Bossfight #4 : Cross The Ages

It would be hard not to know anything about Cross The Ages. Everyone is talking about this made in France success, as the company is based in Marseille. But really, what is Cross The Ages? A trading card game (TCG)? A luxury Reversi? A mobile game? Basically all of that, but we will dive into the details to understand more about this game.

It is important to know that the lore of this game is ridiculously developed: an epic dark fantasy world with a huge map, three factions, seven elements… All of that developed in books, websites, cards, maps. It’s a whole world you will need to dig into to truly appreciate the game.


The 8th element

First things first, what is the goal of this game? You have a 4x4 board, each player puts a card during their turn, and the player who controls the most cards on the board wins. If your card is stronger than the next one, you take control of it as well. Easy? Yes, and no. Many things will affect the power of your cards: their element (fire, ice, wind…), their power and the affinities.
Players can also modify the field element and boost some cards. So at any moment, your most powerful card can be controlled by your opponent and you lose half of the board.

A little bit of a Pokemon and Rock, Paper, Scissors illegitimate child? Yes, but in a good way. When you launch the game, you can immediately see that it is made for mobile devices. It is playable on the computer of course, and that’s the best way to enjoy the gorgeous illustration of every single card, but you can feel it will be highly addictive on mobile. Only four minutes by player (so a theoretical maximum of eight minutes game), very eye-catching… We all know it will bring us for a 45 minute poop break because of the “last game before going back to work”.

Tables have turned: now the mushrooms haverst you.

There are three different types of cards in the game (Battle Cards, Fields Cards and Leader Cards), all linked to an element and effects. But we will come back to that in more detail a little bit later.


Play-to-own-to-earn-to-get

There are three different tokens in the game at the moment (two are off-chain and one is on-chain) :

  • Trisel: used for any in-game transformation between assets such as crafting as well as free cosmetics.
  • Prana: mainly used to acquire off-chain assets such as Chests or paid cosmetics.
  • CTA-Token: used for any on-chain activity such as minting, trading, participating in E-tournaments, transforming NFT cards to NFC (physical cards)...

How can you earn and spend these currencies? Let’s have a look at the official website:

Trisel is rewarded only by playing the game. Prana can be bought inside the in-game shop, its price has a fixed value. CTA Token can be bought inside the in-game shop, converted from Prana and wherever it will be available on-chain. The price will be fixed until listing on exchanges.

How to get new cards? Two paths: free or not.

We understand from this that it will be possible to play the game in a free-to-play environment, alongside a play-to-own system. It seems possible to go for only free-to-play, with free cards, daily missions to earn some cards and have fun, or go to the play-to-own with the two other tokens.
Will it be possible to compete with a free deck at high level? It is too soon to tell, we just hope that the game won’t turn its economy into a pay-to-win model where spending thousands of bucks brings you to the top of the ladder, or even on top of free players.

Except that, it is difficult to have an opinion on the global economy/tokenomy as the game is off-chain at the moment, the CTA-Token not listed and we don’t have an estimation of daily/weekly/monthly players. Only time will tell how the economy will sustain compared to other TCG.


Wat do?

In terms of strategy, is Cross The Ages appealing for a TCG player? Yes, and no.
If you want to enjoy a good TCG with efficient easy mechanics on the go, some beautiful illustrations, an incredible lore and play-to-own dynamics, you should definitely give it a try and it might keep you awake for many hours.

If you are a hardcore TGC player, game mechanics might not be complex enough to keep you interested after a few games: even if you can think about elements strategies, field changes, leader strategies, etc, the gameplay is not deep enough to make you think about your next deck under the shower.

The game is really well balanced, and that might be where they lose the hardcore players: we love the over-powered OTP decks, the aggro decks that drive the opponent mad… And this really good balance in CTA makes it difficult to have stupidly powerful decks (and let’s not lie, that’s what TCG players love).

Where CTA really achieves something new is to onboard anyone in the game in a few minutes: everything is easy to understand, no over complicated interface, anyone can get the rules in a few minutes. That is where this one is really different from what we know in physical games or web2 TCG, the goal is to share some fun with anyone very quickly, and not lose casual players with complicated meta and new content every month.


Conclusion

Cross The Ages achieves something new in the TCG space: onboarding casual players, and probably keeping them. This is maybe where they lose hardcore players in the search of perpetually evolving meta and overpowered deck creation, but the game is still very young (in beta since 09/22), so let’s see how it goes with the time.

Where they absolutely got us was the graphics and the lore: it is impossible to not get lost in each card's illustration, the hours of content on the websites, the books… Cross The Ages is more of a cross media experience than just a TCG.

  • Gameplay: 8/10
  • Graphics: 9/10
  • Blockchain: ??/10

Final Grade: 8.5/10

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