As a game designer, I am of course interested in “game systems” both as a concept, and specifically, as objects to own and play. I love the idea that games can be broken down into parts that can be used to compose other games, and I’m always looking for patterns in games that I play that I’ve seen used in other games, and thinking about how to abstract them.
So finding the Everdeck, a card game system meant to map its cards to multiple card game systems, is something that is of interest to me. Incidentally, I think I’d perhaps stumbled onto the Everdeck previously, but it wasn’t until the company that manufacturers my computer keyboard of choice also produced a similar deck, which they call ZSA Cards, and finding that they consulted with Wilhelm Su, who created The Everdeck, that I gave it a second glance.
I have a few stories to tell about card game systems that I’ve worked with:
First off, I did make a few different game designs for the Mystique Deck, a card game system designed and produced by Nestor Andrés, of nestor games. There may have been a contest, I can’t remember, but I designed several games, and at least one of them went into the book that was produced.
Secondly, at some point I had the idea to make a deck of cards for use with the Loony Pyramids game system. My friend August Brown illustrated the cards, and I playtested a bunch of ideas none of which really became “the game” for the system, and then eventually I just posted the PDF on my blog without any real fanfare. Ideally, I would like to formalize a game or two I think is outstanding with the cards, and then approach Looney Labs, but I haven’t done either of those things yet.
Finally, of course one of the oldest card game systems is the 52 card deck, and I have designed several games over the years for that system. Most notably, I published a solo deck-building game for a game contest, and it got a lot of comments on BGG, but I got too busy to really follow-up on most of them, and it was eventually disqualified from the contest for some reason. But I enjoyed that process, and think the game isn’t too bad as/is.
Here are some other card game systems I’ve enjoyed:
- The Ell Deck – a deck of letter combinations, by Behrooz “Bez” Shahriari. I backed the Categorickell kickstarter, and was quite happy to finally have the deck in my hands earlier this year. There are 30+ games to play with these simple 2-letter cards.
- Nautches – This is a hexagonal game system with a pun in its name (because all the sides have “notches” on them), and if anyone who knows me well heard that description, they would know I needed to own this. I was a little disappointed the deck itself isn’t larger, and that it didn’t come with the rules or ANY supporting materials, but the quality of the cards and hexagonal box is very high. Sadly, there are still only two games using the system posted on the site, but it does lend itself to playing around with different designs, and I’m very happy to own it. I have at least one or two designs for this, and I should probably make a separate post about those, or at least submit them to the Nautches site and see if they get posted.
- Pairs – This new-ish card game system was also linked from the ZSA Cards site, and is published by Cheapass Games (and designed by James Ernest and Paul Peterson). There are already quite a few games you can play for it, and my “deluxe” copy (with rules for 30 games) is on its way.