At It’s inception the Original JiuGo card game was an attempt to express the strategy and flow of Brazilian jiujitsu, this is not an easy thing to do…
The infinite combination of movements and positions that can occur during a roll, ( jiujitsu sparring) makes putting it into an ordered cohesive frame work a true challenge, so I had to simplify and categorise the game into 2 Distinct pathways to achieve a submission victory.
No.1) Guard: When you pull an opponent to the ground and start to work off your back ( bottom Position) using legs and arms to control them. Even though there has been some bias against this as if ‘Pulling Guard” was a submissive action. The truth is Guard in all its variation is just as attacking if not more so than playing from the Top Position.
No.2) Take Down: This occurs when you throw, wrestle or tackle your opponent from a standing position, landing them on the ground while you stay standing or kneeling ready to make your next move. The major advantage in taking an opponent down is it scores 2 points and you can move straight to a position of Control.
These 2 major Positions are followed by Transitions which are then followed by Control positions. Ultimately the goal is to finish any sequence with a Submission.
I. Sweeps- these can only be played from Guard and result in the ability to advance to a Control position OR to attack with a Submission.
II. Passes- Thesee can only be played directly after a TakeDown and give the player the ability to advance to a Control Position or attack with a submission.
Note- While both of the above seem to be interchangeable in value and action Sweeps are awarded 2 points when successfully consolidated with a Control and Passes are awarded 3 points when consolidated with a Control.
If either card is not consolidated and left as the last card in a sequence they are easy to counter and no points are awarded.
The next step in a sequence from either major position can be a Control or a Submission. Within the framework of JiuGo you must play at least 2 cards before attacking with a Submission. I structured the game in this way to stress the fact that attacks needed some set up and could not just be played individually without sequence. This is more an attempt to convey the true nature of good jiujitsu, even though in reality a submission can haphazardly be applied in isolation it is unlikely to be successful and at this time I had no other way to express this.
As JiuGo can be won on points not just by Submission playing a sequence using a Control Card maximises the points that can be achieved as most Controls are awarded 4 points ( with the exception of Knee Ride 2 points)
And allows the scoring and consolidation of points for Transition cards.
If a player has no Submission cards they can finish their run of cards with a Control, this can only be countered with a Scramble. If the player being subjected to the Control card has no Scramble they miss a turn and now the Controlling Player has opportunity to draw new card in attempt to find Submission cards and have an opportunity to attack.
In the case of a 4 player game the Player who played the Control card maintains control over the deck until any of the other 3 players can produce a Scramble to Counter the position. If no other player can counter the Control position the Controlling player can the draw more cards and have opportunity to attack.
To keep JiuGo fluid as a game I created a Scramble card. This functions as a multi-purpose card that can take the place of any card in a sequence other than a Submission. Once a Scramble is played positions are neutralise which allows players to link unrelated cards together in order to create an attacking run of cards. Scrambles are not awarded any points but are valuable as they directly counter Control cards.
In this original incarnation of JiuGo the strength of any attack or defence was determined by pure chance= a dice roll. While making things fun and unpredictable this did not reflect the strategic and chess like play of real jiujitsu. This required deeper thinking to improve the game mechanics to reward players for putting together stronger, linked combos of movements that reflected the true nature of the art. This began the growth and development of the Jiugo Core Deck.
Enter the Flow Icons…
Flow Icons: These small but distinct images at the corners of the new JiuGo Core Deck are represented in both Blue Circular Motifs = Guard Flows and Red Hexagonal Glyphs = Pass Flows. There are 4 of each featured in the Core Deck and will expand in number and variety as more movements and positions are introduced through future expansions.
Players are rewarded for building runs of the same Flow by having stronger attacks for the more of the same linked Icons.
To give strength to a sequence of cards played, each successfully linked card gives a compounding strength similar to a Fibonacci sequence.
-A pair is equivalent to a 3 strength Attack ie. Card.1 + Card.2 = 3
-A Three of a kind gives a 6 strength Attack ie. Card.1 + Card .2 + Card .3 = 6
-Four of a kind is a 10 strength Attack ie. Card.1 +Card.2 +Card.3 +Card.4 = 10
For attacks with a strength less than a 6 there is an opportunity to be countered with a dice roll. A defending player must roll greater than or equal to the strength of the attack to successfully defend.
Players can still put together unlinked sequences of cards but this leaves the strength of the attack purely to chance.
The dynamic nature of jiujitsu is hard to convey and represent, especially the more chaotic back and forth elements that can happen in actual rolling.
So I designed Blitz Cards to represent these moments as opportunities to turn the tables in the game.
Blitz Cards: Scramble, Reversal and Counter Attack cards give opportunity to interrupt the flow and attack of other players and offer a chance to reverse the flow of play in a multiple player game.
When doing jiujitsu with someone new, it isn’t always possible to know their physical capabilities even though their belt may denote a certain level of technical development. Power cards add an element of unpredictability that can either strengthen a players hand or conversely weaken the hand of an Attacking player.
Power Ups+: These cards can strengthen both attack and defence making them very valuable if your hand isn’t strong or your defences need bolstering.
Mischiefs – : These cards give you the ability to partially weaken an attacking hand played against you but can also partially disable an opposing players ability to defend.
While both cards may appear to function in exactly the same these power cards will take on many varying strengths and specific roles in changing the state of play as JiuGo evolves and expands, new cards will be introduced providing a more exciting and dynamic game play.
Not only have the game mechanics been drastically improved so too have the graphics, the major piece of feed back I took on was to make this game more visually appealing- this was quite a process! Not being a graphic designer or digital illustrator meant I had to teach myself how to use procreate with some online help from youtube tutorials to get the card art to where it is at this stage.
In terms of conveying the emotion and physical feeling that each technique and position evokes is not simple. So after many failings and hundreds of hours of drawing I have settled on the current card art. Once there is a bigger community of JiuGo players and I am in the position to do it I am happy to invite in guest artists to take JiuGo’s graphics to the next level.
JiuGo Core Deck will be released on December 7th and represents 18 months of work to evolve the game technically and visually. This is only the beginning and I happily take feed back about how to improve the game. Just so you know this is the base and the expansions are coming, also that the comic will be out by mid 2020. Really looking forward to hearing from anyone who has played and enjoyed the game.
That’s how we roll,