Unit States and Turn Phases

Units within the Quantum Rift Adventure Card Game can either be ready, exhausted or damaged at any one time. We show exhausted with a blue counter, damaged with a red counter and ready (the default state) without either counter, as in the photo below.

  • Units enter play in the ready state. When a ready unit attacks or an effect exhausts a ready unit, it changes to the exhausted state. When an effect damages a ready unit (or exhausted unit), it changes to the damaged state.
  • Units that are exhausted remain in this state until they are either readied (back to the ready state), which happens at the start of every turn, or an effect damages them to put them in the damaged state. Note: An exhausted unit can’t attack or exhaust again.
  • Units that are damaged remain in this state until they are either revived (back to the exhausted state) or an effect attempts to damage them again, which causes them to be destroyed (or lose 1 vitality if the unit has vitality). Note: A damaged unit can’t attack, can’t be readied and can’t exhaust.

Hopefully, it’s clear that becoming exhausted is not usually a problem because that only lasts until the start of the next turn, while becoming damaged is something to avoid unless you have some revival tricks up your sleeve (or in your hand). But, either way, if you are not ready when you get your chance to attack then you won’t be able to. Speaking of which, let’s look at the phases of the turn and see where this chance to attack might come.

Each of your turns playing the Quantum Rift Adventure Card Game proceeds through five phases after the start of turn, when exhausted units become ready again:

  • COMBAT (when ready units can attack, in order decided by player)
  • THREAT (when THREAT effects are triggered)
  • REGROUP (when REGROUP effects are triggered)

Thinking back to the predicament we left Sabrien Reed in at the end of our previous post, face-to-face with two Hyvryx Scouts thanks to the Seek and Destroy Encounter, let’s assume it’s the start of the turn and see how this plays out.

Deployment Phase – Although we might have some gear in hand to deploy, let’s assume we don’t deploy it now because of the first effect on each Hyvryx Scout, which would cause 2 Charge to be added to the Encounter! (“Whenever an opposing unit or gear is deployed, add 1 Charge to any active Scouting encounter”).

Combat Phase – At the start of this phase, all three units are ready and able to attack. Fortunately, for you, the attack order is decided by the player! Assuming Sabrien attacks first, the following outcomes are possible:

  • Sabrien is exhausted (from attacking), one Scout is damaged (from Sabrien achieving more Hits than its Defence), one Scout is still ready.
  • Sabrien is exhausted (from attacking), one Scout is exhausted (from Sabrien only managing Hits equal to its Defence), one Scout is still ready.
  • Sabrien is exhausted (from attacking), one Scout is ready (from Sabrien getting fewer Hits than its Defence), one Scout is still ready.

Given that Sabrien gets to roll 3 Attack dice with a +1 roll bonus and 1 guaranteed Hit, the last outcome seems very unlikely, especially with the chance to Rift. In fact, the chance to Rift on each roll and 4+ being considered an Attack success means you can virtually guarantee you will damage one of the Scouts, so let’s assume the first outcome is what happened. Great! For reasons that will become clear in a future post that covers the Combat Phase in more detail, let’s assume the remaining Scout does not attack Sabrien.

Explore Phase – Ordinarily, you might be able to do something interesting here (which you will see in the next post), but we must skip this phase if there is an active Encounter, so onto the next phase …

Threat Phase – We must trigger the THREAT effect of the Encounter, which puts 2 additional Charge on it.

Regroup Phase – We now trigger the REGROUP effect on the damaged Scout to discard it, leaving just the one ready Scout.

We’ve now reached the next turn, which we might expect would play out similarly to this one, with all units starting out ready again and Sabrien attacking, but something special happens after Sabrien damages the remaining Scout: there are no longer any ready Hyvryx units in play to satisfy the Encounter’s DURATION, so the Encounter ends immediately!

Hurrah! Sabrien has survived his first encounter on Andares. Not only that, he is about to get his first chance to explore this mysterious world, far away from his home, in both space and time! Be sure to join us next time when we will get to explore what happens next together.

Encountering Enemies

When designing a character-based card game primarily for solo/co-op play, there’s an important challenge to solve in how opposing forces will be controlled. In today’s post, we will be exploring some of the mechanics we’ve chosen to use as part of our solution.

But, before we that, I’d like to briefly describe why we rejected the most obvious approach of creating a symmetrical game you play against a non-human “player”, with its own deck of cards and hand and turns to take actions, all controlled by some rules/heuristics or other form of Artificial Intelligence.

While this tends to be the default for the single-player Campaign/Adventure modes of digital trading cards games like Hearthstone and Shadow Era that are designed first and foremost to be played against other people, a physical (tabletop) game with only one human player requires all opposing card behaviours to be determined and enacted by proxy by that player. Having experimented with this originally, it did not take long to conclude the “work” involved in this for the player, compared to making their own choices and plays, can really dampen the fun factor.

