Splinterlands is not just an ordinary card game, it's a next generation application exemplifying how the decentralizing technology of the blockchain can be used to create better ways of doing things like gaming (an thousands of other real world applications that are being built as we speak/type/read these words). Unlike traditional trading card games using physical cards, the market to buy/sell/rent your splinterlands cards is always just a few clicks away and orders of magnitude more liquid and user friendly than it's physical relatives. And unlike the other digital versions of trading card games, Splinterlands assets are limited in supply (scarcity) and actually owned by the players. This means the rewards earned from playing the game and holding these first of their kind digital assets will over time serve as more than just a challenging distraction, but become a meaningful investment the players can nurture and build as they enjoy their gaming time.
The Different Types of Game Assets
The Splinterlands ecosystem can be as simple or as complicated as the player / investor desires. At the most simple side of this spectrum one could purchase the $10 Spellbook and play with the free starter deck to their hearts content. This is the bare bones layer of the game that requires the least amount of invested resources to enjoy. There won't be many meaningful rewards earned in this way, but there are also no additional financial resources required to participate and the limited selection of cards with basic abilities is far less complicated to learn the game mechanics and strategy with.
On the opposite end of that spectrum we have a plethora of game assets that can be used in many different ways. These different assets types you can encounter in Splinterlands are;
- Cards: The game cards themselves are the foundation of the Splinterlands Ecosystem.
- DEC: Dark Energy Crystals are the in-game currency that is won from playing matches.
- SPS: Splintershards are the game's governance token with various uses and benefits.
- Vouchers: These are tokens that give the owner special access to various game assets and promotions.
- Credits: These are the stable coin equivalent in the game and can be used to buy game assets.
- Land Claims: The Land Expansion is the next major stage of game development and these tokens represent ownership of plots, tracts (100 plots), or regions (1,000 plots) in this yet to be released aspect of game play.
- Totems: These items will be used in the land expansion to boost resource production of give the owned or rented land plot production bonuses.
In addition to those just mentioned primary game assets, there are some tertiary blockchain based assets you'll come into contact with in your journey through the Splinterlands ecosystem.
- Hive, (HP) Hive Power, (HBD) Hive Dollars: Splinterlands is the train running on the Hive blockchain's tracks. Hive is the liquid native token of the blockchain, Hive Power is hive that is staked to your account and gives you voting power and resource credits in this primary blockchain environment. HBD is meant to remain relatively stable near the $1.00 mark.
- SPT: Splintertalk tokens are a sub-token on the hive blockchain and they are rewarded along with the native hive tokens to user created media content involving the game.
Useful Tools to get the most out of your Game Assets
While the in-game user interface provides simple to use tools to manage your game assets, there are several 3rd party tools that have been built to provide more powerful ways to get the most out of your digital assets.
Hive Keychain: Keychain stores your Hive blockchain keys on your cpu or mobile device and allows you to access any of the other websites and tools connected to the Hive blockchain with one account. This easy to use tool is a must have for anyone seriously considering Splinterlands for either the gaming or investment potential it has.
PeakD: PeakD is my favorite tool to manage my Hive wallet and create media content on the Hive blockchain. On top of the powerful content creation interface on this site there are user friendly ways to Stake and transfer your other non-game assets native to the Hive blockchain and do things like stake your Hive for increased voting power and resource credits.
PeakMonsters: At PeakMonsters you have the tools to more efficiently do things with your game assets like leveling up your collection, viewing your game asset values, buying and selling cards, or accessing the rental market both to rent cards to boost your playing deck strength or listing your own spare cards for rent to earn daily DEC from assets you may not be using yourself. There are many other very useful filters and tools related to your in-game account here that anyone wanting to get the most out of Splinterlands will be well served to learn.
TribalDex: TribalDex is the DeFi layer of the Hive blockchain and Splinterlands players and investors both would be well served to make use of this powerful tool. Various game assets can be transferred to the players Hive-Engine wallet and traded for other cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, & Litecoin. Plyers and investors can also transfer their DEC and SPS to their Hive-Engine wallet and do things like put them in Liquidity Pools to earn daily payments and get that sweet passive income flowing into their accounts.
Splintercards: The Splintercards site provides easy to navigate looks at things like historical card prices, game abilities and when the different cards gain access to them, and things like the current rate of return for staking SPS, Vouchers, etc.
