I’ve playing a ton of the Shards of Infinity app and I finally played the card game last year at Dice Tower West. I liked it so much that I bought it during the pandemic lockdown for me and the wife to play.
It really came into its own with the Relics of the Future expansion, though, fixing almost every problem I had with the base game.
But when I saw there was another expansion coming, I had to wonder: what was there left to add?
It turns out quite a bit.
Shards of Infinity: Into the Horizon is an expansion for this great game designed by
Gary Arant, Justin Gary, Ryan Sutherland, Jared Saramago, Mataio Wilson and Jason Zila with art by Kris Aubin, Jessica R. Eyler, Rod Mendez and Aaron Nakahara (this is definitely an expansion done by committee, but is that a bad thing in this case?).
It’s published by Stoneblade Entertainment and Ultra-PRO and just came out a couple of months ago (that’s 2021 for those of you looking back at this post a few years from now).
I already explained how to play the game in my Shards review, so I won’t go into that here.
What does this expansion add?
Let’s take a look.
Into the Horizon adds two new mechanisms to the game.
The first are the Destiny cards.
At the beginning of the game, in addition to the 6-card market row, you turn over 6 Destinies. These are abilities that you can gain once you have achieved 5 Mastery.
You can only gain one (just like the Relics in Relics of the Future), however there may be times when you’ll be able to get more.
One destiny, when you reach 10 Mastery, let’s you banish it to turn over two more Destinies and then choose two to take.
Some are stronger than others but all of them can be useful. “One Mind, One Army” above gives all of your Champions 2 extra health. That can be amazing!
You don’t replace the Destinies that are chosen, so there will always be at most six available.
I like how they’re relatively easy to get but they add a bunch of spice to the game. Even if you’re not going for Mastery (and with the possibility of getting a super-powerful relic, why wouldn’t you be trying to get at least 10?), it’s easy to get enough to grab one of these.
The second new thing are the Ingeminex.
These are monsters born from the shards, ravaging the land as monstrous shadows of their former masters.
See? I can be quite poetic too!
(Editor – You took that from the rulebook, dumbass)
These are buried in the market row deck. If you’re replacing a card you just purchased and one of these guys comes up, it goes to the center of the table and you draw a new card.
You have to defeat them on your turn or else everybody will suffer the “Attack” from them.
This actually gives you a reason to do your purchasing before doing your Attack.
If one comes out during setup, then the first player has to defeat it (ha! with a starting deck with 2 Attack in it!) or each player suffers the Attack.
Once that’s happened, they sit there until somebody defeats them with 10 Attack and that player gets the Reward.
Corruption is my favourite because it lets you get your second Relic! Having two Relics in your deck is very powerful.
Agony is not exactly fun when you face his attack but defeating him gets you 2 cards and another Destiny!
Finally, the game adds 30 new center row cards and some of them are simply amazing.
Some of the Order cards give you a bonus if you lead your opponent in Mastery (another reason to try for Mastery).
Raidian is an Order Champion that can’t be destroyed by Attack points if your opponent has less Mastery than you do. Granted, she just lets you draw a card for 5 cost, but it’s a “draw one card each turn” ability that can’t be killed by Attack normally (if you’re doing things right).
This card-drawing actually adds a card to your hand rather than replacing itself, which is also pretty cool.
I love the Orm Madu Champion as well. You get 7 Health a turn, and it also has 7 Health before it can be killed? And if you have 50 Health, you get 1 Mastery?
I made good use of her in my game yesterday.
Some of the other cards are just as good.
Lifebound (Sorry) Undergrowth doesn’t usually have anything to do with Mastery (with one or two exceptions) so The Rotten is a cool card because it gives you high Attack *and* Mastery.
I’m not quite sure how good Oblivion Gatekeeper is until you get 20 Mastery (you can really hurt yourself and essentially you’re just drawing a card) but it’s still an interesting concept.
And he got the front page (i.e. box cover)!
I really like what Into the Horizon adds to the game, but I do have to warn you about one thing.
It can really add time to the game.
Our first play of it took an hour and was ended by one massive Attack turn or else it would have gone on even longer.
Yesterday’s game was on pace to take just as long until I had a massive 88-Attack turn due to this awesome Relic (The World Piercer below had me return 8 Mercenaries from my discard pile and the Champion from the base game that lets you double your Attack if you have 20 Mastery helped too).
A couple of times, both of us were down near the point of being killed, and then a great turn of healing and then suddenly both of us were out of danger.
Without that 88-Attack turn that ended it, though, I’m sure yesterday’s game would also have been close to an hour.
I have to admit that it’s great fun to play with this much power. You almost need some 20-sided dice to keep track of the Attack and Crystals that you have on a given turn.
This expansion also gives you a lot more reason to go for Mastery, even if you’re not going for the full 30-Mastery Infinity Shard win.
Is that fun for a relatively quick filler card game?
Your mileage may vary on that front.
One other thing that’s kind of weird is that there is only one Aion card in the game. I swear either a Destiny or some other new card references the Aion card but when you’ve mixed in both expansions along with the base game deck, how likely are you to see the card?
It’s a cool Champion, though, letting you fast-play any 3-cost card (or 5-cost if you have 15 Mastery) from the Market Row. Not just Mercenaries.
That ability can be awesome.
But I think there should have been at least two of these cards in the deck.
The artwork on the cards is gripping and extremely well-done. I really like many of the Homodeus cards, like the Torian Commandos a few pictures above. The Undergrowth cards, maybe not quite so much but they are interesting.
I highly recommend the Into the Horizon expansion for this game, just as long as you’re aware that your play time is likely going to go up.
If you’re good with that, then give this one a try.
It makes one of the best pure deckbuilding card games even better.
(This review was written after 2 plays of the expansion)