Something happened last night in my 1on1 game with my son that I’ve never seen in a tapletop RPG before.

Something happened last night in my 1on1 game with my son that I’ve never seen in a tapletop RPG before.

Something happened last night in my 1on1 game with my son that I’ve never seen in a tapletop RPG before. I was describing a scene in a tavern where my son’s wizard was to make a contact when, as a throw away line, I mentioned a pair of men in the corner playing a card game.

“Oh?! Is it like Gwent (the minigame in Witcher III) or Caravan (the minigame in Fallout New Vegas)?”

I’m used to having a minigame in CRPG’s (The two above are excellent, as is my favorite: Triple Triad from Final Fantasy VIII), but I’ve never seen or done it in tabletop.

I told him “No, these fellows are just playing poker. But there is a game that people play called Kazu (I totally made it up) that is collectible, and they have tournaments sometimes. Someone here may be able to tell you where to find a game.”

That gave me time to think, and when he asked one of the poker guys if anyone in town played, I was able to tell him that they didn’t anyone here that played it, but they knew some guys in Slovinsk (a nearby town that we had already established) that did.

I see how I can use Kazu players for quests, information, and other things… BUT now I have to invent a small collectible card game called Kazu!!

I really need some help with this everyone!! I have a ton of games at home. Exploding Kittens (look it up, don’t judge it by the name) is quite fun and hilarious really, and I can absolutely see how I can make it “collectible”, and I have Magic: The Gathering cards from every set from 3rd Edition to Dragon’s Maze (The final set in the Return to Ravnica Block). But I am TOTALLY open to suggestions so that when my son tracks down J’Zargo in Slovinsk they have a game to play!

32 thoughts on “Something happened last night in my 1on1 game with my son that I’ve never seen in a tapletop RPG before.”

  1. If it were me, I’d track down some existing game that’s reasonably priced (like Epic, or Pocket Tactics) that neither of you have ever played, and introduce that as the game…hacked to your desired level of complexity and collectability.

    Next level, I’d grab some surprisingly good tactical card game like Hill 216 and redesign it to have a flavor that matches your game world. Currently Hill 216 is WWII based but there is already a space Marines reskin and an Ogre reskin, so that would be pretty easy to do.

  2. Oh man this sounds excellent. DEFINITELY make your own cards, and get your son involved. How old is he?

    When your son retrieves a new card, give him a blank with some rules text and let him draw the artwork, maybe?

    Oh man, I have so many ideas but I’d probably ask Daniel Solis​ about it

  3. Aaron Griffin, he’s 14 and quite good with pen and paper! That’s a cool idea to get him more involved! I may end up re-skinning one of those other games above and let him do the art. It’ll be an interesting way to show him monsters and powerful NPC’s that he may encounter in the future!

  4. This is awesome. You have a built in maguffin whenever you need him to go quest in a dangerous location!

    “sure,there’s a dragon guarding it, but King Albus was a notorious Kazu collector, and is rumors to have had a pristine copy of the rare Black Rose in his treasury….”

  5. And on that same note Stephanie Bryant, “Yes, I’ll show you the secret passage into the castle, but I want your Black Rose card!” Does he trade the card, or find another way in? 🙂

  6. Daniel Solis you were recommended to me to ask for help with a collectible card game minigame for my DW campaign with my son. I’d really love to hear anything you may be able to offer!

  7. Scott Selvidge Granted this is a one on one game between father and son. Taking time out of the game to actually play a hand of cards might not jive with some players who feel their character’s gambling skills are better than their own.

    I’m still trying to find the card game I’m thinking of, but you essentially deal out a hand of cards to the players similar to Texas Hold’em then deal out cards face down on the table in four rows of four. You take turns and you have choices to make: Flip a card or place bets on a card by putting chips on a card. You go around the table three times and at the end you compare your physical hands with the cards you’ve put your betting tokens on and whoever has the better hand wins. It is essentially Texas Hold’em with slightly more complicated rules.

  8. Gary Chadwick Thats awesome. Also if your card game is collectible, that suggests characters and monsters. I like the mental image of when you put down the cards that they have an illusion enchantment on them that makes a miniature sized monster or whatever that moves and does little animations when it is used. Kind of like Yugi-Oh but on a smaller scale. Or that chess game from Star Wars also comes to mind lol

  9. The cards themselves can be things of legend. “Legendary” or “unique” cards aren’t just a tag that means “only one of these in the deck,” it means there is literally only one of that card that has ever been made.

    The game is ancient. There are cards that have been around for centuries or millennia. Making new cards is an art form, like crafting magical items. Any magewright can make a common card, like the 3 of Swords, but it takes a master to craft one of the Major Arcana. And the unique, legendary cards were crafted by gods or faerie royalty or Death itself.

    Each card is magical. Most, the common cards that make up the bulk of a player’s deck, have no powers but minor illusion. The images on the cards move about, like portraits in Harry Potter. Some of the less common cards develop personalities, and can speak, and remember previous owners and previous matches.

    The rare cards, the Major Arcana or whatever you call them, not only have personalities but can generate non-trivial magical effects. Sometimes passive, sometimes active. You might have to convince some of them to use their power on your behalf. (“Bah, I’ll not use my powers on behalf of some loser like yerself… win us a match or two, then ask again.”)

    The ancient, legendary cards might have longstanding plots and agendas. They might be in communication with each other, or their makers, or some other major powers in the world.

