Hyper Arrows, Part 1: Basics

 

In high school I thought of a way too complicated and messy collectible card game. That idea later evolved into Arrows. It was much simpler, but still couldn't be recreated well without a ton of effort. But now, I thought of... Hyper Arrows (may not be official title). It makes the rules a lot shorter while still keeping the concept that where you place your cards are just as important as using the right ones.

To play, you need a grid like this:

The two "S" marks are each player's starting spot, and the "G"s are the two Goal spots. To win, you need to use cards to make a path from your S to one of the G's, while stopping your opponent from doing the same. This would probably go pretty fast, so a match may consist of the best 4 out of 7 "rounds". Once somebody reaches a Goal, all cards are reshuffled and a new round starts.

It's interesting how as I've gotten older I've transitioned over to subtractive design. The simpler something is, the better. Instead of two players going against each other with their own deck, here both players would be using one central deck, like in UNO and stuff. At the start, both players draw 5-7 square-shaped cards and randomly choose who goes first. Each player can then put a card anywhere on the grid, or they can pass their turn and draw 2 cards. If you place a card with arrows on the grid next to another, it has to match the color of all arrows it touches. Keep building a path like this to the Goal, and you win the round! Simple enough, right?

Of course, I've also thought of several types of cards the opponent can use to make your life miserable. They can destroy your cards on the grid, move or rotate them (without causing an illegal match), redirect your path, or simply place a path card near the goal you're going for so you have to get just the right card which matches the colors in EVERY direction.

You have ways to counter some of these though. Whenever you play a card, you have the option to "protect" it by placing a chip in the center of it. When protected, the opponent can not use that card for their own path. More importantly, that card is locked in place and can't be destroyed or moved. However, you only get a small number of these "protect chips" to use throughout theentire match, so you have to use them very wisely.

And one more thing. If you're bold enough to create a path that goes from your Start spot all the way to your opponent's Start spot, you win instantly, no matter how many rounds behind you were. 

Here are some possible cards I drew up while I didn't have much else to do:

As of now I haven't actually made any physical materials for this yet. It's just an idea for now, but maybe I'll test it soon. One other good thing about this idea is that it wouldn't be that complicated to program... ;)

Misc stuff:
- The final round could be a "sudden death" round, taking place on a 5x5 board instead of 7x7.
- I thought of having the arrows also have numbers on them you could match (also like UNO), but felt it's not necessary.
- Perhaps to discourage certain path cards from being destroyed, some could give bonuses when the opponent destroys them.
- There may be cards that let you peek or steal from the opponent's hand directly.
- Somebody could box another player in completely with protect chips, so there'd probably be some clause against completely trapping them in.
- There could be differently shaped grids, with the Start spots and Goal spots moved around.
- If the deck runs out, either the discarded cards could get reshuffled, or the round could be decided by "sudden death" like above.