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Sunday
Feb052012

Fantasystrike.com is Launching!

Hey everyone, I'm excited to let you all know that after 2 years of development and testing of fantasystrike.com, we'll finally be launching the site on February 17th, a week from this Friday. You'll be able to play Yomi and Puzzle Strike online there, and someday other games too such as Flash Duel and a Fantasy Strike customizable (but not collectable) card game. But let's not get ahead of ourselves!

In case you're new to things, Yomi is a card game that captures the essence of fighting games such as Street Fighter. Each deck is a character, and there are 10 to choose from. The decks resemble poker decks, and that makes them pretty easy to learn. Your numbered cards 2-10 are normal moves, your face cards are special moves, and your aces are super moves. The game focuses on the mind-games that happen in high level play in real fighting games, but extracted into a turn-based form so you don't need any dexterity.

Puzzle Strike is a deckbuilding game, featuring the same characters as in Yomi (plus even more). It simulates a puzzle game such as Puzzle Fighter, where you try to clear out gems from your "gem pile" and send them to your opponents. If your gem pile fills up to 10, you lose, but the closer you are to losing the more you'll be able to draw each turn. You build your deck as you play, so it's the same genre of game as Dominion in case you've heard of that, except it's far more interactive and suited for tournament play. Also it has a pretty interesting 3-player and 4-player mode with no player elimination these days!

Online Features

Puzzle Strike and Yomi both have full rules implementation. They both have an interactive tutorial. We have a guide for both games (check it out!), leaderboards, ranked and unraked matches, and the ability to save replays and watch other people's replays. Even League of Legends didn't launch with that, ha!

Rankings

We're going to reset all the beta rankings when we launch. As you play, you'll level up through the "student" ranks at first. During this period, you can't lose any points, so you'll be sure to progress eventually. Also any character you play contributes to your student points, so it's up to you if you want to play several characters or stick to just one. Once you graduate to the "master" ranks, you'll have a separate ranking for every character though, and losses will make you lose points. Eventually this rank system actually converges to 100% skill-based elo ranking, but everyone gets to make progress along the way.

Tabletop vs Online Versions

The online version of Yomi is exactly the same as the physical one in the real world with cardboard cards. Same abilities, same 10 characters, and so on. For Puzzle Strike though, we've evolved the game and actually rebalanced it based on months (or now years, actually) of tournament play AND we've put up the full expansion that hasn't even been released yet in the tabletop world. So you have access to all 20 characters and all the puzzle chips from the base + the expansion in the online version!

Tuned for Serious Competition

Both Puzzle Strike and Yomi are fun on a casual level, but they each also have a ton of depth and strategy if you really get into them. Those years spent on balancing ensure that you can play them for years and still find them strategically interesting. There's a growing competitive scene and frequent online tournaments, so join in! (Casual fun is also allowed!)

Free To Play with Options to Pay

Each week there will be two different free characters in each game, on a rotating basis. As you play, you earn gold that you can spend to unlock your favorite characters permanently. Or you can just buy characters directly, and avoid any kind of grind. Remember that all characters are at full power instantly, and there is no painful period of playing a gimped character until you get runes or something like in other games. Anyway, you'll also have the third option of getting a subscription, which unlocks ALL the characters in all our games, as well as some other perks and access to beta features and even beta games at some point.

The Road to Launch

Over the next 10 business days, I'll introduce one new Fantasy Strike character per day, ending with the exciting launch of Fantasystrike.com a week from this Friday. These are the 10 characters from the upcoming Puzzle Strike Shadows expansion, which you'll be able to play at launch. First up will be head man at Flagstone, Sirus Quince!

Reader Comments (15)

Exciting! I've been curious about the backstories of the new characters!

February 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterThatsGobbles

Despite I play League of legends a lot, I 100% approve your jabs/Burns, they are completely deserved and is also important to point out you have features in your games that should not be taken for granted (as many games, even big budget games sometimes lack), and that are very valuable and important to a gaming community.

