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TV Tropes Trading Card Game:

^ I've been thinking of it as Tropey Goodness, Cardified. Don't worry, Matrix, it was a fun typo. tongue

Also, that explanation for playing Structural Tropes makes a lot of sense. How did I miss that when I was Archive Trawling this thread? O.o

Edit: Whoo, post-bicentennial thread! (Post-bicentpostial?)

edited Tue, 17 Feb 2009 05:29:59 by intuition

"I like them to talk nonsense. That's man's one privilege over all creation. Through error you come to truth! You never reach any truth without making fourteen mistakes- and very likely a hundred and fourteen." - Razumikhin, Crime and Punishment
 202 Ironeye, Wed, 18th Feb '09 1:08:59 AM from SoCal Relationship Status: Falling within your bell curve
Cutmaster-san
I was initially working on a more long-form treatment of the rules, but it got bogged down in little details and wouldn't be fun to read. Here's a shorter version (albeit one without every little detail).

The Premise: Two writers are collaborating on a story, but can't seem to agree. As each tries to turn the story their way, they enlist the help of tropers to use their troping expertise to alter the work.

The Tropers: Each player starts with three troper cards. Only one troper per player is active at once. Tropers come into play with a certain number of story points (SP), which can be used to play tropes. Once this SP runs out, the troper is removed from play and the next troper enters play. You do have a few ways to restore SP for your troper (including a slooooow natural regen), but be careful: each troper has a weakness to tropes of a particular genre, to the point that the mere act of such tropes being played is enough for your troper to loose SP. One way to win the game is to remove all opposing tropers, so be careful and try not to overextend yourself.

The Arcs: Each player brings 5 arc cards to the game, which begins with one arc from each player in play. As players claim these arcs, each player replaces the missing arc with one of their own, chosen at random. When all arcs are claimed, the player with the most wins the game. Players can claim the arcs by satisfying the conditions on the arc card. Don't worry about only being able to claim your own arcs: each arc will have at least one set of claim conditions that can be attained by most decks. Whenever an arc is claimed, it restores some number of SP to the claiming player's troper.

The Deck of Tropes: The trope cards are where the real meat of the game is. Each player creates their own deck of tropes, designed to maximize the benefit from bonuses the player's tropers confer and to claim the player's five arc cards as quickly and easily as possible. Be careful, though: if your deck is too specialized, you'll have a hard time claiming the arc cards your opponent brings into play and you quite probably will be unable to eliminate more than one of their tropers from play.

Genre: Most tropes fall into one of the eight genres (Slice of Life, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Horror, Comedy, Romance, Tragedy, and Action/Adventure). Tropes that commonly show up in multiple genres will have one version for each genre. In general, bonuses will be given to tropes of a particular genre depending one how closely the trope is related to that genre. The levels of correspondence are ranked from 0 to 2—from the genre-specific version of a common trope to a trope that only shows up in that genre. Each troper also has a genre (to which it confers a troper-specific bonus) as well as a Scrappy Genre (which the troper is weak against—tropes of this genre being played is what causes SP damage to the troper). Some tropes confer specific genre bonuses or genre penalties on other tropes, so genre is always something to watch out for.

Playing Tropes: All tropes have a cost in SP that must be spent from the current troper's pool. (It is possible to run your troper to 0 SP in this fashion, but you can't pay any cost that would send your troper to negative SP.) That trope will also have one of three types of SP totals: unlimited, unlisted, or a finite number. If there is no SP total, the trope has a one-time effect when played. If the SP total is unlimited/infinite, then the trope comes into play with no SP and doesn't deal with SP penalties. Otherwise, if the troper has a finite number listed, the trope comes into play turned sideways with that much SP on it.

