Author Topic: Online Card Games Thread  (Read 7188 times)

Offline Wingflier

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Online Card Games Thread
« on: July 31, 2016, 11:54:52 PM »
I decided to make a new one because the Hearthstone thread is about 800 pages long and it's not really about Hearthstone anymore. I mean I don't mind if we talk about HS here, but the overall Arcen community consensus is that it's not one of the better ones out there anymore, obviously with some exceptions of course. It's still probably the most popular anyway.

But the reason I wanted to make this thread was because I believe it was this forum which introduced me to Spectromancer, which was a fantastic little card game on Steam. It never grew super popular but it had a lot of really neat elements that made it different from other games. For example, you didn't build your own deck, you chose a class and were given a set of random cards each game, and were tasked to use them as efficiently as possible to secure the victory.

All in all it was great stuff, and the classes themselves were very unique and dynamic as well. It was a wonderful card game.

Well, I guess this same company has come out with a new one, this one seems to be much more for mass marketing because I believe it's free to play and it's got an online platform built-in. It's called Astral Heroes.

Here are some of the key features which really caught my eye, especially after having such a blast with Spectromancer:

*Thoroughly polished game balance, no useless cards
*Deep cards synergy
3 different game modes:
-Collect cards and build your own custom deck.
-Play with random pre-built decks
-Draft tournament: draft cards from random packs and use them to build your deck
*Sophisticated AI in addition to human rivals

-----

I think it's awesome that they're trying to make no useless cards. The dominant meta-narrative when it comes to card games nowadays is that useless cards are necessary for achieving overall balance and introducing players to the game. Here's an article written by Mark Rosewater of the Magic the Gathering development team in 2002, in which he makes the explicit claim that "By definition, some bad cards must exist."

He gives a very long and thoughtful reason as to why this is the case, and of course this is in response to the frustration of many players who have spent their hard earned money opening booster packs only to receive pure cow manure.

The thing is, I just don't agree with him. I still don't understand why all the cards can't be good, or at least why that can't be the design goal. Obviously there's always going to be a metagame that favors certain types of cards and decks over others, but that doesn't mean that certain cards should be designed de facto bad.

I've gotta be honest - Designing bad cards on purpose sounds more like a not-so-subtle business model to me than some logical and completely honest design decision created with the sole purpose of improving the game.

The trouble is, every game card game I've ever played has them. So everyone is following this model, and it's nice to see a company which is trying to break away from that.

Furthermore, Spectromancer's (their previous game) most fun mode was the random pre-built decks based on class. You could build your own decks but having the pre-built decks was awesome and the randomness and diversity of the classes kept you entertained for a long time, even just against the computers (which were damn good).

To know that you'll be able to have practically endless fun only using the pre-built random decks, without having to spend a penny or a second on the game just seems amazing to me. I'm excited to try it out.
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Offline TheVampire100

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Re: Online Card Games Thread
« Reply #1 on: August 01, 2016, 02:58:17 AM »
Okay, so far we got these games already in the other thread:

Duelyst
Solforge
Chronicle

I want to add some other games to the list.

Magic Duels

Spoiler for Hidden:
Basically Magic the Gathering as online game. they had this before but it wasn't very popular except for hardcore players for mutliple reasons. It wasn't free. That's not entirely true, the client was free, the cards just weren't. You either had to buy cards in the store for real money relating to the current market value of cards. People who know printed TCG very well, esspecially MtG, will know that buying specific printed cards can be very expensive.
Magic Duels is now finally the free variant of the game, its engine is based on the "Duels of the planeswalker" game series they released once each year. Peopel who own these games know that they are very well designed in terms of gameplay but (except the last game) lacked a real deck builder, you had pre-defined decks with some minor card customization options. I haven't played Magic Duels myself but i believe it removes the deck restriction and is in its core more true to the real MtG. the reason why they suddenly release a free online TCg should be obvious. With the rising tide of online tradign card games there has been created a huge market that you can profit from. Also the interest for real TCGs gets lower since you can have your daily fix on card games faster and cheaper on the internet. Real hardcore fans will of course stay, but if you want to make big profit you have to increase the market. I think for people who want the MtG experience without the need of buying real life cards this is a good replacement.


