The digital versions of the game will debut in the spring of 2019 for $8. The title is based on a board game made by Justin Gary and Gary Arant, who were also the designers of its predecessor, Ascension.
Theresa Duringer, the founder of San Francisco-based Temple Gates Games, is also a fan of board games and met the designers at the massive GenCon board game event a couple of years ago. They collaborated as Temple Gates Games made a virtual reality version of Ascension. And they teamed up again to make Shards of Infinity.
“The reason to play a board game on your phone is to take advantage of digital-only features,” said Duringer, in a statement. “Including AI, automated setup and scorekeeping, and the ability to play with friends remotely. Our goal is to nail these with lickety split performance.”
Shards of Infinity is the second mobile board game release for Temple Gates Games, coming on the heels of the award-winning Race for the Galaxy app. The AI for Shards of Infinity is an extension of Keldon Jones’s AI for Race for the Galaxy, which uses neural networks to create challenging opponents.
Shards of Infinity combines both strategy and customization, and it introduces the mastery mechanic, giving players multiple paths to victory in a quick and cutthroat game. The digital version will have local pass-and-play, asynchronous multiplayer, as well as artificial intelligence opponents.
Temple Gates Games will release expansions to the card game over time.
In the card game’s story, the Infinity Engine was shattered a hundred years ago, and its reality-bending shards have destroyed most of the world. Now, it falls upon you to gather your forces, defeat your adversaries, and rebuild the Infinity Engine. Two-to-four players can play at a time, with matches lasting 30 minutes. You can build armies by recruiting allies and champions from four unique factions. Launch surprise attacks on foes by instantly deploying mercenaries.
Rather than competing for points, players must outlast their opponents and reduce their health to zero, which can be done in a number of ways. Each player starts the game with a basic deck of cards, and they can acquire new cards from a central display of six cards (as in Ascension) and add these new cards to their deck or use them immediately, depending on what they are.
Every character starts with 50 health and zero mastery. On each turn, you can spend one gem (aka, money) to gain a mastery point. The more mastery you have, the more powerful your cards become. This lets even the weak cards in your starting deck become more powerful as the game progresses.
If you reach a total of 30 mastery, you can activate your Infinity Shard, which instantly defeats your opponent. As you acquire new cards, you can employ allies and champions to craft your strategy. Mercenary cards can be added to your deck as in other deck-building games, or they can be played immediately from the center row for their ability.
Temple Gates Games’ first mobile board game, Race for the Galaxy, was a top seller in the board game category on app stores. The board game itself has been in the wild for more than 10 years and sold more than a million copies around the world, Duringer said.