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Ambal Duels Interview: Fragnova shares details of its mould breaking strategy card game

Ambal Duels Interview: Fragnova shares details of its mould breaking strategy card game

Targeted for release in Q4 of this year, digital card game Ambal Duels will invite players to participate in fast-paced, deep strategic battles, set within the high-fantasy spiritual realm of Erra.

As the digital adaptation of the popular tabletop game, Ambal Tournament - launched last year following a successful Kickstarter campaign - it aims to recreate the same highly customizable experience that combines strategy and RPG elements for Android and iOS. The game is being developed alongside another project, Ambal Compendium, which collects together the lore and story documents of Erra, offering players even more ways to immerse themselves in the Ambal universe.

Ambal Duels is coming to the Fragnova platform, which is offering players the chance to discover more about the lore of Ambal Duels through its ongoing Discord event, where you’ll be able to unlock episodes on the Ambal Compendium, as well as earn extra benefits such as special Discord roles and early access to future projects.

You can find Ambal at this year’s Game Developers Conference at Fragnova’s booth in the GDC Play area.

We took the time to speak with Ambal’s creator, Bernardo Bittencourt, about Ambal Duels ongoing development, and what fans can look forward to when the game lands later this year.

First off, which features of Ambal Duels do you think will appeal most to players?

When playing Ambal, the first thing people notice is the many unique features. There are three features that I think will catch players’ attention:

  • There are no monsters or summon cards in Ambal. Every card is a skill, such as an Action or a Spell, and each skill belongs to a School of Knowledge. This puts players in the centre of the action, like a real duel.
  • Deck construction works in a very peculiar way, where players construct a Battle Deck and a Library Deck. The Library Deck serves as a side that players can use to draw cards from at the end of a round, at a cost, to further build their Battle Deck during a match. This allows players to develop their strategy mid-game, either by adapting to what their opponent is doing or doubling down on their own plan.
  • Ambal Duels have simultaneous rounds, meaning players go through all round phases, like the Draw Phase and Battle Phase, at the same time. This makes matches highly dynamic, with full player interactions and evolving strategies. There is no waiting around for your turn, and your opponent’s strategy matters as much as yours. During the Battle Phase, each player selects which card they want to play, then both cards are revealed at the same time and their effects are triggered.

These three features are the foundation of how Ambal Duel works, and they were specifically designed to give players the experience of being in a duel.

What aspects would you say differ from other digital card games?

Ambal stands out from most digital card games, such as Hearthstone and Gwent, as it breaks away from the overdone formula established by Magic the Gathering. This formula usually consists of summoning monsters, a growing resource pool, alternate turns, and bringing your opponent's life to zero.

As I mentioned in the previous question, Ambal does not have monsters at all, and the rounds are simultaneous, along with the option to continue building your deck during a match.

The resources in Ambal, Energy and Max Energy, work differently than in other card games. Instead of gradually increasing the amount of resources available, players recover a set amount every round. In addition, players can stock up resources so that they may start the following round at full speed if Max Energy allows it.

Deck construction and cards have some unique aspects as well. There is no card rarity, and duplicate cards are not allowed. Your Battle Deck has only 12 cards, with a side Library Deck of 15 cards. Since Ambal is inspired by RPGs, every card is a skill and has some type of cooldown. When a Battle Deck runs out of cards, the player shuffles their discard pile and forms a new deck, making their skills available again. This is the Refresh mechanic.

In Ambal, players have two paths to reach victory: bringing your opponent's life to zero or depleting your opponent's resource pool, also known as Max Energy. Reducing Max Energy can be achieved through various methods, like skill effects or Refreshing. This leads to players not only having to pay attention to their life points, but also their Max Energy.

Ambal Duels is being developed on Fragnova. Can you elaborate a bit about the benefits players will enjoy thanks to this platform?

Thanks to the Fragnova platform and its tools, Ambal Duels can be customised in many ways, allowing the community to be creative and come up with their own concepts. There are various ways to mod Ambal Duels, such as different game modes and custom card sets.

Furthermore, Fragnova enables content creators to legitimately monetize their mods and distribute them easily. The platform offers many tools and features catered to user generated content (UGC).

Thanks to the platform, the community can keep the game alive indefinitely by running their own servers in the future.

With the current Discord event, can you explain a bit about what it entails and the benefits on offer for players that get involved?

The Ambal Compendium is a growing collection of lore and story documents that detail the high-fantasy world of Erra, and more specifically the land of Ambal. During the Discord event, members of the community can claim Lore Fragments from Lorebook I to unveil the fantastic tales of the compendium. Each fragment unlocks an episode on the Ambal Compendium website.

Lore Fragments are claimed in order, starting from episode 1.1, and two Lore Fragments can be claimed per week. Lorebook I contains 41 episodes, which amounts to over 100 pages of content.

In addition to accessing the Compendium content, these fragments offer other benefits to their holders, such as Discord roles and private channels, as well as early access to future Ambal projects.

Besides the current Discord event, players will also have an opportunity to join Ambal Duels upcoming closed alpha, which is set to launch in the coming months. To find out more about its details, as well as keep up to date with the rest of Ambal Duels development, make sure to check out the game’s official Discord channel.