So I'm working on Leviathan, which is, at the very least, a customizeable card game where you play gang-like groups competing with one another. I made an over-long post
about it on my blog, where I am mining a scholarly work on gang behavior for mechanics.
For the time being, I have an inkling of how I want to design the "character" cards, but before I can genuinely simulate simple interactions between them, I need to understand how they come into play. I have had two principal ideas thus far. One is more inspired by Magic: The Gathering
than the other.
, for those who don't know, you build your deck to include a fair number of "land" cards. These are special cards that cost nothing to play, can be tapped once per turn for one unit of the resource ("mana") you spend to play other cards, and refresh to an untapped state next turn. Thus, the most mana you can spend in a single turn, barring specialized cards, is the number of land cards you have drawn thus far in the game. This is simple and quick in play, and it makes it an easy metric for balancing.
So one method would be to duplicate this structure, making certain cards explicitly of the resource-producing kind. The wrinkle would be that your resources aren't limited by the number of such cards you have. First, you need to have some character card "collect" or "harvest" the resource. Second, a given resource card may be tapped multiple times in a turn, but generating some kind of threat, danger or bad karma (basically, some kind of resource for your opposition) as the supply grates under your greed.
The other method was the first I thought of, and a bit more complicated and out there. The idea was that characters would cost nothing to play, but that they can only be played during conflicts, either as the instigator, by the aggressor player, or as a responder, by the defensive player, or as someone who gets drawn into the confusion, by either player. At the end of the conflict, all the characters return to the hand. Resources still exist (since there has to be a struggle over them,) but they either can be spent only on other sorts of actions besides playing characters, or they are merely a metric for success/victory.
Any thoughts about the consequences about either of these methods? Does one sound more or less fun or thematically appropriate than the other? Any card games out there I could mine for better-seeming mechanics to try out?