The Rules of Algomancy

Please note, these are just the current rules of Algomancy. The game is still actively under development and things are subject to change. Card types may be added, the card layouts, fonts and icons are going to be redesigned by a professional, ability names and icons will almost certainly be different in the final product. Also not all cards, abilities or card art shown here will make it into the final game.
(Last updated 11/30/22)

Objective

The goal of Algomancy is to get all of your opponents to 0 life. This is accomplished by attacking other players with creatures (and sometimes through abilities or spells).

Card Types

There are two main types of cards in Algomancy — Creatures and Spells. The easiest way to spot the difference between the two is that creatures have a stats icon on the top right of the card whereas spells do not. Spells will also have the word “Spell” on them. (Eventually, I will have some graphical distinctions as well).

Creatures

Creatures are “permanent” effects, meaning when you summon a creature it will stay in play until it has been killed or removed. They tend to have abilities as well, which allow you to accumulate value over time. Looking at Crystalline Scavenger above, it provides value every time a crystal enters play. While it may only be worth one or two +1/+1 counters in a single turn, throughout the course of a game this card can represent a substantial amount of stats for your team. (+1/+1 counters are a way to permanently increase the stats of a creature by +1/+1).

Creatures have two stats — Attack and Health, which are usually denoted as two numbers separated by a slash. The first number is attack and the second number is health (sometimes called toughness, I’m still deciding on specific terminology). In the example below, Huge Dude is a 0/3, meaning it has 0 attack and 3 health. (The specific card actually has 6 health due to its attribute, more on that later).

When dealing combat damage, creatures deal damage equal to their attack. When they receive damage, it reduces their health. If a creature receives damage greater than or equal to their health in a single turn, they die and are placed in the discard. Damage is removed at the end of each turn.

It is also possible to find synergistic abilities or combos, essentially collections of abilities that provide a greater effect than each ability on its own. For a very simple example, look at the card below. This creature has the ability Tough, which means it has double toughness.

It is also a Creature, so if we play Crystalline Scavenger above and then this card, we get a +1/+1 counter. If we put that counter on “Huge Dude”, this extra boost in toughness is doubled.

Synergistic interactions like this are the key to pulling ahead in Algomancy — A large portion of the game is decided by who can maximize their value from the cards they drafted. If you can get as much value using two cards as your opponent did using three, you are effectively ahead one card. Do this enough times and you will accumulate a lead which you can ride to victory. (This is only one of many playstyle options.)

Spells

Spells are the “support team” for your creatures, helping you keep your creatures alive through combat or removing them from your opponent’s team.

Above are two examples of some common spell types. The Quick keyword means the spell can be cast at any time (essentially, in the middle of combat). Spells without the Quick attribute are played during your main phase as a one time effect (like Accelerated Germination above) and generally cannot interact with other players.

Resources/Casting Spells

Algomancy uses a semi-thresholded resource system. There are five resource types: Fire, Water, Earth, Metal and Plant. Each of these resources provide 1 threshold value towards casting cards.

Cards have threshold requirements, determined by the symbols next to their cost. Death Cap has a single Plant in its cost, so you are allowed to cast it as long as you have a single plant resource.

Each card also has a cost, signified by the number inside of the circle on the top right of their textbox. Death Cap has a total cost of 1.

In order to play a card, you need to expend a number of resources equal to the total cost of that card. In this example, it would be 1 resource. It doesn’t matter which resource you expend, as long as you have met the threshold requirements to cast the card.

Expending a resource has no effect on the ability of that resource to meet your threshold requirements, it is simply a method to keep track of how many total resources have been spent in a turn.

For example, if you have three water and one plant resource, you could cast Death Cap four times, but could not cast Grim Fungus, because you only have a single plant and it requires two.

How To Gain Resources

The short answer is: You can use a draft pick to select a resource. I am working through a variety of options on how to make this as clear as possible.

Right now when drafting from a pack, any number of cards greater than 10 (or the starting pack size), that you pass is how many resources you can take. (Effectively this means you are forgoing one draft pick to take a resource). Then you put that many cards from the pack on the bottom of the draft pool at random so the pack size is back to 10. So if you pass a pack with 12 cards in it, you would take 2 resources and put 2 cards from the pack on the bottom.

You can take unlimited resources in a turn in theory, but you are only allowed to play 2 mana worth of resources per turn. (The number you can play per turn may change).

(Resources haven’t been designed yet. Don’t worry, they will look good in the final game.)

