Last week, Phil Reed mentioned on Twitter and Tumblr that he’d been thinking about the Battletech CCG from the mid-90s. I recall it perfectly well; I was working at Hobbytown USA at the time and sold it, as well as played it a bit. I like Battletech a lot, and I agree that the CCG was a fun way to engage in the game without the need to have minis and terrain and all that. But then as now, I greatly disliked the collectible aspect. So my reply to Phil on Twitter was, “That’s one game I’d like to see in a complete set, not collectible. Maybe deckbuilding?”
Deckbuilding is a type of card game that appeared recently with the game Dominion. In it, instead of starting with a deck of cards and then playing, the object of the game is to build your deck from a common pool. Effects and exceptions make up the rest of the basic idea of this type of game. I played Dominion a couple of times last Gen Con and overall liked it. Since then, there’s been a few more deckbuilding games published and now the deckbuilding idea is being applied to dice and other bits as well.
As I said, I liked Dominion just well, but it left me wanting more. When I heard “deckbuilding,” the impression that I got was that we’d build the deck then fight it out. Not the case. Dominion, at least the version we played that night, had very little interaction between the players, if at all. It was like a game of 3-way solitaire. I want more. I want conflict in my deckbuilding game.
I’d like to see the idea of deckbuilding combined with deckfighting. I mentioned it to Phil in relation to what form a Battletech deckbuilding game would take, and he said that it might get too long, like two games in one. He’s right, considering how long a game of Dominion took to play, but I can’t shake the idea that it would be a good combination.
Perhaps the idea here is to design the deckfighting into the deckbuilding. I’m not talking about cards that affect what cards other players may or may not be able to take into their decks, but outright fighting another player’s deck. Think Magic: The Gathering meets Dominion (which, honestly, is what I thought of when I first heard the word “deckbuilding”). In that context, a game that’s designed from the ground up to support both deckbuilding and deckfighting as the game progresses (not as two distinct phases) could work for a Battletech theme, or really, for any kind of army-like combat scenario.
Is there anything like this already out there and I just don’t know about it?
I don’t know that I have time to think about this too much right now, and honestly, having never done any kind of non-RPG game design I wouldn’t really know where to start, but this intrigues me enough that I want to record it here for later reference.