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Solforge Fusion: A Fresh Hybrid Deckbuilding Experience | PAX East 2024

I had the opportunity to experience a truly unique game, Solforge Fusion, at PAX East. Advertised as a hybrid deckbuilding game, I was curious about how it works and wanted to explore its mechanics firsthand. The game left such a remarkable impression on me that I immediately purchased a starter kit and couldn’t wait to get home to forge my first deck online.

One aspect that stood out was how easy it is to pick up and play Solforge Fusion. During my experience at PAX, I was introduced to the game through the online tutorial. In each game, my opponent and I started with five cards from our decks. A refreshing deviation from games like Magic the Gathering is that there was no need to manage mana; any card in my hand was playable. The strategic placement of cards is crucial, with the playing field comprising five distinct rows for card placement. If my opponent didn’t have a card in the row where I placed mine, the damage inflicted by my card would directly affect my opponent with the goal of reducing the health of my opponent to zero to win the game. 

The cards are played in turns, with me and my opponent taking alternating actions. I played a card, followed by my opponent playing theirs. Once we each played two cards, the combat phase began. If my card were placed in the same path as my opponent's, my character card would first damage their card. If my card survived, it would inflict any extra damage beyond the opponent's card health to my opponent’s overall health. In addition to character cards, the game features spell cards. Playing a spell card also consumes a turn, yet certain spells grant me the advantage of circumventing my opponent's cards, enabling me to inflict damage directly on their total health. After the battle phase has ended, our hands are discarded, and we draw five new cards to start the next round.

One of the standout features of Solforge Fusion is the innovative leveling system for creature cards. Each time a creature card is played, it levels up. Starting at level one, the card progresses to level two once played, with the level two card being placed in the discard pile. When the deck is reshuffled, the level two card is then added to the deck. This cycle continues as the card levels up each time it is played, up to level three. This unique mechanic introduces a strategic deckbuilding element into the gameplay, making each decision impactful and rewarding.

Another fascinating aspect of this system is the ability to merge two distinct decks. Each physical deck is one-of-a-kind, distinguished by a QR code. Scanning this code integrates the cards into my digital account, enabling me to blend cards from any two decks I possess to form a new, forged deck. This innovative feature embodies the essence of a hybrid gaming experience. It allows me to enjoy playing physical cards with friends and family while also offering the convenience of taking the same deck into online battles and campaign modes against virtual opponents. During my conversation with Justin Gary, one of the game's creators, I said I was surprised no one had previously come up with this idea. In response, he humorously pointed out that the reason for this may lie in the technical challenges involved. As challenging as it might have been, they made the process seamless, as I was able to add my decks with ease to my online account. 

Stoneblade has some exciting plans for the future of Solforge Fusion. In addition to online play and a campaign mode, they are also introducing tournaments and events. The demo for the online game is currently available on Steam, while physical cards can be purchased on their website or at select retailers. I can't wait to see what the future has in store for Solforge Fusion, and I am eager to spend hours playing with friends both in person and online.



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