I’ve posted before about why we have Campaigns in Combat Cards, but I thought it might be interesting to run through how we add new ones to the game.
First, a quick overview: Each Campaign pits two factions against each other in a week-long battle. Players control one faction, and the AI the other. Each time you beat the AI you climb the leaderboard, but it gains more points to spend on its deck, and its cards get more upgrades. Similarly, each time the AI beats you it loses points and upgrades. At the end of the week, you earn prizes depending on your final score. Now, onwards to the interesting stuff!
Our first task with each Campaign is to decide which factions are battling each other this time. While we ensure every faction appears as both the player and enemy side of battles, we do favour the factions which have more cards in the game. Doing this gives players and the AI more tactical choices for how they build their decks (because there are more Warlords and bodyguards to choose from). This is also why we’re going to add more Warlords to the game soon.
We then start looking for ‘historical’ battles between those opponents in Warhammer 40,000 lore. Sometimes this is easy (Space Marines vs Chaos, for example), but other match-ups take more research (Orks vs Necrons, say).
We gather these references by searching Codexes, rulebooks and sourcebooks; from Black Library stories, and through White Dwarf articles and battle reports (our collection of White Dwarf magazines stretches back to issue 100, so we have plenty of reference!).
For each Campaign we need an evocative title and a short description. Of course, we have to take some creative liberties with the details, because often a battle will feature one particular Warhammer 40,000 army, but we group multiple armies together into factions. For example, the Forgebane campaign was specifically fought by the Adeptus Mechanicus, but ours lets you field all of the armies in our Servants of the Emperor faction.
A quick note about why we do all this research, or even bother to theme each Campaign around a 40K battle – after all, the gameplay would be exactly the same if we simply said ‘faction A versus faction B, fight’.
I’ve talked about ‘authenticity’ before, but there’s more to it than that. When we launched Combat Cards we didn’t know if players would enjoy the Campaigns or the ‘regular’ battles more, and its fair to say we’ve been surprised at how much effort and dedication players put into each Campaign.
Obviously some of this will be down to wanting to top the leaderboard or get the best prizes, but as a 40K fan myself, I know that joining in with an iconic battle like the Plague Wars or one of the wars for Armageddon is much more evocative than just A vs B.
Once we’ve decided on a historical battle, we find a piece of Warhammer 40,000 artwork that features the factions involved. We then send all of this to Games Workshop, who give feedback on the text we’ve written and provide us with a high-resolution copy of the artwork.
Going back to the ‘why’ – we could make our own artwork for each Campaign, but including art from the Games Workshop studio adds another element of authenticity to each Campaign. It also allows us to include a mix of classic and modern art, catering for both newer and veteran 40K fans.
The artwork is cropped to fit our Campaign banner, and also run through an esoteric and unknowable tool which turns it into artwork for that Campaign’s card pack.
With the final tasks of setting the fixed and random prizes, and setting its start and end dates, another Campaign is ready to roll out.
As I mentioned earlier, players are really enjoying the Campaigns, so we’re planning to enhance them in a couple of ways. I can’t go into too much detail yet, but we’re looking at areas like scoring, the AI, boosting cards, special rules, etc.
Keep an eye on CombatCards.com or our Facebook page for updates, and you can get in touch through either of those. Do let us know if you have any feedback on Campaigns – we’re always interested to hear from players.