Aside from its trading card twist and focus on multiplayer, BattleForge feels very much like a traditional real-time strategy game. Players vie for control of the resources necessary to create an army, then use that army to accomplish a series of objectives, such as wiping out enemy camps, protecting outposts, and taking on champion characters under enemy control. You'd think that the vast array of cards would make for countless tactical possibilities, but the majority of the game's units, structures, and spells feel somewhat interchangeable. Most players' greatest challenge will be figuring out whether a particular scenario calls for ranged units, melee units, or some sort of magic, at which point they'll use the most powerful card of that type at their disposal.
However, while BattleForge requires players to understand only the most rudimentary tactics, mission design is complex and varied enough to keep even veteran strategy fans on their toes. Players will need to deal with multiple mission objectives at the same time and learn quickly how to split their armies into several functional groups, each with their own strengths, weaknesses, and goals -- and without going over the unit cap. It's not rocket science, but it is undeniably challenging. BattleForge's odd mixture of strategy, trading cards, and online play could keep interested players booting up the game night after night for months, if not years.