More strategy, less luck!

The standard version of the game can sometimes feel incredibly unbalanced, depending on which cards come up, but it’s essentially a casual or beginner version of the game.

Below are a few gameplay suggestions to make the game more balanced, less luck based and offering players more control.

Play with more Staks!

This gives you many more choices and a greater impact on the game. 2 Staks each works well, but you can play with more.
Each Stak gets its own nominated attacker on your turn. You can for example attack a few times with one Stak, play a few cards, attack with the other, play more cards, then return to attacking with the original Stak. The decision tree branches a lot more this way, and it becomes very important what you do. If playing this way, we recommend using dice to show damage on cards and double-sided counters to show when a Stak has attacked once or can no longer attack. The game can get very confusing with several players each with lots of Staks, especially after a long entry-effect chain, but using dice and counters you can get as complicated as you wish!

Balanced decks

These allow you to have a more balanced game where each player has cards of a roughly equal strength. To setup: sort the cards into piles based on their rank and divide each rank pile equally between the players to create separate decks (any excess cards per rank are left out of the game). Each player shuffles and deals from their own deck and has their own supply and scrapheap pile to play from, rather than a shared pile. Other than this the game plays as normal.

You can also setup a point balanced game, where each player creates a deck to the same total rank points value, eg 120. You can have any number of cards in your deck.
When playing, each player can play with as many Staks as they wish. Each Stak gets its own attack on your turn, and you get one card in hand at the start of the game for each Stak you have. The rest form your individual supply pile.
Eg. player 1 plays with 2 Staks, so has a starting hand of 2. Their cards are generally high ranked so they have enough cards to make Staks that are 9 deep.
Player 2 chooses lower ranked cards so has more of them; they play with 4 Staks, 4 in their starting hand and opt for a deep supply pile because they have a lot of bountiful bots in their deck.
The extra attacks that player 2 gets due to having more Staks will balance out the fact that player 1’s cards are higher ranked.

Defend against attacks

Play with ‘reactive play’! This is a toggle that allows you to counter your opponent’s attacks so you’re not left stuck with strong cards in hand and a pathetic defence.
It also becomes key when to hold back cards and you can lure out your opponent’s defenders.
To play this way, when an attack is declared, the defending player may choose to play a card onto the Stak that would be attacked. If they do this, the declared attack is dismissed (the player is still free to choose a different card to attack with if they have not already attacked), and any entry effects of the defending player trigger as normal.
Eg. I say I am attacking with my core 6 against your core 5. You play a fatal bot in defence. I then play out a core 1 and attack with this, to which you respond by playing a shot bot to destroy it, etc etc.