Sunday, September 22, 2019

UUUU- Super Hero Card Game Concept

This post is kind of silly. It's about an untested, unillustrated, untitled, and un-complete card game about super heroes. I've had the concept for this card game at least 5 to 10 years ago, and while it's not the most original thing in the world, I wanted to make a post about it to get it out of my head.

The Mission Board
In this game, both players play as super hero teams. Either competing teams, one player being more “hero” and one being more “villain”, or some other concept. Regardless, both players have a group of super heroes, gadgets, and other things as cards in their hands. In the middle of the board there is a small 'line' of missions. Each round, a new mission comes off the mission deck- and pushes them all by one space. If there is 5 missions already on the field, then the farthest mission ends and nobody gets the advantage for it. This basically gives each mission a soft time limit. Otherwise, each mission is pushed forward until the field is full.

Both players send their heroes in teams to defeat the missions. Each mission has 3 challenge ratings- they match the symbols on the player cards. These ratings are;

Travel- Represented by the Yellow Triangle. This is the level of how difficult it is to get to the mission. Only heroes with this number or higher for travelling can be sent to the mission, only they can “reach” the mission. For example, a drug den in a city would have a travel requirement of 1 where as a floating island of an evil mad scientist could be 5 or higher.

Scheme- Represented by the blue square. This indicates the complexity or intelligence needed to clear this mission. You need at least one hero with the necessary score to clear this mission. You can still send heroes to the mission to beat away your opponent and secure it for later, but they cannot make the mission “clear” and you cannot get the reward for it unless you have a hero with the score necessary to beat this mission. The mission may be something simple, like sending food shipments, which may have a score of 1 or 2. Some missions like disarming a nuclear bomb or decoding an alien transmission could have a 5 or 6 or higher.

Fighting- Represented by the red circle. This is the power level of the mission and the combat power you need to beat it. The total score of all your heroes fight must meet or exceed this score in order to secure this mission or complete it. You can send multiple weak heroes to accomplish this mission or one powerful one, either way works, as long as you have the score to defeat the defenses.

When two players send their heroes to a mission, they'd duke it out. The side with the highest combat gets to claim the mission space as their own; but only clears it if at least one hero has a high enough cleverness score. There could be a hidden betting mechanic with secondary fight cards or sacrificing gadgets to add their scores to the combat phase to let players not know the outcome until it happens, or it could be beneficial to let characters “lose” a combat phase so they can come back to their side of the board and be placed on new missions. Maybe heroes are stuck on a mission they are assigned to, and you can only “deploy” one per round to each mission? Maybe defeated heroes are knocked out for a round, unless the enemy has a “Killer” hero that knocks them out of the game permanently? Maybe the combat phase resolves before the other phases, meaning you could have all your smart heroes knocked out and then you cannot solve the mission?

Game Goal
The goal of the game is to complete missions. Each mission you complete is placed on your side of the field, and may also grant a reward. Completing a mission to stop the mad toymaker may let you play a single gadget for free, or a mission to stop a mind control scheme will let you “free” a hero from your deck. Depending on how morally gray the game could be, the missions could just be presented as generic installations and gaining the power and control over them is the only objective; you don't necessarily stop the death ray research, just capture it for yourself.

Additionally, to keep from snowballing, each mission completed may unlock new heroes to be played. Instead of mana or lands, the game's resource could just be based on “momentum”, and the limit of what kind of heroes and gadgets you can play may be limited by the total momentum of the highest score player. Thus, a person who is behind could start to make up lost ground since their powerful cards start to become online even if they're losing.

The game could feature a sort of time clock theme for its missions and cards. Like the “11th hour” is the final score resource- if one player has completed 11 missions then both players have their most powerful cards ready to go, since you need 12 to win. In this same way multiple genres and power levels of super heroes are represented. The first and second hour heroes are street level heroes- Kick Ass and Rorschach. The 10th and 11th hour heroes are heavy hitters- Justice League and Reality Warpers. Gives the game a nice ramp up, and in the fiction of the game it could represent the small actions of minor thugs and b-list heroes ramping up into global campaigns.

Card Mechanics
Cards may have a “Doom Clock” which is the score of the highest player in completing machines to be played. As for the actual mechancis of playing with the cards, I am unsure how to do it. Maybe you can only play one card a turn normally, but certain missions can let you play more then one? A valuable mission may be to let you play two gadgets a turn when you can normally only play one. Maybe you can play one of each card each turn; one gadget and one hero. There could also be a third kind of card. Special events? Modifiers added to missions that make them tougher or easier to mess with your opponents? Or does that fit better into gadgets? Do the heroes in your 'bench' count as a sort of pesudo space on the board, and certain cards could augment your “hideout”?

As for the physical cards itself, players could have their own decks of heroes and gadgets to play with, but standardized decks of “missions” would be sold and included in starter kits, and would be required to play to make a standard playing field. Two players could also agree to each make half of the mission cards each; and interesting concept from the physical side of the game would be to include a small white rectangle on each front of the mission cards so players can mark their name or colors on the mission cards to keep them apart. But once again, a standardized deck of mission cards is most suitable. Still, for tournament style play or Friday-Night Magic (but for this game instead of magic obviously); fun events could be had by switched up by changing the mission cards. Special event matches where every mission is really hard or really easy, etc.

Each gadget card may have a unique bonus to grant, perhaps a bonus to specific hero stats, granting or removing a special power, or protecting the hero from death or other status effects. Gadgets can be equipped to heroes, placed on missions, or whatever else the card says. They're more fit as the one time use expendable cards, where as Heroes are more your “creatures” or character cards.

The Heroes are the meat of the game. Each hero card has 3 stats, their Travel potential, their Scheming or Cleverness or Intelligent- whatever the stat could be called, and finally their Power or combat power for a full name. Certain heroes are better at certain things obviously, there are objectively better heroes then others but they would have a higher clock requirement to be played, or have some negative power that makes them weaker in certain situations. From a design standpoint, certain combos emerge. Fit together high Intelligence characters along with strong heroes to act as bodyguards; have a few heroes with high traveling and the ability to bring along other heroes if they have that power to act as the designated drivers of the game, and so on.

Ever Hero has powers. Powers are the special abilities of each card and hero. Some ideas for powers I've had in the past were-
Transporter- This hero can transport one hero along with them; using the Travel power of this hero over the transport power of the other hero.
Carrier- Can 'take along' as many heroes as you want, using the travel level of this hero. (better version of transporter)
Killer- When this hero is part of a winning team in a mission, they can kill one enemy hero with the lowest combat score(?)
Tinkerer- This hero gets +1 to their Scheme score for each gadget equipped to them.
Invulnerable- This hero cannot be killed.
Weakness- This hero is killed if an enemy is equipped with a magic stone item (kryptonite?)
Specialist- Hero gains X bonus to each stat if sent to a specific mission. For example, a Stealth+1 specialist may get +1 travel, +1 scheme, and +1 combat power if sent to a stealth mission.
Freeze- Given to ice or time control themed heroes. Win or lose, any enemy hero sent against this one is “knocked out” for one turn, benching them.
Sidekick- Can be attached to a Hero with a higher "Doom Clock" value as a piece of equipment.
Other- As varied and strange as superpowers could be. Could include counters, summoning disposable minions, "stealing" or suppressing the powers of other heroes, etc.


  1. Hello, have you checked DC Comics Deck Building Game ? It is (very) superficially similar to what you are describing here.

    1. No, I have not, but thanks for the recommendation!