E3 2016 - Deckbound, a Very Different Digital Card Game

Published: June 19, 2016 12:00 PM /

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deckbound cover

Gwent was not the only card game on showcase at E3 this year. A lesser known (but still intriguing) digital card game called Deckbound also had a booth at this year's show, though the premise behind it is far more unique. Deckbound is a new way to look at the digital card market, based not around finding the strongest cards or the largest decks but about leveling up the cards you have so they gain new abilities. The concept that Deckbound is built on is a bit complicated, but essentially the concept is that each and every card is unique to the user. You do not seek out some specific card to complete your deck like in Hearthstone or Magic: The Gathering, but rather try to find and gain the best abilities, which are randomly assigned to the cards you received through a deterministic number generator. The developers of the game told TechRaptor, theoretically, a player could have a winning deck of only a small hand of cards if they had a good selection of abilities. 

There are two ways to play DeckboundDeckbound Quest is the single player campaign where players can find new cards (called Nomad cards) to test out abilities. This is also where players can level up the cards they own and unlock new abilities. Deckbound Quest is functionally a dungeon crawler. You have a hand of five abilities that you use to defeat monsters and unlock portals to advance to the next levels. It's simple but a different way to experience a dungeon crawler. You must advance three Pilgrims, each with their own unique ability, through the maze and to the portal. When a Pilgrim dies, there are no extra lives. You now must finish the dungeon with the remaining Pilgrims. You choose three Pilgrims and build your deck from owned cards or Nomad cards. The Nomad cards are those loaned out by other players, so new players can try out the game for free, while helping out fellow players by leveling up those cards. 


The second game is Deckbound Heroes, the competitive multiplayer end of the game. It's a board control game, but the primary objective is to bring the health of your opponent to zero. You accomplish this by taking over objective points or just hitting your opponent directly. Like Deckbound Quest, you can also gain card and player experience here. As you level up you can earn augments that alter cards more directly. If you can't tell, there is quite a bit to this game. Even though it is still in development, many of these concepts have already been hashed out. And there are other games under the Deckbound umbrella in the works, all of which will function from the same players decks. 

deckbound heroes alpha
Deckbound Heroes, currently in Alpha stages.
deckbound card inception
An explanation of card inception and leveling.

Players will soon be able to start purchasing decks and trying them out. There is already some competitions behind Deckbound, notably the tournament at Dreamhack Austin ,which drew in 100 participants. New promos will soon be arriving to better explain some of the more complicated aspects of the game for new players. There is another tournament coming to Dreamhack Sweden in July. 

Be sure to check out our E3 2016 Coverage Hub for everything E3!

Disclosure: The author of this article was gifted an Early Access deck for this game. The Early Access will be used for the purposes of review at a later date. 

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| Staff Writer

Teacher's aid by day. Gamer by night. And by day, because I play my DS on my lunch break. Ask me about how bad my aim is.