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All Collectible Card Games (like Magic the Gathering or Yu-Gi-Oh!) I know require the players to shuffle their decks before the game begins. Also, the deck's card order is unbeknown to the players.

For the game I'm currently designing I thought about letting the players arrange their decks beforehand (so they know exactly which card they draw when, assuming a perfect memory or a virtual match). However, to find out if this is a good idea, I'm looking for at least one CCG that incorporates this mechanic to study it's rules. Do you know any?

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This sounds like it would play a little bit like roborally. Each turn you chose the order of the 9 cards you will play. –  xorsyst Jan 3 at 17:04
It's not a CCG per se, but Mage Wars is a no-shuffle dueling card game. –  asfallows Jan 13 at 16:52
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2 Answers

up vote 5 down vote accepted

Not sure how applicable it is, since it doesn't have an actual physical card-based implementation (and ergo isn't strictly on-topic for this site), but Alteil is a (free) online game based on CCG deck-building mechanics.

Decks are built of thirty cards, limited only by a maximum of three copies of any given card. One card can be played each round, and this card is freely chosen from all available cards so there is no shuffling or randomization involved; the player has full access to his own deck.

(Again, this doesn't strictly meet your requirements of "letting the players arrange their decks beforehand" as there's no actual drawing involved — the player's "hand" is effectively his entire deck throughout the game — but it arguably does meet "so they know exactly which card they draw when" so I'll keep going...)

All the randomization that's not in the card selection is found in the actual card abilities themselves. For example, whereas targetting is common in a typical CCG (at least the ones I've played), it's actually an exception in Alteil. Most attacks — even the default attack action — only hit random units within range, but the player has no control over which units beyond ensuring the intended targets are "within range". Targetted attacks do exist, but usually with a trade-off (e.g. higher cost or lower damage). As such, gameplay itself is much more akin to a tactics game than most CCGs, with a higher emphasis on field layout and timing.

Detailed rules can be found in the Alteil Rule Book; the fundamentals of game phases and stack resolution and card-text-trumps-everything are clearly in-line with existing deck-building games, even if the whole game is probably too complex to (enjoyably) play as a physical CCG.

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Thanks. Replacing drawing with all-cards-available is probably the best option to overcome the time consuming sorting mentioned by K.L. –  user1478302 Dec 30 '13 at 14:51
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IMHO letting players set up their decks pre game in a CCG is a bad idea.

First of all, Magic has the shuffling for a reason. One of them is porviding randomness to the game and giving the players the chance to work with what they got. Without that, all of the actual game would be happening in the metagame.

Knowing what your opponent plays and in what order would be instawin if you had proper cards in your collection. The best cards would be very pricey in such a ccg. If two different first turn win combos could be set up with your card base, the game would effectively become rock paper scissors. The players would not be thinking "what can I do with the cards at hand" during play - play would be just the execution of patterns the deck was designed and set up for. If you set your deck the wrong way pre game you would lose. If you were lucky, you would win.

Perhaps it is possible to invent mechanics that let you get around these problems, but in my opinion it is not worth it, as the pre game deck setup isnt really a part of the game thats interactive and fun, and it would be tiresome to set it up again after each game before you can play another. Shuffling is easier and more convinient. So - what do you actually want to achieve with pre-game deck setup mechanics? Perhaps this is a case of the XY problem, and there are in fact better solutions?

On a side note, I feel that making another ccg is not viable. Magic was first and still is the biggest after 20 years. It aint going away anytime soon. Its kind of like WoW in the MMO world. There are some other MMOs, and they do thier little thing, but they cant compare to WoW and its playerbase.

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The tiresome sorting is a good point. However, I have chosen goldPseudo's answer as it comes nearer to the question. –  user1478302 Dec 30 '13 at 14:54
PS (exceeded 5 minutes edit frame): Primary I wanted to explore this mechanic to eliminate the random element. I hoped I could encourage players to build a balanced card sequence with small, pre-built combos. You still don't know what cards your opponent has, so you may not always play your pattern as planned. Regarding viability: It's just a hobby project, nothing to conquer the market. I would release it as an open "source" game anyway. –  user1478302 Dec 30 '13 at 15:11
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