Pox Nora

Spoiler for Hidden:
Pox Nora can be seen as the "ancestor" of Duelyst if you want to put it like this. it features similiar mechanics but is a LOT older. The first version was released around 2006 and was previusly owned by Sony Online Entertainment. 2011 it was closed down until 2014 it was sold to Desert Owl Games and rereleased with a better marketing system. Similiar to Duelyst it is a cardgame mixed with boardgame mechanics. Each player has runes (cards) that he can play. Cards can be only played in casting range which is first near your shrine. Your shrine is a giant building that generates Nora (mana) for you and has to be protected. If it falls, you loose.
To play cards you have to pay the Nora costs, stronger cards cost more just like in any other game with a mana mechanic. To get additional Nora each turn you can capture Nora fonts that are present on each map. Your enemy can do the same but if both players stay in the capture range of the same font, the font is negated for both. Capturing and holding fonts is a very important aspect of the game and if you cannot hold the position you will probably loose the game.
I could descripe stats and abilities of cards but the problem is, Pox Nora has TONS of these. So I will put it simply to give a basic understanding. Every card can be a champion or a spell (and some other minor cards like equipment which basically also counts as spell). Champions have different movement lengths, attack ranges and other stats. Additionally every champion has abilities, the most basic ability of every champion is an attack. It's importnant to know, the attck counts as seperate ability and can be different from each creature which means it can also have different effects.
Additoonally to the attack a champion can have one or more spells or other special abilities. And some champions can also have passive effects on them that are either pemanent active or active when a certain condition is met.
When a champion dies he leaves a Nora globe worth half his initial Nora costs in its spot. Both players can collect the globe by moving with another champion over it. This is important to know because a player that lost a champion can still manage to get half the costs back and with this not losing advantage.
Champions can only be placed aroudn the shrine or captured Nora fonts. Spells can however be casted in cast range. Cast range is generated by shrines, fonts and even champions. Everything outside the cast range cannot be targeted, so you cannot snipe a creature next to the enemy shrine if you have no creature nearby.
Every rune can be used multiple times however with a limit. When a champion is destroyed or a spell played, the rune goes into "cooldown" which is basically the graveyard in other games. After a number of turns you get the rune back to your hand. This allows unlimited use of runes.

The game is very complex and needs a lot of tactical awareness at all time. Therefor I see Duelyst as the "casual" version of Pox Nora which is easier to learn and master.
There are 8 different factions in the game that belong to either the "good" side or the "bad "side. Each fation has additional to its runes a special ability that affects the game. For example the undead faction has lower cooldowns on their runes, meaning they can "reanimate" dead champions faster. You can also mix two factions as long as the faction ratio is 50:50. If you mix two factions, you get a weaker version of the special ability of both factions.

The game is really interesting and worth to check out as long as you are not afraid of deep strategic games with a lot of factors and stats to keep in mind. I had a lot of fun with it and will probably pick it up again soem time soon since a new set has been released recently.
« Last Edit: August 01, 2016, 03:08:16 AM by TheVampire100 »

Offline Misery

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Re: Online Card Games Thread
« Reply #2 on: August 01, 2016, 04:04:13 AM »
I decided to make a new one because the Hearthstone thread is about 800 pages long and it's not really about Hearthstone anymore. I mean I don't mind if we talk about HS here, but the overall Arcen community consensus is that it's not one of the better ones out there anymore, obviously with some exceptions of course. It's still probably the most popular anyway.

But the reason I wanted to make this thread was because I believe it was this forum which introduced me to Spectromancer, which was a fantastic little card game on Steam. It never grew super popular but it had a lot of really neat elements that made it different from other games. For example, you didn't build your own deck, you chose a class and were given a set of random cards each game, and were tasked to use them as efficiently as possible to secure the victory.

All in all it was great stuff, and the classes themselves were very unique and dynamic as well. It was a wonderful card game.

Well, I guess this same company has come out with a new one, this one seems to be much more for mass marketing because I believe it's free to play and it's got an online platform built-in. It's called Astral Heroes.

Here are some of the key features which really caught my eye, especially after having such a blast with Spectromancer:

*Thoroughly polished game balance, no useless cards
*Deep cards synergy
3 different game modes:
-Collect cards and build your own custom deck.
-Play with random pre-built decks
-Draft tournament: draft cards from random packs and use them to build your deck
*Sophisticated AI in addition to human rivals

-----

I think it's awesome that they're trying to make no useless cards. The dominant meta-narrative when it comes to card games nowadays is that useless cards are necessary for achieving overall balance and introducing players to the game. Here's an article written by Mark Rosewater of the Magic the Gathering development team in 2002, in which he makes the explicit claim that "By definition, some bad cards must exist."

