''The following rules are the product of several pages of forum discussion found [[http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/posts.php?discussion=g204hjo6gj5wnuz0n70aih4i&page=1 here]]. Before making any rules changes, please discuss them in the thread. Spiffing up the style, on the other hand, would be much appreciated.''
(The following is all taken entirely from a [[http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/posts.php?discussion=g204hjo6gj5wnuz0n70aih4i&page=34#828 forum post]] and so may be somewhat disorganized.)
TVTropesTheTradingCardGame is all about two (or more!) writers vying for control of a shared story. Each player takes the role of a writer and adds to the story using ideas in the form of tropes. Players take turns adding tropes to the story until one writer has all of the influence over the story. Players take turns in sequence until either one player wins or all other players are eliminated.
Before we get to the rules, let's go over some of the concepts that will appear throughout the rules.
There are three types of cards in the game.
* '''Trope Cards''' -- ''Trope Cards'' are the basic cards that make up a player's deck. A deck needs at least sixty ''Trope Cards''.
* '''Character Cards''' -- ''Character Cards'' represent characters in the story and simply need to be kept somewhere handy apart from the other cards. There are only fifteen standard ''Character Cards'', so it shouldn't be too hard to get your hands on at least a few copies of each.
* '''Writer Cards''' -- A player's ''Writer Card'' reprsents the particular writer the player has taken the role of. In most games, each player will only need one ''Writer Card'', but it is generally good to have a few more handy, just in case.
!!!The Game Areas
Cards in TVTropesTheTradingCardGame will inhabit different zones throughout play. Two of these zones are '''Card Piles''' and the other three are '''Story Zones'''. All of the details in of the story will be represented by cards in one of the three Story Zones; all cards in these zones are said to be '''In Play'''. The two ''Card Piles'' contain trope cards that are '''Out of Play'''. A player's current ''Writer Card'' is always said to be ''In Play'', while unused ''Character Cards'', extra ''Trope Cards'', and unused ''Writer Cards'' are said to not be ''In Play''.
* '''Idea Pile''' -- The ''Idea Pile'' contains face-down ''Trope Cards'' representing individual ideas that the writer could have in the future. At the beginning of the game, a player's deck becomes his ''Idea Pile'', and the pile usually gets smaller from there as the potential ideas are used.
* '''Trash Bin''' -- The ''Trash Bin'' contains face-up ''Trope Cards'' representing ideas that ran their course in the story or were discarded by a writer as not being good enough. It is generally very difficult to retrieve cards from the ''Trash Bin''.
* '''Storyboard''' -- The ''Storyboard'' is the main ''Story Zone'' and the area where most of the action of the game takes place. By default, ''Trope Cards'' enter play in this ''Story Zone''. Returning things from one of the other zones to this zone is informally called "retrieving".
* '''The Bus''' -- ''The Bus'' is a ''Story Zone'' that contains characters, locations, and other story elements that were written out of the story with the possiblity of returning later. Things in this zone are said to be '''On the Bus'''. There are several ''Trope Cards'' and ''Writer Cards'' that allow the retrieval of things that are ''On the Bus''.
* '''Afterlife''' -- The ''Afterlife'' is a ''Story Zone'' that contains characters, locations, and other things in the story that have been killed or destroyed. Retrieval from this zone is generally more difficult than retrieval from ''The Bus''.
There are two types of points in TVTropesTheTradingCardGame: '''Story Points (SP)''' and '''Influence'''
* ''Story Points'' represent how many story elements a writer can handle at once. ''Character Cards'' and ''Trope Cards'' each have an ''SP Cost''. ''Writer Cards'' have an ''SP Limit'' that is the maximum total ''SP'' of all of the cards the player controls.
* ''Influence'' represent the influence a writer has over a story. Players begin the game with 0 ''Inf'' and win the game by collecting '''[Placeholder]''' ''Inf''.
!The Cardinal Rule: The text on a card overrides the rules of the game if they are ever in conflict.
!!The Structure of a Turn
The '''Active Player''' is the player whose turn it is. Unless otherwise specified, all actions are taken by the ''Active Player''.
