the origins of draftcard

from goblins to dance to sport

Ampersandbear has a great game originally developed as a 7drl and now moving towards a larger release called Malleus Goblinficarium. Drafting is the core mechanic of the game, as the player competes with an opponent to draft dice to augment their abilities. It differed from other draft or deck-building games such as 7 Wonders or Deck de Dungeon that I've played by having a new draft each turn instead of building up a deck or hand over time. It worked really well, and I wanted to see how the mechanic would work in a table top game.

My first pass was a b-boy/b-girl dance battle with players drafting stats like power and style to perform a routine each turn. The first dancer to perform enough freezes would win.

Dance battling is still a great context, but it didn't work here. The drafting and ability assignments required consulting a table of moves, it took a long time to resolve each turn, and the mechanics just didn't match the aesthetics of dance.

Sports, though—teams draft players, and it would still competitive without going to the default of killing others (though sports games are still incredibly popular and maybe constitute the other default game interaction).

That was the start of Draftcard. The game rapidly became team based with each player controlling the Jack, Queen, and King of their desired suit. Coaches draft abilities, assign them to players, and then see the results. They score by shooting the ball or running it into their goal.

Next time, I'll say more about the abilities and how they changed over time.