Deck Building

I want to combine some of the mechanics from Deck Building with IF. Can anyone point me in the right direction, perhaps some good Q & A, or PDFs.


Like discussions of deck builder design, do you mean? I haven’t seen much, unfortunately, but there was an IF Comp game with a robust deck building component a couple years ago:

I enjoyed it and thought the combination worked well, but the balance could be pretty wonky - deck builders take a lot of testing to tune which I think can be tricky to manage.

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A game I rave about often is Signs of the Sojourner. (If you’ve bought one of those mega bundles you might have a copy.) You start with a deck of cards with certain symbols. Every time you meet someone you play a little matching game versus their deck of cards. In your hometown everyone has a deck of the same symbols so conversations are easy. As your character wanders further from home, however, conversations (cultural connections) are harder to have, but you soon gain cards with the symbols of those places and people. The symbols of your hometown are slowly pushed out, and one day when you return home, conversations with friends and family are no longer familiar and easy.

Anyway, it was a novel system to me and (clearly) has struck a chord.

Signs of the Sojourner by Echodog Games


There are two reasons why that is probably not that easy.

  1. Afaik you are entering new territory.

  2. Your deckbuilding should not copy an existing game 1:1 but instead should create something new. Because deckbuilding games with same rules/mechanics play the same. (In contrast to IF where two games can share the same mechanics and still are very different because of different stories.)

But I would love to see you making such a game because I like both deckbuilding games and IF.

Do you have played (or at least learned) some deckbuilding games (ideally several)? Probably TCG.

Another one in that area is I Was a Teenage Exocolonist. Social challenges are played out through a card game, but the cards represent experiences you’ve had, which come from the outcomes of previous challenges. So the deck represents your life growing up (as a teenage exocolonist).

Inscryption is another one that can be described as “narrative deck-builder”, but it’s coming from a completely different angle. Really all of these games are. There’s a lot of ways to put together the ideas of “narrative game” and “solitaire”. I’d say just try several of them and think about what you want your own take to be.


I thought there were only one game like that. I’m corrected. Thanks for the info. Because I like deckbuilding I will further explore this three games.

I still think it is useful if not neccessary to know one or more of these games, and then to create something new.

When it comes to telling a story with cards, Munchkins come to my mind. But I don’t know whether that is the direction the OP wishes to go.

thanks for many replies, although I have a “Dungeon” game in progress (WIP), Im considering a deck building game next. My favorite game to play is DC Comics Deck Building Game, and the one I would create would be quite “original”. I would only look at others for some ideas in regards to some ideas like shuffling cards, how do they display them, etc, not the actual game. This is atleast 30 days out as I am finishing my “Dungeon crawler” type game.

If it matters, I am using Twine Harlowe, supplemented with JavaScript when needed,

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Great! This means that you already have a concept and even some details.

I would recommend taking inspiration from Munchkins, which are simply cards with RPG elements on it. Like weapons, events, traps, NPCs (mostly monsters) etc. But as I am writing this it comes to my mind that the Munchkins are not nessecary but simply aspects of pen & paper RPGs could be used as cards.

Edit: Removed some off-topic stuff.

Everything you need for deck building can be found at places like Bunnings, Mitre 10 and Home Hardware, so I would point you there.The hardware chains in your country may be different, but I’m sure they’ll have all you need for building a deck. :rofl:

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There was an IF game called The Game of Worlds TOURNAMENT! (The Game of Worlds TOURNAMENT! - Details) if you’re interested in more real implementations. It’s parser, not Twine, and I don’t think it had a deck-building element, but it’s got a text-based interface so you can see how another author tackled doing that for a strategic card game.

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