Results From Game Design Challenge: In The Cards

By Danny Cowan [01.29.19]

 In the days before video games, our ancestors entertained themselves with playing cards. Card games have been around since the 9th century, and digital adaptations of card games accompanied the earliest gaming consoles.

While adaptations of games like poker and Go Fish remain popular, modern audiences are also drawn to titles that employ traditional card game mechanics like Blizzard's Hearthstone and the Mega Man Battle Network series.

Curiously, a select few video game developers and franchises have crossed over into the card gaming realm. Rock Band series creator Harmonix entered the field with 2017's DropMix, and fans of From Software's catalog have produced card game adaptations of Dark Souls and Bloodborne. We think there are plenty of other games that deserve similar treatment.

For Game Career Guide's latest Game Design Challenge, our readers adapted existing video games into traditional card games. Here are our top picks!

Best Entries

Noah Amat, Game Design Student at ArtFX in Montpellier, France, Wizard of Legend: Card Game (see page 2)

Hue Lorène, Game Design Student at ArtFX in Montpellier, France, Life is Strange: The Card Game (see page 3)

NJIKI.T Eddy Alain, Game Design Student at ArtFX in Montpellier, France, Inazuma Eleven: The Card Game (see page 4)

Whitney Thorpe, Game Design Student at The University of Montevallo, Starting 5 (see page 5)

Stève Simon, Game Design Student at ArtFX in Montpellier, France, Nier Automata: The Card Game (see page 6)

Cole Hopkins, Unaffiliated, Grim Fandango: Department of Death (see page 7)

Renan Yamao, Game Design Student at Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Paraná, Enter the Gungeon: The Card Game (see page 8)

Noah Amat, Game Design Student at ArtFX in Montpellier, France, Wizard of Legend: Card Game

Every year in the Kingdom of Lanova, the Council of Magic holds the Chaos Trials, a gauntlet of magical challenges put forth by its strongest members. Contestants that successfully complete all of the challenges and demonstrate superior wizardry earn the title of Wizard of Legend!

How to play:

  1. Roll "Dungeon Dice" to choose a dungeon to explore.

  2. Draw the first card of dungeon select and put this card on event zone.

  3. Read this card and applique the effects, when the effect is finish put the next dungeon card..

  4. When the pile of dungeon is finish, you return of Saville. You lose your goal andt you keep your gems.

  5. In Saville you can buy items (relics & arcana) and change your arcana and your equipements active.

  6. When you finish, roll dices to choose a next dungeon to explore and grow the rank of 1.

  7. When you finish the pile of all dungeon, you can fight to the final boss.

  8. If the final boss is dead, you win.

Type of dungeon card:


Put the number of enemies on enemies active zone.

(If the damage is equal of life points of enemy he is dead).

(If the player doesn't have anymore life points then he is dead).

  1. The player start the fight, he spend this action points to add damage or evade with this acanas & relics.

  2. When the player use a arcana, he roll "Critical Dice" the player add the critic stat on this score and if this score is equal or superior to 6, he add the double of damage.

  3. Each arcana use are immediately tap according to the symbol write. If the arcana is tap, the player can't use and each turn the player detap ¼ on all arcana use.

  4. If the enemy is alive, it's this turn to attack, this attack depending on this rank. Except if the player are dash to evade a attack, the player lose life points.

When the fight is finish the player take the reward write on event card. and draw the next event card of dungeon.


When the player discovery a event card "Shop", the player can buy object if he have a money.

When the player finish to buy or send, he draw the next event card of dungeon.

Hue Lorène, Game Design Student at ArtFX in Montpellier, France, Life is Strange: The Card Game

A 2 player cooperative narrative exploration game.

The scenario is composed of places, themselves composed of several cards. The complete story is subdivided into several "short acts" which always take a certain number of maximum turns to be accomplished. Players make choices that generate divergent paths in the story that themselves create changes in the circumstances of the main plot.

1. Cards & Tokens:

2. Characters: Both characters do actions like:

3. Turns: A turn represents the time it takes for Chloe and Max to complete each 1 action.

4. Powers or Capacity:

5. Others:

NJIKI.T Eddy Alain, Game Design Student at ArtFX in Montpellier, France, Inazuma Eleven: The Card Game

"Inazuma Eleven: the card Game" is a physical card game inspired by the  role-playing sports video game franchise created by Level-5 , Inazuma eleven.

The different types of cards:

both players have 11 player cards and 6 action cards.

Player cards:

Each representing a member of their football teams.

team members have different characteristics as in video games, except here; they are directly displayed on the cards.

the different characteristics of the cards are:

-The name of the football player

-The element of the football game (Wind, Earth, Fire, wood)

-The position of the football player (Goalkeeper, Defender, Midfielder, Forward)

-The special moves of the players (that depend on their positions)

-The power of the special move

-The delay of recovery of the special move (in turn)

Action cards:

Each representing an action you can do during the confrontation phase as in video games.