There is also a colorless resource that players have access to, which adds 2 “mana” when expended, instead of the 1 that the others provide. Because of the 2 total mana per turn limitation, you may only play one of these in a given turn by itself.

Resource Goals

The intention for this resource is to be as pain-free and intuitive as possible. In order to see if you can cast a spell, you just need to know if you have met the threshold requirements and have enough total resources in order to cast it.

I am not sure if “tapping” the resources is the best way to designate how you pay for card’s “total cost”. I could do something like give the player gems equal to their total resources each turn which they could then spend on spells, but that felt like it introduces too many moving pieces. A more elegant method using just the resource cards could be useful, although I think just tapping them as a counting mechanism should work ok, once players learn it doesn’t matter how they are tapped. (I’m open to ideas. Flipping the cards over to a different backside is something I am testing, but it is hard on the wrists.)

Setup

To setup a game of Algomancy, choose which factions you would like to play with and shuffle all of those cards together. (Generally 2-3 factions works for 2 players, and you can go up to 5 factions with 4 or more. If you regularly play in large groups, then you can keep the entire card pool shuffled in one pile.). Then get the resources/tokens/conjured spells and place them in a location where they are accessible to all players (or break them into multiple locations in the case of large games).

Deal out N packs containing 10 cards from the game cards pile, where N is the number of players. (Right now I am testing packs of 10 cards, but this number will likely depend on the number of players in the future.) Add two Energy Converters two each pack. (Optional for more competitive gameplay: Add three historic cards to each pack. Otherwise you may shuffle historic cards into the draft or leave them out entirely.)

Deal each player 4 game cards face down. This is their starting hand. (They will draw 2 at the start of the turn, so you can shortcut this to dealing out 6 cards).

In team games or 1v1, randomly decide which team starts with Initiative.

Give players each their starting life total (right now I’m just starting with 30, but this is very likely to change).

Begin the game.

Teams

There are two ways to play team games, the first is to have players act individually. In this mode, teammates sit alternating with the other team. Each player is surrounded by enemies. So if you have team A and team B, you would sit ABABAB… (and the first and last players would be considered “adjacent”, if you can imagine the players wrapped around a circular table). With 4 players, this means teammates sit diagonally from each other.

If teammates knock out an opponent and end up sitting adjacent from each other, they can send attackers through each other, effectively allowing them to combine attacking forces. (I am deciding if they can share defenders, but that seems very strong).

The second way to play teams is “two headed giant”, where teammates sit next to each other, share a life total and their attacking /defending force is combined into one (but they draft and play cards separately).

The Turn Structure

Unlike many other games where players take turns, in Algomancy players work through a global turn in unison, syncing up after each component of the major five steps: Draw, Draft, Combat and Main.

Draw

At the beginning of each turn, players draw two random cards from the top of the draft pool (even the first turn of the game).

Draft

Every turn starts with a drafting portion. Instead of drawing cards from a deck, players look at packs of cards and select their cards for turn from them.

Every non resource card in a player’s hand has the ability: “Pass this card: Take a card from the pack” this is how cards are selected from packs. (You can think of it like you are trading your card in hand with a card in the pack and in most casual games can literally just do that, as long as you remember that cards placed into a pack from hand cannot be interacted with by draft abilities). Pass is a keyword meaning put the card into the pile of passed cards (where you place the rest of the pack when drafting ends).

During the draft, players may freely swap non-resource cards in hand with cards in the pack. A common thing to do is simply put your hand into the pack and then draft from the combined card pool. You may draft cards until the pack has 10 cards remaining in it. If you leave more than 10 cards in the pack, take a number of resources equal to the difference, then remove that many cards from the pack at random.

Cards that are selected during the drafting portion are placed face down and go into the player’s hand at the end of the drafting step. Any draft abilities that require revealing cards are shown during this end of draft.

Players start the game with 4 random cards in their hand as well, giving them a small boost and allowing them to pick up additional cards early in the draft if they wish (by using their ability to trade for cards in the pack). They also draw 2 cards each turn, so they effectively start the game with 6 cards in hand.

There are also “draft matter” abilities that can be activated during the draft, such as Cthyryn Rector and Water Buddies above. The abilities of Cthyryn Rector can be activated at any time during the draft, but all card reveals with cards like Water Buddies happen simultaneously after drafting has ended.

For the moment, I am removing all “draft matters” cards from the game. I found them too problematic to balance and honestly they didn’t end up being particularly fun. I may explore them again in an expansion.