He gives a very long and thoughtful reason as to why this is the case, and of course this is in response to the frustration of many players who have spent their hard earned money opening booster packs only to receive pure cow manure.

The thing is, I just don't agree with him. I still don't understand why all the cards can't be good, or at least why that can't be the design goal. Obviously there's always going to be a metagame that favors certain types of cards and decks over others, but that doesn't mean that certain cards should be designed de facto bad.

I've gotta be honest - Designing bad cards on purpose sounds more like a not-so-subtle business model to me than some logical and completely honest design decision created with the sole purpose of improving the game.

The trouble is, every game card game I've ever played has them. So everyone is following this model, and it's nice to see a company which is trying to break away from that.

Furthermore, Spectromancer's (their previous game) most fun mode was the random pre-built decks based on class. You could build your own decks but having the pre-built decks was awesome and the randomness and diversity of the classes kept you entertained for a long time, even just against the computers (which were damn good).

To know that you'll be able to have practically endless fun only using the pre-built random decks, without having to spend a penny or a second on the game just seems amazing to me. I'm excited to try it out.


Okay, time for me to play my role as devil's advocate and be unpleasant and stuff:



The whole "no useless cards" idea just isn't going to work, honestly.  I don't believe it to be possible. 

It's just like in any other type of game design... balance is *difficult*.   Everyone that makes multiplayer games tries to get it right.   Everyone that makes multiplayer games never does.   Hell, it's hard enough in single-player games.   There are always "tiers", there are always good/useful things VS bad/useless things, and so on.

But card games are even harder to balance than most.  There's just too many cards, and in addition to this, any game of this type can only hold the community's attention by continuing to release new sets of cards over time.  Each time that happens, not only do they have to worry about the balance of the new set, but they have to worry about the balance of the new set in the context of every conceivable interaction with every possible card of the old set.  Every individual card has a chance of altering the meta a bit, very often in ways that were never forseen during the creation phase.   And then old cards may start to break down as other things enter the fray.

As for that feature list... isn't that basically the same feature list that EVERY card game tries to sell you on?


The one core thing though, to me, is the community:  "Is it big enough?" is always my question.  There's no point in playing one of these if the community isn't bloody HUGE, because it means taking 10000 years to find opponents, and only very, very rarely being matched up with one of equal skill.   Usually with this type of game, this is the problem I spot, and that ends my interest in them entirely and instantly.   And I know that these games boast AI opponents, but I've never seen one that isn't dumber than a sack of hammers.  Which is too bad, as if there was one that could provide genuine, constant challenge, well... as in most games I'd rather face an AI instead of the general unpleasantness of having to deal with another person.  But AI is just too bloody stupid as a whole, currently.  Granted, to be fair, I'm NOT the best judge of difficulty in... pretty much anything.  Which has been proven more than a few times.  But still, that's been my experience with AI in general.


I'd love to find some new card games myself, but it's been a LONG time since I've spotted one. 

I don't have too many opinions on the ones listed here, though Duelyst loses my interest with the bit that reminds me of FF Tactics.  I'd really rather just have the cards, thanks....

Overall though, aside from that one I'm willing to at least try any of them, it's not like I have much else to do... though not right away as currently the Arcen stuff will be taking up a lot of time.

Offline Wingflier

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Re: Online Card Games Thread
« Reply #3 on: August 01, 2016, 04:50:40 AM »
Quote
The whole "no useless cards" idea just isn't going to work, honestly.  I don't believe it to be possible. 

It's just like in any other type of game design... balance is *difficult*.   Everyone that makes multiplayer games tries to get it right.   Everyone that makes multiplayer games never does.   Hell, it's hard enough in single-player games.   There are always "tiers", there are always good/useful things VS bad/useless things, and so on.
I think I said in my introduction (or strongly implied) that perfect balance is not attainable.

There are always going to be certain decks and combinations of cards that outshine others, at least temporarily until the metagame shfits, usually as a result of new cards or card changes.

However, the point is that the goal of the design is to make all cards viable, the way that certain MOBAs attempt to make all heroes viable.