February 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterWaterd103

I noticed on the http://www.fantasystrike.com/guide/index.php/Puzzle_Strike page, the images of the character chips from the original game are NOT the rebalanced ones from the Upgrade pack. The text is correct however. (i.e. Jackpot is in the text but Poker Winnings is the image beside it, and Burst of Speed is pictured next to Three Colors' text)

February 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTony Miller

"I'm very surprised to see basic functionality of the multiplayer game--the characters--locked behind tedious 1p tasks. I had to pay a tax of fighting the computer on easiest for long time just to get the core features of the game. (I did this picture-in-picture while watching episodes of Frasier.) I'm fully aware that casual players love unlocks, and that's why non-essential content like costumes, movies, icons, and titles are all perfectly fine to give as rewards for playing 1p content. But the *characters*? This steps on the toes of those wanting to play the multiplayer game by making our first experience with the game a very boring one."

Are you buying in, or selling out?

February 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMorzas

Waterd: yeah, thanks.

Tony: those images do need updating, though there have been a lot of changes to chips lately, so hopefully we can reach a stable state, call it done, then update all those images at once.

Morzas: Are you still beating your wife? Your question assumes wrongdoing and is wrong on its face. I'm certainly not against selling a game. Selling a game is standard practice. Like, someone pays X and they have the game. That is exactly how fantasystrike.com works. You can pay, and get characters instantly. There is zero forced grind ever to get basic functionality. That there is an OPTION to do it to avoid paying is purely a bonus to you. I can always remove that option if you want, but I don't see any reason to.

Note that Kongai was exactly the same way. You could pay to get any card you wanted directly and instantly, or buy them all at once just like you buy any game. In addition to that there was the OPTION to not pay. Anyway I'm actually offended by your comment.

February 6, 2012 | Registered CommenterSirlin

I'm really confused...I thought the current website was the real deal. Can you help me with this one, Sirlin? >_>;

February 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDiscoCokkroach

We've been in beta for *two years*, offering everything for free and adding more and more features. This is the finally the launch and transition to an actual commercial product. Having more than 0 income will really let us keep improving the site to new heights. We'd really like to have better support for tournaments and add more games like Flash Duel, and improve the overal UI. So with your support, we'll be able to do all that and more.

February 6, 2012 | Registered CommenterSirlin

"There is zero forced grind ever to get basic functionality. That there is an OPTION to do it to avoid paying is purely a bonus to you. I can always remove that option if you want, but I don't see any reason to."

I've seen you jab at F2P games for years, so this announcement seemed like a turn to the Dark Side. But when you put it in those words, your new site sounds a lot more equitable and aligned with your principles. Thank you for clearing up that confusion I had. I see now that you are still a Jedi.

"I'm actually offended by your comment."

I'm honored by yours.

February 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMorzas

Ok, we'll call it even then, fair and square! Haha. Anyway, we can all rejoice the ability to avoid grinds.

February 7, 2012 | Registered CommenterSirlin

And here I was just thinking the F2P options were a brilliant move on your part to draw new players into the site. Not an original move, mind you, but this seems like a great business model to me. :)

February 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDorkmaster Flek

The crappy thing about F2P is when they a) obfuscate the total cost of ownership and b) compromise the game design to make more cash. MtG does both without even being F2P, FS.com does neither.

February 8, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterpkt-zer0

I will wait a thousand years

for Chess 2

February 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKristoph

Game replays sounds fabulous. Props to Sirlin, Thelo and the forum crew. And thanks for allowing free play all this while. I had a great time with Yomi.

February 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCer

I have to say I love the approach you are taking with the payments. I really hope that this way of trying to get paid for your hard work pays off. It's great to see someone that puts a value on their work and backs that up with a way of making it happen.

February 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterOrsino

Cer, yeah totally. Thelo is working on a way to directly link to replays even, so they are easier to share. Such a great thing to be able to see an intense game, or get feedback on how to improve your own game.

Orsino, thanks I hope it works out too!

February 9, 2012 | Registered CommenterSirlin
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