Splinterlands: The Best Play2Earn Trading Card Game

By Blockchain Beth | Blockchain Gamer | 30 Jul 2020

Splinterlands is a digital collectible trading card game, like Magic the Gathering or Hearthstone, made better by the implementation of blockchain. Unlike the popular card games of the past, Splinterlands is fully decentralized. This means more power is returned to the players.   The fundamental difference between block-chain based collectible cards in Splinterlands and the cards in traditional games is ownership. Players truly own the cards and in-game assets they win.  

They are essentially real assets that can be converted outside the game. Both the in-game currency (DEC) and the collectible cards posses real-life value. Blockchain technology is what allows game developers, like those behind Splinterlands, to craft dynamic digital and decentralized landscapes where gamers can buy, sell, trade, and liquidate their digital assets with ease.  

So how do you play-to-earn in Splinterlands?  

Anyone can make an account and play with the basic starting deck, but to earn rewards and currency you need to invest a little by purchasing what is known as the “Summoners Spellbook” for 10 USD. Splinterland’s FAQ explains the need for initial purchase as such:

“Unlike traditional games, both the in-game currency and the cards themselves have real-world value. Therefore if they are able to be earned for free, then it opens up avenues for abuse which may devalue the currency and/or the cards. In order to earn the valuable rewards the Splinterlands have to offer, you need to have a little skin in the game.”

Once you purchase the spellbook and start battling other players with your cards, you will automatically earn a small amount of DEC each time you win. The more you play and advance your rank, the more rewards you can win each battle.   Every time you win a game in “Ranked” play mode, your rating points will increase in proportion to the rating of your opponent. As you earn points you advance in level into higher Leagues which unlock cooler cards and rewards.  

So once you sign up and get the Summoner’s Spellbook, what is the gameplay actually like?   In my opinion, it is top-notch and well worth the initial investment - especially when compared to the other block-chain based games I’ve played so far. The user interface is clean, intuitive, and the game itself is really fun. Each game is really quick, but still takes a fair amount of strategizing. I made my account this morning and have been playing on and off all day; it is quite addicting.  

The cards are divided into two categories: Summoners and Monsters. You pick the summoner first, and that decides what monster cards you get to pick from. When you enter a Ranked battle, it matches you up with another player of similar experience. There are also varying parameters to the battle such as how much Mana is allowed to be spent (each card costs a certain amount of mana to play in a battle). This keeps things interesting and prevents anyone assembled deck from being a “sure-thing” so to speak. No two battles are ever the same.   So far I have played 65 Ranked battles with 44 wins. That has gotten me into the silver league, which means I’ll get a minimum of 12 loot boxes when the season ends in two days. Loot boxes can contain rare cards or DEC.  


 I earned around 20 DEC from my day of battling, which would probably only be a fraction of a penny if I were to try and convert it out of the game into ETH and then USD. While it may be an extremely small amount, it still feels good to earn something more tangible while killing time with a fun game. The rewards for each battle increase as you move up in ranking as well.   There are also tournaments where gamers compete for a slice of a prize pool.   Splinterlands hosts tournaments for prizes, but tournament gameplay is also decentralized in that anyone can run tournaments and put up any prizes they want to offer. I made more than enough DEC in just a couple hours of gameplay to afford to enter an upcoming tournament with 51 USD worth of prizes. Pretty neat.



 Another way to play to earn in Splinterlands is by focusing on the cards themselves. Blockchain enables digital collectibles to have guaranteed scarcity. Each card is produced in limited quantity and non-duplicatable.   Since you own the cards as digital assets, you can sell them in the marketplace anytime. The loot boxes you receive at the end of each season can contain cards of any rarity, and you can also combine multiples of the same card to level them up- rather than just be out of luck when you keep winning the same card.   As you can see, some of the cards fetch a high price:  




There were also plenty of cards in the marketplace for as low as a penny. Just to play around with trading and combining cards, I picked out one of the cheapest cards and bought a bunch. I bought 150 of the “Herbalist” card and combined them all to make a higher-level version.  




The new card has better stats and is valued at around 4 USD, which is a little bit more than I had to put in to create it. My act of buying 150 Herbalist cards doubled its average value in the marketplace from .015 USD to .028 USD. I am excited to see if it goes back down or holds at that price.   Splinterlands might be the best blockchain-based game available for blockchain gamers to play right now. It can be discouraging to see innovative games fall through on their execution and long game, but I think Spinterlands has nailed it. It has captured what a block-chain game should be: a fun and dynamic gaming landscape that empowers gamers to experience the digital realities of the future, playing-to-earn rather than paying-to-play.  


Sign up on Splinterlands and get a Summoners Spellbook to start earning DEC using my referral code to receive a free, random card!

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Blockchain Beth
Blockchain Beth

Part-time student - full-time daydreamer and blockchain gaming enthusiast.

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