NaGaDeMon 2012 Part 2: Gods & Champions Blessings

Previous post: Part 1

As National Game Design Month (NaGaDeMon) rolls on, I’m continuing to work on my new board game idea, Gods & Champions.

Quick recap: Gods & Champions is mainly a card game. Each player represents an ancient God, and the Gods act through their Champions to claim Followers and ultimately win the game. At the end of each Age of the game, the Champions can change allegiance via a drafting mechanic. This means that the Gods want to invest cards to build up their Champions, but it’s possible that a different God may claim that Champion in a later round, thus introducing tension. This is what I want to explore via the game design process – can this tension be fun?

A brief word on mechanics

My current thinking is that players will begin with a God card (which they may keep hidden, a la Lords of Waterdeep) and will draft a Champion at the beginning of the first age. The Champion will come with one ability to do each turn, plus slots for three Blessings to be added.

On a player’s turn, the Champion will receive 2 Power Points (poker chips) and will be allowed to carry out each of the Champion’s actions a single time (the base action plus each Blessing action). Also, a Champion may always spend 1 Power Point to draw a card or 2 Power Points to claim a follower from the pool. Any unused Power Points carry over to future rounds (so a Champion may save up for something big).

The cards in the deck are Blessings and Miracles, and each of them costs a certain number of Power Points to play.

Today’s topic: Blessings

Most of the cards in the game are going to be Blessings that the Gods can bestow upon their Champions, thus giving the Champions more and better abilities. Each card has a Power Point cost to play it, and once they’re on the Champion’s board they can be used for free every turn. This makes Blessings an investment: the cost to play a Blessing that lets you draw one card will typically be higher than the cost of drawing one card directly, since you’ll be able to use the Blessing every turn in the future.

However, there is another, more subtle cost to playing a Blessing to your Champion: That’s one less open Blessing slot. Each Champion can only have three Blessing cards in addition to the base Champion ability. There will be rules for upgrading a Blessing to a better one, but I’ll get into that later.

I definitely want there to be Blessings that cost more than 2 Power Points, which means that you’ll only be able to play them if you save up over multiple turns or if your Champion has ways of getting extra Power Points. However, I also want there to be some Blessings that cost just 1 or 2 Power Points (or possibly even zero), thus creating some interesting tension between getting a lesser Blessing on your Champion immediately and saving up for a better Blessing later.

Below are some ideas for Blessing cards. I haven’t designed any super-expensive Blessings yet; this batch tops out at a cost of 4 Power Points (the number in the upper right corner is the cost). I could definitely see a cost of 5, but I don’t know that I want to go beyond that. I haven’t playtested any of this yet, and I’m sure that will be what determines the way to cost these things.


My hope is that Champions will be able to build up engines via combinations of Blessings and the inherent Champion abilities. One Blessing lets you draw more cards; another lets you turn cards into extra Power Points; a third lets you turn Power Points into more Followers. You basically have these three currencies in the game (cards, Power Points and Followers) and  I like games that let you change one resource into another at better exchange rates as a way to move toward victory.

What do you think?

Now that you can see a little bit of how the game is shaping up, what are your thoughts? What’s fun or unfun about Gods & Champions so far? Where might I be missing something that needs attention early on?

I have to admit that I’m excited to get to the point of actually trying this idea out! Maybe this weekend.

-Michael the OnlineDM

4 thoughts on “NaGaDeMon 2012 Part 2: Gods & Champions Blessings

  1. Are you limiting each blessing to only one use per turn? Is “# of actions per turn” another form of game currency?

    Otherwise, I’d activate “Earned Knowledge,” paying 2 power points to draw 3 cards, then activate “Action over Thought,” discarding 2 cards to earn 3 power points. Then repeat, gaining 1 power point and 1 extra card for free each time until I have the resources to wipe out my opponents.

  2. At this point I think that Touch of Grace is too cheap.
    You have some good ideas cooking up; I like where you’re headed, but I think stacking those combinations that you talked about would easily become too powerful, and the game would be won by the player who sets that up first.
    I’m still a little worried about the Champions not getting bid over, especially later in the game. Unless the Blessings stay on the Champion, even when its taken by someone else. Then there would be fights for whichever Champion is the most blessed, which isn’t bad.
    Whatever resource is used for bidding on Champions should probably not be too easy to gather with Blessings… Speaking of which, what resource IS used for bidding on Champions?

    • Jacob – Yes, it’s quite likely that the costs will all change a lot through playtesting (which I haven’t done at all yet).

      The Blessings do indeed stay with the Champion, hence the tension of the re-draft.

      The nature of the re-draft is still percolating in my mind. At the moment, my thinking is that the Champions are re-drafted in reverse score order at the end of each Age, so that the player who’s the farthest behind gets first pick of the available Champions, followed by the player with the next lowest score, etc. I do think there should be other ways to influence the order, though, perhaps through Miracle cards (which I haven’t explained yet).

      The draft is the area where I expect to do the most fiddling as I continue to develop the game this month.

      Thanks so much for the comment – your input is much appreciated!

      -Michael the OnlineDM

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