Counting cards is not just for the casino. It's a strategy that pays dividends in Crayne too. Keeping track of cards that have been played and those yet to come can assist players in planning powerful moves. With the right timing, you'll be able to set up turns that allow you to clear out the market, decimate your opponent's influence or save your lord's life for another round.
During play, your have access to all the information you need about your own deck. Your discard pile is exposed, so you know each and every card that has been played. The rules also allow you to fan out and count the cards remaining in your deck. Lastly, you can see the cards in your hand. Combine those three pieces of information and you know the approximate whereabouts of all your cards, and therefore all weapons at your disposal.
Tracking your deck is much easier at the start of the game. When you have just 12 cards and eight of them are trade carts, it's easy to know where everything is kept. However as the game continues, as your deck likely grows, tracking becomes more useful and of course, more difficult.
New players will find tracking useful for making purchases from the market. Each faction card in your discard pile gives you a discount towards purchases of that same color. Knowing whether you'll be able to take advantage of your faction discounts before a shuffle is crucial. In the early rounds of a match, when you won't have to shuffle before the end of a turn, it can be a good opportunity to play multiple trade carts and take advantage of your discounts. Conversely, when a shuffle is imminent, it may be a good time to play faction cards and generate a strong discard pile for the next turn.
Many faction cards will also offer bonuses when played next to cards of the same color. Knowing the likelihood of picking up a faction card through your turn based on what's left in your deck will let you know if you can take a gamble on playing a card early in your turn. For example a Cerberus gains +2 attack if you play another red card that round. Whilst you might not have a second red card in your hand, if you're keeping track of your deck, you'll still know if you can play the Cerberbus and gain its bonus. Say you play it as your first card, with four cards left in your deck. Taking a look at your discard, you can calculate you have two faction cards left. With an assurance you can get a bonus, you can play your hand accordingly.
Another early game example: You're playing heads up and the factions include Greenskins and mages. You're dealt a particularly favorable starting deck when you receive an apprentice wizard, two goblin swarmers and a cunning sapper.
It's closing in on the end of your second turn and you have three cards left in your deck. You hold a goblin swarmer and two trade carts. Your discard consists solely of trade carts. This means you know that the three remaining cards are all factions. The Goblin Swarmer's ability allows you to draw a card and if it's a greenskin, it comes into play. Knowing this, you know you have a 66% chance of activating the swarmer's bonus and playing two cards at once.
How else can tracking cards give you an edge in Crayne?