Cabals: Magic & Battle Cards


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#6 - Rain Dragon

This file lets us take a look into the mouth of “Rain Dragon”, the iconic beast of the Dragon Enclave and one of the most powerful units in Cabals. On the game board this card is pretty straightforward. It is a big hitter that provides an immediate strength boost to its neighboring units. Basically it embodies two important laws of collectible card games: 1) immediate effects are powerful and 2) doing two effects with one card is better than doing two effects with two cards. Very often this dragon gives you board control because it instantly lets your other units survive otherwise lethal battles while, in itself, posing a considerable threat. Originally “Rain Dragon” was designed to give its adjacent units a whooping +2 points of power, which was found to be way too much after a few minutes of playtesting.

So much for the game mechanics. It is no secret that “Rain Dragon” has got some serious fangs when it comes to board performance. Lorewise the more interesting point about this card is the beneficial nature of its boosting effect. In western mythology dragons have been generally regarded as malign and evil in the strongest sense of the word. Representing Chaos, these snake or reptilian resembling monsters have traditionally played the role of opponents for such heroes (or gods) as Gilgamesh, Yahweh, Marduk and Beowulf. The western dragons typically also have wings and breathe some damaging substance like fire. Thus it is not difficult to understand why it is precisely the dragon that has become the paradigmatic figure of the popular texts that we label under the genre of fantasy. It is demonic in the sense that it breaks the borderlines that separate different categories like reptilians (snake) and mammals (bat). It is big and evil. It has been the epic boss that has been raided again and again thousands of years before digital role-playing games were invented for our pleasure. So, like candies and cars, the western dragons of popular fantasy come with different flavors. Golden, Red, Undead, Iron, Ectoplasmic Dragon... you name it, you’ve got it.

But look at the little guy in the artwork of “Rain Dragon”. He is about to get +1 powered under his umbrella. Furthermore, the dragon of the picture has no batlike wings. Of course “Rain Dragon”, like “Fucanlong”, is a Chinese dragon. It is more snakelike and yet it flies. It is not evil and waiting for some cultural hero to come and slay it. It has power over the weather and is often associated with water. The power of the Dragon Enclave emanates, partly, from this beneficial nature of the Chinese dragon. It grants the cabal its ability to play units that give you different kinds of aids. “Rain Dragon” gives power, “Fucanlong” resources and the “Illusionary Dragon”, unexpected ways of deploying units. Certainly the Dragon Enclave is also known for its nasty knack of milling the opponent's deck, but that is another story and it has nothing to do with western or eastern dragons!

That completes the first series of archives, one for each cabal, but the question is, what next?!

Sami Simola
Designer

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