The new title from Zynga introduces a card battling universe built from the group up for digital devices, and we’ve got an exclusive interview on the details.

Blizzard isn’t the only company announcing a new card game today. Zynga is stepping away from more casual fare with a brand new project for iOS and Android. War of the Fallen is a card battler game set in the newly crafted fantasy universe of Tyreon, and Zynga has big plans for the franchise. War of the Fallen began as a side project from several passionate enthusiasts for the card game genre who work at Zynga, and grew over time into a full-fledged release. We spoke with lead designer, Brian Tinsman, whose background includes work as lead designer on several of the Magic: The Gathering core sets. He details a breadth of features for the newly announced game in his answers below. 

What is the top level story and fiction concept for the game?

Our team has put a lot of passion into the story of War of the Fallen. Compelling fiction is a staple of great collectible card games, and we wanted to bring it to the card battler genre. The game starts off after a comet, once a prison of ancient evils, crashes into the world of Tyreon, scattering shardstones throughout the land. As a dark power grows in their midst, players take on the role of a Shardbreaker to free ancient gods trapped in stones and command the creatures found within against demonic forces. I won’t reveal any spoilers, but we’ve also tried to take the story a level deeper by introducing new twists and turns as players’ advance through the game.

For those unfamiliar with the genre, what is a CBG? 

A Card Battler Game focuses on building the best combinations of cards to beat in-game enemies and other players. You start out moving through a series of quests. Progress is extremely simple and the most interesting part is what kind of loot you get – usually new cards. The fun part is seeing your progress and discovering cool new cards. Then you have some strategic choices to make about which cards to keep and which to spend as resources to increase your cards' power. Once you've refined your deck you can battle other players (and in the case of a map progression like War of the Fallen’s, battle bosses and other enemies). Combat is automatic but the outcome relies on the combinations of cards you've chosen. The genre is a great mix of simplicity and complexity – you can play it mindlessly just to see the new unlocks, or strategically to minimize or maximize your deck.

Is War of the Fallen meant to be played only competitively against other players, or does it have any solo elements as well?

It’ll have both. We’ve really set out to provide a balance between solo and competitive play. On the solo front, players engage in map-based progression, encounter quests and engage in PVE and boss battles. Along the way, players train cards to strengthen their deck, craft and forge new cards to increase their power. In PVP, players win treasure to forge new cards, increase deck power and earn points to climb the leaderboard. Matchmaking allows players to battle others at similar levels/strength, but players of course have the ability to take on stronger competitors for a shot at bigger rewards. Events will allow for battle against and with others to achieve common goals.

How does War of the Fallen compare to other games like Magic: The Gathering? 

I was lead designer on seven Magic sets, so I have some good insight here. The biggest difference is that games like Magic have a great deal of decision-making in the battles. That back-and-forth would take too long for most players on mobile platforms, so we’ve sped up the process, making War of the Fallen's combat ultra-streamlined. In War of the Fallen almost all the interesting, strategic decisions happen while you are building and refining your deck. This lets us capture some of the strategic interest intent of more traditional collecting while letting players play at their own pace.

What are the different card types you’ll see in the game? 

We have 500+ cards in the game with over 100 unique skills. Cards represent creatures, as opposed to spells or weapons, and range across three kingdoms with a variety of character types associated with each world. Creature types range from human heroes, warriors, angels, demons, wizards and dragons, to vampires, giant insects and really bad vegetables—like the Evil Carrot. The characters are designed in such a way that every player will find something that they identify with and can leverage for deeper deck personalization. 

[Next up: How does the game play, and how will it be monetized?]