Text based card game (like a mud)

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After playing video games that emulate tabletop roleplaying rulesets, and wishing they would expose the text log behind it, it got me thinking of playing card games like Magic or Hearthstone as a text based game. How fun would that be?!

Its actually pretty interesting, because you break down the UI by text commands, and that provides a pretty cool way to play a game.


I had a cards based game idea a long time ago, where the card metaphor was used for everything: all people, events, places, items, everything was a card. But it wasn’t decked based, just a way to track a bunch of character sheets and combine or modify individual ones.

For instance, combining a warrior and a sword card created a new instance, and from then on it was tracked as this new object.

Today’s idea is more about tabletop card game rules via a terminal interface. But, I like how in HS creatures in play can be modified in beat ways like that.


Text logs of games is such a cool idea! You could generate it and then parse it with various levels of feedback. For instance, with only your turns, or damage turned off, or verbose, so you get all the random chatter we generate for each action. :slight_smile:


I imagine ‘hand’ lists your hand, inventory style, and can take parameters to filter and sort it.

A game like Magic would be fun to code just because it is such a complex system with per card logic, but I’ve played all the Magic video games (including the very strange and cool Risk/tower defense game for PS1), and it has to be slightly easier to code than in a visual game; oh yeah, we were gonna check out the MTG servers out there!

On the other hand, embracing being a computer game like Hearthstone is pretty fun, too, if for no other reason than I could finally create the maddening formats of chaos and randomness I always go for!


Game matches should definitely be their own objects that contain a log of play! We could make an optin for all players to publicly share the logs, for easy grabbing.

In fact, the possibilities for player options and customization is intense. You should see my mud prompts! Imagine what we can do here! Any metric we want to count, with color codes and all that nonsense! :slight_smile:


Another neat way to present this would be quest based battles. Like, you walk between rooms, and if an “encounter” happens, it is resolved as a card game.

Random mobs would be relatively easy, taking only a few turns to take out (though certain decks could actually be tuned to the are explored!), and boss battles or skills could have abscracted moves/cards.

Think of those gem matching duel games, where the loop is gem matching to get colored mana to use abilities. Combine it with the block narratives released with Hearthstone expansions; these show remarkable creativity for storytelling considering the constraints of 14 mobs and 2 players. Sometime they are coop fighting a third enemy, but the game uses the same targeting rules to solve the challenge of passing the level using the existing rules.

And of course the single player MTG games that tell really abscract stories, not really based on the deck, though they thematically reward some cards that way.

I like this approach (still think MTG via ssh is brilliant), as it makes representing the player object as a set of cards, rather than arbitrary attributes meaning to describe their primary extension in reality. It also means we can make the players represent actual decks, whatever they are.

For instance, in the deck a character? Okay, then all the cards are their stuff. But what if they were an advebturig band, instead? Suddenly team moves become a thing. How about a nation? A diety? A city? A concept?

Personally I like the idea of adventuring parties. It adds dimensions that are easy to conceptualize at scale (some people cards are magic casters, some spells do fire damage), but we can add so much crunchiness to it, because the game does the math.

Representing many things with a card based metaphor also makes it easy to create content.


Another example of narratives that tweak unrelated mechanics to kinda-but-not-really work is the story modes in Soul Calibur.

They say things like, “You’ve been waylaid by a gang of bandits known for using poison that slowly drains your health!” and then getting hit drains your health for a while, that kind of thing. And part of the appeal is seeing how they try to adapt their story scenarios to an otherwise incredibly detailed 3D fighting engine.

And Puzzle Quest was the gem matching game I was thinking of. There is one with classes and different sets of abilities, and it let’s you mod your character with items, full thing, very fun.


If you wanted to go nuts, you could make people cards form relationships, which persist between those two objects as cards, so if traded away, and the cards interact, we could trigger interesting events!

I think the output of this that I want is like a procedurally generated narrative log resulting from players choosing cards in particular orders. I mean, kinda. When you look at the backend.