The drafting step is finished when all players have finished any draft abilities they want to activate. All remaining cards in the pack are passed (meaning they are combined with any cards that were passed during the drafting portion). Packs are handed to the left at the end of turn, so for now they stay with the player who drafted from them.

For 2 players, you get new packs every 3 turns.

For more than 2 players, you get new packs every 2N turns, where N is the number of players. (and change drafting directions).

Combat

The combat step is the heart of Algomancy, as almost all of the action and interaction takes place here. Combat in Algomancy is a bit different than one might be accustomed to due to the simultaneous turn structure. Essentially, every turn a player can attack opponents while simultaneously defending against attacks as well.

Regions

Each player lives in their own Region, which exists in a physical world with location determined by where they are sitting. Regions of players sitting next to each other are touching (shown below).

Region Region Region Region

Regions are treated as completely independent locations. The intuitive explanation for most of these rules is: Players have physical locations in the world which are very far apart, and there is no action at a distance.

Creatures and effects that happen in one region have no impact on other regions. So if you control a creature that says “Your creatures get +1/+1” on defense at the region with your base, your attacking creatures will not see this buff, and vice versa.

Additionally, players may only interact with creatures and players that they share a region with. Players are not “Gods”, able to smite creatures out of the sky from across the entire world. If you want to cast a spell on something, you need to be close enough to do so.

Basically, the general rule is: Regions are each their own locations. If you or one of your creatures are in the region, you can interact with things in that region. If you are not, then you cannot.

In the situation where a player is being attacked from the left and the right by different opponents, all of those creature formations would be in one region, but the defending player would split their forces to align with each incoming army (basically, the two attacking formations by different players are not adjacent but they can interact with each other through spells. Likewise for the defending army).

In that situation, the two attacking forces can also interact with each other. They can kill each other’s creatures and direct spells at each other.

If you and your opponent attack each other, your attacking creatures enter their region and their attacking creatures enter yours (they do not “collide”). Then, you can block their attacks with any of your remaining creatures (and they can block your attacks the same way).

Combat is broken into three sections: Declare attackers, Declare blockers, Damage.

Attackers

In team games, the team with Initiative declares attackers first. Each player may send attackers to the player on their left and or the player on their right. Once the first team has finished declaring attackers, the second team may do so as well.

Sending attacking creatures is how players can enter regions outside of their own. So the only regions you are able to enter and interact with are your own region and those of the players on your left and right.

In free for all games, attackers are declared simultaneously using “attack tokens”. These tokens are just cards that say “attack left”, “attack right” or “no attack”, which are placed face down in front of creatures or groups of creatures to designate their intended action. Players may use multiple tokens to hide their intentions if they like (if you were attacking all to the left, you could place your team in four groups, each with a “attack left” token in front of them). Once all players have placed their tokens, they are flipped face up and the creatures are declared as attackers simultaneously. (Their formations are specified at this time, after the tokens are flipped up.)

After attacking creatures are declared by the team with initiative (or all players, in a free for all game), the creatures are officially placed into their respective skirmishes and there is a “post attack” step, where players get priority to interact through spells if they want. This allows attacking players to remove potential blocking creatures before they have the opportunity to get in the way, and gives defending players the ability to modify their creatures in order to best block the oncoming force. (For example, a spell that gives flying to a defending creature can be cast now, so that creature could block an incoming flying foe).

Then, in team games, the non-initiative team may declare attackers and there is a post attack priority step in any skirmishes they attacked into. This means that the initiative players have the opportunity to remove creatures from the non initiative players before they have the opportunity to attack but not the other way around.

In team games, the team with Initiative gets priority to cast spells first, and the other team may react to their spells (or lack of spells).

In free for all games, the defending players all get priority first. Then priority is passed clockwise in parallel, so all of the players who are attacking someone from the left get priority, then players who are attacking from the right get priority.

Once a player uses their priority to do something within a skirmish, other players get a chance to respond to this interaction, going clockwise from the player who acted. This repeats, as each “responding” player creates a new opportunity for other players to interact. This process is repeated until all players pass priority through the skirmish.

When starting out or during very complex late game battles, it is recommended to ignore the “all at once” aspect of combat and just resolve one skirmish at a time. Once you get a feel for it, resolving skirmishes in parallel can really speed up the flow of the game.

Defenders

After all players have declared attacks, the defending players may declare creatures defending the attacking forces. This step is done in parallel, all players can make defensive decisions at the same time.

After the defending creatures are declared by all players there is another priority step with the same structure as above where players can interact through spells and abilities.

