[Raspberry Heaven] What neat things can you do with cards?

edited January 2008 in Game Design Help
Lately I've been thinking about how cards can let you do all kinds of neat things with RPGs (and Guild of Blades' thing with POD cards is also spurring me on here), and thanks to an idea by my friend Mike (Wirebrain), my Raspberry Heaven game (heart-warming high school role-playing along the lines of anime/manga like Azumanga Daioh and Lucky Star) is turning into a thing that uses playing cards.

Essentially, the retooled version of the game has you use playing cards to decide who gets to narrate each of the four parts (Introduction, Development, Turning-Point, Resolution) of a scene, with the suits, face cards, etc. providing a nudge towards certain moods (e.g., Hearts are happy/warm, Spaces are Weird, etc.). So far so good.

The thing is, thanks to being so thoroughly burned out by Magic, I don't play much of any card games, so I don't have a whole lot to draw inspiration from when it comes to card game type mechanics. I want to make it so that characters have Quirks (Tsundere, Space Cadet, Diligent, etc.) to define themselves, and I'm thinking these should let the players do different things with the cards when they come into play (for good or ill; in some cases you can get an "advantage" for making your character look silly), but I have no idea what, aside from perhaps treating certain cards as wild cards.

What other interesting things could one do with cards?


  • Matching suits can build power, no matter the number.

    "Combos" can occur for specific numbers (666?) or specific suit combinations (Hearts + Diamonds = New Love Interest).

    Just the thoughts that immediately pop up.
  • Say you have 4 suits, each corresponding to a D&D-style attribute.

    Might +5
    Agility -1
    Will +3

    The player has a hand of cards; if they're doing a Might action and they play a Might card, the card is trump, so you draw another card immediately and add that. That can also be trump, adding yet another card.

    That's essentially Marvel Saga, and I do think that the craziness it can cause is great for supers.
  • In Dust Devils, you have to make a poker hand. Relevant traits give you more cards.The GM increasing the difficulty gives you more cards too (more or less).

    In Contenders, red cards are successes, and the highest card on the table determines who narrates. But the values don't matter otherwise.

    Cards can be left on the table, exchanged for others, turned over. You can have one deck per group or per player. You can have secret cards. You can take cards out of the deck. And royals and aces can be different - aces make good wildcards. You can build a house of cards (!).
  • Check this thread at The Forge:
    Playing Card Puzzles
    (I linked straight to my own replay, in the spirit of generalizing--my reply doesn't speak to the OP's "puzzle game" in particular, but more to just what cards can do. But the other replies above are good too, if not quite so list-like.)
  • I like the fact that cards have a "memory"--although they are a randomiser, their value doesn't change once revealed.

    In one of my games, players can add cards, one at a time, to a pile that eventually gets used to resolve a conflict. This is interesting, because the cards are all face down until the very end. Maybe you think you have a good chance of winning, because the player on your right added 6 cards to your side... but then, at the moment of the reveal, you discover that the bastard only added really really low cards, hoping to build your confidence.
  • Paul: I like that idea of choices coming back in echoes ... I think I'm going to experiment with the idea of your own choices being either better or worse for you (down the line) depending upon changes in context.

    "I hate him, I hate him, I hate him! I'm totally going to plot with my friends to humiliate him." <Slaps down a card angrily>

    Later ...

    "So ... he's actually a really nice guy ... and ... he loves me? Uh ... " Looks uneasily at the pile of cards that has grown on top of the card she initially slapped down. "Oh ... that's totally going to come back and bite me in the ass, isn't it?"
  • edited January 2008
    You can flip them...

    ...pile them...

    ...turn them sideways...

    ...move them to a new place in a tableau...

    ...put them in your hand which is hidden...

    ...shuffle them....

