Catamancer – Early Preview

We’ve all known for some time that cats rule the Internet. No matter how long you spend on the World Wide Web – you’ll come across cats in one form or another. So I’m surprised it has taken this long for someone to create a CCG based solely on our favorite feline companions!

Catamancer is a free-to-play CCG with a feline theme currently seeking backers on Kickstarter, the crowd-funding website. There will be over 100 cards to collect at launch featuring art by 11 different cat-loving artists from around the world. Catamancer aims to offer some unique game mechanics whilst keeping the element of fun a core component of the gameplay.

Is Catamancer the purrrrfect cat based CCG? (If you thought that was bad, prepare yourselves… Many cat puns incoming.) Read on to find out…

We’ve also got two EXCLUSIVE card reveals to show you, thanks to the developers of the game!

Catamancer logo

Catamancer is a free-to-play, feline-inspired CCG. It is the first CCG to focus on cats as the unit types and has an array of different cat-style puns and card types to suit any feline fanatic.

Gameplay

In Catamancer you play the role of a cat-summoning wizard who battles others for dominance in a magical arena. We all know how territorial cats are, so this fits well with their personalities! The arena is grid-based which offers players a different way to play a traditional CCG. Your units can move and attack each turn or perform special abilities that are printed on the cards. You can also use feline-based ability cards that will ensure your dominance.

The arena will also house your source of life points, the Catalyst. If you can destroy the opponent’s Catalyst before they can destroy yours, you win! Your army of cats, which come in all shapes, sizes, and have a variety of different effects, will help to protect your Catalyst. Some of the cats can even hide inside cardboard boxes – typical!

The resource system is one you should be familiar with if you’ve played other popular CCGs. Catamancer uses an incremental resource system with purple crystals. Your energy can be spent on summoning units or casting Ability cards and these have their energy cost in the top left corner of the card so you’ll always be aware of the cost. Some cards, such as the Cheating Cheetah, can reduce the costs of your cards. Each new turn you draw a new random card from your deck and your purple crystals are replenished.

Gameplay screen 1

The arena is heavily cat-themed and your Catalyst can be seen in the middle of your area (the purple cat… head… thing!). The object of the game is to use your units to reduce your opponent’s Catalyst to zero health before they reduce yours.

Gameplay Continued…

There are more colored crystals that represent specific stats on the cards: Attack (red), Health (green), and Speed (orange). The obvious Attack vs. Health determines the results of a battle between two cards, in Hearthstone-like fashion. The number of spaces a card can move is represented in its Speed value. Your units can move and attack on the same turn, but unless they carry the “Initiative” keyword they can’t do either on the turn they’re summoned.

Some of the cats and Ability cards will belong to one of three starting factions, whilst most of the cards will be neutral to allow you to use them in any deck. There are some restrictions on deckbuilding, with only two of any card being allowed in a deck, and only one of each Mythical card. I can only imagine what some of these mythical cats will look like, but if they’re anything like Cathulu then we’re all doomed!

All of the art for the cards is being created by some very talented artists. Some of the art looks realistic, whilst some takes on a more cartoon-like style. I love the look of the arena, with each side taking on a different style of cat. Most of the Kickstarter budget is going into the artwork which means that the final quality should be amazing.

Cats 4

Use your cats’ special abilities to outsmart your opponent. There is plenty of strategic depth with these abilities. You should be able to make many different deck styles and themes using them.

Features

Catamancer doesn’t rely on its feline charm alone. The developers, Frostbolt Games, will be including many features that will get you purring. That the game will remain a free-to-play title spanning many platforms is a huge bonus. It will be available on PC, iOS, and Android devices, so no matter where you are you can always play with your favorite kitties.

The solo aspect of the game will be covered by special missions, puzzles, and difficult boss battles for you to compete in. Some will have high-scores that can be recorded and uploaded to the game server for you to show just how dominant your cat forces are.

If you fancy showing your claws whilst hissing at the opponent, then the PvP battles will be right up your street. The game will use a matchmaking feature so that your battles will be against someone of an equal skill level. You can take part in casual battles or climb your way up the leaderboard with the ranked mode.

As you progress you will begin to understand the importance of deckbuilding. You will earn dedicated achievements for trying particular deck types or for completing bespoke tasks. Most games have achievements as an afterthought or as something that isn’t part of the fun. Catamancer is making achievements as much a part of the game as any other feature. It will be fun and rewarding trying to collect them all.

Exclusive-reveals

Here we have two exclusive cards that have not been revealed anywhere else! As you can see, there is plenty of emphasis on wordplay when it comes to the cat names. I’m absolutely loving the tongue-in-cheek style this game has.

First Impressions

Catamancer is something of a novelty. It is a familiar style CCG wrapped up in one of the most adorable packages available – cats. Everything in the game is feline themed with real and imagined cat types that will definitely get you giggling. I love the artwork that has been presented thus far, and if the remaining cards are of the same caliber then we will be treated to one of the most visually impressive CCGs to date.

The two game developers who started this project already have a couple of successful titles to their names. Catamancer isn’t their first venture into game design and they have over 5 years of game design experience to draw from. Board Game Online is one of their most successful titles to date with over 1.5 million people from around the world having played it, so they’ve got some experience under their collective belts.

So why back it? The obvious reason is that it features cats – unless you hate cats, of course. Most CCGs don’t have many unique points that make them different from their competition. Catamancer is bringing something different to the genre whilst still making it fun to play. There are plenty of pun-styled names and artwork that are going to have you howling with laughter. If this game can even raise a smile then it is doing something right.

Yes, it’s mechanically looking very similar to Hearthstone, but played on a grid and with a few unique aspects to differentiate it from Blizzard’s behemoth. This might irk some, but I think it’s different enough to be its own game. Just how different it is, we’ll have to wait to see more of the cards and their mechanics.

So if you’re feline a little cat crazy for this title – rest assured you’re not alone!

Want to back Catamancer on Kickstarter? Click here.

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Zac Phoenix
Author: Zac Phoenix View all posts by
Zac Phoenix graduated with First Class Honors in Philosophy, Religion and Ethics and has been playing strategy card games since childhood. He has a keen interest in the underlying mechanics and player interactions of trading card games, as well as tabletop game design in the digital space. He also designs card games in his spare time.

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