Cards, the Universe, and Everything: A Beginner's guide to CUE by Avid Games

Badaim joins us for a dive into a fun new CCG, CUE! Download now on iOS and Android!

CUE cards is a relatively new digital card game that asks: what would happen if Alexander the Great had Antibiotics and/or a Siberian Husky? Could he beat Amelia Earhart if she was the pilot of the Hindenburg or in the Lunar module of the Saturn V? All these questions and more can be asked and answered in CUE: Cards, the Universe and Everything! This article covers the basic gameplay and strategy that goes into deckbuilding and piloting.

The Basics: Cards

CUE cards have only two stats: Power and Energy. Energy is the energy cost used to play a card and is the number in blue in the top left corner of the card. Power is how much score you will get from playing that card, and is the pink number just below it. Some cards have special abilities that are described with text in the bottom panel.

A card's color indicates what Album it is from, while the circle below the card image shows the collection it belongs to (which is a subset of the album), and also indicates if it is a limited card or fusion component (more on that later). The top right of the card shows the cards rarity. If there is no icon it is common.

Lastly, since CUE is an educational game, each card can be turned around to reveal all sorts of interesting and fun facts about the card on the back. The devs sometimes hide redemption codes here, so be sure to check them out!

Getting started: Deckbuilding

CUE decks are composed of 18 cards that are shuffled back into your deck after being played. Instead of releasing large sets, CUE releases one or a handful of new cards almost every day, so there are hundreds of cards to choose from. As a general rule, the more power you get per energy cost the better the card will be; but a card's abilities, album, and collection can also be a factor in choosing what goes into your deck.

Ready to Win: How to Play

A CUE match starts with each player drawing 5 cards. The starting energy and starting energy gained per turn changes based on the weekly league rules, so pay attention to the week's league rules and update your deck to adjust your strategy accordingly.

The game board is composed of 3 slots where players can play cards each turn, spending energy to do so. Players play cards simultaneously face down, only being able to see the card's album. cards are only revealed after both players end their turn. At the end of the turn both player's power scores are totaled, and any special card abilities take effect. On the next turn each player gains their energy per turn and draws up to 5 cards, starting at a positive or negative power score based on the results of the previous turn. The player with the highest power score after 3 turns wins the round, and the power score resets to zero to start the next round. The first player to wind 3 rounds wins the match.

Each round corresponds to an arena (shown in the background) that gives a +10 power bonus to cards from the matching Album. The order of arena's is random, and the type is shown at the top of the screen. Weekly League rules may stipulate a special bonus for cards from a certain collection when played on their corresponding arena. Arena and Album types are: Oceans and Seas, Life on Land, History, Space, Paleontology, and Science

Making Friends: Trading and Fusions

Instead of crafting, players obtain cards through packs or trading with friends or other players at the basecamp. Some cards can only be obtained through fusions where several specific cards are combined to make jan exclusive fusion card. Some cards are only available during limited releases from a special week or day, and can only be obtained otherwise through trading. This gives new players a chance to trade with more experienced players as common cards that are fusion components can be traded for rarer cards.

Thinking Ahead: Advanced Tactics

Sometimes it is more advantageous to skip or underplay a turn as well as take a tactical loss to have an energy advantage on the next turn or round. Some cards give bonuses when you lose or a losing a turn, so intentionally losing a turn can set up those abilities for a counterattack.

You can 'feint' playing cards by putting it on the field and not ending your turn in order to bait your opponent into 'overspending' on a win, only to pull the cards back into your hand and save your energy before the turn timer runs out.

Pay attention to your opponent's energy and Album type they are playing to figure out what they might be playing or kind of deck they are running. Some cards boost power or energy when drawn, so an unexplained increase in energy or power might tell you what they have in their hand.

These are just some basic tips for now, but as you progress in the game you will find that there is plenty of strategy that goes into playing this deceptively simple card game.

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