When SolForge, the CCG co-designed by Magic: the Gathering creator Richard Garfield, closed in 2017, Stone Blade Entertainment CEO Justin Gary offered fans a little hope. While the studio “bite off more than we could chew” with SolForge, he said, the lessons the developers learned would be valuable in “future incarnations of SolForge.” Five years later, the next generation of SolForge is almost ready. Dubbed SolForge: Fusion, it’s the “first hybrid deckbuilding game for the digital age” and will be available on September 22.
SolForge: Fusion is designed to be played in person or digitally, using Tabletop Simulator. What sets SolForge: Fusion apart from other CCGs is a special “algorithmically generated card printing process” that ensures no two decks are the same, similar to KeyForge, which Garfield designed for Fantasy Flight Games. Players ‘merge’ two half-decks to create a full deck and scan them into the SolForge: Fusion online database. Fused cards level up over the course of each game, allowing players to continually “build” their decks even in the middle of a match.
“Combining two procedurally generated half decks provides an easy way to customize your deck and greatly expands the possibilities of a set,” says Garfield. “And creating cards by merging two halves gives you more than 15,000 possible cards in the first set alone, more than were created in the first 20 years of Magic: The Gathering.”
Stone Blade has created a series of introductory videos to explain how to play SolForge: Fusion. For the videos, it all happens inside Tabletop Simulator.
You’ll be able to purchase a deck of SolForge: Fusion cards at a game store, then scan its unique QR code with your mobile device’s camera to upload the entire deck to your stored collection on the official SolForge: Fusion site.
Following the huge success of Magic: the Gathering, Garfield has been intent on bridging the gap between physical trading cards and digital games. That was the intent behind Artifact: a digital CCG like Hearthstone, but using cards that were more “real” by being tradeable on the Steam market. However, players balked at the model, and Artifact also suffered from a visual complexity that made it intimidating for newcomers.
Time will tell if this new approach fares better. SolForge: Fusion is an easier game to learn, but features some similar mechanics to Artifact. Instead of using a digital marketplace, this time it’s a return to physical cards, with the ‘bridge’ to digital play found in Tabletop Simulator’s out-of-the-box solution. The question for users who prefer to play online will be whether the Tabletop Simulator experience will be smooth.
You can know more on the official site. SolForge: Fusion is due out in the US on September 22.