With a high anticipation of HEX’s alpha release less than a month away, I have decided to start a new dedicated series called HEXorial. This is essentially a tutorial of HEX. Obviously, the game itself will have in game tutorial, and I have a high hope that it will be great, but having seen many other dTCG out there, sometimes, it lacks little explanation here and there, or perhaps even when they included the explanation, as people are so excited about the game, and keep clicking, they may have missed a paragraph. In any event, the first of series will cover, resource system including the card itself. Did you really know how the resource card work? Because I did not until yesterday.
What is resource?
Let’s start with a very basic. Resource is known as mana in some other games. In order to cast/use cards, you have to pay its cost. The cost is paid in form of resource. So let’s take look.
The card above is called, Sapphire Aura (top). On the left upper corner, next to the card’s name, there is #3. That’s how much it costs to cast Sapphire Aura. So you need to have 3 resources to play this card.
How do you gain resource?
This is one of my own personal interest in dTCG design, but different TCG uses different ways of acquiring resource. If you are interested to know what types of resource system out there, see my article here. Basically, HEX uses what I call CRS (card based resource system). There are dedicated cards that represent resource. These cards are included in your deck as with any other cards. You draw them randomly along with other non-resource cards. Then once per turn, you are allowed to play a resource.
For example, assuming you have enough resource cards in your hand, you can cast 1 Sapphire shard turn 1, then another turn 2, then another turn 3. Now at turn 3 you have 3 resources. The resources you spent reset at the beginning of your turn.
So if you use 3 resources at turn 3 to cast Sapphire Aura, next turn i.e. turn 4, you have replenished 3 resources back that you can use for other cards.
Now let’s add one more layer to the complexity. In order for you to cast a card, you actually need to meet two independent criteria. One is pay the cost/resource. The second one is threshold. The threshold is tied to the color/shard, and you don’t spend threshold but rather you just unlock them. It means that if you have enough threshold for the given color/shard, you can use all of those cards as long as you have enough resource to use them. Let’s take a look.
Now here you see two sapphire cards with both having 3 cost to play. However, if you look at below their cost, you see two blue circles for Sabotage, and only 1 for Buccaneer. This means Sabotage has 2 sapphire thresholds; whereas, Buccaneer has only 1.
So let’s say if you have 3 resources from casting 2 ruby and 1 sapphire. You have 3 total resource, but you only have 1 sapphire threshold. Hence, you cannot play Sabotage, but you can play Buccaneer. This may sound like a Magic if you have played one, but there is distinctive difference. That is if you want to play 2 Buccaneers, you need 3+3 = 6 resources but you won’t need 1+1 = 2 Sapphire thresholds. You just need 1 to play each. Again, you don’t spend them but rather they just unlock those cards.
If you have never played other dTCG, the difference may not be significant, but in the reality, this system will allow easier play for multicolor deck compared to Magic’s system. Specifically, this is a game design that Cryptozoic made to alleviate the one of the three forms of the infamous mana screw, specifically called color screw. If you are interested in knowing the types of mana screw see here.
How are these represented in game?
Now let’s look at a resource card one more time as this may be a bit confusing for the first time player, or even for those who knows Magic due to their bias.
This is a ruby resource. First thing you notice from here is 1/1. These two numbers represent resource that will be added to your resource pool upon casting this card. The left number is immediately usable resource value, and the right is resource cap. This may be where a bit confusion comes from. So let’s take a look at the actual game screen here.
This is a zoomed version of screen capture from the actual game play video. You see on the left bottom corner, numbers 9/11 which are surrounding by identical icon to the resource card numbers. 9 here means you have 9 more resources available to spend, and 11 means you have maximal resource value of 11 i.e. at the beginning of next turn, your spendable resource will replenish back to 11. Basically, in this case, the player has already spent 2 resources for something; hence, only 9 out of 11 left for this turn.
If you cast a ruby resource now, you add 1/1 i.e. it will become 10/12. So you will have one more mana to spend this turn, and following turn your will replenish up to 12.
The threshold is represented by a icon next to the numbers on the resource card.
Here you got a wild resource. Next to 1/1, you have a spade/tree mark icon with green color. So upon casting this card, you add 1 wild shard threshold. Let’s take a look at the screen capture again.
In the right bottom corner, you see the part of your hand i.e. card you have drawn and available for you to use. Just let of it you see number 2 inside purple icon, and 1 inside green icon. These represent your thresholds. You have basically 2 blood threholds, and 1 wild threshold. So casting wild resource at this point will make overall change of followings:
1. 10/12 to resource pool.
2. Green threshold will become 2.
Now let’s add one last layer to the resource card. Yes. believe or not, simple resource card has so much meaning to it. The last part is represented by a text. The basic resources all have ability to “charge champion.” When enough charges are accumulated on your champion, which is a representation of player himself, you can use its special ability.
Why so complex?
At the first glance, a resource card have a bit too many things. Why? The reason becomes only obvious when we start seeing more advanced resource cards in the future. Basically, when something is more complex, it usually provides the potential to expand in the future as dedicated mechanics. This is why I love dTCG that uses dedicated resource cards. Fortunately, HEX had already revealed one of non-basic resource card. So let’s take a look what can potentially happen with resource cards.
You should be able to understand this card now well. 0/1 means you add 0 to current available resource, but 1 to the maximum resource cap. For those of who are magic player, think of at a land placed tapped. There is no threshold icon next to it, so it won’t add a specific threshold; however, if you look at the text portion it says you can choose a basic resource from your deck, and add its threshold. Then of course, this one also have Charge champion power.
So basically the Shards of Fate is a resource card that let you fill in a missing threshold in dynamic way, but in return you won’t get a immediate resource bonus that you would get otherwise by using actual basic resource card i.e. net result is similar to this card costing 1 to cast.
With current representation, we can easy see a future potential of more advanced resource cards. None of the followings are confirmed, but almost certainly we will see some variation of them in the future.
They can have two icons with different shards. Obviously, it will need some cost which can be something like 0/1. May be no charge power?
Rapid resource booster
What about card like 2/1? You add 1 extra resource the turn you cast this card. The penalty could be no charge champion, or of course they can put in the text something like “deal 2 to your health.”
Basically, the potential is limitless. We can of course anticipate lands that will give a rise to troop as in Magic. This can be easily represented by text, and upon casting it can create token.
I just love CRS!