If you’ve played the digital Combat Cards game you’ll have noticed the ‘Campaigns’ tab. Currently locked until you upgrade enough cards to reach Rank 5 (though that number may change), campaigns provide a separate challenge and set of prizes from normal battles.
So what are they all about and why have we included them?
Each campaign runs for a real-world week (though that number may also change – welcome to game development!), and pits players against increasingly tough computer controlled decks.
You earn points each time you defeat those decks, but every time you do they get more difficult (or if you lose, their difficulty goes down). At the end of the campaign all players earn prizes depending on their final position on the leaderboard.
In each campaign, all players have to build decks from a specific faction (such as Necrons), and the opponent also always uses a single faction.
With over 30 years of Warhammer 40,000 lore to draw from, it made sense for each campaign to be based on a piece of 40K history, such as the fall of the Iyanden Craftworld (play as the Tyranids and eat your way through the tasty Aeldari), or the third war for Armageddon (play as the Orks and enjoy a good scrap against the Servants of the Emperor).
Of course, players are free to ignore campaigns entirely – or focus on them and ignore normal battles – but as you’d expect, the ‘optimum’ way to play Combat Cards is to take part in both.
Collecting skulls and defeating Warlords from normal battles earns you a steady flow of new cards, and while taking part in campaigns doesn’t earn you day-to-day prizes, it does give a satisfying burst of new stuff at the end of the week.
We’ve balanced the rewards you get from a week’s worth of normal battles and a single, week long campaign to equal roughly the same amount. Plus, as campaign prizes are always cards from the two factions taking part in that historical 40K event they’re a great way to build up your collection of the specific factions taking part.
Plus, the top prizes are always Epic or Legendary cards, which is valuable for getting enough of those tricky to find duplicates to upgrade those cards.
So that’s what campaigns are and how we encourage players to take part in them. But why include them in the game at all?
Because of its turn-based gameplay, Combat Cards can be played in one of three ways:
Asynchronous player versus player
This is how our battles currently work, with the player (who’s online now) fighting decks created by other players (who aren’t online right now, so their decks are controlled by AI).
The advantages of this are knowing the deck you’re battling was created by another player, and you don’t have to wait for them to take their turn, but it’s less intense than real-time battles against an actual, live human.
Real-time player versus player
We don’t currently have this type of gameplay in Combat Cards, but it would mean each player is connected with another online player, and they take turns deploying cards, choosing attacks, etc.
This type of gameplay is very intense, because you’re matched against a cunning human, and winning or losing against a player is much more emotionally charged than against a computer. On the other hand, this intensity and stress can drive less competitive players away from the game altogether.
Finally, there’s player versus computer
This is the more traditional ‘single player’ gameplay and is how the campaigns work. The decks and opponents you face are entirely controlled by a computer, making this more of a ‘puzzle’ experience (how can I defeat this setup?), without the emotional intensity of another human being involved.
So the campaigns give us a both a different gameplay style and a separate way for players to earn rewards. Because you can only use cards from a single faction in a campaign, they also encourage players to build a deck for each faction, rather than focusing on just a favourite.
Apologies if that was a bit long winded, but I wanted to illustrate that every feature in Combat Cards is present for a reason, and (well, usually) not just because we think it’s cool!