Damage

Once attackers and defenders have been declared, and all players have passed their priority to interact, all creatures in all skirmishes deal damage at the same time (unless they have abilities that say otherwise, such as creatures with the Sluggish keyword, like below). Unblocked creatures deal damage to the player they are attacking, blocked creatures trade damage with the creatures they are blocking.

After damage, creatures remain in their skirmishes and formations for one last stage of interaction. Players get priority the same as above to resolve any final interactive spells or abilities they want to.

After the last damage step, combat is over. Creatures lose their formations and return to their owner’s regions.

Main

Algomancy is unique in that the Main phase actually comes after combat. The main phase is where players cast spells, summon creatures and graft/augment onto creatures. There is no interaction during this step. The reason for this is that each player is alone in their own region (which will be explained more below). In theory, players could all perform this step at the same time. In practice there is an advantage gained by waiting to see what other players do, so we need to have an orderly structure to this step.

In team/1v1 games, there is something called “Initiative” which teams trade off every turn cycle. The team with Initiative needs to move first. So in the main phase, the player/team with Initiative cast their spells, summon creatures and play resources. Once they are finished, the other team does the same.

Because there is no interaction here, this should be a very short step.

Cards that are not cast during this step remain in the players hand.

In free for all games, all players take their main phase at the same time.

End of Turn

After the main phase, the turn is over. Players pass their packs to the left, untap everything and move back to the drafting step.

The turn has ended and a new turn has begun. Repeat this process until the game ends.

Spell Tokens

Spell tokens are a mechanic that was invented to allow players to spread out the interaction beyond just the combat step. A spell token is created face up and can be played at speeds according to the spell attributes. Right now we only have Burst speed spell tokens, which can be cast at any time but a player must play all burst spells they control of the same type at the same time.

So if you cast Flame of Remembrance during your main phase, you would get a copy of Fireball 1. It stays in play face up and you may play that card whenever you want. If you do not play it by the end of the turn, it goes away.

Spell tokens are brought into regions in a similar way that creatures are. You carry them with you into a new region during the declare attackers step. Although you do need creatures in order to bring spell tokens into a new location. (This may change).

Formation

Creatures enter combat in a formation, meaning their relative positioning matters. When attacking, creatures are placed sideways and assembled into a formation, which determines which cards they are adjacent to. Adjacent creatures are the ones to the left, right front and back of the card (not diagonal). Some cards have effects based on the positioning of the creatures in combat.

When defending an attacking formation, the defending formation must align with the formation of the attackers (in the example below, the three defenders are adjacent from blocking the three adjacent attackers.) There can be gaps in the defending formation, and the defending formation can extend beyond the attacking formation to the left and right.

AdjacentAdjacentAttackersDefenders

There are two rows in the formation, the front and back row. Creatures can only be in the back row if they are behind another creature in the front row.

If a creature in a formation is removed from the front row, anything in the back row behind it is moved forward as a state based effect (essentially, it happens instantly and nobody can react to it). If a creature is removed from an attacking formation without something behind it, then all cards to its sides are moved together to fill the gap. (Basically creatures move forward and together to fill holes in formations). Once a formation is blocked, creatures no longer move horizontally to fill in gaps when something dies.

During combat damage, creatures in both rows deal damage equal to their combined power to the entire row in front of them. That damage is first dealt to the front row creature, and all remaining damage beyond what it takes to kill the front row creature is dealt to the back row creature.

Attributes

Some cards have small bolded descriptions in their type line, which are called Attributes (and are different than Abilities).

Plodding Pebbles, for example has the Attribute “Sluggish”. Attributes modify how the cards engage in combat or interaction, and are generally (but not always) accompanied by reminder text explaining what that attribute does.

Creatures in a column (vertically adjacent) share all of their attributes. So if Plodding Pebbles is in front of Death Cap, both creatures would be Deadly AND Sluggish (the same is true if Death Cap was in front, they both share all their attributes). If one of these two creatures is removed, the other creature loses those attributes as a state based effect.

This is especially important with attributes that modify combat damage and blocking, such as Flying and Verdant.

If Spirit of Battle is placed in a column (in front of behind) another creature, the entire group has flying. So you can essentially make any of your creatures evasive. Just be careful because if the Spirit of Battle is removed, anything with it will no longer maintain its ability to fly.

Verdant is a more interesting ability, as it makes tokens equal to the damage dealt. While ember of Life has 0 power, you can pair it with a strong creature so that the pair collectively deals a lot of damage to get some tokens.

