Long time listener, first time poster. It has only gone through a few rounds of playtesting and edits for grammar/clarity, but I made a Giant Bomb TCG. I have a print-friendly PDF of the game with all 98 collectible cards (and a page for back, if you want to print them), but I don't know the best way to make those sharable to you. I'll embed images of the cards below for your perusal.
I tried my best to honor the legacy of Giant Bomb in all it's iterations, and to make a game that was relative simply to play while still allowing for card-pair synthesis and gambits that allow skill growth in the game over time. Based on the playtests, the game is takes approximately 40 to 60 minutes to play. Any feedback you have about the game (art that needs to/should be changed, unbalanced cards/strats, typos, missing credits) let me know and I'll update the file. I hope you find it fun to play, or at least interesting to read through. Without further ado, the rules:
Giant Bomb TCG
In The Giant Bomb TCG, two players compete to create their own podcast and determine who wins the internet! Players will have conversations about content, for which they will be awarded the all-important Podcast Points. The game occurs across three rounds, called segments: Games, News, Emails. Each segment consists of five turns. At the end of 15 turns, the player with the most Podcast Points (PP) wins!
Deckbuilding: Before beginning the game, you must build a deck. Pick 5 Crew cards, with the option to replace one Crew card with a Guest card. You and your opponent may both select the same Crew and Guests. For each Crew selected, add five copies of that Crew card. This will start a deck with 25 cards. Next, select 15 Content (or Bonus Content) cards to add to the deck. Shuffle the deck of 40 cards. Note that each player has their own deck.
How to Play: Play is divided into three Segments (or rounds): Games, News, and Emails. Each segment consists of five turns. Each turn you play one card, which represents the conversation occurring during the Segment. Cards consist of four types: Crew, Guest, Content, and Bonus Content. Each Segment must start (Turn 1) and end (Turn 5) with a Crew Card being played, referred to as “speaking”. Decide whether you are Team Bombcast or Team Beastcast. The player who chose Bombcast goes first.
At start of play, draw five cards. Play one card from your hand to the next open spot on your card line, starting with Turn 1 of Games (that is to say, you cannot place a card in a future turn slot). At the end of each turn, add any PP earned to your Podcast Point pool and then draw back to five cards in your hand. If you ever have either five Content cards or three or more of the same Crew/Guest, you may choose to set one card from your hand aside, shuffle your hand back into your deck, and draw four cards. Once played, cards will never be moved or removed from play (no edits in this recording). After the final turn, add up your total podcast points. The player with the most PP wins!
It is highly recommended that you play with some form of coins (such a pennies for 1 PP and nickels for 5 PP) to keep track of the podcast points. Take and add coins to your PP pool as you score. If a skill would give you points later, such as at the end of the game or on a later card being played, place the PP on top of the card to remind you that you have an outstanding action.
Crew - These are the cast of Giant Bomb. There are no restrictions to which Crew can be on which show. You will choose five Crew and each Crew comes with five copies of the card. Each round of play must begin and end with a Crew member speaking. Each Crew Card has two “power bombs”, which are unique powers that earn Podcast Points. Each time a host is played, you get +2 base Podcast Points (unless otherwise instructed), then you declare which power bomb you are using and gain any appropriate bonuses.
Each power bomb may only be used once per segment. If two power bombs on the card are applicable when played, the player must choose only one of the power bombs to apply. You can still play a Crew card even if you cannot use their power bombs (you receive base PP and affect other power bombs). To help you remember, if you use the top power bomb, tap the card horizontally, and if you use the bottom power, tap the card upside down.
Guest - This represents a one-time guest on the Cast. Guests only get +1 base PP when played, but are needed to play Bonus Content cards. As with Crew Cards, Guests can only use each power bomb once per segment.
Content - These special cards can be played on Turns 2-4 in a round and enhance other cards or alter the format of the show in some way. Some Content cards will specific which Segments they can be played during. Content cards cannot have duplicates in a deck.
Bonus Content - These special cards can only be played immediately after a Guest speaks. They are harder to play, but also are generally a bit more powerful. Remember to only include them in you deck if you also include a Guest! Bonus cards cannot have duplicates in a deck.
- The ▲ icon means that your opponent is affected by this skill. This is almost always a loss of Podcast Points.
- There is a PP coin in the top right of every card. Their colors indicate:
o Yellow: This card can gain you Podcast Points during the game
o Pink: This card can gain you Podcast Points at the end of the game
o Blue: This card has an effect other than earning Podcast Points
- Some cards may add a sixth turn. These cards cannot stack. A Segment will never have seven turns.
- Yes, Matt Rorie is a guest that gets +2 PP. This is to honor that he was a Giant Bomb employee, even if he was only a guest on the Bombcast.
- Card Draft: While the recommended play is that you build your own deck from your own card collection, two players can play from one set of cards. For this mode, lay out all Crew and Guest cards. Flip a coin to decide who draws first. Players then take turns selecting their Cast and Guest until both have five sets. Put the Cast and Guest cards to the side and lay out the content cards. The player who chose Crew second gets first draft at Content. Keep drafting until both players have 15 Content cards and begin play as normal. It is worth noting that this will affect the amount of knowledge players have about each others’ cards since they saw their deck before play.
- Game of the Year/Endurance Run: You may decide before had that you want to play one of these match types without needed to take up a space in a player’s deck. Find the right content card and set it above the board. Follow the rules it says as normal. It is recommended players agree to this mode before building their decks.
So that's the TCG! Like I said earlier, I have a PDF I can share that you can print once and get the appropriate number of copies for all the cards (I didn't do all the work to make the card back print properly though). I did make some draft variant cards (I initially planned to do five different images for each Cast card, I still may in the future), and I played around a bit with making foils, but I think having this as a baseline works. Some design thoughts I'm still ruminating on:
- Does everyone feel treated fairly? I wanted the personality of each person to come through in their card, so for example Dan play a bit more targeted, Grubb focuses on being played in the News, but I don't want any of the cards to feel mean. I worry a bit about cards such as "Egg Whites", though I tried to write the cards to feel more like they were in on the joke. If any card feels insensitive, I will correct it.
- Does everyone at base 2 PP make sense? I've thought about making the Hosts of the shows (Ryan, Gerstmann, Brad, Jan, Vinny) have +3 PP base, but it felt a bit overpowered in play testing and made Lucy's power seem less interesting.
- Does the theming come through? I want this to feel like the gang is talking through a podcast and reflect the tropes of the show. For example, Austin's Deep Analysis power has him talking for 40% of a segment to get more Podcast Points. I want to make sure the metaphor isn't too disambiguated.
- Should the Mike Minotti card instead be a Mitch Tolkoto card with a power called Mike Minotti? This has kept me up at night.
I have a million more questions, but I'll stop here for now. Feedback is appreciated!