So I am blanking on the word for this, but the goal is for the character to get stronger over time (power curve), where the character gains levels/items. What I am looking for is different ways a player can add new spells to their kit (imagine every one is a wizard, and they need to create a spell book and add to it through the game). I don't want to have a level up system. for example, things like every few turns, they draw a new spell card and add it to their inventory, killing an enemy and it drops loot. What other way can the player add to their kit to handle more difficult enemies?

  • 2
    Can you clarify what you're asking about exactly? What is wrong with drawing cards and adding them, as you have described? What is different about dealing with more difficult enemies?
    – Deo
    Commented Sep 21, 2018 at 10:51
  • I think he's not saying there's nothing wrong with the drawin cards system but he's looking for other possible ways of upgrading the skillset of a player so he has more freedom when designing his game.
    – Desolli
    Commented Sep 21, 2018 at 11:04
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    I just can't find the right timing. We are debating if players should start with a list of spells, or gain more as they go. There is also completing events where you gain a reward on completion. I want a power curve so players can handle more challenge as you go, and everyone is working towards an and game "battle". I want some form of tension when getting new spells, and even if you gain a spell you are not looking for there is still value (that comes with making the spells). I don't mind getting more detailed with specifics about my game, I just want to focus on this one aspect.
    – dcarney999
    Commented Sep 21, 2018 at 15:41
  • More information about your game is needed as the basics of how the game works can greatly impact suggestions that you are looking for.
    – Joe W
    Commented Sep 21, 2018 at 17:24
  • You are a team of witches, you gather resources, bring them back to your culdren. While you out our searching and preparing, the town is trying to hunt you. If you kill enemies it brings more awareness (almost like a wanted meter). You can kill and focus on battle tactics if you would like or go stealth. Thats the basics of what I'm looking for. Let me know if you want more details
    – dcarney999
    Commented Sep 21, 2018 at 19:09

2 Answers 2


I'm commenting your examples first and then adding a couple more:

  • Drawing from a deck:

It's a way of randomizing how the character evolves, but it needs to be balanced as players expect to learn more powerful spells when they advance in their adventure. So it could be done this way if you arranged the deck previously or separated the cards in more decks. In addition, forcing players to learn the spell they draw could make them feel they're not free when choosing their way to play, so you could make them draw two or more cards and choose between them.

  • Looting

Being another random system of learning spells, can be felt odd as a monster could carry equipment, gold and other treasures with it but not a spell which is not something physical. It could be solved by making all enemies wizards who carry spellbooks with them, but I'm not sure that's the game your looking for. So I'm not sure about how this system would work. Anyway, it would be too random again, and needs some kind of arrangement like the previous one.

  • Buying

Essentially a experience system, where instead of earning experience you earn gold (or other sort of money) and you spend it on spells. The main difference with the experience system is that you can save the money to buy spellbooks more powerful than other, or choosing to split it between less powerful spells which give you a more dynami way of playing.

  • "Copying" or learning from the enemy

Make spells only available for a player after they've seen it used by another character or enemy. Not every spell they see, of course, but make them remember the spells they've seen and after a few turns making them stop and meditate/concentrate/etc to replicate one of the spells they've seen.

  • Some kind of "enlightment"

The wizard performs a very difficult move and they are successfull, then he discovers new ways of magic. Players would need to accomplish an achievement in order to unlock a more powerful or different spell. Achievements could be hidden or shown, and in case of being hidden even keep hidding them after someone gets the spell, so other players need to figure out how the player did it. But again, I'm not sure which kind of game you are trying to create, so maybe the achievements won't fit in it.

  • This was more so what I was looking for in an answer. Are there any more you can think of or readings I can find on this?
    – dcarney999
    Commented Sep 21, 2018 at 20:04
  • After playing for a few years these are some of the ideas that came up to my mind. There must be something where different playstyles are written, but I can't find to think of any of it. I've read what you've said about your game and the prerequisite/exchange system could ift, as your witches need to gather resources, they could use them to create new spells. The players could start with a list of the spells and need to gather the exact ingredients to create them, and as they complete one list, win a new one (random or not). If something more comes to my mind I'll edit my post
    – Desolli
    Commented Sep 24, 2018 at 6:49

Note: there are many details about the pacing of the game that would really clear things up. For instance, when/how do you encounter "more difficult enemies"? Do you just work through a deck of increasingly difficult challenges (enemies)? If so, you can regularly schedule upgrades (say, every 4 or 5 encounters).

Now when you say that you want to avoid a "level[ing] up system", that's also unclear. Are you opposed to tracking XP? To having multiple stats that depend on the character's level?

As for specific mechanisms, the first one that comes to mind is the way that technology works in Twilight Imperium 4ed. If you look at the bottom right card in this image, you can see two blue icons on that card. That is a prerequisite for researching that technology (you need to have two technologies that provide that blue icon before researching "CARRIER II").

In your game, you would have several weak/simple spells with no prerequisites. Then tier 2 spells would have 1 or 2 prerequisites (maybe as flexible as "any two spells"). You can make the better and better spells require more icons, so a super Fireball would require 3 fire icons, and a Firestorm would require one each of fire, water, and wind.

  • 1
    Ok so I like the prerequisite idea, dark souls board game did a really good job with that. We are planning on playing twilight imperium in a few weeks so it will be a good refresh. For pacing it will be a matter of, as time goes more town's folk will be moving around searching. It might be increasing difficulty, but it would be more adding quantity. Every 2 turns or so, each area would draw an event card. Oh and I like the idea of having "3 fire icons".
    – dcarney999
    Commented Sep 21, 2018 at 20:03

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