves no purpose other than to help the player’s visualise what the card is and/or does.
Card Name – The name of the card. Next to the card name, in parentheses, is the card’s alignment and type, either Hero or Villain, and Power, Mystic, or Tech, respectively. These do nothing but to determine how the card is affected by the abilities of others.
Attack – Also known as ATK, the Attack value of a character determines how much damage it deals to an enemy upon attacking them. Can go as high as 10.
Skill – An effect unique to each character. At what point a skill can be used varies with each skill; some can be used while the card is in play, whilst some can only be used while it is the opponents turn. Some skills also incur a Call Cost, beyond the Call Cost of playing the character in the first place.
Flavour Text – Additional text that serves no purpose beyond giving some background to the card’s place in the Superbrawl universe. Typed in italics and in quotation marks to further separate it from the Skill description.
Call Cost – The number of Call Points requires to play the card. If the player does not have enough Call Points, the card cannot be played.
Call Strength – At the start of a player’s turn, their previous Call Points are reduced to 0. Then, then Call Strength of all cards on their field are added together as their new Call Points, until their next turn.
Ability and Tool card layouts are similar to Character cards, only without the Life counter, ATK value or Call Strength, as they do not need them.
Next I created the designs of the cards. I chose red, blue, and green for the three card types respectively, to better contrast them from one another. The images used for the background were made based on royalty-free images found on Google, and edited by me.
This game can only be played by two players. Players start with a deck of 40-60 cards each, and either 10, 20, 30, or 40 Integrity. Integrity is a score that players must defend, as losing all points will result in defeat.
Players start by determining the order of play either with a coin toss or rock-paper-scissors, with the winner choosing whether to go first or second. Both players then draw 6 cards from their deck.
Turns take a multiple-phase structure, with a limited number of actions being available during each.
Excluding the very first turn of the game, the player draws one card from the top of their deck. The Call Strength of all of the active player’s Characters is tallied up, and assigned to that player as Call Points, replacing their Call Points from the previous turn. If it is the very first turn taken by either player during the match, it is referred to as the First Turn.
During this phase, the player is able to perform any of the following actions:
Character Call: One per turn, the player can play one Character card from the hand, if the requirements on the card are met. To call a Character to action, the Character’s ‘Call Cost’ must be paid. If a Character has a Call Cost of 0, the Character can be played without spending any Call Points. Up to a maximum of 5 Characters can be on a player’s field at any time.
Ability/Tool Cast: The player can play any Tool or Ability card from their hand, if they have enough Call Points to use it.
Skill Cast: If a Character Skill description states the Skill can be used during this time, the player may use that Skill.
At this time, no other cards may be played, unless their effect states that they can. The player can perform any of the following actions:
Attack a Character: The player can choose any of their Characters, then target a character on the opposing player’s field. The Attack Points (ATK) of the attacking Character is subtracted from the target Character’s Life. To present this, the player must place as may points of damage the Character has taken on top of the card. If the number of counters on a card is equal to or more than the Character’s Life, that character is defeated and placed in the discard pile.
Attack a Player: The player can choose any of their Characters to attack the opponent directly, subtracting the ATK from the player’s Integrity. Should a player’s Integrity fall to 0 or below, the other player wins the match.
This phase may be skipped if the player chooses to do so. This phase can not be entered during the First Turn.
If the player has not performed any of the actions available in the Opening Phase, they may do so during this phase. This phase may also be skipped should the player choose to do so.
The player ends their turn, and the other player begins their turn.
The final product was a basis for a card game, which could be incorporated into a franchise spanning multiple mediums. The game, titled Superbrawl, is a card game incorporating a system wherein cards representing characters would be powered up using additional cards to battle with enemy cards.
If I used the card game as a basis for an animated series, the characters from Superbrawl would appear in a series without the card game being present, as opposed to the Yu-Gi-Oh franchise, wherein the card game is used directly in a television series. Each major character would have some character development, and be featured enough that viewers could decide for themselves which type of cards to use based on their favourite aspects of the series.
If I were to repeat the project, I would have set some time aside to create additional materials, such as the damage counters, and a play mat, and would have created some more characters as examples of how each card type worked. Ultimately, I am pleased with how the product turned out.