Fable Fortune is finally out of the Xbox Game Preview Program, and it’s awesome. The collectible card game is the first Fable title since Fable Legends was canceled and Lionhead Studios closed down. It’s quite the deviation from what the franchise is known for. Sure, there was a Kinect game called Fable: The Journey, but the mainline games were solid action/adventure RPGs that followed players as they traveled through the Kingdom of Albion.
Fable Fortune is a different beast all its own. The typical whimsical charm is still around, but the fast-paced action is substituted with strategy and critical thinking. I dabbled in Fable Fortune for a while when it was in Game Preview, but I’ve been playing it a lot more over the past few days. I’m addicted. I can’t stop playing the single player so I can hone my skills, and the multiplayer is what’s really keeping me hooked. The online multiplayer is intense and rewarding. The community has been active over the last week. Each match has been a nail-biter. I feel satisfied after a victory, and each defeat teaches me a lesson.
There’s no denying the fact that Fable Fortune plays similarly to Blizzard’s extremely popular game, Hearthstone. I’ll admit; I’ve spent days playing Hearthstone. The competition is tough, there are so many cards and expansions, and there are hours of fun to be had. Now that Fable Fortune has launched, I find myself lured toward Flaming Fowl Studios’ debut game. It’s not a masterpiece, but the experience is amazing. Fable as a collectible card game should not work, but it absolutely does.
Before each match, players get to choose one of six possible classes to use in-game.
Each class has unique cards and abilities that fit their profession and personality. Additionally, when making a deck, you can also add in neutral cards that every class can utilize in battle. From cards that have stats (attack and health), to spells, to even morality cards, there is a lot of variety to be found. Speaking of morality cards, Fable‘s iconic choice system makes a surprising (and crucial) appearance in Fable Fortune. At the start of each match, players can choose a quest to undertake. Completing your quest will grant you the ability to make a moral choice. You’ll get a reward for walking towards the light or straying down the path of evil.
What’s cool about morality choices is that they not only give you a card for doing so, but you also have the ability to transform certain cards to match your alignment. It’s a nice touch that adds to the strategic factor of the game. Knowing what cards are in your deck and what the current landscape of a match is can determine what alignment you should gravitate towards. For instance, there’s the natural card called Bank Clerk.
After completing your first quest, and choosing your preferred alignment, you can transform that card into either the Philanthropist (light alignment) that gives each card a +1 boost on all stats or Inside Trader (dark alignment) that reduces the cost of summoning a card by 1. There’s also the Hero of Oakvale that can transform into the Paragon of Virtue (light) which increases friendly units health and strength by 2, and the Paragon of Evil (dark) that destroys all units on the field.
Each card can drastically change the flow of the game. You often unlock packs by winning matches. You also get coins for completing daily challenges. You can use those coins to buy packs of cards for 1,000 points each. There are microtransactions in the game that range from $9.99 for 7 packs to $69.99 for 60 packs. This is not needed to enjoy the game, but players who are really into Fable Fortune might be tempted to unlock most of the cards using real cash. Similar to the Magic The Gathering card games and Hearthstone, you can basically buy the entire collection of cards through microtransactions.
I think that Fable Fortune can be a huge hit for Microsoft because of one major fact; Mixer. Hearthstone is one of the most streamed games on Twitch. I’ve been watching people play that game for years. What is relatively new on the market is Mixer, Microsoft’s very own streaming service that is built into the Xbox One. All Xbox One owners have the capability to use Mixer when playing their video games. Not only that, card games draw large audiences to streaming services. While in its infancy, Fable Fortune is a fantastic game that fans of any collectible card game will love. While drawing influences from Magic The Gathering and primarily Hearthstone, Fable Legends does enough to differentiate itself from the pack of games that precede it.
Mixer is a platform that not only gives millions of people to access its service; it’s also a platform that is growing. What better way to expand its reach than by promoting the service alongside a new game, especially one who’s franchise is primarily associated with Microsoft in the first place. Smite, one of the most popular MOBAs on the market, currently has a streaming deal with Mixer to stream the latest tournaments on the platform. Smite draws in huge crowds, which means that a lot of people will be tuning into Mixer to watch the event. What if Mixer and Microsoft could come up with some way for Fable Fortune to be front and center?
Fans have been clamouring for more Fable ever since the cancellation of Legends. The future of the franchise is uncertain, and while there are rumors of a new game being developed by Playground Games, nothing is certain yet. Fable Fortune may be an unlikely installment in the popular franchise, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t interest in the game. The fact that it’s a free-to-play title means that more people can play anytime they want. I’m a huge Fable fan, and after a day’s worth of game time, I’m convinced that Microsoft can have something truly special with Fable Fortune; the community just has to support and embrace it. Hearthstone took the world by storm when it launched in 2014. Fable Fortune has a good shot at being the console collectible card game that can seriously shock the gaming industry, especially if Microsoft has enough faith in Flaming Fowl Studios and utilizes Mixer to its full potential.