BattleForge Impressions

With the game recently announced, Electronic Arts showed the first glimpse of EA Phenomic's RTS-TCG hybrid BattleForge (PC) at its recent Spring Break event.

>Though at first glance appearing to be much like Blizzard's WarCraft III (PC) or any other fantasy RTS title, BattleForge plays very differently. Rather than rely on anchored structures and bases to churn out armies and units, BattleForge uses a deck of up to 20 cards to create units and cast spells free of micromanagement and complex building arrays.

"It's a familiar environment people know," said Phenomic designer Dirk Ringe. "It's a familiar metaphor."

In the absence of bases, BattleForge allows for units and spells to be immediately cast within a certain range of owned or friendly unit. Even if your forces have been whittled down to the last of your weakest cannon-fodder, reinforcements are just a play of a card away—so long as you control enough monuments, which act as the game's resource pool.

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Cards can only be obtained by purchasing the game itself, trading with other players or buying booster packs for real-world money, though it is unclear how many cards players will get with the original game.

Phenomic designer Dirk Ringe assured me that the available cards are balanced so that, hopefully, a greater arsenal of purchased or traded cards will not necessarily ensure victory.

Though the floor demonstration showed that cards could be won by completing missions, Ringe said that the feature would not be included in forthcoming builds of the title.

The game features an emphasis on cooperative play, and includes many maps which create opportunities for players to team up for ambushes or otherwise creative joint assaults on their foes. BattleForge is also said to include up several game modes and maps supporting up to 12 players.

BattleForge is expected for release later this year.

While you're here, don't forget to check out the whole of Shacknews' EA Spring Break coverage.