The World’s First Game Played with Magnetic, Customizable Cards
Number of Players: 2
Time: 15-30 minutes
Gamer Type: casual to moderate
Game Type: card battle
The fatal flaw of many card games is often that once you play them enough times, the cards get stale. For years, companies addressed this limitation by introducing new cards that altered the environment. This came with a price, however, and as we have seen, the cost can get quite steep. What if the cards themselves could change? Introducing Shaka Shredders: Rivals.
Mechanics and Novelty
Normally, these reviews start with a discussion of a game’s artwork. Shaka Shredders from parent company Sunslap Studios is so interesting in the mechanics category that mechanics and novelty provide a good place to start this review to really highlight why this game is so different. In most CCGs, you build a deck around the cards that you want to play. This requires you to collect the cards to get the needed combos.
When you think about it, though, this is a very basic, perhaps almost lazy. concept. Shaka Shredders has swappable, magnetic cards, however, which means the top and the bottoms of the cards are interchangeable. This allows for massive deck variability; a total of 1,600 different card combinations are apparently possible with one game box.
According to the publisher, “Swaptop cards are magnetized, 3-piece cards players can deconstruct and rebuild themselves, pairing different characters with different abilities. They allow players to create their own custom cards before a game and also manipulate the powers and abilities of those cards throughout a game, adding a new interactive dimension otherwise missing from analog card games.”
Watch the video embedded below for further details:
For mechanics (since it is new) and novelty (also since it is new) Shaka Shredders earns a 9 out of 10 in each category. The other mechanics are fairly standard for a card-battle game.
Artwork and Story
As I have said many times, artwork can make or break a card game. In Shaka Shredders, it really makes the game more fun. Even the box art with a crocodile staring down a gorilla and a surfboard conveys a festive, surf vibe. Each card’s art draws the player more into the game, and that is really what you want from this kind of handicraft. Rating: 6.5 out of 10.
The game story is that each player is a coach who is training extreme sports athletes on a hidden-island competition. Think Bloodsport meets Mortal Kombat, just without the violence and death. Players try to build the best team to get the most cheers from the fans and win the tournament. This narrative gives a nicer spin to the battle-game genre, which is not always family friendly. Thus, for story, Shaka Shredders receives an 8 out of 10.
The interplay of strategy and mechanics in this game is interesting. While Shaka Shredders includes all four of the big strategy elements, it has something more. No matter how well you build your deck before playing, you need to work with the cards you draw. While this is true in every card game, in Shaka Shredders, you actually have to build your cards as you play the game.
As the publisher explains, “Opposing players each draw a hand of five cards then take turns drawing a card, playing up to one card from their hand AND making up to one character ‘swap.’ Challenge your opponent’s cards to trick-battles to see who’s got the sweeter moves while pandering to your tribe’s fans to increase the score. Points called ‘CHEER’ are earned when opponents fail to defend against performed tricks, and the first player to reach 20 CHEERS wins.”
While you can rush or go on offense when you are planning, if your cards do not match up, you have to adapt. Likewise, a defensive deck has to match up for you to win. This forces players to put forth a real-time strategy game rather than merely “buying” the win in deck building. Deck builders will also like the game, however, because there are ample options. Rating: 7 of 10.
Shaka Shredders is a good card game with fascinating elements. I can foresee the swappable card changing the market in the next five years with and Shaka Shredders as the patriarch of a new sub-genre. With a final score of 39.5, this game earns a massive score for a card game.
This could be a game-changer, as it were, in both the card genre and in board games because spells, action cards, and quests could all incorporate a swappable component. Bottom line: This is a monster game that will likely become a collectors’ item as it explodes, so get it while it’s hot.
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