Hello League Community!
This is my first post on Reddit and a special one as well, because I want to show you on what I have been on working, in the past years.
Short disclaimer: English isn’t my native language, so please excuse sentence mistakes.
As you can read in the title, I have developed a “League of Legends” Trading Card Game (TCG) and wanted to have your guys’ feedback about it, even if you have no knowledge of trading card games at all) and maybe I can get the attention of some rioters with it : ) Who knows…
Anyway, the name for the game is “League of Legends Rift Wars” (subject to change) and what the goal of the game is could be summarized as followed:
“You summon your Champions to destroy the opposing
Summoners Platings to win the game.”
Of course this is not the only way to win the game. You can dominate the field and force your opponent to surrender or you force him to Deck-Out, by either stalling the game or making the cards in his deck deploy through your abilities. The choice is yours 😀
I will quickly show you the field set-up, the card types and the phases, so you have a better understanding of the coming paragraphs. Too keep in mind: This is just a brief summary to get a better understanding. The full and detailed description of how a card is build up and what they can do, can be found in the PDF-file in the link at the very bottom of this post:
The Champion cards are the typical “Monster Card” and are mainly the Champions that are known from the Game “League of Legends”. Those can vary in effects, stats and design as the game can contain pre-reworked Champions (such as pre-rework Urgot, Warwick or Evelynn), currently existing Champions (such as Sett, Ornn or Lux) or Champions that have been scrapped or are just concepts of Champions that haven’t been/won’t be/couldn’t be added to the League raster (like Priscilla or Omen) as of right now. With the latter may only be an idea for now, but the possibility is still there. And of course, all Champions can and will be available with their respective Skins and Skin Themes at a later date.
Event cards are mainly a Champions Ability (like Ezreal’s Ultimate “Trueshot Barrage” or Lissandra’s Q-Ability “Ice Shard”), an Objective (like “Rift Herald” or “Baron Nashor”) or a quirky mini-game card (like an Event from the Game Mode “Nexus Blitz” such as “Treasure Teemo”). These can give you an advantage or can turn the tides in sticky situations.
Realm cards are essentially “Field Spell Cards” that are based around certain locations from “League of Legends” lore or are set pieces from former game modes and scrapped ideas. Realm cards are mostly bound to a region and grant only region based Champions certain benefits. For example: If there would be a card like “The World Tree”, which originates from the Region of ‘Ionia’, all Ionian units (like “Shen”, ”Zed” or “Akali”) would gain that certain benefit.
The Item cards are the “Normal/Equipment Spell cards” and can either be consumable items or gear. These can originate from the game “League of Legends” or its lore and have always been the key aspect of what “League of Legends” makes it stand out and challenging, compared to other MOBA games. So it is not farfetched to add this into the game as well. Yet, different than the Champions or Event cards, Item cards appear in 3 different forms: Consumable- (like Cookies, Potions or Wards), Advanced- (like “Sheen”, “Kindlegem” or “Lost Chapter”) and Legendary Item cards (like “Lich Bane”, “Warmog’s Armor” or “Luden’s Echo”). And since Season 11 had overhauled all existing Items, thrown out some unused and even added new ones, does this expands the item raster tremendously, as a card game is not bound to In-Game behavior. That means that cards that have been removed from the game (like “Athene’s Holy Grail”, “Rod of Ages” or “Heart of Gold”) can be replayed at any given time and grand the player more interesting and exiting ways to approach and play the game.
Now that we have down the cards, let’s take a look at the field setup:
In this picture, you can see the way the field is build up with colored markings. I briefly explain what each of these can, since a full explanation is already given in the PDF-file that is attached to this post:
The Shop deck is the “Extra Deck” of each card game. It contains the Legendary Item cards, which can be played by sending the visually listed item cards from your hand or field to the Drop-Zone.
2. Item Pool
The Item Pool is a Zone to collect all the Advanced and Legendary Item cards. You can place those Item from your hand or field into the Item Pool or can place Items from the Item Pool on Champions.
The Battlefield is the place where all Champions are played and fight. There are 2 rows with each having a different purpose:
The Front Row is the main combat row. All Champions can only attack from that row and only those who are in the front row as well. Front Row champions are also the only one who can attack Platings, when they are exposed.
