Week 2 of Developing – Ethics and Entity Balance

I’ve made a lot of progress this week. I settled on the theme and began putting forth my ideas in development. I finally settled on the “myth” theme, and the temp name for the project is “Gods and Heroes.” Super generic, I know, but it’s a temporary name. I only hope I can think of something better in the meantime.

I have laid down the first iteration of the full game rules and have begun designing cards. After a dinner discussion with my family about the work I accomplished yesterday (in a strange burst of extreme motivation), I am beginning to question the ethics of certain entity inclusions. Is it offensive to include YHVH as a playable unit? Is it somehow sacrilegious to allow players to use Lucifer, Ahura Mazda, Ifreet, Kali, etc? I know that qualms will not be had over ancient religions or legends- no one is going to send me an angry letter over the inclusion of playable Lugh, Cu Chulainn, Thor, Dvergar, etc. Are contemporaneous mythologies off the table, then? Before this rule, I made a “no actual people” rule, so of course figures important to mythologies like Siddhartha or Hassan-i Sabbah are off the table. But is it still in poor taste to use figures that are contemporaneously worshiped?

Despite that, I am trying my best to give every unit something unique. I have looked back on many card game base sets, and many monsters/creatures/whatever simply have no attributes. They’re stat sticks, nothing more. I want to avoid that. Even weak “fodder” entities can provide something useful. For example, despite being a very weak Supporter Entity, the Djinn has a one-time deck search for an Item or Spell. Problems like this are what pushed me to design this game in the way I am: how do I make “weak” cards not “weak” but still “weak”, you know?

I’m also broken up a bit about what I designate as “Grand” cards. Regardless of cost, a player can only have one Grand card in their deck – Grand status is reserved for only the most powerful entities, usually main gods or super-famous heroes (YHVH, Zeus, Izanagi, Heracles). How do I make Grand cards suitably strong without centralizing decks around them? For example, the YHVH card grants +2000 Power to all Good-aligned Entities on his side, and instantly kills all opponent Evil-aligned entities upon being Activated. That’s suitable, but is it too suitable? Then again, it costs 10 Fame to activate (the most of any card), and takes up 10 Cost (nearly 7% of a deck’s total Cost allowance). Argh! Balance is HARD! I will never criticize Yu-Gi-Oh ever again!

On the other hand, I’m quite satisfied with the field setup of the game. I took a bit of inspiration from the (sadly) rather obscure Final Fantasy TCG and separated the field into a backline and frontline. Supporters take the backline, being the conduit for Spell cards and providing supportive effects, while Battlers take the front line, attacking opponents and defending the player from attacks. Thus, Supporters have a Magic Level, while Battlers have Power. It’s easier than I thought to figure out who gets to be what, too.

Overall, it’s going quite well, and I’m really invested in making this the best game it can be. I love mythology, and creating a great card game out of my love for it is my dream!

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