Keeper of the Cards - Ultimate DIY Trading Card Game

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onpon4
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Joined: 05/30/2012

So this is a new project I've been working on:

https://github.com/onpon4/kotc

It's called "Keeper of the Cards", and it's a trading card game where players can make their own cards. Basically, the idea is that you have a standard set of text portions you're allowed to use and a standard way of calculating costs.

Right now I'm looking for images under a libre licenses to use for example cards (I'd like to have at least 50 such example cards, preferably more), so if anyone knows for some good images under a libre license for a card, please let me know. :) I'd also appreciate any feedback.

quantumgravity
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Joined: 04/22/2013

The example cards you have so far are super cool.
Used to play magic a lot and always thought it would be great if i could make my own cards.
If many people think the same, you're idea might catch on.
Good luck!

さすが、オンポン!ここまで作ったカードはとてもかっこういいと思う。おつかれさまです。
これからも頑張ってね。

onpon4
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Joined: 05/30/2012

この絵を作った人、すばらしいですね。もうこのすごい絵を作ったよかったですね。私はひどくない絵をぜんぜん作れないのです。

I'm glad to hear you like the idea! How about the rules? Any particular criticisms there so far, or anything that you have trouble understanding?

nadebula.1984
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Joined: 05/01/2018

Be sure to use free/libre licenses, especially copyleft ones.

I do hope such "free-as-in-freedom" card game can beat Magic: The Gathering.

onpon4
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Joined: 05/30/2012

You must not be familiar with my work. ;)

I chose to use non-copylefted licensing (public domain) in this case because copyleft would interfere with the spirit of the game and have little to no gain. After all, the whole point of the game is to give you control to create whatever kinds of cards you want. For example, what if you wanted to create cards based on the Star Control universe? Star Control II's artistic portions are available under CC BY-NC-SA, so you can do that legally. But if the card template was copylefted, it would be incompatible and you would have to waste time making a new, probably worse-looking and harder to read card design. And the fact that you can do that means that the copyleft wouldn't actually be accomplishing anything.

Keeping the official game elements in the public domain also makes it very easy to indicate the license for a card: just stick a license notice onto the card image, like I've done with the example cards. Very important, because note that cards can be traded and it would be easy to lose track of licensing information if it's not on the card itself.

nadebula.1984
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For compatibility's sake, it makes sense to use some non-copyleft free licenses. My only concern is that "public domain" might be a bit too permissive...

onpon4
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Why? I'm not interested in forcing people to give me attribution. What other possible advantage can a non-copylefted libre license have over public domain dedication via CC0?

Magic Banana

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Star Control II's artistic portions are available under CC BY-NC-SA, so you can do that legally. But if the card template was copylefted, it would be incompatible and you would have to waste time making a new, probably worse-looking and harder to read card design.

The SA cause *is* a copyleft.

And the fact that you can do that means that the copyleft wouldn't actually be accomplishing anything.

Well, it forces the licenses of derivative works to be the same. In particular, they cannot be proprietary. Would you like to see the design of your cards used in proprietary (card/board/whatever) games?

onpon4
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CC BY-NC-SA is not compatible with CC BY-SA. You do realize CC BY-NC-SA is a proprietary license, right? The whole point of copyleft is to prevent such things.

And I still don't see how copylefting a card template and rulebook is going to do any good for libre culture. The card template in particular only took at most maybe a few hours to design. You have to pick and choose your battles with copyleft and this just isn't the place for it.

Magic Banana

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You do realize CC BY-NC-SA is a proprietary license, right?

Considering freedom 2 of the free software definition, that is right. Nevertheless CC BY-NC-SA allows noncommercial redistribution (and modification). For nonfunctional data (like artistic works, unlike software), some believe it is enough.

The whole point of copyleft is to prevent such things.

Well, no: my understanding is that the whole point of copyleft is to not have your work (or part of it) redistributed under clauses you disapprove. In that sense, CC BY-NC-SA is copylefted. Yes, it includes the NC clause that is, arguably, not desirable and, really, you cannot reuse Star Control II's art if, unlike the original author, you consider the NC clause unjust. I see no fundamental difference with, e.g., a clause preventing Tivoization in a software license: it is a restriction that the GPLv3 imposes and that not everybody agrees on (not me: I do believe the anti-tivoization clause is good). Yet, the GPLv3 is a copylefted license.

And I still don't see how copylefting a card template and rulebook is going to do any good for libre culture. The card template in particular only took at most maybe a few hours to design.

