Adding more lore to Combat Cards is a topic which regularly comes up, either from player feedback or one of the playtesters looking at the game. So I thought it might be interesting to look at how, where and why we might add more of it – but before that, let’s clarify what we mean by ‘lore’.
Lore is the background text found in each codex, campaign book, White Dwarf and Black Library novel. It’s what makes a Space Marine a Space Marine, not just a ‘generic future warrior in armour’.
The lore is critical to the Warhammer 40,000 hobby, as without it there’s no Emperor or Chaos gods or Hive Mind, which is why we never refer to it as ‘fluff’ (the somewhat disparaging term used by some to play down how important the lore is. Just goes to show that no matter how hardcore a fan you are of something, you can always completely miss the point).
Combat Cards automatically inherits all that lore, which it’s exciting to unlock a Marneus Calgar card – beyond any tactical benefit it might give you. But we get to decide how much of the lore to put front and centre of our game, or whether to focus on being a ‘card game’ over being a ‘40K card game’.
I’ll run down the various areas we’re considering adding more lore to below, but it’s interesting that almost all of them involve adding more text to the game. This is unusual, because with most games (and particularly mobile games) you’re always trying to reduce the amount of text for players to read.
It my be that our text focus is partly down to necessity (there aren’t many other ways to quickly explain what the Greater Good is), but may also just be that reading is an intrinsic part of the hobby (in the same way as painting, playing or shouting at your dice for rolling all ones). Thinking about it, it could also because I’m the lead of this game, and I like words – hence writing all the blog posts – so am probably biased!
Whatever the reason, Combat Cards is already quite a wordy game, and will become a lot more so if we implement the following:
- Campaigns – Currently, each Campaign provides a couple of lines of text, giving a quick overview of the 40K battle you’re taking part in. We could easily expand on this, but does anyone care about it, or are you all just there for the sweet Campaign rewards?
- Back of cards – I’ve talked about this feature before, but it’s definitely still high on our priority list. Each card back will provide lore which I’m hoping will be of interest to new and veteran 40K fans, and it’ll be interesting to see the stats for how many people check it out.
- Warlords – We’re adding more detail to the introduction which appears when you first meet a new Warlord, covering their pro’s and con’s in battle. Should we keep the lore text each Warlord already shows (making for quite a lot of info each time) or get rid of it?
- Loading tips – we could add short lines which appear while the game’s loading something (though we’re focusing on getting the loading times down, first!). Should these cover 40K lore, or gameplay tips?
- Single player – This is a little further out, but as someone who likes big words (and cannot lie) it’s a feature I’m looking forward to. However, the time we invest in an adventure you battle your way through means we won’t be working on another feature, so we’re looking for a way to put out the beginning as quickly as possible, so we can see if you guys enjoy it.
- Card collection – We could add lore text for each faction and allegiance to this screen, but it will add more content to what’s already quite a ‘noisy’ screen. Any opinions on whether we should focus on streamlining or double down on detail (particularly for players who may not know much about the various factions)?
As you can see from all the questions, this is one of those topics where I’d love to hear the community’s perspective. As a lifelong 40K fan, there’s a strong degree here of making Combat Cards a game which appeals to me, but obviously I’d rather make the game that YOU all want.
So please get in touch through the comments, our Facebook page or [email protected] and let us know if you’d like more or less lore in the game, or have any suggestions for what you’d like it to cover – characters or factions or planets, for example. The game will evolve over time, so your opinion matters.