Beings of Tash Kalar
The Beings of Tash-Kalar
Tash-Kalar has four player decks, each representing one school of Tash-Kalar, and one legendary deck.
Both Imperial decks contain identical beings. (To learn why, you can read about the History of the Decks below.)
In this section, I would like to tell you more about the decks and the beings in them. Please be patient, as there are lots of cards and it will take some time to write about all of them.
History of the Decks
Tash-Kalar was originally developed as a symmetrical game. There were two decks of cca 23 cards, and they were both the same. The decks contained a wide variety of beings, but mostly human soldiers, mages, witches, and orcs. Later during development, this original deck was split.
Most of the Imperial beings have their roots in this "Pangea" deck. Orcs evolved into highland clans (you may still feel the original orc savagery in them) and together with giants became the base of the Highland deck. Most of the Sylvan beings were developed later, except for the Sylvan Princess and Queen, which were directly derived from witches.
From this time also comes the decision to have two identical Imperial decks. The game core was playtested a lot with symmetrical decks, and we felt we would be missing this. It was a pleasure to watch people playing for the first time, starting to recognize patterns of enemy pieces that match the cards they have already played themselves, and starting to realize the opponent may have the same card they just summoned with a devastating effect. (I still remember a great deathmatch duel between two Canadian girls in April. :)
So this is why we duplicated the Imperial deck and recommended it for the first plays. And although it may look weird (or at least unconventional) to some players, I am happy with that. Different decks are just, you know, different decks. We may add some later anyway. Playing Empire vs. Empire feels different from playing with different decks. So for me, personally, the option to play a symmetrical game adds to the variety more than one extra deck. And we were able to balance the decks better.
As for the particular cards, most of the cards that were in the original deck evolved over time. Effects in the original decks were generally weaker. Cards added later had stronger effects to make the game faster and more dynamic, and the effects of the original cards had to be strengthened, too.