It is still a few hours of work proprietary game designers do not have to achieve. Why helping them at all if you consider they do evil (e.g., by preventing the players from redistributing the game)?

nadebula.1984
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Indeed, the main point of copyleft is to prevent anybody from (legally) making the copylefted works proprietary. For non-software works such as video, music, game assets, etc., non-free licenses such as CC BY-SA-NC and CC BY-NC-ND are ethically acceptable. (Thus spoke RMS)

I do think copyleft is essential, because otherwise anyone can easily make your works proprietary, and this will defeat the whole point of using a free license. I always use CC BY-SA-NC for my artistic works and CC BY-NC-ND for my essays.

PS, As for GPLv3, I strongly believe that the anti-tivoization clause is crucial. There is no freedom on tivoized systems, even if the whole operating system is licensed under GPLv2, because GPLv2 is no longer a free license on such systems. Those who are against the anti-tivoization clause are probably the companies who want to implement tivoization (e.g. Secure Boot).

onpon4
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> It is still a few hours of work proprietary game designers do not have to achieve.

Proprietary game designers? No, proprietary card designers. As in, people drawing images they refuse to release to release under a libre license and wish to use as a card, or people using already existing proprietary images as a card.

I'm sorry, but copyleft goes completely against the spirit of this game. The whole point is you can make any kind of card you want, with whatever design you want. I'm not going to punish players for choosing proprietary card designs for their own decks. It would be like if some online game required you to use libre avatars; completely ridiculous.

There's a time and place for copyleft. This is not the place. If I were to copyleft the card template, the only thing that would do is turn away and anger potential players; no one is so desperate to make their painting into a card that they're going to change any copyright-related decision about it.

Feel free to make a copylefted card template if you want. But I doubt it will catch on.

> In that sense, CC BY-NC-SA is copylefted.

You're missing the point.

If I put the card template under CC BY-SA, that would prohibit players from making an Ur-Quan card, or a Kohr-Ah card, or a Dnyarri card, because the relevant images for those are under the incompatible CC BY-NC-SA license.

I don't want that. I want players to be free to choose whatever designs they want.

Camilo.Meza

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This is awesome! Thanks a lot for the hard work!

martinh
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I'm a big fan of ccg/tcg 's, so well done to you !

Looks a bit like a creative mash-up of Yugioh and Magic:the Gathering, but
certainly has something unique about it !!

Will have to take a look at the rules in more detail.

On the one hand I like the idea of creating your own cards, on the other hand,
I'd be worried that cards may become too overpowered...

But it's cool for sure :)

onpon4
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Absolutely, powerful cards can be made. They'll be expensive to play, though. ;) Consider this spell, which is the closest you're going to get to "Raigeki" from Yu-Gi-Oh:

"Target up to 5 cards in play. Destroy all targets."

Such a card would cost 40 resources (KotC's version of mana), which is virtually unattainable given the mandatory deck size of 50 cards. But you can make something more attainable by adding activation costs, weakening the effect, or reducing the number of possible targets, e.g.:

"Sacrifice 4 random cards in your hand. Target up to 3 cards in play. Destroy all targets." (12 resources)

"Sacrifice 3 random cards in your hand. Target up to 5 cards in play. Inflict a total of 40 damage to targets." (6 resources)

martinh
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Aha, that's a well thought out way of doing things ;)

I already like it :)

onpon4
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Alright, so I've playtested it, and I think this is ready for the first edition publication:

https://github.com/onpon4/kotc/releases/tag/v1.0

Hopefully, this will continue to be used, in which case the rules will remain unchanged. If for some reason the rules need to be changed or the card building guide needs to be expanded, that will be released as the 2nd edition. Otherwise, I will continue to gather new example cards and release those as expansion packs to the 1st edition distribution.

I'd say this is ready for playing, hopefully, so anyone interested, please give it a try! :) So far, four "sets" of 8 cards (so, 32 cards) are included as example cards, so you can build a fully functioning deck without creating any new cards just by printing two copies of each of those (note: there is no rule limiting the number of redundant copies allowed).

martinh
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Awesome - well done !
Have downloaded it, will definately have a read :)

onpon4
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Forgot to mention: I put up a website for KotC now:

https://kotc-game.github.io

GNUser
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Joined: 07/17/2013

Well, congrats mate! I used to be a fan of trading card games too (Magic and Pokemon mostly, but also watched some Yu Gi Oh).
I chose to give those up because I realized how much money I wasted my parents on asking for those and quite seriously, the "rich kids" were the ones who always won (because they had the very best cards, since they bought hundreds of them (they had the money to). Oh and because I would get addicted at making strategies and lose hundreds of hours on that xD looool.

