Faeria is a new hex based card game available on Steam that combines some of the best loved elements of card games like Hearthstone with hex based movement from many board games. You get a number of options each turn, from placing land to drawing new cards. Using these different options, you try to overtake the land around you and your opponent to better situation yourself for an attack. Each and every card has a different range of movement, making it much more complicated than other card games. Some cards can move and others are only stationary, making it possible to have completely different strategies.
Starting out the game looks similar to Hearthstone, Magic the Gathering, and other online games, but once you have played for a little bit, you learn that this isn’t the case.
In the tutorial you learn about the different move abilities and how each card plays. You start out with a very limited deck, having to beat different challenges throughout the tutorial before you unlock more cards. It can be very frustrating at first because the opponents jump in level and you must beat a tactic before you gain access to that tactic.
The first few games focus solely on grey cards and one color. You learn how to place lands and that grey lands can be placed 2 at a time while colored lands can only be placed one at a time. Furthermore, lands must be placed adjacent to squares that you control. The number of lands you put down and their location will determine how far you have to move to get to the enemy, how much of the map you control, and how easily you can gather faeria.
Faeria is the resource used, similar to mana, in order to summon cards. You start each turn with 3, and it stacks without a maximum amount to be held. For each well that you control, you gain one more faeria per turn. You can move one character between two wells to get 2 faeria with that character each turn as well. This is one strategy to make the most of resource gathering.
In the first few games you also learn a few strategies for sacrificing creatures to do damage, how to solve puzzles, and how to rush different deck types. Once the tutorial is finished you have a clear understanding of how to move, how each deck plays, how to create your own deck, and the win conditions for each type of play.
Completion unlocks most of the cards, gives you one box to open for cards, enough gold to buy another, and a Pandora coin to try out a form of competitive play.
The first thing that divides cards are the different colors. Just like any other game, there are different suits or colors that each card can fall into. Grey cards are not attached to any type of land and can be placed on any space. Green cards must be played on a forest and red cards on a mountain. There are also sand cards and water cards. Some cards are even a mix, requiring a certain number of each to summon. These cards behave much the same as mixed cards do in Magic the Gathering, with each card having a combination of the traditional attributes for that card color.
Each card is further divided by cost, with high cost cards having, in general, more health and life or impressive powers. Small cards do not usually have over 4 health, and most have abilities that will only last for one turn. They are good cannon fodder but don’t really amount to much else. Bigger cards are harder to summon, but can turn the tide of a game instantly.
The next division is between attacking, defending, and structure cards. Attacking cards generally have high damage but not much health, although there are some balanced cards. Defending cards may have low, or even no attack but will have a high amount of health. These also have the protector designation, making it so surrounding cards must attack them before going after the enemy’s avatar. Finally, there are structure cards. These cards cannot move and instead are either these solely for defense or have some kind of bonus that is granted by activating them and losing one health. Each of these cards is available in every color, meaning that each color type is able to plan a strategy around a specific type of card.
The next division is between normal cards and treasure cards. Treasure cards are only available in games where the Pandora option is present. These cards are shuffled into the deck and will not be drawn until all 5 shards have been found and Pandora is awakened. These are always grey in color and have a different costs depending on the card. Many have low or no cost but have you destroy your deck or many of your creatures to play them. Treasure cards are more powerful than any other card in the deck and you are limited to three. You are not guaranteed to draw any of them, and thus it is hard to plan for them as part of a strategy.
Finally, there are cards that give abilities, bonuses, or mana. These cards do not appear on the field but instead are applied directly to your hand, avatar, or cards that you have already played. These can be useful when they buff attack, give extra mana or land, or recover health. However, they are limited in number and getting enough of them into a deck to stack on one card is a bit of a gamble.
There are a few bonuses to each color set as well. Sand gets cards with flying, meaning that they can move over spaces that have not yet been covered in a land. They also tend to get charge, letting you move further than other cards. The number after the word charge, such as charge 3, shows the benefit to be gained from this skill. Water gets jump, which allows you to move multiple spaces in any direction and jump onto unoccupied squares. Many of these cards have the aquatic attribute, which means they can only move on lake tiles or in areas that do not have a tile in them already. If any other tile color is in front of them, they are stuck and unable to move.
