FAERIA: Chronicles of Gagna (Abrakam Entertainment) PC Steam
Costs around £19.00 Visit the website here
This is an online fantasy based card game similar to many but better than most. FAERIA is your energy or mana, whatever you want to call it, and it is what you spend to bring your cards into play.
Each game is played on a diamond-shaped hex board with the Chieftain/King of each side directly opposite on the points of the North and South. Each of these have a Health value given to them at the beginning of every fight - these are not always equal. You play the Southern King and sometimes you may have 20 points to your opponent's 30 and other times it is the other way round or equal, and not always 20-30 sometimes 10-10 or ... basically think of a number. You begin with a Deck of cards (I didn't count how many but there were at least two of each type in the list and about 25 different types, so between 50-55 at a guess) which are automatically shuffled and a number dealt to each side. On the board there are four Faeria Mines each within two hexes of the next, with one either side of each player's start space.
The hex-map is blank at the beginning and players can build pathways from their start-space towards their opponents, Creatures and humanoids and machines can only travel on the pathways - moving faster on their own side's placed hexes and only one space per turn on their opponents. Movement is also hampered by terrain - again some units can travel better on terrain that suits them best. The icons for Plains, Mountains, Lakes, Deserts and Forest terrains can be seen on the top left of your cards so you know their best environments. Each player also begins with an amount of Faeria to start with and given some at the beginning of each Round. This number can be raised by harvesting the Mines (using Farm Boys) and through the use of various cards etc.
To aid you while you learn, and only for a short while, is a frog-like character called Fugaro. This small injection of humour doesn't truly continue as this is a game of battles and adventures not frivolity and there is no time for fools. Your first combats are Puzzles where you have to win the fight in one move - study the board and the solution can be seen quite clearly. Once you have completed 3 or 4 of these 'missions' or 'quests' the game gets a little harder. You are left to fend for yourself without any help from Fugaro and again it is quite easy to win, at first. Then you get to the last fight in the tutorial and it hits you hard. You may have won some semi-decent cards along the way and they may (or not) have been slipped into your deck, but it isn't until you face this opponent that you begin to see how poerful some of the cards in the game are.
For examples: I was doing really well and on my way to winning after a tough but fairly balanced see-sawing of thrusts and counters, and then the opponent plays a card that does 10 Damage to ALL opponents creatures etc. This decimated my units so that I had nothing left on the board and because the card draw hadn't been kind to me, little in the way of revenge-seeking cards to play.
This was on top of the fact that they had started with 30 Health against my 20, I was now stuck with a number of little cards that added +1 here or +2 there but which couldn't fight against the oncoming horde. However despite losing I did enough to unlock a Formula which gave me another deck, one which I could immediately see was better than the one I had already. It also gave me an insight into deck building and deck re-arranging, allowing me to personally add and remove cards as I wished (but of course only from those I had won/held aside).
If you enjoy a challenging game of card play you need to learn the basics and then cleverly build a decks strong for each location, choosing your deck wisely before entering into the fight. The graphics on the card are very good but unlike holding actual physical cards they are nothing to admire, only to be recognised to help you formulate your use of them and the spending of your Faeria. I suppose you could somehow cut and paste their pictures and print them off to form your own physical decks, but that would take a lot of work, a lot of toner/ink and even then you'd have to spend a fair amount of additional time learning each and every rule, the majority of which are automatically calculated and run on your behalf by the computer.
This is a most enjoyable, one of the most enjoyable, of the computer card games - there are few I like better. Please see some of the screenshots (above and below) that I took while playing various games.