Back in 1974, Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson published the first modern tabletop roleplaying game, Dungeons and Dragons. It was an instant success. These days, you'll find references to the game littering the pop culture landscape - and it boasts an all-star list of celebrity players.
But for all of D&D's commercial success, there were some missteps. One of them happened back in 1994, when the D&D IP owner TSR, Inc. launched a collectible card game called Spellfire: Master the Magic. At the time, the intent was to capitalize on the success of the similarly-themed collectible game Magic: The Gathering.
But Spellfire didn't last long. By 1997, TSR's financial problems forced it to sell its remaining IP, Spellfire included, to Wizards of the Coast - maker of the rival Magic: The Gathering card game. But rather than keeping Spellfire alive, they allowed the game to go out of print. It was a decision that left many of the game's hardcore fans angry and alienated from its new owners.
But in 2006, a strange thing happened. Wizards of the Coast canceled the trademark for Spellfire, leaving its fate up in the air. And that's when a group of the game's long-time fans swooped in and decided to reclaim it on behalf of its players.
After re-establishing the trademark and buying the Spellfire domain name, its new owners set about reimagining the game for the 21st century. It now lives again in the form of an NFT game called Spellfire: Re-Master the Magic. The game is totally new and has new concepts, new style and art created by the team.
The new Spellfire offers a seamless blend of real-world printed collectible cards, a unique QR-code card authentication system, and a mobile app that enables both augmented reality cards and blockchain ownership registration. In other words, it's not your father's tabletop collectible card game.
Unique Groundbreaking Game Features
What's most impressive about Spellfire's rebirth is that its developers weren't content with simply resurrecting the game they loved. In fact, that's one of the things they were explicitly barred from doing. That's because the original game's cards still have artwork and copy that falls under active copyright protection. So they've minted entirely new cards complete with new effects, names, and artwork. And while they were at it, they made the groundbreaking decision to offer NFT cards that owners could hold and use in the real world.
The approach merges the lucrative new NFT market with the traditional tangible collections that have powered Spellfire for 30 years. But it also gives players a real financial stake in the game. The way it works is that the game's NFT cards come in three varieties. There are original NFT cards, playing NFT cards, and not NFT playing cards. And that's where the lure for new players begins.
The Players Own the Game
The original NFT cards are unique, with only one of each design minted on the Ethereum blockchain. And owners receive an impressive physical copy to go along with the digital version, with holographic versions of cards being reserved for the most expensive ones. But it also comes with 1000 playing NFT card copies of the original. And when those copies sell to other players, the owner of the original receives 90% of the proceeds from the sale.
The not NFT playing cards are the game's standard printed card copies. But they come with a twist, too. Each one has a unique QR code so its owner can register the card in their game account. Then, through further gameplay and a play-to-earn mechanic, their owners can upgrade them to a playing NFT version. This increases their power and the real-world value of the card all at once.
A Legend Reborn
According to the developers behind Spellfire: Re-Master the Magic, the multi-mode game that ties all of the new assets together is about 70% ready. But first limited edition of the NFT cards that power it is already up for sale. And each features all-new high-quality artwork - a feature even the game's biggest fans criticized the original for forgoing. So far, there are 115 brand new cards available for sale on Opensea that are all original and populate the game's booster packs, from which players can begin to build their decks.
There's already a groundswell of interest in the project from longtime players and newcomers alike. And when it launches, they and all the players who are already flocking to the game's NFT sales on OpenSea will see the legendary game reborn before their eyes. And for those who trace their roots back to the original, it'll be just as if they played a Coming of the Phoenix card - they'll see their champion rise from the ashes to live again in a new form fit for a new age.