Kards - Early Access Review
Quick Glance - Early Access Look at Kards by 1939 Games- Buy This Game Now! (Especially since it’s free to play!!)
Players: 1 with Online multi-player
Achievements: In-Game Achievements, but no Steam Achievements
Steam Trading Cards: No
Controller Support: No
Retail Price: Free to play w/ In-App Purchases
High Level Premise: World War II in convenient card form.
Graphics/Style: Very clean. Card art looks as though it was all taken from period poster art. If not, then the current artists did a great job recreating it.
Music/Soundtrack: Very sparse. You get the sounds of planes flying in when you deploy them, grunts when the infantry moves in, appropriate gun fire…but that’s mostly it.
Story: None to speak of. It’s a pure PvP battle game.
Replay-ability:Pretty high. It’s a collectible card game so every game is different
Time Commitment: A typical game only takes 15-20 minutes
Value: You get five 40-card decks for free just by playing through the tutorial levels. You can combine factions to build your own custom decks. More cards can be purchased either through in-game gold attained for meeting goals or you can spend real money.
Favorite Element: The ability to cross factions.
You know, except for everything terrible they’ve done…Facebook can be good for some things. For example, I never would have heard about this game without seeing the promoted app every 6 posts on my wall. After finally getting sick of it and blocking it, I thought “Hmmm, a World War II Collectible Card Game? Sounds intriguing.” And off to the Steam store I went.
At its heart, Kards is a riff on the familiar Hearthstone formula. You get a deck of 40 cards and start with no energy (in this game called Kredits). Each player starts with a stronghold with 20 life. If you run out, you lose.
Every turn you accumulate 1 Kredit that you can use for various purposes. Every card has a Kredit Kost…errr cost that must be paid to cast it. You get to choose where in your support row each unit may go. This helps with abilities such as Guard that protects adjacent units.
Some units have an attack cost as well which is a nice twist on the formula. You just can’t empty your hand every turn because you may not have the resources required to attack as well. At least not early on. Eventually you’ll have enough Kredits a turn to pretty much do everything with reckless abandon.
The biggest difference in game play between Kards and Hearthstone is the addition of a front line. The front line is an area between each player’s support line. Most troops must be in the front line in order to attack the opponent stronghold. This adds an extra layer of strategic maneuvering to the game. It also allows for airplanes and other ranged attacks. It’s this extra tug-of-war element that really sets the two games apart for me because in many other aspects, they feel and play very similarly.
The presentation of Kards is a big plus for me. The game takes place at a wooden table with era appropriate weaponry casually sitting on the table. I find the mental image of two generals causally leaving their handgun or grenades on the table while they play a card game humorous. Card art is beautiful and era appropriate. The only artist I could find attached to the game is Aviation artist Robert Taylor. All of the art is great and truly gives the game that World War II era feeling.
There are other small touches like the airplanes cards flying over to attack the opponent, and explosions when something gets destroyed. With all the great visuals, it’s not a resource hog. It plays extremely well on my 8 year-old Dell Latitude laptop (much better than Hearthstone, if I do say).
The biggest downside for me is that at the time I’m writing this, there is no solo-mode campaign. It seems like in a war game that a scenario driven campaign would be a given. I hope there is something like that in development. Once you get through the AI tutorials, all you can play is 1v1 matches.
The deck building interface works well. You can have a 40 card deck in Kards. A deck may be comprised all of one faction, or you may splash in up to 12 cards from another group. I’m currently playing a deck that focuses on the Kamikaze pilots of Japan, mixed with some of the financial strength and tank power of Germany. If you want to mix the USA and Japan together though, you certainly can. This may strain historical realism, but in game terms it works incredibly well to bring diversity to the game. It could lead to interesting tournament formats.
As with many Free-to-Play games, there are ways to spend real money for more cards. Single 5-card packs of Kards can be bought for free using in-game gold you get for winning games, and ranking up dozens of achievements. You can buy bundles of Kards for actual money if you want. I know people will (especially as real-world physical items are starting to roll out for the top players), but for casual players there’s no real need - matchmaking is rating based, so you should *usually* get matched up with players at your relative skill level.
Overall, I was pleasantly surprised by Kards, and I am excited by the potential. I really hope they consider a single-player / offline mode. Plus, the game is free…how can you go wrong? Download this one today. Then come get blown up by the mighty army of Japermany (the name of my deck).