Thu'um is a tabletop card game that is based off of Skyrim. It utilizes the game's shout mechanic. I made this with four other people.
Developing the Game
We playtested two separate versions of the game. Another iteration accommodated up to four players and played in a similar style to that of Uno only with three decks to draw from instead of one. But gameplay became tedious and mundane with a single playthrough taking just over an hour. We chose this iteration because it had the best overall balance. Refining and balancing the numbers took several playtests. In designing the cards, we tried to make the information as clear as possible, while keeping the theme closely related to Skyrim.
Systems and Behaviors
Our game exhibits a balancing behavior generated by the reinforcement loops of each player. The reinforcement loops of a player’s turn consists of drawing cards which increases the chances of completing a shout which then increases the frequency of damage output to your opponent. With each passing turn the odds of completing a shout grows at a steady rate due to there being less cards to draw from each deck. And since these two loops work against each other, the behavior of our game is similar to that of a pendulum moving back and forth.
In machinations we created a diagram showing the games core system. Each colored section represents the actions of a player’s turn. The pool of forty-five resources at the start represents the number of total cards that the player can draw from. Clicking the draw icon will randomly send two of those resources to either the first, second, or third word pool. This represents the randomization when drawing cards.
Only when the player has at least one resource in each of their word pools, indicating that they have three matching words to complete a shout, can they activate their shout icon. Using a shout will use one resource from each word pool as well as push a random amount of resources, based on a six-sided dice roll, into the damage pool indicating the amount of damage done to their opponent. If no shouts can be activated after a draw then that player’s turn ends and the other player begins their turn by drawing.