Tyranosaurus, Twin and… : Battle Dex

Some joke about mines, I think. That'll do. Good morning, RPS.

Frozen Synapse isn’t the only turn-based Beta I’ve been playing recently. Battle Dex is also in Beta, and basically a cross between Advance Wars (though I find myself thinking of Battle Isle/History Line a lot) and a collectible card game. The cards act as power-ups, with you being able to take a handful with you into a mission. You can download it from here and there’s a video and some more thoughts about how it all works below…


The cards seem to be functionally special-moves which supplement your hex-based maneuvering. Each one can only be used once – though you can take as many duplicates as you possess on a mission. The choice of which areas of your play you want to supplement depends a lot on your style, and a lot on the actual place the fight’s occurring. So if a map’s wide and open, you may want to go for cards which let you move troops around easily, for example. There’s also special units and heroes which can only be summoned by playing a card. The actual resource that powers all this is gained from the mines, and can be spent on either playing cards or actually just summoning standard units. It really is Advance Wars meets a collectible card game.

At the moment you gain cards by competing in (and winning) tournaments and XP and similar, but with the “Buy” button you have to presume they’re eventually going to make an option to spend cash on getting packs. They’re also following the collectible game model in another way – there’s tournaments with real-world prize-money. The first one was last weekend for $500, which isn’t bad when you haven’t spent any money on getting cards. I haven’t actually played online, but there’s quite a lot of single-player content, and you’re able to play around with the full range of cards against the AI. It’s really quite solid stuff – my only initial dislike is that the combat effects take a little long to play out for my liking. It’s certainly worth a try. Get it from here.


  1. Sobric says:

    I like that pricing model – especially the tournaments. At this stage it’s great that people can win money from the game not having bought any additional cards, but I’m sure as it progresses buying cards will become necessary to win tournaments.

    It’s fairly simple really. If the tournament reward is £500, but it’s commonly held knowledge that you need at least £10 worth of extra cards to stand a chance of winning, I’d think you’d easily get more than 50 people buying the extras to increase their own chances. If you win the tournament, you gain your money back and then some.

    And if you don’t feel like entering tournaments, or don’t really care about winning them, then don’t buy extra cards and be happy.

  2. Binni says:

    Why can’t more people do games like Armageddon Empires and Spectromancer that have CCG elements but do NOT include the buying of booster packs. It totally ruined Magic Online for most. I really enjoy the CCG flavor but I don’t like all the money you have to spend. Fantasy Flight games has for instance stopped making regular CCG’s and instead you buy sets containing all the cards (they call this living card game). Spectromancer seems to be doing the same model. This needs to be the model for all games like this.

    I was very interested in this game until I saw the buy booster option….then I became immediately not interested in it at all.

    • PleasingFungus says:

      “…do NOT include the buying of booster packs. It totally ruined Magic Online for most…”

      I keep looking at this, and I keep getting more confused. Are you telling me that people who played Magic: The Gathering Online, an adaption of Magic: The Gathering, were upset by how much like Magic: the Gathering it was?

      Anyway, Battle Dex looks really interesting. I’ve just installed it, and I’ll see how it is!

  3. Binni says:

    Also if I may complain about another thing with this model….if it would not include any buying of cards but instead rely on tournament wins…then you have a model where the hardcore people with more time butcher the casual players after a while because they don’t have the same set of stuff to work with. Kind of similar to what is happening with Battlefield Bad Company 2.

    Both models do not work for casual players so what they will end up with is a small group of players who play it hardcore and a dying game.

    My suggestion for a model:

    – Everyone starts with the same set
    – You buy expansions which include new shiny stuff but you can choose whether you play with that or not.
    – Just use some sort of ranking, achievement or perk system which doesn’t affect gameplay much for the more hardcore crowd.

    • Hmm-Hmm. says:

      The mini-payments model can also be argued to favour the hardcore (the casual players being less likely to get more cards). A better idea would be to charge an amount per month and give people a certain amount of points with which they can get more cards. This would lower the bar a lot to get new cards and yet give starting players a smaller amount of cards so they don’t get overwhelmed.

  4. Uglycat says:

    Ahhh Battle Isle.

  5. Gothnak says:

    One day someone will release an MMOCCG…. You get a small subset of cards when you start and play the card game against enemies. When you beat them, you find more cards…

    I’d hope it has a standard MMO business model of i play £X a month, instead of the frankly insulting £X a pack.


  6. amishmonster says:

    The title made me hope there was a dinosaur faction :(

  7. Koozer says:

    ‘Special abilities’ are my most despised feature of turn-based games. It got so silly in Advance Wars they scrapped the entire universe and started again after the horrors of Dual Strike. I’ll try this anyway in desperate hope.

  8. Arathain says:

    This just makes me want to play Advance Wars again. Lovely, lovely, Advance Wars. I agree that Dual Strike wasn’t up to much, though.

    • tome says:

      Days of Ruin really made up for that. Oh, how I loved Advance wars so.

      That and Jet Set Radio Future both totally need to be released on PC, (despite being wholly unsuited to it), simply because that’ll be the only way to go back and actually play them when their respective consoles have broken and faded into obscurity.

  9. Radiant says:

    Another card game I really enjoyed that is worth a look is Metal Gear Acid 2 on the psp.
    My first foray into this genre and it turned out to be really brilliant.

    Brilliant includes the 3d bikini girls.

  10. Freyajack says:

    Gothnak – what you want exists. There are no graphics to speak of, but it’s pretty freaking awesome. Oh, and it is free. link to estiah.com As an ex-MTG, ex-WoW player, I highly recommend it.