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Thanks for the KoL tip. My game is really rather simple card game strategy, with strict rules and requires skill to play, no luck involved. Players don't have "decks", they all share the same deck of cards. Basically, it plays like chess, all players are equal. So, there's no room for in-game economy between players.

Currently I'm considering the following models:

1. pay for some additional units (cards) which would basically mean that some players who pay have additional strategies available (not necessarily more powerful, but rather more diverse).

2. pay to play more. Amount of duels per day would be limited, and thus the player's progress. The game will feature a ranking system with levels, so paying players could advance faster.

The second one seems closer to KoL model. Which now gives me an idea. I could separate the rankings system (leaderboard) from the player leveling system, so that leaderboard is limited to, say, first 5 matches each day, while you could still play additional duels to level-up faster. Although, leveling-up has no effect on the gameplay, it's purely cosmetic.

I'm still not sure if 1. or 2. would make more money, but making more money is not my primary concern. I just want the game to be sustainable and attract as many players as possible.

I believe many indie developers like me are facing the same questions themselves, esp. when they read that Supercell is making gazilions.

Avoid #2 at all costs. Nothing drives me away from games faster than "Please wait X time (or pay more money) before you can continue playing," whether it's a daily action limit, or some kind of "endurance" hack, or whatnot.

You want people to invest themselves in your game, and being multiplayer having more players online at once is only ever a good thing. Turning away players is counter-productive.

Notably, the designers of KoL have also abided by that -- your actions per day are limited, but there's no way to directly turn real world money into more turns. (There are indirect ways, but you can almost always get them cheaply with in-game currency as well.)

I've had some of the same thoughts about my own card game. Here's one adjustment you could make to your option 1: if one player has purchased the additional units (cards), then both players get to use them. This is what Blizzard has just enabled for Starcraft II, and is what Goko (sigh) did for Dominion. (please do not use Goko as a model overall however - I can't stand the UX)

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