Birth of the action card mechanism

When I first started messing with the action cards, I was thinking of having cards that would feature numbers (ranging from 0-9) – bit similar as in Battlestar Galactica. I kept working on how to make sure challenges are dealt fast (to reduce playing time) I came up with the concept of “failure – success – minor failure – minor success”. These cards would determine the success or failure on encounter.

I then got rid of one card, ending with just 3 different:

In my playtesting, I first had players to hold 5 cards per player, and encounters were handled the following way:

  • Draw 2 cards
  • Show encounter
  • Each player now places 0-5 action cards (facedown) to a result pile
  • 2 random action cards are added from the deck to the result pile.
  • After each player has placed cards, shuffle the result pile and show one card: that determines success or failure.

This lead to the fact that there was no point ever using failure or problems cards, since you could use only success cards and then wait for more success cards to come.

It hit to me that by changing this mechanism, there would be more interesting decision to be made. I changed the system so that each player gains 6 cards, and must use exactly 2 per turn.

This way, 1st encounter can be somewhat easy (since you have 6 cards to choose from), second encounter bit more difficult (now you have only 4 cards to choose) and 3rd one nastiest – since you must use the 2 cards that remained in your hands.

But now you could see what the encounter has to offer, and then plan your move: will you use your success cards right away to gain resources, or perhaps use failure cards instead since the failing condition on current card isn’t that bad?

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