Splinterlands Enhancements IV: Lower-Level Play I: Forced Growth

in #splinterlandslast year (edited)
One of the biggest problems with Splinterlands is that lower-level play is nowhere near as challenging and fun as higher level play. This is a huge problem since it likely dramatically reduces the flow of new players into Splinterlands – which then hurts its viability and long-term card values. There are some mitigating options like the Herons-Unlimited deck delegation, but the halved rewards make it far too long and/or expensive before players are able to play with their own challenging and fun cards. This is also a huge barrier to re-entry for previous players who sold their decks but now want to rejoin the game.

I’ve already discussed how Booster Draft can let newbies play with cards from any level and how Monster Training can add a lot of strategy to low-level play. Here I’ll focus on a method for players to get more monster abilities at lower levels than previously possible.

The basic concept here is that you can magically “force grow” monsters (and my suggested Hybrids) so that they get their abilities at lower levels. The downside of this process is that force-grown monstrosities can never advance past level 8 (Gold) and have some (game balance saving) physical deficiencies as a result of it.

Force-growing is yet another card sink (thus increasing long-term card values) and gives more opportunities for low level strategic play since it basically doubles the number of monsters up until Gold Level.

Force Grown Drones. Truly cannon fodder (courtesy Para Bellum Wargames Ltd)

All force-grown monsters have 8 levels regardless of frequency and advance based upon the two charts below. Note that each level of force-grown monsters only costs as many cards as their non-force-grown equivalents (or an interpolation for the rarer frequencies). All are treated as commons for the purposes of determining the max level a summoner conjures.

CommonRareEpicAlpha LegendaryNon-Alpha Legendary
level 1 normallevel 1 normallevel 1 normal11
level 2 normallevel 2 normalaverage 1 & 222
level 3 normalaverage 2 & 3level 2 normal33
level 4 normallevel 3 normalaverage 2 & 344
level 5 normallevel 4 normallevel 3 normal55
level 6 normallevel 5 normallevel 4 normal66
level 7 normalaverage 5 & 6average 4 & 577
level 8 normallevel normallevel 5 normal89
Card Cost

Unforced Monster Levels for Ability Gain

Mana cost will be the same. As seen in the chart below, speed, armor and health are basically the same as for non-forced monsters (all interpolations are to be rounded) EXCEPT that they will also be plagued with random additional minuses over their growth due to the accelerated speed.

22average 1 & 2average 1 & 21
4432average 1 & 2
66average 4 & 54(2 + 2 + 3)/3
7754(2 + 3 + 3)/3
Unforced Monster Levels for Speed, Armor & Health (Subject to Random Minuses)

Names could have an (FG) appended to them.

And, of course, a new match rule could be added for No Force-Grown Monsters or Summoners.

Life is cheap when you're grown to DIE!

So, what do you all think? These are just my initial thoughts and I’m sure that they could be improved upon. PLEASE comment below whether you like this idea or not and any changes/improvements you can come up with.

Stay tuned for my next post suggesting "Improved Lower-Level Rewards". It would also be helpful if people could suggest other Splinterlands enhancements so I can add them to the list that I'll write about (or implement if the team will allow me). Until then may you always hit, retaliate and poison when you need to – and may your opponent not be so lucky.


I'm not sure I see the complexity offset by the benefits; but this is really my first exposure to this kind of game, so I'm hardly the best judge. Love reading all the ideas kicking around, though. Keep it up :)

One of the biggest problems with Splinterlands is that lower-level play is nowhere near as challenging and fun as higher level play.

The solution to that is multi leagues. A novice league that only allows novice cards to be played in it.

I don't see how your suggestion is a card sink. To me it looks like just the opposite. Its likely many players will opt in to having a level 8 max card that only cost 10 combined cards vs. needing to combine hundreds which means more cards left in the market for sale.

Thank you for commenting!

Yes, many players will opt in to having a level 8 max card (that's the whole point since even diamond and championship players will want them for bronze, silver and gold tournaments) -- but where did you get the 10 combined cards? The number of cards is identical to the normal number of cards (the only difference is that I had to interpolate for the rarer cards). Are you perhaps mistaking the ability gain chart for the card cost chart?

Also, once a player wants to competitively play diamond and above, the reduced physical characteristics will make the force-grown cards unplayable (remember that they have the only the normal speed, armor and health for their level -- I've added a chart with the interpolations for rarer monsters -- MINUS random subtractions for being force-grown). They will simply not be able to compete at the highest levels and players will need to grow a new non-force-grown monster/hybrid from scratch (basically a level 8/6/5 card sink for common/rare/epic and 8 or 9 cards for legendary).

I certainly misunderstood and looked at the chart wrong with my first read.

So basically you want cards to have all the functions of a max level card at level 8 but this would mean that specific combined card wouldn't be able to be combined any further leaving it being a hybrid of a max card and gold card.

Interesting but such cards will dominate Gold and below levels. I have no clue how that would affect the meta or player base overall but I do enjoy reading the ideas of others.

If its more fun and competitiveness you're after at the lower leagues, seperate leagues would provide that.

I'm not sure that they would dominate. Remember that their speed, armor & health will be lower than that of equal level monsters. A fighting monster may get thorns or heal earlier -- but it will do so at the cost of its physical attributes. In most cases, I believe it will be a relatively equal trade.

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