A turn has three Phases:
* The '''Beginning Phase'''
* The '''Scene'''
* The '''End Phase'''
!!!The Beginning Phase
The ''Beginning Phase'' has four parts, which must be completed in order:
* Resolve all effects that end at the beginning of the turn.
* Draw a card (two cards?)
* Perform ''Standard Actions'' (see ''Taking Actions'' below). Note that a ''Standard Action'' can only be performed during a ''Scene'' unless something on a card indicates otherwise.
* Set the Scene: choose all Characters and Tropes that will be used in the ''Scene'', and set all others to the side.
Once all of the Characters and Tropes have been chosen for a ''Scene'', the ''Scene'' begins. During the ''Scene'', the ''Active Player'' may play Tropes, bring Characters into play, activate Trope/Writer abilities, and otherwise perform any actions allowed by a Trope or Writer. Whenever the ''Active Player'' has completed all of his actions during the ''Scene'', the ''Scene'' ends. Resolve all effects that end at the end of the ''Scene'', then proceed to the ''End Phase''.
!!!The End Phase
The ''End Phase'' has three parts that must be completed in order, just like the ''Beginning Phase''.
* Perform ''Standard Actions'' (see ''Taking Actions'' below). Note that a ''Standard Action'' can only be performed during a ''Scene'' unless something on a card indicates otherwise.
* Resolve all effects that end at the end of the turn.
* Discard cards until you no longer exceed your maximum hand size.
There are two kinds of general actions a player may take during a ''Scene'': ''Standard Actions'' and ''Interrupt Actions''. Either of these may also be considered a ''Meta Action''.
Three of the actions that players can perform are considered '''Standard Actions''':
* Playing a Trope
* Activating an ability of a Trope already in play
* Any Writer Ability
Whenever the ''Active Player'' is able to take a ''Standard Action'', he has the option of doing so or passing the action. In either case, that option falls to the next player in turn order. This process continues until all players capable of taking ''Standard Actions'' pass their action, at which point the Phase progresses.
Some actions that would otherwise be ''Standard Actions'' are be considered ''Interrupt Actions'' either by the action description or by the effects of another card.
If a player performs either a ''Standard Action'' or an ''Interrupt Action'', players have a chance to respond to that action with an ''Interrupt Action'' before the first action resolves. Think of it as putting a new action on a stack on top of the previous action. (Yes, this rule is pretty much the Stack from ''MagicTheGathering''.) The option of first response goes to the player who performed the original action and passes around until every player has had an opportunity to respond. If a player does decide to respond, that action goes on top of the stack and a new cycle of response options begins. Whenever all players pass their response chance, perform the action that prompted the cycle and pick up the last incomplete cycle where it left off.
Example: Troper X, Troper Y, and Troper Z are playing a game. Troper X performs Action A. He has the option to respond first, but chooses not to. Troper Y has the option of responding and performs Action B. First response to Action B goes to Troper Y, who declines. Z and X both decline (in that order), so Action B resolves. Since Action B was Troper Y's response to Action A, the option of response to Action A goes to Troper Z, who declines. Action A then resolves and gameplay continues.
''Note: Actions that can be peformed as Interrupt Actions should be rather rare and generally be actions that can only make sense if they are interrupting another action. Tropes can generally be played during another player's turn, so there is no need to make an Action and Interrupt Action just so that it can be played during a turn other than the controller's own.''
Both ''Standard Actions'' and ''Interrupt Actions'' can also be considered ''Meta Actions''. If a Trope has the ''Meta'' subtype, both playing the trope and activating its abilities are considered ''Meta Actions''. All Writer abilities are considered ''Meta''.
''Meta Actions'' have two special properties:
* They can be performed during a phase other than the ''Scene''.
* They cannot be interrupted by non-''Meta'' actions.
!!The Parts of a Card
Each card has several fields that can contain information relevant to the game. Some of these can appear on multiple card types.
* '''Name'''--Each card is named after one of the tropes on TVTropesWiki. Any two cards with the same ''Name'' are functionally identical.
* '''Ability Text'''--''Ability Text'' includes all card abilities that are not covered by one of the other relevant fields. ''Character Cards'' do not have ''Ability Text''
* '''Quotes Text'''--''Quotes Text'' features one or more quotes that epitomize the ''Trope'' or ''Writer''. ''Character Cards'' do not have ''Quotes Text''.
