Shards of Infinity: A Deck-Builder of Mercenaries, Focus, and Combat | Casual Game Revolution

Shards of Infinity: A Deck-Builder of Mercenaries, Focus, and Combat

Shards of Infinity

Published by Stone Blade Entertainment and Ultra PRO, Shards of Infinity is a deck-builder that manages to pack an impressive amount of depth and strategy into a simple ruleset and thirty-minute play time.

In Shards of Infinity, players not only build their decks, but also increase their hero’s strength so that the cards in those decks increase in power and unlock new abilities.


Each player chooses a character and takes that character’s player board. Each character is the same, but with unique artwork. Each board also has two dials, one to track health and one to track focus. Health starts at fifty. Focus starts low, ranging from zero to three depending on your turn order and number of players. Each player also begins with an identical deck of ten starting cards. You draw five of your cards and set the rest aside to form your draw deck.

All the remaining cards in the game are shuffled and set in the center of the table to form the center deck. You draw six cards from this deck and place them face up next to it to form the center row.

Players take turns playing any number of the cards in their hand. There are four resources that cards can give you: gems, health, damage, and focus. You can use gems to purchase cards from the display. Whenever a card is purchased, you add it to your personal discard pile, and immediately draw a new card from the center deck to replace it. Some cards are marked as mercenary cards. You can pay their gem cost to add them to your discard pile as usual, or you can pay their cost to immediately put them into play and use their abilities at once. The catch is, if you put them into immediate play, at the end of your turn they are moved to the bottom of the center deck.

Some cards are champions. When you put one of these into play, they remain in play until they are dealt damage equal to their health on a single turn, at which time they are moved to your discard pile. While in play, you can use a champion’s ability once per turn.

Once per turn, you can also spend one gem to increase your character’s focus by one. Some cards become stronger or have unique abilities that unlock as your character’s focus level increases. One of your starting deck cards is an infinity shard. When you reach thirty focus points, this card gains the ability to deal infinite damage when played (essentially winning the game).

Some card abilities also have unique requirements, such as unlocking special effects based on other cards you have played this round.

Any damage points you gain on your turn you may spend to attack other players’ champions or deal damage directly to one or more opponents. Damage can be split up in any way you choose. A player can reveal a card from his hand, showing a shield icon to reduce the damage dealt to him, but this cannot be used to protect a champion.

At the end of your turn, you move any cards you played and any cards still in your hand, into your discard pile. You then draw five cards from your draw deck. If your draw deck runs out, you shuffle your discard pile and keep drawing.

If you ever reach zero health, you are eliminated. The last player left in the game is the winner.

Shards of Infinity Components


Shards of Infinity is a nice blend of standard deck-building mechanics with some clever, new additions to the gameplay. If you’re familiar with deck-building, it’s quite easy to pick up and play. In fact, after four pages of rules, the instructions even say you can start playing if you’re familiar with the genre. The new ideas the game introduces, however, ensure that it still feels like it has something different to offer.

We loved the fact that you are essentially leveling up your hero by increasing your focus, making many of the cards your purchase more powerful as well as bringing you closer to one of the two paths to victory, adding a great sense of escalation to the game.

The game does scale well across player counts. A two-player game is much more a head-on duel, while in a three or four-player game you have a chance to be a little more strategic as you have more elements and players to consider. However, the fact that there is player elimination is a little problematic, even if no one is likely to be eliminated too early on in the game.

Having two different win conditions also gives you more options to choose when trying to decide which cards to add to your deck. Are you simply going to focus on packing the biggest punch? Or do you want to try to level up your focus fast and win with your infinity shard? The cards themselves also combo off of each other in clever ways. Each card belongs to one of four factions, and there are both advantages and disadvantages to focusing on a single faction or purchasing a wider range of cards. The fact that you can get mercenary cards onto the table immediately also increases your options and can save you in the nick of time.

The dials on the character boards can be a little sensitive, and we did occasionally turn them when we didn’t intend to, however the boards are really visually appealing. We also liked that companions do not need to have their health tracked, and that they simply need to be defeated in one turn, meaning that there is little information you have to track between turns. This makes the game so much cleaner and neater. It keeps things flowing quite nicely.

If you enjoy dueling card games, Shards of Infinity really is a nice entry in the genre that keeps the rules simple while still bringing lots of strategic choices and clever card plays to the table. From the focus to the mercenary cards, there’s enough here to justify its existence despite the large number of excellent deck-builders that are already out there.

Pros: Focus mechanics, the mercenaries, limited number of elements you have to track between turns, works well across player counts

Cons: Dials can sometimes get turned by accident, player elimination

Disclosure: we received a complimentary review copy of this game.