The design of the game

If you are not familiar with Card Crawl, it is an excellent single-player collectible card game created by Arnold Rauers @tinytouchtales and available for iOS, Android and Steam.

The gameplay in Card Crawl is brilliantly simple in concept and execution. You play with a 54-card dungeon deck that the dungeon master reveals to you (the player) in groups of 4. There are several types of cards:

  • Monsters: They inflict damage to you.
  • Swords: They allow you to inflict damage to the monsters.
  • Shields: They allow you to block the damage caused by monsters.
  • Potions: They allow you to regain a certain amount of health points.
  • Coins: They more coins you loot, the better your final score will be.
  • Abilities: They provide unique skills. There are many different abilities in the original game, but we will only cover a few of them during the course.

As the player, you have 13 health points and three slots to store your weapons and potions (one for the left hand, one for the right hand and one for the bag). Every turn, you need to select 3 dungeon cards to build your own deck. Cards in the bag cannot be used directly; they first need to be moved into one of your hands.

Your goal as a player is to clear the dungeon (i.e., there are no cards left to draw from the deck) without dying (i.e., your total health points is higher than 0). An additional challenge is to loot as many coins as possible.

I highly recommend playing Card Crawl, not only because it is an excellent game that is definitely worth the purchase, but because it will help you better understand what we are aiming for in the next few lectures.