This is Niche Spotlight. In this column, we regularly introduce new games to our fans, so please leave feedback and let us know if there’s a game you want us to cover!
Today’s Spotlight is Fatal Core, a browser-based TCG early in development, dedicated to a free-to-play, micro transaction-free business model.
You control one of three factions- the crusading Joanne, the psionic rebel Jedo, or the unhinged Prisoner 218. Each faction can earn cards exclusive to them affecting their play-style, (or utilize neutral cards), but the faction also affects their field.
The goal is to reduce your opponent’s health as much as possible in nine turns. Both players have a 2 x 3 grid to place their monsters on, each slightly tweaking their stats (the exact stats based on the faction). Players play their cards at the same time, with hands on display. However, you can hide two cards from your starting hand, and one more you draw through the game. You quickly have to work out what your opponent is likely to do, and adapt accordingly.
In addition, monsters attack their opponent directly, leaving the only way to wipe out monsters is through special effects of your monsters, or spell cards. Dead monsters also leave corpses, occupying the space until a card is played to clear them away (and even gain something from it).
As you play, you unlock points to spend on booster packs- with no real life money being paid into the game. The game’s support model comes purely via Patreon.
We were approached by “Ghelas” on our Discord about the game and its business model, and how it hope to help treat the player more fairly, and stop money being the be-all-end-all for players and developers alike.
“I have a small team working on an unusual TCG, currently in early stages of open Beta. We plan to keep the game free indefinitely, raising money via Patreon. This way our community gets to take on more of a directing role, allowing us to prioritize everything from features to art direction which the players prefer. We believe that monetization of online games is getting a bit out of hand; games are increasingly tailored to be vehicles for sales of various in-game commodities. We have a robust list of features considering our short time in development, including ranked multiplayer, some basic single-player, currency which is both earned in game and gained on a regular basis by each player, two kinds of packs to open and a market where players can freely trade cards for the currency they’ve accumulated.”
[…] “A huge design flaw in most TCGs is that you reach a point where entrenched players don’t have any incentive to keep buying stuff and new players don’t want to compete with the entrenched ones. I think if a good economic model can be developed, it would change a lot about what’s broken in card games.”
[…] “One of the nice thing about not having cards linked to cash in any way is that I think we’re going to be able to tweak things to a pretty good degree of balance.”
You can find the full run-down below:
Fatal Core will be, and always will be, a free-to-play competitive online card game with no real-money purchases or micro-transactions. Of course, developers need a steady stream of revenue so that their game can continue to grow. Although players share this goal, any strategic victory is cheapened if the driving force behind it is money. A divide forms between high and low-spending players, and tensions often spill over into toxic behavior. We want to try something a little different!
To encourage collaboration between developers and players, Fatal Core will be interactively funded by the player community through channels like Patreon and scaled to community demand. This way, the community will take on a directing role!
The game will be publicly available from an early Alpha state, starting immediately. Players will decide which features, characters, or card sets to develop next. Rewards will be sent at regular intervals to every member of the community. When new funding goals are met, rewards will increase!
We are here to build a great collectible online card game not just for our players, but with them. Support us, and let your voice be heard!