3) redeeming the Steam key you receive and downloading CrysCo.
Now, for those who prefer it, read on below about our progress over the last month and a half.
Here is a video that will do a better job than I can of describing what has been added to the game:
Worth noting about the current iteration of the deck-building capabilities:
Each player has been temporarily given the full library of available cards.
You can now create fully customized decks.
Searching and filtering a collection can be done via the filter buttons or search field at the bottom of the deck editing view.
To see a full list of recent card updates, head over to our Dev Blog.
In summary, a lot of interesting updates have been made to Intellect (orange) and Wealth (yellow) so maybe that’s where you should start when building your first deck?
After receiving some amazing new art (featured in the new build of the game!) we have already begun commissioning art of another kind: new models! This should include not only a new captain character but also updates to the environment assets. Expect to see more on this front over the next month or so. Some models already in the pipeline (see previous monthly updates) should reach completion relatively soon as well!
On the Horizon
This month ended the first big sprint of the year for the Boreal Games Team. We successfully re-implemented the deckbuilding screen. But we are already hard at work on the next one! No spoilers yet, but a hint is in order: check the new nav and you can begin to guess what features are coming next. This series of sprints is meant to culminate in a (successful?) Kickstarter, so as you follow along, we’d love to hear ways we can continue to improve the game and help build our community’s interest!
P.S. one more time: if you want to play CrysCo, join the Discord 🙂
The Crysco demo continues to evolve, and it becomes more exciting to play every day (get your alpha Steam key in our Discord server if you haven’t already!). That said, we are also doing work outside of the game to improve visibility and grow the community. As we head toward summertime, we will be putting the finishing touches on the look and feel of the game alongside technical updates. Here’s what happened this month!
Another Marta Nael piece reached completion this month! We teased this concept art last month, but the final version is here. Expect to see this piece worked into CrysCo’s in-game menu system soon.
Added a new ability called Adamantine (cannot be dealt more than one damage).
Added a new ability called Water Walking (can move and land on water spaces).
All skirmish reports are sent to each client at the end of the match.
Updated market so that trading from native to crystal resource can be done with any combination of 5 native resource.
Changed maps to improve the balance of resources and general navigability
Lots of QoL changes, which can be seen in depth in the update notes!
Over the past couple of months we’ve completely overhauled Wealth/Yellow cards. The emphasis with this group of cards was always on attacking and comboing off of it. Expect more explosiveness when playing Wealth–literally and figuratively!
Also getting a big update is Intellect/Orange. More utility cards, structures, and synergy across spells, creatures, and structures is the focus here.
We will be periodically tackling each cohort of cards in order to better balance and define the play style associated with them.
This year Boreal Games will be exhibiting at PortCon in Portland, Maine. We are very excited to be attending because, as far as we know, it’s the only convention of its kind in Maine. We hope to see you June 21-24!
Find out more about PortCon here: http://portconmaine.com/site/
A few months back I mentioned that we will be reintroducing a core feature–deck building–back into the game; this is still happening! A lot needed to be done to ready this feature for reintegration–and many other auxiliary systems have to be considered at the same time. All of this to say, soon is a relative term! All I can say for sure is: if you follow us on Twitter, Twitch, and/or are present in our Discord server, you will be the first to know when CrysCo’s next big feature arrives!
Last month I hinted at a new/old feature’s (re)appearance in CrysCo. Spoiler alert: it’s not ready yet! But don’t despair–this month was packed with progress (but of course you already knew that because you’re following along in our Discord community). New cards, updates, and fixes abounded in February and into March. And some of us are improving at actually playing the game as evinced by this tasty “S” rank (though double S’s have been reported, they have not been substantiated with photographic proof).
Game Changes and Quality of Life Updates
The game is evolving at a rapid clip! You can get your own Steam key and play along by joining us on Discord (link in intro), but here are some highlights from this month:
The marketplace feature has been standardized and is now available at any point in a skirmish
Crystal is now generated at a lower rate but can be acquired in new and interesting ways, including through investments and in the environment
Individual hexes can be selected and now have specific characteristics (terrain at this juncture is merely aesthetic but could take on additional properties in the future…)
Outlines delineate active from passive abilities, and icons have been applied in a more coherent way across the board
And much, much more. In fact, there was not one but two significant updates over the past month.
Card Updates and a Word (or several) on Lore
The initial set of cards in CrysCo has seen countless iterations, and it is still evolving–the beauty of a dynamic card game is that this will always be the case to some extent. However, revision is being supplanted by a solid foundation in many cases. Here is a brief overview of the current state of each available crystal type and the cards aligned with them:
Representing a fractured northern kingdom and aligned with the crystal strain known as “seplaem,” the Hochraun remnants, Old North clans, and Menhiran Order band together for team-oriented gameplay.
