Fans of Japanese mecha will be happy to hear that the latest card game based on the venerable Gundam series has gone into the open beta stage. Gundam Duel Company is a hybrid card game which has players buying packs of cards in order to collect new units to be used in the web browser based arena. The open beta phase means that players have the opportunity to buy starter packs of cards known as Trial Decks to play the game.
The game is designed around the collectible model of buying randomised packs of cards in order to build a ‘deck’ to be played against opponents. Unlike most card games, battles are completely automated in the browser; and players are mainly left devising the most suitable lineup of Mobile Suits and Pilots. There is some input during the actual battle as players are required to decide which abilities on their pilots to use; although they cannot decide when to use them.
Players with multiples of the same card can stack them to create a more powerful version of the particular Mobile suit. This is essentially to prevent people from stacking up many of the same useless card, a problem that is common to CCG players. Cards registered to a player can also be de-registered and traded away, at least making it easier for players to avoid being locked down into a particular playstyle.
Four initial Trial Decks have been released at an RRP of RM38. Each deck corresponds to a particular faction or Gundam series, in this case Earth Federation, Xeon, Seed, and 00. The full game will arrive with Bandai promising six to seven factions to choose from.
Booster packs will go on sale when the game exits the beta test and officially goes live on 25 July. Each booster will contain three random cards and retail for a suggested price of RM13.
Gundam Duel Company can be played for free with ‘rental’ cards at the website. The Trial Decks are available at most Japanese card game stores, Gamer’s Hideout, Gundam.my, and selected ThunderMatch outlets. As a browser game, Gundam Duel Company will run in any desktop or mobile browser capable of supporting HTML5; although Bandai has mentioned that it is optimised to run in Chrome.