MSRP: Free-to-play with in-game purchases*
Platforms: Win, Mac, Linux
For a long time, if you wanted to play a collectible card game on your computer, it was probably going to have the Magic: The Gathering or the Pokemon brand stamped on it. Since Blizzard released the immensely successful Hearthstone CCG, new games – most not even tied to a popular intellectual property – are popping up all over the place. However, there’s frequently very little in the style of play to differentiate one from the next.
Faeria actually does a pretty good job of spinning a unique mechanic into the standard CCG formula. The game board is a series of hexes, which either you or your opponent must claim in order for them to be used in play. Although your creatures can (and will likely need to) move into hexes spawned by your opponent, you can only play creatures on hexes that you have spawned. In order to claim a hex, it must be adjacent to either your hero, or to another hex you own.
Each competitor starts with a 30 card deck, and you can put up to 3 copies per card into the same deck. There are four land colors, as well as neutral cards. Depending on the colors in your deck, you will have access to different land types and creatures can only be placed on the appropriate colored lands. Many of these concepts will be familiar if you’ve played Magic: The Gathering in the past as it also uses a system of lands & colors, however, instead of lands being merely used as a resource, the lands here make up the playing field.
Although I did not spend a whole lot of time with Faeria – in fact, I only completed some of the tutorial missions – I’m definitely intrigued. As a long time MtG player, and a sometimes Hearthstone dabbler, the twist definitely lends a strategic component to game play that’s missing from most collectible card games. The wiki has an impressive amount of information for a game that’s pre-release, and the developers have a strong focus on Faeria as an eSport contender. I’m not so blown away that I’ll be dropping $25 for early access and the associated goodies, but I’ll certainly give it another look when it releases.
*NOTE: While Faeria is currently available to play for free this weekend, continued access to the beta requires a buy-in. Early access will run you $9, while early access plus some premium content is priced at $25. Upon release (anticipated to be in September 2016), the game will be free-to-play with optional in-game purchasing.