HD Spectrum Manual

This page gives generic informations and advice about Hidden Dimensions : Spectrum (aka HD:S).


In this game, you play the role of a base ship facing another base ship, both capable of launching ships (on one of the 7 ship slots of the board), structures (on one of the 5 structure slots), and performing actions (one-time effect). Ships, structures and actions are represented by cards, which generally require energy to be played.

Cards are separated into 8 races, each race having a corresponding type of energy. Some cards belong to two races (and thus require two types of energy), and some other cards are relics (or artifacts), and can be played with any type of energy ().

At the start of a game and at the beginning of each turn, you will draw cards from your deck, which is a stack of 30 to 60 cards you have chosen from all the cards you possess. You can save several different decks in the deck editor and deck vault. When you create a deck, you have to chose its base energy : each turn your base will naturally generate one energy of this type. On top of that, most structures as well as some ships and actions have the ability to generate extra energy.

At the end of each of your turn, each of your ships will attack the opposing slot, and damage the enemy base if there is no enemy ship to block them.

To get new cards : complete achievements and challenges, try the slot machine, use the store, and win a lot of games. If you want to maximize your chances of having good cards as random rewards, try to buy the maximum of cheap common cards from the store, so as to have 4 copies of each (more info in the store page).

Game types

You can play a game either against the AI, or against a human player.

  • Against the AI : you can play against a random deck, or one of your deck (for testing purposes), or a storyline deck, or an event deck. You can also try one of the various challenges. The difficulty is adjustable between 4 levels : easy, normal, elite and legendary. With the exception of playing against one of your deck, all these game types have a chance to reward you with either credits or random cards, and this chance increases with the difficulty setting.
  • Against a human player : create or join a game in the lobby. A system channel is activated once you visit the multiplayer lobby, and warns you if someone is waiting for an opponent. The game can be either ranked or unranked : if ranked you can win pvp points, event points, random cards or credits, but also lose pvp points if you lose the game. You do not lose or win anything in an unranked game.

Playing a game

A typical game in HD:S will happen this way :

Starting hand

Before the game actually starts, a hand of 7 cards (randomly picked from your deck) is presented to you. If you do not find it good enough, you are offered the possibility to mulligan : if you do so, the shown hand will be shuffled into your deck and a new hand of 7 cards will be randomly chosen. You can choose to have more mulligans, but each mulligan after the first will give you one card less (6, then 5, then 4… etc, then finally only 1 card which you must choose as your starting hand).

A good starting hand should have a good balance between energy generation and cards to be played using the generated energy. The mulligans give you more chance to start the game with a good hand, however you should use it carefully : independantly from which cards you have in your hand, the less cards your starting hand has the less chance you have to win the game. if your first hand of 7 is at least average-good, you should not try to improve it, else you risk receiving a worse hand and be forced to mulligan to 6, which should be avoided unless your hand is really bad (no energy generation). Mulliganing under 6 cards is generally not recommanded, unless there is a specific card you need in your starting hand.

Anatomy of a turn

The two players of a game each play a turn in alternation, unless a card ability such as in Space Warp causes a player to play one more turn right after its current one (equivalent to skipping opponent's turn). A typical turn is divided into distinct phases, where specific events may happen. Players are only active during the main phase : events taking place within the other phases are automatic. Here are listed the different phases, in the order in which they happen each turn :

Beginning phase

All the automatic abilities triggering "each turn" will trigger at this moment, including energy generation from structures and base energy generation. These triggerings will follow a specific order : base comes first (base energy generation), then each allied structure on the board from left to right, and then each allied ship on the board from left to right.

Draw phase

This is where you draw a card from your deck, unless your draw has been skipped by a card ability such as in Data Crystal. You can only draw a card if you have 7 or less cards in hand : your hand size cannot exceed 8.

Main phase

You can play cards and activate abilities in this phase, unless the phase is skipped by a card ability such as in EM Pulse. This phase is ended when the 60 seconds timer runs out, or when you press the "attack" button or spacebar. Note that you cannot play abilities from ships or structures the same turn they are launched (with some exceptions), or from disabled ships. This can be avoided using a card ability such as in Assault.

Discard phase

Right after the main phase, if you have 8 cards in hand, you will be asked to choose a card from your hand to be discarded (to the scrapyard).

Attack phase

All your ships will attack their opposing slot unless they were launched this turn (with some exceptions) or are disabled. If the enemy slot is empty the enemy base will suffer damage, otherwise if the slot is occupied by an enemy ship, this ship will lose defense equal to the attack of your attacking ship (though there are several modifiers and special cases). Ships will attack following the left to right order. This phase can be duplicated by a card ability such as in Relentless Assault.

End phase

All the automatic abilites triggering "at the end of turn" will trigger here, and like with the beginning phase it will be structure first, then ships, and always from left to right.

Victory conditions

Currently there are two possibilities to win the game : either have your opponent's base drop to 0 hit point, or have him try to draw a card from an empty deck (0 cards left). Winning by having your opponent running out of cards in deck is commonly known as "decking" your opponent.
Symmetrically, the loss conditions are as follows : you lose the game if your base drops to 0 hit point, or of you try to draw a card from an empty deck.

Deck building

Card count

A deck can include from 30 to 60 cards. The more cards it has, the less it is predictable : this is an advantage in term of gameplay originality (more diverse games), and general unpredictability in pvp which makes it harder for your opponent to adapt and predict your moves. However, the less card it has, the less weaker cards it has (which means a higher card quality in general), and the closer to average its starting hands and card draws will be : this means less bad hands (too much or too few energy generation) and less bad draws (only energy when you already have too much, or no energy when you need some).
The fact that small decks can focus on including only the best cards and have more predictable starting hands and card draws make them optimal in the general case. However in specific cases, one should include more than 30 cards to a deck, for example when your deck is slow to win and therefore susceptible to lose by decking, or when it makes you draw a lot of card.

Deck composition

An optimal deck should include a carefully determined balance of energy generation cards and cards that use the produced energy. A deck can be slow or fast : slow decks will play expensive cards with maximized power and therefore need abundant and reliable energy, whereas fast decks will try to play low or average-cost cards quickly in order to kill their opponent before he/she has time to take the advantage : they need fast-coming energy, often at the cost of quantity and reliability.
The right balance is achieved when the deck has enough energy production to reliably play its cards soon enough, while keeping the number of card slots dedicated to energy production to a minimum, because once you have enough energy, drawing more energy production is generally useless.
With the above in mind, a 30-card deck should have between 8 and 15 energy generators, with the other cards spending that energy. The best cards of your deck should be included in 4 copies, unless drawing too much of them is unwanted (legends, cards with conditional use or potentially problematic cost).

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