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Cyberdeck Early Alpha Review

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cyberdeck

Cyberdeck is an upcoming digital board game and TCG from Cyberdeck S.r.l. When finished, it will feature blockchain-backed cards and a token that can be used by players in the game’s marketplace.

An early version of Cyberdeck is available to play right now, and players can become alpha testers by providing a name and email address.

We’ve played all of the tutorials and a few PvP matches in Cyberdeck. In this article, we’ll explain how the game works. We’ll go over nodes, operators (OP), reconfiguration, mining pool (MP), and more. We’ll also offer our own opinion of the current build after having tried it out.

We’ll explain everything you need to know to decide whether to become an alpha tester or player of Cyberdeck.

Cyberdeck story

Cyberdeck takes place in a cyberpunk-inspired dystopia. The world has become divided into warring factions that each seek to take over the new blockchain cyberspace. 

You are in charge of operators, human beings who operate nodes to control cyberspace.

Nodes have names that represent cities in different areas of the world, like Lisbon, Greek Cyprus, or Luxembourg. And operators have cyberpunk-sounding titles such as Greek Anarchist, Guerilla Gardener, and Climate Scientist.

The basic story elements to the game were created by Bruce Sterling, author of the classic novels Schismatrix, Holy Fire, and Heavy Weather. Sterling is considered to be one of the founders of the cyberpunk school of fiction.

In the current build, the cards do not have flavor text. So much of the story for the base set remains to be told in future builds.

Cyberdeck gameplay

Cyberdeck gameplay combines board game elements similar to those found in Risk or Axis and Allies with collectible trading cards. Here are the basic mechanics of Cyberdeck.

Cyberspace

cyberspace

Cyberspace is the “battlefield” or basic gameplay map of Cyberdeck. It is a grid consisting of hexagonal spaces. Nodes are placed on these spaces.

Nodes

nodes

Nodes are the building blocks of each player’s network. 

Each player begins the game with 8 cards in his network deck. At the beginning of every turn, one card is drawn from this deck. To place a node, the player needs to click its center and drag it onto one of the spaces.

Each node has a min connections value in the lower-left, max connections in the lower-right, production value in the upper-left, and defense in the upper-right.

Here is what each of these stats represents:

Min connections – The minimum number of nodes that must be connected to this one in order for it to be active.

Max connections – If the node is connected to more than this number of other nodes, it will no longer be active.

Production – The number of Kredits (KR) the node produces when it is active. Kredits work similar to “mana” in other CCGs.

Defense – The amount of damage the node can receive before it becomes rootable. A rootable node can be captured by your opponent if he moves an operator onto it.

If a node is placed on the battlefield but does not have enough nearby connections to be active, it temporarily becomes a switch with min 0, max 6, defense 0, and production 0 until more connections are placed nearby. 

Operators

operators

Operators are the “creatures” of CyberDeck. They bolster the defense of nodes, fight enemy operators, and move to capture rooted nodes on the network.

When in hand, operator cards show four values: attack (lower-left), action points (lower-right), hiring cost (upper-left), and defense.

Attack is the amount of damage the operator deals, while defense is the amount of damage it can take before becoming disconnected (dying). It is important to note that defense is listed in the upper-right, not the traditional lower-right position used by other CCGs.

Action points are the number of spaces the operator can move in one turn.

Hiring Cost is the number of Kredits (KR) required to summon the operator.

Operators and events are drawn from a separate deck called the OP Deck. This deck has 14 cards at the beginning of the game. We’ll discuss events in a separate section below.

When an operator moves onto a node, only its attack and action points are shown.

attack points

Operators cannot move or attack on the turn they are summoned. If an operator is suffering from summoning sickness, little letter “z”s float out of it to show that it is sleeping.

While an operator inhabits a node, the operator’s defense is added to the defense value of the node.

Operators can only be placed on the leftmost node controlled by the player.

Attacking

If you have an operator on a node that is right next to an enemy node, you can attack the enemy node. Left-clicking the operator will make it turn red.

attacking

Once it turns red, you can click and drag it onto the enemy node. Battle animation will play.

battle

If your operator’s attack is greater than the defense of the enemy node, the enemy node will be defeated and become rootable.

Any enemy operators inhabiting the node will attack your operator and do damage to it.

If the node becomes rootable and you have action points left on your operator, you’ll be able to move him right away onto the rootable node to conquer it. Otherwise, you can try to move him onto the node the following turn.

Conquering a node causes your opponent to lose KR equal to the production of the node conquered. It also immediately increases your KR by the node’s production value. 

On every subsequent turn, you earn KR for the conquered node plus from whatever nodes you had previously.

Events

events

Events are the “spells” of Cyberdeck. They are drawn from the OP Deck, just like operators are.

