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Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Dragoborne CCG - Introduction

Dragoborne is a new CCG by Japanese company Bushiroad, released on August 4, 2017 with 3 “Trial” preconstructed decks, Shadow Legion, Mystical Hunters and Alpha Dominance, soon followed by the 1st set (with randomized boosters), Rally to War on August 17. Another set, along with 4th Trial deck is scheduled for release on November 10.

Core mechanics

Luriel rolled 1s on his dice and thus decided to be rather aggressive than trying to use these dice to help him protect his Forts. He used the dice to Dragocross his creatures and played Ambush cards in order to have some kind of defense against STsung's attacks.

The most significant feature of the gameplay are its dice. At the start of each of their rounds, players roll three colored Dragon dice and then decide to either assign them to forts with a banner of matching color as damage buffer against enemy attacks (Dragoshields) or as creature buffs, increasing that creature’s main stats (Dragocrosses). The dice rolls are fairly well incorporated with the rest of the game and feel integral to the game mechanics, so, even if they increase the game randomness, it can be skillfully managed by players and, actually the mechanic spreads the overall randomness of the game into several “pillars” that the game stands on (above and beyond shuffling the cards in the deck).

Another significant feature of the game is the three fort system and the limit and location of creatures on the board. A player can only have two creatures in play at a single fort, totaling 6 creatures on board at a given time. Which incentivizes players to prefer attacking to bunkering themselves and it makes the game much more dynamic. The forts are also the central win condition. Each player begins the game with two face down barrier cards at each fort that are put into that player’s hand as soon as the fort is damaged. If a player loses all fort barriers, that player’s forts are destroyed and thus loses the game. A key mechanic, Fort Burst triggers when a card with the ability would be put into a player’s hand because of fort damage, quite often interfering with opponent’s attack plans. Therefore Fort Burst is another of the “pillars” that spread out the overall randomness. Putting the extra cards in your hand while losing objective can turn the game around and is a balancing factor in the game. To damage a fort barrier, any amount is enough, so all creatures are accentuated and even tiny creatures can be useful in late game states.

And the last significant feature of the game is the ambush system. A player may prepare an ambush at each of their forts. Ambush effects trigger when the card’s conditions are met—usually when a battle takes a place at that fort.

Late stage of the game where STsung (brown sleeves) can't win the game anymore.

These three mechanics combined create a unique game experience, where even if apparently a player would be able to win that round, the game may yet be turned around by the defender. Despite that, game fashions a relatively high amount of open information, making it easier for skilled players to predict the course of the game.

Resources

Starting setup of the game. Each player starts with 3 banners (resources) of a chosen color.

Unlike most other CCGs the players begin the game with three usable resources and may gain one more each round. That increases the game’s pacing and allows for more card combinations to be played early in the game.

Cards are split into five colors and when played, those cards require to be paid by at least one resource of the matching color, but there is no other restriction. So a player may opt for a three colored deck easily, also increasing the number of card combinations possible in decks, while at the same time significantly decreasing the impact of having mismatched resources and cards or other arbitrary color limitations that we can see in other CCGs.

Combat

Combat system comes after the opportunity to summon creatures and creatures aren’t restricted from attacking or using their abilities immediately. Creatures have a Power stat that sets the amount of damage they can do to other creatures and Dragoshields and Endurance stat that sets the amount of damage it can take and survive in a single turn. Creatures attack one by one, and defenders battle with them in duels that exhaust them. So a creature may sacrifice itself against a strong defender while a bunch of goblins dismantle the fort.

Apart from creatures, there are spells that provide immediate or short-lasting effects. The only opportunity to cast spells is before the attack phase, so players need to plan ahead when using these cards.

Summary

The game is easy to learn, but harder to master. Anyone can summon a few creatures and then swing with them, but it needs practice and experience to learn how the pace of the game works and how to force an opponent into the pace the player’s deck works best at. For example, a player may opt to destroy an opponent’s fort as soon as possible, but the opponent then gains up to two creatures that can attack without fear of leaving their keep undefended and a Dragon die to Dragocross any creature, free of consequence.

More info can be found at the official site at https://www.dragoborne.com/index.

Luriel