The Ticking Clock of SP: There are two important factors to tropes that are currently in play—SP remaining and whether or not the card is turned sideways. At the beginning of each turn, 1 SP is removed from every trope in play. If a trope ever reaches 0 SP it is immediately removed from play. (Note that the trope has to specifically have 0 SP—tropes that never had SP placed on them are not considered to have an SP total.) In this way, the SP total of a trope represents its staying power within the story. Whenever a trope that is still turned sideways leaves play due to having 0 SP, the player who controls it takes a certain amount of card damage (listed on the trope) by discarding trope cards from the top of their deck. If a player is ever out of tropes in both their hand and their deck, that player looses—this is the third and standard victory condition. Note that there is a special type of trope that cannot leave play from having 0 SP—this subtype will be discussed in the Trope Types section.

Trope Abilities: Most tropes that stay in play have either an active ability or a Major Effect (new names are always appreciated), as well as a minor effect of some sort. Bonuses are passive benefits granted to other tropes. Whenever you use an active ability of a trope, turn that trope to the standard orientation (thus preventing card damage and preventing further use of the ability). Whenever a Major Effect is applied to another trope card, turn the trope card to the standard orientation. The orientation of a trope has no effect on the passive effects of that trope. This turning of the trope card is to indicate that the trope has fulfilled its purpose in the story (and to prevent further use of active abilities because that shows lack of creativity—though some trope cards will let you reuse active abilities for special circumstances). Each trope will grant some amount of SP to your troper when it is turned—this SP may or may not be enough to recuperate the SP cost of the trope. Note that there are ways to grant additional SP to a trope to keep it in the play for more turns—these methods will be discussed in the next section.

Trope Types
  • Structural Tropes—Tropes about how stories are told or how real life can influence a story. Structural Tropes frequently do not have genres, but they tend to have powerful effects because they do not have to obey the logic of the events of the story. Due to their power, structural tropes usually have a high SP cost or require card loss to play. On the other hand, they do not frequently have a finite SP total, and even less frequently do they have a card penalty for hitting 0 SP—rather, they may have an additional effect when their SP runs out. In this way, the SP functions much like a time delay for Structural Tropes.
    • Theme Tropes are a type of structural trope that always has a genre and an infinite SP total. Though more than one theme trope may be in play at once, each player may designate one theme to be the primary theme, which will confer additional bonuses (as listed on the theme trope).
  • Eventual Tropes deal with the actual events taking place within the story. They generally have effects that are not as dramatic as those of Structural Tropes because they must follow the logic of the story. Eventual tropes almost always have a genre. Though players can only activate the active abilities of tropes they control, passive effects are player-blind. Additionally, no tropes are ever restricted by who controls the trope—both players are writing the story and you have access to all creative elements in the story even if you didn't put them there. As a final note, it is eventual tropes that are used to satisfy the conditions on Arcs.
    • Plot Tropes have a list of conditions just like Arcs, but the conditions are typically much more specific and can only be satisfied by the player who controls the trope (though all tropes currently in play can be used to satisfy the conditions, not just the ones controlled by the player). Whenever the conditions on plot tropes are satisfied, the trope is turned from sideways to standard orientation. The trope getting turned may provide passive effects and one-time bonuses—it always restores the Eventual Tropes involved to maximum SP. Having certain types of plot tropes in standard orientation is the primary type of condition for Arcs.
    • Character Tropes are the bread and butter of any story. Character tropes are the tropes most commonly used to satisfy conditions on plot tropes, and character tropes frequently have active abilities. On the other hand, character tropes almost always have finite SP. Remember that you can use the presence and passive effects of your opponent's characters to satisfy your plot conditions.
    • Characterization Tropes are tropes that directly modify characters in play, giving them additional effects or abilities. Note that while the effects/abilities are granted to the character, the characterization has a separate SP total and activation state. This creates the curious situation where a characterization trope is activated for a character trope to use an ability—the exact mechanics of this will be created when we have everything else down better.
    • Applied Phlebotinum Tropes are tropes related to the powers and devices that frequently appear in stories. As one would expect, these are most commonly found in Sci-Fi or Fantasy, though Horror and Action/Adventure can also claim a few, and every genre has some tropes of this type. Applied Phelebotinum tropes may function similar to character tropes, or may modify other tropes similar to how characterization tropes modify character tropes.
    • Setting Tropes are restricted to one in-play per player. As a result, these tropes typically cost more SP than other tropes and tend to have passive effects instead of active abilities.
    • Plot Twists are tropes that can be played even during your opponent's turn. They have one-time effects and are then discarded (ie they have no SP total listed). As a result, they do not generate additional SP for your troper. In this way, they are the eventual tropes most like Structural tropes.
    • "Major" is a modifier that can be applied to Character and AP tropes. Major tropes are tropes that are so essential to the story that they cannot leave it via normal means (though other tropes may help them along...). These major tropes tend not to have active abilities or major effects; instead, you may play character or AP tropes (whichever is appropriate) on the major trope as though they were characterization or AP. In this way, a major character can treat other character tropes as characterization tropes. Additionally, major tropes do not leave play via normal means—whenever a major trope would leave play due to SP loss, the trope stays in play and 1 card damage is dealt to the controlling player.

