The best card games merge in this strat­egy/board game

PC GAMER (UK) - - Contents - Han­nah Dwan

In 2013, Abrakam put to­gether a Kick­starter for its card-cum-tile strat­egy game Faeria. It was wildly suc­cess­ful – rais­ing over $90,000 (over £75,000 in the Queen’s money). Now, that game is avail­able on Steam Early Ac­cess as a free-to-play ti­tle for ev­ery­one to get in on.

Faeria brings to­gether as­pects of Hearth­stone, Magic: The Gath­er­ing, and

Scrolls, and mashes them to­gether. Play­ers fight by sum­mon­ing crea­tures and other units to a board of hexag­o­nal tiles, and also sum­mon­ing land.

Sum­mon red moun­tains, and you’ll be able to sum­mon red crea­tures – which are com­bat ori­ented. There are four spe­cial types of land, plus plain prairies, each of which cor­re­sponds to a type of crea­ture. Deck­build­ing is thus not based on classes, but the type of land you’re try­ing to make.

It’s an in­ter­est­ing and strate­gi­cally deep idea. Some crea­tures can be ranged, for ex­am­ple, and at­tack in any straight line at a dis­tance, but un­able to move and at­tack in the same turn.

While such depth makes Faeria a chal­lenge to get to grips with if you dive in head first, it has a ro­bust sin­gle­player mode with which to ed­u­cate you. Both AI bat­tles and puz­zles – sce­nar­ios where you’re chal­lenged to win in one turn – help to coax you into the right mind­set.

When you win, it feels sat­is­fy­ing, a com­bi­na­tion of feel­ing like you’ve both out­wit­ted and out­ma­noeu­vred your op­po­nent. The added com­plex­ity of the hex-based lay­out makes it feel less like a card game and more like a board game.

It does, how­ever, mean ses­sions are a lit­tle slower than you might ex­pect from a card game – turns are of­ten longer and you’ve got to think about your op­tions care­fully. Po­si­tion­ing on the board is key, so you’ve got to ac­count for all sorts of pos­si­bil­i­ties when an­tic­i­pat­ing the en­emy. There’s a lot of fun to be had in learn­ing

Faeria. Its depth means real-world op­po­nents are a chal­lenge early on, but it makes for a re­ward­ing climb through sin­gle­player un­til you’re ready to take on the world. Some changes will surely be made be­fore the game comes out of Early Ac­cess, but right now this is al­ready a ful­fill­ing and chal­leng­ing strat­egy game.

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