If you’ve read my alpha preview of Scrolls, you already know that I’m a huge fan of trading card games. This week’s Kickstarter focus is a game in the same genre of Scrolls, Magic the Gathering, YuGiOh, and the Pokémon trading card game. SolForge has the advantage of being the brain child of huge workers in the trading card and video game industry alike: led by the Ascension team, they’ve also teamed up with Magic: The Gathering, World of WarCraft, and Star Wars trading card game designers. Whether you’re a fan of any of these card games or just curious about what the genre has to offer, here are some of the things we can look forward to.
The creators of SolForge supposedly waited for the technology to catch up before creating this new game—but let’s be honest, it doesn’t take that much technological prowess to implement a card game, as shown by the plethora of video games in the genre. Either way, it will actually be designed for digital play, so it does have a few advantages over ports of card games. It could perhaps utilize a 3D playing field or complicated card stats—something that would be difficult to emulate in physical play because of all the record keeping that would be necessary. Since they are emphasizing that they specialized the card game to suit the medium, I’m most interested in seeing what gameplay elements they have up their sleeve.
What they have revealed shows that this game will be unique—when you acquire cards, you can actually evolve them into better forms. This transformation differs from Pokémon evolution because you don’t need to find the ‘evolved’ form of the card—it automatically transitions to the next one. Whether this is permanent (you use a card x times, and it gains x experience) or resets at the end of each game is unknown. Either way, seeing this kind of transformation in a game that might allow more than one creature to battle each other would be interesting.
There are a few things that make me apprehensive about the game: your ‘resource management’ consists of pulling two cards out of your hand, playing them for no cost, and then discarding the extras. This seems like the game quickly escalates into whoever is luckiest, rather than whoever manages their hand best, but that might be a trait that sets the game apart. Another part that I’m apprehensive about is the supposed ‘Free to Play’ tag on the game. Although the description claims that you can earn cards through gameplay, many of the pledge incentives involve extra ‘packs’ and—most suspicious—$100 game credit to ‘kickstart your collection.’ This probably seems like a normal approach for a card company to take, and I probably wouldn’t mind if they don’t impose daily or weekly limits on non-paying customers—but let’s face it, they probably will.
Even with those two downsides, this is all just conjecture. Many of the game’s specifics are still unrevealed, but it’s worth watching the Kickstarter page if you’re interested in card games or RPGs. Like the games of the teams who created it, an emphasis was placed on card art, and the game looks beautiful. It introduces many new concepts to card games, and there is probably much more left to be revealed in the upcoming weeks. The game has more than half of the way to go before it hits its goal of $250,000—but it still has about a month of funding to go, so its success is still a toss-up.