Thermal Showdown

An educational card game of physics

The basic idea

To make a collectible cards game about physics, specifically regarding thermodynamics at high school level.

Thermal Showdown is a game set in a duel between two mad scientists in their battle-suits. The battle-suits are impenetrable, so each scientist is trying to overheat the other into a blackout.

The gameplay is reminiscent of such games as Pokemon, Magic: The Gathering and Hearthstone.

Notice: This post refer to the first version of Thermal Showdown.
Find updated info and cards here: Thermal Showdown info

Fancy cards example v2
Note that this design is work in progress (working on getting licensing for images), current alpha version has more simple black-and-white design

Example of play

To get a good impression of the game, and learn to play in record time, read through this example. Don’t worry if it seems long, most of it is pictures 🙂

Notice: This post refer to the first version of Thermal Showdown.
Find updated info and cards here: Thermal Showdown info

The rules

Battle cards basic stats:

  • Energy cost (to play)
  • Defence stats:
    • Heat Capacity (HC)
    • Maximum difference in temperature (dT)
  • Offence stats:
    • Output power (OP)
  • Special abilities

Basic gameplay:

Setting up the game

  • Each player starts with all his cards in his main pile, shuffled and face down.
  • Each player draw 7 cards from his main pile into his hand.

Every round the active player

  • reset available energy and any activated cards
  • increase his available energy by one – so available energy equal to round nr.
  • pick up one card from his main pile of cards.
  • play a number of cards from his hand limited by his available energy
    • Battle Cards: are on the table until defeated
    • Trick Cards: are used once – some may permanently empower a Battle Card
  • attack with a number of battle cards (not cards played this round)
  • battle cards that has “activate to…” may only activate if they did not attack, and if they were not played this round.
  • end the round, starting the round of the next/other player.

In combat

  • Attacking battle cards may target any battle card
  • Players may only be targeted if there are no defending battle cards
  • When a battle card is targeted, attacker and defender apply their damage = OP to each other.
  • If a card takes at least the same damage in one round as it’s combined defence value, HC*HT, it is defeated.
  • If a player takes damage, it is summed up. When the player reach 20 damage, he is defeated.
  • When a battle card is defeated, it is placed in its player’s discard pile along with any attached trick cards.
  • These rules are modified by card special abilities

Multiattack

  • When two or more battle cards attack the same defending battle card simultaneously:
    • The defending card receive damage from all attackers
    • The defending card apply its damage to a single attacker
    • The defending player choose which attacker takes damage

Deck building

  • Identical cards: 1 copy allowed for every 10 cards in the deck.
  • Players should have same number of cards in their decks.
  • Some common cards have “mass produced”: No limit to number of copies.

Details

  • When a player has used up his main pile of cards, he shuffles his discard pile and use it as his main pile.
  • Battle cards that has attacked or activated are turned sideways to indicate this.
  • Counters (fx. coins) or dice are used to keep track of available energy, player damage and battle cards with counters.
  • Trick cards go to the discard pile after use – unless they attach to a battle card.

Battle Card special abilities

Examples, not a complete list.

Radiance: This card may activate to deal one damage to target battle card or player.
Activated cards may not attack, and cards that have attacked may not activate.

Blocking: Attacking Battle Cards may only attack this card and others with blocking.

Mass produced: No limit to number of copies.

Trick Cards

Fuel explosion: You may choose the amount X of energy paid to play this card.
The card deals this amount of damage to target player.

Improve resistance: Energy cost: 2 kJ.
One battle card get +2K max. temperature difference (dT).
Place this card visible behind the battle card.

Double mass: Energy cost: 3 kJ.
One battle card doubles its Heat Capacity (HC). If the battle card has Mass Increase, double the amount of mass counters instead.
Place this card visible behind the battle card.

Notice: This post refer to the first version of Thermal Showdown.
Find updated info and cards here: Thermal Showdown info

Example cards

Toy soldier

Energy cost: 1 kJ
HC 1kJ/K, dT 1K, Power 1kW.
Mass produced: No limit to number of copies.
“A tiny lighter is glued to his hand”

Infrared lamp

Energy cost: 3 kJ
HC 1kJ/K, dT 1K, Power 1kW.
Radiance: This card may activate to deal one damage to target battle card or player.
Activated cards may not attack, and cards that have attacked may not activate.

Steamer

Energy cost: 5 kJ
HC 2 kJ/K, dt 2K, Power 6 kW

Notice: This post refer to the first version of Thermal Showdown.
Find updated info and cards here: Thermal Showdown info

Write your experience

Have you tried out the game? How did it go? Are there any unclear points in the ruleset?

Did anything make the game dull: predictable, too long or too short?
And what changes would you suggest?

I need your feedback to decide which new cards should be added in future versions, to provide the most engaging experience possible.
You can write on the blog or tag me in the FB group Octalysis Explorers.

Also: Read my other blog post about gamification of teaching (English).

Bo Paivinen Ullersted

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