Final notes that didn't really fit in the previous list: Tropes will always have at least one ability in addition to the genre bonus. Defensive tropes tend to have passive abilities, while aggressive tropes will often have abilities that cost SP. Tropers also have one or two tropes that are listed as Fetish Fuel. Those tropes always count as in-genre, and fetish fuel tropes already in-genre get a double genre bonus. No, there is no attacking in the strictest sense. While many Eventual tropes have offensive abilities, it is frequently beneficial to use those abilities on tropes you control in order to satisfy conditions on plot tropes. Yes, it may sometimes be advantageous to tap out a troper you control in order to get a fresh troper with a ton of SP. No, we really haven't figured out turn stages or card drawing rules. There are currently three levels of discard/graveyard, each with special rules. They correspond to Put on a Bus, Killed Off for Real, and Dropped a Bridge on Him. If a trope card ever reaches the final discard pile, it is almost impossible to get back, while the first discard pile functions as a sort of second hand—the exact mechanics of this have yet to be decided.

I hope I didn't miss anything.
I'm bad, and that's good. I will never be good, and that's not bad. There's no one I'd rather be than me.
 203 Ironeye, Wed, 18th Feb '09 1:10:53 AM from SoCal Relationship Status: Falling within your bell curve
Cutmaster-san
Does anyone else thing we should make a main wiki page for this, perhaps on Sugar Wiki? (At the very least, it'd be under Just for Fun.)

That way we'd always have a current copy of the rules handy.

Edit: We'd have to put a "do not edit this before discussing the edit on the forums" clause on it.

edited Wed, 18 Feb 2009 01:11:44 by Ironeye

I'm bad, and that's good. I will never be good, and that's not bad. There's no one I'd rather be than me.
 204 Vampire Buddha, Wed, 18th Feb '09 11:55:48 AM from Where the moon is fat Relationship Status: Every rose has its thorn
Judderman
Looks good.

I'd recommend merging Fantasy and Scifi into one genre and making Mystery the eighth genre, because there are plenty of mystery and detective stories that don't fit into any of the above listed genres, and this would allow for a bunch of new cards as well as more Applied Phlebotinum; CSI would be a handy source of mystery phlebotinum.

There's already a page for TV Tropes The Tabletop Game, so no reason not to give this its own Just for Fun page.
 205 Matrix, Wed, 18th Feb '09 2:05:59 PM from The Matrix, Canada Relationship Status: Less than three
quidf scire vis?
Ever since we scrapped the Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors, we don't need to have only eight Genres. We'll just stick Mystery in there.

