When I got the invite to check out another digital card game at PAX Australia, my first thought was honestly to say no, I am not a card game person, digital or otherwise, but I considered it for a bit and decided why not. After checking the game out at the show, I am intrigued about seeing more of it.
Cygames is a company based out of Japan and after their first title Rage of Bahamut released, the studio went back to the drawing board to see what they could improve upon from that release. After 4 years of development Shadowverse is the result, keeping to the digital card game roots, the game has expanded the card game aspect, but also infused a story mode to it, letting players discover the lore of the world as they play more of the game.
I had the chance to chat Dewi Tanner, the head of Western Operations about the game at PAX Australia and all the while, he showed off the game in action. The biggest thing that I took away from it, was that it looked a lot like Hearthstone, but it played a little differently, at least to me it seemed to. As Dewi was playing the game, he was explaining how it all worked and thankfully, it made sense to me as well, which is something that Hearthstone did not, at least when it first released.
Each of the characters on the board has a set number of hit points, take them down and then you win the battle, but these characters are all different and have pros and cons, so you need to select your avatar wisely. The character of Rowen for example is classified as a Dragoncraft class fighter and he uses the play points to unleash devastating attacks, but as you only start off with one point at the beginning, you need to balance the desire to unleash powerful attacks, with creating a line of defence, so you can stay alive until then.
Arisa is another character and is known as the Forestcraft class and she can use Fairy cards to bolster other cards she plays. Each fairy card uses one play point to begin with, but as the match progresses, if you play more than on fairy card per turn, the bonuses you get back will be much larger, which could result the match turning in your favour. The whole point of the characters is not just to choose who you think looks the coolest, but find one that matches how you play the game.
Of course, as a card game, the cards themselves are important to understand and they can come in three flavours, Followers, Spells and Amulets. Followers are the cards you will likely use the most, each card can dish out damage to other cards, or to the enemy leader, but knowing which card to play will be the hard choice. Every card, has a play point cost, an attack and shield stat and an ability, if a single card costs more than half of your allotted play points and the damage that a card can deal, needs to be higher than the targets shield points, or you will take damage yourself for no gain. After a set number of turns, the game offers you the chance to evolve your cards and doing so can net some great rewards, but at a cost.
Over the course of the match, I stated to understand some of the strategies that Dewi was employing, with some cards able to deal damage when they were defeated, even by your own hand and others, like the annoying carrot, always returning back to the field of play, which was fun to watch happen.
Shadowverse has a battle ahead of itself, competing against games like Hearthstone and Elder Scrolls Legends is not easy task, but while its lacking decades of lore may hurt it, it will also help it, thanks in part to the fact that you don’t need to know anything going on. I am going to give it a go, what about you?