Creatures work in tandem to overcome an opponent; keystone abilities include “faithful” (disseminating boons to nearby allies on ally entering the skirmish) and inspired (which works on the same mechanic but is a self-buff)
Spells augment clusters of creatures’ ability to survive (healing, protection, overshield, toughness) and act quickly (i.e. zeal, agility, and move range).
Banners are spells unique to spirit that can only be played around a creature
Structures are few and far between in spirit, meaning that population capacity is a major concern for such a creature-heavy style of play
Alom is the currency crystal of Masteria, the primary setting of Crystal Companies. The Alomian Isles–so named because of the mines and commerce this confederacy is known for–are rife with pirates, mercenaries, and rogues, each with their own style of fighting and deceiving. This confederacy provides a rich tapestry of individual cards from which to choose–just don’t expect them to be individually balanced or come with a lack of risk to the battlefield.
Spells are scant in wealth, but unlike spirit, siege units augment the reliance on creatures–population capacity remains a resource to balance as siege is affected by it
Speaking of creatures, wealth consists of ranged gunpowder units, fighters that vary in ability based on attacking, and units with inherent zeal (movement on first turn in play). Wealth’s creatures are explosive–literally and figuratively
Siege and traps give wealth an edge in allowing them to clear the battlefield of enemies, albeit in a fairly risky fashion (usually involving blowing things up)
The Stadian Empire controls most of Masteria, including a vast walled city networked with Zligen crystal energy hubs that enable the deployment of defense mechanisms and transportation via warp-portals. Domination is an exercise in strategic thinking for the Stadians.
Structures and spells make up the majority of an intellect-based arsenal.
Turrets are immobile but provide support, visibility, and act as a deterrent to enemies in an area
Spells act to disrupt and immobilize enemies, and also enable the creation of temporary fighters in the form of zligen constructs
Creatures in intellect are typically utilitarian–building structures, scouting new areas, and capturing waypoints
Siege in intellect is a minor element but a formidable one–the siege zeppelin is a prime example
The Forestal region of Masteria is a semi-autonomous region that is defined by its sprawling wilderness. Different regions in nature represent individual strengths, but the commonalities across the cards–from the Deeproot jungle-dwellers to the Terran resistance fighters to the protectors of the Grove–is that they are adapted to environments of all kinds.
Plants are a unique sub-type in nature that can be structures or creatures. Plants can be food, materials, or even fighters
Creatures are diverse in nature too: humans fight alongside reptiles, arachnids, birds, and more. Native is a core mechanic of nature creatures, and flying is also a common trait. Poison plays an outsized role, as do abilities like territorial and evolve (wherein creatures act when enemies move in range and when creatures change in size and abilities over time, respectively)
Spells in nature play a mid-sized role, by and large serving to boost the vigor of plants and creatures alike
In the future, we hope to offer a glossary of lore and game mechanic terms as well as a complete card list. Currently, you can look up in-game cards by using a command in our Discord channel, which is also where you can access the game and discover new cards through playing the game itself.
On the Horizon
The functionality of Crystal Companies will continue to develop in the coming months. We invite you to join our Discord server to help with testing, give feedback, and hang out. New features will also be appearing/reappearing in the near future, as previously hinted at. So keep an ear to the ground! Or something like that.
P.S. Here’s a sneak peak at some new concept art coming soon!
Over the past month, a lot of minor tweaks and incremental upgrades added up to proverbial leaps and bounds in terms of improvement to CrysCo alpha.
Grab a free alpha Steam key from our Discord channel, and while you’re there, let us know what you think!
New Models on the Way
Much of what we accomplished this month can be perused in more detail over in the update notes. (We weren’t sure you’d want to read about the awesome networking upgrades Brad made, but you can if you want!)
However, we are nearing completion of some new models! Here is a preview:
We made a few major changes to rules inside of skirmishes this month, including:
Units now enter that battlefield with a condition called “Fatigue.” Units with fatigue cannot attack or move. Fatigue will last for one turn. “Zeal” is a mechanic that exempts units from the fatigue condition (like “haste” in MTG). We did this to ensure that first turns would not favor decks with large move ranges over others.
Blockers now only attack back if they have health greater than zero after the initial attacker damage. Attacks no longer occur simultaneously (all attackers now essentially have what we called “agile” before, whereas “agile” now has more niche use-cases). This makes combat more intuitive visually and adds more depth to combat interactions.