The different action cards are:







How to play:

Place the player cards on the field face up and keep the action cards in your hands.

Before starting the game, play rock-paper-scissors or flip a coin; The winner starts with the ball.

One turn is divided into four phases:

The first phase(initialization)

The one who does not have the ball chooses the player card that comes into confrontation with the player card equipped with the ball.

The second phase(The confrontation)

The two players choose a card from the available Action cards, then place the chosen card face down and then return them at the same time.

The shoot card and the catch card cannot be used only when a Forward has the ball. Only the forward can shoot

The last phase(The resolution)

the resolution is as follows:   

Special move>Block>dribble>intercept>pass>block

If the two players use the special move of the player card, the resolution is about the elements of the cards.

If the two player cards have the same elements, the defender always wins.

The winner is the player who scores a goal.

Whitney Thorpe, Game Design Student at The University of Montevallo, Starting 5

For this gaming challenge I wanted my existing video game to be NBA 2k19. First, I want to give you 3 simple details regarding NBA 2k19. There are 30 current teams, with a maximum of 17 players on each team with 5 starters for each team. Although basketball games are usually one team against the other, I want this card game to be a 2-4 player game. We will use 4 players as an example to explain this game concept.

The goal of this game is to have 5 cards that consist of your assigned team and you win if you have the most amount of points. Each player is an NBA basketball team owner. There is no assigned team they are an owner of until the cards are dealt. Each owner will be dealt a card with an NBA team on it. For example, one owner gets the Lakers, the other owner gets the Rockets, and so on. Each team consists of 17 NBA players, therefore, there will be a roster card for each NBA player with their stats on it and their designated team. The points are based on the players "Player Rating" on NBA 2k19.

There will be 3 total decks. One deck will consist of 4 ultimate cards. These will be the best NBA players on the different teams that the owners will decide on unanimously in the beginning of the game. Those players are based on their "Player Rating". The second deck are the shuffled roster cards that owners draw from to build their hand. The third deck is a money deck that consists of $10.00 and $5.00. Each time it is an owner's turn they will draw a roster card and roll the dice to determine how many dollars they can take. The dollars are used to buy different roster cards and or one of the ultimate cards. Of course, there will be a discard pile.

Each owner is dealt 5 roster cards each. Owners can only have 5 roster cards in their hand. If an owner has the Lakers team, their hand must consist of Lakers players to win. They want the Laker roster cards with the highest "Player Rating". However, it is not necessary to have the higher "Player Rating" players to form your team, as long as they consist of Laker players.

Owners should discard a roster card if they don't belong to their designated team. After they discard, they must draw a new roster card. Players can buy roster cards from the discard pile or an ultimate card if they have enough money. If a player's "Player Rating" is 89 it will cost a minimum of $89 to buy. Once an owner is happy with their starting 5 they say they have their team but they must wait for 1 or more other owners to form their team to go against them. The owners then put their cards down and the team with the highest added "Player Rating" players wins.

Stève Simon, Game Design Student at ArtFX in Montpellier, France, Nier Automata: The Card Game

Plot: The council of humanity server have important information that can help you to win this war, your mission get enough data to get the full access on the server.

You can play in team match or free for all.

The Player have to fight each other but when boss appear they can still attack other player or the boss.

The objective is to get a certain amount of Data card by killing the boss or stealing the other player.

Each player choose a character deck.

Each character have their own specialisation.

Character's deck



Type of card

Data Card

A player won the party when he get a certain amount of data card ( Amount choose a the beginning of the game).

The data card can be won by killing a Boss Card or stealing a player who have one.

Each data card can allow the player to use one more reinforcement.

Reinforcement Card:

By default you can use on your field only 3 reinforcement card

For each reinforcement who are active in the field you can use one action card

Reinforcement are active when they are in they original field ( Real or Virtual field )

They have also affinity with specific field that allow the player to use a pod program effect  that can be use only one time in the party, the reinforcement who used a pod program will be inactive the next turn

Field Card:

Every player can use a field card once per turn, there is a little amount of field card in each deck so you must be careful when you choose to use one.

The field card are no limited in time and be replace when a  player use an another field card.

There is two type of field card

  1. Real world

  2. Virtual World

Action card

There is two type of action card

  1. Weapons: Have a specific effect depending of the card
    Example: destroy or turn inactive a enemy reinforcement, Pick a boss Card

  2. Hacking: Have a specific effect depending of the card
    Example: Steal a reinforcement, Steal data Card

If you use a action card on a player who have no reinforcement you steal one data card from him if he have one.

Boss Card

Each turn a boss card will be pick he can be empty or boss appear.

