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Kingdom Karnage – (Early Access)

A month back, I wrote about a contest that was taking place across multiple games. This is a look at one of those games, Kingdom Karnage a free-to-play strategy game developed by Kepithor Studios. Kingdom Karnage describes itself as a trading card game, though its style of play is a bit different from other big on-line collectible card games that this moniker may bring to mind.

The game is cross platform, being available as both a browser and Android app currently. To support this, the first thing you have to do before playing the game is to create an account with an e-mail address and password. I predominantly played this on mobile, and actually only realized it was also a browser game when I sat down to write up this article.

This is the main screen that you’ll see after creating an account and logging in.

When you first start, you are given a small collection of common cards and the expectation is that you’ll start playing through the campaign to earn additional cards. There are two campaigns, the first is the Human campaign and by beating that you unlock an Undead campaign. Dungeons are multiplayer encounters, but I was unable to find any other players queuing up to do them.

PVP, or player versus player, is a mode where you put your deck against others. Currently there is only a ranked 1 on 1 queue available. There was a set of 2 on 2 and a practice league that were disabled at the time of this writing. I attempted to queue for a PVP match, but did not find any opponents after several minutes of waiting. Looking at the PVP leader board, there were only about 20 players listed currently.

On the bright side, there was a handy screen explaining card information on the queue for me to put into this article.

Challenges are repeatable fights against an AI opponent that can earn you in-game currency, which can be spent to buy additional cards. King of Karnage requires a currency I had not found to play, so I was only able to look at the description of it. It’s essentially a challenge to beat the current winner’s deck, played by the AI, if I understand it correctly.

Here’s the full explanation of how this game mode works.

The actual gameplay pits you against another opponent on a battlefield consisting of two rows of nine squares that can be occupied by a unit. You can place a unit whose casting time is at zero on the top or bottom set of three tiles closest to you. Units placed on the map will move forward and attack the enemy units, or leader if they reach him or her. When one leader runs out of health, their side loses.

Each player starts with 3 randomly selected cards from their deck, and draws one new card each round until their deck is emptied out, which does not count as a loss. With the starting cards, I found the Human campaign to become fairly difficult after the first dozen missions. There seemed to be a lot of luck involved with getting a good opening hand and gaining early advantage.

In the Human campaign, the barbarian-looking fellow on the left is your leader.

The units in the Human campaign consist of six basic classes: Captain, Hunter, Mage, Rogue, Sage, and Warrior. Captains and rogues are melee units that have the “Rush” ability, which means they advance as far as they can each turn. Rogues tend to do more damage, while Captains have more health. Warriors are defensive units, with the ability to attack across to the other lane.

All of the other units are ranged attackers. The Sage also heals one of your units, but at lower levels is fairly similar to a Mage. If you get multiples of cards, you can combine them to increase the cards level and stats. There are also variations on these themes that are more powerful, as well as more rare.

Now we’re entering more familiar collectible card game territory.

The game monetizes through selling cards and packs. On the bright side, there is currently no advertising in the game. The game integrates with some Enjin blockchain, so some of these items are tokens that can be traded through that network. The prices on these items seem a bit high to me, considering the current limited use and relatively low population of the game.

There are two music tracks for the game from what I can tell – one for the title menu and one for combat. To be fair, I didn’t get through all 20 missions of the Human campaign. The tracks have a militaristic feel to them, and while I did initially like the main menu track, it did start to wear on me after repeated listening. There are a few relatively simple sound effects for combat that feel appropriate for a mobile game.

I did get a PVP match hours after initially writing this, but my opponent was AFK. On the bright side, I easily won. The downside, I had to wait 45 seconds each turn for his time to expire.

I did experience some problems while playing the game, such as it seemed to hang a couple of times and needed to be restarted. The load time for starting up the game also seems a bit lengthy right now. The player base also seems quite small, even after getting some press from the aforementioned Enjin contest.

As the game is still in early access, or Beta, I won’t rate it directly. If you want to check out Kingdom Karnage for yourself, you can play it in a browser from the developer’s site here. It is also available to download on the Google Play store here.

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