Best Practices on gameplay mechanics

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Hello there,

As introduction, I am a pretty big Dominion fan, a card game where in part, there exists a pretty good best practice on how to layout cards around you, and how to place them as the go in play, which isn't in the rulebook, but once taught to you you realize how it helps you stay within the rules (for those that know, or that know dominion, I'm talking about laying down cards in a pyramid as cards give you +2 or more actions , and straight down for +1 action)...

The part that I most needed help with, and I had to spend many hours to really get a handle on, was the whole tapping business.

So does someone have the recommended mechanics to get used to that will help ensure advanced interactions are resolved properly?

Specifically:

1. How should players indicate the currently activated creature? Seems to be it might be wise to have all cards visibly indicate: "not yet activated, currently activated, activation ended".

2. How do players actually perform a standard action from an order card? Reply to me the order of these things, please:
 - when do you tap, and thus rotate, the creature card (right away, first thing you do?)
 - when and where do you place the order card (on top of creature? middle of game board?)
 - when do responding (immediates) creatures tap (just before they throw down their immediate?)
 - where do responses to the order card get placed (on top of the original order card? middle of board? other?)
 - ditto for melee/ranged attacks from creature powers in case it differs:
    - do you tap, then say "melee attack on creature X", or would you say it first, await for that to resolve and then tap?

3. HP tokens. Seems to be, unlike what I think is best done with Castle Ravenloft, WoA, etc., that players should place HP tokens as damage indicators, not health. Rulebook I think says this too. Just checking.

4. General card layout: location for discard piles? graveyard? any good practice?

5. Public information - are discard piles searchable, by player, by opponents? graveyard?

I think that's what I have for now, I just bought DC and I think this kind of information would really help new players out there.

Thanks very much!
 

I find with a lot of these things, turns tend to be less overwhelming than the big Dominion ones so most of them don't require a universal practice, though you could certainly do one if you wanted.  I mostly play in the store, which is usually pretty crowded, so I mostly have to place discard piles, hands, etc wherever they fit on the table based on how we've laid out the tiles.

Specifically for taking standards:

-You tap as a cost of putting the action on the stack, so you should probably do that first (for immediates or standards)
-I'd place the order sort of near the figure on the board so the opponent can read it
-In general it would likely help learning the rules to put responses on top of the other card, since that' the order they resolve in
-When you declare an attack you either aren't next to someone (so can't melee) or are (so can't make a ranged attack) so generally you don't have to clarify which you're doing.  I usually just annouce who I'm targeting and for how much, since that saves the opponent the time of looking at the creature card

I play pretty fast and loose with the rest because I've never had trouble remembering who's activated, but if you want my suggestion would be to put all your creature cards on one side of the decks, then move them over after they activate.  Of course that can get a bit annoying if they have damage tokens and attached cards and so forth.  So a custom token might work too.

Discard piles are public.  Generally if all the inputs are public then the zone is public.

I agree with placing tokens as damage, I find it more readable than the opposite and enough guys will get killed in 1 shot or with some HP left over that it reduces the scrabbling for components pretty significantly. 
As Ultville said it's a lot more free-form in DC than Dominion. I have put some ideas for good practive below, but both myself and almost everyone I play against breaks one or more of these. As long as neither player complains about how things are done, nor denies their opponent a chance to examine the card if requested, then you can pretty much do as you please. One tthing that I usually do is just point to who is attacking and their target and announce how much damage theiy're doing. Especially when I am using basic attacks.

1. How should players indicate the currently activated creature? Seems to be it might be wise to have all cards visibly indicate: "not yet activated, currently activated, activation ended". - Personally I have no trouble either, but some people I know half-tap a creature when activating to remind themselves. Since tapping is defined as turning the card 90 degrees, a half-tap would be 45 degrees. (or instead of laying the card down, turn it diagonal.) Though some players, myself included, tend to use a half-tap instead of the full tap for various reasons. Personally a) it uses less room and b) I'm a little lazy. :p

2. Talking good practice:
 - when do you tap, and thus rotate, the creature card - Straight away. Before or just after, revealing the order. There are a few immediates that say "1 adjacent tapped creature" or similar so doing this will help people remember that the creature using the order is a valid target.
 - when and where do you place the order card - Personally I just place it on the board just in front of me and announce the damage. Though most people I play (and myself) have memorised the majority of cards and a quick glimpse is enough to refresh our memory. If I am introducing a new player to the game though, when I place the card I summarise the card: "x damage and Y happens." In all cases I leave the card on the board until the attack is resolved / responded to. For non-attack orders I just announce what it is and put it where it belongs: either under a creature or in the discards, again explaining what it allows to new players. Summarising makes the game flow a little faster as if a player that is not familiar with the cards wants to read each one, turns will drag. Also to that end encourage new players to position their orders into groups: Immediates, Standards, Minors (putting duplicates together can also help) and read them as they draw them.
 - when do responding (immediates) creatures tap - Use the same rules as before.
 - where do responses to the order card get placed - Good practice would state on top of the order responded to. But again most players just reveal the card, announce the response and discard the card. So for example: "Prevent 20 and draw." or "Prevent 10 and deal 10 back." As the stack in this game is a lor simpler than the stack in Magic you don't need to create a literal stack as usually there is no way to respond to a response.
 - ditto for melee/ranged attacks from creature powers in case it differs: - No difference.
    - do you tap, then say "melee attack on creature X", or would you say it first, await for that to resolve and then tap? - Again good practice says tap first. I must admit sometimes I am a little lax with the tapping and only remember to tap creatures that have activated at the end of the turn when I go to untap them, but as most people I play are experienced no-one really minds as we watch each other and point out if someone is going to activate a creature twice for example.

3. HP tokens. Seems to be, unlike what I think is best done with Castle Ravenloft, WoA, etc., that players should place HP tokens as damage indicators, not health. Rulebook I think says this too. Just checking. - Definetly use them to track damage taken. There are three reasons for this. 1) There is only a limited number of tokens and quite a few high-health creatures. 2) The rulebook says to do this. 3) As the rulebook says to do this, the vast majority of players will be doing it. So under the "public information" rules it could be classed as obscuring information. In friendlies that wouldn't matter, but if a player was to attend a tournament the judge could rule that they have to do it the rulebook way so getting them used to it from the start is a good idea. However, the rules do state that you may alter components as long as their function is not obscured. So if you wanted to use dice, or a rotating hp tracker no-one will complain.

4. General card layout: location for discard piles? graveyard? any good practice? - Somewhere in easy reach where you won't mix up your decks with your opponents. Discard / Graveyard probably best next to the relevant deck. For killed creatures: just off to one side, probably best away from your reserves (the undeployed creatures).

5. Public information - are discard piles searchable, by player, by opponents? graveyard? - Yes. All information except the contents of your hands or draw decks are considered public information. Though I have yet to come across someone that wishes to search an opponent's discards / graveyard, if they did it would be valid.

Welcome to Dungeon Command, I hope you enjoy it.
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