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Bliss Stage: Customizable Card Game

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Notable mainly in being the brainchild of ElliottBelser, and in the fact that relationships (represented by the physical placement of cards), rather than individual personalites, matter the most in terms of game mechanics.

I've playtested it before with good results.

At this point, "CCG" stands here for Customizable Card Game - you can reasonably expect the same cards to be in a given 20-card booster or 60-card deck. Each deck is based on a game of Bliss Stage that I have either run or that I have received permission to make a cardset off of. Actual personal contructed decks will require 80 cards to be tourney legal - no more than 4 of which can be the same card.

3 kinds of decks in general, a Bliss Out deck involves forcing the other players to jump the Bliss > 108 mark, a Hopeful deck involved getting to 13 Hope before your opponents can, and a Hybrid deck can do either, but not as well.

FinalAct is a Victory based Bliss Out deck, focusing on getting massive board advantage with powerful stress-dealing Searing Rays and similar Nightmares, so that you can destroy the base on the Dark Side Of The Moon and win with no interference.

RapidEyeMovement is a Hybrid Humanity deck focusing on chaining beneficial effects off of inflicted Trauma, then redirecting Stress and Trauma from Christopher Reed and the many, many other Veterans to less vulnerable characters such as Tarragon Farah and healing them.

ChildrenOfChildren is an Awareness Hopeful deck focusing on paying for Touched cards such as Yosei Tsukino with Terror gain, then making it impossible for your opponents to use it by bleeding your Terror with All Too Much or denying them access to Nightmares with Alien Frequencies.

There are also going to be more advanced decks once I get a Round Tuit:

Circle~Star~Heart~Moon is a Victory and Awareness Hybrid deck based on Mark Wodehouse's magical girl setting hack for Bliss Stage, focusing on building a large and varied resistance with low Intimacy, but unbreakable Trust, protecting everyone with Kekkoi no Yume at the same time that your Nightmares waste the other Resistances Actions with cards like New Beginnings Mental Health Center - and when your resistance cannot Act, they become vulnerable to REAL Nightmares like Dirty Thoughts Are Bad...

Saved_By_Childbearing is a Victory and Humanity Bliss-Out deck based on Seth-Ben Erza's actual play reports, focusing on long-term Stress and Trauma prevention and winning a battle of attrition.

Telegraph_By_MacArthur is a Awareness and Humanity Hopeful deck based on my aborted Pan - SF Bay project, focusing on shifting your own Relationships around in ways your opponents won't expect and getting massive card advantage from Awareness and Humanity effects. ...which will also feature Gabby Winters, won't it? ...aaaawkward...

Not to mention the Unglued style joke set. Seriously, don't mention it. It scares me. It has cards like Crossover Campaign, Hawt Yaoi Akshun, Psycho Lunar Ex-Lover and Night of the PedoBears (Um... Sara? I think we'll handle this one.) - don't say I didn't warn you.


Basics:

The Golden Rule applies (The rules text on cards supersede the printed rules.)

During your turn, you represent an Authority Figure, an insomniac adult in charge of one of the few organized resistances against the aliens.

You also represent the Aliens, who are trying to KEEL the resistance run by the Authority Figure (player) to your immediate right, during thier turn.

This makes no sense in anything other than a game context. Just repeat to yourself, it's just a game, I should really just relax.

The main resource in this game is "Bliss." Sort of. Every card you play saps a little of your strength / patience / will, represented by gaining points of Bliss. You can gain 108 points of Bliss with no ill effect. Gain more than this amount and you lose as you finally succumb to the Bliss and fall asleep forever: without your leadership, the resistance fails. A card of average power nets you 4 Bliss: cheap cards can gain you no Bliss: the most expensive card to date gives you 9 Bliss.

To win the game, you either must be the last Authority standing (Bliss Out victory, depressingly common) or gain 13 points of Hope (Hope victory, reassuringly common).

Your deck consists of:

Characters Members of your Resistance. You can only have one Character with a given name in play on your side at any given time (Assume that thier Keenan Caine is in fact the similar-in-personality Eniac Naneek.)

Have Intimacy and Trust scores at the top, sides and bottom of the cards: these are thier "Outgoing" relationships. I'd like to note right now that Intimacy and Trust can get a LOT higher than 5 in this game fairly easily. Frex:


Intimacy 3 ^ Trust 2

Keenan Caine - Bliss Gain: 7 Carefree Hedonist

<- Intimacy 3, Trust 2 Intimacy 4, Trust 1 ->

Character - Hedonist Pilot

When Keenan Caine enters play, you may place a +1 Int / -1 Tru token on any one of his outgoing relationships with at least 2 Trust.

Why am I a pilot? Why am I a pilot? Dude! Pilots get all the action! And I'm NOT talkin' bout blowing alien shit up...

Intimacy 3, | Trust 2

If they have blank values, then they can still have "Incoming" relationships, but not Outgoing ones, in that direction.

Relationships are reciprocal, and the Incoming and Outgoing rels stack.

