How do Deckbound Cards work?

Deckbound is a collection of digital collectible card games that use the same set of cards. Every card is backed by a blockchain transaction and as such has a permanent, identifiable record.

All games can be played at no cost using "Nomad" cards, and playing grants players experience and unlocks augments and tweaks that can be used to modify cards and game elements.

Cards themselves can be levelled, and those levels are permanently written to the blockchain. Cards can be traded and exchanged with other players.

Deckbound cards — the fundamentals


Deckbound cards structure

"Nomad" cards allow players to experience the full game at no cost

Every Deckbound card is based on a blockchain transaction and as such has an inherent cost to create... instead of differentiating between "free" and "paid" cards and breaking this model, a large set of "Nomad" cards are created with each card inception block. These cards can be freely played by anyone, either individually or in sets.

Because those cards have a cost to create, Nomad cards can't be retained by a player after a play session (depending on the specific game, you can retain them for a short period) unless they choose to purchase them. Purchasing Nomad cards removes them for other potential players and they become yours. Because Nomad cards can be levelled and upgraded like any other card, it's possible to purchase pre-levelled cards that other Nomad players chose not to purchase.

Cards can also be bought in card packs and as individual type-specific (e.g. hero) cards. This is the most cost-effective way of obtaining cards, but as the cards are created when you purchase them (see Card Inception for more information) you won't know specifically what you're getting until after they are revealed/generated.

Games and play evolve, cards and collections are persistent

Cards and their attributes are permanent, and their abilities are mapped specifically for each game based on their genesis block. There's more information about card attributes and where they come from — along with examples — on the Card Inception page.

Over time we expect the Deckbound games to evolve as we build and iterate upon them. As we do that we'll need to modify the abilities as used in different games, but the attributes and available abilities of your cards won't change. By mapping each card's attributes to a set of game abilities, we can adjust and patch to balance specific game scenarios without affecting the global card pool.

Games work on the basis of points-based decks — effectively like weight classes — when you choose to play a game you can either build a deck for a specific points limit, or build your deck as you desire and then play based on its cost. The points calculation process will be different for each game, and will evolve over time.

Card Inception

The Deckbound Explorer is live...
learn all about it on the Card Inception page.

Cards issued in "genesis" collections

Identifiable card names and art, based on genesis and card type

Each card inception provides a set of base card types, classes and core names. A class defines a card's ability set (e.g. a mage-like class would have more direct damage abilities in Heroes), the genesis defines its heritage (effectively the lore of that card) and the core names relate one to another (e.g. in the firstborn genesis, Warrior classes may be referred to as "Towers").

Card genesis diagram

Player experience, card levelling, Augments, Tweaks and achievements

Playing Deckbound games does a number a things:

In addition, players can:

Card levels and Augments are written permanently to the history of the card using blockchain transactions (based on the tagging technology) — those level and Augment tags travel with the card, whether it's used within Deckbound or elsewhere.

Global discovery: Community unlocks

With each new genesis block, a new set of ability maps are created for each Deckbound game. Cards created from that block are mapped to those abilities based on the unique attributes in their genesis transaction (see Card Inception for more information). Some abilities are available right away when you start playing a new card, and some need the card to be levelled up first. Every new ability has its own genesis transaction, but not all of those take place at the same time as the creation of the new genesis block...

Some abilities require a "global unlock" — all players contribute toward global unlocks (this process is called Discovery), requiring a fixed amount of XP from play with cards that use those globally locked abilities. Players who've already levelled their cards to obtain higher-level locked abilities will be able to see that they have access to them, but not what they are (those players will also be rewarded more XP toward the global unlocks).

The discovery rate will be tied to the size of the genesis block and the rate of inception for those cards (i.e. how quickly they are purchased by users), meaning that there'll be a steady shift in the meta game as cards are played. Some abilities may have their unlock criteria associated with future genesis blocks or timed events.

Pro features — for hardcore players and experimentation

Players that buy cards also get access to features including:

Flexible trade options

As every card is represented by a series of blockchain transactions — a genesis transaction to create the card attributes and then a series of ownership and tagging transactions to establish the location of the card and its additional attributes, like levels and augments — trading cards is the same as creating a transaction on the blockchain.

Deckbound cards use to track ownership and card status. Over time, the following trade and exchange features will be supported: automatically tracks tagged objects and cards around the blockchain, so unless you force your cards through uncommon transaction types or deliberately try to obfuscate them, will follow them around and retain all card attributes, tags and additional information accumulated through play.

Unwanted or unused cards, selling to the Nomad pool

As well as offering cards for trade with other players, you can choose to sell unwanted cards back to the Nomad pool. As the Nomad pool is a managed set of cards, available to players who wish to try cards without making a purchase, demand for different cards varies (even though we run the Nomad pool we still can't create specific card types on demand — see Card Inception for more information) and the prices offered for your unwanted cards will also vary.

This process is similar to destroying/disenchanting cards, but benefits the overall community by allowing for a more flexible Nomad pool and provides a market-led value for your unwanted cards.

3rd party games and systems encouraged

Deckbound is built from the ground up as an open system. We built the service as a public API on top of a transactional blockchain, and have documented its design such that it can be extended or rebuilt by others if required.

The Deckbound games are playable via an API (see Pro features), and use of bots and 3rd party software is encouraged.

The mapping between genesis blocks and games is public (see Card Inception page), and allows for Deckbound card abilities and attributes to be used in other games. Card levels and augments are all written to the blockchain, so your cards carry those attributes with them wherever they go.

Why use a blockchain?

A lot of the ideas for Deckbound are rooted in trying to solve common problems with digital collectible card games, and more widely with in-game assets across all popular game types: permanence, trade, transfer, rarity, security and, ultimately, ownership. Using blockchain technology facilitated solutions to these problems.

The blockchain data model we're using is made possible by, a public service built for tagging transactions and tracking tagged objects across a blockchain. It can be used for anything, not just games.