* '''SP Cost'''--The ''SP Cost'' of a card determines how much of a writer's SP total is used up by the card. ''Writer Cards'' do not have an ''SP Cost''.
* '''Age''' -- The age of the character falls into one of '''[Placeholder]''' '''Age Categories''': '''[Placeholder]'''.
* '''Gender''' -- The age of the character falls into one of '''[Placeholder]''' '''Gender Categories''': '''[Placeholder]'''.
* '''Type''' -- ''Trope Cards'' may have one or more ''Types'', each of which has its own rules and potential ''Subtypes''. The rules specific to each ''Type'' and ''Subtype'' will be discussed later in this document.
* '''Genre''' -- Most ''Trope Cards'' have a ''Genre'', which is also indicated by the design of the card frame. Tropes that are not associated with any particular genre are ''Universal''. The ''Genres'' are:
* '''SP Limit''' -- This number is the maximum total ''SP'' worth of cards a player can control while the ''Writer Card'' is active.
* '''Favored Genre''' -- This is the genre that the writer is most comfortable with. Tropes only take up 75% (round up) of their ''SP Cost'' if they are in this genre. (''Writers'' generally have only one ''Favored Genre'', but it is possible for a writer to have more or none at all.)
!!Types of Trope Cards
* '''Plot Device''' -- ''Plot Device'' Tropes represent development of the plot, characters, or settings. These Tropes remain in play for a limited time (often just one Scene). Once they have reached the end of their duration, these Tropes are put into the ''Trash Bin''.
* '''Characterization''' -- ''Characterization'' Tropes are Tropes that can be played on Characters. These Tropes remain attached to the Character so long as the Character remains in play. Whenever a Character changes zones or is chosen to be part of a Scene, all ''Characterizations'' go with. ''Characterizations'' cannot change zones or be chosen for a Scene independent of the Character the Trope is attached to.
* '''Setting''' -- ''Setting'' Tropes represent different aspects of the world the story is set in, as well as representing specific locations in that world. Settings are always part of a Scene unless the Setting has a subtype that allows it to behave otherwise.
* '''Phlebotinum''' -- ''Phlebotinum'' Tropes represent all technological and magical elements of the story. ''Phlebotinum'' is the ''Type'' that is most commonly paired with other ''Types''.
* '''Arc''' -- ''Arc'' Tropes represent an intended direction for the story to take. They all have conditions that must be satisfied, after which the effect of the Trope changes. Both the "before" and "after" effects may be one-time or ongoing.
Some Subtypes can appear on multiple trope Types.
* '''Meta''' -- ''Meta'' Tropes are Tropes that represent outside influences on the story. They do not have to obey the internal story logic, which gives them powerful game-altering effects...at a price. ''Meta'' Tropes are generally ''Universal'' and are the only Tropes that can reference the player controlling a card. Additionally, ''Meta'' tropes generally cost ''Inf''.
* '''Interrupt''' -- ''Interrupt'' Tropes can be played as an ''Interrupt Action''. These tropes generally have an ''Inf'' cost in addition to an ''SP'' cost.
!!!Characterization Tropes and Creating Characters
When you play a Characterization, you may choose not to play it on a Character currently in play. In that case, you may take a Character Card and put it into play with the Characterization attached. Remember that Character Cards cost SP! This is the only way to create new characters unless a Trope or Writer has an ability that indicates otherwise.
Characterization Cards have several standard stats. They are:
An individual Characterization may have values for any combination of these.
Characterizations may also have one or more subtypes. These include:
* ''Love Interest''
Characterizations may only be played on a Character with compatible traits. In general, this means that Characterizations that specify a ''Gender'' or ''Age'' may only be played on Characters who have a matching value for those categories. ''Most Characterizations will not specify either one.'' Some Characterizations may specify other conditions, such as ''Combat > 5'' or ''Hero''. If a Character is not granted those traits by another Characterization, the new Characterization cannot be played.
