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!
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!
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!