Faeria is a two-player digital collectible card game by Abrakam which features board game elements, and is in early development. Set in fantasy, this game pits players against each other as they construct the game board a little each turn, and move their card-summoned creatures in an attempt to overpower each other and win the match. As a game currently in its Development Build, it has a lot of work to be done before it's complete, but it's already showing a lot of promise and even has tournaments in action right now. You can buy it on Steam for $8.99 USD.
GENRE AND OBJECTIVEFaeria follows a familiar formula of digital collectible card games in recent time, with similar examples including Hearthstone and Spellweaver. Two players take turns playing cards which can either summon creatures, boost said creatures, or have a variety of other effects; all of which is in an attempt to reduce the opponent's life points to 0 by attacking it with creatures or abilities. Playing cards requires Faeria, which is generated automatically at the start of each turn, by collecting it from Faeria Wells once per turn, or by employing assorted cards which can generate Faeria from certain creature abilities.
A creature's usefulness are determined by its stats (power and toughness) and by its abilities. The creature's power indicates how much damage it will deal to another creature or the opponent. Its toughness is its lifepoints. Any time a creature attacks another, they both deal damage even if only one of them will perish as a result. Most creatures can both move and attack once per turn, but can do neither on the turn on which they are summoned. Creature abilities can vary from boosting stats, ranged attacks, producing life points for the player, creating terrain or Faeria, or even some very punishing abilities where destroying a certain creature will cause it to boost another creature's stats immensely. At the end of it all, the goal is to advance a player's creatures toward the opponent's end of the board and attack their orb and deplete its life points to 0. The clash that leads up to this finish typically runs from 15-60 minutes, depending on each player's skill level and luck with drawing the right cards at the right time.
In order to succeed, players will need to construct efficient decks which balance creatures and spells which can only be summoned on certain terrains (neutral prairies, forests, lakes, mountains and deserts), form strategies to utilize the attributes of their cards for any situation, and create the game board to their advantage, hex by hex. This can lead to playstyles of all kinds. A player can play offensively and risky, sending hordes of cheap and weak creatures in to overwhelm the enemy. Or they can bide their time and eventually summon an unstoppable behemoth to mow through enemies. As time goes on and the game is expanded, it is likely even more terrains, creatures and features will be added to Faeria.
If a player is unsatisfied with the cards they currently have for building decks, they can purchase booster packs with in-game currency or craft them. The in-game currency currently earned by completing daily challenges, winning solo games against a computer opponent, or spending real money. Cards can be crafted using memoria, and extra cards can be broken down for more memoria to create what is desired. There is no worry that players can actively trade cards with the system this way, though, as it costs much more memoria to craft desired cards than what is earned by destroying said cards.
As of April 2016, there is no trading and there are no other ways to obtain extra cards. It's a purely individual endeavour and will cost either a lot of time or a little money. But don't worry that it would be a struggle to construct an effective deck for the first hundred plays. Right off the start, players have access to many cards of all terrains and types, so the only real struggle for getting the right cards should only come about if a player wants to have more than three of that super-rare, super-powerful creature that costs 15 Faeria to summon. Multiple decks can be constructed at once and saved, so one can have as many as ten types of decks available to choose right before that match starts. As of April 2016, unranked and ranked matches are paired randomly and there is no in-game chat or ability to host private matches. However, the game has a notice advising players to join the associated Discord chat channel, so that should help players communicate with each other in the lobby and in the games. Perhaps an internal chat feature will be added in the future.
CONTROLS AND INTERFACEFaeria is controlled via mouse or keyboard, and the turn-based nature of the game means that no one will have to struggle to rebind keys for that perfect time-saving set up. The text and imagery are large and easy to read, typically consiting of bold bright text against dark cool backgrounds, or black text against parchment backgrounds. Everything is quite easy to read due to the high contrasts between text and background.
GRAPHICSEach card decorated with realistic and lovingly painted illustrations including those of fanciful and magnificent beasts, humans of various shapes and sizes, mighty cities and natural disasters, and scenes of humans and creatures hard at work. In a collectible card game such as this, the card illustrations add to the appeal of catching them all. Even with the game only in its Development Build, the game and the graphics are great.
AUDIOThe music is lovely and ambient, shifting from soothing and pensive music at the start of a match, to the thunderous and heroic when a big conflict between strong creatures, and to dramatic and dreadful when a player is about to be defeated. The soundtrack consists of acoustic instruments and chorus ah's; fitting for a fantasy-themed game such as this.
SUMMARY:Although in Early Access, Faeria is shaping up nicely for a collectible card game played on a board game, with a lot of freedom, customization and the details and niceties to facilitate a player's choices on play style and deck-building. The only flaws this reviewer found were that the in-game communications were lacking although Discord worked well enough. The game itself was balanced, fun and rewarding. The only thing that seemed cheap or unbalanced was Ruunin the Relentless's ability to be replayed after death at a reduced cost (and with high power and toughness) together with Bone Collector's ability to gain power and toughness when a creature dies next to it. The 10-30 minute games make the game play like a very casual and simplified version of Magic The Gathering, or a much better balanced version of Yu-Gi-Oh. No card or group of cards is so overpowered that the game can be won with just that one creature or spell can win the game, and the board game element prevents something similar from happening; players typically have an ample chance to save themselves from brute force attacks, and the game offers a great deal of variety that allows both casual card players and strict strategists to derive enjoyment from Faeria.
PROS:+ Solid game with balanced cards,
+ Access to all cards right from the start
+ Very little need for microtransactions and no pressure to spend,
+ Detailed and playable tutorial to help players out with all game aspects,
+ Gorgeous illustrations on every card,
+ Great music,
+ Solid community outside of game,
+ Does not take a lot of CPU, RAM or GPU,
+ Window can be minimized and maximized with ease so players can engage in other activities while waiting for opponents to take their turns,
+ Official tournaments for the hardcore players.
CONS:- No trading between players,
- No in-game communication between players.