About Data.Warriors

Version 1.1, Updated 09-23-18

What is Data.Warriors??

Binary Realms Data.Warriors is a non-collectable, non-tradeable, turn based, free and open source strategy card game in which players assume the role of SuperUsers that duel each other executing commands via programs to destroy each other's data from their drives. Since the main set cards have no inherent rarity to them, card tiers aren't really that much of a thing, and the game relies on techniques and card combos to win matches against other players.

Is this free?

Yep. Head over to the Print page to download and print the game yourself, and check out the Learn page to read on how to start playing! There's this part of me that thinks I'm an idiot for just giving away the whole thing for free, but the other part in me thinks that even if there weren't tons of other card games with big money backing them up, making it so the game has no rarity solves a bunch of other problems card games tend to have, and streamlines a lot the game design around the card rules and such.

Why's everything in grayscale?

No-brainer decision when deciding how to make the game a cheap as possible to print. Since I'm on charge of everything I can call shots like that and coordinate everything to make it happen since it takes just one person.

A color version is planned for a future date, though.

The cards are so tiny!

This is not a question!

I like the traditional card size a lot, but it does eat though sheets of paper like crazy. Especially if you're not working with very big sheets of paper. 4, up to 6 cards per sheet. That's, like, 20 pages in just one card set alone, if you include card backfaces. Add to that all of the extra materials you'll end up using doing everything to that scale. (And the count goes up to 30 if you add a core to the card!) I noticed this when I was working on the other card game, with my friends, back in primary school, when my notebooks started becoming thinner and thinner. I came up with this smaller form factor to help with that. This limitation made it so when prototyping, cards were not as complex as they could've been if the prototype cards were full-sized, and since the game mechanics are so stripped down to basics on the basic ruleset, it also meant subsystems such as battle stats, rarity or flavor text would take a lot of space from the card away. What I mean is that you're, somehow, prototyping a card game and don't want to overdo it, this card size works great.

The most important thing of all, though: you can fit 12 of these in an A4 with a lot of space around for notes, trimming and extra stuff you might want to add to your printings. This I only discovered recently, though. Have I mentioned I have no professional training on design in any kind, and have absolutely no idea what I'm doing? Because I have not and I'm very sorry if any part of all of this game offends you as a designer. I really, really tried to make it as production-ready as possible. Oh well, some eggs you have to break in order to make... eggs?

Back then I referred to this form factor as "travel size" or "pocket size", so that's what I call them myself.

I have no idea how to assemble the cards!

I'm currently finishing a step-by-step tutorial on how to assemble everything. I'm sorry the assembly instructions aren't available yet, but I'm not expecting anyone to go ahead and print cards as of right now, so what matters most is having an online catalog and term dictionary rather than the cards being production ready.

Free as in free beer, or free as in freedom?

Both. The cards are under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareALike 4.0 International license, and the ruleset is distributed under GPL v3.

So... I can I make my own cards?

Yeah, as long as you don't try playing them in any game mode that won't allow them, there's no problem. Head over to the Make page to read tips about making your own cards, to avoid common design pitfalls.

Do I have to license my custom cards under the same license the rest of the official cards?

Depends. If your cards is evidently derivative of an existing card then yeah, you should use whatever that card's license allows you to do with it. If, otherwise, you're making the cards from scratch, just using the game rules as framework, then you can use whatever license you'd like, as the only thing you'd be using from the game at that point would be the ruleset as a reference, I think? I'm not sure, but I don't plan on enforcing an specific license over people's wholly original work. If you make your own full expansion set it's only fair you license it under whatever license you see fit. Don't expect to see your completly closed set merged into any official set, nor sanctioned to be played in any game mode, though.

"Official prints"...? I thought this game was free!

It is, but the license it's distributed under doesn't forbides anyone to make profit out of it. We actually sell professionally printed cards on our store that are, at the moment, the only way to participate in Official Events. The cards we provide in this site are meant for casual, strictly fun-only purposes. Of course, we're not your parents nor the police so you can organize small local events in your local game shop and sell your own prints on those events, as long as you're not claiming to be associated with us in any way such as claiming to be an Official Event. In fact, the clearer you make it's not an official event, the better. Maybe use the shorthand DataWars instead of the official Data.Warriors name to promote the event? Dunno.

Wait. Waitwaitwait. I can print and sell my own cards?

