Following up on yesterday's post about balancing single-resource card games, here's an example of a game using the mechanic I described. The theme is silly, but I think it has enough of a unique spin to get attention of even the most jaded gamer.
Did you think Thor has always been god of thunder? Did Neptune rule the seas when he was just starting out? Nope, they had to ascend the corporate ladder, starting as mere gods of haircuts and sandwiches, before they could get to the big gigs. Now you can, too! This game uses poker cards to represent the menial domains of the lesser gods just starting their careers. Domains like Humidity, Farts, and Paperwork. Players invest followers to get new and better domains, eventually earning new followers in the long-term.
Stuff You Need
A standard poker deck, including jokers. (Rank cards represent domains, face cards modify how many followers you earn from domains you already have.)
A six-sided die
A big supply of "followers," or point tokens (poker chips are good)
A first-player token
Shuffle the deck and set out one card per player in a public tableau.
Give each player 5 followers.
Turns start with the player with the longest beard. (Or randomly.)
Starting your turn, your jobs earn you more followers. If you have any rank cards in your collection, collect one follower from each. If any of your rank cards are empty, roll a single d6. Each card with a rank is lower than the die result earns you one follower.
Next, you may buy one card in the tableau for its indicated cost. When you buy from the tableau, replace the purchased card with a new card from the deck.
- Buying Rank Cards: The cost of any ranked card is half its rank, rounded down. When you buy a card, place it in front of you. Put your paid followers on that card. Also add more followers to the card, up to its rank. So if you bought a rank 10 card, you would put 5 followers on it, then put 5 more followers on it from the general supply, so it starts with 10 followers.
- Buying Face Cards: Face cards have no base price. On your turn, you simply pay however many followers you wish to get that card. Unlike rank cards, followers won't be earned from face cards. Beware: Any face card anywhere on the table is always available for purchase, the buyer just has to pay a higher amount to its present owner. Any followers on that face card return to their owner. The new owner puts his own followers on that card, to indicate its current price.
After your turn is over, play passes to the left.
Face cards modify how many followers you earn at the start of your turn.
- Jack: Each turn, earn +1 follower for each face card in your collection.
- Queen: Each turn, earn +1 follower for each rank card of the Queen's suit in your collection.
- King: Assign this to a rank card. This rank card earns you +1 follower.
- Joker: Assign this to a rank card. This rank card pays out all its followers immediately, minus 1.
Endgame and Victory
The first player to buy seven jobs triggers endgame and earns two free followers. Each other player takes one last turn. After everyone has taken their last turn, whoever has the most followers not currently on a rank card wins!
Now all I need to do is think of funny domains for each card.