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Matthew Watson
Works at MCAP
Attended Marymount University
Lives in Vienna, VA
52 followers|91,958 views


So I have done a bit more work on my game 'Catalyst:First Wave' (first talked about here ) and was wondering if anyone had thoughts on my proposed tweaks.

  I have broken my game up into three acts which are meant to flow seamlessly into one another. The first act consist of you determining the weaknesses of your opponent. This is accomplished by landing minor attacks and observing your opponents actions in order to gain ‘Insight Tokens’. Insight tokens represent bits of knowledge obtained throughout a fight. Three Insight Tokens can be traded in to reveal one of your opponent’s weaknesses. Alternatively, certain attacks offer you the opportunity to injure your opponent. By either revealing a weakness or injuring your opponent you move into act two, exploiting your opponent’s weakness. Once an opponent’s weakness is revealed or they are injured a number of things happen. For example an injured player receives certain penalties and is easier to further injure. Once multiple weaknesses are revealed and injuries sustained you move into the third and final act, delivering a knockout blow. Certain attacks are more powerful depending on how many injury/weakness cards are attacked to the target. For that reason, these cards are not so helpful at the start of the game, but are critical for a win. 

Here are examples of a few cards and which act I think they fit best.

Cards ideal for early game/Act 1:
• Punch: Make a close-ranged attack against a single opponent for 1 damage. Gain 1 Insight token.
• Observe: Gain 2 Insight tokens.

Cards ideal for middle game/Act 2:
• Crushing Blow: Make a close-ranged attack against a single opponent for 2 damage. Injuring 1 (if this attack hits roll 1d6, adding +1 to the result for each injury/weakness card attached to the target. On the result of a 6 attach an injury card to the target) 
• Bio-foam (item): Regain 2 Vitality tokens. Substance Sickness (-1 to your attack value until your next turn).

Cards ideal for late game/Act 3:
• Knockout Punch: Make a close-ranged attack against a single opponent for 3 damage. Advantageous (add one unblockable damage to this attack for each weakness/injury card attached to the opponent). 
• Smelling Salts (item): Remove one of your injury or weakness cards from the game until your next turn. Substance Sickness (-1 to your attack value until your next turn).

  The insight tokens and weakness/injury cards also offer the chance for alternative win conditions. I was thinking of certain cards that may force a player to surrender if they are injured enough. Additionally, once these mechanics look good I will introduce a ‘Battlefield’ or ‘Location’ deck which sits in the middle of the play area. Players may pay insight tokens to draw from this deck which consist of various cards any character can use. Some examples I was thinking of are: Small debris item, loose ruble, and large cover. 

  As always any feedback is much appreciated. Thank you. 

Matthew Watson's profile photoWilliam Hoyt's profile photo
As a stand alone game, I will echo some of the things +Phil Hatfield mentioned in your previous discussion.

1. Having a plot or goal will only be off-set by really interesting mechanics. Most people forgive games like MtG from having an over-arching plot because part of the intrigue lies in the deck design/game play.

2. Adding a plot or goal other than "beat other person up" may be difficult with a system as described. Graeme Henson mention co-op style game. This would definitely allow for plots and goals but still keep a single winner.

2.a. You may want to think of the two player beat-each-other-up as an optional way to play a 2 player game rather than the core game play.

3. Is the injury deck shared? Are weaknesses unique decks to the hero or the powers?

4. Can the decks be modified during game play?
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Matthew Watson

Discussion  - 
Ok, you've all sold me, here is the game I have been working on.

Catalyst: First Wave is a superhero themed card game for two or more players. Players select a ‘Hero’ card which defines the look, name, and basic stats (Vitality, Willpower, Agility, Attack, and Toughness) of their character. Additionally each player assigns their hero two super powers (i.e. flying, super strength, etc.) which augment their hero’s stats and grants them certain abilities. For example, a player whose hero has the ‘Flying’ super power gains a boost to their agility stat and gains the ‘Flying’ elevation type. Each player has a deck of items and abilities associated with their selected powers. For example, a player whose hero has the ‘Flying’ super power will have abilities such as ‘Dive Bomb’ and ‘Survey Battlefield’. However some items/abilities have no associated powers and as such anyone can use them (ex. Punch, kick, etc.).  

