Elements – an online collectible card game

Youngsters don’t believe me when I say this, but there was a time when “collectible card game” wasn’t just jargon for “excuse to charge you real money for virtual cards.” I still think fondly of Etherlords 2, but that game is eleven years old now and it’s still the most recent video game from a major publisher to even try to do a CCG right (for my definition of right).

elementsThere have been a few attempts from indies to do CCGs well. Not many, but a few. Elements is one of those and there’s a lot to like here – the game plays uniquely enough, I can’t think of any card games with a similar rule set, and there are a large number of cards which combo in ways which aren’t always immediately obvious.

I’m going to do good/bad bullet points:

  • Good: still active community, now four years after the game launched
  • Bad: inactive developer. Game development seems to have stopped entirely.
  • Good: large variety of cards with powers which interact in many interesting ways
  • Bad: getting all the cards you want to make interesting decks gets pretty grindy
  • Good: even the grinding is fun, at first – the low power cards still manage to be interesting
  • Bad: not forever
  • Good: there are some quests to give you some objectives and get you started
  • Bad: not many quests. And once they’re done continuing to play is entirely motivated by card collecting, nothing else.

Despite all the downsides, I’ve played the crap out of this game. I highly recommend that you play it for a while. And then stop.