Azorian Kings: Clash of Cards is a tactical, turn-based card game based upon the popular Azorian Kings strategy game. The game is currently in Beta for Facebook and as a stand-alone browser game, and we’ve managed to play it extensively to see what to expect when the game goes live at full launch.
It utilizes much of the same artwork that is featured within Azorian Kings, but adds in new factions and cards to keep things fresh. With a two lane combat system and a different card draw system to most other CCGs, Clash of Cards is going to be one to watch.
Will the game be good enough to captivate the genre’s target audience after Beta? Read on to find out…
Azorian Kings: Clash of Cards gameplay is different than any CCG I have played recently. There are a number of new mechanics and some older ones that have been altered to fit the game’s flavor. Before I rave on about the game mechanics though, I must say how impressed I am with the game’s visuals and just how gorgeous the artwork truly is. Every card, every menu, and every backdrop is beautifully crafted and designed. I was immediately captivated and drawn into this fantasy world of immortals.
So, about those mechanics! The first big one is that both players start on 100 HP (Health Points), which is a huge amount of HP when you compare it to other TCGs/CCGs. The other big change, that I really like, is that each player has an attack and a defense phase during each round. During each of the phases you can play a single card from your hand to the field. This makes for some high pressured tactical decisions when you consider just how limiting it is to play a single card per round. Do you block an attack, or heal one of your wounded creatures?
Similarly, the draw mechanic is of particular interest. Before a game begins, 6 cards are removed from each player’s deck. You will never get to see which cards are removed, so if you were counting on a particular card from your deck in order to win… good luck! You also draw only 3 cards at the start of each phase, and with only playing one card per phase, this means your hand will fill up very quickly (to a maximum of 13 cards). I found this gave me plenty of options when considering my plays.
Creatures can be played into any of the five spaces available to you on the field. Your opponent has the same five spaces and these mirror one another. This is crucial as playing a creature directly in front of another will change its attack target. If you are the attacking player, then your creature will attack the creature opposite it, if there is one. Creatures only attack the enemy in front of them. So if there is no opposing creature, it will attack the opposing player directly. The obvious goal is to reduce the opponent’s HP to 0 in order to be victorious. At least that is something I am used to!
Creature cards are made up of the usual statistics: HP, Attack, Defense, and Speed. Most games use a few of these, but Clash of Cards uses them all, and to great effect, too. Attack is the damage it will deal, and this can vary by the type of damage dealt. Defense is how much damage can be absorbed, and there are variations on this as well. An example is that some creatures only deal magical damage, making the enemy creature’s defense useless. HP represents the creature’s life and if that hits 0, it will die and be discarded to the graveyard.
Speed is the more interesting of the base statistics. If a creature has an equal or higher speed than the opposing creature, it will counter-attack during the defense phase of a turn. Creatures will also attack the opposing player directly if it has a Speed of 1 or greater with no creatures in front if it during the same defense phase. You’ll want plenty of these speedy guys in your deck if you want to deal damage every turn.
If you have been wondering, yes, there is a resource system within Azorian Kings: Clash of Cards, called Faith. When you play a creature from your hand onto the battlefield you will gain Faith with the faction of the creature you played. Think of it as each creature class has its own religion and by playing that creature you are adding to the faith of that religion.
Some spell or ammunition cards require you to have a set number of Faith points with a particular faction before it can be played. Streamlining your deck to a few factions then becomes obviously better than mixing a whole lot of different ones together if you want proper synergy.
MODES AND FEATURES
Azorian Kings: Clash of Cards is not feature-shy and has plenty of modes to keep a lot of players entertained for a long while. Whilst most are geared toward the single player, there is a competitive multiplayer mode, too.
Single player consists of a campaign mode that gets progressively harder the more you play through it. Clearing these will net the usual rewards of in-game currency, called Gold, and also cards. You play through a story with a companion character who shares his thoughts with you about the journey ahead, and on those you’ve left behind. He certainly has no problems sharing his dislike and hatred of other species!
There are a huge number of side quests and missions that you can embark upon, if you feel your deck is strong enough to take them on. These are a lot harder than the campaign and you will need to do some grinding to obtain more powerful cards before you attempt the vast majority of these. The pay-off when you do complete them is worth it though, and this will help with the more difficult Special Events that you can tackle as well.
There are daily and weekly events with rewards that’ll change when the event changes. You can earn Gold and perhaps even a Mythic Rare card when you complete them. Side Quests tend to be a little easier and have less of a reward waiting for you at the end, but they are still worth a go.
The Duel mode is the multiplayer offering and pits you against another human player. Be warned that some of these guys have honed their decks to be ruthless killing machines. I wouldn’t venture into this realm until you are totally prepared. See it as something to work up to, rather than jump head first into.
There is the usual shop that sells booster packs at different amounts. The higher the price of the pack, the better the guaranteed cards. You can also purchase special packs and the card ‘deal of the day’ using the special currency of Elorits, the rare premium currency of the game. There is also a glossary of cards that you can view that’ll let you see what is missing from your collection. Not that I need reminding that I need more of the powerful cards!
DECKBUILDING AND STRATEGY
Azorian Kings: Clash of Cards‘ deckbuilding tool is the only thing that I wish would function a little better. Selecting cards to go into the deck can be tiresome, as you need to select the card, and then click a button to put the card in. You will need to do this with each card you want to add. Luckily, taking cards out of a deck can be done by ‘selecting’ multiple cards at a time and then clicking the ‘remove’ button.
There currently exists no way to filter the cards by faction, or to auto sort them. So when you obtain some duplicates of a card, some will be found spread out further down your list of cards rather than auto-grouping it with the same card. Duplicate cards aren’t grouped together either. This makes the cards take up more pages than is necessary. It would be smarter to have the duplicate cards grouped and a number indicating how many you own.
One of the more annoying features happens when you obtain new cards. Rather than only add these to your collection, the game adds them to your deck, too. If you play through a number of missions you’ll soon realize your deck has grown to epic proportions from the minimum 60 cards you’d built earlier. I hope this can be a quick fix, as it can be annoying having to keep removing cards from my deck every 10 minutes when I gain new cards.
When you do build a deck, you will want to streamline the deck to only contain a few factions, or less. If you have too many factions, your plays will be limited in terms of making combo plays. For example, you want to ensure that you don’t have an Elf that grants increased attack to your other Elves, when you haven’t got any in the deck or haven’t drawn into one yet. Keep it smooth and think of the combos you’d like to use, and you should do alright.
Azorian Kings: Clash of Cards is a brilliant piece of craftsmanship. Everything about the game is designed and built to give the user the best experience possible. With beautifully drawn card art, a simple menu system, and an amazing soundtrack, everything in the game is highly polished, with the small exception of the deckbuilder that will likely be improved before the full release of the game.
I cannot wait to see how the finished game will play, and what changes are made between now and then. There are a lot of indicators that this game can become one of the greats in the genre, especially in the browser-based category. How quickly this happens is down to the funding the game receives along with how much feedback players can give the developer to improve it.
Azorian Kings: Clash of Cards is a game that you should devote some of your time to experience at its fullest. You will need to play for more than a few hours before you can test the real meat of the game. It isn’t a quick-burst style of game, and if that’s your thing, then this one probably won’t be. Otherwise, I heartily suggest you look up the game on Facebook, or try the browser version as soon as you can. It’s one of the more promising CCG games on the horizon at the moment.
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