Research took up most of my time for the last week, although I didn't spend as much time on it as I would have liked. A couple of questions kept cropping up:
1. How should energy be handled?
Every card game I looked at had some kind of energy system to prevent powerful cards being played too early. Hearthstone has mana crystals, Pokemon has energy cards and Card Fighters' Clash has "SP". In some games cards in the hand can be discarded to generate additional energy.
One challenge I'm expecting is how to balance energy gains at different stages of play. Because of the tactical battle elements, players may go several turns at the start without ever being in range of an enemy. Combined with discarding cards for energy, players could be in a position to play high level before the other team has even reached them.
2. How large should a deck be?
Deck building is an integral part of collectible card games. Decks need to be large enough to last an entire battle, but not so large that they end up being mostly filler cards.
I'm thinking around 35-40 cards for a deck, but that may change during balancing. One thing I want to do is make this configurable so it's easier to experiment with.
3. How should characters move?
My initial plan was to give each character a movement range (e.g. 6 squares) and limit them to that each turn. I think it makes the map more interesting and makes it possible to have movement buff cards.
I'm also considering having a central character that moves one square each turn, and then goes into a separate battle mode when they meet an enemy. This would make combat more like Final Fantasy, Grandia and Evolution.
4. How should attacking work?
Should attacking require a card to be played, or should all playable characters be able to attack each turn if they are in range?
Requiring attack cards means the deck has to be balanced a little differently and reduces the chances that a player will start with a large number of high power cards.
A third of the project time has already elapsed and I don't have much to show for it. There are plenty more questions to be answered, but those are the big ones on my mind at the moment and I need to start actually building something.
The next step is to get a small battle up and running so I can experiment with different mechanics. My plan is to have that complete in the next few weeks.
Visit the Tiny Tactics hub page for a more detailed view of the project's progress.