The Back Row is the supporting row, in which Champions with empowering, healing or interrupting abilities are played to enforce the front rows strength and works as a last stand to protect the Platings from being destroyed.
4. Plating Zone
The Platings are a Summoners Life-Points and makes use of a game concept known as “Damage as Resource”. This concept is best known from the TCG called “Duel Masters” and behaves in a similar way. Before a match, both Summoner place the top 5 cards of their Main Deck in the Plating Zone, with each Plating behind 1 of 5 columns. When a Champion attacks a Plating, its flipped face-up and if that card has a “Plate Trigger” ability (which are mainly Runes, with their respective and adapted effects from the game “League of Legends”), that effect is applied as long as the card is face-up on the field. During the End-Phase of the Summoner turn (who owns the Plating), he adds that card to his hand. If the card doesn’t possess a “Plate Trigger”, it’s added to the hand immediately after flipping.
5. Realm Zone
The Realm Zone is the typical “Field Spell Zone”, where the Realm cards are placed (either face-up or face-down) and stay until they are replaced or destroyed. Their effects are only active while face-up and only during the time their effect can be effectively be used. For example: When a Realm card states: “When a ‘Demacia’ unit you control is destroyed: Draw 1 card.”; it will only happen when the condition “a unit you control is destroyed” is met. It’s important to note that phrasing is indeed important. When a card is requiring that another is (e.g.) “destroyed”, then only when a card is “destroyed”, the effect will apply. If a card would require that “a card leaves the field”; the effect would apply at any given effect that would cause a card from leaving the Battlefield, like “adding to the hand”, “sending it to the Drop-Zone”, “Shuffle it in the Deck”, etc. etc.
The Drop-Zone is the typical discard pile of used cards. Cards are only placed there when they have been discarded, send to the Drop-Zone by an effect or when they are destroyed.
The Deck-Zone is the place where the Main Deck goes. The Main Deck is the collection of Champion-, Event- and Item cards each Summoners is choosing to play.
The Event-/Trophy-Zone is the place where all Event cards are being played. Trophy cards are just a sub-type of Event cards, as these force an interaction between both Summoners (or having the game in a certain state) to gain access to powerful buffs, for a longer period of time. Certain Event cards can also be used during your opponent turn, but require to be set on the field first.
With the cards and the field done and dusted, I will get quickly into the different phases to complete the picture:
The Starting Step is the preparation before the match begins. Both player place the Shop-Deck in the Shop-Zone and shuffle their Main Deck. Then, they place the top 5 cards from their Main Deck in the Plating-Zone (with 1 card behind each of the 5 columns) and draw 5 cards for their hand. If there are any cards they do not seem “necessary” or “useless”: They can place them at the bottom of the deck and draw the same amount of cards again. This also counts if the whole hand is “not in their favor”. This principle is known as “mulligan”. Each Summoner can only perform 1 mulligan before each match.
The Draw-Phase is the starting step of each Summoners turn. At the beginning of that Summoners turn, he draws 1 card from his deck, sets his Blue Essence (basically his Mana) to 10 and then proceeds with the Laning-Phase. This also counts for the Summoner who begins the match. Any lingering effects that require to be resolved in that Phase do that too.
The Laning-Phase is the typical “Main Phase” of each card game, where a Summoner can use his Blue Essence to play his Champions, Event or Item cards before he engages to battle.
The Teamfight is the “Battle/Combat Phase” everybody loves and is the driving phase that grants a Summoner victory. This Phase cannot be entered during the very 1st Turn, since the opposing Summoner react to it.
The End-Phase is the conclusion to that Summoners round. All lingering effects are resolved and the opposing Summoners Draw-Phase begins.
And that’s basically all you need to know. You pay Blue Essence as Resource to play your Champions and Event cards in the Laning-Phase and crash into your opponent during the Teamfight to win the game.
Yet again, this is just a very broken down description. All the differences between the cards, their usage, their behavior and many other details are all written down in the PDF attached to this post. Also, I made a Test Structure deck “Tides of Bilgewater” (at the very bottom) to show how a deck can look like in the finished stage. Keep in mind, it’s just an example build and effects and stats might not appear in official cards (if they are ever printed) as they are shown here.