Anyway, I would like to try this out, but printing the cards is a little expensive. Any program that you know of that we could use as a "gaming platform"? Thanks.

Keep up the great work ;)

onpon4
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> printing the cards is a little expensive

Not really. Just use standard cardstock. 8 cards fit onto an 8.5"x11" (U.S. Letter) sheet; they're conveniently laid out in the "sets" directory. Then cut them with a straight-cutter, or scissors if you don't have that. Cover them with standard-size card sleeves with colored backings (the same ones you would use for MtG; they're really easy to find), buy about 10-20 dice from the games section at Walmart, gather up some of those pennies you have lying around, and you're good to go. At most, the total cost for setting up with a self-printed deck might be $20-$30 (assuming of course you already have a printer), and then you'll still have ink and cardstock left over for hundreds more cards.

Even if you can't use cardstock, plain paper is fine too.

GNUser
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I was talking about costs of paper, printing cartridges, electricity, etc. I know it would not be a HUGE expense, but still slightly expensive over a certain period of time.

onpon4
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If you're really that concerned about these costs, then you could hand-draw them on scrap paper. But realistically, if a package of 50 pieces of cardstock costs $5, and just to be conservative let's assume the ink cost is $100 (note: using grayscale or black-only will make you pay less on ink), then that's $2.10 per sheet, and since each sheet can hold 8 cards on it, that's 26 cents a card. This is much cheaper than buying cards for any trading card game to the point where you might be spending more on sleeves than the cards themselves.

Electricity is not a factor worth considering since you'd be consuming electricity constantly if the game was digital. It's going to be insignificant compared to the other costs, anyway.

GNUser
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Joined: 07/17/2013

Good point of the electricity part. Didn't thought of that.

I know it will always be cheap compared to other card games (buying cards is VERY EXPENSIVE). I just meant I am unsure that over a long period of time it will not become actually expensive itself. But you are right in all your points, that is true.

Well, I guess I now just need to find people who want to play too xD not a very usual thing to find around here. But I will be keeping an eye on this. Thanks again for the great work.

onpon4
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Sure thing! :)

I'd be happy to play over VoIP if you're ever interested, by the way. That goes for anyone else who would be interested in that, too. (Pretty simple setup: aim a webcam at your field, have your computer show the other player's field, and hold cards up to the camera if the other player needs to read them. I'd suggest XMPP/Jingle, but SIP or Jitsi Meet would work for that too.)

GNUser
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Joined: 07/17/2013

I would do it once I have the cards printed and familiarized myself with the game playing. Again, a video of you demonstrating a little gameplay would serve as an incentive.
Other people might have an issue with the possibility of cheating. But that can always happen and I think people playing KotC will take pleasure in playing by the rules.

I would also maybe look for a Tor VOIP solution. Some people might not want to disclose their identity just for the sake of a game.

GNUser
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How about a video tutorial on playing KotC? Basic rules and such, most people won't want to read the manual ;)

onpon4
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Hm, well, the best way I can think of to do that would be to read the manual and add visuals. But it seems to me that a recording of a game being played would be better. Would that be something you'd be interested in?

GNUser
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Yes, that's what I meant, great thing to watch ;)

onpon4
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Okay then. I'll have to see if anyone is interested in doing that.

GNUser
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Some random ideas I have had:

- Cards that win back hitpoints, good for defensive decks;
- Cards that take cards from a player's deck to the graveyard, good for offensive spell based decks;
- Cards that can be used to "block" a spell card, as in "prevent the effects of the spell", good for defensive decks;

These are some random ideas I had. Think these are any good or they don't fit properly the rules of the game?

onpon4
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Yes, all those are possible. I just haven't made any myself yet, usually because I haven't found an image for it. But remember, you don't have to wait for me; you can make cards too. ;) Just follow the card building guide.

GNUser
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Thanks. I am still getting my feet wet on the game ;)
I think the battle system is a little over complicated. I mean, a lot dice rolling... I understand you gave it a lot more thought than I did, but I would maybe keep it simple and just consider the attack and defense points of the creatures and be done with it. As it is, I will maybe end up building my deck with only spells ahahah.

GNUser
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A suggestion to the rule book, adding an image of the field's layout. Helps to visualize where each card goes to and how to organize them.

