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Video Game / Calculords

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It was beautiful Earth day in star year 29XX.
Suddenly, HATE BIT! Everything is destroy.
You are Last Star Nerd. Only you are enough to destroy danger menace of HATE BIT.

Calculords story

"Calculords! Card Masters of Outer Space" is a Card Battle Game developed by Ninja Crime Studios and released for mobile devices such as Android and iOS. It was also created by Seanbaby. You read that right.

Sometime in the early 30th century, a cosmic menace known as HATE BIT came and destroyed the Earth. Humanity is scattered among the stars, but with few options on how to avenge the Earth's destruction. That's where the player comes in. You are the last Star Nerd, a Calculords battler who must fight his way across the galaxy, defeating stronger and stronger opponents, getting new cards, and improving your deck, until you can finally put an end to HATE BIT.

Battles are conducted in the Calculords system. The playing field consists of three lanes where you can deploy your cards, each with 19 spaces in them—nine for you, nine for the opponent, and a single neutral square in the middle. Due to "space treachery", the AI always goes first. There are three card types: Offense units (red), which are typically the heavier hitters; Push units (green), which can push enemies back and away from your base (and into their own, destroying them), and Tactics (purple), which are one-offs that have numerous effects that disappear after use. The Shadow Nerd update added a fourth type, Structure units (blue), which don't advance but can't be pushed. In addition, there's three unit types, Soldiers, Mutates, and Vehicles, and many abilities only affect one of the three types.

All units have AP and HP—attack points and hit points. Various buffs, nerfs, and direct damage can alter any one of these traits, and when a unit loses all its HP, it disintegrates into a slab of meat (even the vehicles). To deploy a card, you have to match is numerical value. To do that, you punch in numbers generated at random in your Star Calculator. (though through whatever numbers you choose when building your deck). If you use all your numbers, you generate a Calculords Bonus, which gives you a fresh set of numbers to use the rest of the cards in your hand; doing so twice gets you a Double Calculords Bonus but no third set of numbers. And should you use all of your cards in a turn, you get a Star Nerd Bonus. Once you are satisfied with your turn, can't deploy anything else, you tap "Fight!" (or the fight starts automatically if you use all your cards or numbers in a single turn) and they charge forward fournote  steps. Upon contact with enemy units, the attackers shoot at the defenders, or at the base, if they're close enough. When a player's base HP reaches 0, they lose.

So what this means is that the fate of the universe and what's left of humanity rests in the hands of basic arithmetic and card games. Talk about your Serious Business.

A sequel, Calculords 2, was announced on the game's Facebook page on January 2, 2016, with a Kickstarter going to secure funding. This was sadly not successful, however it is still said to be under development "with no set timetable."

Tropes include:

