Greetings all. We here at CaseClosedTCG.com would like to give you a little bit of insight on what goes into designing a game like Case Closed. Check back here periodically until the release of the of the Case Closed TCG on June 29, 2005 for a special feature written by our lead designer for Case Closed, Greg Marques.
Hello everyone! I hope you’re all excited about the upcoming Case Close TCG. I know I am. I’m a huge fan of the show so I was very pleased to become the assistant designer on the first set, and the lead designer for future expansions. How’d it turn out? Well let me back up a bit and tell you a story about my part in the game’s design…
IN THE YEAR 2003 I took my degree of Apprentice Designer of the University of the Five Suns, and proceeded to Big Huge Games to go through the course prescribed for game testers. Having completed my studies there, I was duly attached to the Score Entertainment regiment as a game designer. The regiment was stationed in Dallas at the time, and before I could join it, the design of the Case Closed TCG had broken out. On landing at Score, I learned that this game had advanced through the passes, and was already deep in testing country.
Garret Wilkinson had done a smashing job of crafting Case Closed and it was already a fun TCG to play, with a variety of solid deck styles and all of your favorite characters from the first twenty episodes. There was still one lingering trouble with the game engine, however, and with limited time remaining in the schedule and Garrett becoming increasingly busy on the design of Inuyasha’s Yokai expansion there was some anxiety over whether the problem could be solved before it was too late. Immediately, I set myself to the task.
The chief obstacle was of a criminal nature. At the time, criminals and detectives were all paid for out of a single pool of points, of which each player received five per turn. These criminals and detectives would then all mingle about in the same space before being dispatched to cases. Garrett and I discussed options at length and decided foremost that the criminals should not be socializing with detectives in plain sight. This led us to change the way criminals were played. Now the criminals snuck out to the cases face down – so that opposing detectives would not know which criminal was lurking about each case. The testers highly approved of this change, especially because it felt right. Criminals hid until their case was investigated and then they suddenly popped out to thwart the detectives attempting to solve it, just as you’d expect of these dastardly villains. Unfortunately, one major dilemma remained. It was too easy to play an army of vicious criminals and stall out the game. We first tried simply weakening the criminals – but this only created the opposite problem. It became advantageous to run no criminals at all and simply try to solve cases very rapidly. The way the game’s offense and defense were so clearly divided made it difficult to balance them so that the best decks would play both equally.
How did we solve it? Elementary, my dear reader: split up the resources. We divided the five points players were receiving each turn into two types of points; job points and crime points. Now players would be wasting fully half of their resources if they did not balance their strategy between their criminals and detectives. This worked beautifully, and I’m happy to tell you to expect a cool and exciting game of closing cases, defeating criminals, and outwitting your opponent.