Combat v2: Reinventing Combat in Pirate Nation

Pirate Nation
5 min readAug 24, 2023


Today we launch our shiny new combat system — aptly named.. *drum roll* … Combat v2!

Say hello to our shiny new combat system 💥

Our players find combat one of the most fun things you can do in Pirate Nation. So we’ve doubled down on making combat a joyful and challenging experience, introducing new depth and choices to make during each battle.

Introduction to Combat v2

The goal of overhauling Pirate Nation’s combat system is to make the overall experience deeper and more interesting for our players. To achieve this, we’ve introduced a fast-paced, turn-based card system, requiring player input and decisions from round to round. You’ll also notice a more dynamic camera angle to the battle, along with shiny new effects and sounds.

Players receive cards (Actions) in a deck (Action Stack). Each round, players will be able to play cards from their hand until they have depleted their mana (Action Points). After a card is played it moves to the discard pile (Executed Actions). Once the player’s Action Points are depleted and no more Actions can be played for the round, the round ends. Any unused Actions in the player’s hand are sent to the Executed Actions stack.

Your Action Stack

After this happens, the opponent takes their turn and performs the Action(s) represented in their intent indicator. The opponent’s intent indicator provides key information that players should factor into their next set of Actions.

Games are fun when the player’s actions matter.
- William Schmitt, Head of Studio @ Proof of Play

Games are fun when the player’s actions matter. In this new combat system, the order in which actions are taken and how to allocate Action Points is like figuring out a puzzle each turn. Add to this that the player needs to plan for their opponents indicated action and it really makes the decisions they make each and every turn matter.

Your choices matter

In the previous system, you had a fairly limited set of combat choices during battle. These choices were not only limited but lacked variety. The result was clear: most players repeatedly selected powershot. We can’t blame ’em, everyone loves a good ol’ powershot.

Warning: you may be in this picture 😂

But it’s time for us to retire powershot (perhaps to return some day via a playable card?👀), and open up a world of new choices.

In Combat v2, your choices matter during every step of a battle, and the choices available depend on a number of things, such as Pirate level, ship type, and ship slots.

At launch there are 34 cards available to draw in battle. Not all cards will be available to players during all battles as the cards dealt depend on the player’s Pirate, Ship, and Ship item. This makes player choice important before the battle (deciding which ensemble to bring into battle), as well as during battle (deciding which cards to play during each round of battle).

We don’t want to spoil the surprise of discovering new cards for the first time in the heat of battle so you’ll have to deal with this blurred screenshot for now.

This image ain’t blurry. You’ve just been drinking too much rum again matey. 🍹

Cards & Strategy

Cards belong to one of five categories: damage, defense, control, manipulation, or healing. Each of these categories represents a theme in card utility, for example damage cards are (obviously) geared towards causing damage to the enemy, while healing cards will restore your own health during a battle.

Each round, your deck may contain a combination of some or all of these card categories. Players will need to make choices each round which cards to play, as you won’t have enough command points to play all cards dealt.

Will you focus on damage and defense? Or healing and control, with a dash of manipulation? The choice will be yours to make in each battle — and the optimal approach may differ from battle to battle. Find the perfect play style that suits you, your fleet and your crew.

Developer “Bate Tag” disclaimer: please note that at launch not all Action Cards will be present in the game. We plan to release with a limited set of Action Cards and expand the selection over several releases. We are likely to change the Action Point costs, damage and other values of cards that are present, as well as add more variety and new functions to the Action Cards as we expand on this feature.

Make Levels Great Again

Part of what Combat v2 accomplishes is “making levels great again” by making the cards available to receive & play in battle linked to Pirate level. As a Pirate levels up, they unlock new playable cards that may be dealt to them in battle. Some of the most potent, and exciting cards will only be available to higher level Pirates.

We’re always listening to our community 🤝

Wen card management?

The early version of this new Action Card based combat system will not have a card management feature. This is something we intend to add in a future release. All cards that are unlocked will be added to your Action Deck and be available for use in combat.

In an upcoming update we will introduce the ability to manage which available cards you will have in your Action Deck. This will allow higher level pirates with higher level ships the choice to exclude specific Action Cards and keep their decks lean and focused on a particular strategy. Further down the road we want to offer even more choices, like adding more Action Card sources to increase the number of cards available to build deck with.

Wen multiple opponents?

Soon™. At this time all combat encounters will be 1v1, but in the future we will expand this to include multiple opponents.

Tech under the hood: PvP Protocol

We’ve been working on some new tech that’s going in under the hood of our new combat system: the PvP Protocol.

We’ll be sharing more about in the weeks ahead.


Combat v2 is now live! It’s a huge improvement on our existing combat system, and a milestone in Pirate Nation’s progression as a game. We’re incredibly excited for you to try it out and make new and interesting choices in each battle.

Enjoy combat, and as always, let us know what you think in our Discord.

The Proof of Play Team



Pirate Nation

A new type of game, filled with high seas adventure, treasure, fun, and unexpected surprises