Card Lords is a fast-paced, collectible card game from the same team that brought us Cardstone. Card Lords has a lot more depth and strategy to offer the more seasoned TCG/CCG player than the developer’s first game. It still uses the game graphics and card stock as Cardstone, but eliminates a lot of the older effects in favor of being able to level your cards.
There are many cards to collect in Card Lords, with a large number of ways to acquire them. Its simple graphics and more traditional approach to card battling sets it apart from Cardstone by quite some margin.
Does Card Lords demand that we kneel before it, or is it just a peasant? Read on to find out…
Card Lords uses the same stats for the cards as it did in Cardstone; each card has health and attack power stats used during combat. Obviously the attack power is the damage the card will deal to an opposing card during battle. Health is the life of the card: once it reaches zero, it will die.
Much like many card games, your cards will be in one row, and the opponent’s in another. Only 4 cards can be in a row at any one time. If one card falls, the next card will take its place at that battle phase’s end if you have more than 4 cards in your deck. At the beginning, you’ll start with only a few cards in the deck and this will grow as you level up.
What is great about the combat system is the ability for the game to go into auto mode, so you don’t have to click for each attack. You can also speed up the combat, for the impatient (like me). Combat is just one simple phase: Battle. Your cards will fight the card directly in front of them, unless another card has the Taunt ability. Cards with Taunt will be attacked by all of your cards until it dies. If your card has no card directly opposite, it will attack the first card in the row. The order in which position the cards start in is random. A little disappointing that I’m not able to stick a card with Taunt in straight away, but it makes for a more interesting battle without it!
Once a card is defeated, its ghost can be seen floating away. I found this to be a neat touch that adds a little character and charm to the game. In addition to battling it out using attack power, some cards will have a special ability. Each of these abilities will usually be obtained by leveling a card beyond its base level through training it. Once a card has learned its special ability, like Taunt, in a match it will either be available immediately or have a cooldown timer, stating a number of turns until activation.
Victory is obtained by wiping out all of the opponent’s cards. When you win, you are awarded a prize of varying quality. Usually it’s a card, gold (the in-game currency), experience points, or a mixture of these. All of these prizes serve to help you progress in the game. I think the developers have been quite generous with the amount of ways you can earn cards in Card Lords. We’ll cover a few a little later on, but I am impressed with how much the game doesn’t feel like one of those games you either grind away at, or sink a lot of real money into just to progress.
MODES AND FEATURES
Card Lords is a game that really doesn’t rely too heavily on any complicated stories or elongated quests that’ll have you falling asleep. It goes straight for the quick-rewards-system style of gameplay that makes it easy to pick up and play, yet also keeps you hooked on wanting more. I personally think this format fits the theme and the gameplay style of Card Lords, which has a more casual look and style than the heftier, more serious fantasy TCGs/CCGs.
It also doesn’t make you wait 24-hours for resets to occur to the modes you can play for free, such as the Dungeon, or even claiming Sign-In rewards, as each game day is only 6 hours. Addicts, rejoice! Just boot up the app in a few hours and get all your rewards again!
The main mode of the game as a single player is Explore, which has you fighting a random deck. As you progress, the decks will become increasingly more difficult and you’ll need to keep up the pace if you want to go further. Each level has 3 difficulty modes and each one will offer greater rewards, such as more gold and cards. The Dungeon is a bit like the Explore mode, except you’ll sort of see upfront what you’ll be fighting for. You will also be able to see what cards your deck will face off against, if any. The Dungeon can be entered for free once per game day (Yay! I can do mine again in less than 4 hours!).
As you level up, you will unlock more modes that you can take part in. The Bazaar is a shop where you can trade gold or gems (the premium currency) for items. The items change daily and you’d better be quick if you don’t want to miss a bargain. The Fortune Teller is a bit like a Wheel of Fortune. There are boxes that contain different items, gold, or other treasures that will be selected at random once you hit the spin button. I once landed on an Epic card and was very happy with that! It scratches that random gambling itch for sure (and now I’m worried I might be an addict to random gambling events…).
