Monday, February 13, 2012

Game Design: Homework 5 Part 1 - Pok-War!

The creation of Pok-War!

The purpose of this homework assignment was to create a variation of the card game "War" and modify it to have less luck and more strategy. Here is what I was able to come up with. Note that Pok-War has no affiliation wit pokemon.

War's Original Rules
  • Players : 2
  • Materials needed: One standard 52-card deck
  • Setup: Shuffle the deck of cards and deal out half to each player. Players take their cards in a single face-down stack

Pok-War! The rule changes

All materials required for the game remain the same, the main change in this version of War is that instead of randomly flipping the top card of your deck and comparing it to the value of your opponents, you will instead compare poker hands to declare the winner.

Player Turn

Every turn, players must pick up a hand of five cards instead of just a single card from their own decks.


In order to win a battle, instead of simply winning by the higher value, you use Poker hand strength instead to determine the winner. If you set of 5 cards in a poker hand fashion is stronger than the opponent’s, you get their entire hand. Place your winnings into your “discard” pile.

The poker hand strengths in order of most powerful from top left, to least powerful bottom right

Two Piles

There is the draw pile which holds the cards you can draw. There is the discard pile holds any cards you’ve won or were discarded to you (more on that in a bit). These cannot be drawn but once you run out of cards in your draw pile then you can shuffle the discard pile and turn it into your draw pile. This is to make sure cards are properly shuffled.

Drawing cards

The catch is that, though you pick up 5 cards from your draw pile, you can also choose to discard some cards after they are picked up. You can choose to discard as many as you would like, the first 2 can be exchanged with your own deck, discarded back into your discard pile. On the third card this card and any other cards discarded afterwards are given to the opponent in their discard pile. In place of the ones you discarded, you can draw a new card from your own deck in its place. This way you can try and form a stronger hand at the risk of giving your opponent more cards.

With these rule changes, players are given much more control on how powerful their “hands” are rather than relying on the luck of the draw. There is still luck in the drawing of the cards but you have complete control over how your hand is decided.

Play Testing

In playing this, it turned war from a completely boring, luck based game to a much more dynamic and involved game. Players might carefully try and build a stronger hand by sacrificing some cards to the other player or go with the cards they have and hope for the best. There is still some flexibility to change your hand, but to change it more requires more risk. This gave a lot of risk and reward choices to make the game more exciting and the choices were meaningful whenever you decided to risk changing your hand.

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