Love seeing your thought process in game design. I don't really have much to contribute to individual card designs, but a few comments on Hostile Takeover in general:
Why 13 life? I guess a lower life total makes for faster games, but why 13 specifically? Was that number chosen for aesthetic reasons? I'm not sure how 13 fits in with the theme of the game. Something like 10, 12, or 15 would be more pleasing, in my opinion.
The mercenary typelines are kinda confusing. Wraith Human makes me think a human who's a wraith, not a human affiliated with a group called Wraith. Maybe you can show faction affiliation by symbols on the card?
How much do faction affiliations matter? Cards from different factions can support different strategies, but I imagine most cards would be generally useful. Out of the Wraith cards you talked about, there's only one that cares about other Wraith cards. Maybe you can consider some mechanics to reward players for committing to one faction? Like, maybe making it easier to purchase cards of a faction that you already have a lot of cards of, or something like that? Or maybe just have a higher concentration of faction-matters cards. That might make the gameplay more linear than you want, but I think having more defined affiliations for players might make for better flavor at the very least.
Covert is nowhere near as flavorfully resonant as flying. Why can covert mercenaries automatically block other covert mercenaries? I wonder if there's something more intuitive to fill the role of flying.
Maybe you can change some of the core mechanics, such as those surrounding combat, to differentiate Hostile Takeover from Magic more?
One thing I think would be vital to the success of the game is good signposting. There's been a lot of times where I've started a game, only to give up in frustration because I had no idea what to do or what kinds of strategies to pursue, due to insufficient signposting. If I were to sit down and play a game of Hostile Takeover now, I would have no idea what a reasonable price would be for each card. Have new players been able to learn how to efficiently bid? What steps have you taken to help them learn?
Are you going to publish the game when you're done?
All in all, this game looks really fascinating, and I would love to play it when it's done. Or possibly help playtest it when you need playtesters.
Second Azurespirit on changing the name of Covert to make more sense for what it does. It kinda makes sense now, but you have to think about it, and there's nothing about the thematic that feels essentially associated with the effect. Given this, there's probably a better option.
I also second changing the representation of faction alignment on cards, but instead of using a symbol/icon, I recommend moving the faction type to the front of the type line before the card type, like how legendary is used in MTG. This means that, for the purposes of faction synergy, you can still clearly call out the alignment by the name as would be referenced by faction-matters cards, while making it clear that the faction type is not a mercenary subtype like human. You could alternatively use symbols, but reference the symbols as part of the faction-matters cards.
1) While we don't use As-Fan here, as it doesn't quite apply to the way players receive cards, we do make exactly 1/3 of the mercenaries of each faction. As you auction until you get a mercenary, we know mercenaries will be equally represented. From here it's a simple matter of checking out the turn count to ensure enough mercenaries are auctioned to get a good mix. Right now it seems reasonable.
2) The entry barrier is something we're considering. The rules aren't the barrier here, but rather the confidence. After playing one game, players tend to fell like they have a much better idea of what something is worth. We're likely going to include a few example turns to prime players in terms of gold value, and possibly have a rule that the more experienced player goes first (as the first player sets the price for the cards of the first auction, and the second player only needs to figure out if they want to pay 1 more than the first player's suggested price at that point). Tiers of cards might be helpful, but I'm not sure how to work that in without recommended gold prices, which is its own issue in misleading.
@DJK - We're open to other suggestions for the Covert word. I'm surprised at this reaction though. It seems pretty thematic. Covert operatives can't be blocked by normal opperatives. You need counter-intelligence, other covert ops, to engage with them.
I like switching things around to be "Wraith Mercenary - Human" Instead of "Mercenary - Wraith Human" too.
We're open to other suggestions for the Covert word. I'm surprised at this reaction though. It seems pretty thematic. Covert operatives can't be blocked by normal opperatives. You need counter-intelligence, other covert ops, to engage with them.
It's just that it seems perhaps a little too subtle of a connection. Whereas flying fits with the effect very intuitively and directly, this is less so. Maybe just using 'flying', perhaps as 'flight' would work. It's not definitely an issue at all though, I guess testing could give a sense of how easy Covert is to understand and remember in what it does.
After hearing "this is a game about card evaluation, we can (and have to) make the cards very complex", I was kinda suprised by how simple most of the cards are. I mean, how many of these would even qualify as rares? I was expecting much crazier designs, so the card file would have a bit of a cube feel. I haven't played the game though, so I can§t tell if that is an issue.
Because of all the open information and the constant subgame of trying to gain a credit advantage (which isn't in MtG due to the way all mana untaps every turn.) means even a seemingly simple design creates a fair bit of complexity in what the correct bid it, especially as we want the focus to be on the bidding.
However we think your point does have some validity and have been looking at adding some designs with a bit more complexity especially in evaluating while still not being too impossible to the boardstate. Examples include both a Clone Shell and a Warden of the First Tree variants.
The first thing that went through my mind after listening to the faction breakdown was "oh look, Terran, Zerg and Protoss"
Haha that's a cool comparison. I'm not sure that was a conscious decision on our part but your right that certain archetypal sci-fi themes does lead to that.