Yeah. I mean, it depends. Do you mean the cards we offer a digital downloads? Then yeah, sure. You can also design your own card template and print that, but you must respect the Creative Commons license under which the cards are provided. They're not official prints unless we make a deal, but sure. If you mean somehow printing your own version of the cards we, or some else with rights to do so, sell on our store and passing that as legit product then no, please don't do that because that would be bootlegging our product and that's not nice. Send us an email if you want to sell those yourself and we can make a deal to stock you with affordable product for you to move or something, whatever.

Can I use Binary Realms Data.Warriors assets, images and names, other than the logo and the card game name for the cards I design, print and sell?

Only if you have a license or our express permission to do so. Please use things you have the rights to use in a commercial product, like the totally generic and not trademarked "DataWars-compatible" term instead of Data.Warriors. If you're going to use an image or a trademarked name, make sure you have the rights not only to use it, but also to sell things you made using it! This is not only true for official assets, but also fanart and commissioned pieces. Ask the artists you commission under what license they allow you to use their art!

I did my own card templates, but used text/illusatration from official cards. Can I sell them/profit off them?

As long as you're not violating the license under which the cards and artwork are distributed, then sure.

What's this "Game Mode" thing you mentioned earlier?

There's three game modes: Mainstream, which includes only the newest set, Legacy, sorted by each series (i.e. Legacy S1) and Multiverse, which includes all sets, including even official promotional cards, either genuine official prints or not. Of course, I can't dictate how people play the game on their spare time, but these rules aim to be followed by all official events.

I like this idea, what can I do to help?

Play matches with your friends! Teach them how to play, give away decks to people you think might enjoy playing it, organize tournaments and invite other players to gather, share your strategies, combos and feedback with other players. If you mean "help" as in help us not starve to death because we're idiots and instead of selling our game we're giving it away for free, you can actually buy professionally printed and cut decks directly from us! We offer more than one design for the cards, alongside everything else you need to play the game. Maybe we'll open a Patreon later, to help with the costs of designing, testing and distributing cards, but for now the best way to support us financially is by buying our products.

Can I organize local tournaments using Binary Realms Digital.Warriors images and names, other than the logo and the card game name, maybe even call them Official Events or something along those lines?

Not without our permission or a license that grants you that right. You'll know when we've approved of a particular event because it should feature an "Official Binary Realms Event" badge!

I want to really, really help! Can I join y'all making cards?

"Y'all" is just me, buddy. I, DCAT, am the only one making this card game. There's a good reason for that: I don't want a "dev team" for this game. I feel like my ideas usually don't play well with teams of people. Not even teams of 2. That's why feedback is so important to me. When I say "we" I include MarsCat, owner of Mesmerize Records and its game development subdivision Mesmerize Games -which is also pretty much only her- since I'm making the game on collaboration with her advising and testing the game periodically.

I know this is not convenient for anyone but me, and that's why this game's under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareALike 4.0 license. Feel free to start a "Community Version" of the card game with its own card sets, rules and whatnot. If I like it I'll be glad to link y'all in here!

I want to make cards and want the full rights over them, so nobody can sell my cards. What can I do?

Kinda hard if you're going to be distributing over digital. If your plan is to make physical cards, you can design them from scratch, distribute them exclusively under copyright and just use the Binary Realms Ruleset as a base for the game. You still have to distribute the ruleset under a GPL v3 and make any changes you made to it freely available! You must also comply any other licenses involved with what you produced.

I noticed a copyright notice on the cards about the illustrations... What's that all about?

I hold the copyright of both the characters and the included illustrations, because those aren't distributed under the same CC BY-SA 4.0 license as the cards themselves. I also give complete rights to anyone to reproduce these illustrations and create artwork based on these , as long as it's made explicitly clear that I, DCAT, haven't authorized either these reproductions or artwork, nor am not involved in any way, shape or form, and that I'm the original author of characters and artwork depicted in these pieces. In layman's terms, feel free to put the card artwork in anything you want, just make it clear that I'm not making anything out of it, and that it was me who created the thing you're putting into the thing.

You mentioned being an idiot earlier for giving a game away for free, and I somewhat agree. I mean, I get some parts of it, but even allow others to profit off the game? Why are you doing this?