If you crave a little more competition than what Explore has to offer, you can try your hand against other peoples decks in the Arena. You’ll get five shots at a match to improve your rank and Honor. When you seek a game, you can either flee or fight. Sometimes its not too bad of an idea to flee, especially when the opponent has a deck full of Legendary cards. Due to the way the combat system works, you’ll never face-off against a ‘live’ player, but their deck instead.
Card interaction modes are the Deck Edit, Draw, Train, and Evolve modes. Drawing is where you can buy random new cards. You can spend gold, gems, or even tickets to acquire the new cards. Tickets are like a sub currency in the game, as they’re not something you can buy from the game’s store. Instead, they are awarded through basic gameplay and from completing daily quests. When you draw cards, you’ll either opt for one or five. Depending on what you can afford, of course (you ARE going to log in every 6 hours like me, right?).
Deck Edit is where you can swap cards in and out of your deck. You’ll be doing this a lot as you acquire new and more powerful cards. You’ll also find the Disenchant option here, which is where you’ll sacrifice your card’s soul so that it may power another: the soul’s value when reaped can be used to level up other cards in the Train mode. Cards have 3 levels, with each new level making the card stronger. Evolve works quite similarly to Train, and I’ll leave those exciting prospects to be discovered by you.
The in-game store is only for purchasing gems, the premium currency. Gems are used to buy cards in the Draw mode, purchase items in the Bazaar, or even just to replenish your energy. Energy is crucial to all in-game actions. Once you run out of it, you can either wait the remaining time left in the game day, or spend gems to get some energy back. This is the only negative thing about the experience, I felt: having to spend only one currency to gain energy. I feel a better model would have been to spend gold for the energy needed, and if that ran out, opt to also buy gold in the store.
DECKBUILDING AND STRATEGY
Card Lords deckbuilding is simple. Select the cards you want to fight and place them in the deck. You can swap cards in and out at your leisure in the Deck Edit screen. You’ll be doing this quite often and it is always best to keep an eye open for the cards you’ve been acquiring.
The cards come in 4 rarities; Common, Rare, Epic, and Legendary. The higher the rarity of the card, the more powerful it is, including abilities. Sometimes a card may have a weak attack value, but this is usually coupled with an awesome combat ability. The Warlock is a good example, weakening the enemies cards, but only having 1 attack value.
If you decide to deploy cards that are weaker in health or attack, be sure to keep them covered with plenty of Taunt cards. Or you could just go all-out on attacking with cards that have high attack and health. The Warrior is one such card that will prove to be a useful asset well into the late game. As long as you keep training your cards, you’ll not have too much trouble progressing through the game.
Card Lords really did catch me by surprise as to how much I enjoy playing it, given that its clearly aimed more towards the casual end of the TCG/CCG market. Even during the course of writing this review, I jumped back in for a few more rounds. The simple gameplay and quick-fire pace of the game are what make it a joy to play. Sure, the game isn’t the prettiest to look at in comparison to other CCGs on the market, but the graphics and art work in the game’s favor, giving it a fast-and-fun kind of feel.
The game is simple enough for younger players, but deep enough for the veteran players out there, too. There have been many updates to the game since its launch and even one that included a new mode which appeared during the middle of writing this review.
I heartily suggest a look at Card Lords. It has a formula that succeeds in drawing you in as a player, and because the game doesn’t require long wait periods between adventures, you can play at your own pace, even if that pace means more frequently than a casual game would normally allow for with their restrictive cooldowns and timers all over the place.
Card Lords is a great game that will serve you well both in the short and long term. The developers seem keen to make this a game that will be enjoyed by millions. Let’s help them achieve that goal, even if only to reward them for making 6-hour game days (thank you, oh benevolent developer).
For more screenshots, click here.
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