Shaping the Next Generation of Strategic Card Games

Marcel Danz
Mar 24 · 6 min read

You love strategic card games, but they feel stale and repetitive after a while, and you need to pour more money into them to stay competitive? Don’t worry! We got you with our strategic trading card game Synergy of Serra.


Do you love trading card games as much as we do? The thrill trading cards with other players, collecting them to complete your decks and collections. Finding powerful card synergies and building decks around them. Battling your friends and strangers in fast fights, seeing whose strategies are superior. Eventually becoming the best of all players. Never played a trading card game? Here is an introduction to Magic the Gathering (MTG) one of the oldest and most popular ones.

There are so many card games out there by now that you may choose to play a new one every day. Magic the Gathering (MTG), Hearthstone, Yu-Gi-Oh!, Pokémon, Sky Weaver, and many more. A lot of them are even free-to-play. But playing card games can become a very expensive hobby if you want to play it even a little bit competitive against other players. In some cases, you even need to invest a small fortune to make casual playing fun. This turns such games into pay-to-win experiences to a certain degree.

The most common approach to battles in the above-mentioned games is to have pre-constructed decks that each player brings to the table. One deck usually contains one strategy or synergy of cards that are then played. Maybe it works against your opponent or she got the perfect counter-strategy and mops the floor with you. It is very difficult to perfectly balance card games especially when a lot of new cards are introduced over time. This leads to some decks being more powerful than others. The problems start when there is a ranked game mode with a ladder to climb and everyone only plays the most powerful strategy in the current set of cards. Every game will be the same: You play your strategy and either your opponent has the perfect counter deck or not. It’s a dull grind instead of the desired challenge of competing in actual strategic strength. So repetitive and boring!

Do competitive free-to-play card games need to be such boring grinds with pay-to-win mechanics build into their core? No! We believe players should be able to play competitively without the need to own every card. We believe that every battle can be fresh and new with ever-changing strategies and card synergies. We believe that players can even earn real value by playing.

The next generation

To make all this possible we at Calystral create a whole new game genre for our trading card game Synergy of Serra. We played a lot of deckbuilding games and found that some of the problems described above are not present in this genre. Strategies need to be created on the fly instead of brought to the table in the form of a pre-constructed deck. This makes each and every game different to any game played before. The idea evolved to fuse traditional trading card games with deckbuilding games and remove the pay-to-win barrier on playing competitive making every battle a unique experience with infinite replayability.

What did we do to achieve that? We kept the fast, strategic battles we love from Hearthstone and MTG. You load Creatures into the battlefield. Equip them with Attachments and execute Actions (Spells) in combination to reduce your opponent’s health to zero. Then we moved the act of building your deck into the battle. Instead of sitting down at a table with a pre-constructed deck, each player brings a suitcase of cards and pours those into the middle. Then during the battle, players build their decks from the cards in the middle, turn by turn until one player is reduced to zero health and loses the game.

This is great. Now I can use all the cool cards my opponent owns to defeat him! But why should I let others play with my hard-earned cards? Because your cards are living things in Synergy of Serra that grow and become stronger every time they are played by an opponent. Sharing the benefits.

These mechanics taken by themself are all very simple and easy to learn but combined in this way it creates a very deep game that is hard to master.

Only the best will prevail

It is particularly important for us that the player with the higher skills wins and rises to the top in ranked or tournament modes. Therefore, we keep every mechanic that could introduce pay-to-win behavior out of the actual battles. Each match should be a battle among equals promoting the best player, not the richest. To emphasize this even more in Synergy of Serra, we are working on a Battle Royale style game mode. Can you build the best decks in a group of over 100 competitors? One strike and you are out!

Earn real value while playing

With this, we have a new genre that promotes your skill and not your purse. But wait, it’s getting better! Why do so many people see games as a waste of time, and why are some games created in a way that they waste the time of their players on purpose? Why can’t players earn something for the time and effort they invest in a game. That is why we create such a game. You can play-to-earn in Synergy of Serra. Our Ranked mode features a price pool that is distributed to all players at the end of each season. You will receive a share of this pool according to your rank. The prize pool is a mechanic for us developers to give back to you, players. We will take a piece of every buy in our shop and put it into the pool to reward your hard work later. To make this price pool possible we use Blockchain-Technology invisible for you but brining you all its benefits.

Blockchain also enables us to give you true ownership of all the in-game content. This is because these assets are modeled in the newest FT/NFT blockchain standards (ERC-1155). In Synergy of Serra, you can trade, sell, buy or even destroy your cards and cosmetics, and every asset has a provable rarity giving it a real value.

Players will shape Serra

Let’s put one more cherry on top of this. We want players to help us shape the world of Synergy of Serra. You can become a craftsman who crafts cosmetics for himself, friends or sell them to the highest bidder, with our Blueprints system. Or you can pick up unique Minting Devices, that give you powers normally reserved for developers only. These devices let you mint unique types of Cosmetics. Only the device owner has the power to create, trade, sell or own as many as he seems fit of this specific Cosmetic type.

Synergy of Serra

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And check out our website for Synergy of Serra the strategic deckbuilding trading card game that utilizes blockchain to empower you.

Who are we?

We are Calystral a team of game developers that set out to unleash the potential of gamers. We are focusing on building games where the time and effort put in, is rewarded with real value. Enhancing the players’ experience and empowering gamers to achieve more. In the process, we strive to overcome the technical limitations of Blockchain Technology and use its benefits to lift games to the next level. We would love to share these solutions with the community and other developers. Towards a better future of Gaming!


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Interesting Topics in Blockchain Gaming, game design…

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