During this year’s Penny Arcade Expo talk on X-Com: Enemy Unknown, lead designer Jake Solomon was talking about various ideas Firaxis batted around for the game’s strategic level. He mentioned a strategic level that would play like a card game. He said this in the sheepish tone of someone admitting he wore bright red clown shoes to a funeral. Personally, I wouldn’t have minded a strategic level card game in X-Com. Cards make everything better.

Although I’m not getting a card game layer in X-Com, I did see four innovative card game gimmicks.

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