My relationship with card games is love hate. I love them, but they seem to hate me. I mean, I love to play them, but I get to a point where I just simply can’t get any better and hit a wall. Faeria is no exception, but boy, do I love it still.
I’ve been playing the Switch version and I do need to do some due diligence and tell you it isn’t the smoothest of experiences. There are plenty of times where the game hangs for a second or two and it is very noticeable, even for me.
The first hour with the game is also very stop start. It is trying to teach you the mechanics and I appreciate that, but even for someone like me who needs a bit of hand-holding in games like this, I reached a point where I wanted to just move forward.
I still think games in this genre haven’t yet worked out the onboarding process and you get one of two extremes… no help at all, or too much holding you back. Faeria honestly isn’t terrible here, but it took me some time to muster up the desire to carry on in those early stages.
Yet I am glad I did. Faeria offer a unique take on the genre (apologies if it is based on something else, it is new to me). You manage a deck as per usual in the genre, but you also need to consider how you control the play area. Using the board to your advantage to take control of any battle.
If you’ve played Magic the concept is similar. You need to play lands (of different types) to allow you to then play cards, with the cards you get to play being based off the land types you have down.
For example you might have a card that require 3 forest lands to be laid down. However, the trade off is in trying to reach the target on the opposite side, you’ll need to consider laying 1 forest based land, vs 2 normal lands. It is a mechanic that really makes you think laterally about your deck.
Lands are important as are how you play them. To play your cards you need Faeria and whilst you earn Faeria each turn, you can get more by controlling the board and getting extra from wells. This again adds another strategic level to things.
I could go on about the intricacies and nuances of how the game plays, but you can find guides and let’s play videos for that. What I will tell you is that Faeria is a super well balanced affair where you can learn as you go and never feel too out of your depth.
The visual nature of land tiles and collecting Faeria adds a level of understanding that I couldn’t get from similar titles. Much in the same way I could get my head around the ‘real world’ post-apocalyptic Fallout, but was entirely lost in Elder Scrolls games.
The visual elements here cannot be under-estimated with how well they allow you to plan and react to how the opposition is playing. That isn’t to say this is a dumbed down game though. There are still many levels of understanding needed to progress.
I still hit a point where my knowledge of deck-building meant I was being blown away with ease, or fumbling my way to victory. But unlike other titles I knew I could see how deck builds would affect a round. I am not any better, but my understanding has improved.
Faeria isn’t going to pull in the dedicated players of Magic and Hearthstone, but it is for me at least, the best of the games in the genre for new players to gain the skills needed to try other games. It does this whilst still offering up a lot of content for the money and a rewarding experience for those who continue to play.
A shout out to the Faeria communities too. I was able to find lots of friendly help without ever feeling like I was being judged, so it is great to see something like that around too.
I would recommend the Switch port of Faeria to almost anyone, it is a wonderful game to have ready and waiting for you in handheld mode. A cracking addition to any library.