This week’s topic is how we add new cards to the game, and why do it. This is a topic which crosses into a few different areas, so I’m going to split it over this and next week’s posts.
First up, why do we add more and more cards at all? To be perfectly honest, it would make our lives a lot easier if we chose a set of miniatures, made cards of them and never added any more (this would particularly help with balancing, but more on this in a later post).
But if we had a fixed card pool, which cards would we include? One of the joys of Combat Cards is collecting your favourite miniatures from across every Warhammer 40,000 faction, so having a limited selection means someone will always be unhappy that ‘miniature X’ isn’t in the game.
Another element we’d lose with a static card pool is that moment when you realise that a newly added card opens an interesting new tactic or complements your deck perfectly.
Finally, adding new cards also lets us include the latest 40K miniature releases, keeping the game up to date – but more on that below.
As you’d expect, we have a card spreadsheet which tracks factors like:
- How many cards the game has of each faction
- How many Warlords per faction
- The balance of card rarities (common, rare, epic and legendary)
- The spread of card points costs per faction
- The balance of melee / psychic / ranged damage per faction
We use this to help us decide where there are gaps to focus new cards – however, this only helps us make decisions, it doesn’t dictate them. For example, some factions should have a heavy bias towards expensive cards or a particular damage type, so the goal isn’t perfect balance.
New 40K miniature releases are another reason we can’t just rely on the spreadsheet. Obviously we’d like to include all the latest releases, because who doesn’t love adding the newest, coolest miniature to their collection, and trying it out in battle?
But what if Games Workshop decide to release a whole wave of miniatures for a specific faction? Do we include them all at once, even though it will heavily skew the spreadsheet for a while?
As an example, we’re soon to add the most recent wave of Nurgle Daemons to the game (hello, Great Unclean One!), and this is tilting the Chaos faction towards having a lot of relatively low-damage, but very high Wound cards. As a result, future Chaos additions will likely trend towards high-damage cards to balance it back out (hello, Bloodthirster!).
So to conclude this first half – we add new cards to:
- Ensure everyone’s favourite miniature is in the game
- To balance each faction
- To add new tactical options
- To keep up with the latest miniature releases.
So that’s why we add cards, and next week’s post will cover how we do it. We’ll run through both the art and design tasks involved, plus raise some questions on which miniatures we should include first.