Blockchain Gaming: Splinterlands (formerly Steem Monsters, DEC token, HIVE network)

Well, I got one like on my last little mini-article (Blockchain Gaming: Alien Worlds (TLM token, WAX network)) last week :stuck_out_tongue: So, I figured I’d try another one.

Splinterlands is a collectible card game, where teams of monsters automatically battle against one another. It was originally SteemMonsters, but split off from Steem after Tron’s takeover. It was arguably the biggest app on that network, and is now one of the largest games on the forked off HIVE.

The game play is fairly simple compared to other card games, like Magic: Arena, Hearthstone, or Gods Unchained. It is a lot more of a game than Alien Worlds, however! :smiley: You build teams consisting of a Summoner card, that gives all of your monsters some buffs - like +1 Speed, +1 Health, +1 Melee Attack, and up to 6 Monsters. Each match has a restriction on mana, which is required to use monsters, and may have additional random restrictions, like no melee attack monsters can be used. This isn’t meant to be a full tutorial on how to play the game, but suffice to say there is some strategy in building a team.

The cards in the game are themselves NFTs on the HIVE network (before NFT’s were cool). Cards are levelled up by combining multiple copies. There are varying leagues in the game, with different caps on what level of cards can be used. The in-game currency is Dark Energy Crystals (DEC), which can be used to buy packs or cards from other players. DEC is a Hive token, which has also been bridged over to BSC and Eth (liquidity pools on CubDefi and UniSwap respectively). The amount that you win in a match varies, primarily based upon the league that you are playing in.

So, while the game is something of a play-to-earn game, it isn’t exactly free-to-play. You can try it out with a base set of cards, but don’t own those cards or earn anything from playing. To be able to earn DEC, you need to become a paid account by purchasing a $10 spellbook (aka, a one time paid membership fee). Even after purchasing an account, you don’t get any additional free cards with it (unless you use someone’s referral link), so you are capped at playing in the Bronze league.

There is a system of daily quests, typically win 5 games using a particular card type, that give you rewards - either cards, DEC, very rarely a free pack, or potions, which give you a better chance of getting rare cards when opening a pack. So, trying to advance by just getting rewards is going to be a very slow process. Most people that like the game, tend to throw money at cards to advance into higher tiers of play.

From personal experience, I can say it is possible to move up without investing additional funds. There is a pretty big community around the game, with frequent giveaways and contests, which can help improve your collection for free. To be fair, many years ago I was a semi-pro M:TG player, so the whole attempt to free-roll the game was something of an intentional challenge to myself. It took me a couple of months to be relatively competitive in Bronze league, and a couple more to be able to move up to Silver.

Anyhow, back to the game itself. The game is being actively developed, with new content being rolled out every few months this year. They recently bridged over to the WAX network, and cards can now be tokenized and sold on that blockchain. An Eth bridge was done earlier, but gas fees have rendered that unused.

For my two cents, if you like card games and are big into crypto, it’s worth checking out. I suggest trying it for free, and if the game play appeals to you then consider picking up a paid account. Joining their Discord is a good resource for getting to meet other players (and a good place to try to find a guild). I also don’t recommend throwing money at cards until you’ve got some idea of how the game works. A few smart purchases can help your deck way more than just cracking open lots of packs.

However, if you are looking to make money, then there’s better ways to spend your time. I was able to turn $10 into a few hundred dollars worth of digital assets, but over a period of several months, and actively participating in community contests and tournaments. It’s more of a benefit that, if you like the game, you may be able to pick up a few bucks worth of tokens playing it.

If there’s any other information about this game, network, or token that you would like to know about, please let me know in a reply! Also, if you want to see more mini-articles like this, give it a like so I know someone’s reading these :smiley: To wrap up, here’s a bunch related links:

If you want to check out the game, you can do so here:

If you decide you want to upgrade to a paid account, and want to toss me a referral, you can use this link instead:
(If you do, let me know and I’ll toss you some extra cards or something :D)

For a lot more information about the the game, there’s a player created wiki here:

DEC/Eth Pool on Uniswap:

DEC/BUSD Pool on CubDefi:

DEC/Hive Pool on TribalDex: