14 January 2012

A Game of Artifact Control (idea)

I had an idea for a card game today. I don't know what it is about me and card games, they're like an addiction. I don't know why I ever bother designing these because I don't have the resources to buy the necessary art to ever publish one. Here are my ideas anyway.

A Game of Artifact Control

There are objects of power in the universe. They do things that are unexplainable. Various people and factions want them for all manner of reasons. You are one of them.

The core of the game revolves around control of these artifacts. Factions clash as they try and recover, collect, destroy, and control these items. The game consists of two or more players facing off against each other, each bringing their own artifacts to the field. When one player no longer has any artifacts under their control they have lost.

Players come to the table with a deck of at least 60 cards as well as an artifact collection of 6 total artifacts. The artifact cards are each placed face down in a row in front of each player.

Mystical, Technological, and Financial resources are used to play cards. At the beginning of each players turn they choose one of these resources and places them on one of their Artifacts. These resources are usually represented by coloured beads (Financial = Yellow, Technological = Blue, Mystical = Red). Resources can be taken in any amount from the Artifacts to play cards, but to activate Artifact abilities/powers the resources need to have been placed on the Artifact in question. Resources are consumed when used and placed back in the shared pools they came from. On the first turn only the players distribute 3 resources among their artifacts, although they many not put more than one on each.

Resource control can be an alternate win condition for the game. If any one player is able to control all of a specific resource (Financial, Technological, or Mystical) then they win the game. To be clear, this means that none of the other players nor the common pool have any of the chosen resource.

Each turn a player may attack their opponents Artifacts with any Units that they have in play. These Units may be intercepted by Units that the defender control. The Unit with the least power in such a clash is destroyed. Equal powered Units are both destroyed. Multiple Units may intercept an attacker. If a Unit successfully attack an Artifact then resources equal to the Unit's Power are removed from the Artifact. Some Units specify a specific type of Resource that must be removed, if none is specified then the Defender chooses.


Each player has six Artifacts and all of them have their own powers and abilities. At the beginning of play they are placed face down in front of each player. Resources are assigned to artifacts each turn. Over the course of play the artifacts may be re-arranged, stolen or destroyed. If a player ever has control of all remaining Artifacts then they win the game.

To use an Artifact’s ability it must be revealed at the time of use. Flip it from face down to face up. It stays that way unless another ability or card is used to turn it face down or to shuffle the artifacts. Two Artifacts of the same name can not be in the face up position at the same time (unless otherwise noted).

An artifact can be destroyed using special operations or equipment cards or unit and artifact abilities. More commonly, they are destroyed by attacking them with units. A unit deals damage equal to its power as normal. For each point of power 1 resource is removed from the artifact. If there are no resources remaining it is destroyed and placed into the discard.

Deck Cards

Deck cards come in a number of different varieties. The three most common are Unit, Operations, and Equipment Cards.

Unit Cards are your troops on the ground. While they may have other uses, they are primarily used to defend your artifacts and attack/steal your opponents artifacts. Unit cards can be played by spending resources. The type of resource used to bring them into play depends on the unit and the faction it belongs. Units may have special abilities that can activated by spending resources.

Operations Cards are one time use tactics or effects that you can play by spending resources. They are things like calling in reinforcements, rearranging artifacts, and getting intel (revealing artifacts or an opponents hand).

Equipment Cards are just that, equipment. These are attached to Units to improve them in some way. The most common benefit of an equipment card is that it will add a special ability to a Unit.

Example Artifacts

Humming Scrap
Type: Alien Artifact
This mysterious piece of unidentifiable metal gives off a faint vibration despite having no power source.
Power Surge - Destroy all units attached to Humming Scrap and receive 2 Tech for each one destroyed this way.

Statue of Moloch
Type: Religious Artifact
This large statue contains 7 cabinets. Within each cabinet is a different sacrifice.
Sacrifice - During your turn you may sacrifice any Unit you control. The resource cost of the unit is placed on Statue of Moloch in the form of Mystical Resources. You may not sacrifice a Unit engaged in combat.

Example Units

Thieving Smoke
Type: Mystical Unit
Faction: Brotherhood of Smoke
It is well known that the Brotherhood can steal the unstealable. It is less known how they do it.
Power: 1 (Financial)
Special: When Thieving Smoke damages an Artifact place the lost resources on an Artifact that you control.
Special: Pay 1 Mystical to prevent Thieving Smoke from being intercepted.

Templar Knight
Type: Mystical Unit
Faction: Templars
The sword of a Templar Knight is feared by monsters everywhere.
Power: 2
Special: If Templar Knight enters combat with any Unit with "Monster" or "Beast" in its name then its power is 6.


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