In 2013, Faeria reaped almost $ 100,000 in support from Kickstarter; at the time, the card game had even become one of the most funded Belgian games on the American platform (even still quite on the low side compared to the Larian studios and their Divinity: Original Sin). Nearly 5 years later, let’s discover what this Strategy Card Game has under the hood.
Faeria, An Outstanding Outsider
So here is a new outsider in the ultra-competitive niche of the video card game. It is a real race behind the monstrous Hearthstone that has been going on for three years now; each studio trying to find an original mechanism capable of justifying the existence of an alternative to Blizzard’s titan. Even Hi-Rez is getting into it, with Smite Tactics launched yesterday.
Well thought out, Faeria seems to be a tone above all his competitors, not only because of its depth, but also because it excels at the level of realization (graphics, ergonomics). If these aspects might seem minor in a card game, we have seen with Hearthstone that they can play a leading role. Conversely, the very austere realization of the Magic series of games (Duels of the Planeswalkers) undoubtedly slowed down its success despite a system that proved its quality for more than 20 years. The creators of Faeria thus cared for the container as much as the content. The game takes of well from the the prologue (s), explaining patiently, and mission after mission, the great rules that govern the victory, all with a very nice rendering on the screen.
Between Board Game and Card Game
Faeria is a mixture of traditional card game and strategy game on an interactive game board. Each game board is cut in tiles – empty at the start – which must be filled with lands during the game. It is up to you to lay land on these tiles to allow your creatures to be invoked and then to advance on the ground. There are also several types of terrain (mounting, forest, lake, etc.); putting it simply, each type of terrain represents a category of monsters. Blue monsters can only be summoned on a lake terrain that you own, while green monsters require a forest terrain. To add more depth to the gameplay, spells, as well as monsters, of a certain element, require you to have a set number of the specific terrain before being used. Tiki, for example, is a green monster with 1/1 (attack / health) that gives +2/+2 to any monster you own, requires you to have two forest tiles on the map before being useable. Some might even require you to have tiles of different elements, which allows for a huge number of strategies and deck builds.
On the game board, there are two other factors to consider: your opponent materialized by a hero-fortress placed opposite of your own, and mana wells. Posting a unit on a tile adjacent to a mana tile will, as you can imagine, produce one extra mana for you each turn.
And while we are at it, let us stay on the notions of mana. In addition to the mana sources just discussed, each player gains three mana per turn, which they are free to spend or not on cards that cost 0 mana to 24 mana (or more, this is the highest cost I’ve seen so far). Should you choose not to use any mana, they will add up to the amount you receive on the next turn (if you did not use your 3 mana during a turn, you will have a total of 6 the next one, not counting the mana gathered from wells). While I do not know if there is a limit yet, I’ve held as many as 27 mana at some point. Tactically, it means you can play very aggressively by casting low-cost creatures and spells every turn, or decide to wait one, two, or sometimes three turns, before you can summon a real beast.
Concerning the card aspect, Faeria is very classic. Each creature has an invocation cost, an attack value and an endurance (health) value. They can also have one or more abilities (taunting enemies, having the ability to jump over another creature on the board, attack right after being summoned, take no damage from the first attack, etc.). Most creatures cannot move attack on the turn they are summoned, and can only be summoned on the tiles you owned. On the second turn each creature can move one space and attack. In addition to invocations, you will have spells and structures that work like magic enchantments, with triggered effects whenever certain conditions are met. The forge, for example, takes one tile and gives a random monster you own +1 attack at every start of your turn. Finally, each deck contains 30 cards, and you are able to have a maximum of 3 of the same card in a deck. Unfortunately, as common with this kind of game, an amount of grind will be required to obtain the cards you want, either through card packs, or card crafting.
From this first grip came a convincing impression that Faeria is a game with certain potential, easy to take in hand but difficult to control. The features and game modes will gradually unfold as you level up. The factor of luck is also quite small here. The better player will almost certainly always win. Knowing when to attack, when to defend, or even where to create your tiles are but a few of the player’s decisions that will influence the result of a match.