Attributes are not limited to just creatures, spells can have them as well! I chose Ember of Life as an example for this because it also gives the attribute Verdant to your spells. Now if you play a spell that deals damage, you can get tokens!

Modifications (Graft and Augment)

Finally, we get to the fun part of Algomancy: Modifications.

Modifications are the rules in which text from some cards can be combined with other cards for some wild effects. These can be done in three different ways.

One general note: Any card that has been Modified, if it would go into the discard, you put it and all cards modifying it onto the bottom of the draft pool.

Augment

Augment is denoted by that “+” icon in the card abilities or attributes and denotes that you can add everything in that paragraph of text onto another card.

To augment, you pay the card’s cost and put the card from your discard or hand beneath another card so that the text is revealed like this:

Now you simply read the card as if it had their combined textboxes! For Attributes like Deadly from Death Cap, you add the attributes from the fungus onto Plodding Pebbles. So he is now a Sluggish, Deadly Rock. (The cards will potentially share creatures types too, but I’m not sure). All cards that Augment attributes have the reminder text so you can display the ability easily like this.

Graft

Using Plodding Pebbles as our example again, we see it has another icon (the switching arrows) in its textbox. This denotes the possibility for the card to graft.

Grafted abilities all follow the same structure: Trigger -> Effect. In this example the trigger is “when Pebbles is dealt damage” and the effect is “put a +1/+1 counter on it”.

Let’s examine another card with graft, the forever iconic playtest name “Megadeath”.

Megadeath’s trigger is “when it attacks” and the effect is “destroy another target creature”.

What grafting allows you to do is combine these trigger-effect style abilities into one by adding the effects of one ability onto another by stacking the cards on top of each other.

Then, you read the ability by taking the trigger from the top card and reading each effect from ALL of the cards in the pile.

The Grafted Plodding Pebbles now says: “When ~ is dealt damage by another source: Put a +1/+1 counter on it AND Destroy another target creature.”

The Grafted Megadeath says” When ~ attacks: Destroy another target creature AND Put a +1/+1 counter on it.”

I’m sure you can see how powerful this effect might be!

To graft a card, you do the same as you would Augment, (pay its cost and move it from your discard or hand to graft) with the added requirement that both cards must have the graft symbol. Both graft and augment can only be done from the discard.

(Right now I am testing allowing players to graft cards beneath or on top of other cards. If you graft on top, the creature essentially becomes whatever is on top.)

Mutate

Mutation is an attribute denoting that this card has the ability to Augment from hand at quick speed. Generally this is so you can play negative effects on opposing creatures, but you can still play them on your own creatures if you have a reason to.

The rules of mutations are the same as for Augments (in fact, the ability is literally just Fast Augments from hand): The card you mutate reads as though it had the text of the mutation added to its textbox.

A creature that has been Augmented with a mutation still is put on the bottom of the draft. (As well as all cards Augmented onto it. This means a card like Consume generally will not go to your discard.)

You can Augment mutations from your discard, but only onto your creatures during your main phase (they work like normal Augmentations, essentially). To play them onto opponent’s stuff or your own things during combat, they need to be played from hand.

Cards can have other types in addition to mutation, Corrupting Blight is a really cool example of this card type. You can play it as a risky 4/4 or use it to steal creatures from you opponent for a turn.

Rules (ongoing)

Players can play any number of resources per turn, but in general they are limited by how many they can take. Players may only play 2 resources per turn, but can take as many as they wish.

All creatures can attack/block the turn they enter play. (This is so players do not have to keep track of what just entered play, which would be difficult with the simultaneous turn structure.)

There are no decks in standard play of Algomancy, players only have their hands, resources, discard and creatures.

There is a constructed mode for Algomancy, where players draft from their own decks.

FAQ (ongoing)

I am aiming to release Algomancy Early Spring 2023.

Algomancy will be released as a physical card game.

I am planning to run a Kickstarter once the game is completed to do a bulk manufacturing order and bring prices down.

Algomancy is a complete game, meaning there is no intention of trading or collecting. You get everything you need in the box.

I may release expansions or other versions of the game. I don’t plan to keep everything the same between different versions of the game — a later version could have wind as one of the elements instead of metal, for example.

I have plans to release specifically designed 2 player versions of this game.