Also, I think merging Fantasy and SF would be way too broad.
 206 Vampire Buddha, Wed, 18th Feb '09 2:13:50 PM from Where the moon is fat Relationship Status: Every rose has its thorn
Judderman
I dunno, eight genres is nice and symmetrical.
 207 Matrix, Wed, 18th Feb '09 2:15:19 PM from The Matrix, Canada Relationship Status: Less than three
quidf scire vis?
Sure, but I only needed symmetry for the Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors. That's gone. So I don't care about symmetry anymore.
 208 Bobby G, Wed, 18th Feb '09 2:16:11 PM from the Silvery Tay
 209 Matrix, Wed, 18th Feb '09 2:17:23 PM from The Matrix, Canada Relationship Status: Less than three
quidf scire vis?
Does it even have any Tropes unique to it? I don't want everybody's pet subgenres clogging our gameplay.
 210 Ironeye, Wed, 18th Feb '09 2:45:22 PM from SoCal Relationship Status: Falling within your bell curve
Cutmaster-san
Anachronism Stew, off the top of my head. It might be a good idea to make an over-long list of genres and slim it down to include only the ones deemed significant and significantly different.
I'm bad, and that's good. I will never be good, and that's not bad. There's no one I'd rather be than me.
 211 Matrix, Wed, 18th Feb '09 2:48:58 PM from The Matrix, Canada Relationship Status: Less than three
quidf scire vis?
I guess.
 212 Bobby G, Wed, 18th Feb '09 2:56:13 PM from the Silvery Tay
vigilantly taxonomish
Historical isn't my pet genre by a long way, I'm just aware that there are a lot of historical shows about. But there's Historical Villain Upgrade, Historical Hero Upgrade, Gorgeous Period Dress, Politically Correct History and Beethoven Was an Alien Spy, to name a few.
 213 Ironeye, Thu, 19th Feb '09 12:56:19 AM from SoCal Relationship Status: Falling within your bell curve
Cutmaster-san
I'm thinking that for the basic game we should stick to a short list (perhaps 8, just like Matrix originally had), only rolling out new genres later on. An alternative for genres that add few new tropes would be to provide bonuses primarily through setting cards.

Part of a problem with any list of genres is that they can overlap so much. For example, Comedy can be attached to almost any other genre to make a _______ Comedy. For many genres, we can actually divide tropes into two categories: those that are the common trappings of that genre, and those that fit the "attitude" or essence of a genre. This results Star Wars, which has features of Sci-Fi and Action Adventure, but has an essence that fits best in Fantasy.

In a way, this helps us, because it means that the theme of the game isn't broken when stuff from three different genres starts showing up. On the other hand, we're back to choose which genres are distinctive enough to be included in the first push.

My list would probably include: Comedy Sci-Fi Fantasy Horror Drama Mystery Action/Adventure

Admittedly, the list may be a bit biased, but all of the fiction I enjoy can fit in one of those categories or a specific combination thereof.

Final random idea: once we decide on our list of genres, we should attempt to identify the tropes that are the essence of each genre. No, this will not necessarily be the same as the Genre 2 tropes. Such tropes would only be playable in-genre (ie if they match the genre of your active troper).
I'm bad, and that's good. I will never be good, and that's not bad. There's no one I'd rather be than me.
 214 Kyler Thatch, Thu, 19th Feb '09 3:05:47 AM Relationship Status: Don't hug me; I'm scared
literary masochist
Question about the genres: are they each going to be designed to support different tactics? Say, is Horror or Tragedy going to be better at controlling the board by killing off characters compared to the other genres? Does the Drama or Mystery genre generally have more efficient Plot Twists than the others (by efficient, I mean in terms of game balance and such)? That kind of thing.
And now it is your turn
Your turn to hear the stone, and then your turn to burn
 215 Bobby G, Thu, 19th Feb '09 4:24:03 AM from the Silvery Tay
vigilantly taxonomish
Tragedy and Slice of Life could probably be lumped together under Drama.
 216 Ironeye, Thu, 19th Feb '09 9:02:47 AM from SoCal Relationship Status: Falling within your bell curve
Cutmaster-san
Hopefully, we'll be able to come up with a certain preferred style for each genre. There is a little of this built into the mechanics already, simply by AP being much more common in Sci-Fi and Fantasy. I certainly like the ideas you came up with.
I'm bad, and that's good. I will never be good, and that's not bad. There's no one I'd rather be than me.
 217 Vampire Buddha, Thu, 19th Feb '09 12:36:24 PM from Where the moon is fat Relationship Status: Every rose has its thorn
Judderman
Maybe Sci-Fi and Fantasy Characters tend to be weaker in and of themselves than those in other genres, and so have to rely more on phlebotinum to win. Mystery Characters might have to rely more on intelligence somehow.

