I really appreciate Fantasy Masters for it’s well designed, addictive gameplay.
It is just the game that I have been looking for for quite a long time.
Fantasy Masters is a TCG which I finally managed to find after searching for a title like this. I like TCGs. Collecting cards, thinking up your strategies, designing and balancing decks are all fun activities. They work for both real and digital versions of cards.
Fantasy Masters is a lot like Magic: The Gathering. Players set up land cards needed to place unit cards, equip units with item cards or play spell cards.
Player attack one another in turns. First, attacker puts his unit and spell cards in order as he/she wants them to activate. Up to 5 can be used at a time. Next, the defending player has to place and arrange his units and spells to prevent enemy from killing his units or attacking his life points. After each turn players switch. The attacker becomes the defender and defender becomes the attacker.
There are 7 deck/card elements:
Each element has some unique features to it, though with the large variety of cards theres enough possible strategies to use with any of them.
Units have three base statistics: attack, armor and health. I think they’re pretty self-explanatory. Attack decides damage done to enemy units. Armor reduces received damage. Dropping health to 0 or below kills a unit. Interesting fact to note here is that the statistics can become negative numbers (except health). A negative armor value will actually increase the damage received. This is not a mechanic I’ve seen often in games.
Some unit cards also have special effects to their attacks. I was surprised seeing how many such effects exist in the game. They do all kinds of things: ignore armor, break armor, reverse armor, block counterattacks, lifesteal, reduce stats and many, many more. Fortunately, they got descriptions in game (when you hover cursor over them) and are all explained on the game’s website.
During combat, units also utilise “coins”. They’re simply 0 or 1 random numbers that affect statistics just like dices in many RPG. For example, units may have 4+C3 attack, 2xC1 armor or 4-C2 health. Coin values are generated for every unit each turn. Coins add more luck dependency to the game and are an interesting mechanic to utilise. Especially if you take a look at the variety of ways they are used: the can add, subtract, multiply or set values of unit statistics. There is also a possibility to affect draw chances for coins. All coins have 60% chance of drawing 1 by default but that ratio can be modified by spells or items.
One more thing to note about unit statistics is that the values can be fixed: either by the unit card itself or as an effect of equipped item or played spell card. Fixing means that a statistic won’t be affected by anything, including coins or spells. You can use fixing, e.g. to make sure enemy player won’t reduce armor of your unit or you can fix his attack power to make sure it doesn’t grow. As mentioned some units have “built-in” fixed values. For example, I’ve seen strong defender unit with attack fixed at 0 making it practically unable to kill enemy units (unless they happen to have negative armor).
All these mechanics are pretty simple in principle but they offer really great potential and that potential is used to it’s limits in Fantasy Masters. The combinations of statistics, coin effects, fixing and special attacks make up the various kinds of unique unit cards. Element features are not ignored either. For example, many Dark units have coins which can increase their attack power greatly but at a cost of dramatic loss of health. Basic Water units seem to have a lot of coin multipliers making them very strong or terribly weak depending on draw results.
Aside from the units themselves we also got item cards. They are equipped to chosen units influencing their effectiveness in number of ways. They can add, reduce, multiply or set statistics by a number or coin result. They can also fix statistics or change attack’s special effect. Again more variety goes to game mechanics. Effects of items are permenently present until the item or unit gets destroyed.
Lastly, there are spells. They are all single use cards and are permitted to be played in player’s attacking turn, defending turn or either of both. Spells do all kinds of things: changing unit statistics much like items (except for duration of one turn), summoning new units, affecting player’s “graveyards” and many other.
Since I am writing about this game in “Gamers Treasure”, you can already guess that it is free to play. The number of cards that can be obtained free is limited, but there’s enough of them to keep you collecting for a long while and allow you to try out various strategies and deck builds.
I’m still very surprised by small popularity of this game. There’s usually around a dozen player’s online during the day. I believe Fantasy Masters deserve much more attention for it’s consistent, well thought through gameplay design and mechanics. I know that Fantasy Masters are about 5 years old by now but unless someone manages to make a free and similar but better TCG title than this I think it deserves to live much longer. I really appreciate Fantasy Masters for it’s well designed, addictive gameplay. It is just the game that I have been looking for for quite a long time.