Touchscreens and Collectible Card Games (CCGs) have been enjoying a great relationship the last few years with the App Store featuring games like Might and Magic: Duels of Champions, Solforge, Magic: Duels of the Planeswalkers, and the current King of the Mountain, Blizzard's Hearthstone. I've recently been playing a bit of Earthcore: Shattered Elements , a new CCG by Polish Independent Developers Tequila Games currently in soft-launch, and I think it's going to be an intriguing addition to iOS CCGs.
The mechanics of Earthcore deviate in interesting ways from those of most other CCGs on the App Store. The game's cards are divided into four Elements - Earth, Fire, Water, and Dust - and the battles are built around a rock-paper-scissors mechanic where Earth beats Water, Water beats Fire, Fire beats Earth, and Dust gets the short end of the stick and gets beaten by all the rest. Many cards have additional skills that allow players to do fun things like changing a card's Element, shifting a card's position, etc. There are also Hero cards that can have up to 3 Skills and enable more intricate strategies.
As a typical lane-based card game, the game's battles take place along three lanes with each card fighting with the card on the opposite side of its lane. In the middle lane there's a 2x multiplier that gives bonus damage to one of the two players on each turn, making the middle lane especially important for timing card placement and strategies.
When it comes to the actual card-battling mechanics, Tequila Games is trying something innovative. The developers have dropped the attack/defense/cost CCG formula and, instead, designed cards with only one number on them, Risk. Risk adds an additional, and very interesting, layer of decision-making that had me thinking in a very different way than I usually do when I play a CCG.
For example, imagine I play a Water card with a Risk value of 3 and no extra skills and my opponent a Fire card with a Risk value of 20 that has al...