(Some action card can allow the player to pick a boss card)

A boss card have multiple condition to be killed, the player who use the last action to kill the boss get a Data card.

Cole Hopkins, Unaffiliated, Grim Fandango: Department of Death

Department of Death is a two player competitive card game set in the Grim Fandango universe. Grim Fandango takes place in the Aztec Land of the Dead, where recently deceased souls are sold travel plans to their final resting place by travel agents working for the Department of Death. These plans range from a luxurious high speed train to a swanky sports car to a walking stick with a compass in it, and what plans someone is eligible for depends on how virtuous they were in their past life. In Department of Death, players take the role of travel agents as they jockey for the most saintly clients to sell the most expensive travel plans to.

Department of Death uses a single deck of 60 soul cards and a 6 sided die. Each turn begins with a Reaping, where 4 soul cards are drawn from the pile and placed face up. Each soul card depicts a recently deceased person. When all cards are revealed both players pick a soul to reap, one after the other (the player who picks first alternates every turn). All soul cards not picked are placed in a separate deck where they remain until the end of the game.

A soul card has the portrait and name of the character it represents, along with their 2 attributes: saintliness and a favor. A soul's saintliness is a number that goes from 1 to 6 and determines the best travel package said soul is eligible for. A soul's favor is a one time action that can be used to aid the player who reaped them. The better the travel package sold, the more points its salesman scores. Favors can take many forms, but most effect the reaping in some way. For example, one favor might add an additional two cards to the reaping, while the other might allow its user to pick their soul first. The reaping of souls and the usage of favors are the main strategic elements of the game.

Each player also has a reputation score, which starts at 1 and goes to 3. During a turn, players may elect to skip reaping and upgrade their reputation, which will raise it by one. A higher reputation makes it easier to reap souls. When trying to reap a soul, the player rolls a dice and adds the result to their reputation. If said number is higher than the soul's saintliness, the player has made a successful sale and may keep the soul card in their pile, face up. After a soul card's favor has been used, it's flipped over.

The game continues in this way until there are no more soul cards to reap. When this happens, each player tallies the total saintliness score of all their reaped cards, and whoever sent the most combined virtue to the 9th Underworld wins the game. If both players have the same score, then whoever requested the least favors wins. 

Renan Yamao, Game Design Student at Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Paraná, Enter the Gungeon: The Card Game

Players: 2 - 4




The convict: Weapons = Budget Revolver and Sawed-Off; Starting items = Molotov and Enraging photo
The hunter: Weapons = Rusty Sidearm and Crossbow; Starting items = Dog
The marine: Weapons = Marine Sidearm; Starting items = Supply Drop and Military Training; Starts with 1 armor
The pilot: Weapons = Rogue Special; Starting items = Trusty Lockpicks and Hidden Compartment

Items: Can be weapons or items.
Each weapon has a chance to hit, a damage and ammo.
Items can be passive or active and each item has a different effect

Ammo Crate: Refill the ammo of 1 weapon
Key: Used to open chests
Blank, Armor, Health


Bullet kin - Hp:10 Hit Chance: 17(D20) Effect: None
Shotgun kin - Hp: 25 Hit Chance: 13(D20) Effect: When killed has a chance to hit the players - 15(D20)
Gattling gull - Hp: 50 Hit Chance: 13(D20) Effect: Every turn that the gattling gull takes damage it atacks one more time at the end of the turn, if it hits the players roll a d20 and if the number is lower than the gattling gull roll that player takes damage.


Each player choses 1 character.
Each character has at least 1 starting weapon and at least 1 starting item.
Each player start with 3 health.
The players have to cooperate with each other and survive 5 rounds.

The players win if they survive all 5 rounds.

Each round is composed of 2 small enemies and 1 boss.

Every time one enemy is killed each player rolls a six sided dice and wins that amount of money.

When a boss is killed x item cards are set into the table and each player can get 1 card, where x is equal to the number of players + 1.

Between the 2nd enemy and the boss there's a shop round.

On the shop round there'll be 3 item cards that any player can buy.

At the start of a battle players can do 1 of 3 actions:
- Roll: Higher chance to enemy miss.
- Use a Blank, that will block all damage that would be dealt to all players this turn, Blanks are shared between all players.
- Shoot a weapon.

To kill an enemy each player rolls a die according to the weapon used to attack if they roll high enough they hit else they miss.

After all players made their actions the enemy will attack and roll a die to see if they hit, if they do hit all players take damage. If the player rolled the enemy has -2 chance to hit that player.

If a player's health go down to 0 that player is dead.

If there's no one alive the players lose.

There's no limit to how many weapons a player can have but he can only use 1 at a time.
Some enemies can drop chests that can be opened with keys, when opened the player that opened the chest will get an item from the item deck. If the chests is not opened it must be discarded and cannot be opened later.

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