Follow Algomancy’s Development

If you’re interested in following the development of Algomancy, I’ll be posting more blog updates here as well as sending out email notifications for playtesting, polls and release dates on the email list, which you can sign up for here:

7 thoughts on “The Rules of Algomancy

  1. I’m obviously a fan of your content, and I appreciate your drive and confidence. I’m also an amateur game designer and I’m guessing I have a bit more experience than you in this area. In fact, I may be, out of your initial audience, completely uniquely qualified. I know firsthand how difficult it is to be a creator, to put so much of yourself out there for the world to critique. Looking over the rules, this seems like a reasonable game that has potential, and I do not wish to stifle your project. That said, I have some rather critical things to say, so I hope you understand that they’re coming from a place of compassion.

    1. Have you done any other game design? Designing a cube kind of counts, but a new LCG as your first project is extremely ambitious. Game design doesn’t really get more complicated than this, and it faces fierce competition from the TCG market while suffering from a similar barrier to entry in terms of rules complexity. Many potential players already have a single game that they devote the majority of their time to, so you start with an immediate uphill battle finding players. Financially, it’s an uphill battle as well. Yes, people quit Magic because it’s too expensive, but I don’t think there’s a lot of folks that buy the L5R LCG instead of MtG starter decks because they’re thinking about long term costs.

    2. Going off #1, you need to think about the intended audience for this game. Is it strictly Magic players? If so, why would they play this instead of Magic (they already have those cards and already know those rules)? Looking over these rules, it looks closer to an alternative MtG format (like Riviera Live draft https://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Magic:_The_Gathering/Riviera_Live_Draft ) than an actual, new game. There needs to be a good reason for me to buy this, learn to play it, and teach it to others instead of just whipping out my cube and playing Riviera Live. In fact, depending on your goals, your time might be better spent just creating a new MtG format.

    3. If you expect non-Magic players to ever play this, you may need to lower complexity to a more manageable level, and you’ll definitely need to change the terminology in your rules. You use a lot of TCG-specific terms (“Stack,” sending fireballs to “face,” etc) and leave a lot of implied rules unsaid, and I’m not sure you realize it. For instance, I don’t think your rules actually describe how blocking works; I can only assume it’s identical to Magic because there’s almost no other information given (I would expect differences given that the positioning of attackers matters). You also don’t describe what “damage” actually does; I again can only assume that it’s identical to Magic, but it’s very unclear. This may not be a huge issue now, when you’re asking an exclusively Magic-loving audience to playtest, but it’s something you need to think about. I can’t reasonably expect my non-Magic-playing wife to endure a playtest of this, for instance.

    4. Your timeframe for release is wildly optimistic. You’ll need months of repeating the playtest-edit-playtest cycle, and then weeks (at least) to line up manufacturing/shipping/etc, then months to plan and run a Kickstarter. You have an advantage in a larger-than-average group of playtesters, but that won’t necessarily reduce the number of revision cycles you’ll need. I’d say that Christmas 202*3* would likely still be optimistic.

    If you intend this as just a little side hobby to work on when you have time, that’s great; just think about what I said, and ignore any parts that aren’t relevant to your goals. If you are expecting this to be a profitable business venture, I think you may need to reevaluate some things.

    • Hey Thom,

      I always appreciate constructive criticism, so thank you for sharing your concerns!

      1.) I haven’t designed and released a game for sale before, but I know that I personally do best on large and complex projects otherwise I lose interest. I jump into a large project every time I want to try something new and I’ve made it work so far.
      I think you might be surprised about the number of people who are thinking about long term costs — My entire game will be cheaper than a single copy of Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer for example. Not everyone will care about this, obviously. But I know that I stopped playing MTG due to the costs and greediness of WOTC and that sentiment seems to be reflected in a lot of discussions I see on the subreddit and my YouTube comments. People are looking for something with similar depth to MTG that doesn’t have the baggage associated with being MTG.

      2.) The intended audience is for people who enjoy deep games that are fast paced with a competitive focus and a heavy leaning towards group/team play. MTG is not the only TCG style game out there, and plenty of people are looking for escapes or alternatives. Legends of runeterra, hearthstone and even smaller games like eternal all came out after mtg and got fairly sizeable followings. Almost all existing games are designed for 1v1 play, so having something that works for up to 8 people to play in parallel without getting bogged down by long turns (which is how I feel about commander when I play it in MTG) is certainly a unique selling point.
      Also Algomancy has a strong and unique art direction. People are going to look at the cards and be like “ooh what’s that?” Just look at sorcery contested realm. They basically just used the art as their entire selling point and it was the biggest kickstarter card game success ever I believe. I’m not sure, but from what I saw in the sample gameplay it didn’t look like that game was even really playtested before release and people still flocked to it because it looks awesome.

