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Nation Themes & Other things

Hello, fellow Kard fanatics!

I am Tealkeli, a developer for Kards, and I am here to tell you a bit about some of the upcoming changes and additions to the card pool.


But let me start by telling you a bit about myself. I have been working in the game industry for almost 20 years, starting way back in 1999 as a game designer at CCP for EVE Online. I was at CCP until 2015, since then I have been at couple of other studios, mostly in the producer role, but am very happy to be back in game design on Kards. Card games have been my passion ever since I first learnt Magic the Gathering back in Ice Age. I still play Magic regularly, but have dived into myriad other card games throughout the years, from Netrunner to Legend of the Five Rings, Call of Cthulhu and many others, my most recent passion being Eternal. I’ve been following the development of Kards from very early on. I jumped into the alpha testing when it started and played a lot in the early stages, culminating with me winning the first official Kards tournament - I’m the unofficial World Champion of Kards :) You can thank me for Airstrike and Tactical Strike being nerfed severely. I admit I have not been super active in the last few months due to being very busy in my previous work, but now I am back in the saddle. I am also a history buff, having studied History back at university before joining CCP.


Enough about me, let’s talk Kards. When I joined the most glaring issue I saw with the card file was that the theme, or strengths/weaknesses of each nation, was severely lacking - abilities were all over the place, often with very little rhyme or reason I felt. So, apart from working on designs for exciting additions such as draft mode and ladder system (more on those in a future dev blog), I’ve been spending a fair amount of time trying to streamline the themes of the nations a bit. This is an ongoing process, but you can expect some significant changes in the upcoming December patch. It is those changes that I wanted to go over with you in this dev blog. I’d love to hear your thoughts, input, feedback, etc. on this work. Together we can make this already great game even better.


For the theme work, the idea is that each nation has its own distinct flavor when it comes to things like unit strengths & weaknesses, removal, buffs, card advantage, resource management, etc. It is going to take a while to really nail down the exact “color pie”, as they term it in Magic, but the sooner we start, the sooner we can get it to a good place. There are many reasons for this thematic streamlining being important. The main ones are:

  • It strengthens the identity of each nation. This makes it easier for people to conceptualize strategies and deck building in their minds.
  • It makes choosing which Major Power and which Ally to go for more meaningful.
  • It will make games more diverse, currently games can have a bit of “sameness” to them regardless of the nations involved, which is a shame.
  • It allows us to strengthen the historical flavor of each nation better.

The bulk of the work so far has been to start laying down what kind of theme each nation has and then going through the current card file to identify cards that are currently in the “wrong” nation and changing them, often swapping effects with other cards.


On the general theme for each nation, we can do a quick summary as follows:

Britain generally has good defensive units, have good fighters and are good at prolonging the game.

Germany has good armor units and can go for quick tempo-oriented aggressive strategies, or go slower for high quality top end units. The have a decent frontline-matters theme (meaning they get bonuses for controlling the frontline).

Soviet have good ground units, especially artillery, and a “swarm” feel of there always being more coming.

US have a good balance in units and orders, with lot of strong but wild effects. They have a strong frontline-matters theme.

Japan has good air units, generally aggressive strategies with sacrifice-for-benefit elements and strong "tribal" synergies (meaning units that boost other friendly units).

So, let’s get to some specific card changes. This is not intended to be an exhaustive list, you have to wait for the patch for that. We can divide the changes into several categories.

Removal

Britain is mostly focused on direct damage, bounce and pin, with bombers mattering (meaning having bombers in play is good) theme being strengthened.

Germany is mostly focused on temporary debuffs (reducing stats on enemy units), destroying cheap units, bounce and anti-support line theme.

Soviet is mostly focused on direct damage, especially on ground units. They are also the primary nation for the take control mechanic and get a bit of temporary debuff as well.

US is mostly focused on random damage/destruction and frontline control. They also will be the primary nation for “silencing” effects (removing abilities/text from enemy cards).

Japan is mostly focused on area damage and unit destruction, often with conditions such as attack strength.


With the above in mind, here are some of the card changes to expect:

The US are getting the old THE EMPIRE STRIKES effect, as it fits better with their theme. Britain gets a damage/bombers matter effect instead.

Germany is getting the old DEATH FROM ABOVE effect, as it fits better with their theme now. The US is getting an effect that fits better with their theme, keeping DEATH FROM ABOVE as a strong card, just a bit different (less powerful in some cases, more powerful in some).

These are a couple of examples of new cards being added to strengthen the removal theme of nations.

 

Buffs (stat boosts)

Britain is mostly focused on boosting defense. Buffing is a strong theme for them.

Germany is not very heavy on buffs, but they do have a bit of attack and repair buffs.

Soviet mostly has attack buffs, with some general and repair boosts in there also. Buffing is a fairly strong theme for them.

US have balanced buffs, some more defensive oriented, others more attack oriented. The US has a good amount of buffs.

Japan has slightly more attack buffs, but also some general buffs.

 

With the above in mind, here are some of the card changes to expect:

The effects of these two cards have been swapped, to fit better with the theme of each.

These are a couple of other examples of buff related card changes to come.

Card Advantage & Resource Management

Britain has good general draw, with discard as a secondary element. Have a small orders-matter theme.

Germany has good discard theme, and many cards with “cantrip” draw effects (meaning many cards have a single draw in addition to their normal effect). Have a temporary kredit gain theme.

Soviet has a good draw units and a spawn units themes.

US has good conditional mass draw. Have strong kredit ramp theme.

Japan’s card advantage generally links to their other themes, such as sacrifice theme. Minor discard and temporary kredit gain themes.

 

With the above in mind, here are some of the card changes to expect:

These are example of a couple of existing cards changing. The ARCTIC CONVOY now fits the draw theme of Soviet better and strengthening U-375 emphasizes the discard theme better for Germany.

These cards have changed to fit better with their respective themes - permanent kredit ramp for US, temporary kredit boost for Germany.


Finally, it is worth mentioning that several cards are receiving a rarity change. This is to align them better to their power level. It is important to get this work done as soon as possible to avoid too much frustration in collection-building. A full list of these cards will be included in the patch notes for the December patch.


There are more exciting additions coming. More countermeasure cards, we’re looking at metagame analysis to see if some re-balance is needed (yes, we’re looking at long range units), and then we have a new type of effect in taking control of enemy cards. I will cover that feature in a future blog, as this one is quite long already. Stay tuned.

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