Sarah Smith has 2 Intimacy 3 Trust leftwards.
Keenan Caine has 4 Intimacy 1 Trust rightwards.
If you place Keenan Caine to the left of Sarah, like so:
K-S
...then the net result is that the relationship is Keenan - Int 6, Tru 4 - Sarah.

You could have a map like this, for example:


Keenan - Int 6, Tru 3 - Sarah - Int 5, Tru 7 - Nathan

 |

Int 5, Tru 3

 |

Anna

Does this diagram make sense?

Anyway. Characters can also have the subtypes Pilot and Anchor. A Pilot can attempt to score points: an Anchor makes it much easier for a Pilot to do so. More on that under Objectives.

Other subtypes: Pilots:

Innocent - tend to have high trust and abilities that boost the survival rate of other resistance members.
Soldier - tend to have high Intimacy and abilities that make it easier to win missions or play Tactics.
Devoted - make life much easier for Anchors: tend to have one good outgoing Rel and the rest of thier rels suck.
Hero - high Rels, particularly Trust, or self-destructive abilities.
Hedonist - Boost the power of everyone around them with many high-intimacy rels.
Veteran - get bennies for beginning play with Trauma.

Anchor:

Driven - increase the success rate of attempts to complete Objectives.
Kind - protect the pilot.
Tempestuous - will not die.
Saavy - boosts the capabilities of support charas.
Comforting - used to deal with Nightmare Tactics or nasty clauses in Objectives.
Experienced - Tutors, generally.


Objectives

The heart of the cards, as it were. ("I'm here to kick ass and play card games, and I'm all out of ass!" - Yami Yugi, Yu-Gi-Oh: The Abridged Series)

Mission objectives that your Pilots and other resistances' Pilots can attempt in order to score points of Hope. Have a Hope score and a Difficulty score.

Like so:


Engage Terror Drone! - 3 Bliss Too long they have ended us in fire. No more!

Objective 2 Hope for Victory - 8 Difficulty

Whenever any player attempts to complete any objective, thier Nightmare must pick any Character under that player's control. When they do, deal 3 Stress to that Character.

Whenever any player fails to complete any Objective, thier Nightmare must pick any Character under that player's control. When they do, deal 3 Stress to that Character.


A note on Hope. There are three "suits" of Hope, as it were: hope for Victory, hope for Humanity, and hope for Awareness. Acheiving multiple Objectives with the same kind of hope gives you an additional point per Objective completed beyond the first. So if you have these in your score pile:
3 Victory
2 Victory
2 Awareness
You have 8 points of hope (3 for Victory, + 2 for Victory, + 1 for additional Victory cards, +2 for Awareness = 8).

Hope for Victory cards deal with defeating the aliens outright, and therefore feature those aliens blasting the hell out of everyone until the objective is dealt with: they're powerful attack cards, in other words. Staples of Bliss Out decks, and good stall cards in a Hope deck.

Hope for Humanity cards tend to give you additional draw power or healing abilities as you set up the infrastructure to rebuild civilization; excellent defensively, for decks designed to win the Hope races.

Hope for Awareness cards manipulate the feild through superior understanding of the dream-world: they allow you to rearrange decks, boast many recursion effects, get rid of Nightmare Tactics you don't like, switch up relationships already in play and so forth. They tend towards use in shut-down decks.

In order to complete an Objective, you must send one or more Pilots to attempt it, and you must Anchor those pilots. Normally this requires you to tap... er, I mean "Have that Character act;" in the case of Anchoring a Pilot, a character with the Anchor sub-type can do as long as they are "ready" (untapped) without "Acting" (getting tapped).

In case that was obtuse:
A pilot MUST act in order to attempt to complete an Objective.
A pilot MUST be Anchored in order to attempt to complete an Objective.
Any character with a relationship to a Pilot CAN Anchor that Pilot by using thier Action.
Any Anchor with a relationship to a Pilot CAN Anchor that Pilot if they still have an Action, without needing to spend that Action.

Clear as mud? Good.

When a Pilot makes an attempt, you must total up the combined Intimacy of all relationships your attempting Pilot(s) have between all other Characters adjacent to them. This is thier "Power."

If the Power of all your Attempting pilots equals or exceeds the Difficulty of the Objective as the attempt resolves, you score or "complete" that Objective. Otherwise, you "fail" that Objective. This matters as certian effects trigger off of faliure and completion.


Tactics

Tactics are basically Sorceries (Nightmare Tactics, more like Instants, but anywho).

They come in two flavors: Mission Tactics and Nightmare Tactics. You play Mission Tactics to improve your Pilots' chances of success during an Attempt at an Objective: Nightmare Tactics are used to destroy or hinder the Pilots of the player on your right (when you do this, you are referred to as Thier Nightmare).

The right because it's anticlockwise, generally a sign of bad mojo, incidentally.

Another... nice... side effect of attempting an Objective is that doing so nets you Terror. Your Nightmare can spend points of Terror from your pool in order to play Nightmare Tactics.

Examples of each:


Hell-Fire Cannon - 2 Bliss Fueled by the very fires of hatred

Tactic - Mission

You must pick any attempting Pilot.

When you do, that Pilot gains 5 Power, this Attempt.

