With the card game Underdogs, the publisher 1 More Time Games is launching an analogue counterpart from the auto-battler games genre. Johannes Krenner and Markus Slawitscheck are behind the idea of ​​the work for up to eight players. The makers do not deny the proximity to video games. On the contrary.

Anyone who regularly plays video games, especially on their smartphones, has probably already encountered the auto-battler genre, after all it was experiencing a real boom. But what are auto-battlers? The terms "auto" and "battler" suggest automatic battles, which is basically what it's about. On the other hand, it's not about doing nothing: the titles dedicated to strategic games mix a MOBA gameplay with chess. The fights are therefore only the result of the previously selected tactics, such as putting together a team with various combo effects. Well-known genre representatives are League of Legends: Teamfight Tactics or Dota Underlords.

Deck management around ball sports

Underdogs comes from 1 More Time Games, the publisher behind the card game Riftforce (again, coming with the Riftforce Beyond expansion). It is the publisher's second "big game", as explained by CEO Roman Rybiczka at the Asmodee novelty show. "Julian (he means: Julian Steindorfer, CEO) and I are also interested in computer games," says Rybiczka. And that's where they stumbled across the auto battler genre. "When we saw that, we were completely enchanted." So they wanted to implement something like this as a board game. The proven card game expert Johannes Krenner developed the work together with Markus Slawitscheck (Starlink). Apparently, the idea of ​​making an auto-battler analog is definitely one that other authors also want to implement. As Julian Steindorfer explains, the surprise of other authors at a successful implementation was great: "We were surprised ourselves that they managed it," says Steindorfer. You play next to each other, with numerous one-on-one matches - which is a highlight of the game. So you meet all the other players during the game, including changing places. If you play with an odd number of players, a “bot” is added. Julian Steindorfer jokingly calls the concept “strategic speed dating”.

A game of underdogs is divided into a team phase and a match phase. The first involves a draft, which is the building of the deck. Then comes the "tournament". The auto-battler circle closes in the combination of the team phase and the deck building there and an "automatic downplaying" of those cards in the matches. There is then a "relatively high luck factor," explains Steindorfer about underdogs. "It leads to emotions that you can't imagine." Part of the reason for this is some particularly effective combos that you can hit. Of course, the opposite case is also possible. It's that friend and sorrow thing - they're close together.

Underdogs works with a simple premise: where a ball appears, it is played. Everyone wants to control him and win the hearts of the fans. “Dive into the tournament and expand your team with extraordinary characters. Stay on the ball and you'll even manage to win as an underdog," says the publisher about the game. It is important to choose the right characters and adapt the strategy to that of the opponent. Only those who collect the most fans in seven matches will play in the grand final! Decide for yourself in the final and win underdogs.

Underdogs is a deck management game about ball sports, fans and the best teams. You compete against each other in seven rounds, depending on the number of people in different configurations. Between each round you change your team, add new cards and send others home. Because not only which cards you have in the deck is important, but also how many. The matches themselves are a quick exchange of blows. You play cards, use special effects and compare your strength. The better team wins the ball, whoever has the ball at the end wins the match and additional fans. But at the end of the day, the only thing that counts is who was able to collect the most fans overall.

Underdogs is a fast-paced card game for 1 to 8 players, with a playing time of around 45 minutes consistently. Rich in variety, thanks to different sets, and individual, since everyone in the tournament puts together their own teams. This is how a whole new sports game experience unfolds. If production runs as it should, Underdogs is expected to be released in March.

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