From pixel to block: Splinterlands

Splinterlands is one of the first trading card game using blockchain and NFTs. Let's get a review of it!

António Madeira ·  · 10/19/21 ·  5 min

Card games have long been a staple in our society with historians often butting heads over their exact origins. Regardless, there is evidence that card games first showed up in Europe in the late 1300s and early 1400s, having been “imported” by gypsies, crusaders and businessmen who had supposedly brought them back into Europe from the East.

As so, the prevalent assumption seems to be that somewhere in Asia an early form of playing cards pre-dated the aforementioned genesis in Europe. Delving deeper into the roots of what is one of the most common human pastimes, some also believe that playing cards originated in China during the 9th century AD under the Tang Dynasty.

Regardless of exact origins, over the centuries card games have evolved and mutated alongside our species as we technologically developed, integrating into our daily lives.

IfIf you’re an avid reader of NonFungible.com or a savvy cryptonaut then you know that Blockchain technology is bringing something new to the table when it comes to this niche, drawing upon the concept of Non Fungible Tokens (NFTs) when representing playing cards or other elements of gaming.

Today, we want to focus on a specific example founded in 2018. Splinterlands is a Blockchain-based card game where each trading card is represented as an NFT,  allowing users to take full ownership of their hard-earned cards.

Although the card is limited to the confines of the virtual world, the user can own, trade and even earn in-game assets with these NFTs without ever having to give up ownership of the assets until an exchange has been fully completed. 

When users swap these cards on the game, they receive the native in-game currency, somberly dubbed “Dark Energy Crystals” ($DEC). These cards may also be changed to other currencies such as the U.S.Dollar. 

Presentation of Splinterlands

Since its inception, Blockchain technology has allowed for the creation of provably fair games and it was one of the first big use cases for Bitcoin. This technology removes many of the difficulties found in legacy gaming models where information is stored in a centralized manner. NFT technology allows users to actually own in-game assets and also mitigates the inherent problems like account theft. 

As for in-game items, NFTs have the potential to inherently change the gaming industry by adding interoperability as users may even port them between several games to create new value channels.

Splinterlands is a digital trading card game that not only enables you, the player, to collect rare trading cards but also to battle against other players in fierce competition. Here, your wits and experience will constantly be put to the test. Playing cards represent monsters with different traits and skills which makes for a pretty dynamic fighting system.

The game itself is built on the Hive blockchain which can handle more than 600,000 transactions every day and can continuously scale as applications built on the network demand it. While Hive is currently not EVM compatible, it may become so in the future, allowing for easier cross-chain swaps and interactions.

A Card Game For The Blockchain

Being a blockchain-based card game, Splinterlands enables complete transparency, security, and immutability which can be verified at any time. This system removes the need for players to trust the game operators, ensuring that it is completely fair and their NFTs are safeguarded from any malicious activities.

Splinterlands offers card fans a platform for their desktop and mobile phones to play, trade, and gain in-game benefits. The game presently includes 283+ cards, which players can join to grow and strengthen their character skills.

Seven statistics characterize the player’s ability: speed, armor, cost of mana, and various forms of assault include magic or melee. There are several “factions” in Splinterlands also known as “splinters.”  Every card belongs to a faction: Fire, Earth, Dragon, Death, Life, Water, and Neutral (mercenaries). There are various Rarities and Abilities to get an advantage over other players in Splinterlands.

How To Play to Splinterlands?

To play the game, players buy booster packs from Splinterlands or cards from other players on the market to develop a collection of cards. Every player can use a wide range of level 1 starter cards, which may be played, but cannot be transferred, rather than forcing players to purchase cards and make a collection. Based on the user’s play league, a player with similar statistics is placed in the game platform and both players start a battle.

There will be specified rules for the game and each user must draw up a squad according to his or her chosen strategy from their collection. Once the team of each player gets involved before the 2-3 minute timeframe ends, both players are then able to watch the action.

Splinterland’s ability to rent out cards for other players is another unique feature, enabled because of the platform’s NFT assets security. This establishes a new marketplace in which cardholders can coalesce and share rewards with other players. This allows owners to discover players who have the time and skill but lack the means to buy these powerful cards with valuable and rare cards, but who have little time to spend.

Splinterlands Tokenomics

Splintershards (SPS) is the governance token that functions as the native currency in the trading game. SPS’s major objectives are the ability to decide and control stakeholders, asset owners, and player bases.

There are a total of 3,000,000,000 SPS tokens. 

The tokens will be distributed as follows:

  • 10% to the Foundation/DAO  
  • 30% will be allocated to staking  
  • 13.33% for airdrop
  • 6.66% for the private sale  
  • 9% will go to the SPS team  
  • 1% will go to partners/advisors  
  • 30% will be allocated for play-to-earn activities 

The main objective of the Splintershards ($SPS) tokens will be the in-game governance activities. Holders of $SPS tokens can vote on changes in Splinterlands on the current game or in the future. The Hive blockchain will post every vote on proposals relating to game governance.

The severity and the number of SPS tokens staked by a certain player determine the modification. In the long run, players can vote on card balance changes, DEC inflation pools, season and mission prizes, as well as major upgrades.

Community And Marketplace

The marketplace allows players the option to buy and sell cards, generate a growing economy, and provide players with additional incentives to buy cards.

Guilds are player groups that fight for combined scores and ranks and can have virtual reknowing that the value of the cards is likely to grow and can be much higher over time. Players contribute to the increase in the ranks of various buildings, including shop discounts on Splinterland items and DEC benefits, for example in the fight for ranked play, by DEC and Crowns (Guild Monetary).

Guilds also host major guild vs. guild tournaments called Brawls, in which guilds compete for crowns. Crowns allow guilds to level up their arena and eventually acquire access to Brawl’s exclusive items and exclusive Gladiation cards that can be played only in Brawls.


Axie Infinity, a popular play-to-earn game based on the Ethereum network, broke records when it reached over $1,000,000,000 volume in NFTs transaction volume and it doesn’t seem like the hype train is stopping any time soon as the GameFi/NFT scene continues to grow over time. 

Splinterlands already has a massive population of avid players and it’s currently one of the most played games on Ethereum. Now, it’s a matter of seeing if this trend seeps into the mainstream audience or not.

#Gameplay Review
#Hive Blockchain
#Play to Earn
#Trading Card Game

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