So with the idea of a symmetrical game out the window, we considered the fairly standard approach used by traditionally solo/co-op games of building the behaviour of the enemy cards into the player’s turn through distinct turn phases, triggered effects and special cards. Let’s take a look at one of those special cards now!

The first thing to notice is that this card is in landscape format and has no Quanta symbols and no Rift number. This is because it’s not a playable card that a player will ever have in their deck or hand, but a story card that embodies part of the particular adventure being played. The specifics of how an Encounter enters play will be detailed in a future post, but for now let’s assume that this one has been revealed at the start of a game after you have chosen Sabrien Reed as your hero, with The Shy Sword starting in play with him.

With that in mind, the next logical step is then surely to discuss the REVEAL effect, which triggers when this Encounter is revealed for the first time. Within seconds of Sabrien arriving in a distant time and place, with only his sword for company, he will be joined by two Hyvryx Scouts across from him (spawned from an Enemy Pile that was constructed as part of the game setup).

But that’s not all that happens! We also must add 1 Charge to the card, that will represent a growing threat to Sabrien while this Encounter persists. (A stack of counters/tokens or dice work well to track the current Charge.)

Speaking of a growing threat, let’s look at that next. The THREAT effect, which was first introduced on the Hyvryx Predator, is another that triggers at a specific time in the game, but this one actually happens on every turn during the player’s Threat Phase. Looking over the simple logic above, hopefully you can see that if the Hyvryx Scouts are left unchecked to continue their scouting then the aforementioned Hyvryx Predator will soon come join the fray. For Sabrien’s sake, we must determine how to bring this Encounter to an end as soon as possible! But how?

Thankfully, we must look no further than the next line down, where the DURATION specifier for the Encounter is written. Unlike REVEAL and THREAT, this is not an effect but an ongoing condition that says the Encounter will only remain in play while there is at least one “ready” Hyvryx unit. Sabrien is therefore going to need to find a way to make them all not ready somehow, or remove them from play completely, to end this Encounter before the Hyvryx insist on having him for dinner. Food for thought, I think you’ll agree!

With such high stakes (or should that be thigh steaks?), I think this is a good place to end for today, to give you some time to digest what we’ve covered and ensure the Hyvryx don’t get to digest what they’ve discovered … for now, at least.

When we return next time, we will look into the different states units can be in and the ordering of phases in a turn, which should hopefully bring forth some ideas as to how Sabrien might escape this Encounter. See you then!

Everything is Quanta (and Quanta is Everything)

Welcome back to our blog, where we are steadily revealing more details about the adventure card game we are developing, set in our brand new Quantum Rift Universe.

Now that we’ve introduced the concept of Quanta, through the Quanta symbols on cards and the coloured Quanta dice (see the image below for a reminder), our goal today is to explore the meaning behind these different symbols and colours.

Just as everything in our universe can be viewed as energy in different forms, according to Einstein’s famous equation (E = mc2), everything in the Quantum Rift Universe is considered to be Quanta energy, which we classify into four main coloured types according to its different forms and applications:

Red represents the physical embodiment of Quanta within living creatures, chosen both for the colour of blood that pumps around the body and for the blood that can be spilled through acts of physical dominance! Consequently, within our card game, you can expect to see at least one red Quanta symbol on strong/athletic characters and those proficient in combat.

Yellow represents mental prowess within sentient beings, chosen for its associations with clarity and wisdom. Characters within our game with at least one yellow Quanta symbol can therefore be considered to have above average intelligence, intellect and mental acuity.

Green represents nature and the concepts of life and growth, chosen for obvious reasons! As such, all characters in our game that you would expect to survive (and potentially thrive) in the wilderness have at least one green Quanta symbol on their cards.

Blue represents technology and engineering (as opposed to natural development/evolution), chosen mostly because it was the only remaining primary colour! When a character in our game is particularly talented with technology or endowed with it, their card will have at least one blue Quanta symbol to show this.

Taking all this into account, what could we deduce about Sabrien Reed and the Hyvryx Predator revealed previously?

If you’ve concluded that Sabrien is likely an accomplished explorer and treasure-hunter from medieval times, armed with a sharp mind and abundance of worldly wisdom (from his world and time at least), you’ve hit the nail right on the head – which is pretty much Sabrien’s limit when it comes to technology!

On the other hand, or any hand in fact, the only thing we can conclude for now about the bioengineered Hyvryx Predator is that it is likely to lead to plenty of blood loss.

So one question remains for today: Will Sabrien’s weakness with technology be his undoing when he encounters the Hyvryx faction on his next adventure?

If this has you intrigued, be sure to tune in next time, when we reveal another Hyvryx unit and a new card type: Encounter.