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Darkwood Games - Elementile

Created by Darkwood Games

Darkwood Games presents Elementile Utilize the power of the elements to summon an army of units and cast spells! A new competitive card game featuring 582 cards.

Latest Updates from Our Project:

Mechanic Spotlight – Starting Hands
11 months ago – Fri, Nov 12, 2021 at 12:52:37 AM

Hello Elementalists!


Firstly, for those in the United States, we would like to wish a happy Veteran's Day to all those who have served and defended our nation. We thank you for your bravery, your selfless commitment, and the sacrifices you have made and continue to make in order to protect the freedoms we hold dear.


Last night, we hosted a live stream with our own The Ox (Ryan Stock) and Sir Snarf (Alex Campbell) with commentary from Elementile's creator, Zach Mitchell. Ryan and Alex played with preconstructed decks in a 1v1 matchup showing the key mechanics of Elementile and unique aspects of the game. Ryan selected The Radiant Pack deck, which favors Fire and Light elements - push with fearsome Fire units, support them with Light units and spells, and blow up anything in your way! Alex chose the Wings of Death pack, favoring Darkness and Wind elements - outmaneuver your opponent for efficient trades, and outlast them with discard effects and recursion! The full list of cards in each preconstructed deck can be found in the Elementile Rulebook. After a close game, Alex took home the victory!

In case you missed it, you can watch the full stream here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=09c1nHMuE-I

Mechanic Spotlight – Starting Hands

Our next mechanic spotlight focuses on the starting hand rules for Elementile!

The current and final rule for starting hands is as follows:

The second player gains an element of their choice.  Both players then search their deck for a single card and add it to their hand and shuffle.  They then both draw 6 cards and play begins with the first player.


This was not always the rule for the start of play, and in order to speak on the importance of this particular ruleset it is important to go through the history of starting hands.

Originally, the starting hands were fairly simple:

The first player draws 7 cards, the second player draws 8 cards, then play begins with the first player.

A bit of card advantage is nice, but the grid system in Elementile makes momentum incredibly important.  As play continued in this way, it became clear that an extra card in hand did not do enough to make up for the loss of tempo that comes from playing second.  Not only was going first the preferred option for basically every deck, but sometimes a total lack of early plays would just allow the second player to be completely overwhelmed, leading to some non-games, so this issue had to be addressed.


The starting hand rule was then adjusted to:

The first player searches their deck for any single card and adds it to their starting hand then shuffles and draws 6 cards.  The second player draws 7 cards, then searches their deck for any single card and adds it to their starting hand then shuffles.  Then play begins with the first player.

The idea behind this rule was to allow players to search their deck for a card to try and prevent the blowout situations which were sometimes seen previously and also provide the second player with an advantage beyond being 1 card up.  The ability to see your full starting hand and add a card to it instead of having to pick a card first, then get the rest of your hand, allowed the second player to potentially search for a vital combo piece or a strong second or third turn play, especially if their starting hand already had decent early options.  The first player could also use their search in the same way, but they would be taking a larger risk to do so, as they wouldn’t know if they would have any early options until after they’ve made their choice.

This again proved to be too great of an advantage for the first player.  The problem was that while rounding out your hand was nice, having to defend against the first player’s tempo while being even on elements could be a daunting task, and it was even more uphill to try and push against the first player.  As the second player, you were down tempo, but if you managed to get the upper hand, you still had to push against the first player who had a resource advantage simply from playing first.  This brought us to our final iteration of the starting hand rule outlined in the beginning of this spotlight:

The second player gains an element of their choice.  Both players then search their deck for a single card and add it to their hand and shuffle.  They then both draw 6 cards and play begins with the first player.

We kept the search effect as it seemed effective for stopping no-play blowouts, but the order of the search and starting hand size was normalized to keep it more consistent and easy to remember.  And instead of an extra card in hand, the player moving second would get to start out with an extra element.  Now the choice between first and second is the early game momentum versus the resource advantage, and while most decks actually seem to prefer the resources, some can definitely benefit from the momentum.

Getting to a place where both sides of the starting game state can be desirable took a number of iterations, but it was worth the journey.  The starting hand rules may be particular, especially at a glance, but they help ensure each match is an actual game, and no side has too great an advantage solely by virtue of turn order.


That’s going to do it for this mechanic spotlight!  Do resources or momentum fit your playstyle better?  Find out on the field of Elementile!


Best,

Zach Mitchell, Darkwood Games

Elementile Live Stream Tomorrow 11/10!
11 months ago – Tue, Nov 09, 2021 at 11:52:53 PM

Hi Elementalists!

Mark your calendars – tomorrow, November 10th, we will be hosting a live stream of Elementile via Tabletop Simulator and Twitch!

The 1v1 matchup will be between our own Alex Campbell and Ryan Stock with commentary by Elementile’s creator, Zach Mitchell. If you have any questions about the game mechanics or are curious to see more of the game in action, swing by Twitch at 9:00pm EST/6:00pm PST. Both Alex and Ryan will be streaming the game on their respective Twitch channels, which can be found here:

Sir Snarf (Alex): https://www.twitch.tv/sir_snarf

Ox the Tank (Ryan): https://www.twitch.tv/oxthetank

Should be an exciting match-up and we can’t wait to see you there!

Best,

Darkwood Games

Mechanic Spotlight – Overcharge
11 months ago – Tue, Nov 09, 2021 at 02:11:00 AM

Hi Elementalists!

It’s time for another Elementile mechanic spotlight! Today we wanted to highlight a unique resource mechanic in Elementile - overcharging elements.


