Some time around 8th grade, I started making a card game that is sort of the wacky ancestor of Arrows. Its name was Legacy of Time, and to put it simply, it was a huge mess. It seemed promising and exciting to me at the time, and I turned many of the creatures and other things I created in that game into Arrows cards, but now that I look back on it, it was far too unbalanced and complicated for most people to truly enjoy it at all. Also, the only person that was actually interested enough to try a few duels was my stepbro, who also had one or two small games of his own he made around then.
The rules of this game were pretty similar to other card games, including Arrows. You drew cards and played certain ones in order to reduce your opponent's HP to 0 (I think both players usually started with 100... hard to remember). Both players alternate turns, and you could use several different cards to attack, defend yourself with, and cause various effects. It sounds familiar, but the way things were executed did not flow well at all. These were the different types of cards that were used:
- Creature cards: You could play up to 5 of these down onto the "field" (or whatever I called it back then) for free. Each card had a value of a certain amount of stars. When you had a total of 10 stars or more, you were allowed to start attacking either other creatures or your opponent directly. You could sometimes choose between certain attacks that did certain amount of damage (such as "3 damage 10 times", which shot up to insane levels if you could boost attack power). Each one also had their own amount of HP (at least I think so? Anyone who remembers, HALP). Creature cards also be selected to defend against certain attacks (it didn't matter where they were at all), but if they didn't have enough HP and Defense to cover the damage of the attack, they were discarded.
- Character cards: Very powerful, essentially broken versions of the creature cards. They were supposed to represent actual people and stuff. There were no real good drawbacks to their insane power. What the hell was I thinking?
- Attack cards: These were placed closer to you, and one could be stored at a time. They could execute some kind of attack from yourself directly; as soon as you used this, your turn automatically ended, meaning you'd want to only do this after you don't have enough stars to attack with the Creatures. Almost all Attack cards were constantly either useless or too strong, and there wasn't much incentive to have many. It was usually better to replace it with a Creature card anyway if you were actually arranging what you wanted in your deck.
- Defense cards: Similarly stored like Attack cards, but you used them when the enemy attacked to reduce the damage you would directly recieve. Compared to other types of cards you might need, these were amazingly useless.
- Add-on cards: You could place these onto one of the Creatures on the field to make it stronger or even unlock one of its abilities. These weren't that bad.
- Timer cards: These were cards that caused some kind of effect until its "time" ran out (each unit of time was 1 turn). Some were instant use and had a time of 0. You could only put one down at a time.
- Counterattack cards: These could interrupt an attack the enemy was doing and cause an additional effect. These were usually situational, and a good amount of creatures or a Defense card could stop an enemy attack anyway.
In addition, there was an "unusable" type of card, which usually had parts of a set that had some kind of reward attached to it. If this ever got semi-popular, these could have been used for contests and things like that, but it never took off.
This was way too many bloody types of cards.
All of the first four types of cards I listed have blended into the Field cards of Arrows. The Add-on and Timer cards became what are now Effect cards (which now only affect the cards they point at, not the entire field). Counterattack cards and the instant Timer cards are now Special cards. Just having the three different types of cards makes each one so much easier to manage, and no type is useless.
I make the Arrows cards out of notecards cut so that the cards are squares, but I used printing paper for the Legacy of Time cards. I also wrote down descriptions of cards on the back of them, for reasons I really don't know why. Somewhere around half a year to a year after making some cards, I replaced most of them and gave the cards better designs. They were still made from paper, but the backs of them all had the same logo, and the cards were easier to read. This still didn't solve the issues of all the useless and broken cards out there.
Perhaps if I removed a ton of the problem cards and tried to find reasons to use all types of cards, I still could have salvaged something out of it. But to top it all off, most of the Legacy of Time cards got destroyed a long time ago. There are probably around 3 or 4 fully intact cards from that game stashed somewhere at home out of the over 100 that once existed. I chose to stop thinking about doing anything more with that card game ever again after that happened. But years later, I chose to remake the game with a unique concept and a new name, and here we are.
I think Arrows solves a lot of the old problems that haunted the old game, and possibly even many other card games in general. There are no stars or anything similar in Arrows, so you can start gaining points by using just one Field card. Once you got an unstoppable force in Legacy of Time (especially cards with "unblockable damage"), it was nearly impossible to break through it. Now, it's way easier to find holes or weaknesses in any big forces somebody tries to build up. Not only that, but if somebody wants to pay the large amount of points to get all those powerful cards out there, it's going to take them a lot more total points to actually win the game. Even after you're hit with a giant attack, you haven't lost just yet. The opponent can have hundreds of points, but the game isn't over until he trades for that final Arrow Piece. You still may have one or two turns to draw that one card to turn things around when things seem hopeless.
One more very important thing: In no way do I think Arrows is perfect yet. There are still a few flaws I see with some things, but I'm attempting to balance them out without changing the entire game.