The First POLYGORN Tournament

Cybertooth Kat
7 min readJun 6, 2022

Over at the Charged Particles NFT marketplace, we have just finished our first POLYGORN tournament. What’s a POLYGORN, you’re asking? Read on.

An intro. A POLYGORN is a blockchain-born NFT battle monster with unlock-able attack powers and two levels of potential evolution. As the name implies, the monsters (and the associated NFT battle game) are on the Polygon blockchain. Players get free monsters sent to their wallets. Then, they have the option of unlocking the monster’s attack powers, or just battling with the NFTs’ base capabilities. Players can battle the monsters in bi-weekly tournaments to gain winner awards, tokens, and prestige. After several wins, the monsters level up and the players get a brand new level 2 monster in their wallet. Then a level 3. Also, the monsters are cute.

Meet 3 of the monsters debuting in June ‘22

How To Play
The POLYGORN game was designed to make the very most out of what the Charged Particles DApp has to offer on-chain. Aside from the free NFTs and the cute aesthetic, which things the players seem to love, there are also some particular mechanisms operating “under the hood” of this game. These mechanisms play to the strengths of the overall Charged Particles DAPP, whilst taking advantage of the low gas fees on L2.
There are 3 main features on the DApp that seemed fitting for a blockchain game.
1. NFTs nested within NFTs — ERC 721 within ERC 721(an arena to house your battle monster)
2. Tokens nested within NFTs — ERC 20 within ERC 721(food for your little beast)
3. Time lock capabilities — lock ERC 20s within ERC 721s (time based resources which facilitate player immersion and longevity)
Because these things all come standard on the Charged Particles DApp, there was no need to bring in outside developers or build out systems for a game scenario. The salient components for a compelling battle arena game were already present. It was a case of, “Just add monsters.”

So, we did.

A Game As A Use Case
Let’s look a bit closer at these “under the hood” mechanics which were used to design, balance and deploy the POLYGORN monster battle game. The fundamental idea behind the game is this; players have a monster pet that can fight against another player’s monster pet. But we have seen this all before in NFTs and other games. To stand out and differentiate POLYGORN from other games, there was a desire to use this standard gaming trope of “battle pets” as a way of encouraging players to do several new/innovative things
1. Obtain the IONX governance token
2. Hold the token at length
3. Be an active player in the community, long term.
So, the game was designed with these goals in mind. Knowing that, if done well, these things all would begin acting as a game-based case study for the DApp’s broader utility — as well as a compelling use case for the governance token (aside from just store-of-value and voting).

Did we pull it off? We did. And early. Here’s how it went down.

A Deeper Look At The Game Play
The POLYGORN game uses the fun of a battle pets game to facilitate some NFT learning and marketplace interaction. The game itself is designed from a mindset that new people must be able to enter the NFT world, and navigate markets, if we are to achieve broad adoption. Because of this, the “rules” of the game, and the associated gameplay mechanics, were kept brief and simple. That is, the focus was on the how, not the why of the game.

Wanna read all the fun “rules”? See the game-rules thread here:

To battle your monster in the POLYGORN game you should first consider whether you want to battle your monster with only its innate capabilities, or perform a few simple, inexpensive marketplace maneuvers to unlock your monster’s greater potential. (This is the very core idea of the game play.)
To this end, three arenas were created, one for each “clan type” of POLYGORN monster. Players battle their monsters in arenas. An arena tournament occurs every 2 weeks, and there is no combat outside of an arena. How does this play into the game design elements described above? It teaches players precisely how to nest one NFT inside another (this is the very core feature of Charged Particles, and what sets it apart as a DApp in the NFT space). In order to send their shiny new pet into battle, players simply had to walk up to the arena NFT and “charge” their monster inside of it. After doing so, the monster was “parked” in the arena and ready for the scheduled combat time.

Look at all the little ERC 721 monsters “parked” in the arena

Once the monsters were staged in the arena, an NFT was nested in the arena that gave a breakdown of the statistics and the PvP matchups for the combat tournament. After the individual combat matchups took place, an additional NFT was nested into the arena which declared the winners of the tournament.

The data-based NFTs that were nested into the arena, showing the matchups and the ultimate winners of the matchups

See the arena NFT which held the first tournament here:

So, in this way, the utility of a game-based “arena” taught players how to nest an NFT within an NFT. This was all wrapped up in the “fun” of staging your battle pet into a combat arena for a spectacular combat tournament. It didn’t feel like learning, but at least half of the players in this first tournament had never nested an NFT within an NFT before. The game was teaching. And the process was fun.

Another thing the game was designed to do was to encourage players to obtain and hold the IONX governance token. This obviously has a flurry of benefits, benefits core to DeFi itself, which we won’t delve into right now. But the main idea was that it would bring new token holders into the community and encouraged them to hold the governance token long-term. Here’s how the game accomplished this.

A player’s battle pet in POLYGORN comes with a limited set of innate powers. But, greater powers could be easily unlocked, at very little expense to the player, with just a little bit of IONX governance token.

Remember: Players get their POLYGORN NFT for free, and the IONX tokens always stay in their possession… there are no fees here. But the whole community benefits from people holding the governance token. This is DeFi in a nutshell.

The rule for this was simple. If players obtained 100 IONX tokens, and charged those tokens into the monster (thus feeding the monster), the monster’s advanced attack powers would be “unlocked” and could thus be utilized in the scheduled combat tournament. Having those attack powers unlocked gave their monster a definite edge in combat. Furthermore, players were required to nest their 100 IONX into the monster NFT and time lock it for a span of at least one week (the week of the tournament). All this worked to “power up” their monster from a game perspective. From a learning perspective, it taught players how to get the governance token; how to nest the tokens into an NFT, and how to time lock the tokens for a duration of time.

Was this successful? Very much. We had twelve players with monsters at the time of the first tournament. Ten of those monsters were parked in the tournament NFT for battle (83% participation). And eight of those monsters had 100 IONX nested within them -most of these wallets had obtained IONX for the very first time (80% of combat-ready monsters with IONX inside). That’s 800 governance tokens procured by players, merely to enhance gameplay, in a free-to-play game that only has 12 players involved so far. Those numbers will only grow as more and more monsters are released. And future evolutions of the monsters will usher in whole new levels of nested token holdings. The best thing? The players never lose custody of their tokens. They can withdraw them at any time (time-locks allowing). The NFTs are free, the tokens are theirs, the game is ongoing and non-compulsory, and the only requirement is a desire to win.

One of the POLYGORN monster NFTs stacked with the 100 IONX the player nested to unlock combat attacks, and 20 additional IONX which was nested as part of the prize pool for winners of the first tournament

In short, it’s working. And it’s happening without inflationary NFTs, big development costs, up-front fees, and exorbitant gas prices. NFT games are just beginning, and we think we’re pioneering something ground-breaking with these POLYGORNS.

Want to learn more? Want to play along?
Come and join us.