We always thought that flowers can not defend themselves. But Kickstarter campaign has now started, that should us prove wrong. We are talking about the Fightlings card game developed by Thoughtfish. This is a fighting game, in which two opponents compete for their right to exist.
Basics of everything are two decks – a set of Vitality cards and a set of Solidity cards. Each player chooses one of the two available sides and receives the appropriate green or orange deck. Then there is a selection of two servants, who start the fight, done by both players. They place them open in the center of the table. Then both decks are shuffled together to create one pile, thats immediately used to encircle the starting fighters with the rest of the cards to create a seven by five cards chessboard. In addition to the board, players will use tokens of victory points and injuries and each player gets ten hearts as energy to start with.
Part of this game is a simple game of Memory and second part is an uncompromising battle game. In his turn, player reveals three cards from those lying on the talbe. Their identity is not known to him or his rival at first. If at any stage of revealing cards, player has two cards with the same image, he has created a pair. This fighter is called to battle. However, owner will not always be the one, who found the pair. Warrior will automatically stand to the player, who has chosen that color at start of the game.
Even with this said, players will try to uncover not only theirs, but also their opponent’s pairs. After revealing his own warrior, player only places him on his own battleground. But finding an enemy pair is bound to a reward – victory points (according to the value in the right corner of the card) and one bonus attempt to reveal extra card.
At the end of the draw, all cards that have not been paired or used for their one-time effects are turned backwards. Players have to remember, which picture is where. It could prove useful in future rounds.
Later in the game, players will have some fighters in front of them. They can be used in the first phase of the round. Attacker chooses his unit to do the strike. Damage is then dealt to either a unit making a stand (if the defender chooses it) or damage can go through to the player himself. In that case, they lose valuable hearts. And exhaustion of the stock of these life-giving tokens is the first way a player can lose. The other option is to reach ten victory points, which immediately ends the whole duel.
Fightlings tells a story about struggle of memory and blood. Only if the sorcerer can combine two parts of the spell in memory, the champion can be summoned and fight in his place. The biggest turning point, however, is the way victory points work. This is done by searching for enemy cards, giving them strength to attack you at the same time. We like the ambiguity of these decisions a lot!
Players are crushed between two stones – either they will look for their characters and focus everything on their battle skills or choose to collect points, but also strengthen the opponent. There is also a middle way, in which he tries for both options and tries to restrict his opponent choices at the same time. But these two victory conditions have a great impact on the gameplay. There is even a third one, when deck of cards is exhausted. Even then, player with most points wins.
We only had a few days to test the preview version of this game, but we had fun in battles we participated. The game is smart, fast, and you need memory in addition to luck. In a well-balanced whole, time plays main role, because the game is really short. It’s a quarter-hour match and you will be happy to repeat the fight immediately afterwards to get a chance for rematch. Processing looks promising in terms of illustrations. The quality of the components can not be evaluated in the printed version of the game anyway. Perhaps the theme itself is a bit strange, but designers will maybe explain it to us in the final rulebook, setting it into some kind of story.
Fightlings are a pure duel, where abstraction of cards and memory is mixed with combat. The cards are your warriors, but only after someone finds them as a couple on the table. Fightlings, therefore, deserves your attention on its Kickstarter campaign.