Turkish game development studio Anchora Games recently released the beta version of Forgotten Myths, an online fantasy trading card game. While the idea of another online TCG may not sound very original, Forgotten Myths takes a new approach to this genre, with some surprisingly refreshing results. While the game is both challenging and a lot of fun to play, Forgotten Myths is made truly special by the positive attitudes and creative ambitions of the Anchora design and development team.
Many online TCGs today try to appeal to a broad range of players by making a dumbed down and oversimplified game. Instead of following this model, the designers at Anchora made Forgotten Myths more complicated, with a heavy emphasis on strategy.
Forgotten Myths bears some resemblance to the classic Magic: The Gathering, but the game system is still fairly unique. Gameplay has been designed so that timing is fast-paced, and most games can be completed in under ten minutes. Quick battles means players can get more games in, and it is extremely rare that any game becomes boring.
Each player constructs a deck (new players choose from one of three starter decks) and begins a game with 20 life. Attack zone cards representing cavalry, archers, dragons, griffins, assassins, and more can be placed in one of six slots on the game board, with each slot having a corresponding slot on the opponent’s side. During the fight phase, each pair of slots is resolved one at a time going from left to right, meaning players must carefully decide which slot to place their cards. Both cards in opposing slots do damage simultaneously; there are no separate attack or defense phases. Cards that are left unopposed deal damage directly to the player. Once one player’s life reaches zero, the game is over.
Behind the six attack zones are three slots to place fortification cards. Each fortification defends the two attack zones in front of it, granting health bonuses and other strategic effects. While the attack zone cards do the majority of combat damage, many fortifications can completely alter the balance of a game, at least until the opponent plays one of their own.
Cards also come in the form of energy that is needed to play any other card, enchantments that grant lasting bonuses to an attack zone card, and spells that resolve instantly for various effects. Creating a deck with the right combination of all of these elements takes skill and a lot of practice.
There is much more to Forgotten Myths than just the mechanics of the card game, though. Game designer Emre Öztürk thinks Forgotten Myths offers players more than other TCGs in existence. “TCGs are mostly gateways to other worlds, there is a fantasy world out there, and players engage with that world only through the cards they play with,” Öztürk says. “Most TCGs therefore do not offer a real world that the players can interact with. We are trying to become the first TCG to offer a complete fantasy world, with living cities, characters (NPCs) and environments. This is of course an ongoing process and it is our ultimate ambition. The only way to get there is to establish a solid community and develop things step by step. Doma City (3D scene in our game) was the first step towards this goal, and we will be adding more and more as we go along. This I think is the biggest difference of Forgotten Myths.”
The story of Forgotten Myths revolves around a war that rages between three factions. The White Cavalry are the noble knights and fearless griffins, the Red Shield is made up of the mighty warlords and their giant elephants, and the Black Tower faction hosts the sinister assassins and deadly dragons. New players select one of these factions as their starter deck, but this initial choice of faction does not limit players in the game. Matches can be played against anyone, and deck colors can be swapped as soon as players collect enough cards to make new decks.
As the game is still in the open beta phase, there are still bugs that need to be worked out. There are kinks in the game mechanics to be resolved, and some of the cards need rebalancing. The task of finding these issues falls on the beta testers, who then report their findings to the development team. The current group of beta testers is quite enthusiastic about the game, and there is a great sense of community among the players. While winning games is important, most of the beta testers are more interested in how to make the game better right now.
The real improvements in the game come from the designers and developers, and Anchora has taken huge steps to make sure the beta players have direct access to the team on a daily basis. Each day, at least one member of the Anchora team is online for “Dev Hour,” which is actually a two-hour period where the testers can discuss issues, report bugs, talk strategy, and play games. Joining Öztürk for Dev Hour are developers Baki Can Öztepe and Kerem Kayabay. From a player perspective the Dev Hours are great, and there are not many games out there where beta testers can get an immediate response from the very person who is writing the code.
Dev Hour is something that the Anchora team also finds very helpful. “I really can’t tell how valuable Dev Hour has been so far from our perspective,” Öztürk says. “It gives us the chance to communicate directly with the players, not only observing the highs and lows of the game, finding and fixing bugs; but it also allows us to shape the game together with our players, as they go through the content and immediately start having what we like to call creative collisions with other players, having these great ideas and suggestions about the game, and about how ‘they’ want it to be, rather than us. We actually received more and better suggestions from our players than we came up on our own.”
In addition to having access to the developers and being able to play a strategic and entertaining game, everyone involved with the beta testing receives a daily reward of in game currency with which to obtain more cards. The game is free to play, and Öztürk welcomes any interested gamers to check out Forgotten Myths and join the team of beta testers.
Forgotten Myths is a great online TCG that is relatively easy to learn but filled with many subtle and challenging strategies to master. As the bugs for this game get worked out and new features continue to be released, this game only keeps getting better. Even more impressive than the game is the dedicated team at Anchora that has really made a commitment to making a game that players truly enjoy. “I just want people to know that we love what we do here at Anhcora Games, we really love Forgotten Myths, and we enjoy every second we spend with our players,” says Öztürk.