lundi 2 mai 2016

The good old games Part 1 : Duel master

    The first old game I want to talk about is Duel master.
Duel master is still running in Japan, but it has been stopped in the west unfortunatly.

    To sum up, Duel master, is a quick pace game, light version of Magic.

    To win a game, you need to break all 5 shields from your opponent and finish him with a direct attack (you have technically 6 lifes)

    The duel master mat is very small. There are the obvious deck and graveyard zones, and 5 shields on the left.The shields are 5 cards you putted from the top of your deck at the beggining of the game.
Above is the Battle zone. This is where you put you monsters and activate your spells. Like magic, the Battle zone is unlimited (there was only spells and monsters in the game when the game was ended in the west).
    Under is the mana zone. This is where you place your cards that will produce the mana. Similarly to Magic.

    This is Bolshack dragon, Shobu's favorite monster. On the top-left corner, the 6 is the cost of the card. You need to pay 6 mana, including one with the color of the card (here, red).

     Under the name, you can find the archetype.

     Under the picture is the textbox with the skills.

     And at the bottom is the power of the monster. When two monsters fight each others, the one with the lowest power dies, and both dies if tie.

     But what is that one upside down at the bottom of the card ? Oh that. It's the mana value. Indeed, any of your cards can be placed upside down in the mana zone (once per turn ofc), and they will produce a mana of the couleur of the '1'.

     The battle system is a mix of Magic and Yugioh. Rest an untap monster to make him attack. You can choose to attack directly your opponent or his shield, or target a monster that is tapped.
Then your opponent can intercept the attack by resting a monster with the keyword "Defender".
Monsters attack individually.

    When you break on of your opponent shield, your opponent put the card that was that shield in his hand.

But if that card has the "Shield trigger", he can activate it directly without paying the cost.

Here is a Duel master game if you want to see how it looks like.

What makes Duel Master so special ?

The game is extremly easy to get into.

     With the monster skills, it is interesting to note that there were not act skill in this game. Every skill are continuous or tiggered (under certain condition : attack, destruction, calling...) . *

My favourite monster (which I don't have ;.;)
    This doesn't look important, but it is extremly well played by the Development team. Every cards are extremly easy to use and to understand. Once you summoned the monster, except the attack, everything is dictated on the card. If the condition is met, the skill trigers.

    There is also no Counter mechanic, except decinding if you will defend or not, or activating the shield trigger or not ; there is nothing you can do during the opponent turn. Much like Vanguard.
    This means that turns run much more smoothly as there is no need to wait for a response from your
    This makes games are fairly quick.

     With all this, how much more accessible can a game be ?

*Later in the game, a few Act skill appears in the game. They say : instead of attacking, you can rest the monster to activate the Tap ability (link). Still, the mechanics stay extremly easy, much more than something like Scheddar cassiopeia.

The second great design choice, is the mana system.

    Richard Garfield is a clear-sighted by creating the mana system. If here are so many games (DM, Wow, Fow, Heartstone...) that follow this is for good reasons. It creates a flow to the game since cards gradually become stronger throughout the game, and it also help balancing cards.

    But this system is very unperfected as it creates mana-screw and other annoying situations.
    Duel master is the first game to offer a solution to the problem : every cards can be land. It also gives room to deckbuilding. Very pricey cards don't sit uselessly in the hand at the beggining of the game, and you can afford to play counter in the main deck as you just have to turn them into mana in the wrong match up.

The last point is the Shield and shield trigger mechanic.

    This is one of the first "skilled randomness" in a card game. Like Vanguard/Luck and logic, it makes
attacks phases a bit unforseable.
    This can lead to situations where a player wins solely throughout Shield trigger, but those extrem situations arrises in every card games (hand full of spell/shields in Yugioh/Buddyfight)
    But it also forces skill. A good player will have to consider the possibility of those Shield trigger. Let's take Terror pit (picture above). If you play against a black deck, you should consider this possibility.
    Should you attack his monster before his shields ? Or in which order should you attack ? If my opponent breaks my shield trigger, should I activate it immediatly or is it better to hold it in hand and activate it at a more crucial timing ?

To conclude, Duel master had very intelligent ideas and was a very clever casu-competitif card game. Easy to access but hard to master. Just like Buddyfight (but without all the ruling issues).

Ps : If anyone kept following the evolution of the game in Japan, I would be great if you could give me a run down of it. And maybe make a follow up article together.
for some reason, Blogger refuses to change the coollor of the text.

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