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More Card Ninja Wildcards revealed

Following up on our post about Blessing and Curse, I am going to dig into the next two wildcards that appear in the game; Assassin and Ajnin.

These cards can have a dramatic impact on your game score, so if you’ve been struggling to get past level 8, reading this post could be the answer to all your worries.

The Assassin wildcard is all about time. As any of you who have been an actual assassins will know, getting the job done quickly and getting the hell out of there, is what it’s all about. One of the Ninja’s primary technique’s was stealth and their ability to do things so quickly that no one even noticed they had been there.

Throwing the Assassin card freezes time for about 8 seconds. In the game this can be a huge factor in progressing because not only does it stop the clock, allowing you to hit your targets calmly without losing those precious time bonuses, but it also freezes the action on the screen. In the rounds where there are moving targets, this bonus is even more powerful.

The powerful Assassin hour glass

The powerful Assassin hourglass

The visuals here were molded by Kevin our graphic designer using a combination of images and cool artwork. The image is of course an ancient sand timer or hourglass. Turn the device over and the sand starts dripping through the enclosure. They were originally invented to time the speed of ships apparently. Of course they have also been used by some intrepid cooks hungry for deliciously gooey egg yolks. I saw my first hourglass in the hands of the wicked witch of the east in the Wizard of Oz and you’ll recognize it more recently from Lord of the Rings, Legend of Zelda and other great games and movies.

As before, I am not going to be explicit about how you make Time machine work, but if you look carefully at the image of the card you’ll see an obvious clue. It follows the same theme as the earlier clues and once you get it, you are set to stealthily climb your way up the Ninja ranks. Feel free to leave your thoughts on what the clue is and how to stop the clock.

Next up is Ajnin. This is definitely a favorite of mine and not only because it was inspired by an idea from my 10 year old son, Max. The card was originally called topsy turvy while we were in development and that basically sums up its effect. Its turns your world upside down. It makes a mockery of your Ninja skills with alarming results when you aren’t ready for it. Starting to get the idea now? Ninja becomes ajniN.

The crazy topsy turvy Ajnin Wildcard

The crazy, topsy turvy, Ajnin Wildcard

The effect is to take all of your flick throws and reverse them. Throw up to the right and the card shoots off down and to the left. Flick down card goes up etc etc. Its one of my favorites because I kind of enjoy the fresh challenge of having to rethink every throw and its kind of fun trying to get the cards right even though you know you are throwing them completely wrong. I also find that its a real mind twister once the effect has timed out. I always get stuck in Ajnin mode throwing reverse for the first couple of cards after its over.

The visual for this card is actually some images Kevin took of his own arms. Not easy to do, but he’s tough and a great photographer to boot, so it was easy for him.

The clue for this card is slightly different than the previous cards but again, if you look closely you’ll see there is an element displayed in this card that is always present on a target when you see the card appear in the deck. Trust me, you’ll want to get this right even though getting it right means turning your world upside down.

Next up the scariest and most dramatic cards in this release of the game: Dragon and Ghost


Not your grandmother’s hockey stick

At around 2:30 this morning the thunderstorms that have been boiling up over Brooklyn of late, made their nightly entrance. Complete calm, small flash of lightning and then a boom that came with such intensity, that even as you cursed being woken up in the middle of the night, you could only wonder at the sheer power of nature.

Would anybody but an Apple fanboy mention the awesome power of geothermal energy in the same breath as discussing the monster that is the Apple marketing machine? I’ll let you decide that, but what I am sure of is that being placed on the front page of the iTunes store is a powerful thing indeed. Free placement on the front page of a tool used by at least 40 million qualified purchasers across 80 something countries.

Last week Card Ninja was having its best week so far. We were ticking along at a low but steady 30 sales a day. More of a hobby than a business at that point if we are honest. We had done some limited test advertising and had received some great reviews and feedback but we were still lacking the exposure to make a meaningful impact.

Fast forward to Tuesday morning. After contacting us with an email that they loved the game, Apple placed Card Ninja on the front page of the App store and boom! we are instant players. I’m not even sure the term hockey stick works to describe the trajectory Card Ninja has taken in the last 24 hours. Maybe we should coin this as a space shuttle kind of ride.

rank trajectory

our hockey stick / space shuttle moment

Card Ninja’s rank went from #1500 overall or so on Monday to #34 in games and #54 overall in the space of 24 hours. Even while I am writing this post we have moved up to #33 in US games. Its 10 am on a weekday morning; Who is even buying games now? We are now the #2 Card game in the US, closing in on Solitaire after overhauling established card games such as Texas Hold’em and Uno.

I’m trying to remain calm and focused knowing this is a special moment that we can’t take for granted for a second.

The thunder clap was followed by one more boom last night and then silence. Not even a drop of rain.

This is huge – Front page of iTunes store

Huge update, my Ninja friends.

Last week we received a mysterious email from Apple. Yes that Apple.

Here’s what it said:

Subject: HOT marketing opportunity (their caps not mine)

“Hi, here at Apple we love your game Card Ninja….”

OK so besides the slightly spam like subject line that totally had us thinking this was a hoax, this is pretty incredible. Apple found our cool game amongst the 50,000 other apps out there and wants to do some free marketing for us!
Think about that for a second – Apple, 50,000 apps, Card Ninja and free marketing all in the same sentence.

We sent them a whole set of graphic materials and while we still aren’t sure exactly what they are planning to do, as of this morning we are displayed on the front page of the US iTunes store in the New and Notable section. We are basically the second app you see once you land on the page. You can see it here: http://bit.ly/5fd0d
Can you put a price on that kind of exposure?

more excitement to come I’m sure.

“Re-Playability thru the roof”

The latest podcast review from theportablegamer.com had some great things to say about Card Ninja.

“Card ninja is deceptively difficult and it really pulled me in…. Since it is easy to play but very tough to master, it’s re-playability is thru the roof.”

You can hear the full podcast here: http://bit.ly/qrhgR