If that Pilot is in any Relationships with no more than 1 Trust, that Pilot gains 7 Power, this Attempt, instead.


Fata Morgana - 4 Terror Just because it isn't real doesn't mean it doesn't burn

Tactic - Nightmare

You must pick any attempting Pilot.

That Pilot's controller has a choice.

When they take Option 1, deal 3 Stress to that Pilot.

When they take Option 2, increase the Difficulty of the Attempted objective by 5, this attempt.


The attempting player may play Tactics first, and then thier Nightmare can respond: this continues until both the player and the Nightmare pass in sequence.

The play of Tactics strictly follow Last In, First Out. The first Tactic played resolves last: the last tactic first: and so on down "the chain."


Interludes

Relationship Stuff you attach to Stuff already in play, improving it. Or fucking with it.

Observe these two:


No Strings Attached - 5 Bliss / Terror

Interlude

When this Interlude enters play, you must Attach it to any Relationship you or your Victim controls.

When you do, increase that Relationship's Intimacy by + 3.

"You two... have fun?" "OH yes."


Broken Trust - 3 Bliss / Terror

Interlude.

When this Interlude enters play, you must Attach it to any Relationship you or your Victim controls.

When you do, the controller of the Characters with that Relationship may immediately play any Interlude in hand, of 5 printed Bliss or less, without gaining Bliss.

In addition, the Attached relationship loses -2 Trust. If this reduces thier Trust to zero or less, place 1 Trauma on either of thier outgoing Relationships.

"Oh, hey, Sarah! About last night... don't take it too seriously, okay? I mean, it was fun 'n all, but" we probably shouldn't get too attached... Oh, Jesus. Please, please stop crying.


If you're playing it just to futz with your Victim (If you're thier Nightmare, they're your Victim), spend the Terror from your Victim's pool. Else gain the Bliss.


Gameplay

Takes place in 3 phases.

Briefing Phase

The "Beginning of your turn" happens.
Draw two cards from your deck.
Gain 1 Bliss.
Gain X Bliss, where X is the number of incomplete Objectives in play.
Lose half of your accumulated Terror, round down.
Declare the end of of your Briefing Phase.

Mission Phase

Declare an Attempt to complete an Objective.
Have the Attempting Pilots act.
Anchor the Attempting Pilots.
Gain Terror equal to the Difficulty of the Objective.
Play Tactics.
Attempting player can play Tactics first.
Nightmare can respond.
Repeat as needed.
Resolve Attempt.
Resolve Tactics according to The Chain.
Apply the effects of Stress.
Compare remaining Power to Difficulty.
Objective Completed if Power >= Difficulty.
Objective Failed otherwise.
Check for Hope Victory.
Repeat above as needed.
Declare end of Mission Phase.

Interlude Phase

Play Characters.
Play Interludes.
Declare the "end of your turn".
Characters enter play.
The "End Of Turn" happens.
Check for Bliss Out.
Play passes to the left.

Stress, Trauma, and Destruction

You may be wondering how Pilots can be attacked.

Your Nightmare and / or other nasty things can deal Stress to either a Character or a Relationship.

If Stress is dealt to a Character, they have to distribute the accumulated Stress of a mission among thier Relationships. Specifically, each point of Trust in a relationship can soak one point of Stress: and if you can't soak all your Stress, the Character is Destroyed.

This has very interesting effects when, say, the following happens:

Keenan

|

Int 6, Tru 3

|

Sarah (5 Stress at Attempts's end)

|

Int 5, Tru 4

|

Nathan

...So, which relationship gets Trauma today?

Surely as stated, neither of them do? Can't she soak 2 of the Stress into the Trust-3 relationship with Keenan, and 3 of it into the Trust-4 relationship with Nathan, leaving both relationships (barely) afloat? --AlexChurchill

When the amount of Stress in a relationship equals (or if the Stress was dealt to a specific Relationship, exceeds) it's Trust, then one of the partners suffers Trauma.

If the Character the Stress was inflicted on has an outgoing Relationship to the parter, they MUST take the Trauma. Otherwise, you can place the Trauma on any Outgoing Relationship between the partners.

While an Outgoing Relationship has Trauma, then treat it as if it no printed Intimacy or Trust.

Should any Character ever have no Relationships without Trauma, that character is Destroyed.

Place Destroyed Characters in thier owner's discard pile.
Thier controller immediately gains Bliss equal to the printed Bliss of that Character.
Any characters with Outgoing relationships towards the Destroyed Character must place Trauma on those Outgoing Relationships!

A Destroyed Character is not de-facto dead. They might be suffering from a 404 Brain Not Found, hospitalized, ostracised, Blissed Out... anything that prevents them from having normal relationships. (A character that has been Removed From Game has been de-facto obliterated.) It is therefore possible to play another copy or fish them from your discard, and so on.

If you have a copy of a character in hand as that Character takes Stress, you may respond by revealing that Character from your hand and placing it in your discard pile. When you do, negate all Stress to that Character from that one source. (Hidden reserves of inner strength? Flashback Power? Theme Song Power-Up? Whichever seems most plausible at the time...)

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