    Cards are good. Everyone who is a decent person likes cards. It's a true statement, you can look it up.
  • When I threw over the idea to NE, one concept I was working on was to have a base card for each phase to avoid a game of "high card" (like the one that was listed in your advanced example, located here.)
    This base card can guide the setting, situation and NPCs that might be present or bonuses depending on what cards are played on it. With three attributes in a playing card (Suit, Rank and Color), one can take all the advice for that base card or one of them. (or perhaps state what card attributes are viable/enhanced)

    This could also be added by each player laying down 4 cards (one "bid" for each "panel") from their hand before any of the base cards are revealed. Combined with the idea that characters would most likely have stats that alter the results of cards they use (maybe some can offer simple die rolling or coin flipping) can make the game more strategic in a sense.

    Rewards for winning a "strip" and good role playing could give players extra card draws, hand sizes, discard/redraws.
  • Tony:

    That's a cool twist on the basic concept! Do you foresee the changes in context being mostly on the narration side (this pile tells us how well Character X will fare in the end, but we suddenly find out he's actually a villain) or more on the mechanical side (since Character X is now the protagonist of the scene, he claims the pile of cards on the left)? Or maybe both?

    In the first case (characters have cards which represent their fates) you might end up with some kind of weird spy or comedy genre, where players compete with each other to reveal things about the characters that completely change their nature--the little kid turns out to be a monster, the hardened criminal shows a heart of gold, the Princess' love interest turns out to be a woman who's been dressing in men's clothing.
  • Thanks for many neat ideas. Mike's suggestions led me to look at the rules for Uno (and other Crazy Eights-related card games), which has in turn given me a ton of neat ideas. The main thing I need to figure out is how characters' distinct abilities can influence how the player can draw and/or play cards.

    BTW have you guys tried out 1,000 Blank White Cards? Wikipedia also mentions a somewhat more structured make-as-you-go card came called Dvorak.
  • Posted By: Paul T.That's a cool twist on the basic concept! Do you foresee the changes in context being mostly on the narration side (this pile tells us how well Character X will fare in the end, but we suddenly find out he's actually a villain) or more on the mechanical side (since Character X is now the protagonist of the scene, he claims the pile of cards on the left)? Or maybe both?
    I was mostly thinking a third, different thing: That the cards you pile down for an eventual conflict are cards which are only valuable in a certain context, and if the context of your relationship changes then you've got cards that are hurting you rather than helping you.

    Like, in the simplest case, Hearts could be cards for navigating a caring relationship, while Spades could be useful only for being antagonists. The girl in my example, having dumped a whole bunch of spades cards in on the pile, is totally screwed if she now wants to have a change of heart and nurture a relationship with the boy. It actually motivates her not to accept changing circumstance until she's absolutely forced to. Human! :-)
  • Wikipedia also mentions a somewhat more structured make-as-you-go card came called Dvorak.
    Arise, thread! (h/t Ross)

    So, every so often I remember Dvorak, and click over to the site to geek out over it. It's a bloody brilliant game framework devised by Kevan Davis with a few simple rules: Choose or make a deck. There are two types of card, Actions and Things. Deal five cards to each player. On your turn, play an Action and/or Thing card. If it's an Action, do what it says. If it's a Thing, it stays in front of you. You win when you achieve whatever the victory conditions are for the game you're playing. Making a deck comes from a Nomic-like process where everyone votes on the cards, or everyone just decides on a basic framework for the game and starts making cards. The cards and rules are as extensible as you want them to be, and there are hundreds of them already created.
  • Neko, you can try this:

    Each quirk is related to an specific suit. Whenever other player uses that suit your quirk is "activated" in a way that makes you look silly (however that should be rewarded by other players or the gm with the game currency, being ths cards or whatever you like.) When the quirk is activated you may interrupt the current scene by briefly narrating one action of your character, which suddenly appears in this scene or the next and does something related to her quirk.

    If you want to reduce the incidence of these interruptions you can limit to a single card number, so, let's say, whenever an 8 is played, all tsundere characters suddenly appear out of nowhere to crush whoever played that card.

    I don't reccomend you to have any sort of hit points in this game, just for the sake of turning any kind of physical violence into commedy relief. You can re-activate the lethality of the game for one scene whenever the ace of spaces is played, for example.
  • Oh man. I forgot just how long I'd been flailing around with Raspberry Heaven. I actually took it in a totally different direction rules-wise (basically, Fiasco happened).
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