Carte ~First Impression~

Summary: This is not related to Shadow Era.  This is yet another digital TCG that I just recently found.  The game has relatively high similarity to Shadow Era with its own pros and cons.  But overall the game seems really good and definitely thought worth mentioning so people who have similar interest as myself can at least try and see your own.  The game is officially launched in US about one week ago.

Below are my quick comparison between the two games (Shadow Era and Carte) plus a little comparison to the TCG gold standard i.e. Magic the Gathering.  Couple things about the following though.  I have only played through tutorial and only a few of AI games on Carte.  So my experience on Carte is definitely limited and there are many aspect of the game that still unknown to me.  This is why I call this First Impression rather than full review.  In addition, I used terms “Likes” and “Dislike” to compare rather than pros and cons because many of the following are really personal preference and many of you may actually choose certain aspect of the game I like as disadvantage or the other way around.

Like

1. Complexity of the game

This game is much more complex than the Shadow Era.  Yet less complex as Magic, the way it is built, it seem to have potential to be as sophisticated/strategic as Magic if not all way to the level fairly close.  One example here is Carte has counter mechanism built in like Magic.  To give the feeling of the complexity the easiest to mention is number/types of cards there are.

1. Creature Card

But this is already a bit more complex than the Shadow Era. You have to actually cast your creatures in either defense or attack zone.

2. Magic Card

Just like direct magic affecting card in any TCG.  In magic, this corresponds to both instant and sorcery.

3. Hero Card

This is where in my opinion make this game more similar feeling to Shadow Era than the Magic, but overall the game is really a mixture of Yu Gi Oh, Magic and Shadow Era (or WoW).  Your hero determines the type of your deck sort of like Shadow Era i.e. Hunter vs. Rogue vs. Warrior or like Magic Red, White, Blue, Green or Black.  But unlike Shadow Era, you can use other color’s card in your deck.  What you pay is your health when you cast those card that are not same color as your hero.  So definitely adds lots of deck variation.

4. Hero Weapon/Armor

Again just like Shadow Era.

5. Trap Card

Just like Shadow Era.  Cards are faced down, but definitely more than 2 trap cards.  (I guess the origin of this is Yu Gi Oh?)

6. Shard Card

See below for less lack dependency.

7. Tarot Card

Random special ability card.

2. Various Game Mode

Though Shadow Era is also planning to have these, currently they do not have official tournament mode nor multiplayer mode.  As for Magic, no TCG can beat it with variety of game mode it has.  The goal for any TCG is basically eventually get all the mode that Magic has e.g. Draft.

1. Raid

Multiplayer mode (3 players) against AI boss, which supposedly not easy.

2. AI versus mode & online 1:1 (PvP)

3. Daily tournament (actually multiple times a day)

3. Less luck based

TCG requires strategy but not too infrequently in Magic (at least someone inexperienced like myself), you get what’s called Mana screwed or mana flooded.  My understanding of these terms are essentially, you either have no mana to cast your creatures or you have tons of mana but no creature to cast. This is one aspect I really liked Shadow Era, which uses Resource approach.  In this approach, you just sacrifice your card every turn (if you so choose) and that turns into your mana.  So you have much less chance of becoming mana screw as long as you make you deck reasonable.

Carte goes two steps further.  First step is even the resource (they call these mana) is part of card type.   But not like Magic you can only cast land to generate mana, but rather if you do use mana generating card (Shard is what they call) you get various effect from it.  The most basic type of Shard is essentially, you cast it and you draw a card.  So you don’t lose number of cards in your hand.  By choosing this the Shard card would not generate mana immediately, but goes into Shard section of the board and up on your next turn, it becomes mana card.  If you don’t have Shard card or wants to immediately generate a mana that turn, you can always sacrifice any card directly into mana pile.  This is just analogous to Shadow Era.  Now second interesting part is Carte allows you to reshuffle your hand even during middle of game if you don’t have any Shard in your hand.  The thing you pay here is just a health point off of your hero.  I am not sure how many times you can do this, but I had multiple turns in row I had to do this (at least 3-4).

With these mechanics, the luck based factor of you did not draw right card, you got mana screwed just purely due to your luck are minimized.  In my opinion, all TCG should take this approach so game is not luck dependent but skill dependent.

Dislike

1. Platform is only on Windows

Currently the game is only available on Windows.  A huge drawback for me.  As I like to play the game usually on my iPAD.  But because of this, they have high resolution PC client with pretty good user interface. Definitely better than that of current magic online client and Shadow Era client.

2. Price

There is Freebie option like Shadow Era.  But you would never come close to completing collection with this approach.  If you are trying to complete the set, this is still something I need to dig into a bit more, but there is no doubt this would be much more pricier than the Shadow Era.  Question is by how much.  Based on my calculation with some forum people’s help, it may end up costing similar to Magic.  The booster pack itself cost $3.  Compare this to $1 for Shadow Era and $4 for Magic.  Each Set has 80+ cards.  But despite it has just been released, there are already 9 sets (they call these episodes so episode 1-1, 1-2, 2-1 etc.)  The game is actually launched in Korea  about 9 months ago.  So based on this window, I am guessing they have thus far released 1 set per month.  Bit too frequent for me.  Unless they plan to keep these 700 cards for a while and wait to introduce Episode 3 for a while.  In addition, you can only have a copy of card in one of your deck.  I.e. if you want to use 4 of card X in two of your decks, you have to have 8 copies or toss one deck and rebuild new one.

Uncertainty

1. Game Balance

According to the beta testers, one of few TCG with good balance.  But time will only tell for this.  Especially with 700 cards in mere 9 months, I am just skeptical to believe that all 700 have equally valuable place in competition.

2. Price

Definitely negative aspect of the game for now.  But sounds like couple things are going on right now to potentially decrease this.  One is that they are still discussing about how you can achieve more free in game cash.  Secondly, they are working on trading system so you can trade in card you don’t want and get one you want rather than keep buying booster to get the card you want (or there is alternative method which you can create cards but still expensive and somewhat random).

Also frequency of expansion at this point is uncertain.  As stated above, every month seem too excessive especially with the price of the cards cost in this game.

This is tied to price.  But nobody really knows.

First Impression

Overall first impression is the game play is fun.  In fact, it is fun to the point where I feel like this game’s mechanics could be the best of all I have seen so far in TCG.  Not because it is so unique but rather it incorporates good aspect of other major TCG.  Yet, as a person who have collectors mind set, this game’s price drives me away.  Second downside is that it is only available on Windows.  In the meantime, I will continue playing the game a bit more to see what I find out.

http://carte.gamescampus.com/

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