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Video Game / Gems of War

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Gems of War is a Puzzle Game (specifically, a Match-Three Game) with RPG Elements. It is developed by Infinite Interactive (with various associates), and is similar to the same studio's earlier Puzzle Quest games. It's an online game with both single-player and multi-player components together, although players can largely ignore the multi-player and stick to single-player if they prefer.

The game revolves around battles in which each side has up to four troops present. Each troop has stats for health, armour, attack, and so forth. Matching three "skull" gems causes a direct attack by your first troop against the first enemy troop, while matching coloured gems charges special moves (attacks, buffs, heals, etc) for each troop, depending on their particular colour affinity. When a unit has no health left, it's removed; when all are removed, that side loses. Winning a battle produces rewards like experience and gold.


The context for these battles is an array of kingdoms which players can move between, each with its own theme. Each kingdom has a plotline consisting of a series of fixed battles against AI opponents (progression through which also unlocks the ability to re-fight those battles at tougher levels and for more rewards). Kingdoms have to be unlocked with in-game currency, which comes on a regular basis but is more plentiful if you upgrade various things. Troops can be acquired and levelled-up with other kinds of in-game currency (both of which can be won in battles). On the multi-player front, you can raid other people, defend against raids, and join guilds which are rewarded for accomplishing certain tasks.

The game was originally released on Steam, iOS, and Android in November 2014. Afterwards, it was ported to PS4 and Xbox One in November 2015, and to Nintendo Switch in March 2019. It is Free-to-Play on all platforms.


Tropes relating to specific characters, their quest-lines (which aren't connected), and to troops (i.e. recruitable or fightable units), can go on the Characters page.

Gems of War provides examples of:

