GenCon 2012: A quick look at SolForge

by: Russell -
This year I am once again attending GenCon in Indianapolis.  Now I know that conventions like GenCon and Origins don't really have the biggest video game presence (compared to the presence of CCGs, RPGs, and board games), but there is the occasional hidden gem that will stand out, and this year that was SolForge.  

SolForge is a digital card game created by Gary Games (Ascension) and Richard Garfield (Magic the Gathering) where strategy can play a big part in determing if you win or lose.  How is that different from any other CCG?  Well, here's a quick run down of how the game works.  Each player uses their own deck filled with a couple different types of cards, such as creatures and constructs.  Each player has five slots or "lanes" that they can put the cards they play.  This is where a bit of strategy comes into play.  Unlike games like Yu-gi-oh where it doesn't matter where you put monsters in the monster card zone since they can attack whatever they want, it DOES matter in SolForge because creatures and constructs can only attack or affect the opposing card across from them.  For instance, let's say I have a 10/10 (10 attack, 10 defense) creature in my second lane and my opponent has a 20/20 in his middle lane.  When I attack for the turn, my 10/10 will go through unopposed since there's nothing directly across from it.  Also, creatures and constructs can't move lanes unless they have an effect that says they can.

The main mechanic being promoted for the game is transformation.  The cards (at least creatures and constructs) have ranks between one and three.  They start out as level one at the beginning of the game.  However, whenever you play a rank one card, the rank two version gets added to your deck, and when you play a rank two card, the rank three version gets added to the deck.  While a rank one card may seem small and puny at first, the rank three version might be something much bigger and worth the effort to get it.

Right now there's a kickstarter project to get the game off the ground.  They're currently at just over $117k with a goal of $250k with 22 days left to go.  One of the best parts of SolForge is that according to the Kickstarter site, the game is going to be free to play, and the more you play the more cards you can unlock.  For more info, check out their main site and the Kickstarter site.  I enjoyed the demo I played and am looking forward to seeing this game come out.  The current plan is for both PC and iOS versions with Android being a possibility.
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