Splinterlands NFT Card Game Review: A Guide to Battle Mechanics, Decks and Cards

According to DappRadar, in September, the NFT collectible card game Splinterlands came out on top in the ranking of blockchain games . Thus, the daily audience of Splinterlands already exceeds 285,000 users. At the same time, the game is not only entertaining, but also allows you to earn money by trading collectible in-game items.

We figured out how Splinterlands works, how you can make money in it, and what are the prospects for the development of this NFT game on the crypto market.

Splinterlands  is an NFT tactical card game. Players collect a collection of character cards with a unique set of characteristics and use them to fight other players. In addition to character cards, there are also artifact cards, such as magic potions. All cards exist in the form of NFTs – this guarantees the players ownership and makes them easier to trade.

What makes Splinterlands unique?

In concept, Splinterlands is similar to popular card games like Magic the Gathering and Hearthstone, but runs on the Hive blockchain . Its counterpart is the popular blockchain game Gods Unchained. But Splinterlands has a completely different battle system. So, the battle takes place automatically, and the player pays the main attention to the selection of a deck of cards and strategic preparation for the battle. One of the advantages of the game is that the user always has a chance to win – regardless of experience, skill level or the size of his collection of cards.

Players receive a reward in the form of native tokens (about them below) for winning battles, tournaments and quests. They can also freely trade their cards on the secondary market. This allows gamers not only to have fun, but also to earn tokens and NFTs. Thus, in order to receive income, you do not need to understand blockchain or cryptocurrencies at all – you just need to play Splinterlands well.

Who is developing the game?

Splinterlands was one of the first blockchain and NFT games. Co-founders Matthew Rosen and Jesse Reich launched a game in 2018 called Steem Monsters. Initially, the game ran on the Steem blockchain, but in March 2020 it switched to Hive, a fork of Steem launched after a thwarted attempt by the head of TRON,  Justin Sun, to seize control of the project. Then the game changed its name.

In the early years, the development of Splinterlands was funded by the sale of packs of game cards: this was enough to support a team of several people. But later, the project attracted strategic investments that allowed the team to expand: $ 100,000 in December 2020 and $ 3.6 million in July during the SPS closed token sale.

Classification of cards and features of battles

The core of the Splinterlands gameplay is one-on-one battles with another player of a similar rating. Each player has a limited time to choose cards from their collection that will participate in the battle.

After choosing, the battle will take place automatically according to predefined rules. The game can end with either a victory of one of the players or a draw. The winner earns internal tokens and gains experience points, the loser only a few experience points.

The goal of each player is to create a deck that can win battles. 

Maps are divided into two categories:

  • Monster is a card that is used in battle;
  • Summoner is a card that determines the class of monsters participating in the battle (more on that below).

Monster cards have 6 main characteristics:

  • Attack – determines the level of damage that a monster will inflict on another monster in battle. The attack is divided into types: melee and ranged, as well as magic (you can attack from any position);
  • Armor – the level of protection against attacks;
  • Speed is an indicator of how often monsters attack and dodge attacks themselves;
  • Mana – energy that is spent during the game;
  • Health – the level of resistance of the monster;
  • Abilities are the individual skills of the monster used during combat.

Moreover, each card has three levels: the higher the level, the higher the characteristics. To get a card of a higher level, you need to connect several cards of the previous one: for example, if you combine several cards of the 1st level, you get one card of the 2nd.

The cards also have 7 classes: Earth, Water, Fire, Dragon, Life, Death and neutral class. Before the start of the battle, the player chooses a summoner card – he will determine the class of cards that will participate in the battle.

An important role in the battle is played by the location of the monsters in the arena – the battlefield, which consists of two rows and six positions. It is important to place the monsters as competently as possible: for example, take into account who is suitable for close combat and who is for long-range combat. Some abilities of monsters affect other monsters, so you also need to keep track of how the cards are positioned during the battle. It is the selection of monsters and their location that will determine the outcome of the battle.

Up to 6 monster cards and one summoner card can participate in each battle. The battle will end when all the monsters of one of the players have died. This death is temporary – for the next battle, all monsters will be ready for battle again.

All cards are issued in a limited edition (edition), they have already been released 7. Within the edition, cards are divided according to the degree of uniqueness into common, rare, epic and legendary. In addition, each card has a collector’s edition – marked as gold. Such specimens are very rare and valuable, but do not bring any unique characteristics to the monsters.

After the release, the cards are sold to players and will then be available only on the secondary market. Therefore, as the game develops, new cards with new combinations appear in it: experienced players will not get bored, because it will not be possible to create a universal all-conquering deck. Players can buy a deck containing five randomly selected cards or purchase directly from other players in the domestic market. Maps are also available at NFT venues like the Open Sea and at PeakMonsters and Monster Market.

The more cards a player collects, the more chances he has to make the most profitable decks for battles. Cards can be bought, exchanged, rented or received as a reward for winning. Every trade between players is subject to a 5% commission.

Players have six leagues to match their skills: Novice, Bronze, Silver, Gold, Diamond, and Champion. As he wins, the player moves from one league to the next – a higher level.

