Card Game Design #4: The Beastiary

Well, we’ve moved from potion-making with Voodoo Mama to Frankenstein-ing and monster creation to Greek mythology.  After a number of iterations and sketches I found that my idea of matching animal parts to make a griffin or chimera was not going to work.  I loved that visual of building a creature/monster but soon I realized that I would need various parts of the same animal, which wasn’t going to work for a game.  For instance, if I had eagle/bird parts, I’d need eagle heads for the griffin but then also just wings for Pegasus, so a player would have a hand of cards, which some would work and others would not and I have to be conscious of card economy.


So I moved to full animal cards, not as fun as parts, but I think that’s the way to go.  In this first list we have: Goat, Bull, Eagle, Lion, Snake, Horse, and then I’m adding Man and Woman, as separate cards, so that you could have a Harpy (woman) and a Minotaur (man)


So if I stopped there we would have these little critters with VP and the player with the most VP wins.  Right?  But wait a minute… You can’t just make a Minotaur or Chimera and NOT HAVE THEM BATTLE!  That’s INSANE.  So, here comes the part where I now need to re-design this into a drafting-COMBAT card game.



Not at all what I was thinking, but with this theme and direction, I just don’t see another way to do it.  So now I’m working on the mechanics.  It’s still going to be FAST & FUN.  I want some strategy, but not too crazy.  Either each ‘beast’ will have a special ability to interact with the cards, or the various animals will have a color that they are assigned to and those will converge into the Beast and those abilities turn on then.  I think I will be sticking with 3 rounds’ Round #1 drafting, Round #2 drafting and Round #3 battle.  Whatever Beasts are left alive give you some VP and the one with the most wins!  Looking at a 20 minute game.  I still want in that quick Sushi Go, Coup-type of quick game space.  I still need a new name, I think for now I’ll refer to it internally simply as Bestiary (although there’s probably 5 games already named that).

So an idea came to me, what if round #3 there are locations that the players draft and can put down and send their beasts to and kill/eat the humans to get VPs?  This will be the whole crux to the game, how to do the combat?  Directly attack players, or use use this dungeon deck where the players send their beasts to.  But now, is it too similar to Thunderstone?  It becomes a whole different game.  So some things to think about:

  1. players draft location cards to play on themselves, on a little personal map.
  2. players all go through a series of locations from A to G, one by one and the player that beats the location gets the points.
  3. players pick, like a draft all at once which locations that they want to “explore” so it’s still drafting in a sense.
  4. locations spread out on a matrix and then players pick locations.

Many choices and possibilities.

Next up:  Play-testing!

Part 3: Is Making Potions fun? ie. Game Theme Change!

Part 2: Voodoo Mama ver 1.2

Part 1: A New Card Game


4 thoughts on “Card Game Design #4: The Beastiary”

  1. Looks like a really fun idea and its great reading how the idea is evolving. It sent me straight back to glorious childhood days pouring over an illustrated book of Greek myth. A couple of those pictures came back to me when looking at the creatures you have chosen. In case your looking for any additional cars ideas for the game:

    1. Typhon – snake/man
    2. Ophiotaurus – Bull/Snake
    3. Ichthyocentaurs – Human/Horse/Fish
    4. Hippocampus – Horse – Fish
    5. Hippalectryon – Horse/Rooster
    6. Arachne – Spider/Woman

    Then of course there are the more common Centaur/Mermaid/Lycanthrope etc.

    Of course adding lots of extras might not fit with where your heading with the game but were it to evolve towards a build/fight and then capture – repeat system then some extras might be useful.

    Good luck with the development and play testing.

    1. Thank you! I have the Typhon and Hippocamus. Not sure I want to put in spiders yet, it’s getting a little big right now and I’m looking for something that is in the Sushi Go world, so more complicated than that game, but not too complicated. Speed and fun is what I’m going for more than complexity and strategy. Thank you for your comments!

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