GNUser
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I don't follow this part:

"To determine the resource cost of a spell, take the spell's ability cost and round up to the next integer. If
less than 1, set to 1."

How does that fit in the card Vow of Vengeance? The spell has a cost of 5, but where did that number came from?
Thanks.

onpon4
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I should've seen this coming, but I've started work on the 2nd edition of the rules, in an effort to change the game to make it progress faster (1st edition rules led to hour-long games) and iron out some kinks. It's in the "future" branch if anyone wants to take a peek at it, but the changes so far are:

- Removed the rule where you play resources exhausted; you now play them unexhausted (with the exception of the card effect that plays them; that still plays them exhausted). (This rule was put in place due to another rule that I abandoned, so now all it's doing is slowing down the game.)
- Reduced the starting hitpoints from 100 to 60. (This should make games progress much faster. I calculated this number to be about the number of hitpoints lost at 15-20 dice on average.)
- Revised the "exhaust cards in play" cost to instead have you exhaust creatures, specifically. (Exhausting a trap almost never particularly limits what you can do, so it's a slight balance problem.)
- Redacted (banned) the damage effect. (This effect has a potential to be used as an OTK, which I definitely don't want, or kill suspense with an anticlimactic topdecking victory, which I also don't want.)
- Added a "caveats" system, used to reduce the resource cost of a creature's power levels by giving the creature special costs or disadvantages.

Since I'm making such big changes, I'm going to think it over and see if there are any other changes that should be made before releasing the 2nd edition guide.

GNUser
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Wait, so removing the "damage effect" means that cards Magma Spawn (set3) and Reckless Assault (set2) will be gone (at least their ability to cause direct damage to any player or cards) ??

I actually remember playing Magic with a deck that was meant to be used as direct damage to the player. It was fun. Wouldn't like to see that gone.

onpon4
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Reckless Assault is unaffected; it damages creatures, not the player. I'm actually thinking of redacting the creature damage effect too, but I'd be replacing it with a new dice-based damage effect, if I do so.

Direct damage works well in Yu-Gi-Oh too. The problem with direct damage in KotC is you aren't limited to just what a team of designers offers you, and there's a very fine line between making it so expensive that it's not worth using and making it so cheap that it enables an OTK or otherwise unreasonably easy win, which I very much want to avoid. Originally I made it so that cost relief has a cap of 20 to avoid this, but now that I've dropped starting HP to 60, consider a card that says this:

"Sacrifice 10 cards from the top of your deck. Inflict 21 damage to any one player."

This hypothetical card costs 1, so you can play two of them immediately for 42 damage, and then you can play a third the next turn to finish the game. Since it's unlikely the player will have cards for countering spells in their hand, and you've filled your deck with 50 cards that do this exact same thing, there's no way the other player can reasonably counter it. Completely anticlimactic and unfair.

GNUser
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I did some brainstorming on this and I think I came up with some game rules / card making rules, that may solve some of the issues you were mentioning. Hope you don't feel I am "hijacking" your game, I am just trying to help making this game even better :)

So, first of all, I thought "what are the ways to win?"
I came up with 3 ways to win the game:

- attack creatures (destroyed creatures in combat cost the owner their life points);
- attack the player (costly to do so and may also cause you some damage too, so this will not produce a quick win for anyone);
- attack the deck (also a way to win, even because otherwise the first player will always lose if the second player stays alive long enough);

So first let's look at the "direct damage" issue. I solved it by doing this: spells that cause direct damage to players can only cause as much as HALF their resource cost (a card that has a cost of 4 can only cause either 1 or 2 points). You can make a card that uses your own hitpoints in place of resources, if you respect this same rule (a card has a cost of 2, it will cause you 2 points damage, it can cause either 1 or 2 points to another player). So, direct damage becomes costly and risky to do, however experienced players might want to use it at certain points. Creatures can use an ability more than once, so either we remove their ability to attack the player directly, or we just lower their attack power. Still needs some thinking.
As for the deck attack, it could for example, be done in a proportional way... You can force the other player to take 2 or 3 cards from his deck, but you destroy one resource of yours in the process. So it can't be used from the beggining to the end, as you would run out of resources. ALSO, you are providing your opponent with an excellent handfull to fight you with.

I don't have a lot of time right now to write much more, but wanted to share some of these. I will also try to provide some defensive cards / strategies ideas later.

