Thermal Showdown info

A fun card-game that teaches you physics – Thermal Showdown lets you fight with robots, while you try to use the laws of thermodynamics to obtain victory.
No prior knowledge of physics is needed – you will learn as you play.

Download the PDF file right now here: Fancy card print (1MB PDF colour file, v 1.35)
or here: Simple card print (no background small PDF file, v 1.20)

Fancy cards example v3
Left card: Current design. Center and right card: Concept for final version. Images used as examples, different images will be in the final product. No license has been given to use the shown images in the Thermal Showdown game.

Setting of Thermal Showdown

Brilliant scientists have come to fight for their causes, piloting an impenetrable robot armor they each go into battle followed by their robotic creations and allies.
An unstoppable force, the only real challenge to the inventors are others with an equal skill in producing and controlling robots.

Their favored way of dealing with an opponent scientist is to overheat his robot armor, leaving him defenceless.

Read more about the setting here: Setting of Thermal Showdown

Short ruleset

Most cards are robots, who stay on the board until defeated. Every robot has four basic stats:

Control cost – how much available control do you need to play the card.
(Control was called energy in earlier versions)

Power (P) – how much heat (damage) is this card able to deal in a 1 second attack.
(Only special attacks last more than one second.)

Capacity of Heat (C) and Critical Temperature Difference (ΔT).
Every time the battle card take an amount of heat equal to it’s capacity of heat, the temperature rise by 1K, where “K” is Kelvin.
When the temperature rise reach the critical temperature difference, the battle card is defeated.

Card stat overview fancy
Placement of robot stats on a card

Many battle cards also have additional special abilities written on them, that modify the basic rules.

Some cards are not robots but tricks. These cards only have an energy cost and a description of what they do. Most tricks are played on a robot to change its stats or giving it a new special ability.

Example play

Do you want to know how to play Thermal Showdown? Or just find out what it’s really about?
There is no better way than to watch an example of a game.

Let us look at a situation a few rounds into the game, from the perspective of player 2.


First, the overview.

Both players have a robot card on the table of the same type – Toy Soldier.
They are both in sideways position because they are resting.

We have an extra Toy Soldier card on our hand, and one control counter.

In the last round, we played our Toy Soldier. New battle cards on the table starts resting, but it will be ready in this round. It cost us 1 point of control to play, so we flipped our control counter.

Then in his round, our opponent took his Toy Soldier, which was already on the table, and attacked us. He chose to attack us directly, dealing 1 kJ heat to us, instead of attacking our resting Toy Soldier. Attacking causes a robot to rest.

The first thing that happens in this round is that we get an additional control counter, reset the first we had, and also ready our robot. Then we draw a card.

Read the entire example play here: Example of play Thermal Showdown (PDF file).

Or read the ruleset here: Thermal Showdown rules.

Play against “computer” opponents

The game contain a series of “computer” opponents you can play to practice, or when you lack a human opponent. The opponents are instructions on how to play the opponent side.

Each one play with a specific set of cards, and has a specific behavior.

Can you defeat all of them?

The Apprentice

The Apprentice play with a set of four Toy Soldiers and four Tiny Robots.

Read details about the Apprentice and other enemies here:
Opponents for single player TS

Curious for more?

Keep up to date

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More gamification of teaching

Read about a different gamified method of teaching here: Exploration of knowledge

Or pick another blog post here: Gamification of teaching