Evolution 2006 went even smoother than any of our past tournaments. There were of course lots of great matches, which maybe I'll get to talking about in a later post.
For me, though, the highlight was finally playtesting in public the Street Fighter card game I've worked on for months. You can see from the pic that it was popular, and people even played money matches in it.
The game uses a modified poker deck (so you can play poker with the same cards, too). Each deck represents one character, and there is no deckbuilding or card trading. This is a stand-alone card game not a tcg. It's not a tcg. It's not a tcg. That gets lost on a few people so I figure it's best to say it three times. The game is designed to test exactly two skills: 1) yomi (the ability to read the opponent's mind) and 2) appraisal/valuation (the ability to judge the relative value of pieces in the game). I figured nothing else was important so I threw out everything else to keep it simple.
Oh and by the way, the game is based on paper, rock, scissors. After years of looking at how paper, rock, scissors worked and didn't work in various games (and writing articles about it...), this is me trying to demonstrate how to do it right. My tagline is "it's the best game of paper, rock, scissors that nature will allow."
Now, what's very unfortunate is that there are already two other Street Fighter card games out there. One is by Score and distributed by exclusively by Blockbuster, and--surprise--it doesn't sell well (isn't Blockbuster obsolete by now?). The other SF card game is published by Sabertooth games as part of the Universal Fighting System. You can play Soul Calibur 3 cards, Street Fighter cards, and Penny Arcade cards together. That one manages to sell well, which is quite a hindrance to me. Check out this bad card from this bad game.
IF YOU ARE SKIMMING, NOTE THAT THIS IS TOTALLY NOT MY CARD GAME, thanks.
What really gets me is that Sabertooth has created a terrible, terrible game. It's clunky, bad at capturing the license, inelegant, and has lots of terrible art. I don't even know where to start with this "Yoga Short Kick" card. To be fair, it also has some great art by Udon, but much of it is copy and pasted from their comics. Anyway, this game is offensive to me as a game designer and Street Fighter player. It's kind of a toss up between the Sabertooth game and SF Hyper Fighting on 360 when it comes to what is damaging the Street Fighter brand name most these days. sigh.
I will most likely move forward with a my own characters in an
online version of my card game, and have the Street Fighter (and Virtua
Fighter!) characters ready once (if) I can make the business deals with
Capcom and Sega.
In other card game news, details of the World of Warcraft TCG are out. I've followed them closely and I can't even tell you how impressed I am. I tried for literally *years* to make a card game as complex as Magic: The Gathering, yet better and different (my SF card game is not part of that; it's way simpler). Anyway, what I did come up with on that front looks disturbingly similar to what the WoW TCG is...except they did it better than me. They were a little more clever here and there and really made it come together. Simple and good resource system, good combat system, and good hero system. I will say that this game is so far the ONLY trading card game that has the potential to be better than Magic: The Gathering, in my opinion. Note that I'm not even talking about the Warcraft license, just the game mechanics themselves. Oh, and it also happens to have great art and great card layout.
I'm not surprised to find out that Brian Kibler is one of the leads on the project. I read his articles and tournament reports for years. Brian, I still remember when you beat Jon Finkel at Pro Tour 2000 with an Armadillo Cloaked Rith for the win. They called you "the dragonmaster" back then. My hat is off to you guys at Upper Deck right now, more than to any other game developer out there. Coming up with a trading card game on par with MTG is about the tallest order you could have, and I think you guys did it.
I wonder if I could release a card game through Upper Deck with similar rules but with a different license. Hmm...