  • Action Bomb: Cards with Self-Destruct. They all have low health (Plasma Saboteur has 3 HP, the rest have just 1) so they're designed to die as soon as they're damaged and devastate a large area when destroyed.
  • Always Someone Better: Cosblast feels this way about you.
  • Ambidextrous Sprite: Some units have asymmetrical sprites that are flipped depending on which side deploys them. Used almost literally in the case of many human solider cards — when not firing, they hold a gun in one hand and leave the other free for running. The gun-hand is the left if you deployed them, and the right if your enemy did.
  • Anti-Air: Units with the Flying Slayer ability do bonus damage to units with the Flying ability. AA units are especially useful against Uracillon, as flying vehicles make up much of his deck.
  • Anti-Armor: The Can Opener, the only unit with the Vehicle Slayer ability, does bonus damage to Vehicles.
  • Anti-Grinding: You get a bonus based on your own level after winning. However, if you beat a weaker opponent at a high level, this bonus can be in the 0.x range—or even straight-up 0, meaning you get no experience points at all from winning.
    • The multiplier is set to 0 once you reach level 19, until you beat the final boss.
    • After that, however, it's averted. The multiplier is permanently set to 1, and even at max level you can still get "level ups" that will usually give you a rare card. You can get many of the Shadow Nerd's cards this way, even without buying the Shadow DLC, though at a much slower rate than beating the Shadow Nerd repeatedly.
    • It's also averted in that grinding against opponents to win more cards (rather than to gain levels) is a part of the powering-up strategy.
  • Anti-Infantry: The Soldier Slayer ability gives bonus damage against Soldiers. You could count the Mutate Slayer ability here, too.
  • Arm Cannon: Bipedal Mutates (that is, most Mutates) have these for one of their arms — left if deployed by you, right if by the enemy. This detail was probably included to explain how they do damage from the back of a line.
  • Armor-Piercing Attack: Units with the Armor Piercing ability do full damage against armored enemies.
  • Author Avatar: The "Combat Cycle" offensive card is very clearly designed to look like Seanbaby's 8-bit rendition (note the blue and red mohawk).
  • Basement-Dweller: Cosblast sometimes yells at his mom to leave him alone.
  • BFG: Shadow Krak is a two-space unit; her gun takes up one of the spaces.
  • Big Eater: The Hungry Blob, which gains HP whenever an enemy is killed in its lane (and when you deploy units behind it). Its attacking animation seems to be lunging at enemies to take a bite out of them.
  • "Blind Idiot" Translation: Any kind of speech from or text pertaining to HATE BIT is intentionally written to sound like mangled, broken Engrish.
  • Blood Knight: Cpl. Krak, who is equally excited regardless of which of you is killing the other.
  • Boss Subtitles: The enemy commanders all have one; Cytosinor's, for instance, is, "Master of Mutates".
  • Bragging Rights Reward: Each opponent has a series of medals you can win against them, for various reasons (using only a single card type, not taking any damage, etc.)
  • Cast from Hit Points: Quantum Overload wipes a lane of units, friend and foe alike, and does damage to your base equal to the total number of units destroyed.
  • Chest Blaster: The Powered Armor and Alien Mini-Mecha units attack this way. The Can Opener, too; he has a massive cannon mounted on his chest.
  • Creator Thumbprint: Seanbaby's writing style is all over this. Especially in the Trash Talk from your opponent.
  • Cryptic Background Reference: Tyson Zan is said to be humanity's greatest hero, but it's not explained what he did or how HATE BIT got hold of him. (According to Seanbaby in a 2016 Tweet, he's been dead for 31 years, but you can still summon him anyway)
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: The Juggernaut medal is earned by winning on your first turn — in Cpl. Krak's case, the first turn, before she even has a chance to do anything.
  • Death Seeker: Cpl. Krak. She might thank you for killing her. Fancybot can be, too, if you take too long to finish him... which he comments on.
  • Demolitions Expert: Units with the C4 ability do 2 bonus damage to bases. The Deploy Semtex tactic card grants it to all of your units on the field — have fun.
  • Do Well, But Not Perfect:
    • Many of the medals are hard to get, but look at Under Siege. You have to draw a battle out to 30 turns, which is not likely to happen unless you're deliberately stalling. There's also the Purple Heart medal for winning with 1 Base HP left; generally you have to carefully engineer this yourself. To get these (and many other) medals on Fancybot and Stardog you have to really hold back.
    • Getting a high score also requires drawing out the game for many rounds, since if you can get a Star Nerd and Double Calculord bonuses every round, you get a higher cumulative bonus than you get from finishing the match quickly. A Turn 1 win is only a 10,000 point bonus, but the Star Nerd and Double Calculord bonuses usually add up to around 2000 a turn. If you finish the fight too quickly and easily, you get a lower overall score.
