8 Dynamic NFT Card Games You Can Play Today
Web2 card games like Hearthstone, Magic: the Gathering ArenaEven Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel links has enjoyed continued popularity, so it was only a matter of time before blockchain game developers jumped onto this niche in hopes of giving the genre a much-needed Web3 facelift.
As players rally around the concept of owning their digital assets, NFT card games are building the first glimpse into the future of classic entertainment. So we’ve built a collection of the most popular titles in the space to illustrate current card game offerings in the blockchain gaming world.
Gods Unchained is one of the first NFT card games to hit the market, and it’s also one of the earliest successful blockchain games, period. Its beta was launched way back in 2018, developed by the Ferguson brothers. At the time, it was billed as the then nascent blockchain gaming scene’s first esports experience. Today, it can best be described as the blockchain game’s formal answer to fantasy card game figures such as Hearthstone and Magic: the Gathering Arena.
The game was officially released in 2021, and the cards have since amassed a trade volume equivalent to more than $100 million at the time of writing, with 162 thousand unique holders of Gods Unchained cards and counting. Much of the game’s appeal to card game enthusiasts comes down to its current leadership. Sitting as Gods Unchained VP and Game Director is Chris Clay, who previously held a directorial role on “Magic: The Gathering Arena”. Bringing such a wide range of experience to the game will put it in competition with other blockchain games, as well as Web2 trading card games.
The game has taken great steps to ensure the sustainability of the in-game economy; its tokenomics, if you will. To prevent the game from becoming a pay-to-win wasteland that alienates new players, the development team has ensured that every pack players receive will have at least one card viable for competitive play. This includes free packs for free-to-play players, as well as welcome packs given out to new players. If Gods Unchained is to become a truly self-sustaining community, ensuring game balance and parity will be a must.
Tokens: Splintershards (SPS), Dark Energy Shards (DES)
Originally launched as Steem Monsters in 2018, this passion project by Pennsylvania technologists Jessie Reich and Matthew Rosen gradually evolved into what it is today: Splinterlands. Although on the surface it has a similar fantasy-inspired aesthetic to Gods Unchained, there are several factors that separate the two. Firstly is not it free to play in the conventional sense. To unlock the game’s full set of features, users must purchase a Summoner’s Spellbook from the in-game store for $10.
At that point, players can play the game however they want. Exceptional players are rewarded with one of two tokens: Splintershards (SPS), which serve as the game’s governing token and main currency, and Dark Energy Shards (DES), which increase a player’s SPS earning potential and serve as currency for in-game purchases. cosmetic items, potions and much more. Recently, the Splinterlands team also launched a generative NFT collection where the NFTs can also be used as cards in the game.
Although the game has faced some criticism for what is perceived as play-to-win mechanics, there is an article about Naavik broke down how the level management, which requires more time and money from players to progress in the game, has prevented it from falling into the same traps as other “pure play to earn” games. In addition, the game also offers players the option to rent some cards in the game for a fixed sum of DES per day. Not only does this effectively lower the barrier to entry for new players to meaningfully compete in the game, but it also allows experienced players to tinker with deck builds without committing to buying the cards they’re experimenting with. In the best of circumstances, if a player only needs one specific card to really round out their deck, they can just choose to rent it.
Token: Sorare (SOR)
Wondering what would happen if you could actually do things with your NBA Top Shot NFTs? Sorare may be the NFT card game for you. At Sorare, sports fans can access a truly unique experience that combines two of the biggest hobbies built on top of professional sports leagues: fantasy leagues and trading cards.
Instead of relying on drafts to build out their fantasy rosters, Sorare players do so via the acquisition of cards, which can log each athlete’s stats in real time. As in fantasy leagues, these stats are used as the basis for each player’s strength on any given day. When a user is ready to test the strength of their team, they can pit a selection of their players against other users and earn in-game points.
The best part? Support for Sorare has grown rapidly among professional sports leagues. Currently fans of baseball, football, and basketball can enjoy dedicated Sorare modes. So if you’re looking for a way to pass the time and earn some money on the side of your preferred sports season, Sorare is a great option.
Token: test DUO (tDUO)
Cards against humanity exposed everyone’s inner degenerate IRL and on Web2, and Duo aims to do the same in Web3. Although it gives groups of friends a virtually identical experience to the zinger-based card game in practice, the Web3 implementation opens up a wealth of new possibilities. At the time of writing, the game is currently in beta, but the core experience is almost complete.
So how does this party game format play in Web3? First, players can create particularly funny replies and messages in NFTs. These cards can then be voted on by the community, with the cards receiving the highest votes then eligible for inclusion in the game’s official decks. The authors of these cards then also become eligible to receive royalties from the sale of these decks. So everyone laughs, and potentially everyone wins too. Apart from that, since these cards are NFTs, users will also have the means to preserve some of their favorite moments by playing the game forever on the blockchain.
Blockchain: Ethereum via the Ronin Network sidechain
Tokens: Smooth Love Potion (SLP)
You’d be hard-pressed to come up with a list above some some sort of blockchain game title without at least mentioning Axie Infinity. Although the game on its face looks like a monster fighter, its card-based mechanics and focus on collecting make it a nice inclusion for this list.
After a massive 2022 hack and the subsequent fallout, Axie Infinity began bleeding players at an alarming rate. In June 2022 alone, the game saw approximately 1.5 million players quit for good. Fortunately, with the recent release of the massive Axie Infinity: Origins update, not only will players enjoy a much-needed gameplay overhaul, but new players may be more willing to try the game with the new free-to-play model.
Blockchain: Ethereum, Counterparty, Klaytn
Tokens: Bit crystals. XCP for counterparty, ETH for Ethereum and BCY Klaytn for Klaytn based assets.
Looking for a blockchain gaming experience that you can keep in your pocket? That’s exactly what Spells of Genesis hopes to give players. It’s a mobile-first blockchain-powered trading card game that combines deck building and card combat with point-and-click arcade shooting mechanics. The game also has desktop and web versions for those trying to keep their phone’s memory usage low.
Interestingly, players can choose to skip the entire blockchain aspect of the game entirely. Much of the game’s blockchain functionality is missing from the online version, and players have a large selection of non-blockchain cards at their disposal to enjoy the game for what it is. Of course, everything changes when a player connects their crypto wallet to the game and starts converting their decks into blockchain-based assets.
Blockchain: Ethereum via polygon
Beneath Skyweaver’s accessible fantasy aesthetic is a game that embraces all the trends blockchain gaming experts believe will drive the space forward. Of these trends, the two biggest design choices Skyweaver’s development team has made in service of its player-first goal are its free-to-play structure and play-to-own in-game economy.
Additionally, unlike other card-based games, Skyweaver has a non-rotating card structure. This means that cards introduced into the game will never be banned or rotated out of play, allowing players to really let loose and build the strongest decks possible without restrictions. This emphasis on stability can also be seen in Skyweaver’s in-game currency: USDC. It is one of the few, if not the only blockchain game backed by a stablecoin, which does wonders for its long-term potential.
Understanding what sets Metropolis Origins apart from other card-based NFT games available on the market just takes a quick look. The game’s comically styled cyberpunk themes and visuals make it stand out from the pack on a visual level alone. But what about the game makes it compelling aside from its relatively unique visual flair?
For the most part, it’s designed to offer players an experience comparable to physical trading card games they’ve played in the real world. On its website, Metropolis Origins does not describe itself as a pay-to-win game, and it is not a game to make money. It’s just a classic trading card game that happens to live on the blockchain.