The Splinterlands of Collectible Card Games

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By Max Moeller

Collectible trading card games are a niche like no other. We’ve got the classic physical card games like Magic the Gathering, Yu-Gi-Oh, and Pokemon, and now more modern titles like Gwent and Hearthstone. Each of these games brings something new to the table while also harnessing that addictive nature of collecting and showcasing our decks.

Now, collectible cards are a one-of-a-kind thing, with my card having its own history and memories associated with it compared to your card. This distinctive nature makes collectible cards an ideal concept for blockchain-based, NFT-powered gaming, and Splinterlands is a title that understands just that.

What is Splinterlands?

Powered by the HIVE blockchain, Splinterlands is a digital collectible card game like any mentioned above. However, the difference here is that the player owns these cards completely. I can choose to keep any cards I acquire, trade them for other ones, or simply sell them on a marketplace for the project’s cryptocurrency: Dark Energy (DEC).

DEC is earned from winning matches, completing quests, playing in tournaments, renting out cards to other players, and more. Even better, I can convert the asset into Ethereum (ETH), Tron (TRX), Hive (HIVE), and Wax (WAX), depending on my needs.

Collectibles come in two main formats: summoners and monsters. Summoners are a sort of main character and are broken up into six factions, or splinters — Fire, Water, Earth, Life, Death, and Dragon. Depending on my character’s faction, I can summon monsters related to that type, such as Earth-type monsters with my Earth-centric summoner.

Monsters are more typical cards, each having its own attack and defense power, abilities, and level. I can level monsters by combining duplicates, raising their experience, and increasing their power while unlocking new abilities. However, there’s a balance to maintain here. A summoner can only summon monsters equivalent to or below its level. This way, I can’t simply power level one monster type and wreck opponents. Instead, I have to mindfully level up my deck alongside a summoner to remain effective.

How do I Play Splinterlands?


While anyone can play Splinterlands for free, progression and rewards only come after an initial purchase. The game offers a Summoner’s Spellbook for $10, a wallet activation investment that one can buy with fiat or crypto. Once done, the whole world of Splinterlands becomes available to the player.

From there, it’s time to enter battle. Each battle allows you to bring in six cards, with the 1st card set to battle, well, first. The battlefield consists of two rows and six positions. The front row houses you and your opponent's first cards, which will fight based on their type and abilities. Each player then has a back row that features their other five cards in order. If one card is defeated, the next card in line will take its place. You win by defeating your opponent’s deck.

What’s interesting, however, is that each match will have its own set of rules generated right before it starts. This means you’ll have to alter your strategy for each match, as you never know what modifiers might come into play. Maybe ranged characters can do damage from your row, or particular abilities might work differently this time around. Adaptability is the key to winning in Splinterlands.

The Splinterlands Metagame

While in-game battles and strategies are interesting, the blockchain-based nature of Splinterlands brings with it an additional metagame layer unlike anything in other digital card games.

One factor is NFT rarity. You see, you can burn cards to earn DEC, but doing so will also alter the rarities of other Splinterlands cards, affecting the overall economy. This mechanic gets even more complex with card rarities. Some cards come in gold foil which makes them easier to level and, in turn, offers them more value than typical cards.

Otherwise, hardcore Splinterlands players will want to get involved with governance. Splinterland features its Splintershards (SPS) cryptocurrency, a governance token. Users can hold SPS to vote on and propose network changes and can even stake the token to earn a passive income via staking rewards every month. Players can even invest in plots of land, which will play a part in spell and item cards coming in a future iteration of Splinterlands.

The point is, there’s a lot here for any card collecting fanatic. If you’re into collectible card games and don’t mind learning a thing or two about blockchain technology, Splinterlands may very well be your next addiction — one that can earn you real-world profits.


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