Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Redakai - A Trading Card Game That Amazes Me and Makes Me Feel Old

I came across this game a few days ago, and I'm really intrigued by it. I have no clue what Redakai means, or even what it is, but I'm a sucker for trying out a new card game. I'll pick them up from time to time to check out the mechanics, or art style. After buying a starter set, I wound up buying another, and then a few more packs, and now I can't stop.

Don't my hands look good for my age?
I know it sounds a little crazy, so I'll explain why..

I'll start this off by saying I haven't actually played the advanced rules yet, so I can't describe the gameplay in full. I've read them, and understand them, but I haven't had an opponent around in the last few days. But... I can discuss the core mechanics, which is what makes me want to spend all of my money on this game.

Basically, the cards are made of plastic and they have clear spaces on them. Players will stack cards on top of each other, which will either hide some information on the card below it, or it will add new information to your existing card in play. Each player will start with a character card, and then add monsters on top of their character to beef them up. Players will also play attack cards on their opponents to drive them down.

The Character cards are a little lame.

The Monsters rule and add awesome bonuses to the left side and (powers) and top right (health).

Some Attacks will cover up the left side powers, and/or deal damage to one of the 3 yellow zones.

I was sold on the stacking mechanic for a few reasons:

1. It's unique.
A lower budget game couldn't do this. The card quality is really high and appears to be really expensive. Not only are they clear plastic cards, but they also have new exclusive Blast technology in them. I'm guessing Blast technology just means "better holograms"? Holograms aren't really a new concept in trading cards, but these are done much, much better than I've ever seen before. The card art really pops, and it fits in with today's 3D mindset. The 3D effect is pretty flawless.

2. It's done really well.
The cards match up almost 100% perfectly, and the spaces that overlap each other are very defined. It's very simple to tell where you are, even at a glance. There is very little need to reach outside of the battlefield to count your attacks, or determine current health. It's all displayed right on the card.

3. It's very similar to the games I would like to design.
I've often thought about stacking in the games I'm developing, but the item that's placed on top will often overwrite the item underneath. You cannot see the bottom item, so it doesn't make a lot of sense to still have access to it. In this game, you can see through the top cards onto the cards below. If a power or health bar becomes covered up, then it's no longer available. Selectively choosing to cover certain areas can be very cool.

Right out of the box, and now a few days later, I've seen a few negatives. The biggest negative is that the cards are see through. This is the biggest positive as well. Basically you can't hold your hand like a normal hand of cards because your opponent can see which sections are blacked out. They could then prepare for it, and effect the gameplay. Same thing with your draw deck. You can kind of see the next card coming, right through the back.

The creators found a way around this by creating two accessories for players. First there's a card stand that holds your hand of cards, and blocks them from your opponents view. I've seen it online and it looks a little odd. It definitely serves the purpose though. The second accessory is a box that you draw your cards from. The design seems bizarre to me, but more importantly it is not large enough to handle a full deck of cards. I'm guessing it was made for the basic version of the game, but it leaves advance players with an issue of revealing their cards. These are both kind of big issues with ugly fixes, but the positives definitely outweigh the negatives.

Here's a video showing some of the cards, setup and gameplay:

If you're interested in Redakai, trading card games, 3D, or just game mechanics, I'd say to check this game out. Seeing the cards in person can be very inspiring, but can also be very addictive.

For more info:
Radekai on Board Game Geek:

1 comment:

  1. I'm not at all a CCG guy but that looks pretty cool!