For many game inventors, cleaning handles is part of the business - especially when a crowdfunding campaign to finance a new game is running. So we weren't surprised when we received the email with information about the card game fightlings reached. With the almost infinite number of new publications, this direct route is also the best way for small publishers to draw attention to themselves. In case of fightlings we are happy to have received the mail, because the CCG turned out to be an entertaining card game in the app version. It goes without saying that Thoughtfish uses modern financing tools to bring the game idea to the table at home. 

We did the card game fightlings have a look for you and reveal why it is worth playing the title yourself.

Fightlings: A card game made in Germany

fightlings is a card game project "Made in Germany". The Berlin company Thoughtfish GmbH, which is responsible for the app variant, is behind the game idea fightlings was already able to attract attention for the German Computer Game Award 2017 (DCP). The jury award is given annually to German developers in various categories. Thoughtfish was with the CCG fightlings nominated in the category "Best Innovation" - along with competing titles Holocafe and VR Coaster Rides and Coastiality AppYou have to be in the scene a little to be able to really do something with the nominees in the secondary categories, but the list position is already a great success for an app game that was only released in July 2017 in Germany, Austria and Switzerland has appeared. The CCG is currently with around 5.000 downloads in Google's Playstore fightlings it is still far from an overwhelming success, but it should be noted that both the basic genre mix and the artwork have a certain attractiveness factor. With skilful marketing, there are no significant obstacles in the way of the bright future.  

The card game app can be described as a backward development. For the basic idea, the developers used a classic card game version, which was then pressed into the guise of a game app. Sebastian Thoma from Thoughtish also confirmed this when asked: “We are all big board game fans ourselves and Fightlings originally started as a card game, our internal prototypes for developing the app were initially analogue versions. When our community later asked if the app wouldn't also work as a card game, it was clear to us that we absolutely had to make this possible." 

The Berliners are not lacking in self-confidence. They name their new release in the same breath as classics such as Magic - The Gathering or the successful LCG Android: Netrunner (FFG / Asmodee). Sebastian Thoma describes the genre mix as follows: “The unique thing about Fightlings is its combination of different game elements that you won't find in any other game. You can also play Memory to reveal card pairs, Magic to fight card battles, or build your own deck in Netrunner, but the combination of all of these elements is unique to Fightlings and makes the game more than the sum of its parts.”

Three games in one sounds like a solid foundation and a lot of potential. Our first impression brought about another unexpected association: If you start the app for the first time, the relationship becomes a successful title Pokemon Go do not deny it.

The collectible figures are similar to the style of the Japanese pocket monsters, but are designed in more detail. Overall, you can see the illustrations from fightlings describe as idiosyncratic but appealing. On paper, the game idea also seems to be based on a kind of Pokemon PvP card game. You can find your exact location on an interactive map of the area using a GPS signal. Hotspots are marked and reveal detailed information when touched. The big difference turns out to be in the gameplay idea: fightlings draws on the basic structure of a memo card game, the course of which can be strategically influenced by using playable helper cards.     

Classic formula for success: PvP is always possible

The concept of fightlings is as simple as it is catchy. The game is played in a classic duel setting, both in the app and as part of the physical version, the financing campaign of which is currently running on the crowdfunding platform Kickstarter. At the beginning each player chooses the faction he wants to represent in the game. Then the deck building elements come into play, which distinguish the card game version from the app. Sebastian Thoma clarifies the difference between the physical version and the app in one sentence: “Unlike the app, the card game version of Fightlings adds the ability to build your own deck. As a result, there are countless possible combinations and strategies, and each round is unique.”

This difference alone should be enough for fans of the card game to enjoy both versions. When asked whether a link between the app and the table game is planned in the future, Sebastian Thoma answered clearly: “Currently, both games are standalone, only sharing some of the artwork and of course the general theme. Of course, we also have a bundle on Kickstarter that offers the card game together with in-game currency for the app.”

Ultimately, the content of the app and the card game are not entirely independent. "Long term we want to expand the game with additional factions, we can't wait to bring more fan favorites from the app into maps." That sounds like sensible plans, similar to those of successful trading card games, in order to bind players to a title in the long term.

What follows the deck construction in terms of rules is the card display. The playing cards are spread out on the table in a 5 x 7 formation to form the memo board. In turn, the two players each reveal three cards in the hope of a match. Uncovered pairs of cards from your own deck cards go to your battle display, where the creatures can then be used as damage dealers to minimize the opponent's life points. Uncovered correspondence can also grant bonuses, such as victory points or buffs. It will be exciting because of the different victory conditions. A player wins when he has been able to collect 15 victory points, the opponent's life points drop to zero or the card display has been completely cleared. The different victory conditions are especially important for the possible game strategies and thus for the deck composition. 

At the last SPIEL'17 in Essen fightlings won some new players. Sebastian Thoma looks back enthusiastically on the 35th International Game Days: "SPIEL was just incredible, more visitors than ever before and that's how it felt. It felt like there were even more smaller exhibitors this time (like ourselves), so that there was a nice mix of great trade fair feeling and cozy little game groups.”

Regarding the entertainment value of fightlings According to Sebastian, many visitors to the stand agreed: "We always had players at our stand who didn't want to get up after their practice rounds :). Overall it was a great experience to be able to show the game we've been working on for so long to such a large crowd and see how much fun they are having." 

What is missing now is a successful crowdfunding campaign. on Kickstarter The financing phase will run until November 15, 2017. So far, there have been 110 supporters who have invested a total of around 6.700 of the targeted 10.000 euros in the project (as of November 3, 2017). Overall, crowdfunding is going solid.


Number of players: 2 players
Age: 12
Playing time: 5 to 15 minutes
Difficulty: easy
Long-term motivation: medium

Published by Thoughtfish GmbH
Developer: Christina Barleben
Year of publication: 2018 
Platform: iOS, Android
Costs: from 20 euros (Kickstarter)


In view of the popular competitors in the trading card segment, it will be difficult for Thoughtfish to assert itself, but the game idea is refreshingly different and offers a successful combination of strategic deck building and memo game elements. The colorful graphic style is a nice incentive for players who value visual highlights in a card game.

The game rounds of the app variant are fun: the smooth game play harmonizes almost perfectly with a short round duration. The basic concept can also be wonderfully expanded to include new content.

Overall, all of the essential factors are in place to get out fightlings to make a future-oriented trading card game. For fans of the genre, it is worth taking a look at the app, which is available free of charge for Android and iOS and is financed solely through in-game purchases.

If you like physical collectible card games, you should also follow the Kickstarter campaign - or support the project if you like. In any case, we wish Thoughtfish every success, because the games industry always needs innovations and bold ideas.