Kaijudo is played, like many card games, based completely on information. Many compare it to chess, though it has the obvious luck factor that chess lacks. Players choose their mana and make moves off the information they have of the situation, and good players take into consideration information they have of their opponent's deck and answers. The best players are able to take the information they have of the game state and translate it into moves that will put them in a better position over a series of multiple turns. This article isn't about those decisions, but it is about the information; in a game where it's so important, every player should be a master of their own information, as well as knowing how to not give excess information to their opponents.
Kaijudo, at its essence, is a game of chance. This is true for any trading card game. However, while there is no way of knowing what your opening hand will look like, or what your shields look like at the beginning of a game, there are ways for your opponent to infer what you have based on factors such as body language and vocalization. The first opportunity to give unnecessary information to your opponent occurs at the start of the game when the opening hands are drawn. Sighing, looking downcast, or outright commenting on the state of your hand can give your opponent the green light on which plays are going to be able to do the most damage. If you've ever played a TCG regularly on a local or casual level, and I'm sure most of you have, you may have run across someone who watches a game and makes audible their thoughts on one of the players' opening hands. This could be as simple as an "Ugh," or a "Nice hand," and it probably upset you if you were involved in the game. When you do things like sigh or frown dramatically when opening with your own hand, you're giving just as much information away as the guy who commented about your hand.
Kaijudo's "shields" set it apart from every other trading card game out there. Though the identity of the cards in them remains unknown to both players until they're broken usually, there are still ways to find out what you have down there that don't involve cheating. When searching your deck with a card like Gigahorn Charger or Crystal Memory, take a minute to count out your Shield Blasts. It would likely take too long to count out your whole deck mentally and figure out exactly what those five cards are, but knowing which, if any, Shield Blasts you have down and keeping track of the remaining ones for the rest of the duel can prove incredibly valuable.
Surprisingly, body language also relates to shields. Just like when you draw a card, you have an opportunity when your opponent breaks one of your shields to give your opponent a lot of information about it that they just shouldn't have. Many players, especially newer ones, look noticeably excited as soon as they see a card with Shield Blast like it's the best thing ever. Often following the excitement is a quick transition to depressed as they realize the Shield Blast is completely irrelevant to the situation at hand.
To give one example, let's say I have a field full of creatures with 3000 power and higher. I break a shield and my opponent's eyes light up. They look like they're right about to slap the card onto the table, and then suddenly go "oh," and try to nonchalantly place it in their hand. In that situation, I immediately assume my opponent got a Barrage from that shield, and that allows me to play around it in the following turns. This is just one example; as long as your opponent has a reasonable idea of your deck, they can probably infer what you picked up. Taking just a little more time than usual or glancing around the field could be the tell that you don't even realize you're giving your opponent.
A lot of this matters mostly on the local level, or with players you've seen play for a long time. We develop certain habits as players that might not even register to us when we play. These include shuffling your hand, looking at your discard pile, messing with the cards in your mana zone, or a number of other things. When you notice someone do this regularly, you can sense something is amiss when they suddenly stop. These habits can also work to your advantage. If you can make them seem natural and do them consistently throughout the match, it's possible that they'll be the thing that makes it hard for your opponent to gain information from you. Looking through your graveyard might make your opponent think that you have a card like Keeper of Dawn or Dark Return, but if you do it regularly just to keep a tap on what's been used, it could throw them off if they over-think things.
The biggest "habit" is something that's really hard to fix: attitude. From the time you sit down across from soneone at a tournament to the time you pick up your cards, you can get subtle clues about how they act under normal circumstances from their tone of voice and the way they carry themselves. Some players play fast and others not, but the vast majority of players exhibit changes under pressure. Some will get noticeably frustrated, some might get quiet when they've been friendly the whole match, but the important thing is that it's a difference. If they had acted calm about the situation, you could still have been under the assumption that they had the perfect cards for the situation in their hand.
I'm not talking about over-analyzing what your opponent has here; it's probably a good idea to thoroghly analyze all their possible options. I'm strictly talking about your own body language. Some players think that extra effort spent on body language could serve to confuse the opponent, such as looking unimpressed with a very good hand. I'm of the belief that a lot of this looks forced, and a calm and collceted manner is the preferred route to take. Looking the part of the thoughtful player even when you don't have to think too hard about your plays provides your opponent with a blank slate, in addition to making you look like you know what you're doing, which can be intimidating on its own.
Well, I hope this article was enjoyable and helped some of you out! Getting the most out of my imformation, and especially keeping my information my own is something that is still a work in progress for just about every player, myself included. It's funny to think about how unnoticed it can be sometimes, yet how much of a difference it really makes. Leave a comment down below witb your thoughts and I'll see you all next week!