Thursday, 10 May 2012

Resource system for a superpowers CCG

I've had a CCG system based on SPBs (Super Powered Beings) kicking around the back of my head for a while now. It's actually based on a superhero RPG that I had an idea for, so it sort of follows that basic formula: You have a party of three heroes who will battle and level up to learn new ways to use their powers.

I don't have any specifics down yet, but one thing that's been sticking in my craw is the resource system, which I believe needs to be simplified. Here's what I've got:

There are two different types of resources: XP and Energy.

  • XP is a threshold-based system, that would be raised in a manner similar to Magic's land drop per turn. Cards require you to have a certain amount of XP to play; once you've reached their XP level, you can play them at will. All characters share the same XP.
  • Energy is a usable resource. Each hero has his own maximum energy; most cards have an energy cost, and playing one depletes the appropriate hero of that much energy. The unique part here is the way it refills: during the refill phase, your heroes' remaining energy doubles.

For example, say I have Cyclops out with a full 6 energy, and I have him attack with Optic Blast. Not too trying an attack, it costs 3 energy, leaving him with 3. That number will double during the refill phase, and he'll be back at 6. Now say I have him attack with an Optic Nova, which costs 5. This will leave him at 1 energy and set him back quite a bit; next turn he'll be at 2, then the turn after that he'll be at 4, and finally able to use the weaker Optic Blast again (but at great cost; he'll be back at 1).

I'm very satisfied with the energy system, but the problem is this leaves a lot of bookkeeping for the player. With three heroes, individual energy totals can be tracked with counters, and the XP can be tracked with a D10, but this makes for a very cluttered board. Throw in the fact that I want to have a rotating damage system, where every character rotates 90 degrees when injured (going an entire 360 means death), and this gets complicated fast.

I'm very happy with this system, but it doesn't seem very practical. Anyone out there have any ideas? Can I keep it as-is? Keep in mind that I don't really mind the rest of the game involving little-to-no permanents, so as muddled as the field is with this system it won't get any worse.

As always, feedback is much needed and appreciated.


  1. If you just don't like having a lot of counters lying around, then perhaps each hero card can depict an "energy meter" on the side, with a single marker for the card. Also, if each player is limited to three heroes altogether, then maybe those cards can be a larger size, which would likely make things feel less cluttered.

    Hmm… what happens when a hero reaches 0 energy?

    1. Thanks for checking out my blog!

      I like your energy meter idea... would definitely save on having tons of counters lying around the table.

      Oversized character cards might be an idea as well... I had briefly thought about pack distribution problems the character cards would cause (randomizing them with the rest of the cards seems like it would lead to awkward problems for new players, as they are essentially a different version of basic lands), but having them come seperately would solve this, and at that point hell, why not make them oversized?

      A 0 energy character simply couldn't use his powers... I guess characters would need to double their energy to a minimum of 1 a turn for the system to be viable.