    Some cards are pricey or difficult to put in play, and not just via in-game mechanics. The Left Hand of Umbra-Tor doubles your hand-size and prevents opponents from ever looking at the cards you hold, but it requires that you sacrifice a memory to play it. The Mountain Hold of Red Markus is a potent defensive card, but only if you drip a few drops of your own blood into it.

    You absolutely, positively, have to play for ante. Every time. None of your cards are safe.

  10. I think it would be great to let him know that you haven’t figured out how the game Kazu works and since this is Dungeon World, you can ask him how he thinks it works. Then get started on the game together. If it is successful then you two could improve it and come up with cards and eventually have a Kickstarter or something. Remember, In DW the players get to come up with much of the content as well. It helps customize it. I think that it would be great to have in interested in creating the game with in the game.

    You could suggest that he look up game mechanics of several card games out there and pick apart the rules and tweaks and see what he likes. Just doing the research with him would be fun. You have him as the finder to find what he likes then go through the different games and put together something unique to the both of you. He can even share it with his friends or even have his friends help.

  11. You know, if the game is based on ancient legends and has been played for thousands of years, it’s a small leap to say that monsters can turn into cards when they die. Possibly spurred along by Ritual or a custom spell, since he’s a Wizard. And hey, maybe you can use Kazu cards for the Summon spell; just be careful that the monster doesn’t get too badly wounded, or the card might get damaged.

    It’d be kind of like Harrow cards in Pathfinder, where regular folks use them to play games and those in the know use them for magic.

    As for the rules, I’d try and keep them fairly loose and narrative, and be open to making them up as you go. I mean, that’s basically how Yu-Gi-Oh does it, at least in the show.

  12. I very much like the ideas of working on the game together, and using the information on the cards to reveal information about the world. (“This card tells of a dread necromancer in the North…” – and then you stumble on some hints of where the place actually is, and perhaps that necromancer is even still alive, or some apprentice of his. Perhaps the card game is tied in some way to fate, so certain cards land in your lap as a gentle nudge or portent.)

  13. I’m thinking, too, about counterfeit cards. Cards that are supposed to have magic but are cheaply printed forgeries. That could introduce another whole storyline if he chooses to investigate!

  14. FFIX has this game called Tetra Master that I always thought was neat. You collected cards from card battles with civilians OR from monsters. I could see a wizard contemplating the magical energies of beasts he kills via Spout Lore to create (or perhaps summon) appropriate monster cards using blank parchment and magic.

  15. Gerard Snow​, I’ve heard of that but don’t know anything about it. I’ll look it up.

    Josh C​, I didn’t play IX. The mini game in X was interesting (Blitz Ball, like underwater soccer), but not really applicable. XII was a lot of fun, although I don’t remember a minigame. I’m playing FFXV right now, and the mini in it is pretty cool (Justice Monster Five, kind of a pinball game).

    I’ll have to look up Tetra Master.

  16. There is a VERY silly card game called Epic Spell Wars of the Battle Wizards. You build a spell out of three components and roll some dice, with a result table on the final card. Very silly and very random, but with a total reskin it may work.

  17. Update: I went with a modified version of a game called Star Realms (It’s a science fiction deckbuilding game, so I altered it a little to make it collectible, and obviously made it fantasy).

    I think they have a fantasy version of the game, but I had the cards and app for Star Realms already so I used them as models. In Star Realms base game their are two basic card types: Ships (which I made into Monsters) and Bases (which I made into Keeps). There are four factions in Star Reams, which I converted to the four Elements (Fire, Water, Earth, and Air).

    Later expansion included More ships and bases, Events (which my game has), Gambits (which may game MAY have) and Heroes (Which my game absolutely has, and will represent both heroes and villains).

    My son was so excited to try the game they he put the main story on hold last night to travel to Slovinsk and meet J’Zargo. J’Zargo showed him the basics of the game and offered to sell him a second “starter” deck that he had. J’Zargo also told him that really powerful cards could be made for the game by defeating monsters and using a specific type of magic to capture it’s soul in playing card. He doesn’t know how to do this himself, but has played against a couple people with cards created this way.

    My son got really excited about this and his Wizard asked J’Zargo where he might find these people. Lots of leads and some good stuff coming in the future! – Star Realms | Star Realms Deckbuilding Game

  18. That sounds fantastic! If you end producing any materials for this (e.g. physical cards), share a picture. I really dig the cross-pollination from “a minigame within the game” back into the fictional reality of the “world”: finding NPCs and monsters to deal with in order to amass cards, and learning about them via the cards, is a very cool merging of these concepts.

  19. Josh C, yeah that came up in talks with people here AND outside of G+ too. It’s a really awesome concept that I hadn’t considered myself.

    Paul Taliesin , I have some “starter” cards that I made for my son, but he actually has them right now (he doesn’t live with me), so next time he’s over I’ll take some pictures to post. I had always wanted the “cross-pollination” concept because Triple Triad did that in FFVIII. I think it will be really cool to try “collect” cards from inside the game. Something I really want to do is show through a game card how unique a type of monster can be (A Displacer Beast for example, which I’m going to call a Phanther in my game), so that when he runs into one he already has a clue about what it can do.

    I wish I had come up with a completely unique game instead of reskinning an existing one (so that I could sell it of course) but reskinning is a LOT easier!

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