      3.) Yeah I’ll definitely need a better comprehensive rules list. This post was so my mtg based audience could start testing the game. Although all of my testing has been done with non tcg players so far and everyone picked it up in about 15 minutes. Its going to take some time to become proficient in the game beyond just basic playability, but that is the design goal. I don’t want a shallow game that you can basically master in a couple plays.

      4.) I work quickly and do best with optimistic goals. I’m using algorithmic testing for the card balancing coupled with a large group of playtesters to note overall coherence and playability. The art is all algorithmically generated and I’ve already got manufacturers lined up, as well as a lot of experience with international shipping and manufacturing. I don’t think its crazy to say I can finish this in the next few months. So far this has been substantially easier than designing my cube was, since I can just design cards exactly as I need rather than searching for hours to find a card that does what I am looking for.
      Also this is just my goal, I’m not promising anything here. If the game takes longer then I can push it back without much issue.

      • I’m relieved to know you’ve thought hard about it. It’s clear you have a good head on your shoulders, I’ve just seen folks get in over their heads on stuff like this. I met a guy a few years ago at a convention who was doing something similar, essentially just re-skinning Magic but as an LCG. His design had essentially zero innovation over Magic other than the LCG model, and it (obviously) went nowhere. I know another guy working on a very niche war game. I know he’s spent tens of thousands, and I know his potential audience is nowhere close to big enough to recoup that. This game is also quite niche, and could face similar risks. Though I’ll admit you do have a big advantage over both of them in your reasonably large Youtube/discord audience and the free art. There are a lot of pitfalls in this–more than most folks realize–and I want you to succeed.

        I don’t know how much research into design you’ve got under your belt or how involved you are in the game design community, but if you have questions or would like some pointers from a slightly more experienced designer, I’d be happy to help. I’m already on your discord (username: psychatom), though not particularly active. PM’s or @’s welcome.

  2. I started watching your Youtube videos after ordering my first cube and I am confident you have what it takes to make this game work, a lot of ideas from what was supposed to be in a game I was working on and already considered in your version. I really enjoy the draft concept of your game and the art is one of your best selling points too! Here are some thoughts:

    1) You have great structure when it comes to drafting and the main phase. I also really like the fact that players are not gods and interaction is limited. That gives a good balance between decision making during draft and keeping it simple during the combat phase in order to keep the game fluent. Definitely seen many of these concepts in other successful games so I know you are on the right path.

    2) When thinking about combat, try to think about what will be more fun instead of what is the most unique/competitive. Often times just adding a simple twist on the combat system is enough to get people engaged. Instead of trying to reinvent the wheel (even though it might seem challenging and fun) Try to think about what other games are lacking, maybe just one or two things.
    I really think there is a little too many rules when it comes to how the combat and skirmishing works. I like the Idea with the adjacent creatures, and that there is some kind of interaction.

    3) Great plan to make all creatures enter with haste right away, that makes things very easy. But remember, if you have 1 or 2 cards that would need some balancing you can add some kind of summoning sickness effect in the textbox.

    4)

    • Super cool! I am reading through all your posts so I don’t know if you addressed the issue yet, but you could have players put the cards they decided to “cast” facedown so everyone can do it simultaneously and anonymous

