The Traveller Spirit

The Traveller Spirit

Traveller’s Spirit

I was talking to someone in a game store about Traveller as I was heading out the door after an event.  He was interested only in solo play.  His view is that the cards for this game (and others) are a toolkit for people looking to play a game.  Paraphrasing, he said “May not be in the spirt of the game …”

What is the spirit of the Traveller Card Game?

We made a game patterned on various other card games familiar to us while also reinventing some mechanics used in card games not so familiar to us.  But, we don’t decide what the spirit of the Traveller Card Game is.

The players do.

There are customizable card games heavily oriented to tournament play.  Traveller is not one of them.  Just as my Shadowfist group that plays more than most of the world’s Shadowfist player base plays with a bunch of house rules, customizable card games can lend themselves to many forms of play.

Look at how many play casual Magic, multiplayer Magic, casual multiplayer Magic.  As toolkits go for players to play the game they want to play, customizable card games are relatively efficient.  The components are portable, easy to manipulate, easily mixed with each other, and varied.

I have played a ton of solitaire with a 52 card deck.  There are plenty of games that someone can invent using the components of Traveller.

And, Horizon is not only fine with that, we encourage it.  Tell us what you want to do with the card game.  Do you want cooperative play?  Try some rules and let us know what you’ve discovered.  Want to play seven player games?  Let’s see how that would work.

Solitaire play is more popular than we had in mind.  I can see multiplayer play doing reasonably well if the critical mass can be achieved as the game doesn’t have a clear “what’s good for me is bad for you” ethic, like some card games oriented to two-player have.

I’m pretty sure I said this before, but the ease of switching between solo play, two-player play, and multiplayer play is a differentiator from many other card games.

Want to use Traveller cards for art in a RPG?  That was part of my reasoning for getting into Shadowfist 20 years after I first played it.

I made up an ad hoc game of Dragon Dice versus some CCG many many years ago, can’t recall now whether it was Vampire or Ultimate Combat!, could have been both.  Some of that game worked better than I thought, i.e. some of it worked at all.

I’ve read some reviews where the reviewers wished the game wasn’t so CCGlike, that it was more of an adventure game with cards.  Great!  Come up with mechanics to accomplish that.  Let’s take this toolkit and see if we can architect a variety of ways to play.  As I think the game can play like a CCG for those who like CCGs and play very differently for those looking for something different.

  1. It’s been a long road, I have wanted to play this game and I have yet to have any real interest by anyone in playing. Solo can be fun and I still do. I suspect that the Icons are the barrier for most folks. They look at them and their eyes glaze over. Also I’m on “in” with a group of CCG gamers. Most of my gaming buddies are either hard core hex-counter old style war gamers (think Avalon Hill, Panzer Blitz type) or more Euro style (family type). I recall reading this post when back when first made and the idea is churning in my head. Is there some way to make this game more accessible? Of course once you “get” the icons it’s natural, but too many folks don’t want to invest the time/energy into understanding them.

    I think the icon idea was good but ended up going too far. Too many icons for to many things. Of course it’s rather impossible to reduce them now as they are a core to the game. But if ever there was a re-boot of this I would encourage a rather significant reduction use of the icons in the rules in particular. Looking at a paragraph that seems to have more icons than words gives the impression I have to learn a new language to play the game. The icons on the cards works as it reduces the “text” and I think most folks can work with that. It’s reading the rules and having to “translate” the icons that is where things break down.

    I suspect this is all just talk in the wind for this game at least. For future games you may work on keep this in mind.

    1. The icons are certainly something that was a mixed bag that makes the game seem more complex in addition to just requiring more effort from the players to understand how the game works. The complexity of the game is something Jeff and I often talk about. There are some places the game could be easier, and that could have reduced icons some. Having one of our playmats with the translations at the bottom is very helpful for learning icons faster, but not everyone has those.

      Thanks for caring so much about the game. I think we created an interesting and mechanically solid CCG that captured elements of the RPG.

      1. Ok let’s try that again. Yes you did create a great game. I still pull it out and if nothing else go thru the cards in a deck and mess around with the cool tokens. Just wish that I could have gotten a few folks interested enough to play. I have enough decks to likely have a small tournament like event. Which I was hoping to do at my local pub where I used to run a game night. But COVID killed the game night and it’s not coming back anytime soon it appears for a verity of reasons. I hope to see new games by you and Jeff in the future.

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