Mechanic Spotlight – Overcharge

Last update, we talked before about Sacrifice, the main resource gaining mechanic, and all the deck building possibilities that are opened up by moving resources outside of the deck.  (You can read the full post here: link). Another unique element of these resources is that they are double-sided - enabling a new feature: Overcharge! 


Overcharge is a mechanic where at the end of each of your turns, you can choose one unspent element to flip over into its overcharged state.


While in this state, your resource becomes a wild element, allowing it to be spent for any kind of element cost in the future.  The first time an overcharged element is spent, even if it isn't used as a wild, it flips back to its normal, uncharged state.


This mechanic was originally introduced to accomplish two things:

1. Smooth out the rigidity in card costs and splashes.

2. Provide an incentive not to spend all of your elements every time on every turn (or at least a consolation prize when spending all of your elements isn’t possible).


The increased agency provided to players by sacrificing cards for resources is counterbalanced by creatures, heroes, and spells having very specific costs, often including multiple elements beyond their main affiliation.  Without Overcharge, if you wanted to splash in an extra element type in your deck for a single card, you would have to commit to gaining a full element of that type in order to do so.  Overcharge allows a clever player to sacrifice tempo on a previous turn in order to have a little more flexibility in what they can play on the following turn.


Secondly, because you cannot spend elements on your opponent’s turn, before the addition of Overcharge there was no reason not to try to spend all of your elements every turn.  In cases where you didn’t have the correct cards to spend all your elements, you were just left playing at a lower tempo with no real recourse.  Overcharge provides a strategic avenue to not spend all elements every turn, and gives players increased flexibility and intentionality throughout the game.  

Thank you so much for all of your support so far and I look forward to seeing you all on the Elemental Plane!


Best,

Ryan The Ox Stock, Darkwood Games

Mechanic Spotlight – Resource Gain
11 months ago – Sun, Nov 07, 2021 at 01:20:25 PM

Hi Everyone!


Day 5 and we are well on our way to the first stretch goal with 131 backers! Again we can't thank you all enough, and a special thank you to those that took a moment to share this project with a friend! We have prepared a number of interesting spotlights to highlight the many gameplay iterations of Elementile, starting with some of the core game mechanics  - what they are, how they work, and how they came to be in the game!


Mechanic Spotlight – Resource Gain

In Elementile, in order to gain an element (one of the resources required to play cards), you must sacrifice a card in your hand by placing it face down in the Ethereal Plane (similar to Exile).  When you make a sacrifice you can choose any type of element you want and add it to your Elemental Plane (resource pool).  You can perform this action up to once per turn, and because all elements are refreshed at the start of your turn, as the game goes on you gain more and more resources to fuel larger or more elaborate plays.

While this may not sound like much, giving players full control of when they want to build up their resource pool, what they will sacrifice in order to do so, and what type or resource they will gain opens up a lot of deck building possibilities and adds a lot of consistency to decks overall.  In order to illustrate this point a bit further, let’s take a look at some hypothetical situations.

Let’s say you have a deck that revolves around a specific hero, such as a deck with a lot of ranged units and you want to play around Reginald, Knight Captain.

Art by Amanda Kwieraga

Unfortunately, you only have one copy of Reginald in your deck.  But if you were to throw in a couple copies of Divine Gift, and you draw those instead, you could sacrifice a little tempo, pick up a light element, and add Reginald to your hand.

Sketch by Vivian Hernandez. Final art in progress.

Because you have full control of when (if ever) you get a Light element, in games where you need to play Divine Gift, you can dip into Light on the appropriate turn to search for your hero.  If you already draw your hero, or don’t need to use the card, you can always just turn it into fuel for more elements.


Now let’s say you had a deck that was primarily Fire, but had two secondary elements, perhaps Earth and Darkness.

Sketch by Vivian Hernandez. Final art in progress.

The Earth may be there to provide ranged options in order to pick off weaker back line threats when necessary.  The Darkness may be included in order to answer highly armored units with armor piercing effects.  Depending on the matchup there may be games where you lean into one of these secondaries really hard or don’t use them at all.  There may be some matchups where you dip a little into both.  Because you have complete control over your resources, you never have to worry about drawing mismatched cards and resources.  Additionally, if one of those secondary elements will not be useful, you can sacrifice those cards in order to fuel your other plays.

For the last example, let’s say you have a deck that spans all of the elements, but doesn’t dip very hard into any one of them in particular.  If resources were a part of the deck, this sort of build might be incredibly inconsistent since you may draw mismatched resources and cards.  By moving elements outside of the deck, this allows this strategy to be far more consistent.  A deck like this would also be very good at capitalizing on Triversity, but we’ll have to save that conversation for another mechanic spotlight.


I hope these examples of deck building help illustrate just how many deck building options there are in Elementile, largely due to the core sacrifice resource mechanic.  If these hypotheticals have wet your deck building appetite, head on over to the card library or Tabletop Simulator and start brewing!  I look forward to seeing your creations out there on Elemental Plane!

Best,

Ryan The Ox Stock, Darkwood Games

Fully funded in 2 days!
11 months ago – Sat, Nov 06, 2021 at 07:37:54 PM

We did it! Elementile is fully funded in under 2 days! Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for making this dream a reality.

What’s next?

There are still 28 days left in the campaign, so that means a lot of time to work toward our stretch goals, including upgraded card and box finishes, a plastic game tray, and token upgrades! There are also some secret goodies we’ve been working on behind the scenes that we’re so excited to share with you when the campaign gets to that point. In the meantime, we would appreciate your continued support if you could share Elementile with any others in the community you think would be interested in the game. Let’s hit these goals!


Thank you again for your support and we hope to see you on the Elemental Plane!


Best,

Darkwood Games