The reason that DotA 2 is the best MOBA out there, both in terms of competitive depth and in terms of e-sports and financial success, is that it does a wonderful job of making all the characters viable. Yes, some are always going to fit into the metagame better from patch to patch but, in the end they're all playable on the right team and in the right situation.

You're not understanding what I'm saying: Games like Hearthstone and Magic the Gathering are intentionally making bad cards. It's not a case of, oh well, this card isn't as good as we thought it was and we'll fix it eventually. It's a case of intentionally producing bad cards as some sort of design decision/business model.

I don't care that perfect balance is impossible to achieve, we all know that. I care that this is the goal in mind, and that the developers are just throwing a bunch of trash at us like they do in...well every other card game ever made.

Quote
As for that feature list... isn't that basically the same feature list that EVERY card game tries to sell you on?
I just got finished explaining (now twice), that every card game I've ever played up to this point (excluding Spectromancer, by the same company) is intentionally putting bad cards into the game. So no, that's definitely a new selling point that doesn't exist in the others.
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Offline Misery

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Re: Online Card Games Thread
« Reply #4 on: August 01, 2016, 08:06:41 AM »
I've seen the article before;  to be honest, the only impression it had on me was "that's the best excuse he can think of?"   It always seemed like one of those long rants designed to seem like it's giving you info, while really just clouding things.  And the point you say he's making about it being "on purpose" conflicts with something else he very directly says. Let's look at this paragraph, just before his long rant:

Quote
“Bad” cards fall into the latter category. When I said, "Weak cards are a fundamental part of the game," what I was trying to say was that due to the nature of trading card games, it’s impossible not to have “bad” cards. They exist because they have to exist. R&D has no control over this. We never have. Alpha didn’t have “bad” cards because Richard Garfield didn’t know any better. It's just the nature of trading card games.

Kinda conflicting with his supposed overall message there.

Though, even if what he says is the case (and even then, he's only able to speak of HIS game, not... any of the others at all), I seriously doubt that all TCG designers (or even many at all) purposefully design sucky cards.   Magic can get away with it to a degree because it has 10 squillion cards. It's also the first, and the biggest (unless HS has gone further, heck if I know).  Hearthstone gets away with it.... sort of... because Blizzard is backing it, and they are the absolute grandmasters of getting players obsessed with their games, even when their games are made of issues and problems.  But basically everything else?  I really doubt that idea applies whatsoever.  MOST designers (particularly those that have anything resembling pride in what they make) will always prefer balance over... everything else.  Because why wouldn't they?   Whats-his-face there might have come up with some reasoning behind bad cards, but that doesn't mean it's good reasoning (not to me anyway, like I said, it reeks of "we couldn't think of a better excuse"), PARTICULARLY for smaller games that need to get off the ground and don't have seemingly unlimited resources behind them.  When you don't have 10 squillion cards and aren't Blizzard, when you aren't some sort of juggernaut, you cant afford to purposefully stick useless crap in your game.  That's wasted content and wasted development time, both of which mean little to the big guys yet are all-important to everyone else. And the small size of the game makes it hurt all the more (wheras in Magic's case, it has no effect at all; there's still TONS of useful cards due to the sheer number of total cards, and even though players get irked at crud cards in packs, they keep coming back anyway).  The percentage of "useless content" VS "useful content" is just too high when you start making derps on purpose when you've got a new game that's not been around for a million years and has very few total cards.

That's why I say it's "nothing new" when they say that in this case.   In fact, the ONLY thing it is, is a sentence designed to sell you the game, like all bullet-points.  I've never been one to care about what a developer's INTENTIONS are with something, to be honest... all I care about are the results.  Does the game ACTUALLY end up with super balanced cards?  Or does it not?  That's all I look at, since that's the only part that will have an actual effect on the gameplay.  What may or may not be going through the devs' heads is not of my concern or interest.   And one way or another, the chances of the game ending up in their promised state is next to nothing.  Frankly, it's EXACTLY the wrong kind of promise to make for that very reason.  Promising something that's basically impossible is... not a good move.

Offline Aklyon

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Re: Online Card Games Thread
« Reply #5 on: August 01, 2016, 10:35:46 AM »
Okay, so far we got these games already in the other thread:

Duelyst
Solforge
Chronicle

I want to add some other games to the list.

