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STAR CRUSADE is an online CCG (collectible card game) where the combatants use their decks of cards to battle each other. It plays like virtually every other online (and on table) CCG with players beginning with a hand of cards (usually 4 or 5) drawn from a deck of 25-40 cards that they have either bought and are playing "from the box" or have built using the base cards from a boxed set augmented by cards taken from booster packs. Like most other CCGs STAR CRUSADE has sides (aka clans or factions or families) and each boxed set is pre-constructed to have basic cards for the faction it supports. Booster packs contain random cards, some of which may be of use to your deck as they are of the same faction, some will be of no use to you and cannot be added to your deck (in some cases they can but they are just going to cause you probblems as you cannot ever use them) and the last type are neutrals which can be added to any deck.

 

When deck building for the first time it is often the mistake to go for cards with the higher damage value as you think these will be useful to ending the game quickly. You would be correct if the higher combat cards didn't also have the higher cost to bring into play. In MtG you use mana to bring cards into the game and in most online CCGs you use energy; it doesn't matter what you call it, you get one additional point each turn as well as one card added to your hand. Unlike some other CCGs if you uise up all your energy in a turn at the start of the new turn you get 100% + 1 of your previous total; many games only provide a set amount per turn and if you use them all up you just get one point and you have to either bring cheap cards to the table or build up your energy by saving the points as you get them. STAR CRUSADE's mechanic of continually building up your power works perfectly in keeping the game zipping along as a fair lick, thus also keeping the interest.

 

Cards have some excellent artwork on them, as you would expect, and very little text - though if you hover the cursor over them you do get detailed instructions of what they can do. On each card there is a Cost to bring into play, a Attack/Damage value - how many hits it will do and a Defencevalue. Thus if you have a card with Attack 2 Defence 2 and fight a card that has Attack 1 Defence 2 your Attack will wipe out their defence and their attack will damage you down to 1. Your card will stay in play, but damaged, the opposition's card will be removed from play. Cards may only attack once per turn unless they have a bonus power that allows extra attacks or they have been buffed by another card in play. At the beginning of the combat, before anything occurs, a random combat law is put into play that affects both players.

As I mentioned earlier, each player has their own deck of 25-40 cards. The player who begins with the smallest number of cards begins with one extra card in their hand. Having a small deck means you are more likely to get the best cards of your deck into play quicker and so you are hoping for a quick kill. To this aim your smaller deck should be filled with low value cards  that cost little and do little damage with a couple of Shields (Screen cards) to absorb and draw damage and a couple of heavy hitters to destroy the enemy's defence whilst the smaller hitters chip away at the opponent's character. The number of cards in your deck also equals the value of your character's health and your character dies if they lose all their hit points or if the card deck is exhausted.

 

Nearly every card can do something special, like adding extra defence or attack to the other cards around it. These abilities usually come into play as soon as the card is paid for and laid on the table but the card's Attack cannot be used until the next round. STAR CRUSADE is a free to play download for your computer using the Steam medium. I believe it is, or will be, available for iMedia and Android (I may be wrong on this as I seem to remember reading it but cannot find where). So how does the company that produce this game make money ? The game is wonderfully detailed with lots of animation, wizz-bangs, fireworks and fun. The fun and adrenaline rush you get from winning - naturally you win the majority of your tutorials unless you are a complete dummy - and thus you are champing at the bit for more, and that is what the company are relying on. There is a button that will take you to the store and there you can merrily spend away using real cash (Visa etc) on decks and booster packs just as if you were in a physical game store, with the exception that at the end of your spending you have nothing physical in your hand. As you buy more you can add them to your deck and build it to your design.

 

There are in-game credits that you collect for winning fights and you can spend them on things such as single random cards. One card costs 100 game credits and to get this takes you a lot of winning fights as the reward is usually 5 credits per win. Of course you cannot wait to get more cards and one at a time isn't going to give you as good as the last deck you fought. Thus you can buy 5 cards for £5.25; 10 cards for £9.75; 20 cards for £15.00 and 50 cards for £33.76 and of course the cards that you receive are random with no guarantee that you will get any of use to your deck. Then there are the extra special decks, the Captain's Deck at £14.99; the Conqueror's Pack at £22.99 and the elite Emperor's deck at £29.99 any one of these will improve your game and your enjoyment several fold.

 

You can enjoy the game without spending any cash but the temptation is always there, especially when you get fed up with the computer artificial intelligence and decide to fight online against real people; real players who have spent a lot of money on their decks and who therefre have cards the like of which you have never before seen.

My advice is to play the game for a few days or more as it comes. Then when you have played against real live opponents make up your mind if you want to spend to catch up or look for another game to play. STAR CRUSADE is an adrenaline rush and it is addictive, very addictive. It is as addictive as gambling or drinking because it creeps up on you and you get hooked before you know it. There are a lot worse things you can get hooked on and as long as you can control your spending it is far more healthy than drink, drugs or gambling.

It's a good fun sci-fi combat game and I have no more time to say anything about it as my hand is being shuffled and my next round of Victories is in sight !!!

 

 

 

© Chris Baylis 2011-2015