Putting it all Together
So far I've given a brief description of many different assets and blockchain based tools connected to the game, but how do these all come together into a comprehensive game play / investment plan? Let's start my attempt at this answer with the cards, these are the foundation of both game play and account value when looked at from the investment perspective after all.
From my perspective, the most important thing I am trying to do with my cards is to get them leveled up to provide the best game play in the leagues I compete in. My regular foil account being in Gold League which means level 8 Commons, level 6 Rares, Level 5 Epics, and Level 3 Legendary cards. For my Gold Foil account I play in Silver League which means Level 5 Common, Level 4 Rare, Level 3 Epic, and Level 2 Legendary cards are what I'm wanting. Not every card is leveled up to the highest point but they're all upgraded to get the useful abilities and stats needed to be competitive.
Your card collection can be built through buying packs which give you 5 random cards from any particular edition or by purchasing individual cards off the market and while I prefer building the main core of each edition through buying and opening packs, I've heavily relied on the individual card market to fine tune my collection after I open my packs.
Over the years I've been playing the game I've accumulated a decent amount of extra cards. These I use in two different ways. The first is to get the most useful cards leveled up to have the stats and abilities that make them desirable in game play. These I hold in a dedicated account and keep on the rental market so I'm getting DEC daily from my spare assets. For the cards I don't have enough of to make a desirable playing card I keep as single BCX cards and hold until well after the edition is sold out and the card prices are at a premium, then I'll put them on the market for sale. This applies to both the main edition cards which can be acquired through opening packs and the Reward cards which are won by completing daily quests and in the End of Season loot chests.
The next item I'll tackle is the SPS token. At the time of writing this SPS is getting airdropped to game asset owners daily. The majority of SPS I get each day is staked so it then produces Vouchers which are also airdropped daily based on the amount of staked SPS one owns. Staking SPS also produces an SPS airdrop which is scheduled to go on for several more years. At the current distribution rates and prices Staked SPS is generating 20%+ returns in both SPS and Vouchers and for anyone not interested in playing the investment game focusing on SPS and it's benefits provides a great option as a pure investment vehicle.
Vouchers are the next item I'll address and they are a very innovative and unique wrinkle the Splinterlands team has built which benefits the game's community. The way I think of Vouchers are like a wholesale license which is given to asset holders allowing them to purchase future game assets direct from the Splinterlands store. It's been indicated that vouchers will be a requirement long into the future needed to purchase exclusive promotional assets as well as at least a certain percentage of new card packs sold through the game store. As of now the use and value of Vouchers is a tricky one for me to figure out so I'm holding and accumulating all that I'm getting for the time being. If the market price increases while I'm not planning on using them then these are assets I'd consider selling on the open market and converting to another cryptocurrency or cash if I wanted to realize some profits from my time and investment into the game or holding the profits in game to purchase future card packs, land, or other game assets if I feel the risk/reward is favorable.
DEC (Dark Energy Crystals) are the native in game currency of Splinterlands and accumulated from winning ranked season matches, loot chests from End of Season rewards or daily quests, rental income from my spare cards, or from card sales when I decide the time is right to sell some of my single bcx spares. Like just about every cryptocurrency, the DEC price can fluctuate dramatically. In the current environment I see Chaos Legion card packs as the best asset to hold with the intention of selling in the future so at the end of each season I convert most of the DEC I've accumulated into store credits and buy card packs then I park the remainder of the DEC I have in one of the TribalDex Liquidity Pools which generate passive income on assets I'm not currently using.
For anyone who has some strong convictions in this game's success and long term growth the topic of Land becomes our final asset to discuss. By far what I consider the most speculative of the game assets we've covered, Land also has the potential for the biggest gains and value if we are speculating into the future. This will be a very rare asset class and it gives Land owners the ability to continuously create game assets or parts/pieces used to create the new game assets which means this will be a source of income for asset owners for as long as this game is thriving. If you are willing to commit resources into this game long term then this becomes something to consider adding into your game portfolio both from an investment and game play point of view.
As I'm nearing the 2,000 word mark I realize that volumes could be written about this first of it's kind game and all the ways one could approach it. For now I feel this piece does a decent job describing the game basics. I'll be putting out many more pieces in the future deep diving into the nuances and specifics this game offers so stay tuned if you've found this informative, entertaining, or at all helpful in bettering your understanding of Splinterlands.