  3. 1: Maybe it’s just me, but Earth is a really broad term. I can easily fit both Metal and Plants under the umbrella of Earth, which could end up being pretty confusing. If I look at some Earth cards there’s like a rock golem and some crystal animals and crystal formations. These cards feel like they could also be metal to me but I’m aware that there’s going to be robots and AI in the game and assuming that’s what metal is reserved for. I’m not sure what the best fix for this would be. Perhaps changing Earth to Stone or Mineral or something along those lines and Metal to Electricity or Mechanical would be better? I think the more distinct each type is, the better. Maybe how it currently is feels fine when playing the game, but conceptually it feels a little obtuse.
    2: Changing Metal to Electricity also helps fit the electric cards you’ve been designing have a more appropriate place. As it is now, I just don’t see how they really fit into the Earth, Fire, Water, Metal, Plants types. It seems like you have plans for themes in mind for each resource type, (Earth: rock & crystal, Metal: scrap robots, ai, Plants: fungus, slime, Water: fish, sea gods, Fire: explosions, ghosts(?)) and they all conceptually seem fine except for Fire’s themes. Explosions is a rather limited concept when compared to everything else, and ghosts don’t work unless you add some modification like the smoke ghost card. I’m sure ghosts can work, but I’d much prefer a theme with a stronger/more natural connection to Fire. The other issue is that electric feels like a theme that isn’t covered by any type. I think it’ll feel really weird to play an electric creature with a fire resource one turn and then play an electric spell with a water resource the next.
    3: I saw that some cards have flavor text and others don’t. Is this something you plan on adding to the rest of the cards? The devlogs all seem to be about mechanics, which are all pretty neat, but it would be nice to have one discussing the world you’ve created for the game. I really like flavor text so I hope the plan is to add more of it, but I know that you want to feature the art of the cards more prominently and the more flavor text you add, the more card art gets covered so it runs counter to your design which is unfortunate. Flavor text to me has just always helped to make each card feel unique.
    4: The card art is great, but the textbox/symbols probably need an update. I’m not sure if these are intended to be final designs, but as they are currently they’re too simplistic. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing but the simplistic style of the icons don’t match the style of the card art very well. Another issue is that the symbols currently aren’t consistent. You have a green outlined plant or a brown outlined mountain but a blue filled water drop and a red filled flame symbol and I don’t think it’s good to have some symbols be filled in, while others are just outlined. The card layout (at least the updated version in the later post) looks good and the font looks good too. I think you should just try some other symbol designs though. Maybe also try some other border designs for the box since it doesn’t seem to blend super well. Another thing to consider is to try having some card art flow on top of the information box to give it a 3d effect.
    5: This is kind of related to lore, but card names are really important. I know the testnames aren’t meant to be permanent that’s not really what I want to mention. I think there’s quite a difference in calling something “Slow Golem” and calling something “Piranha of the Woods”. Slow Golem is a pretty boring name. It lacks personality where Piranha of the Woods feels like a nickname created by locals that live near the creature rather than it’s official name. The other issue could be that Slow Golem does not feel at all threatening, whereby Piranha of the Woods does. You can use a word synonymous with slow to add more personality like drowsy, sluggish, leisurely, sleepy, etc but it won’t really change the fact that it doesn’t sound threatening. Perhaps changing it to be a more positive descriptor of what it does would be better. Maybe something like Crescendo, Surge, or Undulating Golem. Maybe you could use a separate word for golem here instead since we can tell it’s a golem from the art. Something like Cragheart or Boulderfist or Slag Walker. I was just picking apart this one card for being too simplistically named, but I don’t think Death Cap, Smoke Ghost, Animated Spark, Lightning Dragon, and some others are much better. I picked out Slow Golem because I think it was the worst named one. Stuff like Icon of Prosperity, Price of Power, Cosmic Vengeance, and All-Consuming Blight have really good names though. Dryad Scout, Fungal Gardener, Crystalline Scavenger have good names for a more common type of creature. Since you have good names for a lot of things I know you can name things with a lot more personality than those really boring names and I hope you take a second look at your card names to make sure they all sound good. The last nitpick I have for the names is for Prosperous Bloom. This name sucks for a legendary card. It’s not a terrible name for a more common card, but this is supposed to be a legendary card. Give it a name. Call it Gohma: Prospering Bloom or something. Don’t actually call it Gohma, but you get the idea. I want you to make legendary cards feel special and giving names to things achieves that goal.
    That’s all for now. Wasn’t sure the best place to post this feedback since it covers things from multiple devlogs so I’m hoping here is fine.

    • I appreciate all the time you spent to write all this feedback! I feel like there may be a misunderstanding here or perhaps I haven’t explained things well enough in what part of the development stage we’re in? Right now I’m just focused on the core game, meaning the rules and basic feel of themes of the game. All of the card layouts, icons etc are going to be redone by a professional when the game is closer to finished. The names are also nowhere near finalized. Almost every card you see in these previews will not end up in the final game (at least in the form they are now. Maybe with a different name and art). I’m also likely to completely change things around at any time (I work somewhat weird and I make big changes frequently in early stages of a project). For example, the plant theme is now fungus and flower and I got rid of the fish archetype for what I think will be ice.
      I definitely agree, the icons and borders need work though. I’m mostly working through the functional layout first, and aesthetics second.

      The elements are modeled after the 5 Chinese elemental model. I should update the listing, but I have swapped explosions for electric as the other fire archetype (lightning bolts and fire are both plasma is my reasoning for that pairing). I’m interested in what makes you think earth is generic, its a very common elemental theme. I may need to re-work specifically the themes for it in my game, but crystal/rock are fairly distinct I think from everything else?

      I’m not sure on flavor text yet. I’m going to see how the final game looks with and without it. I would love to be able to tell a story using just the card visuals, but I do understand the need for flavor text.

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