  • Drill Sergeant Nasty: Blok, who has a Lantern Jaw of Justice.
  • Dynamic Entry: Cards with the "Surprise!" mechanic deal damage to the closest enemy unit when deployed. Note that this doesn't trigger healing abilities.
    • Notable in this regard is Oneshot, a sniper who has "Surprise!" but 0 starting AP, meaning he can't deal any other damage without buffs.
  • Evil Counterpart: The Shadow Nerd is this to the player character. He also has cards based on evil (or eviler) versions of most other enemy commanders, like Bizarro Blok and Evil Stardog.
  • Flying Saucer: They make up a good portion of the vehicles, and are mostly used by and won from Uracillon. Believe it or not, they're piloted by aliens! Some of the heavier ones only hover, though, and don't even avoid damage from landmines. There's even a UFO Abductor card, which removes the weakest enemy unit from the lanenote  upon being deployed.
  • Fragile Speedster: Almost every unit with Double Time. They're only useful if deployed first in a lane, but generally they have low HP, and none of them have armor. This means they can't stand up to a wave of enemies and aren't likely to survive your enemy's turn without buffs or medic support.
  • Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: Nothing is revealed about the origins of HATE BIT.
  • Glass Cannon:
    • Cpl. Krak and Cytosinor's decks and strategies are all about this. Their units typically have high Attack Power, low HP, and no armor, and in both cases they'll try to just walk right over you. Cytosinor does buff his units every turn, though. As with Sgt. Blok below, they're both vulnerable to being beaten at their own game.
    • Only a few Attack units (mostly expensive vehicles) have higher than 4 HP, and almost none of them have any armor. This is especially true of Mutates, most of which are Attack units — nearly all of which have higher AP than HP.
    • The Shadow Nerd update introduced warped versions of many of the enemy commanders as playable units; Shadow Krak has a staggering 10 AP (the highest starting AP of any card other than potentially Mutatro and/or Commander Shazzu) but just 1 HP, plus Self Destruct and Double Time.
  • The Greys: All of the aliens depicted in the game (not counting Mutates), including Cytosinor and Uracillon. Skin color varies, but they're rail-thin and have large ovoid heads with big black eyes.
  • Herd-Hitting Attack: The Guerrilla Strike, Strafing Run, and Artillery Barrage tactics damage all enemy units in a lanenote  for (respectively) 1, 2, and 3 HP. Neural Leech saps 1HP from every enemy in a lane, ignoring armor, and adds the total to your base's health. Bioagent HX does 3 damage to every unit on the field.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard:
    • One way to beat Cytosinor is to use a Mutate-intensive deck much as he does; Cytosinor uses the Spore Burst card every turn to buff his mutates, but it affects all mutates on the field, his and yours.
    • Playing or buffing a single strong bio unit (such as Mutatro) can lead to this against Uracillon; sooner or later he'll either use Mind Control to steal the unit or create a copy with Generate Clone.
  • Intentional Engrish Forfunny / Word-Salad Humor: HATE BIT's speech patterns.
  • Invisibility Flicker: The animation for the Cloak Bike.
  • Jerkass: Cosblast, whose Boss Subtitles reads "Cosmic asshole." This is basically the whole premise of him as a commander — he uses Tactics and card abilities designed to mess with you and piss you off.
  • Jet Pack: There are a few Soldier units with the Flying ability (Can Opener and Johnny Starborn), and this is how. Johnny Starborn seems to have more of a Jump Jet Pack.
  • The Juggernaut: Mutatro is a virtually unstoppable killing machine if formed from a strong enough lane of Mutates
  • Life Drain: The Neural Leech tactic.
  • Lightning Bruiser:
    • HATE BIT is a real pain because of this. His units come barreling at your base, and do big damage. It's a huge challenge gaining ground against him while defending all three lanes equally.
    • Bikes with Double Time, plus the Skirmish Tank and Missile Buggy, have fairly high attack power.
  • Mad Bomber: Card-wise, any creature who has the Self-destruct ability, which makes them explode and deal AOE damage when destroyed. Character-wise, it's Cpl. Krak — in her middle lane she almost exclusively plays Section Eighters, low-HP squad units with Self-Destruct. Naturally the Shadow Krak card has low HP and Self-Destruct.
  • Make Me Wanna Shout: The Mutate Shrieker attacks with an armor-piercing wail.
  • Mini-Mecha: Some of the vehicles are Soldiers in tall robot suits. Almost all are alien, excepting only the Tinker Walker.
  • Mobile Shrubbery: The SMC Flanker is a Soldier unit hiding behind a bush, wearing a headband with branches sticking out from it. It's very mobile, since it has Double Time.
