Game Makeover: Nines – Going Micro


At the time that I am doing this makeover, card games, particularly ones derived from traditional games, are quite popular. Even more popular are “micro games” and micro card games are all the rage. There is much discussion among game designers, developers, publishers, and enthusiasts about what makes a game “micro.” I won’t dwell on that, but will proceed with the following definition:

A micro game is significantly simpler, quicker, and smaller (has few components) relative to a “full size” game of the same genre while providing a similar experience.

Some call it streamlining, but I would hope that most games, including “full size” games go through a streamlining process throughout development anyway. So it is more than just streamlining.

So, in Microsizing Nines (or more accurately, Eclectic Clock Collectors) I am going to trim the game that I have designed to this point (somewhere between Round 5 and 6) down to its very basics. I will also strip the theme and look for an appropriate one that matches the final game play (or leave it abstract).

Game Makeover: Nines – Round 5

Design Workbench

The Key to Incorporating the Action Cards

As mentioned in previous rounds and in “What Needs Work,” the 7, 8, and 9 point cards are generally not used and not wanted. The 10 point cards had a similar problem until I doubled the number of them in the deck. Certainly it would not be advisable to double the count of all the unwanted cards, but I have been saving the 7, 8, and 9 cards for this next change.

Since there are 3 different types of Action Cards and 3 values of unwanted Clock Cards, I have applied the actions to the point cards. (I have been heading this direction from early in the design process, but didn’t want to give life to an idea that I would later have to kill). I have called the ability to use the action on a Clock Card a Key (picture a clock winding key). Since the lower point cards are more likely to be kept in a collection, they might best be used for the higher value actions. However, the difference between keeping a 7 or a 9 seems to be negligible – the decision is based more on the perceived availability of the cards than the avoidance of a penalty. So I have applied the “higher value actions” to the higher point cards, which seems to be more intuitive to the casual player. The perceived value of a particular action is subjective and some players would not value some of the actions at all (e.g., a Take That action is undesirable to some). So here, higher value = greater blast radius (impact):

Game Makeovers

Not that I don’t have enough to do in working on several original designs and concepts, but the brain is always looking for creative distractions to “recharge under load” and to break out of neural pathways that rut so quickly. Who knows, maybe this process will result in something worthwhile itself as well.


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