If a Character has multiple Characterizations that specify values for a given numeral stat (such as ''Combat'' or ''Love''), the Character has the highest value granted. If there is a contradiction between the value given by standard stats and the value given by the Ability Text, the Ability Text takes precidence.
Settings have one major subtype: '''Location'''. When choosing Tropes and Characters for a Scene, no more than one Location may be chosen. In contrast, all non-''Location'' Settings must be chosen.
Settings generally grant passive effects instead of activated abilities.
If a Phlebotinum Trope is also another Trope Type, it behaves as though it were of that Type.
If a Phlebotinum Trope is not of any other Trope Type, it can be included or excluded from a scene at will.
Whenever the conditions for an Arc are met, its second set of effects resolve immediately.
Completing Arcs should generally reward a lot of Inf, cause major changes to the board, or both.
Arcs with the ''Beginning'' Subtype generally have an ability that allows a player to begin the game with the Arc in play if the player gives up something specified on the card. If a non-''Beginning'' Arc has its conditions fulfilled, remove all ''Beginning'' Arcs from play and nor more such Arcs may be played.
Arcs with the ''Ending'' Subtype generally allow a player to win the game so long as they have some fraction of the required total ''Inf''.
!!When You Are Not The Active Player
When it is time for the ''Active Player'' to choose Characters and Tropes for a Scene, the other players may (in turn order) choose tropes to be included before the ''Active Player'' makes his selection. Making such a inclusion costs you '''[placeholder]''' IP for an unattached trope and '''[placeholder]''' IP for a Character (and all of its Characterizations). Once all such inclusions have been made, the ''Active Player'' may either accept them or pay '''[placeholder]''' IP to exclude them. Once the ''Active Player'' has paid for all of his exclusions, he selects the remainder of the tropes he would like to include.
Whenever you take a ''Standard Action'' during another player's turn, there is an ''Inf'' cost. If you are playing a Trope, you must match the ''SP'' cost in ''Inf''. If you are activating the ability of a trope, you must pay the SP cost of that trope in ''Inf''. Writer abilities will specify the ''Inf'' cost, if any.
** "Avert _______" means that _________ cannot be played. This generally appears on Setting Tropes that are mutually exclusive with other setting tropes.
** "Avert _______ [condition]" means that __________ may not be played if it would meet the stated condition. This is more common on Characterization Tropes where some Characterizations would be mututally exclusive on that character.
More to come!
!!Running Out of SP
If you lack the ''SP'' to pay for a Trope or Character, you may send cards you control to the ''Bus'' in order to free up ''SP''. This is treated as an additional cost for the Trope and requires you to pay the total ''SP'' cost (including that of tropes you do not control) in ''IP''. Things that may be sent:
* Characters (with all Characterization Tropes still attached)--this may also free up SP for your opponents if they played Characterizations on that Character
* Phlebotinum that is not also another Type
After you choose which Tropes and Characters will be sent, each player in turn has the option of taking control of some subset of those Tropes and Characters (taking up SP accordingly). If a player chooses to take control of a Character, that that player also takes control of all Characterization Tropes you control that are attached to that Character. All other Characterization Tropes remain under the control of their original controllers.
As it current sits, players in a multiplayer game remain in the game until someone wins--contrast with an "elimination" game like ''MagicTheGathering'', where the goal is (usually) to be the last one standing. If we don't mind this, let's carry on. If we would like "elimination" multiplayer, we will need a rule for eliminating people that does not play completely differently from a duel. Anyway, here's my idea:
Set an Inf Max that is calculated via some formula based on the number of players and the Inf goal (to allow for both, say, 30 Inf games and 100 Inf. games). Put that much Inf in a common "pool". Distribute some fraction of that Inf. equally amongst the players. Players are eliminated if they reach 0 Inf. Players win when they reach the desired total. Now here's the tricky part: what happens when the pool runs out? Ideas:
* If a player would draw from an empty pool, each other player (or every player, including the guy about to take Inf.) tosses 1 Inf. back into the pool. Repeat as necessary.
* If a player would draw from an empty pool, he takes 1 Inf. from each player in turn...
** In turn order
** In order of Inf. totals (defaulting to turn order in the case of a tie)--this could either go from least to most if we want a cutthroat quicker game or from most to least if we want more equalization.