  • My Rules Are Not Your Rules: Almost every enemy has "quirks" to their deck — usually in the form of certain cards they always have handy, and cards with special abilities that they don't have if played by you. For instance, Uracillon can use Transport Seal every turn, and HATE BIT's Cosmo Wreckers have the Phalanx ability.
  • No Name Given: The player character is always referred to as Player One.
  • Parrot Pet Position: Cytosinor's larval grub, which sits on his left shoulder.
  • Pokémon Speak: Stardog says nothing but her name with different inflections. At least one of her messages seems to be Stardog attempting to copy one of HATE BIT's losing statements: HATE BIT shouts "Revenge" numerous times with an increasing number of exclamation points, and Stardog's version matches it in terms of words and exclamation points, just with "Revenge" replaced with "Stardog" (which also has the same number of letters).
  • Powered Armor: A small subset of the Soldier unit type, represented by the Aegis Suit and the Pow Suit.
  • Power Nullifier: The Elecwave card wipes the abilities of all enemy units (except Flying), including turning Push units into Attack units.
  • Punny Name: HATE BIT's name is a play on "eight bit", which is why he talks like badly translated Nintendo (i.e., 8-bit) games.
  • The Quisling: According to their profiles on the official website, Cosblast and Uracillon betrayed the galaxy to join HATE BIT.
  • Retraux: Human characters on the field are done in an 8-bit style reminiscent of River City Ransom.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: Stardog, the second opponent, which is an homage to Laika, the first dog in space.
  • Scrub: In-universe, this is Cosblast's entire gimmick. Every time things don't go his way, it's not his fault — his calculator is broken cuz it's not giving him the right numbers, you cheated if you beat him, and so on.
  • Sergeant Rock: Sgt. Blok, if you couldn't tell from the name. He's a hypermuscled, cigar-chomping hardass dedicated to protecting what's left of Earth.
  • Shout-Out: The Vanity Plate for Ninja Crime studios is an 8-bit "reenactment" of the Bad Dudes plot (the POTUS giving a speech before being swept away by a ninja, while the officer who debriefs you has a shuriken embedded in his forehead).
    • The icon for the Under Siege medal is a chef hat, a reference to the movie Under Siege, where the lead character is a ship's cook who wears such a hat.
    • Captain Defensor of the "Unkillable Legion" DLC pack is named after Defensor, an obscure Marvel Comics superhero Seanbaby had previously expressed distaste for in one of his Cracked articles. The Defensor MK2 tank, as well.
    • And on that note, General Traxx is named after the titular character of the movie Traxx, which Seanbaby also covered in a Cracked article.
    • Cytonistor makes several references to the X-Men, like saying "To me, my mutates!" (a variation of Professor X's "To me, my X-Men!") or his title, "Master of Mutates" (a reference to Magneto's "Master of Magnetism").
  • Splash Damage: Units with the Splash ability deal a little damage to units (or the enemy base) within three spaces behind their target. Many Push cards with Splash have 0 starting AP, so they don't do any direct damage without buffs. Splash damage is largely neutralized by either armor or flying units.
  • Stone Wall:
    • Sgt. Blok. He hates Attack units, so his deck is mostly Push cards. Though they largely have poor Attack Power, they tend to be armored and Blok has a lot of support and Tactics cards that buff them. He's very much vulnerable to being outmuscled by the same tactics - assembling a line of push units and putting armored ones out front keeps his low-attack units from gaining ground.
    • The Bizarro Blok card used by and winnable from the Shadow Nerd. Bizarro Blok is tied for the second highest starting HP of any card in the game (10), has 2 Armor and a bonus to his Pushing, but claims only 2 AP.
    • A lot of Push units have high HP and/or armor but low-to-no AP.
  • Super-Speed: The Double-time ability, which makes a unit move two and a half times as many spaces (10 vs the normal 4). HATE BIT's Cosmo Wreckers seem to be faster than other units with the ability, moving more than halfway across the battlefield in one turn. The Stardog and Shadow Nerd updates both added some cheap Push units with Double Time, for when you want to gain ground fast.
  • Taking You with Me: The Self-destruct ability. It's easy to get Hoist by His Own Petard with these, because when they blow up they do damage to units within a certain range, forward and back. These explosions can also damage your own base if they're close enough. HATE BIT invites you to come close as he dies so he can "try explode on you."
  • Tank Goodness: Most of the heavy vehicles are tanks, including the heavily-armored, high-HP Defensor Mk3 and the speedy, hard-hitting Skirmish Tank.
    • HATE BIT often declares his love for tanks, with many of the tank cards used by other commanders, several that are normally only available through DLC (the Omega Tank and Longbow Panzer), and one that deploys three tanks at once (Armor Column, which is also a DLC-only card).
