There's no doubt that the mobile CCG scene is a crowded one, but Insilentium is looking to stand out of the crowd by blending the tried and tested mechanics of digital collectible-and-trading card games that you know and love with their own unique take on how digital (namely mobile) card games can be played.
Who is Monolith Mind?
Monolith Mind is a new indie-development studio based in Ukraine the game and currently consists of 10 people, all experienced gamers and veterans of the gaming industry. Before setting out on their own game development journey, the core team had worked primarily on the development of backend and security systems for games, but like with many people who indirectly work on games, the desire to develop their own game steadily grew as they got to know each other more. However, even after initially meeting up, the team did not form right away as though they had decided on what they wanted to achieve, they decided to bide their time, building up their own experience, and waited until the time was right.
The initial plan was to create a browser-based space strategy game, but after several brainstorming sessions and many hours spent researching, the team was simply not inspired by the overall settings and themes found in the genre. However, during the research sessions the team realized that they all shared one thing in common, they were big fans of the CCG/TCG scene having played games such as Magic the Gathering, Hearthstone, Solforge, and many more.
And so, Insilentium was born!
When the initial concept for Insilentium was being agreed on, the team gave themselves two objectives.
- Create a game that retains the core CCG/TCG mechanics that they all enjoyed
- Create a game that did not fall into the trap of creating 'just another so-called Hearthstone killer, or a clone of any other existing card game.
Put simply, the team was adamant that they would create a game that was familiar to the existing digital card game community but was also unique enough to feel fresh and new - not an easy task. Ultimately, this was achieved by adding in several features that are not found in typical CCGs.
The first major defining feature that was agreed on was the battlefield. Unlike most regular CCG/TCG games where the players directly engage each other, Insilentium makes use of a 3x3 grid split into three lanes. The first is the player's forging lane, the second is the control lane, and the third is the opponents forging lane.
In order to attack the opponent, the player must first forge their cards in their forging lane. Once the card is forged, in order to be able to attack the opponent, the card must travel to the control lane, however as there is a single control lane for both players, there is a constant fight to maintain control of the middle lane, hence the name 'control lane'.
In every step of the way, if the opponent has a card in either the control lane or their own forging lane, the player's cards will need to battle the opponent's cards in order to clear the path ahead. Only once the player's card is in the control lane and the opponent does not have a card blocking them in their own forging lane can the player begin to inflict damage on their opponent.
This idea was inspired by popular MOBA games such as League of Legends where the playing area can essentially be split into distinct areas, the player's team's base, the middle combat area, and the opposing team's base. By bringing this to a CCG, it forces the player to be mindful of what they forge and where.
Fun fact, originally the game had a 4x4 grid, however, this proved to be detrimental to the early game's fun factor and so the team cut it to three, a perfect balance!
The Level System
The second most important differentiating factor between more common card games and Insilentium is the removal of the mana system and the introduction of a level system in each match.
If you think of the extremely famous TCG, Magic the Gathering, every faction has their own Land that then generates mana. In MtG, mana is the player's resource that controls what they can summon and the number of actions that they can take. In simple terms, 1 land = 1 useable mana, and as every card has a mana cost this dictates what the player can do in their turn.
Looking to Insilentium, the game does not use a mana system at all. Instead, it uses a combination of fixed actions permitted per turn - 2, with the exception of the first turn where the player has 1 action, and a level system that automatically increases every 4 turns, with every match starting from level I (1) and going up to level V (5).
The level is important as every card has a level assigned to it, displayed on the top right of the card, this represents the level of the card and subsequently, the minimum level that the match needs to be on in order for the player to make use of it. So on level 1, the player cannot forge a level 3 card, they will need to wait to reach level 3 and beyond.
In a match, the level will continue to increase beyond V (5). Though the current highest level requirement of a card is V, there are abilities that trigger effects such as inflict damage or buff your own cards equal to the match level.
The Logic of the Decks
Though this may not be the most obvious area of a digital card game to change, it is here that Insilentium departs from the norm the most - the way that the game handles cards that have been defeated in battle and the player's hand.
In these two features, the developers made a bold choice, cards are never destroyed, and the player’s hand is constantly changing.
For those that are unaware, in a card game, the hand is the name of the cards that the player has drawn and can be used during their turn.
What does this mean?
When a card is defeated during the game, or when the player uses an action, instead of the card being sent to a discard or void pile never to be used again in that match, the card is reshuffled back into the player’s deck and will eventually be drawn again. As for the player's hand, unlike most digital card games where the player hand is relatively static (by that the player draws a set amount of cards and keeps the cards unless they are discarded or used), in Insilentium at the end of every turn, the player shuffles the remaining cards in their hand back into the deck and draws a new hand.
Another fun fact: The team is well aware that this, and many other features that they have implemented are big steps away from the norm of CCG gaming and so the team has placed bets between themselves on what systems will remain when the game is fully released.
Insilentium has started an open beta and is looking for Android and iOS (iPhone only for now) owners to test the game and provide feedback on the game so far. Get the beta on Google Play or on iOS (Testflight required for iOS), and then join the Discord server to give the team your feedback.