But I think we're getting ahead of ourselves. We've got the fundamental rules sorted out, so I think the next step should be to work out some arc cards, and then build the plot cards around those.
 218 Matrix, Thu, 19th Feb '09 2:13:45 PM from The Matrix, Canada Relationship Status: Less than three
quidf scire vis?
Alright, a Genre reset.

So here are the Genres, their colours, and symbols.

Sci Fi: Blue, Galaxy Swirl
Fantasy: Green, Tree
Comedy: Yellow, Happy Theater Face
Drama: Red, Sad Theater Face
Romance: Pink, Heart
Mystery: Purple, Magnifying Glass
Action/Adventure: Orange, Fist
Horror: Black, Eversion Eye

Yeah, you only had seven, Ironeye. You forgot Romance.

edited Thu, 19 Feb 2009 14:14:30 by Matrix

 219 Ironeye, Sun, 22nd Feb '09 3:31:26 PM from SoCal Relationship Status: Falling within your bell curve
Cutmaster-san
Alright, our current step is figuring out what sort of stuff shows up on arc cards. We have two goals that are possibly divergent:
  • The conditions on the arc cards must be able to be satisfied by most of the decks that do not know they are coming.
  • The conditions on the arc cards must be easier to satisfy for those who can prepare for them.

As these are not trope cards, we don't have to name them after tropes, so we have additional leeway there.

One idea I have is that each plot card can have one or more subtypes from a set list. The arc card requirements would refer to the subtypes on the plot cards.
I'm bad, and that's good. I will never be good, and that's not bad. There's no one I'd rather be than me.
 220 Matrix, Sun, 22nd Feb '09 4:36:53 PM from The Matrix, Canada Relationship Status: Less than three
quidf scire vis?
Ah, could you give an example of Plot Card Subtypes?
 221 Ironeye, Sun, 22nd Feb '09 4:46:49 PM from SoCal Relationship Status: Falling within your bell curve
Cutmaster-san
I'm having trouble coming up with a good list, but I have a few ideas:
  • Betrayal
  • Battle
  • Duel
  • Discovery
  • Escape

Bah, I can't think right now. Anyway, the idea was that an arc card might call for two discoveries and an escape, or something.
I'm bad, and that's good. I will never be good, and that's not bad. There's no one I'd rather be than me.
 222 Matrix, Sun, 22nd Feb '09 4:52:59 PM from The Matrix, Canada Relationship Status: Less than three
quidf scire vis?
Oh, I get it.

So like, Lotus-Eater Machine would probably be that Plot Card that calls for two Discoveries and an Escape.

Addition: How would we go about fulfilling those?

edited Sun, 22 Feb 2009 16:53:38 by Matrix

 223 Ironeye, Sun, 22nd Feb '09 6:52:13 PM from SoCal Relationship Status: Falling within your bell curve
Cutmaster-san
Well, it was more that the arc card would call for two discoveries and an escape. An escape plot card could be: and many others I couldn't find in a five-minute search.

Each of those trope cards would have their own effects (as well as some conditions that have to be met on the board), but they would all count as an Escape for the purposes of an Arc.
I'm bad, and that's good. I will never be good, and that's not bad. There's no one I'd rather be than me.
 224 Matrix, Sun, 22nd Feb '09 6:56:25 PM from The Matrix, Canada Relationship Status: Less than three
quidf scire vis?
Ah, okay.

Yeah, that would work to make sure that people can complete Arc Cards without having to be exact.
 225 Ironeye, Sun, 22nd Feb '09 7:06:15 PM from SoCal Relationship Status: Falling within your bell curve
Cutmaster-san
Of course, now we need to make a list of subtypes, ensuring that it is neither too long or too short. I know that if I made a list, it would be biased towards Sci-Fi, Fantasy, and Action/Adventure...

Perhaps we should just start using the "random item" button and coming up with subtypes that describe each plot trope. If we do it long enough, we should get a decent list. Then again, that sounds really long and boring...
I'm bad, and that's good. I will never be good, and that's not bad. There's no one I'd rather be than me.
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