Barely two weeks ago I wrote a post bemoaning the low quality of the hugely popular games on Facebook. So coming across Warstorm is kind of funny. To be fair, it’s not actually on Facebook itself, though it does offer the option of signing in through that social network and using it to connect with your existing contacts. It’s basically a simplified collectible card game with a focus on building and tweaking decks. The mechanics are streamlined and simple enough that the duels play out automatically and you only get to watch what happens. All of the decision-making takes place only while constructing decks.
The game itself is free to sign up for and to play, and there are single-player missions to do that will earn you packs of cards as rewards. But if you want the really good cards you’ll have to pony some real, hard cash. It’s pretty obvious that this is an absolute necessity if you want to have any hope at all at competing against other players. For example, two cards can have the exact same statistics, but the good one will have a drastically lower playing cost than the bad one. No prizes for guessing that the good cards only come from the packs that you have to pay cash for, as opposed to the free “Novice” packs that you get for completing in-game objectives.
It’s not a bad little game but it won’t win any prizes against the real CCGs. I notice that Magic: The Gathering is enjoying a bit of a revival recently, probably due to the release of the Xbox Live Arcade version of the game with pre-made decks. So you want to have a small taste of what CCGs are like without needing to pay any money upfront or are just feeling a little bit nostalgic about your Magic playing days, checking Warstorm out won’t be a bad idea at all.
Yep, it’s yet another CCG for the PSP while I’m still waiting for a new gaming rig. This one is based on the War Cry card game by Sabertooth Games that was in turn based on Games Workshop’s Warhammer Fantasy miniatures game. The license means that existing fans of the table-top wargame will find the factions, characters and units in this direct port of the CCG instantly recognizable. Unfortunately, this isn’t enough to save it from ultimately being a very mediocre video game.
The CCG mechanics are robust and appropriately enough, borrow significant elements from wargaming. Each player builds two decks. The Army deck holds only characters, troops and weapons while the Action deck holds special strategies and tactics to be played to change the outcome of battles. Each match actually consists of three battles and each battle begins with a muster phase. During this phase every player is assigned a set number of points with which to alternately play cards from his or her Army deck onto the table, drawing a new Army card after each one played until both players have spent all of their resource points.
Continue reading A Game: Warhammer Battle for Atluma (PSP)
My Magic: The Gathering playing days are long gone and even if I do sometimes cast a nostalgic eye on an exciting new release like the recent Shadowmoor, I know in my heart of hearts that I will never again have the patience and freedom to buy entire boxes of boosters for the thrill of opening them one by one, build up networks of friends to trade cards and play games with and spend countless hours fine-tuning decks and analyzing strategies. So when I bought my PSP, it was with the knowledge that there are a number of well-received collectible card games available on the platform, and the Marvel Trading Card Game was at the top of the list to try out.
The Marvel TCG is a direct adaptation of the card based equivalent that uses Upper Deck’s Versus system. I’ve heard of this system but I’ve never actually learned to play it before this, so I had to go through the included tutorials not just to learn the interface but to understand how the system works as well. The tutorials do a decent job of teaching the fundamentals, but it’s likely that the average player will still need to actually jump into a game proper and learn about the quirks and subtleties of the system by playing the game and observing the available options.
Continue reading A Game: Marvel Trading Card Game (PSP)
I’ve been playing around with Armageddon Empires that I briefly talked about last week. Despite the presence of a fully-fledged deck editor and its collectible card game mechanics, it seems pretty clear that AE is much closer to being an old-school wargame / turn-based strategy game than a CCG. That’s not a bad thing of course, and playing AE brought back fond memories of games like Fantasy General. Like FG, AE plays out on a hex map, though the map is randomly generated in AE’s case. Unlike FG and similar wargames however, AE plays more like a 4X game in a post-apocalyptic setting. Each players starts out with a single base and limited resources and must send units out to control the map to gain additional resources and to scout for the locations of the enemies.
Continue reading A Game: Armageddon Empires