    • Stardog's vehicles are tiny, so she fields Microtanks, which are cheap but weak and have no special abilities, though the Microtank P2000 is a Push unit.
    • Tanks, but No Tanks: The Tiamat Tank is a hovering saucer vehicle with mortar guns. The Hydra Tank has treads, but no turret (instead: mortar guns). The Omega Tank and Longbow Panzer seem to have fixed guns. The Scorch Track does have a turret, but it gun is an anti-armor flamethrower.
  • Theme Naming: Almost every Mutate card has a name that either starts with "Mutate" (ex.: Mutate Prince, Mutate Shrieker, Mutate Swarm) or ends in "-oid" (ex.: Energoid, Rockoid, Serpoid). The exceptions are the grubs with the Implant ability, Hungry Blob, the zombies and tarbeasts used by Stardog, and the Shambling Cytosinor used by the Shadow Nerd. And if you want to be technical, Mutatro.
  • Time Master: Uracillon, though in gameplay this is only reflected by the Reverse Time card.
  • The Engineer: Cards with the Fortify ability heal your base for 1-2 HP every turn.
  • The Medic: Cards with the "Bandage" ability, meaning they heal your Soldier units that take damage during the opponent's turn. Most of them have some kind of medic or field hospital-related name to them. Cards with "Repairs" are the equivalent for vehicles, and "Mutate Feeder" cards for Mutates. As it happens, healing cards tend to have low AP even if they're red Attack cards; Green healing cards often have 0 AP.
    • See also cards with Stimpack/Tinker/Genepump; when deployed in a lane, units of the appropriate type in that lane gain a certain amount of HP.
    • The Surgeon medal is awarded if you manage to heal or repair 40 HP in a battle, which usually involves a deck heavy on these units.
  • Trap Master: Traps, in the form of landmines and the Mutate Bioweapon and Space Dump cards, are used extensively by Cosblast.
  • The Turret Master: Turrets are introduced in the Shadow Nerd update as immobile "Structure" units. The Shadow Nerd uses them to block lanes, as they can't be pushed back unless their abilities are wiped. He also starts the battle with Shadow Bunkers in the middle of each lane, preventing you from pushing him back as he deploys units behind them.
  • Villainous Breakdown: The Shadow Nerd undergoes one the longer a battle drags on, slipping from a cold, sadistic demeanor into desperation and anger.
  • Wake-Up Call Boss: Prior to the Stardog update, players were thrown at Sgt. Blok immediately after beating Fancybot once. Let's just say you probably went back to Fancybot a few more times to level and get more/better cards. After Stardog was added and placed just after Fancybot, Blok was switched with Cpl. Krak. Her relentless, fast-paced offense is a huge hurdle for new players to get over, and she's leagues more challenging than Stardog or Fancybot. However, she also lets you take the first turn and lacks push units, putting a huge hole in her strategy. She's still a wake-up call, but not as much as Blok was.
  • Warm-Up Boss:
    • Fancybot is... not hard to beat. He doesn't have the worst cards, but never deploys many at once and usually skips every other turn (maybe deploying one card on even-numbered turns). Your first battle with him is essentially a field test of what you learned in the tutorial, and defeating him again afterwards (for his cards, one would hope) only gets easier and easier. He gets concerned if you don't beat him quickly enough, and even indirectly insults you over it.
    • Stardog, after the update that introduced her. She puts up more of a fight than Fancybot, but that's not saying much — her cards are really cheap and weak for the most part. Apparently it was felt that throwing you right into the actually-challenging commanders after Fancybot was unfair.
  • We Have Reserves: Cytosinor constantly alludes to "growing" more mutate enemies to send against you. This is arguably more humane than most examples, being that mutates are grown specifically for battle and seem to be quite mindless. He tends to send his mutates out in huge waves, too, but you probably do the same thing with your cards more or less.
  • White Mask of Doom: Cpl. Krak, whose mask is reminiscent of Casey Jones.
  • Zerg Rush:
    • This is essentially HATE BIT's strategy, flooding the lanes with units, especially the weak-but-speedy Cosmo Wreckers who do bonus damage to your base, and his version of Cosmo Wreckers have the Phalanx ability, which yours do not, so he always puts at least one fast unit (one that deals extra damage to your base) in every row on every turn.
    • The Shadow Nerd uses a more focused version, deploying en masse in one lane until you start to push him back, at which point he simply starts deploying in some other lane.
    • Mutates seem intended to be used this way; it's easy to build a deck of nothing but Mutates and deploy them indiscriminately.
  • What the Hell, Player?: Uracillon chides you for sadism as you inflict overkill damage to his base, not that anybody else (besides Cpl. Krak) is happy about it.