Tweaks to line-of-sight and crystal cost have been made to many cards. Investments require increased crystal expenditure and with smaller maps, these changes help to balance the in-skirmish economy.
Quality of Life
Brad made loads of QoL updates this month. Here are a few highlights, but these are best experienced by playing the alpha version for yourself!
Hovering over a unit will now display its current movement range.
Some hex highlights have been updated to be less jarring.
The status menu showing number of cards in hand, graveyard, population, and cards left now glow when any of the numbers of updated.
Population and hand size now turn red if they are at max capacity.
Dedicated market and investment window buttons have been added over the deck/population status panel.
New Hotkeys and Settings
Last but not least, we made some additions to make the game more customizable (fyi: the settings window is now reachable no matter where you are in the game! So, customize away!) to each player’s preference / setup. These include:
Page Down/Up now zooms the camera in/out.
Numpad +/- now zooms the camera in/out.
The option to enable/disable tutorial was added to the settings window.
The option to auto-confirm movement was added to the settings window.
Since this month’s update is so text-heavy, here are some videos that highlight some basic aspects of the game–we hope to make more soon (in the form of easy-to-post GIFs) to reflect the most current look of the game.
On the Horizon
That’s all for this month, folks. We look forward to wowing you next month as Brad tackles a major revamp of a core feature that hasn’t been seen in CrysCo for about a year 😉 Stay tuned, and don’t forget to take the alpha for a test-drive!
December flew by, what with the holidays and constantly adding new content to CrysCo’s alpha version. January is already off to a great start, and we’re just now getting around to posting a recap of our progress during the end of 2017 into 2018. If you haven’t already, join our Discord channel to begin playing Crystal Companies’ alpha debut today!
Here is a quick demo of what the game is looking like these days:
The Nature faction received a much-needed overhaul over the past month. The characteristic features of nature cards–environmental primacy, growth over time, and synergies between plants, spells, and creatures–have been emphasized and retooled for a much more defined play-feel. Plants in particular play a much bigger role with this update.
The newly added population rule effectively creates another resource for players to manage during a skirmish. Instead of being able to indiscriminately play creature cards, a player must now balance their “pop cap” along with the cost of deploying a creature contract. Population does not impact structures or traps, but it does impact spells that produce creatures #makessense.
Last month, we revealed the investments feature. Further revisions now enable players to craft a more nuanced strategy over the course of a skirmish with better-defined investment lines and tiers:
The Infrastructure line offers investments upgrading population capacity, hand capacity, and health and armor of your structures and support operations.
The Military line offers investments upgrading a variety of attributes for your creatures such as attack, armor, and movement speed.
The Economy line offers investments upgrading resource generation and card acquisition.
Each investment costs purely crystal resource and only one investment of each line can be purchased each turn.
UX changes this past month included a skirmish preview (which highlights you and your opponent’s captains and provides a random preview of cards from each player’s deck before the skirmish begins), toggle options in player settings for both the hex grid overlay and for health bars, as well as a sidebar that displays battle notes (in case you are ever wondering why a creature gets defeated or a spell doesn’t produce the result you expected).
New hotkeys were also added, and are as follows (by default):
Q: go to previous ally.
E: go to next ally.
R: go to next movable ally.
T: go to next attack-ready ally.
V: go to next visible enemy.
Escape: open game menu/settings.
Spacebar: confirm action.
New Map – Taru Quarry
Set in an old and overrun crystal mining quarry, Taru Quarry is a new map that is easy to wall and defend. Anima and thieves stalk the two outer lanes and there is a build-site in the center that is not easily accessible without Native or Flying. Rock rubble will impede movement in the early game but are breakable barriers, which makes traversing a bit easier in the late game. Before the encampment was overrun, crystal was exposed but not yet mined. You’ll find a giant crystal face on the right side of the map that fragments crystal every time your units hit it.
The biggest focus for us in the near-term (which we hope will culminate in a successful Kickstarter campaign in the long-term) is community development. We have made much headway in ensuring Crystal Companies is not only fun, but also consistently smooth and exciting over many plays.
Without players’ feedback about the recent major changes, however, it becomes increasingly hard to improve the alpha version. We just can’t be sure what people want until we give it to them. So, if you or someone you know loves the idea of playing a turn-based 3D card game in an alpha-state, please grab a steam key from our Discord channel! Just type !key when you get there.
In addition to spreading the word about CrysCo’s alpha being available, we at Boreal Games will be working on re-integrating all-important features like deck construction, card acquisition, and collection management over the coming months.
We are more excited than ever to hear what you have to say about Crystal Companies and for what lies ahead for us and the community!