Also, the players have a rating: it grows for the winner, and falls for the loser. To move to a new league, you need not only the rating, but also the power of the cards (power), which depends on the rarity, version and level of the cards. Also, players can unite in guilds – communities of players who compete with each other. For winning as a member of the guild, additional points are given.

Splinterlands Tokenomics

Splinterlands has three tokens:

  • Credits  are an in-game currency that players can use to purchase packs of cards. This token can be bought with cryptocurrency, but cannot be withdrawn from the game.
  • Dark Energy Crystals  (DEC, Crystals of Dark Energy) is an internal token used to buy cards and is credited as a reward for winning rating battles, tournaments and completing quests, but unlike Credits, it can be removed from the game. DEC can also be obtained for the resale or rental of your cards.
  • Splintershards  (SPS) is a governance token awarded to holders of any asset in Splinterlands. The rarer and stronger the card, the more SPS it gets. The management functions are not yet active – they will be launched in the future, and then the holders of the token will have a voice in making decisions about the management of the game. For now, users can use the token to participate in special tournaments and staking. In the future, it is planned to launch liquidity pools on SPS, which will allow trading the token on various platforms.

The SPS tokenomics should be discussed separately. This token was launched in August 2021 on the  Binance Smart Chain . In total, 3 trillion tokens will be issued, of which 400 billion will go to current players, and the rest will be distributed by the end of 2026. Tokens can be transferred to Ethereum and Binance Smart Chain blockchains, and cards can be transferred to NFT on the Wax blockchain.

How to play Splinterlands

Splinterlands has Russian localization and mobile version. You can start playing the game for free by registering. But in order to collect cards, you need to buy a starter set of 30 cards worth $ 10 – Summoner’s Book of Spells. Without this, it will not be possible to earn rewards, participate in tournaments and trade on the market. Users who regularly play the game pay off the cost of the starter kit in about a week.

After purchasing a starter kit, the system will automatically create a crypto wallet for you – and all the functionalities of the game will open up for you. Also, free starting cards will become available to you, which cannot be exchanged or sold, but can be used in battles. More advanced cards can be bought on the market or rented.

When the first set of cards is collected, you can participate in battles. Before the fight with real rivals, you can practice in test battles with the computer in order to better understand the game mechanics.

During the battle, players can either observe its progress in stages, or immediately see the result.

One of the stages of the battle. The battle takes place in several rounds. Their analysis will help to understand what the player did right, and where he made a mistake in the arrangement of the cards. If you want, you can go directly to the results.

After training battles, you can engage in battles with real opponents of your level. And then it all depends on the player: how quickly he will develop and what deck he will collect.

How much can you earn playing Splinterlands 

Judging by the forums, a regular user after 3-4 months of playing can earn from several hundred to a thousand dollars a month on the resale of cards and the growth of their value.

If you invest about $ 1,000 and immediately buy powerful cards, then such income can be achieved faster. If you manage to get a rare card, it will immediately pay off all the costs. However, of course, there are no guarantees of earnings. You may not be lucky in the game or the prices of cards will not rise. There is excitement around the game now, but if it ends, the investment can pay off much longer.

Also, earnings can be brought by investments in DEC and SPS or their accumulation as a victory in battles with the subsequent sale.

DEC since November 2020 has grown from $ 0.00048 to $ 0.0075 – 11.9 times. Most of the growth came in the last two months – in mid-August, the token reached its all-time high of $ 0.1342.

SPS two days after the start of trading increased 8 times – from $ 0.14 to $ 1.1261. But then, within a week, the price of the token dropped to $ 0.23 and several times unsuccessfully tried to break through $ 0.5. Now the token costs about $ 0.39. The capitalization of the project is $ 56.7 million, and the daily trading volume fell from $ 20-99 million at the start to the current $ 8 million – traders have clearly cooled to it.

Now it is difficult to predict whether the SPS will continue to grow and to what price it will be able to reach. But if you believe in the project, then the asset is definitely worth keeping an eye on. For example, AXS, the token of another popular NFT game Axie Infinity , has grown 460 times over the past 12 months. If Splinterlands replicates her success at least partially, SPS holders could get rich. 

For each victory in the bronze league, the player receives 8 DEC – about $ 0.06. As the league rises, the rewards will increase. Prize tournaments can go up to several thousand dollars, but to win them you will need to build a powerful deck. Renting out cards brings almost no income. For example, renting a card for $ 100 will cost about $ 0.5 per day – the investment will pay off in about 200 days.

Splinterlands perspectives

Splinterlands’ audience is growing rapidly. Back in July, about 10,000 people played the game every day, in August – already 90,000, and now – over 285,000. The excitement around the game coincided with the launch of the SPS token on July 26th. After that, the number of daily registrations increased 10 times.  Splinterlands is currently the most popular blockchain game on the market, according  to DappRadar.

Splinterlands is an interesting and promising project that popularizes NFT and allows players to earn real money. But the leadership of the game in the market is unlikely to last long: it has many competitors, and HYIPs usually quickly fade away.

Nevertheless, Splinterlands has everything for stable and long-term development: it is a mature game with an active community and constant updates. It is able to captivate players not only by earning money, but also by the gameplay itself. Blockchain and NFT aside, this is a great card game with a unique combat system and a variety of strategies.

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