Allegiance, the first expansion for KARDS, introduces two new ally nations, adds 150 completely new cards and enhances KARDS with several new game mechanics. The additional allies add new flavors, enable interesting new battlefield tactics and significantly increase the strategic depth of the game. Allegiance not only introduces two new ally nations but also reinforces the existing five nations with a considerable number of new cards, each with 22 extra cards. These cards bolster current strategies and enable you to explore fresh directions with each nation.
With new abilities and keywords, the new ally nations let you explore and develop completely new strategies!
The French cards span the entire war effort with units from before the Fall of France through to the Free French Forces. With a strong Resistance theme, the French cards bring a new mechanic designed to disrupt enemy play and to disrupt your opponent’s hand.
The Italian forces are more aggressive as they are designed to seize the initiative by taking the frontline and overwhelming the enemy. Italian units benefit from operating together as they give buffs when played in unison.
Expanding player choice and versatility, Allegiance introduced new abilities to KARDS closely tied to the new ally nations. The new abilities in Allegiance are called Mobilize, Alpine and Resistance.
Allegiance also introduces new mechanics related to choice, the power of choice in playing a card and in drawing cards and selecting the right tool for the task.
The thematic idea with Mobilize reflects the general unready state of the French army at the outset of the war - they had plenty of manpower and some decent equipment, they just needed time to organize and gear up. Time was not what they got, which can be reflected in KARDS by fast blitz decks disrupting the Mobilize units before they can really get going. So when playing a Mobilize deck you want to delay and disrupt the enemy to give your Mobilize units time to grow into something fearsome.
Units with mobilize at start turn receive +1/+1 but will lose mobilize if they are damaged. This means that as long as the unit with Mobilize hasn’t received any damage, it will grow by +1/+1 at the start of every one of your turns. The units with Mobilize are generally priced in such a way that if they are damaged immediately, they are underwhelming for their cost, if they get the bonus once they are generally on par and if they get it two or more times they are starting punch above their weight.
Note that Mobilize is only lost on damage, not necessarily just combat. So a Bloody Sickle will remove the Mobilize, but a Mobilize unit with Heavy Armor could for instance fight and retain its Mobilize status as long as the Heavy Armor stops all combat damage. Upon losing the Mobilize status the unit will no longer gain +1/+1 at the start of your turn, but it will retain any bonuses accrued so far.
Another strong theme the French have is linked to the French Resistance, starting with the namesake card. Resistance cards always go into the enemy hand.
There are several French cards that create Resistance cards when played, both units and orders. Resistance cards clutter up the enemy hand, the only way to get rid of them (apart from rare self-discard strategies) is by playing it, this both causes you to lose a kredit (for playing the card) and the top card of the your deck - if the resistance is strong enough it can even run you out of resources! This of course reflects the nuisance the French Resistance movement caused, tying up valuable men and resources.
Keeping the Resistance cards in hand can also be risky. Apart from the risk of losing a draw if you have a full hand, there are cards that become more effective the more Resistance cards the enemy has in hand.
The thematic idea for Alpine is that while some Italian units performed at sub-par level due to equipment and morale issues, there were many crack Italian units that fought extremely well during the war. The Alpini units were among those that performed well and the Alpine keyword reflects that on their own they are not that great, but if you manage to concentrate them they can become a very potent force. The reason for using the Alpine term is to allow other nations to dip their toes into this keyword, as most armies had some sort of mountaineer troops that can get the Alpine designation.
When an Alpine unit is deployed or added it gets +1/+1 for each other Alpine unit your control. So the first one you play gets no bonus, the second one gets +1+1, the third one +2+2 and so on. This means that they can quickly snowball a basic unit into something very strong if left unchecked.
The right tool for the task
The first of these is an ability found on several US and Soviet orders that allow the player to select between two options when playing the card from hand. This essentially means that these cards act like two different cards spliced into one, which gives a lot of flexibility when playing based on the situation and what the opponent is up to. Naturally, this flexibility comes at a price, so the effect is a little more costly than if found on a card with just that one effect.
This mechanic is only found on orders right now. It is most common with the US, with Soviets also getting a few. We want this to be a primary ability for the US to reflect how their strong industrial base allowed for varied fighting capabilities and superior adaptability.
Another new mechanic is a twist on drawing a card. Instead of drawing the top card of your deck directly, this mechanic allows you to look at the top three cards of your deck and select one to add to your hand. The other two are then placed on the bottom of your deck.
This new effect can be on either an order or a unit. It is limited to Germany in the new set. This ability is very powerful as it allows you to dig for the answers you need based on the situation and strengthens any kind of combos and synergies in your deck as finding the right pieces is now more consistent. The reason for making this a primary ability for Germany is to reflect their focus on flexible battle doctrine and tactical diversity.