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PAX 2007: Kongregate - card game to rule them all

10:42 PM on 08.31.2007 // LarkOhiya

Hidden adjacent to a show hall wall on the other side of a black ominous curtain restraining PAX notorious Rockstar Table Tennis, and Mass Effect, Kongregate unveiled a new online card game that I was glad to play.

Kongregate, for those unaware, hosts user and company-created flash games on their website for free play. What sets them apart from other random flash hosting websites is an Xbox Live-like achievement structure. Each flash game on the site is integrated into their system that magically track scores and progress, awarding points for "achieving" specified goals. These points separate you from the pack and help ease the pain of playing way to much Bejeweled each night.

With the inclusion of this card game, playing the other flash games will actually earn you more cards! Quality amongst the games range from good to nut twisting so your millage may vary.

During the event, Kongregate somehow mustered up a $1,000 dollar first place prize to the victor of a small noobie tournament using the beta build of the game. Second place netted a cool $300, making Kongregate easily the overall best cost to potential profit experience on the entire show floor. While I promised I would participate and tried to get in the qualifying rounds, other matters took my attention.

As of this writing, no official title or code name has been assigned to the project, but if Mega Death Combat Kings: Alpha Deluxe is not in the running, I will experience my fair share of sad pandas.

My first impressions (last ones too!) of the game were that the Nintendo 64 kid just after unwrapping his favorite present ever. Hours prior, I had sat in on a panel talking about the dos and don'ts of trading card games -- it was clear that the Kongregate team had taken some notes. Gameplay is built around battling cards against each other in one-on-one encounters. Each card has health points and action points which monitor how much fight they have left, as well as base stats such as defense to the various attack types in the game.

Speaking of attacks, this is where the meat of the game starts to unfold. Each card has a choice of four different attacks, with outputs ranging from elemental type and effect to dealing straight damage, to healing or any one of many unique abilities. These attacks consume the aforementioned action points, and requires the card combatant to be at a certain range.

Oh, did i mention that? That's right -- cards can be set at three different ranges: close, midrange, and long. Each of these settings determine what attacks can be performed, as well as making for quite the variety, even between fights of the same cards.

One of the last noticeable inclusions is swapping cards. While card combatants do battle one-on-one, the player's reserves sit on the sidelines. All cards are completely visible to the opponent (or at least in the build I played), so it's not so much about surprise as it is about out-thinking and out-maneuvering. Switching out a card requires no use of resources and saves a wounded card from an untimely demise. In fact, some cards will even heal completely if switched out. On top of that, any attack your opponent launches at you during your switch is instantly avoided! How sweet is that?!


To counterpoint this, and to as well throw one more wrench in the works, the intercept command has been implemented. If you feel your enemy will switch out to save his sorry ass, stab him with an intercept! Not only will they take an action point free -- an unavoidable 30 damage (quite a decent amount), they won't switch and will have wasted a turn. Given that many novices will try and switch when they are low on health this could mean an instant KO.

I could ramble on more about the inner workings of this online card game, but really who would want to stick around for that? Follow this link for future information released by the men themselves. Check out Kongregate for the fun, addicting, mom friendly flash antics and stay for the release of this personally much anticipated card game!

Below is my wife's shakycam of my encounter -- which, to my knowledge, is the first video footage ever of the game in action.

Forgive my off screen answering of the phone. NamelessTed is to blame. ALWAYS.

BONUS round!

Ok guys/gals/robots. It just so happens I have several extra unlock codes that will net you a PAX exclusive online card on your Kongregate account. Went to PAX and didn't pick this puppy up? Sorry to hear it. Want it now? Great, because have I got a contest for you!

Its simple. Photoshop Ron Workman into a compromising situation. The most gut busting, cop calling picture will net the artist one of these!


GO! shame Ron like only Workman can! *additional prizes awarded at judges discretion*

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