Author Topic: Hlastak - a small card game to go in a bigger adventure game  (Read 4067 times)

Jubal

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Hlastak - a small card game to go in a bigger adventure game
« on: April 14, 2016, 09:01:30 PM »
Thought I'd put a post here for rules discussion of this - I designed it very quickly as a minigame for LIFE, but thought it would be good to make a post to get people's thoughts on the mechanics.

THE BASIC RULES

The basic version of the game that I've come up with has three cards - the Ice Walker, the Warrior, and the Hugrut. Each player has a hand of nine cards, and they take it in turns to play one at a time until each player has five on the table.

At the end of the game, each Ice Walker is worth three points.
Each warrior is worth one point, but also "kills" one enemy ice walker.
Each hugrut is also worth one point, but "protects" one of your ice walkers.


EXAMPLE

PLAYER 1IIIHH
PLAYER 2IHWWW

So player 1 has initially 11 points (3x3 + 2x1) whereas player 2 has just 7 (1x3 + 4x1).
Player 2's warriors can potentially "kill" 3 ice walkers, which would bring P1 down to just 2 points on the table. However, P1 has played 2 Hugrut, thus "protecting" two of their three Ice Walkers. As such, only one is killed.

The final score is thus P1 winning with 8 points (2x3 + 2x1) to P2's seven (1x3 + 4x1).


Now, I've only been playing against a computer opponent that doesn't even have an AI (or a hand - it just approximates the gameplay experience by randomly picking cards and putting them down). However, I think the following things are roughly true:
  • There's a rock-paper-scissors effect - strategies heavy on Ice Walkers can be beaten by those heavy on warriors, those heavy on warriors will be beaten by those that use Hugrut with Ice Walkers, but Hugrut and Ice Walkers together will be beaten by having more ice walkers to score more points.
  • Going second should be heavily favoured - reacting to each card your opponent puts down gives you considerably more information and less guesswork.
  • There's a mix of skill and luck; you need to know how to play, but at the same time it can be extremely difficult to win with a bad hand.
The duke, the wanderer, the philosopher, the mariner, the warrior, the strategist, the storyteller, the wizard, the wayfarer...

Glaurung

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Re: Hlastak - a small card game to go in a bigger adventure game
« Reply #1 on: April 14, 2016, 10:49:24 PM »
Sounds interesting. I'm assuming that the standard card deck for the game contains equal proportions of the three types of card, in fairly large numbers. Also I'd expect that the game is played as a series of rounds, with strict alternation of players starting rounds (to reduce the second player's advantage). Unfortunately that implies an even number of rounds, which could lead to a draw, rather than always getting one player winning.

Jubal

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Re: Hlastak - a small card game to go in a bigger adventure game
« Reply #2 on: April 14, 2016, 11:18:32 PM »
Yes, the deck has each card in equal proportion. And if it were being played properly, yes, it ought to happen over several rounds with alternation. In LIFE you just play the game one round at a time - which will of course lead to some very flukey wins and losses (as will the computer's lack of an AI for that matter!) but the idea is that to build up any sort of stake and winnings you'll have to play a few rounds so the odd loss shouldn't be too large a setback (especially if you play relatively conservatively and don't bet all your money at once, you can work up reasonably quickly without too much risk). The lack of decision making on the computer's part means that an experienced human player can expect to win most of the time, though will sometimes fail to do so either because of a bad decision or a bad hand, which I think is probably about right for a minigame within a larger adventure game.

I'm considering at some point writing an "advanced" version with 2 or 3 more card options, which could add a great deal more complexity and variety of strategies; in my head, the above version is what the Thauils (the creators of the game, a diminutive furry ice-world race) play when casually gambling, but with a higher-level version for masters which is "their game" and is treated rather more like Go or Chess as something that is taken quite seriously and has high-ranking masters and suchlike.
The duke, the wanderer, the philosopher, the mariner, the warrior, the strategist, the storyteller, the wizard, the wayfarer...