MaNNgic: The Gathering
Thammasat University (Freshman Year)
Team Size : Solo Engine : Physical
"IF GOD HAD WANTED YOU TO LIVE, HE WOULD NOT HAVE CREATED ME" - Solider
A competitive card game where the players take control of iconic characters from Valve Software's popular multiplayer shooter, Team Fortress 2.
Fun and Faithful
The main philosophy behind this adaptation was to "translate everything from the original game that would be fun in card form, and exclude anything that would not be fun in card form".
I settled on a game where players could make teams of 3. I did not want to overwhelm the players by managing too many characters on a physical board and wanted to add replay value to the game. This also made each character feel individually more important.
I also designed a respawn system for the game. The constant killing, dying, and respawning were a core part of Team Fortress 2. Using how different characters have different respawn times in this version of the game, I was able to adapt this aspect in a way that increased tension and strategy for the game. Do you let a character with a long respawn time die? How do you plan to hold out until they respawn?
I also added a "reload" mechanic that allows for the player to mulligan their hand at will... at the cost of skipping a turn. This adds an extra layer of tension and strategy to the game. Do you refresh your hand with a new set of cards but risk leaving your key units in a bad position for a turn? Or do you try to hold on while low on ammo?
There is also a positioning mechanic in this game, where characters can move back and forth in different zones on their side of the board. The further back they are, the safer they are. But the further back they are, the fewer attack cards they have access to.
Critical hits were also added as a mechanic. Each time a player was about to hit an opponent, the opponent would hold up 4 crit cards. 3 of these would be blank, with one of them holding the crit. If the attacking player chooses the right card, the attacking card gains an additional effect.
Besides choosing 3 character cards and shuffling their default cards into a deck for each player, players also had optional cards they could splice into the decks that gave them new options.
Of course, this added variety came at the cost of consistency. When you have more cards in your deck, the less likely you are to draw the one you want in the right situations. So players need to think carefully about which optional cards work with their strategy and which ones don't.
Balancing work was done after testing the cards. I wanted to stay faithful to each character's "feel", so when cards were being rebalanced care was taken to ensure that each card remained conceptually the same in their function.
The original assignment was to adapt a multiplayer shooter game into tabletop form, and I felt like Team Fortress 2 was the perfect fit for this. The unique and cartoonish characters made it a great fit for a physical game.
I played a lot of Yu-Gi-Oh! and Magic: The Gathering, and even used them as references when designing and balancing some of the cards. The positioning mechanic was inspired by Bandai Namco's Dragon Ball Heroes arcade card game, in which you could move your characters up and down a playing board to determine how much power they were using to attack.