“The best free online card game that gives even established games a run for their money.”
I had originally planned to write an article about Elements, but after careful consideration, I decided to review it instead.
Elements, by Zanzarino Design, is a free online card game that has been available for play since 2009. If you are familiar with card games such as Magic: The Gathering, then you will be able to understand Elements very quickly.
In Elements, players build element-based decks of cards which represent creatures, weapons, shields, pillars, and more.
Upon registering an account on the Elements website, players will be asked to select an element to base their starter deck around. There are twelves choices ranging from the obvious (Earth, Fire, Water) to the obscure (Entropy and Aether).
After choosing your element, you are tasked with defeating a training AI opponent which serves as a way to introduce you to the mechanics of the game. As is the case with other card games, your main cards that you will initially worry about getting out into play are your towers, which generate quantum – points that you spend to put cards into play.
Starter decks typically offer several creatures, spells, weapons, and shields, all of which require the quantum generated from your towers in order to played.
Creatures are, predictably, your attack force. To determine a creature’s effectiveness in combat, they are given two numbers which are displayed on the card in an X|X format. The left number is the creature’s attack power, and the right number is it’s health. A creature that is 5/7 would inflict five points to the opposing player whenever it attacks, and would die if it was inflicted with seven points of damage.
To damage a creature card, spells are typically used. Spell cards usually inflict damage to the player, a creature, or even all creatures in play. Most of the time, you can decide where the spell is directed. More often than not, they will be aimed at creatures that hit hard, bolster the opposing player’s attack force, or castrate your cards of their abilities or functions.
Weapon cards are unique, as they behave like creature cards (attacking the player each turn) and they usually have unique abilities that require sevral quantum to use, but they do not have attack power or health. Weapons can usually only be removed from play through the use of spells. One card in the fire deck destroys weapons while a specific darkness card can steal them, turning them against their original owners.
Shields are what the name implies, they reduce damage. Some shields make creatures miss at random while others will reduce all damage from every creature each turn, which can be incredibly useful depending on what your opponent has in play.
There are many more gameplay mechanics and many card abilities that I could go over, but it’s really worth experiencing them first hand rather than reading me drone on about them.
The key to the game is to deplete the other chracter’s health through the use of creatures, spells, and weapons. Each player has 100 health (though a sort of “elite” AI has 200), which can also be recovered through the use of certain cards.
The game itself looks pretty nice for a flash based card game that is free of charge. The playing board lacks detail, but it does it’s job very well and lets you know what is happening. Card borders look great and represent their respective elements very well. However, a lot of the portraits on the cards leave a little to be desired. Very few are of the portraits are original animated/hand drawn works. If you look closely, you will notice that most of the creatures were made in Spore’s creature creator. When you realize this, it is hard to forget and sticks out like a sore thumb. On the plus side, material from Spore is being used in a better game than what it came from!
Overall, Elements is a very challenging and strategic card game. If you’re the type of person who is willing to branch out from standardized card games, then give this a try. It’s well worth a go.
To try the game out, head over to the Elements website by clicking here: http://www.elementsthegame.com/.