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Proper TCG deck size

 
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NoDot
Master


Joined: 07 Mar 2008
Posts: 232

PostPosted: Fri Jan 27, 2017 2:51 am    Post subject: Proper TCG deck size Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Since TCGs seem to be the current topic of interest...

Recently, I've been wondering if Yu-Gi-Oh's 40 card deck was too many-I was thinking 20 would be better. So, I tried experimenting with a 20 card Exodia deck, but I found the deck size had some more knock-on effects than I originally thought.

So a question for the Den, what do you think the proper deck size is for a TCG?
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deaddmwalking
Duke


Joined: 21 May 2012
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 27, 2017 3:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

It depends entirely on additional factors.

In Magic, I play both draft and constructed; the minimum deck size is different in each case. There's a reason for that.

I'd say if you allow duplicates, that tends to increase the optimal size of the deck; if you do not, that tends to decrease it. Beyond that, it depends on how long it takes to develop a win condition. If you draw a card every time you play a card, deck size can increase dramatically. If you face an absolute limit of +1 card/turn, a smaller deck is preferable.

A card game is interesting to look at because while the medium constrains the design space compared to a role-playing game (where characters can attempt ANYTHING), there is still a lot of design space. Some of what they do right or wrong can be applied to RPGs.
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deaddmwalking
Duke


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 27, 2017 8:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Oh, but without regard to mechanics in any way, shape, or form, a standard playing card deck (52 cards) or so is a good size if shuffling is required. Most people are familiar with them, so it feels 'correct' in one's hand. Say 52 +/- 20 is probably where you want to be for deck size based on human physiology.
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RobbyPants
Prince


Joined: 06 Aug 2008
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 31, 2017 2:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

deaddmwalking wrote:
Oh, but without regard to mechanics in any way, shape, or form, a standard playing card deck (52 cards) or so is a good size if shuffling is required. Most people are familiar with them, so it feels 'correct' in one's hand. Say 52 +/- 20 is probably where you want to be for deck size based on human physiology.

Heh. I remember my 150 card Magic decks when I first learned to play in 1995, before I realized less is more. Yes, shuffling those sucked.
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Eikre
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Joined: 03 Aug 2009
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 31, 2017 4:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Yeah, the Pokemon TCG set 60 as a hard constant, both the minimum and the maximum, just 'cause kids don't know what the fuck they're doing.

...Still had arguments about whether Bill was a good card or not, predicated around "well, every card in your deck should be helping you win, but Bill isn't helping you win, he's just other cards! Wasted slot!"
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NoDot
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 02, 2017 8:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Alright, moving on just a bit, are there any comments of "proper" hand size? I know Yu-Gi-Oh! has a five card initial draw and a six card hand limit. I think Magic and the Pokemon TCG have seven card hands. (I don't know the initial draws...)

Are more cards (up to a limit of sanity) just better for that?
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Eikre
Knight


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 02, 2017 4:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Most players want to fan out their hand and see everything they're holding, and for that strictly physical reason, 7~ is, again, a pretty ideal number.

But, as before, the number is essentially arbitrary from a design perspective. The crux of the matter is in what sort of probabilities you'd like a player to have in seeing any particular card or set of cards in their opening hand, and how many options you want to put in front of them at once.

In Magic, you want your opening hand to have about three lands and a couple of cards that are important to your strategy, which generally means ones that you can play right away (because curving out correctly is an elementary strategy that almost every deck incorporates). If you reduce the opening hand size from seven, you're going to reduce the rate at which a player ends up getting these cards, which generally just screws them out of a game for no particular fucking reason. Luck-based total failure states are ones you generally want to minimize. On the other hand, most Magic decks are one-third comprised of land, which introduce very little cognitive drag; color differences and fetch turns require a little bit of diligence to navigate, but most of the time, each land is just a tally-mark. This means that in a hand of three lands and four nonlands, most of the player's intellectual energy is only going into the nuances of four cards.

In Yugioh, meanwhile, decks are smaller, which means you have a higher probability of drawing into important cards; they can afford to reduce the starting hand-size accordingly. Also unlike Magic, which has lands, Yugioh has very few structural cards. Five-star and greater creatures need tributes to hit the table, but otherwise, almost every card can be played or set without a prerequisite. That means a player's five-card opening hand has five entire cards worth of strategic thinking; the rate at which they can be abstracted down to just "okay, these three cards give me three mana" is much less.

Conceptually, you could have a game where all the cards are multi-modal and hit the table immediately, and you might be looking at three-card opening hands. Or you might have a game with hundreds of resource cards and hundreds of expendable goons that all consolidate into single strategic entities, and your opening hand could be like ninety cards.
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deaddmwalking
Duke


Joined: 21 May 2012
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 02, 2017 6:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

I think it's important to consider refresh as well as hand-size. Using Magic, again, it's entirely possible (especially in Draft) to end up 'top-decking' where you have no cards in hand except the one you draw every round.

Personally, I enjoy having options, so having cards in hand is preferable to having zero. If I got to draw a new card every time I played one, I'd probably prefer ~5 cards. If I'm going to 'draw down' I'd probably prefer to start at 7+ with a hard cap of 10 - any more than that and I'm going to have trouble holding them.
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OgreBattle
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 02, 2017 7:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Max hand of 7 feels 'right' and makes for an aesthetically pleasing hold.

Deck size depends on game mechanics, but I've been pondering a card game that kinda emulates a miniatures battle game so your army would start off deployed and how you play your hand is the random factor. Like the attack/block declaration part of MtG with a hand full of instants
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JonSetanta
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 02, 2017 10:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

60 cards runs through fast if you're playing a shared deck type of game, which I have yet to see in any TCG, but there might be one or more out there.

Otherwise, yeah, 40-60.
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