Events have a kredit cost listed in the upper-left. You must pay this to play the card.

These cards allow you to do a variety of things that may turn the tide of battle. They may give your operators bonuses to attack or defense, cause your opponent to return operators to his hand, or give other benefits.

Dead Zones

If you connect a node to its max number of connections, all spaces on the map next to that node will become dead zones that look like black holes in the floor.

dead zones

Neither player can place nodes on a dead zone. For this reason, dead zones can be used as a strategy to limit the invadable borders of your network.

Network Points

network points

Network Points are a currency generated by your operators each turn. The more operators you have, the more network points available for you to spend each turn.

Network points can be used to reconfigure your network.

Reconfiguration

Your nodes are not stuck for the entire game in the place you originally put them. You can move them to a new space. This is called reconfiguration or reconf.

Reconfiguration costs network points. And the further away you move a node, the more network points it costs. 

You cannot move nodes to spaces that would cause them to become switches. And if your network is connected to your opponent’s, you are not allowed to move your nodes in such a way that it would cause your networks to split.

If you click a node and attempt to move it, the game will display green text telling you which spaces are valid destinations and what the cost of each will be. It will also display red text in spaces that you cannot move to.

If you have operators on your node before you move it, they will be moved with it.

Winning at Cyberdeck

There are two ways to win a Cyberdeck match. 

The first and simplest way is to conquer every single node controlled by your opponent. There are only 8 cards in each player’s network, so that is the maximum number your opponent can lay down. If you conquer all 8 while keeping control of yours, you win.

The second way to win is through economics instead of combat. If you don’t use all of your kredits in a turn, the remaining amount goes into your mining pool

When the sum of both players’ mining pools adds up to 100 and the turn comes to an end, the game looks at the total for each player. If your mining pool is bigger than your opponent’s, you win.

Winning with this second strategy takes a long time and puts you at a severe disadvantage in combat. So if you’re going to try to win this way, you should try to keep your network disconnected from your opponent’s in order to prevent an invasion.

Blockchain elements

The blockchain elements to Cyberdeck are still in development. In the current build, there are no tokenized assets. However, the developer plans to release cards on a private blockchain put out by Mangrovia Blockchain Solutions.

The cards will be kept on player’s wallets and secured using standard public/private cryptography, and players will be able to trade cards with each other for the game’s native token, CYB. CYB will be earned by winning matches, participating in gameplay, completing quests, and fulfilling other gameplay goals.

There have been no announcements yet from exchanges that intend to carry the CYB token. However, the team has told us that “the CYB will be freely transferable, so we can’t actually stop anyone from doing whatever they want with them” and that the token “will be able to be traded by the players on interested exchanges that want to implement CYB wallet.

The team also said they will consider moving the game to a public blockchain network in the future. The principal reason they are not currently planning to do so is because of the scalability problems plaguing current public blockchains.

But if a scaleable network arises, they intend to host a version of the game on whatever network that turns out to be.

In addition to tradeable cards and currency, Cyberdeck also plans to implement a blockchain Avatar that will be added to each player’s deck at the beginning of the game. This Avatar will have stats that change based on the behavior of the player.

The best player from each season will have his Avatar added to the next set of cards. So players will have a chance to become a part of the game’s history.

Cyberdeck review

So is Cyberdeck fun to play? And what kind of players will find it most enjoyable?

We found that Cyberdeck reminded us strongly of the boardgame, Risk. Placing operators strategically is a key element of the game, and movement is restricted through action points and network points. 

This makes for a very geographically-oriented style of play reminiscent of old wargames. Players who like these types of games will probably enjoy Cyberdeck

But players that expect mechanics similar to other CCGs like MTG: Arena or Gods Unchained may find these “boardgame” elements less appealing. So readers should keep that in mind.

Blockchain gamers may also like the fact that Cyberdeck is slated to become a “play to earn” game with CYB being offered as a reward for match wins. However, how valuable this feature becomes will depend on which exchanges list the token – which is still up in the air.

Then again, the game is still in alpha. There will likely be many changes to it before its public release.

Overall, we think Cyberdeck is an interesting game that shows promise. Players who wish to alpha test the game should sign up at this early access page

We’ll be watching this game as it develops over time. And we’ll update this article as new features are added.

Tom Blackstone
Tom Blackstone
Tom Blackstone is a former salesperson turned tech writer. Before 2014, he sold video games, computers, home theater systems, and other entertainment products. Since 2014, he has been a full time writer. His previous work includes ICO announcements, articles on the history of cryptocurrency, guides to Kodi addons, and more. He has always enjoyed learning about new technology and helping others to understand it. As a former video game salesperson, he also likes to try out new games and review them for others.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Thanks for this great and informative review! I’m a passionate of collectible card games. This is very exciting for me

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