Announcing Crystal Clash – Order vs Chaos Art Previews!

After a ton of Magic: the Gathering articles I am pleased to announce some great news regarding one of my own games creations:

My non-collectible and non-customizable fantasy card game CRYSTAL CLASH, which is totally unrelated to Elemental Clash and the other Clash Games of my devising save for the name, will be published by a renowned US-American games publishing company, whose name I am not at the liberty to reveal yet, at some point in the coming year 2014!

At least that is what the lead designer and boss of said company told me. So keep your fingers crossed that nothing unexpected comes in the way of the Crystal Clash release!

Anyways I would like to tell you a bit about the game, which started out as two well-balanced, preconstructed decks – the Light and the Darkness Deck, and then go on with showing you some major eye-candy for the upcoming Order and Chaos Decks. So the game will be released in the form of 4 well-designed and balanced 40 card decks, namely Light and Order (the “good” factions) and Darkness and Chaos (the “evil” factions). This may turn off the Trading / Collectible Card Game players, but the decision to make this one non-collectible and non-customizable was intentional, the reason being is that it is VERY HARD or almost impossible in my opinion, and the opinion of many games publishers many of whom downright reject customizable/collectible games altogether, as the huge mass of TCG afficionados usually stick to what they know and love. And I cannot blame them for that, as it takes a lot of money usually to “buy into” any game with collectible components. This is one of the reasons why I released Elemental Clash as a non-collectible (yet highly customizable) game. The reason why I decided to make Crystal Clash a non-customizable game as well is simply the notion that not few players, at least from my experience, like a game they can play right out of the box, without having to familiarize themselves with a ton of different cards and build decks before they can begin their first game. Now in Crystal Clash, while the decks are prebuilt, every game will still feel different from the last and that before, as every card is a one-of, meaning only one copy of every card is included. That should keep the game fresh and exciting for a long time and what is more, while the game is non-collectible, it is surely expandable, and I am hoping that the first release, containing the 4 aforementioned decks will do well enough to warrant the release of (hopefully many) expansions in the future. After “Light vs Darkness” and “Order vs Chaos”, I am already thinking of things like “Elves vs Goblins” or something on these lines…

Let me share a bit of Crystal Clash’s history:

The idea for Crystal Clash was born when my younger sister Nora outed herself as my greatest fan and it became evident that one of her secret wishes was to contribute to my game creations so instead of just letting her come up with a few Elemental Clash cards I asked “Why not design a game together with me?”. Nora was thrilled and we set out to come up with a (card) game, brainstorming mechanics together and after that coming up with flavorful and fun abilities and Characters and other cards to stick those abilities onto after that together. After some time however, my sister realized that designing a game is not just fun, but hard work as well (with a ton of fun involved, at least for me personally) and it turned out that my sister was not as persistant as I am, especially when it came to the playtesting part, the playing with the prototype time and time again to fix minor and major issue, so Nora gave up on the game at some point. I however did not and developed it further. Still, I owe my sincere gratitude to my sister for giving the igniting spark for Crystal Clash and for contributing greatly to the game, especially to the character designs and names for example and will give her due credit in the published version of the game.

Now for those who are curious about how Crystal Clash is actually played, a brief overview of the game mechanics and rules:

As mentioned above, Crystal Clash has nothing in common with Elemental Clash (or Space Clash, or Panzer Clash…) when it comes to game mechanics, save for the similarity in names and for the most basic things pretty much all (trading/customizable/living) card games have in common like a dedicated player’s deck with different cards with specific effects, each player having a card hand and a discard pile and things like that. So the mechanics are all new but what makes Crystal Clash really stand out for me is the fresh twist on a resource system the game features. First of all, the resource system in Crystal Clash is as it should be in any modern card game of its style: resourceless. A resourceless resource system? What a strange thing you may say raising one of your eyebrows. What I mean by that is simple: A resource system without dedicated resource cards like the lands in Magic: the Gathering as a popular example. Resource cards that do little to nothing apart from providing  the resources to play other cards are, in my opinion, boring and only take up space in your deck for more exciting cards. I am not the first person to realize this obviously. Just look at Duel Masters, the, pardon my directness, Yu-Gi-Oh rip-off from Wizards of the Coast, in which any card can be used as a resource instead of its regular role as a Creature or Spell etc. What makes the resource system in Crystal Clash really unique and exciting gameplay-wise, at least for me, is the fact that your resources double as your “life total”. Let me explain: In Crystal Clash every player starts out with 10 Crystals in their Crystal Pool (The maximum number of Crystals in your pool is 20 and you conveniently keep record of your Crystals with a 20-sided dice). Crystals are used to summon Character cards, to play Relic cards which support the characters and to pay for Abilities the Characters can perform. In order to not be limited to your initial 10 Crystals, which would be gone pretty soon otherwise, you can discard one card from your hand at each beginning of your turn and add Crystals equal to the card’s cost to your Crystal Pool. Your Characters can attack and defend using either Ability cards or the Abilities printed on the Character cards (by spending the Magic Points each Character enters play with) and every undefended “offensive Ability” results in 2 Crystals being removed from the attacked player’s Crystal Pool. Now whenever one player’s Crystal supply is depleted, meaning no more Crystals are in their Crystal Pool, that player immediately loses the game. So you see, your resources, your Crystals, in Crystal Clash are your life total at the same time. This leads to so many interesting gameplay choices and tough decisions – though decisions being one of the main things that make any game fun and engaging as many will agree with me! You really feel like your actions and decisions in Crystal Clash matter when you have to decide which card to discard at the beginning of your turn to add Crystals to your pool, when you have to decide how many Crystals you will be spending on your turn to play the Characters, Relics and Abilities in your hand, always keeping in mind that you don’t want to spend more than necessary as every card played will drain your life, your Crystals, and a ton of tough decisions in Combat as well. From my personal experience I can just say that the game system is tight, tough and very engaging. And experts seem to agree with me, such as the lead designer of the secret American games publisher, who rated the game an 8 out of 10 straight out of the box, adding that it could score even higher on his personal scale with some minor changes in card balance etc…

But now I have taken enough of your time recounting Crystal Clash’s history and bragging about its great gameplay and mechanics. So let us come to the final, surely most anticipated part of my Crystal Clash announcement post: The Order vs Chaos art previews!

Many thanks and kudos to Dennis Saputra of Indonesia, who illustrates the Chaos Deck and to Cj Penna from the United States who is the artist doing the Order card artworks. Both are  highly talented and great to work with! So here you go, some Order and Chaos card art previews (consider yourself lucky – I haven’t shared these with anyone else yet 😉 ):

Here some Chaos artworks:

And here some artworks for the Order Deck:

Well I hope you like the art previews as much as I do! Again, keep your fingers crossed for Crystal Clash and me. Will be posting more news and previews on here as they come in!

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