Mitigating Card RNG in Dream Tactics
We want to start writing some blog posts about the design decisions we’ve made in Dream Tactics. Let’s start off by talking about our decision to use deckbuilding and cards in the SRPG genre.
In Dream Tactics, we don’t want combat to feel repetitive. Our goal is to make every turn feel unique and different.
We feel like the best moments in tactics games are when each turn feels like a small puzzle rather than just carrying out formalities. We also believe that if combat is too predictable, then it quickly becomes uninteresting and the player is left simply carrying out the motions.
By incorporating deckbuilding and card drawing into the SRPG genre, we believe that we’ve added a level of unpredictability to the core gameplay that keeps every turn fresh and exciting.
One of the biggest challenges with deckbuilding in SRPGs is that players generally don’t like getting screwed by RNG. As hardcore tactics players ourselves, we also felt concerns about excessive RNG and wanted to mitigate it as much as possible. To accomplish this, we’ve made some crucial decisions on how drawing cards work in Dream Tactics.
The primary mechanic in Dream Tactics for mitigating bad RNG is redraw points. At the beginning of battle, every unit starts with 3 redraw points and gains 1 every turn.
You can spend these points to redraw individual cards which can help tailor each hand to best suit your strategy. For example, you can spend redraw points to draw more attack cards to press an offensive advantage, or save them for when your team is low on health to guarantee healing cards.
Deck and Hand Size
Every unit has a deck of 15 cards and each turn they draw a fresh hand of 5 cards to play. As such, each unit will draw ⅓ of their deck each turn.
These numbers mean that duplicates in your deck can greatly sway the probability of encountering certain cards. For example, players who prefer more reliable decks may equip the same healing card multiple times so that their healer will almost certainly have it every turn.
No Discard Pile
There is no discard pile for cards played in battle. As such, all cards are returned to the deck and reshuffled at the beginning of every turn. We made this decision for a few reasons:
Having a discard pile will slow down combat since skilled players will feel the need to constantly check it for planning multiple turns ahead.
It makes drawing a bad hand affect multiple turns. For example, if a character drew all of their healing cards in a single turn, they would have to wait until their deck gets shuffled before they would be able to draw them again.
As passionate fans of the genre ourselves, we understand that degenerate RNG systems can ruin an otherwise fun experience. However, we also understand that some degree of RNG is important for creating fun and engaging situations.
We believe that our card system with redraw points, specific deck and hand sizes, and lack of a discard pile have brought forth the best that cards have to offer while minimizing the unfair aspects of bad RNG.
Despite the misgivings that some may have about cards in tactics games, we believe that Dream Tactics has some of the best core gameplay in the genre. We encourage you to try it for yourself!
Thanks for reading,