Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Browser Games: Elements the Game

When you have an internet connection and boredom, one of the few solutions is browser games.  The only problem with this is sorting through the massive amount of games out there (currently 32,005 on Kongregate alone) to find something that is free and fun before you run out of free time/ lose your internet connection/ get fired.

One game that I've enjoyed over the last few months is Elements (the game, not the Periodic Table of).
Elements is a Flash Based Trading Card Game, which most closely resembles Magic the Gathering.  The game is easy to pickup, but there is a lot of strategy if you want to get into it.  This next section details the differences between this game and Magic the Gathering and has no dirty language, so feel free to skip it, or read over it while daydreaming that I wrote something mildly entertaining.

If you are familiar with Magic the major differences are:

  • Elements has 12 colors instead of 5.
  • Lands are called pillars/towers/pendulums, and the mana (called Quanta) they produce does not clear at the end of each turn.
  • Creatures attack the turn you play them, but cannot play abilities until your next turn.
  • Creatures do not heal at the end of every turn.
  • You can only play cards or activate abilities on your turn.
  • You don't have to spend hundreds of dollars on cards.
Other than that, the games are fairly similar.

If you never played Magic you can still enjoy Elements; the tutorial is very good and will get you up to speed pretty quick.  My advice would be to pick Darkness or Aether for a starter deck, a lot of the other elements do not work very well by themselves.  I blindly picked Entropy my first time through and had to restart.  If you like the game you might want to check out the wiki starting with the aptly named Guide to Success in Elements.  The end-game for single player comes after you complete all the quests when you can go up against the False Gods.  They cheat by breaking the rules.  They draw two cards a turn, and can have more than 6 of a card in their decks for starters.  Still, they can be defeated if you plan a good deck.  The challenge kept me going back.

Elements can be found at their creatively titled website
If that is down or blocked by some sort of content filter the Elements team also host their game at
Finally, you can also play it from Kongregate to earn a few badges over there.
Once you create an account at one of their sites it is valid at all locations, which is a nice feature.


  • The game has regular updates and usually releases several new cards per update.
  • The game is well adapted to being an online card game.  Certain abilities such as mutation and the pandemonium card would not work in a non electronic format.
  • Three separate hosting sites make it likely that you'll be able to load at least one of them.
  • Free to play.  No pop-up ads or anything that annoying, and people who *do* donate are not granted any ridiculously powerful cards.

  • The challenge curve is pretty steep in some areas, it is very hard to earn your first victory against the false gods.  
  • If you pick a bad starting element, you may need to restart.  Not a major loss early on though.
Final Thoughts:
Elements is a complicated but entertaining flash game.  Unlike most "free" multi-player games this one doesn't give any advantages to people who donate, and doesn't punish you for not playing everyday.  The community is active, and friendly.  There's not much more that you can ask, other than them making an iPhone app to compensate for Apple's seething hatred for Adobe, which burns seven times as hot as our sun.  Where was I?

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