Magic Duels

Spoiler for Hidden:
Basically Magic the Gathering as online game. they had this before but it wasn't very popular except for hardcore players for mutliple reasons. It wasn't free. That's not entirely true, the client was free, the cards just weren't. You either had to buy cards in the store for real money relating to the current market value of cards. People who know printed TCG very well, esspecially MtG, will know that buying specific printed cards can be very expensive.
Magic Duels is now finally the free variant of the game, its engine is based on the "Duels of the planeswalker" game series they released once each year. Peopel who own these games know that they are very well designed in terms of gameplay but (except the last game) lacked a real deck builder, you had pre-defined decks with some minor card customization options. I haven't played Magic Duels myself but i believe it removes the deck restriction and is in its core more true to the real MtG. the reason why they suddenly release a free online TCg should be obvious. With the rising tide of online tradign card games there has been created a huge market that you can profit from. Also the interest for real TCGs gets lower since you can have your daily fix on card games faster and cheaper on the internet. Real hardcore fans will of course stay, but if you want to make big profit you have to increase the market. I think for people who want the MtG experience without the need of buying real life cards this is a good replacement.


Pox Nora

Spoiler for Hidden:
Pox Nora can be seen as the "ancestor" of Duelyst if you want to put it like this. it features similiar mechanics but is a LOT older. The first version was released around 2006 and was previusly owned by Sony Online Entertainment. 2011 it was closed down until 2014 it was sold to Desert Owl Games and rereleased with a better marketing system. Similiar to Duelyst it is a cardgame mixed with boardgame mechanics. Each player has runes (cards) that he can play. Cards can be only played in casting range which is first near your shrine. Your shrine is a giant building that generates Nora (mana) for you and has to be protected. If it falls, you loose.
To play cards you have to pay the Nora costs, stronger cards cost more just like in any other game with a mana mechanic. To get additional Nora each turn you can capture Nora fonts that are present on each map. Your enemy can do the same but if both players stay in the capture range of the same font, the font is negated for both. Capturing and holding fonts is a very important aspect of the game and if you cannot hold the position you will probably loose the game.
I could descripe stats and abilities of cards but the problem is, Pox Nora has TONS of these. So I will put it simply to give a basic understanding. Every card can be a champion or a spell (and some other minor cards like equipment which basically also counts as spell). Champions have different movement lengths, attack ranges and other stats. Additionally every champion has abilities, the most basic ability of every champion is an attack. It's importnant to know, the attck counts as seperate ability and can be different from each creature which means it can also have different effects.
Additoonally to the attack a champion can have one or more spells or other special abilities. And some champions can also have passive effects on them that are either pemanent active or active when a certain condition is met.
When a champion dies he leaves a Nora globe worth half his initial Nora costs in its spot. Both players can collect the globe by moving with another champion over it. This is important to know because a player that lost a champion can still manage to get half the costs back and with this not losing advantage.
Champions can only be placed aroudn the shrine or captured Nora fonts. Spells can however be casted in cast range. Cast range is generated by shrines, fonts and even champions. Everything outside the cast range cannot be targeted, so you cannot snipe a creature next to the enemy shrine if you have no creature nearby.
Every rune can be used multiple times however with a limit. When a champion is destroyed or a spell played, the rune goes into "cooldown" which is basically the graveyard in other games. After a number of turns you get the rune back to your hand. This allows unlimited use of runes.

The game is very complex and needs a lot of tactical awareness at all time. Therefor I see Duelyst as the "casual" version of Pox Nora which is easier to learn and master.
There are 8 different factions in the game that belong to either the "good" side or the "bad "side. Each fation has additional to its runes a special ability that affects the game. For example the undead faction has lower cooldowns on their runes, meaning they can "reanimate" dead champions faster. You can also mix two factions as long as the faction ratio is 50:50. If you mix two factions, you get a weaker version of the special ability of both factions.

The game is really interesting and worth to check out as long as you are not afraid of deep strategic games with a lot of factors and stats to keep in mind. I had a lot of fun with it and will probably pick it up again soem time soon since a new set has been released recently.
Didn't we also have a Shadow Era thread at somepoint?

Offline Wingflier

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Re: Online Card Games Thread
« Reply #6 on: August 01, 2016, 11:22:05 AM »
Quote
Kinda conflicting with his supposed overall message there.

Though, even if what he says is the case (and even then, he's only able to speak of HIS game, not... any of the others at all), I seriously doubt that all TCG designers (or even many at all) purposefully design sucky cards.
As you said, the message is overall very conflicting.

