Fable Fortune, a game that technically shouldn’t exist is about to be released. After Lionhead was closed down, the famed Fable studio canceled all projects including Fable Legends and then unknown Fable Fortune collectable card game. After a few former Lionhead employees started up their own venture, Flaming Fowl Studios, the first project that came in mind was the resurrection of their secret card game. With Fable Fortune nearly complete, Flaming Fowl was able to get the go-ahead from Microsoft to pursue their ambitions and continue development in the world of Albion. With Fable Fortune’s release set for July 25th on the Xbox Game Preview program, we present a glance of Fable Fortune Steam edition.
Fable Fortune, like a lot of collectable card games, doesn’t exactly have a story or narrative that progresses, at least not the same way story progression works in other genres. When it comes to story Fable Fortune opts to look back at what makes Fable unique.
One of the center pieces Fable is known for is decision making, are you a hero or villain? Fortune brings back that aspect and intertwines it with a quest system. Depending on the stage you’re dueling an opponent on, a unique quest with multiple routes will become available after completing quest objectives. One potential objective a player must complete in order to progress the story is to use up to 18 gold pieces on your cards. After the objective is complete you decide which route you want to take, the hero’s route or the villain’s. Choosing a specific route affects the narrative of the quest and gives your hero a visual overhaul along with a power up. Which choice you select may not be inline with your own ideal view but that of which is most opportune to your current situation in the duel. There were many of times in a match that I selected going the villain route because the villain upgrade because it offered my specific Hero a better power. In the end, the story didn’t matter as much as winning.
If you’re coming from other collectable card games, you’ll feel right at home. Fable Fortune’s gameplay is pretty much identical as the other card games with a few exceptions.
Like other card games you can only play a specific amount of cards per turn. The amount depends on how many gold pieces you have and how much each card costs. With each turn your gold resets and increases by one. The maximum amount of gold one can posses is 9 so it will be up to the player to decide where to spend resources.
Guard, a mechanic from other card games, allows you to place any card on the field as a defensive shield against any harm from the opponent. Until the card loses all of its health points, there is no other card you opponent can target. The twist in Fable Fortune is that unlike other CCG’s, you can spend one gold to give any card Guard.
Another similarity between Fable Fortune and other CCG’s is that cards are also placed into unique categories attributed to specific Hero’s. For example Alchemy based cards can only be used with the Hero Miracle. Similarly, Shape Shifter cards can only be used by the Hero Crimson. For newcomers this my sound complicated but trust me, it’s a lot simpler to grasp in game.
Unlike other card games Fable Fortune offers a specific game type not found anywhere else, Co-Op. Placed in a rotating playlist, the Co-Op game type offers a brutal AI opponent you and a companion must defeat. Sharing life points and characters, it will take some heavy duty teamwork to defeat the opposition. It’s a fun game mode that can at times be a double edged word. For example, there was a match in which a partner and I faced impossible odds. During my turn I made the impossible possible and reduced the enemy’s life points low enough to be finished off by my partner, unfortunately for me he had his morale broken a long time ago and had rage quit before noticing the situation at hand. With no text chat present, it was impossible to communicate effectively. Thus the turn ended and the AI finished us off.
Bitter repressed heartbreaking memories aside, of course this is a CCG and with it comes one of the more important questions, how hard is it to obtain a viable deck? You’ll be happy to learn that card collecting is a lot more generous in Fable Fortune compared to other card games. After a week or two I found myself gaining a ton of cards all of which were fairly good. Maybe it’s because Fable Fortune is a young game without any bloat to reduce the card turn out. Everyday it seemed I was receiving silver in order to purchase new card packs. It wasn’t even a month before cards like The Lady of Rosewood, whom made a debut in the canceled Fable Legends game, was in my possession. Within a month’s time any new comer will have a deck they are fairly satisfied with.
Audio is one of the more crucial aspects of a Fable game and Fable Fortune practically carries its heritage on the music played in game. As soon as you boot up the game you know this is a Fable game. The main menu plays something familiar but new, an old friend has return and you know he’s from a world of might and magic. While I’d love to continue preaching the soundtrack of the game it’s regrettable to say that as far as actual duels go, a tense match may not offer you the music you’re looking for. I found myself at times just playing to simple background chatter or crows howling. No triumphant swings in compositions during a match are found here. Am sure there are hardcore card players that would rather play in silence but unfortunately that’s not me.
So it’s not an RPG, that doesn’t mean the game doesn’t look beautiful. As said before, the music oozes Fable atmosphere and the art is the perfect complement to the mystical visuals. As I was acquiring cards I came to love my deck. In all honesty I would pay for a physical copy of the cards. While many may think of the genre as boring, Fable Fortune’s card design may make certain players double take and try out a new experience. It certainly caught my eye with its looks and charm.
Fable Fortune may not be a traditional Fable game but it wears its history proudly. As soon as you boot up the game you’ll be transported once again to the world of Albion. Trading story for gameplay, Fable Fortune hopes to capture fans old and new by offering an experience familiar to some but with a fresh Fable spin. Releasing in early preview for Xbox owners tomorrow July 25th, it will be interesting to see how Fable Fortune matures in the next year. Perhaps we may see more Fable themes added to the game. For now, it’s a CCG not entirely original but one full attention to detail.