Ranking up is done in the same way as many other games. You win two games and advance to the next level. However, you aren’t just playing against people in your rank. You are playing against people in the next 5 ranks, making it a little harder to advance. However, you are able to queue almost instantly even at the lower levels, making it a bit more appealing.
Single Player Modes
There are three different types of single player games, and all of them are accessed through the same screen. After finishing the tutorial, you will have a series of these options available. Some are locked until you have leveled up, pushing you to play in multiplayer mode.
The first type is a basic quest. You defeat the person you are up against and are often rewarded with cards, gold, or experience. These are all really easy and shouldn’t have to be played more than once or twice to win. Some of these show new strategies, but most of them are designed to make you change out your decks. The unlimited nature of saved decks makes it easy to create decks that counter any situation.
The second type is epic quests, which are a bit harder and always have some kind of challenge to them. One, a woman named Magda, gives the use of treasure cards outside of pandora mode, but she also has a huge number of them in her deck. Epic quests are won through a combination of luck and strategy. Knowing what you are doing is essential when battling in this mode. These have higher levels of rewards, and may even include different changes for your avatar.
The third type is the most interesting. In puzzle mode you are given a limited number of moves, normally 1, to defeat an enemy. There is usually only one solution to these puzzles, but a few have more than one. Many times you will have to do damage to yourself, use the abilities of cards, or use the opponents’ cards against them.
Each of these modes is open on a rotating basis. A total of 3 options are available and you can choose any of the three visible. None of the choices will disappear until you defeat them, but the option of choosing from 3 will let you progress in one mode if you hate the others. As you level, different ones are unlocked and if you don’t level fast enough you are stuck playing in multi-player mode. This can be particularly frustrating if you don’t like playing against others.
Competitive Play Modes
Competitive play has three different modes as well. Tournament style play where you rank up by fighting against people in the surrounding ranks, quick play where you don’t play for points and can come up against anyone, and pandora mode where you randomly create a deck and then battle against other players in the same mode.
You can queue for both quick play and ranked play at the same time. Both play exactly the same with both players starting out at 20 health and using a deck of their choice. You choose your deck before you queue and can choose a different deck for both modes. You are not kept in the queue for the other mode once you are accepted into a match.
Pandora mode has you choosing cards one at a time from a group of 3 with no indication what cards will come next. You really need to know your cards to play this mode. In addition, you will choose 3 treasure cards to be shuffled into the deck once Pandora has been awakened. Play in this mode follows the original rules and is simply a little less predictable.
The store offers a number of options, including packs of cards. Each pack contains 5 cards, one guaranteed to be a high rarity. You can then re-roll this high rarity card to make sure that you get a card that better fits your needs. This is a one time roll, and there is not guarantee of what the card will become. For this reason, a lot of people keep the card that they have been given in the first place.
Other things you can purchase from the store include portrait borders and card backs. These can be themed or you can choose to mix them up. Currently, the selection is less than impressive, but there are plans to add more in the future and you can look like some of the characters you come up against. This is great if you are really into the lore and feel like you want to support the game.
Finally, there are packs of items that come together. This may be the entire set for one character plus a number of cards, or just a huge bundle of cards. These are offered at a discount and can even be bought with the in-game currency. This ensures that the whole shop stays available to players from all economic backgrounds.
It is possible craft new cards from old materials, giving you either better cards or cards that look different. Cards with special borders don’t give you any particular advantage when it comes to play, but they can show off how much you play. You can also unlock cards that you don’t get from packs in this way, giving you a better chance to beat enemies. Each normal card only deconstructs down to 1 dust, so the process to create a new card can be tedious, but if you play a lot and are winning card packs on a regular basis it’s not really a big deal.
It’s a great game with a lot of potential. There isn’t much missing right now, but there is art that will be replaced. I personally love the adorable art that is already in the game and look forward to more. It has a lot of replay value and is definitely worth picking up for free.
You can really tell that the developers are gamers themselves and Faeria is the next generation of card games for sure. I predict that the tournaments for this game will be big in the future, encouraging more people to try it.
Getting in at the beginning is a great idea because the community feel friendly and the competition seems balanced.Related: Abrakam SA, Early Access, Faeria, Preview, Steam