Hi everyone, I hope these posts are giving an insight into the design processes behind Combat Cards. Do let me know at [email protected] if you’d like me to cover a specific topic or go into more detail on something already discussed.
This week I thought I’d cover the eight ‘factions’ that we use in Combat Cards.
First up, why do we have the concept of ‘factions’? After all it’s not a term from tabletop Warhammer 40,000.
One of the best things about the 40K hobby is how long it’s been around, and therefore the sheer number of races and armies it includes. We wanted to include all of them in Combat Cards, but how granular to make the distinction between armies?
Do we just pile all the cards in together? We know from testing that it’s easier to build decks if you only need to choose from a selection at a time, so one big mass of cards is no good.
So we break them into chunks. But should they be big groups, like ‘Space Marines’, or go more detailed, and separate them into Blood Angels, Grey Knights, Imperial Fists, etc.
Last week I talked about Combat Cards having a ‘healthy metagame’, which means that players can always find new ways to beat the current ‘best’ team.
Another area this involves is giving players a valid reason to use cards from multiple 40k armies. We definitely don’t want to discourage players from only collecting their favourite miniatures in Combat Cards, but we also want to reward building a diverse collection.
One of the ways we do this is through the campaigns we run. To enter these you need a valid deck of whichever army is the focus of the current campaign, so it makes sense to have at least one Warlord and some enough cards to build a deck for every faction.
We also encourage this through each Warlord’s power, most of which give you an advantage if your deck is predominantly made of cards from that Warlord’s faction.
So, if we’re encouraging players to build ‘themed’ decks (i.e. all Orks or all Chaos), then we need to ensure each of those themes includes enough cards that multiple decks can be created with it (and it’s not enough for those decks to just be valid – they need to be effective, too).
Which is where the factions come in. By grouping all the different ‘bits’ of a 40K race or force together, we can ensure there are enough ways to play as them. That’s why we group Drukhari, Ynnari and Asuryani together into the Aeldari faction. If each was separate, then we’d have to include an enormous number of cards to ensure there were multiple viable ways to build decks for each of those ‘sub-groups’.
The same thing applies to Space Marine Chapters, or branches of the Imperial war machine – grouping them into larger factions gives a good balance of 40k theme (you’re encouraged to use just Chaos cards in your deck), with enough choices (you don’t have to just use Chaos Space Marines or Chaos Daemons).