Some things aside, from the rules and the gameplay, I want to share some of my earlier developing stages and give a bit more Intel into this passion project of mine and how it came to where it is now. If you aren’t interested, just let me know of what you think of the concept in general and let me know what you might want to add, change or want to see:
Anyway, I did not came up with this card game on my first try. In fact, this is the 3rd iteration of this project, as I went from a board game, to a hybrid of board and card game, until I settled down on a pure card game.
Earlier versions of the game felt too much like the “real League of Legends” game as a board game and where very number heavy…
So, it all started in March of 2019 (a couple of months before Riot announced “Legends of Runeterra” during the 10th Anniversary Event), as it hit me one night. Just as I wanted to go to sleep, I had this idea of a League TCG style Board Game. Since I started working in a Toy Store, with the main selling point being board games, kid friendly- and party games, it kinda influenced me in my thinking and sparked my creativity like nothing before. The longer I was working there and the more I learned from interacting with customers and co-workers about board games, the more the project lead to becoming a board game, which shows that in the result. This is the 1st version of what the game should have looked like. The inspiration came also from TFT and was supposed to be played with cards instead of figures, since figures are very expensive to produce and not user friendly, as parts can break off and get lost or swallowed by pets or kids and cards are more interesting to collect and don’t take much space to do so.
This is what a Champion card had looked in the early stages. It had a much higher emphasis on the splash art, since my personal believe is (and even to this day is) that the splash arts are coming a bit too short in the game itself. It is an eye catcher to sell the skin, but there is so much work and passion in them and it’s just a shame to only see those artworks for 2 minutes during Champion selection. Also, back then, there was also the idea of making the cards have boarder of different ranks, to visualize the rarity of a card. Since the rank system in league is very cut-n-dry (with precious metals going from Iron > Bronze > Silver > Gold > Platinum and then Diamond and upwards), it’s easier for visualize how rare a card is, rather than any fancy words like “super rare” or “SSS rare” or stuff like that.
At that time, I already had the idea of using all artworks accessible to me, to spread the variety of cards, since all that was necessary in this game, where Champion and some Item cards. Since the “Legends of Runeterra” characters like “Cythria” have no skills, unlike the Champions from the League of Legends game, there was no need for me to even consider them into the project. But it didn’t bother me too much, since I had a selection of approximately 145 Champions (at that time), with an average Skin count of 5 per Champion, and about 10 Champions which have received a major rework (visually and technically), I had more than enough card material to work with.
So I got 2 friends of mine (one who is playing League since Season 3 and one who only knew from League from videos, memes and prejudices), to see how someone with decent knowledge of the source game and how someone with little-to-no knowledge of league would behave and how they would receive the game. But after a couple of test plays them, I realized that the game was very tactical, very number heavy and not player friendly. It took hours before 1 match has been played and the fun was lost halve way through. So I got back to the drawing board and began from 0 again, to see what I can do with what I have already…
After I scrapped all unnecessary “board game” features, I thought about what I would like to play, when I would play a League Game. Since I am a huge fan of TCGs and have quite a wide range of knowledge and experience with a number of them (even though I am not as good as I would like to), I did some serious research into the different games and mechanics and tried to find a new approach, that would resonate with something ‘I’ would like to play, while sticking to the mind set of “making the artwork the key selling point”. This is where I created this…abomination xD It was a solid first approach for me and felt more natural to have something like this to play with, rather than a full board set up. I tried out new things and took a new angle to certain aspects like “Region”, “Class”, “Health” and “Costs”.
I was quite pleased at first, since the “Challenger Boarder” I made for the previous version, in cooperation with the style and the feeling of a card game gave me a sense of accomplishment and I really thought I had it now.
But a couple of weeks passed before I could continue working on it, since I worked in a Toy Store full time and we were seriously packed. I had neither the time, nor the mental strength to keep working on it and the rules made it a pain to work with too. Not to mention that Riot then announced their card game, which totally took me off-guard and bummed me out a bit.
