Bushiroad, the company behind popular Japanese games like Cardfight!! Vanguard and Weiss Schwarz, recently translated to English their latest game Luck & Logic. OzAnimart, the Australian distributor, have kindly sent us a ‘learn to play deck’ to check the game out. The following is a quick overview of the game as well as my first impressions.
This two-player trading card game is played with each player using a 50 card main deck and 10 card ‘Gate Deck’. These gate cards are central to the gameplay as they act as both physical locations as well as win conditions. At the beginning of the game each player shuffles their gate decks and puts six gates face down in front of them in two rows of three. The game then involves players mobilising members (what Luck & Logic call their equivalent of creatures) on top of those gates to protect them while also using them to attack exposed gates to ‘break’ them. When a gate is broken, it will be flipped face up and the defending player resolves its effects. The first player to have all of their gate cards broken, loses.
The members you bring in your main deck can range from levels one through four inclusive. The player’s current level determines what level members you can play. Each player gains one level at the beginning of each turn until they reach the maximum level of four. This is represented by the player putting a card from their hand into their level zone face up, unless you are the player going first and it is your first turn, then you must put your first card into the level zone face down. The amount of face up cards you have in your level zone determines how many attacks you can have that turn. This mean the player who goes first can’t attack the first turn and they will always be one attack behind, balancing out the fact that their members will be a level ahead.
Your members are also divided into Logicalists, Foreigners, or Tranceunions. Lore-wise Foreigners represent beings from another dimension, Logicalists represent special humans with the power to fuse or ‘trance’ with them, and Tranceunions represent the resulting beings of amazing power. As far as I know, only level one members tend to be Logicalists and Foreigners, with the other levels being Tranceunions. If you have a Logicalist and Foreigner in play, once per turn, you can search for a Tranceunion from your deck to play on top of them. So there is a powerful tutor effect built into the rules.
There are two other types of cards in your deck which are Paradox and Tactic cards, typically played during combat. In Luck & Logic when you attack another member, the players enter the ‘logic definition step’ and, starting with the defender, take turns playing cards into the the battle zone. The ‘limit’ number on your member that is in combat determines how many cards you can play in total, with higher level characters having a higher limit. This mechanic feels a bit like how the fate and edge battle cards function in the Star Wars LCG. During this step Paradox cards are used to change the battle from a Power Battle to an Aura Battle, a way for weaker members to defeat stronger ones if triggered at the right time. Fate cards have a wide array of tricks that will help you win the battle . To ensure all your cards can help during the Logic Definition Step, all your member cards can also be played into the battle zone during this phase for additional effects like boosting your power, aura, or limit.
You will notice that I have yet to talk about a resource system in this game. Most of the cards in this game can be played without resources but it does have one in the form of ‘Stock’. At the beginning of every turn, after card draw, you put a card face down into your Stock. In addition, when one of your members is defeated, it and all members underneath it get put in your Stock. There are other ways you gain stocks as well such as the abilities of tactics and members. This Stock is mainly used to pay for tactic cards and activate triggered abilities on your Tranceunions called ‘Logic Drives’ once per turn. You can also pay three Stock during your main phase to draw a card. Paying your stock is done by simply taking that many cards from your stock and putting them in your Drop Zone (L&L’s version of the graveyard).
Another thing I want to highlight is how much card draw is built into this game. You not only draw two cards a turn, but in the Logic Definition Step, you can tap one of your level cards to draw a card before you play a card into the battle zone. This means that by the time you are max level you are capable of drawing four extra cards a turn resulting in you going through your deck super fast. As a result the game allows you to refresh your deck once. Once you are out of cards in your deck you shuffle all the cards in your drop zone back into your deck and remove a card from it face down. If you run out of cards again and have to shuffle and remove a second card (the rules specify that you have to do this first, probably signaling future card interactions during this phase) and you lose the game.
This is a quick overview of the gameplay rather then an exhaustive outline of the rules, so you have an idea of how the game works. That done, let’s talk about what I think of the game. In short I am enjoying what I’ve seen of it so far and am keen to play more of it.
The first thing I noticed is that the game’s design philosophy seems focused on fun and power, which appears to be the trend in Japanese games and Bushiroad’s games in particular. The game has many built-in rules that seem to ensure consistency so you almost always get to pull off your deck’s main strategy. This is particularly noticeable when you realise you could potentially have six card draws a turn even before spending Stock to draw more cards. The built-in tutor that is the Tranceunion system also ensures that you get your more powerful members on the table consistently. This goes a long way to diminish the feeling that your deck did not perform well because luck prevented you access to your best cards and combos.
That is not to say luck doesn’t play a factor in this game. Considering one of the card draw mechanics is limited to the Logic Definition Step, where having the right card to play is vital, you will sometimes lose a battle you believe you had locked down simply because your opponent drew the right card at the right time. However, in my experience that has created more excitement than frustration. After all, the same blessing of lady luck is available to you as much as your opponent. So the thought that even when you are cornered or dominating, a lucky top deck can completely change the dynamic of the battle creates an element of excitement. If you are the type of player who likes all the mechanics of a card game to actively try and eliminate luck from the equation… well this game is called Luck & Logic for a reason.
Paradoxically, the Logic Definition Step is also the most strategic element of Luck & Logic, and in late game can be very exhilarating. The existence of Paradox cards prevent this mechanic from becoming simply ‘buff your members as much as you can’, since there’s always the threat of a Paradox changing the battle from Power to Aura or vice versa. The nature of the ‘limit’ system also adds a layer of strategy by making sure you still have enough limit left to react to an opponent’s cards while trying to corner them into a situation where they are out of limit. This back and forth that can happen during every individual battle is what makes Luck & Logic very exciting to me.
One thing that concerns me though is how much deck variety the competitive meta in this game will see or lack thereof. That is not to say I am predicting there will be overpowered decks. Considering that the mechanics of this game encourage the building of a very tight combo deck, I wonder if there will be much room for customization in each deck archetypes. Of course, the card pool is small at the moment and it’s way too early to tell. As someone who is always interested in deck building and not just satisfied with net-decking I hope it doesn’t end up in a meta where there is a ‘right way’ to build each archetypes.
As for the aesthetics of the game, the art is energetic and vibrant. As the case with most ‘anime’ games there seems to be a real emphasis on art which I always appreciate. There is a fair bit of fan service though, in revealing clothing and suggestive poses. In my opinion it doesn’t seem to overdo it and it’s certainly not enough to be embarrassing. The lore of the game is also quite interesting and the nature of the alternate dimensions lends itself well to creating different and innovative card arts and designs with each new expansion. As an aside, the game is actually based on a light novel series and there is also an anime of the same name that is worth watching.
All in all, what I’ve seen of Luck & Logic impressed me enough to keep digging deeper. The gameplay is fun and has a real sense of steady escalation that culminates in a frantic end game. The game design that encourages and assists combo play also appeals to me. So if you are in the market for a new unique game you can get into at ground floor, you should check out Luck & Logic. Keep an eye on our website here for a series of beginner’s content, such as tutorials and starter deck reviews.
For more information check out the official (English) website here.