It starts with some innocent online browsing, just checking out what’s available. Next minute, it’s dawn and you’re hooked.
Faeria is an online card/boardgame from Belgium that’s similar to a lot of the classics of the genre – a bit of Magic: The Gathering, a touch of Hearthstone, a pinch of ohgodIcan’tstopplayingthisthing.
Set in a fantasy world populated by village elders, farm boys and more exotic minions with a passion for specific land types, it’s got a lot of elements that’ll be familiar to anyone who’s played a collectible card game before.
On your turn you build up spell points (called “faeria” for some reason), slap down lands on empty hexes and send your dudes out to collect more faeria or fight opposing dudes. Eventually you’ll head over and start attacking your opponent directly, while he/she complains or pretends it doesn’t hurt in witty little speech bubbles.
Yup, Faeria has a sense of humour, which is light enough not to be annoying and funny enough to make this world stand out from standard fantasy lands. The first creature you summon in the tutorial is a Yak, and along the way you’ll meet the self-appointed King of Ogres as well as a circular, frog-like “advisor” who’s meant to show you the ropes, but keeps leaving to run his own errands.
Beyond the humour, the art looks amazing and there’s a lot more depth to the gameplay than it looks like when you’re first sending that Yak out to collect magic for you. In addition to attack power, some creatures have extra abilities – and your deck can also contain events and structures to add a bit more spice to the mix.
Land is important here – some minions need a certain number of forests (or mountains, deserts… you get the idea) before they’ll let you summon them, and you can’t take the fight directly to your opponent until there’s a bridge of terrain connecting you.
If you enjoy deckbuilding, there’s plenty of that here, too, and you can mix’n’match instead of having to focus on specific land/creature combos. Once you’re happy with your deck, you can head out and play against other real people, get absolutely smashed and head back to rethink your strategy.
Faeria is available to play through Steam or on iPad (Android is coming, apparently). It’s free, but like most of these games you can spend a fortune buying new cards if you just won the lottery or something. If your numbers didn’t come up, you can earn bonus cards by completing quests and opening treasure chests.