New games come out like clockwork and the myriad of games that are available to gamers is astounding. It almost makes getting into something that is often viewed as leisurely intimidating as you try to figure out what game best suits you.
Shadow Era, a recently new trading card game (TCG), hopes to introduce seasoned gamers and newcomers alike to a new kind of card game that offers depth through gameplay but still keeps things simple.
|Shadow Era creator Kyle Poole holding his favorite card, Zaladar.|
“The first thing I wanted to ensure when making this game was that it was easy for new players to pick-up very quickly,” Kyle Poole, creator of Shadow Era, said. “A lot of the more complicated mechanics of other more established games that might be very hard to teach someone we took and simplified them. So the game is intended for both new players, but also has enough depth so that more advanced players can take it, understand it better and play it more competitively.”
Released a year and a half ago for Apple products, Android and online play, Shadow Era was released for free download and has remained free throughout its lifespan. Recently psychical cards have been released to go along with the downloadable game so that tournaments can be played at events like Gen Con and hobby stores.
“One of the major complaints about TCG games is that they cost a lot of money so one of the main things I wanted to do with this game was to release it on iPhone, Android and the web and have it free to play,” Poole said. “I think that the strategy has helped get our large player base that we have now very quickly, we had 2 million players within a couple months of the games release.”
The downloadable game allows players to buy cards online through the use of gold which is acquired through battles played in game, another option for players to buy points which allow the purchase of cards. This leaves players with the choice to either spend their time playing to get cards or spend money to buy the cards. Players also have the option to play people from around the world using decks they’ve made.
|A Shadow Era tournament being played at Gen Con 2012.|
“We’ve had a lot of great response about our game from the community, and we’ve listened to all their feedback about the game through forms and such on how to improve the game,” Poole said. “It took us about a year until the first set of 200 cards was complete, so we took all their feedback and tuned the game mechanics, balanced the game until everything was really well tuned. After that point that’s when we started to print the physical game.”
Kevin Manning, a member of the design team behind Shadow Era, came from the early community of Shadow Era players and now develops the lore of the game.
“Every member of the design team came from the community,” Manning said. “So we all love the game and the thing about this game is that it is 100 percent community driven. People love the physical and online version of the game and we listen to our players and try to make them happy.”
The physical version of the game was made possible through the community of digital players by a crowd funding campaign. With a goal of $20,000 the Shadow Era team raised $250,000 thanks to their players. The physical version was released at this year’s Origins Game Fair.
|Cards from the physical version of the game that are available now.|
“The response to our campaign was really overwhelming,” Poole said. “So raising that kind of money has allowed us to make a high quality product and also release it to retail stores to compete with other major card games.”
The first set, Call of the Crystals, features 20 heros that gameplay revolves around. Having the game be played and fine-tuned through community feedback has made the printed first set customizable for players to make whatever kinds of decks they want.
“All the heros in the game are very balanced,” Poole said. “Shadow Era is one of the few games where the first set is very balance and competitive. So there’s a lot of flexibility for players to create whatever kinds of decks they want and still be able to compete.”
With the recent release of the physical card version of the game fans of the game have raced to acquire some of their favorite cards from the online version.
“The response from fans over the physical version has been crazy, we’ve completely sold out of some of the heros,” Manning said. “I think we’ve had an advantage being a true multiplatform game because the physical and online versions are completely the same. Our fans can find cards they like online, buy the psychical game and create decks they’ve already made and tested.”
Shadow Era is a free download for Apple products and Androids and is also available on the internet. The physical cards can be bought online or through selected retail stores. For more information about the game go to www.shadowera.com and follow them on twitter @ishadowera.
|Poole and company working the Shadow Era booth at Gen Con 2012.|
“For people interested in the game I would say go out and download the game because it’s free, you have nothing to lose,” Poole said.