Fatal Core is a new online TCG that innovates on some of the classic elements of games like Hearthstone and Magic: The Gathering. With so many options in today’s market for either TCGs or CCGs, each new entry into the market needs a way to differentiate themselves to capture the attention of a potential player. Fatal Core certainly attempts to do that in several interesting ways.
Turns Resolve Simultaneously
The most unique feature of Fatal Core is how players take their turns. The system sees both players resolve their turns at the same time, and since players must also play with the majority of their cards exposed for the entire game, this feels like it should bring in a new level of strategy to world of TCGs. At the same time, it sometimes felt like playing a game of Rock, Paper, Scissors with an opponent, where there was less an optimal decision to make and more of a situation where both players could be countered by the other, so a card is selected and one hopes for the best.
A Board Of Buffs And Debuffs
The second interesting design choice for Fatal Core lies in the game board where creature cards are played. Creature cards have a Power and Hit Point (HP) value in the same way as Magic: The Gathering and playing them on the board assigns either a buff or debuff to one or both of these values. The example shown to new players is the placement of a card named Expert Spellthief with a default Power of 4 and 2 HP onto a spot with a modifier of (+2, -1). When placed, the Expert Spellthief now has a Power of 6 and 1 HP. This adds a great dynamic to the creature-based combat, especially when it comes to building board presence.
Familiar Themes In The Keywords
Keywords look similar to other TCGs and players should have no trouble adjusting to them. Mana Magnet for example cancels the next spell cancelled by an opponent, and functions in a way that is like Hearthstone’s Counter Spell secret on the board, though the opposing player is aware of its existence.
Slow (X) solves the issue of playing overly-powerful cards early in the game by requiring that a certain number of turns first pass before it can be played. The other keywords are a mix of familiar terms from other games and nothing should surprise players.
Buying And Selling Cards With Other Players
Although there is no formal explanation on the website regarding the trading of cards, the main menu does have a Market that allows players to list their cards for the two currencies used in the game, PF and EF, which in part is earned through gameplay.
Cards of all rarities and for each class can be acquired here or sold, and if this remains in the game it will be one of the game’s strongest points. The inability to trade cards with players in Magic: The Gathering Arena or Hearthstone is a major drawback for players of classic TCGs, while including it in Fatal Core would give players a feeling of control over their digital collections.
Design and Presentation
The game is clearly early in development from a design perspective. Players can sign up to play the game right now on their browsers, and it will be interesting to see how the game looks with a dedicated client and some polish. For now, the innovative gameplay features are interesting, but the visual design is too basic and reminiscent of an early 2000s flash game. There is potential here for a good game, but with so many great online TCGs and CCGs competing for consumer attention, the presentation will need major work to be a serious contender.