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Posted on Jul 9, 2021 in Electronic Games, Front Page Features

An Amazing Virtual CCG Experience KARDS Computer Card Game Review

An Amazing Virtual CCG Experience KARDS Computer Card Game Review

Rick Martin

KARDS –   Computer Game Preview.  Publisher: 1939 Games   Lead Game Designer: Gudmundur Kristjansson  Price: The base game is free but expansion packs can be purchased starting at $2.99.

Way back in 2018, Armchair General did a preview of the World War 2 themed virtual collectable card game KARDS.  Well now its 2021 and the game is going strong.  Here is our much anticipated full review of KARDS!  In order to avoid re-inventing the wheel, I have used some material from my original preview in this full review.

World War 2 themed card games have been few and far between.  Two standouts that I played almost all the time many years ago are the fantastic Echelons of Fury and The Last Crusade.  During this decade, DVG Games’ Warfighter has breathed new life in to the genre and is considered a classic by many.

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Now, a company out of Reykjavik, Iceland called 1939 Games is developing a World War II themed CCG (Collectable Card Game) with a twist – the cards are virtual!  While I was initially skeptical as I like to hold the cards in my hand – call me “old school”, I have been captivated by KARDS. 

KARDS is a multi-platform game.  It is be available for the PC on STEAM and hopefully soon as a portable game for mobile devices although that has been promised since 2018.  There is a KARDS virtual deck manager in the Google Play Store.

Germany v England

Unlike the card games of the 1990s, KARDS can be played solo or as a multi-player experience.  Each player has a starting number of virtual cards and then can purchase virtual booster packs to strengthen your army.  To date, there are KARDS for the Americans, British, Russians, Japanese, Germans, Italians, Polish and French armies.

opening a virtual booster pack

The individual KARD artwork is stunning and many different types of units are available.  Each unit is rated for attack value, defense value and then special abilities.  Each KARD is purchased from a point total which goes up for each turn the player is active.  You then purchase the unit from the virtual cards you draw each turn.  You also have an HQ which you are trying to protect.  Each HQ has a specific number of hit points.  As units attack the HQ, its hit points fall.  If the hit points reach zero, you have lost the game.  To guard your HQ, you deploy KARDS of various units.   Your hand size starts at either 4 cards (for the player who goes first) or 5 cards for the player who goes second.  The maximum hand size is 9 cards and if you reach that, you have to discard a card until you use one.  If you run out of virtual cards in your deck, your HQ begins to take 1 point of damage each turn.

KARDS

Not all cards are infantry, airplanes, artillery or tanks, some give you special orders which can do things like add smokescreen to a unit (which makes it immune to most attacks until the smokescreen is removed) or launch an artillery strike against units behind the front lines.

KARDS

As the game is played, atmospherics help add to the gaming experience for example, if you chose the German side, you hear German music of the period; the same is true for the other nationalities.  When units attack each other, you can hear the sound of battle and see animated explosions.

 Some KARDS are currently too powerful and can completely dominate the game but his is all being adjusted by the experts at 1939.  For example, the Manhattan Project card used to do so much damage from its atomic blast that it pretty much destroyed everything on one side of the virtual board.  In the last few weeks, 1939’s designers have limited the scope of the damage allowing the target to at least have a chance of surviving the bomb drop.  There are still some cards which seem to be too powerful in my opinion.  These include some cards with the Mobilize effect which allows them to grow in power at the beginning of each turn.  I also have found that the Italian card “Spirit of Rome” which one player yesterday stacked to give two units an unprecedented 35 attack and defense rating.  I had to use a card to take over one of his “Spirit of Rome” effected units to kill his other unit otherwise I would have lost the game with no chance to destroy the two units.

Russia wins a battle

KARDS also gives you digital libraries of all the KARDS in your collection.  You can experiment with different deck designs and even try out specialty decks created by the KARDS design team. There are also different virtual game boards you can purchase and special collections you can buy.  There is even an encyclopedia of all the KARDS with the history of the real life units painstakingly researched and presented.

In addition to the standard KARDS duels with either the AI or a human opponent, there are special campaigns and tournaments.  KARDS offers something for everyone.  In commemoration of D Day, there were special D Day tournaments.

Interesting Historical Background

Aside for the power balancing issue, I only really have a few concerns with the game.  It seems like about 30% of the time when I want to play a quick 10 minute game, the game does an update which ties it up for as long as 5 minutes.  This seems to happen way too often.  I also worry about what happens to your collection of KARDS if 1939 experiences a service interruption.  Does your library of cards just vanish into the Twilight Zone of the internet?

These few concerns notwithstanding, try out KARDS and see what you think.  Personally I try to play for at least 20 minutes every evening.  It’s both addicting and fun!

Armchair General Rating:  95% (1% is bad, 100% is perfect)

Solitaire Rating: 5 (1 is not suitable, 5 is excellent solo play)

About the Author

A college film instructor and small business owner, Richard Martin has also worked in the legal and real estate professions, is involved in video production, film criticism, sports shooting and is an avid World War I and II gamer. He designed the games Tiger Leader, The Tiger Leader Expansion and Sherman Leader for DVG and is the co-designer of the solo system for Forsage Games’ Age of Dogfights World War I and World War II.  In addition, Rick can remember war games which came in plastic bags and cost $2.99 (he’s really that old)!

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