Emergents TCG

Redefining Card Games

Zvi Mowshowitz

Emergents is the next revolution in trading card games.

Times have changed, and the trading card game must change with them. When we set out to create Emergents, we established five principles to guide us.

  1. Full card ownership. Emergents cards will be fully owned digital objects, with liquid marketplaces easily accessible to players, and players will be free to buy, sell, trade and use them however they see fit.
  2. Mobile ready. We will build the rules and the interface for mobile, because mobile is the way more and more players want to play, and is also the hard problem to solve. Once you have a working mobile interface and game, the PC version is easy.
  3. Strategic depth. Emergents will combine the requirements of mobile for simplicity and smoothness of play with a strategically complex game that does not limit its players, has a wide variety of game experiences, and captures what we most love.
  4. Embrace the Emergents Universe. The Emergents universe gives us a ton to work with, so as much as possible we strive to capture the characters and interactions that make that universe unique.
  5. Explore digital-only space. Whenever possible, choose rules and mechanics that let the player know what is going on and keep having all the fun, but which don’t work in a paper game. That drives us towards the richest unexplored design space.

Emergents Lets You Buy the Cards You Want, When You Want

If you embrace full card ownership and make it easy to buy and sell cards at good prices, the entire system of distributing cards in randomized form no longer makes sense. Why give out things people don’t want, that they will then sell to get what they do want? Instead, Emergents lets you buy exactly the cards you want, exactly when you want them.

Then, if desired, you can sell them back when you’re done. Blockchain, and in particular Tezos, makes that possible. This also lets us do lots of other cool things, such as using the market prices of cards to help balance formats.

Mobile-Ready Gaming

A mobile-ready approach means carefully shepherding the resources that are scarce and expensive to use when playing on a phone. The game has to work properly using only a mobile interface. Screen real estate is precious. Interaction points are expensive. Text on cards needs to always pull its weight.

Strategic depth means preserving a series of interesting choices and strategic paths. Central to this depth is having a resource system that requires planning on trade-offs, and having randomness that matters and which players must navigate. This led to our new resource system and related mechanics, including wildcards. (We’ll talk about this in a future article.) Most centrally, it meant having a worthy combat system, and the need to integrate that with the needs of mobile led to many other decisions, and in particular to our new turn order.

Top down gave us a wealth of characters and stories right off the bat. If there’s a character in our game, chances are they not only have an existing name, they have an entire backstory and often appear in the comics.

The digital-only space gave us lots of fundamentally new mechanics to explore in our initial releases and beyond. The key is always to balance the ability to do cool things with the need to ensure the player still has all the fun. If you don’t know what is going on or don’t retain the ability to make the interesting decisions, all is lost.

The combination of all these factors lands us in a unique position along a variety of fronts, and our team is running with it from there, and testing to see what works. We strive at all times to be data driven, and the thing that scares me most about the game is how many things haven’t changed from my original designs. There’s no way I’m that clever, and there’s no way I’m that lucky, so there must be things we are still missing. We’re counting on your feedback to help tell us where we’re wrong.

The Future of The Emergents TCG Blog

This article will kick off an additional series of articles that will dive deep into various aspects of the Emergents card game, both the game itself and the structures we’re building around the game.

A lot of the information here was right there in my original white paper, where I talked about how many existing patterns in the digital card game space are hostile to players, and how blockchain can enable us to do better. A lot of other information is new, as we have come a long way since then and learned a lot.

If there’s something you want to hear more about, ask away. We plan to start off by talking about:

  1. Our mobile philosophy.
  2. An in depth look at our unique turn order.
  3. Introducing our resource system.
  4. Wilcarding game mechanic.
  5. Plans within plans, any of which could be a trap.
  6. The five factions of the Emergents universe will each get a post:
    1. Sculptor
    2. Tinkerer
    3. Acolyte
    4. Non-Stop
    5. Strongarm
  7. What it means to own your cards as unique objects.
  8. Introducing card auctions and the bonding curve.
  9. The restrictions we’re placing on ourselves to protect card owners.
  10. Why we’re not selling packs, and the value of value.

Throughout, we’ll be interweaving talking about how our game and its markets will work, with why things work that way, and the history of how we got to this point.

The best game teams do an amazing job communicating their thinking to their players. This not only helps the players understand and engage with the game, it helps with the design and development of the game, as well. Until you can write up what you know and teach it to others, you don’t fully understand it. Even if you think you understand it, the wisdom of others can tell you when you’re wrong.

As a game that depends on giving players true card ownership, Emergents is entering into a bond with the owners of those cards. What we print is what we print. We don’t have the flexibility that some other digital games have to change cards when we make a mistake. If you find something you think is a mistake, including in the rules and core game design, speak up!

The next article on our mobile philosophy is ready to read. Then, talk to us on our social platforms: Twitter, Facebook and Discord.

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