He seems to be torn between, "We make bad cards on purpose as a design decision to add skill to the game and ease new players into the meta" and "Bad cards are an inherent and unavoidable part of trading card games, no matter how much we attempt to circumvent them in our design."

Regardless, I don't agree with either. There is a difference between suboptimal/niche cards and flat-out bad cards. There are for example, cards that may not fit into the metagame, but statwise and effect-wise are still useful overall, and when the meta changes could be incredibly useful again; or alternatively, could be what leads to a major metagame shift.

But we aren't talking about suboptimal cards, we're talking about bad cards.

Quote
MOST designers (particularly those that have anything resembling pride in what they make) will always prefer balance over... everything else.  Because why wouldn't they?
Money of course. If you can sell overpowered cards for high prices while at the same time inundating the average player's deck with trash, there's a huge incentive to keep opening packs until you get good ones.

The better question is, why wouldn't a business make money their priority? In a Capitalistic society you should always expect people to put money first. Expecting anything more is a little idealistic in my opinion. I mean let's be real, Blizzard and Wizards of the Coast did not get to where they are without becoming extremely corporatized organizations. That doesn't mean that they don't care about their customers...in so far as they are making them money.

Quote
Promising something that's basically impossible is... not a good move.
As I've said before, intentionally avoiding bad cards as part of your design standard is not impossible. Suboptimal or niche cards? Of course, that's always going to be there.

Bad cards? Nope. This is intentional for sure.

I honestly don't think it would be that difficult to balance cards in a reasonable (non money grubbing fashion), and to update their stats every few months to reflect necessary changes. I also don't think it would be the most optimal business model, which it's why it's in these companies best interests to have you believe that creating balanced card sets is impossible.






« Last Edit: August 01, 2016, 11:23:36 AM by Wingflier »
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Offline TheVampire100

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Re: Online Card Games Thread
« Reply #7 on: August 02, 2016, 12:27:55 AM »
I just want to show the rewards of the July season of Chronicle and Solforge for those who don't play these games.

Chronicle:
Spoiler for Hidden:
Chronicle gives away each Season a new card back for people who achieved silver or higher. You also get a free booster pack (which is good since booster packs are really expensive and hard to come by in this game) and a new card. the card this time was sheep penguin who removes one base attack from your character but you get 5 gold for it. This may sound bad but in some deck it is good to have less attack than your opponent. In my opinion this card back looks a lot better than the one of the last season.


Solforge:
Spoiler for Hidden:

Solforge gives away a lot more but Solforge lacks the cosmetic options that other TCGs have. It had client skins earlier but they weren't included when the new client came out. Instead you get a card with an alternate art (Ambriel Archangel, legendary Alloyin card). Alternate Art cards are basically what foil cards are to real card games. They have an alternate appearance, most are simply recolored versions of the original card but soem have also a complete new artwork.
This is how Ambriel Archangel looks normally: http://sites.cdn.stoneblade.com/cardart/combined-low/ambrielarchangel-combined-std.png
This is the alternate Art: http://solforgegame.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/ambriel.png
As you can see, they've added soem kinf of glow effect to the card. This sin't very impressive but it's a free alternate art card, normally they cost gold (premium currency), so I don't except them to put that much effort into it.
Additionally you get 8 boosters, 4 basic and 4 raider unchained (last expansion) plus 15.000 silver to buy additionally booster packs or forge your cards.
« Last Edit: August 02, 2016, 08:13:35 AM by TheVampire100 »

Offline Cyborg

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Re: Online Card Games Thread
« Reply #8 on: August 02, 2016, 09:35:42 PM »
Not a fan of most card games. Asymmetric money grabs. It's not even about skill, but who can either pay to win or spend all day grinding decks. Poor matchmaking, imbalanced expansions that promote that cash treadmill, obsolete cards, need I go on?

Card games also suffer from the one HP stack problem. There is one HP target for each player, even if you add more cards. Contrast this with RTS games, which I think should be the closest design equivalent for card games.

That being said, I picked up sentinels of the multiverse during the summer sale, and I have been enjoying that as something a little bit different from most card games.
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Offline Logorouge

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Re: Online Card Games Thread
« Reply #9 on: August 02, 2016, 10:15:49 PM »
Card games also suffer from the one HP stack problem. There is one HP target for each player, even if you add more cards.
I don't understand what you mean there. Maybe I'm mistranslating that part. Would you mind elaborating a bit? If it's a universal problem with that type of card game, I would be very interesting in knowing about it.

