How Crimson Company maximizes gameplay depth

No (private) decks!

In typical duelling card games, e.g. traditional CCGs such as Magic or Hearthstone, each player brings their own deck to draw from. This often conflicts with the decision-making during a match in several ways:

  • The decks brought by the players can be of different strength levels. A player who just started their collection will have a weaker deck than a veteran who collected all the rare cards and has a deep understanding of the “meta game”. So a match might be decided before it even began.
  • One deck might counter the other. Most of the time players go into the match “blind”, i.e. they don’t know which deck their opponent is going to bring. So they can easily run into a situation where one player brings a deck that is designed to counter the other player’s deck. Again, there is a huge impact on the outcome of the match, but no actual in-match decisions have been made yet.
  • You deck might just “not work” from time to time because you’re just not getting the right amount of “luck of the draw”. You’re drawing all the wrong cards at the wrong time and don’t really have a say in the outcome of the match.
  • Depending on the deck you’re playing, your strategy can be quite pre-determined and there is little space to deviate match to match.

No (hidden) hands of cards!

Most cards games are chock-full of hidden information. Not only do you not know the order of cards in the deck, but players also hold a hand of, usually 5–10, hidden cards. This means that most of the time you’ll have to guess on what they’ll be able to do and play around estimates and percentages.

Contextual valuation!

A standard format for CCGs is to print cards with a set resource cost. For example, a card might cost “3 mana”. This means this card will always cost 3 mana, no matter what the current game state looks like. This way of doing things lends itself well to the meta-game-centric structure. Players can build their deck around specific pre-determined strategies, plan for a certain “total power value” they are going to generate per match. However, this also means matches become much less dynamic than they could, as players have partially solved the decision-making process outside of any match context.

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