Emerald Lands – Early Preview

Many of us have dreams to create a game that defines everything we love about the TCG/CCG genre. We like to design the perfect worlds in our head and fill them with beautiful creatures that battle it out for supremacy. We will often draw inspiration from other games we have played or the mystical lore of ancient civilizations.

This is exactly what the development team behind Emerald Lands has done. The project originally started out as a passion for creating a catalog of fantasy creatures but then evolved into something much more comprehensive. The team has drawn upon the games and comic books that focused on the Greek, Roman, and Slavic mythologies for their inspiration and direction.

This is yet another project that has turned to us, the card gaming community, for the much-needed support and funding the game needs to become a reality. Kickstarter offers developers the perfect platform to turn their dream into a reality, but they need our help to do it!

Let’s take a look at what we know about Emerald Lands so far. Read on…

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Gameplay

Emerald Lands is a turn-based card game that has been in development for over 2 years. The original project was to catalog mystical and mythological creatures of civilizations past, but soon evolved into creating a card game free of the constraints seen in modern CCGs.

Instead of relying on random booster packs and decks for your cards, the developers want to give players the ability to choose how to play without these limitations. With this in mind, you will have access to every card in the game from the start and can customize your deck as you see fit. They are off to a good start already with this choice!

This makes the game far less about card collecting and more about the strategy and fun behind each match. More of your time will be spent playing the game and less time will be spent trying to acquire that one card that keeps you competitive. This will certainly make the game much more enjoyable than a lot of games in this genre.

You will choose an army and create a deck with units and spells that fit your chosen army. This does, however, limit the card types you may use in that deck. The creators wanted to make each deck feel unique so that each card would have a purpose, from the early to the late stages of a match. There are balancing risks associated with this as has been seen in games such as Hearthstone, where balance updates are frequent. The good news is that once the game goes into Beta, you can give feedback on these issues and the developers will restructure the cards accordingly.

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Gameplay Continued…

The actual gameplay will be simple and fast-paced. The developers aim to make the game quick to learn and easily accessible to new players. The battlefield is split between the two players with units on each side trying to reduce the opposing commander’s health points to zero.

What looks like a single row is actually split into two. The front row should consist of your strongest melee units while the rear guard will be full of archer and artillery units. There will obviously be some very strategic plays to hiding your strong-ranged units behind a tough unit so that you can get the maximum amount of damage dealt out in a single turn.

Four of your unit cards are placed at the beginning of the game and in each subsequent turn you can pay to place more during the upkeep phase. The game will place random terrain cards at the start of each battle that will grant benefits or adverse effects to the units in front of or behind them. They can provide cover for ranged units or act as a means to weaken your front line. They will play a huge part in the overall strategy during the course of a match and are a helpful addition to the overall mechanics on offer.

Emerald Lands have also changed the way traditional spell cards work. Usually, you spend your primary resource to cast a spell. However, in this game if you don’t have a spellcaster on the field, your spell card will cost you more to cast it. This shows the level of detail and thought put into the game’s mechanics and how everything would interact with one another in a more realistic fashion.

The gameplay sounds exciting, easy to learn, and relatively innovative. The lack of card packs and monetized content will create a fair and balanced meta-game. Players will have access to the same components with only their deckbuilding and ingenuity separating them. Emerald Lands will more than likely be a game of skill for the budding armchair Generals among us.

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Features

Perhaps the biggest feature of Emerald Lands is that you will receive all of the cards upon purchase of the game. Not many card game titles grant you this level of access without some kind of monetized content hiding in the background for those “exclusive” purchases.

Bayside Triangle, the developers behind this Kickstarter project have been discouraged by games in the past that are well-crafted, exquisitely executed, and beautiful to look at, only to have them ruin that all with premium in-game purchases or lengthy grinding sessions before you can finally obtain the cards you need. This is why they have chosen to give us access to all of the content immediately.

The game features artwork from several talented artists that have will have lovingly created over 300 cards between them before the game launches. In addition to the cards, there will be epic musical scores that capture the medieval fantasy world that the game is set in. A large chunk of the Kickstarter budget is being fed back into the creative aspects of the game, so you can be sure your pledge money is being well spent.

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The game will feature seven different armies at launch. These armies are will be at the heart of your deck creation and you can utilize various strategies from each army. Emerald Lands will be a card battling game in its purest form as there will be no extra or bonus decks to contend with, just two players and two decks ready to do battle!

Several game modes have been announced that should keep you thoroughly entertained. A campaign mode with a rich story has been promised for those that like a little lore with their card battles. A quick battle option allows you to set the rules and parameters of battle so you can test bespoke strategies against a computer opponent or friend.

The terrain cards will form a major part of the gameplay. There will be over 20 terrain cards on launch with each of them playing a part in the overall strategic value of the game. It sounds as though the terrain cards will also fit thematically with the areas you’ll explore in the campaign mode. I love the diversity they will add to a battle beyond having creatures and humans attacking one another.

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First Impressions

The traditional and non-traditional elements within Emerald Lands should make for some exciting gameplay. The game has yet to get an Alpha release and I’m hoping that one arrives soon, so that I can see in more detail how it plays.

The game does look like it needs a bit more visual polish, though. It is set within a medieval fantasy world but that shouldn’t be an excuse for a poor card template. The current template looks very basic and lacks polish. Visually pleasing templates and visuals are what will draw a crowd to your game and in order for more people to get on board, this will have to be updated.

The terrain is shaping up to be a major strategic feature within the game. Whether it can benefit or hinder you lies solely on the units that are interacting with it. I’m hoping that this real-life mimicking mechanic works well and isn’t just a gimmick.

The big win for Emerald Lands is the fact that you won’t have to buy endless boosters to complete your collection of cards. Everything will be included and this keeps the playing field level for all players, barring skill and creative thinking.

Overall the project sounds promising with some excellent gameplay features. The visuals will need to be taken up a notch for it to compete with other games in the genre, but there is plenty of time for those changes to be made. The developers wish to be as transparent as possible with their updates and encourage community feedback to help them improve the game, so you can have a direct influence on the development of the game, if you wish! This will definitely be one to keep an eye on as it develops further.

For more information on Emerald Lands, check out the Kickstarter here.

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Zac Phoenix
Author: Zac Phoenix View all posts by

Zac Phoenix graduated with First Class Honors in Philosophy, Religion and Ethics and has been playing strategy card games since childhood. He has a keen interest in the underlying mechanics and player interactions of trading card games, as well as tabletop game design in the digital space. He also designs card games in his spare time.

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