One of the reasons why it’s a good idea to have multiple drafts of rules, punctuated by playtests, is because you’ll quickly find problems that should have been obvious before. A little over a week ago, I posted the first couple of rules for the card game I’m developing, including the first, and possibly the most important and/or iconic player power, “Divination.”

The power reads like this:

“Players may draw lot and reveal Destiny equal to its value. (If you have no cards in your Destiny at the start of your turn, you lose the game.)

A single playtest revealed the brokenness of this rule. I drew a Queen for my lot, and of the eleven cards I revealed from my deck, I had a 9, two 10s, two Jacks, a Queen, and a King. Using the other rules for moving cards into the Reserve and activating them, I put my 9 in Reserve and then activated it five times, which would have cost my opponent five cards in the first turn of the game.

Thinking about this afterward, I realized how much more complicated the whole process would be if there were individual rules on the cards drawn, and how the first turn could well be the longest, not to mention the last, and I realized that there was something fundamentally broken.

I quickly revised the rule to the following:

“Each player may draw lot, then reveal 3 Destiny. If you win the draw, reveal an extra 1 Destiny. (If you have no cards in Destiny at the start of your turn, you lose the game.)

Following the revised rule, it should be possible to reserve and activate a single card to attack, or to reserve two cards. The player who goes first gets what amounts to a free shot. If the first player makes a poor choice of which card to Reserve, the second player will be able to hit them back harder.

Also, I realized that this revision of the power makes it so that drawing lot actually does something, which it didn’t in the previous version. Looking back on it now, I feel like a bloody great git. I hate superfluous rules, it’s so messy to have loose ends dangling off the ends, cluttering up an otherwise straightforward game.

From here on out, I’m going to make a design rule (I’ll have to add this to my design “bible”) that no mechanic may call for players to draw lot if it doesn’t also contain at a result for the winner of the draw (or at least a result for what happens to the loser).