But onpon4 seriously, this is a great work you are doing, I hope you don't feel I am trying to hijack it from you or anything, I am just trying to help. We both know that someone will always find a loop hole to win, we can't just lock up all the game because of that. We will just have to let people play it and we will deal with things when they happen. Don't be afraid of making a bad game, because if you do, you will not make a GREAT game as you are doing right now :)

onpon4
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I don't like the idea of making it as complicated as what you're suggesting. Reading that did give me one idea, that being that I could make an effect that inflicts damage to yourself and one other player.

> We both know that someone will always find a loop hole to win, we can't just lock up all the game because of that.

Right, I'm not concerned so much with that, just with anything that is unreasonably easy and boring.

GNUser
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Also, another idea that will prevent winning in the first and second round, a simple rule: you can only cause damage to another player after the 2nd/3rd turn. This way both players will already have resources in play that allow them to use defensive trap cards and such.

P.S.: To be honest I dislike the idea of "trap cards". If this is a game where we make our own cards it's absolutely IMPOSSIBLE for me to imagine what a trap card might do. I see a card facing down, there is no way I can predict what kind of crazy card the other guy will have invented... I am not against it, but I dislike it.

onpon4
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WRT traps, you can't really tell in Yu-Gi-Oh either with the thousands of traps available to choose from. But you can get a general idea of how bad it is by how much it costs (since you pay resources when you set the trap), and you can design cards that look at traps too.

I don't like the idea of arbitrarily postponing win conditions. That might stop a first-turn kill, but what about the 4th turn? After all, the OTK player is being protected, too. If anything, being given a 3-turn buffer makes it easier for them to build up their resources and draw cards and get the OTK set.

onpon4
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So, I did add a new effect that inflicts damage to both yourself and to another player (yourself first). I figure this can be combined with the effect that restores your own hitpoints to effectively create direct damage spells.

I've also added a dice re-rolling effect. Two now, actually: one for the current chain (to respond to opponent's cards), and one for after the current chain (to use with your own cards). The latter can further be used to minimize the damage caused to yourself by the damage effect in a combo.

I've also gone ahead and replaced the creature damage effect with a new one that works on dice rolls, and updated existing cards using the old effect to use the new effect instead.

GNUser
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Have you played the game with someone else? Other than trying only I mean.

I will have to print the cards and arrange to play with you over internet. What program do you use?

onpon4
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For VoIP? I woud use Jingle/XMPP. Jitsi is what I used last time I did that.

I've only played with another person once so far.

GNUser
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Hey there,

I decided to make a card of my own. I don't know if this is a valid card according to the current rules or not, but please let me know ;)

Stairs.jpg
onpon4
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No, that's not valid because it isn't using the standard card texts. See "card_building_guide.pdf" for that (or "card_building_guide.odt" on the "future" branch if you want to see the WIP 2nd Edition one).

You can do this, for example:

"Target up to 3 cards on the top of one player's deck. See all targets. Place all targets on top of owner's deck in any order."

That card would have a resource cost of 15. That's a bit much, so you'd want to add an activation cost to bring the resource cost down. Perhaps this:

"Sacrifice 5 cards on the top of your deck. Target up to 3 cards on the top of one player's deck. See all targets. Place all targets on top of owner's deck in any order."

That brings the resource cost down to 5, which is much more usable.

GNUser
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Thank you for the correction. I'm afraid I will need your help further to better understand the manual... How did you calculate the cost of that card? Number of targets * 5 ? And how do we calculate the cost of a card that relies on a dice roll? Like I originally wanted to do.
Thanks ;)

onpon4
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Sure.

So, in the second example I gave, there are four components: an activation cost, a target selection, and two effects.

The target selection has a "cost" of ``x``; ``x`` is the number that I set to 3, so the target selection "cost" is 3. This becomes the variable ``t`` (so, t=3).

The first effect has a cost of 2t, and the second effect has a cost of 3t. Remember, t=3, so these become 2*3=6 and 3*3=9, respectively. We add these together and get 6+9=15.

The activation cost has a "relief" of ``2x``. We have set ``x`` to 5, so the relief is 2*5=10. We subtract this from our previous result; 15-10=5, so 5 is our cost.

Can you clarify what parts of the card building guide you found confusing? I'd like to fix that.

GNUser
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Wait, you don't pay the activation cost, you only use it to calculate the next costs?

onpon4
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I think you're mixing up terms. The 3 is the target selection cost. And yes, you don't include that in the resource cost; instead, all effects that utilize targets incorporate the variable "t" (set to the target selection cost) in whatever way is most appropriate. Most effects simply use multiplication.

I've added a note mentioning this to the card building guide. Hopefully that should help prevent this confusion in the future.