Players setup across from each other (setting up using the template I have attached) and draw a set number of cards from their deck (referred to as your hand). The cards in your hand signify the items your hero has quick access to and the abilities that are currently running through their head. On your turn you can either play an item/ability, or rest. Items can be anything from a weapon, to a shield, to a healing item (ex. Bio-foam). Abilities played on your turn are usually geared towards damaging your opponent and lowering their health. The Vitality stat dictates the amount of health your hero has and is represented in Vitality Tokens. When targeted by an attack your opponent decides to either dodge (make a dice roll to evade the attack) or block (reduce damage taken by their Toughness value). Finally resting allows you to draw/discard cards from your hand and regenerate a small amount of Willpower (which is used as an energy source to play cards). This allows for quick but smart combat, as you need to plan carefully when you rest as to not leave yourself exposed. Players continue taking alternating turns until one hero is KO’d (their pool of Vitality tokens reaches zero).

So far there are two decks: a flying/energy projection hero, and an invulnerability/super strength hero. I am using these two decks to work out the game mechanics and flow. Additionally I have started on the next two decks (a super speed/lightning hero, and a telepathic/super intelligence hero) but am not doing too much with them until I am happy with the foundation. Ideally I want the game to be modular in that you can pick any two powers and build a deck accordingly. 

Currently I am working on balancing and game momentum. Some abilities seem to be a bit over powered and need to be tweaked. Additionally in the few times I’ve play tested players like to blast each other for the first few turns until they are all out of Willpower and have to take a couple turns to catch their breath. This kind of bogs down late-game play. 

Let me know what your thoughts are and if you have any questions. 
Phil Hatfield's profile photoMatthew Watson's profile photoBrian Casey's profile photo
+Matthew Watson I created a dedicated G+ community for my game in development. The good thing about it is that all the content related to my game is collected in one place. And I can feel free to post as much as I want about it since people that are in the community have, by joining, expressed an interest in it.

The bad thing about having a dedicated community is that you won't get nearly as many people looking at your updates.  However, the people that do see the updates are people you know are interested.  And you can always post major updates in larger communities like this one.
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Matthew Watson

Discussion  - 
I found this article a while back and I always find myself going back to it when I hit walls. While I am sure the necessity of some of the '10 Things' can be argued; I think they are great things to keep in mind while designing a game. 
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Matthew Watson

Discussion  - 
While researching the books that +Ziv Kitaro had suggested I came across this TED talk that I thought some of you might find interesting. 
Albert Rigo's profile photoBrian Upton's profile photoZiv Kitaro's profile photo
+Brian Upton the beautiful thing is, no one has to agree with everyone. These are experiences, not hard facts. The task a game designer, or a gamification designer for that matter, is presented with is to create the right experience. Sometime it would be to create nothing more than a layer of gratification mechanism. At other times try will have to deconstruct and reconstruct an experience to make it fun. There are many tools. We need to learn to use as many if them as possible. 
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Matthew Watson

Discussion  - 
Hey everyone. To give some history I have been independently developing a card game on and off for the past year. It is a project that I am very excited about and I am very happy with the overall theme and general game mechanics.

However, doing everything myself can be at times daunting and other times seem downright impossible. So I guess my question is, how do you get help? Are most of you developing a game independently, with a partner, or are you part of a larger group? Any input would be greatly appreciated.

Oh and I would love to share my idea, but am hesitant because I do not understand copyrighting/ownership legality. Certainly everyone can sympathize about not wanting to share something you have invested a lot of time and energy into without it being protected(Not trying to be rude, just safe. You all seem really cool). However, from what I understand simply by creating the game you own the copyright and can prove it via emails and other game documents. If anyone could shed light on this I would really appreciate it and would love to share my idea.

Thanks again. Love this group and appreciate any feedback. 
Graeme Henson's profile photoChristopher Andersen (CJ)'s profile photoMatthew Watson's profile photoBrian Casey's profile photo
I have found sharing my ideas here to be a big gain for my designs. I have had nothing but good feedback. And there is something to sharing an idea publically. Makes me want to pursue the idea all the more.
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  • MCAP
    System Aministrator, 2011 - present
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Vienna, VA
  • Marymount University
    Criminal Justice, 2008 - 2010
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