The challenge to create an all-new game concept within the TCG/CCG genre gets increasingly more difficult with each passing year. Many developers now draw upon the influences of the genre’s most popular titles or try to incorporate a mechanic from a different genre altogether, thus creating a blend of concepts rather than something entirely new.
Last Hand seeks to combine the lane strategy seen in MOBAs such as LoL and DOTA 2 with the classical combat style of TCGs/CCGs such as Hearthstone. The game itself is a classic deckbuilder, but not in the conventional interpretation as there are no random draws from your deck. Instead, you build your deck before going into battle and have access to all of your chosen cards. Victory or failure is influenced by your choices on the battlefield instead of random draw mechanics.
Is Last Hand unique enough to warrant your backing on Kickstarter? Read on to find out…
Last Hand’s development team is just as passionate as I am about playing a game that incorporates a rich backstory to complement the combat. Not only does playing the campaign reward you with new cards, but you can also enjoy the unfolding story as you progress through the fantasy world of Ledei.
In conjunction with the rich story is some excellent artwork. Anda Games, the developers, have managed to secure many fantastic artists to design some wonderful looking cards. However, the project still needs your help to improve upon the visual design and content. The developers want to do a lot more with the music, sound effects, and animations as they feel these are the game’s weakest areas at the moment.
Instead of relying on the tried and tested mechanics of popular TCGs/CCGs, Last Hand opts for something different. Instead of randomly drawing cards from your pre-constructed deck you have access to all of your cards. Your entire plan will revolve around the cards you’ve selected to take into battle, and this gives the game a lot more strategic depth than the games it will be competing against within the genre.
The board is split into two lanes with each opposing player trying to send their heroes and minions forward to attack the opposing player directly. Imagine as though you’re controlling an entire team of heroes and sending them forward to attack the enemy base. Your opponent is sending their forces to intercept yours while also trying to attack your base. This is the basic concept of a MOBA and works well with the lane system employed in Last Hand.
There are six key elements that you can use within Last Hand. Earth, Fire, Glacier, Nature, Underworld, and Water are the six elements, and each of these elements contain its base values, heroes, and artifacts. The base value determined by your element will also feed into its distinct play-style such as Earth for example; focusing on high health and defensive structures.
The four different card types are Heroes, Artifacts, Blessings, and Minions. These will make up your deck of cards. Heroes and Artifacts are restricted by their element color while Blessings and Minions are neutral and can fit into any deck. Your hero cards have the most utility by having two abilities that can be either active or passive. You’ll often build strategies around the heroes instead of having them slot into an overall strategy.
Artifacts lend a strategic edge to your plans or can cripple your opponents. Because these are elemental, they will work in synergy with your heroes and chosen base element. The remaining minions and blessings are the cheapest costing cards to cast into the arena and will serve as a tool to survive or to rush in quickly on an ill-prepared opponent.
Your main deck will consist of 8 cards with an extra four cards being held in a reserve deck. Matches will usually take no longer than 12 minutes, depending on the amount of thinking time you want to allocate to each move. This makes Last Hand the perfect mobile game for short journeys and for casual players in particular.
The usual mana resource system is present in the game and allows you to bring your minions and heroes onto the field of battle. There isn’t any information as to how this is generated as of yet, but we can assume that it will use an incremental mana system that is present in most digital TCGs/CCGs these days.
The fact that the game uses the same lane system as seen in MOBAs opens up the game to an entirely different style of play. You can have your cards switch lanes in the middle of the field and nowhere else, which again changes the dynamics of the game. Last Hand aims to deliver a new experience in TCG/CCG gaming — I think this may be one to watch!
Last Hand will initially be deployed on iOS, Android, and Windows Phones. These mobile platforms have a far more mainstream audience than those on PC, however this has not been ruled out as a potential platform for the game to launch on and is set as one of the stretch goals on Kickstarter.
Backing the game will gain you access to some excellent Kickstarter-exclusive rewards. One such reward is three exclusive hero cards that will not be on sale after the game launches. These heroes aren’t game breaking, but will give you a distinctive early advantage against those that don’t have them who may not have seen them before!
High reward tiers may let you start designing some of the core components in the game such as a Minion, Hero, or an Artifact. Starting at $80, it may be worthwhile to do so if you plan on playing the game day after day once it launches! Why not have your own cards in the game?!
Among the features promised thus far is a weighty Quest mode. The Quest mode will form the bulk of the game and is where you will interact with the story of Ledei. You will be able to earn numerous cards on your primary quest and can even sidetrack a little with simple side quests. Each mission will be a puzzle-style combat scenario with various ways to win, and how you approach them will be the difference between victory and defeat.
Crafting is another cemented feature in the game but is exclusive to Artifacts instead of other card types. Once you unlock a hero, you will no longer be able to receive the same card again as they will be exclusives. Artifacts can be leveled up via crafting, but these upgrades aren’t limitless. There has to be a capping on power somewhere along the line, right?!
There is no word on a competitive mode as of yet, but we can only assume there will be a PvP mode for players to take part in. Otherwise, what would be the point of creating a highly strategic card game if these efforts are wasted on purely A.I. opponents?
Last Hand looks like it will be able to deliver a different perspective on the TCG/CCG genre with its MOBA-style lane combat system. If you’ve ever played a MOBA, then you may enjoy this style of gaming and it may be a great entry-level card game for you.
For TCG/CCG fans, it will bring you the strategic gameplay that you know and love, without using the tired combat systems of old. As much as we love and adore games like Hearthstone, we need new flavors to keep our appetites sated!
The success of the game will be elevated even higher if it contains a compelling PvP mode. A PvE mode will only go so far and will reduce the need to purchase booster packs in the game, no matter how compelling the story telling is. I’m sure one will be coming, as well as a bunch of other great features down the line. This is one to watch, for sure!
For more information on Last Hand, check out the Kickstarter here.