The must-haves for me are that you only need one standard deck of playing cards and one or more six-sided dice. There needs to be a terrain card that impacts the outcomes, and there need to be tactical decisions to be made. And there need to be special events (like a combo that produces a "god") that happen approximately once per game.
Safe to say there's probably no game quite like this that exists, so it's up to me to design one. Can it be done?
Here's what I have so far, and I'd be grateful for any input.
Some basic mechanics would be that the first card you draw from the deck is the terrain card, which goes in the center. Then you draw 3 cards that are your adventurers and place them near you, and then 3 cards that are some enemies that go on the other side. Then one or both sides can rearrange for the best possible outcome (this is where the tactical decision making would occur). Then there would be some randomization of the outcome using dice and maybe additional card draws. Finally the combat itself would occur, and captures would be made. The objective would be to capture all (or a certain number of) enemy cards.
Simple enough. So it's sort of like the game "War" but with 3 cards at a time. That wouldn't be nearly interesting enough, of course, but there's lots of room for complexity here.
So here are the questions I plan to think about so far:
- How does terrain affect combat? What type of fighters are affected by it, and how? There would need to be a terrain table that shows the impact on each card type.
- When would the terrain card be replaced with a new one? Maybe when an entire enemy squad is wiped out in a combat turn?
- How will the dice roll affect combat? Would it add weapons, blessings, curses, etc.? And how would that play out?
- When does one side get to rearrange their cards for the best outcome? Can the other side sometimes rearrange their cards afterward?
- Can a battle be expanded beyond 3 cards per side? How? Can combat be assymetrical? How and when?
- When would enemy cards be placed facedown, to add fog of war? Maybe when the terrain card is black, representing darkness?
- What combination of cards will produce a god-like or demon-like figure approximately once per game? And how would these affect the game? The jokers would probably figure in here.