Shards of Infinity - the deck-building game that blew Star Realms out of the water for the Dice Tower's Tom Vasel - is getting its first expansion this October. The game will be known as Relics of the Future!
Shards of Infinity is a deck-building game from the designers of Ascension that sees players recruiting Allies and Champions to bring their opponent's life total to zero. For those that aren't familiar with the base game, you can read my review. The first expansion, Relics of the Future, promises to add more content to the game and more ways to play. Let's see what we know so far.
Relics of the Future - New Cards
Relics of the Future is a small expansion, featuring 32 cards. This means that it won't standalone like the Ascension expansions; you'll need the base game to play it. Every indication we have so far is that these cards will be shuffled into the main deck, rather than being added to player's starter decks. I assume that we'll get a fairly even spread of cards across all four factions and a variety of both allies and champions.
Without preview cards, it's hard to tell whether or not these cards will significantly change the strategies that we've already seen in the base game. Still, more cards is good, keeping this already highly replay-able game fresh for its fans.
Relics and New Mechanics
The set's title, Relics of the Future, is not meaningless. The publisher has revealed that the expansion will contain eight brand new relic cards: two per faction. It appears that these cards will be part of the centre deck, but will be linked to each of the four faction leaders somehow. We don't know how they operate exactly, but we do know that they get more powerful when the players hit 10 Mastery.
In addition to the relics, the description from the publisher indicates that there will be some other cards in the centre deck that will get more powerful when used by certain characters. This makes me think that they will function somewhat like allied cards in Star Realms or Hero Realms, whilst at the same time bringing a slight amount of asymmetry into the game that makes your choice of leader more meaningful. Deck-builders often benefit from well-designed asymmetry, so I'm looking forward to seeing how these cards play out.
New Ways to Play
The final changes brought in with the expansion are rules related, bringing new ways to play the game at one, three and four players. Shards of Infinity, like similar games, currently works best at two, but the community has been asking for more variety. It seems like Arant, Gary et al. have delivered, with the official description promising rules for a three-player brawl mode, a four-player 2-v-2 mode and, most interestingly, a solo mode called Nemesis.
I hope the solo mode is well-designed and engaging, not just a re-skin of the Ascension solo mode that never really worked for me. Hopefully, the duelling nature of Shards, with the health-point win condition means they'll go for something new. A strong solo mode could take Shards of Infinity to the next level.
Although the publishers have been somewhat tight-lipped with information and previews, all the indications are that the expansion is right round the corner. It looks exciting and fresh, giving the Shards of Infinity experience more variety without losing the elements that make the game so compelling. I'm very much looking forward to getting Relics of the Future to the table.