Offline Cyborg

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Re: Online Card Games Thread
« Reply #10 on: August 02, 2016, 10:45:05 PM »
Card games also suffer from the one HP stack problem. There is one HP target for each player, even if you add more cards.
I don't understand what you mean there. Maybe I'm mistranslating that part. Would you mind elaborating a bit? If it's a universal problem with that type of card game, I would be very interesting in knowing about it.

Sure. For example, let's take the game of magic the gathering. You get 20 HP per player or whatever it is now (it's been a while), and the object of the game is to get that number to 0. There are various strategies that do not depend on monster battles to directly attack the HP stack. The singular HP stack.

And this is what I see as the problem. In a battle, the only way to win is by targeting this HP stack. There's only one of them (no choice). In some games, there are various ways of completely avoiding creatures to directly attack the HP stack. In a game like civilization, or RTS games, it's not one singular building. There isn't just one HP target. There's a choice, and that choice becomes strategy.

I think it's because these card games are based on the dueling wizard fantasy, and these cards are the extension of your wizard choices, rather than providing a more nuanced or strategic HP target(s).
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Offline Logorouge

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Re: Online Card Games Thread
« Reply #11 on: August 03, 2016, 12:04:28 AM »
And this is what I see as the problem. In a battle, the only way to win is by targeting this HP stack.
Ah, now I get it. Thanks.

The old games usually "solved" that problem by having alternate victory conditions, be it in the form of a ritual or a special creature, etc. But I guess digital games are a bit more shy about including such options.

Offline TheVampire100

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Re: Online Card Games Thread
« Reply #12 on: August 03, 2016, 01:47:28 AM »
Yu-Gi-Oh has mutliple special ways to win the game but require of course the specific cards. The most common known is of course Exodia, a multi-part monster. You have to get all parts on your hand and win the game. Then there has been released some kind of spirit board that reveals each round a new letter on the field (in the form of spell cards) until you have formed out "Death" and win the game. This is easier o achieve then Exodia since the first card automatically searches the other cards for you from the deck but a single "destroy a spell card" effect can remove all of them.
Then there was the self destruction countdown. An emergency plan for players who couldn't win a match coul use this card and stall there opponent until the countdown reaches zero and both die.
There have been multiple special victory condition cards released afterwards and I don't know them all but they never have been a viable option for competetive decks because those victory conditions relied too much on certain cards and that your opponent cannot counter them (which was easy to do), so they were only played in fun decks.

Offline Misery

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Re: Online Card Games Thread
« Reply #13 on: August 03, 2016, 02:10:52 AM »
Card games also suffer from the one HP stack problem. There is one HP target for each player, even if you add more cards.
I don't understand what you mean there. Maybe I'm mistranslating that part. Would you mind elaborating a bit? If it's a universal problem with that type of card game, I would be very interesting in knowing about it.

Sure. For example, let's take the game of magic the gathering. You get 20 HP per player or whatever it is now (it's been a while), and the object of the game is to get that number to 0. There are various strategies that do not depend on monster battles to directly attack the HP stack. The singular HP stack.

And this is what I see as the problem. In a battle, the only way to win is by targeting this HP stack. There's only one of them (no choice). In some games, there are various ways of completely avoiding creatures to directly attack the HP stack. In a game like civilization, or RTS games, it's not one singular building. There isn't just one HP target. There's a choice, and that choice becomes strategy.

I think it's because these card games are based on the dueling wizard fantasy, and these cards are the extension of your wizard choices, rather than providing a more nuanced or strategic HP target(s).

That "focus" though that you perceive on the HP stack, honestly, means damn little in an actual match between players that know what they are doing.

