Paladin Studios’ Stormbound: Kingdom Wars draws you in with it’s beautiful design, but keeps you hooked with challenging, strategic game play.
Stormbound’s game play is interesting to say the least. It’s a mix of deck-based card combat, a la Hearthstone, and grid-based strategy like chess.
The game starts by dropping players over a large diamond-shaped pillar surrounded by an empty void. In the middle of the pillar is a five by four grid. At the far end is a triangular building with a number floating over it. At the close end is another triangular building with another number.
These two buildings are bases — yours and your enemy’s. The goal is to destroy your enemy’s compound before it destroys yours.
You do so by drawing from a deck of 12 cards. Each card has on it a warrior with varying abilities, or a ‘construct,’ which is a building. You drag cards from your hand to the grid to play them.
Controlling the board
Stormbound uses a clever system to control the flow of the game. At the beginning, you can only place soldiers in the first row of five nearest your base. However, if you have a soldier there, your control spreads to the next row ahead of it.
As you progress forward through the game, you can place soldiers ever closer to the enemy’s base. Likewise, your enemy can do the same.
Stormbound becomes this interesting strategy where you look to expand your space while limiting your opponent’s. It adds an interesting element to what would normally be another dueling card-game.
At the beginning of each turn, your surviving soldiers advance one space. If they collide with an enemy, combat ensues.
Combat itself is a numbers game with a twist. Each unit card is marked with their strength and speed. Strength determines how many of that unit is summoned. A three strength knight will have three knights on the grid space.
Speed determines how far a unit can move when it’s first placed on the field.
However, some units have special abilities that activate when they die, or when they enter the battlefield.
As such, combat becomes more than just making sure you have bigger numbers than your opponent. It’s about strategizing if you can move far enough. It’s about picking abilities that will help your situation. There’s a surprising amount of depth to the game.
The game has two main modes of play. The first is a campaign mode that lets you battle against different in-game factions. These factions have different tactics and abilities.
As you progress through the factions and missions, you collect cards related to the faction your facing. At the end of the mission, you should have enough to build a 12 card deck out of that faction.
Alternatively, you can battle online against other players. However this section can be tough for beginners as veteran players will have upgraded cards and stronger decks.