A long time ago when I was in middle school, out of boredom a couple friends started playing chess with pieces made out of paper. After a while, their version of chess started including different pieces with different rules, and a particular game experience was born out of the neccessity to make your own board and pieces to pass time. They eventually ended making their own MtG clone that, due to its "one of a kind" card nature (every card had to be made by hand, so every card was essentially an overpowered mess) was a bit more fun to play than MtG itself, even in its broken, unbalanced state. Now, I know that part of the enjoyment was making the card and then testing it in game with the other cards everyone made, but a significant part of the fun was how certain cards would completely shake up the whole game dynamic, due to how overpowered and unbalanced everything a fifth grade child's mind can concoct after learning how to play card games by stumbling around making one. A bunch of years later, card games aren't on my priority list for things to spend money on, but I'd like to be able to play a card game nonetheless. I also want to just be able to jump in and build the deck, and I want to play matches using that deck. The whole buying booster packs and specific cards for a certain strategy, as exciting as can be, is bothersome and pushes me away from actually playing the game. Yeah I understand the excitement of maybe getting a very rare card, or variations on the same card, but I think that excitement is also not that much of a draw to why people actually buy into and play these games. This problem is easily solved through counterfeit products, but their sketchy legal status not only makes them dangerous to the market as a whole but also not a very convenient alternative after all. Why should you get high-quality cards if you just want to play a couple matches on lunch breaks and weekends? Wouldn't it be awesome to just be able to print and give away a copy of the game to anyone you want to play with? I know I can't pitch this idea to anyone on the card game market, as by design it goes completely against the way the market works over there and profits from something like this won't be as big as with a traditional trading card game, but I also think other trading card games keep changing up the game completely in order of keeping players engaged, all mean while there's all of these card games that you play with playing cards that don't really change that much overtime, and they'll keep on existing regardless of what happens to the market for strategy card games. I think it's nice having a card game you can play casually and not spend too much money if you don't want to.

I internally refer to this game as "white-label magic" but don't tell anybody.

OK, Big Shot. What are your plans for the future with the card game?

The next card expansion is called Hot-Fix! and is meant to address any miscalculations and shortcomings for the current set. Then, two more sets -one focused on specific card combos, and another one with an augmentation theme- will follow, closing the Series 1 set. Then, we'll see.

About availability, right now we're looking for local printing shops with the right equipment to print these kits and have them readily available, with direct assistance from us in case of being necessary. The card game is also available our store, where you can buy official prints of the cards.

Product-wise, we're considering adding a couple more pre-built standalone deck kits and additional material (such as a carrying box for decks, different styles of tokens, sheets of stickers and different card formats) in the near future.

Franchise-wise, get out of here, this is not a franchise.

Can you include my custom created cards on the next official expansion set?

Depends on the license, the card quality and the expansion set's scope. I'll ask permission if possible, but don't be so surprised if you made a good card, licensed it under a license compatible with what we use for our cards and one day you wake up to a card you made on an official expansion set!

I might even go ahead and re-release a whole fan-made expansion set as an official set and don't ask anyone about it. (I won't, but still!)

Who are you?

I'm DCAT and this is MarsCat. I design, draw, write, prototype, tweak and a whole bunch of other things, and she proofreads, helps me debug the game, gives feedback and participates on brainstorming new cards.

Huacho yo no le pego na' al inglés...

Estamos trabajando en una versión localizada al español! La razón por la que no contemplamos lanzar el juego en más de un idioma a la vez tiene que ver con tratar de mantener el trabajo que requiere estar haciendo un juego de cartas con tan pocos recursos como una tarea manejable. Una vez que los términos y las mecánicas del juego no estén completamente pulidas, no tiene mucho sentido producir las cartas en más de un idioma. La razón por la que el juego está en inglés tiene que ver con disponibilidad y factibilidad de que el juego pueda ser comprendido por la mayor cantidad de personas posibles dentro de mis paupérrimas capacidades como equipo de una persona trabajando con muchas cosas rescatadas de la basura, para ir facilitando la disponibilidad en los siguientes grupos más poblados hasta, ojalá, eventual tener versiones del juego en idiomas muertos y ficticios. Si me permiten un momento de confianza, no tener que supervisar ese proceso y dejar que el mejor esfuerzo prevalezca sobre los demás es una de las razones que me llevaron a querer usar una licencia lo más abierta y libre posible. Por si están trabajando en algo que deben lanzar en un mercado saturado y creen que alguien se puede beneficiar de forma honesta del trabajo que han hecho uds. Bueno, eso. La versión en español neutro es la siguiente versión que debería ser lanzada.

Do I know you guys from somewhere else...?

We've made videogames before, maybe from that? Also, MarsCat's a very talented music artist and a good kid. And my wife.