Yes, in Magic, you could make a red deck (red being the best at direct damage) and try to just blast your opponent into oblivion in a focused fashion.   ....this is unlikely to work.  A few reasons, the prime one being your OPPONENT'S monsters.  The reason why that focus simply doesn't work is that, one way or another, you HAVE to deal with more than one target.  Your opponent will put out monsters of their own; if left unchecked, they *will* kill you.  Typically, you need to have your own monsters to block them.  And even with that, if you JUST focus your spells on the opponent, you're probably going to get flattened due to a major hole in your defenses, despite having monsters to block for you.   And some matchups will make this even harder.   Blue decks, for example, can simply cancel out even your most powerful damage spells as if they weren't there (for very little mana cost, no less... you could spend 8 mana on a massive attack... only to have it instantly blown out of the water by one common blue spell that costs just two blue mana)... and then use their own relatively weak monsters, along with the screwball effects that blue spells, monsters, and things tend to have, to basically beat you over the head with your own face.   White can heal itself constantly while barraging you with ever stronger monsters, and traditionally has access to ultra-spells like Armageddon (destroys all lands, AKA, the source of everything you do, essentially resetting the board... but leaving all of the creatures intact), or Wrath of God (kills everything instantly, other than the players).  Green can overwhelm you, quickly, with a barrage of monsters if you don't do something about them right away; they're not going to give you TIME to simply attack directly, you need defenses and ways of dealing with the large threats they'll drop onto the board.  Black... tends not to give a flying fart about HP, and will happily sacrifice it themselves for massive power.  This typically does NOT push black decks towards defeat... it's likely to push YOU towards defeat.   And that's just mono decks.  Most decks are dual color.  Black and blue, for instance, sacrificing HP for crazy spells, creatures, and attacks while at the same time simply deflecting your direct spells, or doing strange things like having creatures that force you to target them, giving your opponent even MORE room to sacrifice HP for power.  Things like that.

A true pure-damage deck is difficult to do, inadvisable, and you pretty much *have* to be using red magic in order to do it (the others simply cannot).  And even then, if you seriously have nothing but damage in your deck, you're probably going to lose.  Red decks usually use their direct spells to supplement their creatures, popping enemy creatures at unexpected times with instants, or doing things like blasting enemy land cards (red is good at this).  Among other things.

The point is, there's no weakness generated by the "HP stack".  If there was never any reason to target other stuff, the game would never have taken off, because that'd be really boring.   And by the way, it's not JUST creatures that need targeting... you often have to worry about somehow putting a stop to your opponent's enchantments, artifacts, and even special land cards, among other things.  And the methods of stopping major threats is rarely as simple as simply blasting them with a nuke.  It gets complicated.  In other words, there are MANY things that need attacking, and not always via "damage", and you cant ignore them.  There's no "one" central target.  Very frequently, there are many other targets MORE important (much more) than your opponent's HP.

This is all stuff I'm saying after so very many years of having been a fan of the game, by the way... it's not just speculation.   And different methods rotate in and out of popularity as the meta changes, and sometimes entirely new ways of winning show up as creative decks are made, forcing you to respond in ways you didn't have to before.   The game is like that.    As are most TCGs. 




Offline TheVampire100

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Re: Online Card Games Thread
« Reply #14 on: August 03, 2016, 02:28:26 AM »
It's funny but Magic is basically "Stalemate the game". In other TCGs you will attack as often as you can because you want to destroy his creatures or his life points.
Magic the Gathering however transforms very soon into a starring contest. The one who blinks first is the most liekely to loose. Because the way Magic works it is not advised to make the first move. You are literally forced to wait until you draw the card that gives you the safety to attack without any risks. Why? Because in Magic you cannot target monsters, only the opponent directly. This means your opponent decides against which monsters you have to fight and no matter what you do, he will of course always choose monsters to hurt you the most. Since you can also block a single monster with as many monsters you want, the could easily overcome your strongest monster with simply putting all his defenses on it. Because of this single rule, neither player will make their first move unless they are 100% sure that they will not loose somethign valuable.
That's also the reasonw hy Magic is the slowest of all TCGs. You have rounds full of doing nothing. Of course you can say "but they lay out their cards, that's doing something." Well, yeah, not really, you do this in other card games too additionally to the action. MtG is the oldest of them all, that's why their rules are "outdated" compared to modern card games. However, it is also so strategic deep for the same reason, since it is so old it had much time at its hand to put new ways of strategy into it.

But then again, it still is a slow paced waiting contest for whoever looses patience first and attacks.

Btw, if you couldnt tell already by the text above, I love Magic. Because as stupid as this system sounds, it gives players a safety haven against players with a better collection. Even if your opponent has the overall better cards, he won't risk making the firt step, giving you time to prepare. You don't get crushed in two rounds like in other card games.