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Shardbound carves out a place for the great comeback

A new “win condition” being built into the blockchain reboot of card-battler Shardbound is designed to please losers.

Players can still win matches the traditional battler way, by taking out the enemy commander, but in Shardbound it will also be possible for losing players to pull off points-based comeback victories, game director Stephan Sherman, from the studio Bazooka Tango, said this week.

“Ultimately, if your product allows for the backfoot player and the frontfoot player to switch places – usually by crafty and savvy play on the backfoot player’s part – then there is some amount of surprise and suspense about who might win a game,” Sherman said in a YouTube post outlining how the new win condition would work.

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“If your game is a foregone conclusion that the player on the front foot will end up being the victor, and there is no chance for the backfoot player to recover… Not only is that not interesting for the player winning, it’s also not interesting for the player losing,” he said. 

“And it’s really boring to watch.”

A screenshot of Shardbound gameplay
A screenshot of Shardbound’s hexagonal battle zone.

Shardbound is a multiplayer collectible tactics game where a commander controlled by the player moves around an arena collecting crystals. 

These resources are used to summon allies from a selection of collectable cards that are drawn each turn.

To earn the 12 points necessary to win, in what is referred to in the game as an “economy victory”, players have to break apart two types of chromosite crystals, blue and orange.

“When you break the [blue mana crystals] open, they give you temporary mana cards that you can spend to create more mana for yourself, on spells and other minions,” Sharman said. 

“There are also three large mana crystals that are orange. Each of these large mana crystals gives the player victory points and enough victory points allow you to win a match – even if you never end up killing the enemy commander.

“Every blow that you deal to a large mana crystal will give you one victory point, but the last blow is the most valuable. That will give you three victory points. [Get] 12 victory points and you win the game.”

Work on the original web2 Shardbound game stopped around 2017, but earlier this year its fortunes were revived by partners Immutable Games and games studio Bazooka Tango, which announced that they planned to relaunch it as a blockchain game. 

Polemos game expert Mogglin says strategy will be crucial to success in a game like Shardbound, which is a mixture of a card and arena battler. 

“The cards have a mixture of mechs and mythical creatures, and the game is set in a world literally torn apart by war,” he wrote in a review in April.

“It’s not yet clear to me how deep the game’s lore goes. There was some kind of cataclysm that propelled bits of the world into the atmosphere, where the game takes place on a floating archipelago.”

Polemos staff

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