I have been developing Fourth Horizon since March of last year, around the time we released Fray onto Kickstarter and you guys blew us out of the water with your support for it. However, the concept for this new game was pieced together much earlier as a thought experiment that never really went anywhere for a few years. Since Smunchy Games gave me the green light to begin active development the game has changed a great deal, as has the scale of it—but that’s a conversation for another day.
We’re now in the final stage of design where the main focus is balancing cards and making sure each play-style the game offers is fun and competitive. We feel that we’re nearing that goal, but I want to make absolutely sure, so I asked if we could release the game early as a test build to collect feedback and give everyone a chance to try it out. The boss said yes. So here we are, kicking off 2021 releasing the game as it currently stands to the public both as a print & play copy and for Tabletop Simulator.
What is Fourth Horizon?
Fourth Horizon is an expandable card game for two or more players that I created which takes some inspiration from titles such as Magic: The Gathering or Gwent: The Witcher Card Game. After all, it’s a competitive game wherein you build your deck and then compete against another player with it. That might sound pretty familiar to a lot of card games you’ve seen—if you’re at all plugged into that scene—but Fourth Horizon has a few key differences I think you’ll be interested to hear about.
First is our unique resource system. For some context, many card games in this style ask you to put resources into your starting deck and draw them, or grant the player a number of resources each turn, progressively giving them more to utilize each time. Others give you one action (card) to play per turn. We have a sort of hybrid model between those two styles.
In Fourth Horizon all players start with the maximum number of resources (called credits). You can play your most powerful cards right from the start, but that’s not always the smartest play, so you’ll have to think ahead about when to play a card as well. You can also supplement those credits with additional resources like crystals and mana. Spending crystals allow you to do more during your turn, whereas having mana in your possession will empower some of your cards.
Secondly: Fourth Horizon features a unique hand management system and faster deckbuilding. Decks usually are made up of 20 cards plus one allegiance card, which will grant you a few extra points at the end of the game. When a game begins you draw 10 cards, and those are all that you’ll get for the game under normal circumstances. So, keeping your deck small and at that 20-card minimum will ensure you get the most consistent results with that opening draw. That doesn’t mean you’ll never draw more cards in the game, though. Every region represented from Fourth Horizon’s world has a different way to gain new resources!
The game ends after one player runs out of cards in their hand. The opponent gets one turn after that happens as a response, and then the game is over. So, as players use cards, they’ll be increasingly moving toward the game’s end state.
There are a lot of decisions to make both in assembling your deck as well as when to play your cards. We’ve had a ton of fun playing internally, and we can’t wait for you to get your hands on Fourth Horizon!
How do I play?
Fourth Horizon’s rules are available below. If you would like to watch a how-to-play video and see a demo game as well, you can check out the video we recorded with my friend Jordan (find him on Twitch). We go through just about everything in the text guide, but there are a few things that we didn’t quite get to you’ll want to look over the game rules for—notably the keyword meanings.
To set a game up simply download the print & play PDF or subscribe to the Tabletop Simulator mod on Steam! You can find links to both versions below. Once you have it sit down with a friend (so long as it’s safe to do so of course) and give it a go.
Note that both versions of the test build are slightly altered from the versions you will see in the final release. The print & play version has been altered to use less ink from your printer. Also, not all cards have art yet. This is, after all, an unfinished version of the game. You’ll find that the final release has beautiful unique art for every card, and will be printed on high quality cardstock.
Why Release a Test Build?
This test will help us understand what about the game you all enjoy, as well as help us make decisions about game balance. We really want your feedback on the game so that we can make it as polished as we can get it, so we’re offering it for free as a print & play version, and putting it up on Tabletop Simulator. All we ask is that you follow up your games by filling out this short feedback form. It should only take you 5-10 minutes, depending on how in-depth you answer some of the questions, and we’ll be reviewing your answers as we finish the final stages of design.
Thank you for trying Fourth Horizon out! We hope that you enjoy, and can’t wait to hear back from you. If you’d like to chat with us more about the game you can find us on Discord, Twitter, or subscribe below to get news from Smunchy Games.