Developer: 1939 Games
Publisher: 1939 Games
Genre: 2D, Card Game, World War II
Available On: PC
Tested On: PC
Official Site: https://www.kards.com/
Release Date: April 15, 2020
Where to Buy: Steam
If you’re looking for crazy intense missions and visuals, KARDS may not be the game for you. While it is a card game at its base, there is far more strategy than first impressions imply. Having the right set of cards here is the same as having the right weapon in Call of Duty. You may be playing a card game, but the strategy aspect is just as important as any 3D title.
Despite the outward appearance, playing games like KARDS requires a bit of finesse. What works in one card game, may not work here as the game may be structured differently from others. There are no trap cards or magic cards here, and there will be more than just direct attacks to worry about.
In TCGs like Magic: The Gathering or Pokemon, players need additional cards to supply them. If that sounds too much reliance on luck, KARDS might be more your speed. Instead of traditional mana or energy cards, players are to spend ‘koins’ to move any card from their hand into the field of battle. Infantry units cost anywhere from 1 to 4 ‘koins’, depending on the size of the ‘group’ depicted. With air and tank units, the cost can shoot up to as much as 9 ‘koins’.
When you first start KARDS, you are sent right into the tutorial. While it may sound frustrating to some, the benefit is unlocking the basic decks for each respective country. There are five starter decks: Britain, German, Japan, Soviet, and the USA. While the cards in each respective deck may share certain buffs, others are unique to the corresponding country.
Players compete with an AI or randomly matched player after choosing their deck. When the match begins, players will be on two lines: support line and front line. The support line is where every player’s HQ is located. The front line is where you need to send your cards so direct attacks can be made on the enemy HQ.
The most common cards in the game are Infantry, Tank, Fighter/Bomber, Artillery, and Order. KARDS will come in one of three rarities: Standard, Limited, and Special. Most of your infantry cards, regardless of nation, will fall under standard or limited. The best thing you’ll get from even common cards is a buff called “Guard.” Units with this ability protect cards to either side of them, allowing only the guarding card itself to be attacked. This will also work to defend your HQ as well.
Fighter units can attack enemy support and front line units from their own support line. Artillery can only strike air Fighter units. Some Infantry and Tank units can both move and attack in the same turn. Land units can only attack an enemy HQ while in the front lines. The most useful buff I found personally was Destruction: “Deal 2 damage to a random enemy.”
In addition to meeting live players by clicking “Battle,” players can enlist themselves in a ‘draft.’ Signing up for the draft is paid for with tickets and consists of three rounds. Players choose their deck before the draft battle begins, but have the option to ‘auto-draft’ their cards. I tried selecting my own deck here, and my experience taught that great care should be taken here. The abilities of the cards should be taken into consideration.
Order cards, like the Japan deck’s Naval Operation and Soviet deck’s From The People, deal varying degrees of damage. Naval Operation will attack all units, but deal only 1 damage to each. From The People, though, will deal 3 damage to a single unit. I made the mistake of filling my deck with nearly 20 Order cards, preventing many of my hands from being filled with any unit cards. And it made for a perfect disaster.
What the game lacks in flashy visuals, KARDS makes up for it in other ways. Each card is adorned with a unique image specific to the card’s name. The artwork itself is reminiscent of World War II-era posters, much like the recruitment and Rosie the Riveter posters. The music is likely what you would hear in a bar at the time. The sound effects of bomb runs and infantry attacks drive home the theme.
Verdict: KARDS is a World War II-era collectible card game. The atmospheric music and sounds of war help with immersion. Anyone familiar with collectible card games or TCGs like Magic The Gathering or Pokemon will get the hang of it easily. If you are a fan of card games, you’ll be a fan of this. Check the game out on Steam when it releases on April 15, 2020.
- Great Artwork
- Helpful tutorial
- Emphasis on Strategy
- Not a steep learning curve
- Immersive Music and SFX
- Matchmaking takes some time
- Koin replenishment can be be frustrating