So during my next holiday, I had looked at all the things I have done for it and realized…it was absolute garbage. Nothing like this resembles a card “worthy” of being a legit “League of Legends” card. No one who would look at it would say: “Oh, isn’t that from League of Legends?”, or something like that. So I scrapped everything that doesn’t even look like League and took a new approach as I inspected the client even further. I realized what made League so iconic for me, which is the dark cyan blue-ish style with the flowing smoke in it. This is where I had seen my chance. I took as many resources as possible, from google images of the client or other system updates on the forum, up to screenshots I made from events like Clash or even my own Loot, just to get a feeling of how all of this is designed.
So I sat down and worked for 6 days straight, with about 6-8h of work, and created the current version of the League TCG.
But even then, when I thought I got the cards done, which they were, I struggled with the presentation and the construction of the card, as the Text and the abilities made it work, but didn’t at the same time. So I took some time off and tried to get myself in a new mood and tackled the problem a couple of days later.
I changed up the Font, since the former way to edit it was waaaaaaay more work than it was necessary, added Skill Names to it as a little bit of a gimmick to the Lore part of the community (as certain Skill Names on Champions are either quotes they use in the game or are names and objects from the lore/LoR) and added the respective Skill Icon (if any) to make it easier to recognize for newcomers to remember what each skill does and as a little nudge at the community, since pre-reworked champions have the old icons on their respective skills, which might hit some fans of the old champions.
And with that I thought I was done. I finally finished the card design and was about to share it with the world, as I realized that I don’t have a rulebook or some sort of way to let people know how to play it and what card does what.
So I sat down during the time of corona and it took me about 16 weeks to write a 35 page long rulebook with all the necessary knowledge about the different cards, the meaning behind certain icons, damage calculation and even looking for loop holes in the ruling itself, while I had only the closest of my friends and acquaintances known about this to proof read my mess xD
And yet again, after many weeks of discussion, points to improvement on and wording shenanigans, when I thought that I have everything down to the very last detail…dropped Riot the first hints on the upcoming changes for Season 11…and I was ecstatic. The Item rework was something that couldn’t came at a better timing as it did. It was very hard to get my hands on high quality artwork for the Item Icons, and I was even about to commission someone to do that for me. But luckily, Riot was one step ahead of me and so I took the gamble: Do I wait for high resolution icons for a better first impression or do I go all in and show it to you? The answer was difficult, because it was so simple. I waited for the preseason to have riot drop the new Item Icons, so I can present you the absolute final extra end product.
And this is how I came to make the card game as it is now. But it’s not all about the superficial stuff. I also had made some plans on how to tackle the most important question: How to sell this?
To make this work long term, I made a research onto “what made successful card games stay strong” and “what made unsuccessful ones fail”, as well as a survey on how different kinds of people are reacting to the idea of a League TCG, the concept as it stands right now and had them let rate certain aspects of the game on a scale from 1-5 (with 1 being the lowest and 5 being the highest score). I spare you most of the details about the research and the survey, as this post is already long enough. But I can tell you this:
From 20 participants (close friends and acquaintances with 11 people with League knowledge (3 with card game knowledge & 8 w/o) and 9 w/o League knowledge (7 with card game knowledge & 2 w/o) would be; 16 of them are very interested in a physical LoL-TCG, 3 wouldn’t mind it and 1 doesn’t care.
So the interest (from the people I know) is there and the feedback on how to make the card game was very helpful in terms of phrasing, key-words or design.
The exact way of how to sell the cards is more or less the same way as current card games handle it. I would start with 2 starter decks (like the Bilgewater below) and a display of 24 packs with 8 cards per pack and at least 1 Epic Rare card in each pack. How the packs are designed and how to distribute them is a bit too specific for an outsider and would require a team of experienced people to work it out properly. But that is all future thinking and would require Riot Games interest first and then I have to see how to proceed from there.
But what do you guys think? Is this something you would be interested in? Is that something you want? Let me know your thoughts in comments below and lets have a talk 😀
Tides of Bilgewater Starter Deck (concept):
LoL-TCG Rule Book:
Source: Original link
© Post "League of Legends – Rift Wars (LoL-TCG) Project" for game League of Legends.
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