  • Absurdly High Level Cap:
    • Seen on Bonus Bosses. The player's cap is Level 20. In Dungeons, the enemy team can reach level 40, which is bad enough. In Delves? The max level is 500.
    • The Player Character has, in theory, no maximum level, but the stat boosts from levels slow down dramatically around Lv.400 to prevent the player character — whom, remember, you can deploy as a Troop in combat — from becoming a Physical God.
  • Ancient Egypt: The kingdom of Khetar has a loose ancient Egyptian theme, although you don't necessarily notice it over the more conspicuous land-of-the-undead theme.
  • Armor-Piercing Attack: Some units have special attacks which ignore enemy armour (called "true damage"). The armour will still be there to protect against other normal attacks, but that doesn't matter if health reaches zero — that causes death, even if the unit still has a ton of armour on it.
    • The Grave Knight takes this Up to Eleven with Shattering Blow, which specifically takes away all of an enemy's armor as its first step, then deals damage.
    • The sword weapon, Mang, does the same, with the additional effect of adding the removed armor score to your player's attack.
  • Artificial Brilliance: It's actually a fairly smart AI; the AI will go after matches that use skulls above all others, then go for matches that give it mana it can use, before it takes matches that are useless to it (for example, matching brown gems in an all-green army). The AI will also take 4 of a kinds wherever it sees them, even matches that aren't useful for it, simply to deny them from you.
  • Artificial Stupidity: But for all its smarts, the AI has its flaws. Notably, the targeting for various abilities seems to be at the whim of the A.I. Roulette, even when a targeted spell could get a kill on a weakened unit. Also, the AI has problems figuring out how cascades will go: if a match would cause another gem to fall down and create a four of a kind, the AI will more often than not take another match. Finally, it will make questionable plays, such as using this Eating My Ally spell on an allied Mook Maker.
  • Attack Reflector:
    • The Legendary troop Gloom Leaf has a Trait called "Thorns" which causes him to return 50% of incoming damage caused by making skull matches.
    • The troop Wall of Bones has the Trait Infernal Armor, reflecting 25% of Skull Damage.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Almost everything with base rarities of Legendary or Mythic winds up being this, at least as far as their spells go (their third traits can be a different story). Their spells are typically awesome enough to swing the game back in your favor... which they need to be, because by the time you've collected enough mana to pay their hideously large casting costs, you're halfway to losing. In the meanwhile, your opponent, equipped with Commons and other spells that can be charged in only two matches, has fired things off about fifty times. On the other hand, this can be circumvented by bringing in a generator troop or two that has the Empowered trait (starts with full mana), and making sure the legendary/mythic troop is positioned to get first dibs on the sudden spate of relevant matches.
  • Barbie Doll Anatomy: If there's a glitch and armor is not displayed, even though you normally cannot appear without armor, breasts are without nipples.
  • Bare Your Midriff: A few female armors (the free Phoenix Armor and premium Archmage armor, along with arguably the Steampunk Armor) feature this.
  • Body Armor as Hit Points: Played straight. However, some spells deal "True Damage", which bypasses Armor, and others only damage Armor.
  • Bonus Boss: Seen in the Dungeons, where players gain crafting reagents for the Soulforge, and in Delves, traditional spelunking adventures where the player can choose the enemy's maximum level, but rewards scale commensurably.
  • Boring, but Practical: Luther, the Quest Giver from the very first kingdom, and likely your first brown troop, is a viable choice no matter what level you are or who you're facing. His Traits, unlocked, allow him to tank effectively, and his spell increases ATK values, which can rarely hurt.
  • Character Level: Player characters have levels, with increases providing boosts to stats like health and attack. Experience is gained from battles (including defeats, albeit in different quantities). Other troops also have their own levels, but they work differently — they have to be specifically leveled up by spending Souls, which can be obtained from battles and other places. You'll generally have more troops than Souls to level them, so you have to choose which ones to focus on.
  • Class and Level System: Multiple:
    • In an odd sort of way: the player has their own level, and after completing certain questlines, can complete one more quest to learn a new class, which have their own levels entirely separate from the player. These classes are leveled up the same way troops are (see Character Level above), using souls. Class levels add extra stats to the hero.
      • Extra mana gain depending on the class (Warlord gives extra Red Mana, Sorcerer gives extra Purple, etc).
      • The advent of Talent Trees gave the Player even more bonuses and special abilities, such as Random Poison, Summoning (% chance), Banishment (disenchant), and so on.
      • Winning 250 Victories as a class earns the player a special weapon.
    • Additionally, the larger majority of cards have both a Class and a Race, which are used to calculate certain bonuses. (See Set Bonus below.)
    • There are also Champion Levels for each class, which allow you to unlock skill trees with even more bonuses. You gain these simply by winning battles while in that class.
  • Color-Coded Wizardry: Multiple:
    • The six gem/mana colours each seem to link to a certain theme (not quite Elemental Powers, but similar). Roughly speaking: red for Playing with Fire, brown for Dishing Out Dirt, yellow for Light 'em Up, green for Green Thumb, blue for Making a Splash, and purple for Black Magic. Troops generally have a colour or colours which is appropriate to them.
    • Each color also has an "Elemental Construct" troop which embodies an emblematic quality about it. Yellow is Humility, Blue is Justice, Purple is Sacrifice, Red is Courage, Brown is Honor, and Green is Loyalty.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: It is entirely possible for a team composition to fall into this if three or even two of its members use the same colors of mana. When you match three, the mana automatically goes to whichever team member is closest to the top of the stack and can actually use that color; you don't choose which character gets the power-up. Additionally, the fewer colors your team uses, the easier it is for the opponent to simply mana-screw you by prioritizing those colors themselves. This is actually one of the ways the single-player campaign modulates difficulty; the further you get down a quest-line, the more colors the opposition uses.
  • Damage Reduction: Some Troops have Traits that will do this, such as the "Armored" trait which reduces damage produced by matching Skulls by 25%. Luther, mentioned above, is one such.
  • Disc-One Nuke: Some troops are powerful at the start of the match, but scale downwards as it progresses.
    • The Ranger has an attack spell that actually gets weaker every time an enemy dies.
    • The Blade Dancer's attack spell is boosted by enemy Armor quantities — which is something which damage will inevitably reduce.
    • The Adana kingdom Troop Tesla's attack is boosted by all enemy and ally armor. While she attacks every enemy troop with True Damage (damage to life that bypasses armor), she inevitably gets weaker as the game progresses.
  • Death-or-Glory Attack: Severak troops have "Hurt the enemy or myself" type spells. In particular, the Dullahan, who's spell will One-Hit KO the first enemy troop or the first on his side, even if "he's" the first.
  • Eating the Enemy: Troops with the "Devour" ability can One-Hit Kill an enemy troop and gain their HP, ATK, and ARM for their own. (Weirdly, this counts as a damage-dealing ability and can be deflected with Barrier.) For balance, most Devour troops either 1) have a limited probability of proccing the Devour, or 2) can only do it once per battle.
  • Elemental Rock–Paper–Scissors: Occasionally, Troops and Weapons deal triple damage to the element they're strong against. Blue -> Red -> Green -> Brown; Yellow/White and Purple oppose each other.
  • Empty Levels: Nothing happens when moving between Class Champion Levels unless they're hitting the specific levels of 1, 5, 10, 20, 40, 70, and 100 to unlock new talents.
  • Evil Sorcerer: Karakoth is lousy with them. They have towers all over the place, and use them as bases for excavating ancient ruins full of things better left undisturbed. The Warlock's flavor text even lampshades some of the nature of the Evil Sorcerer.
    "If you're wise, powerful, and enjoy inflicting pain on the helpless, you're either a dentist, or a Warlock."
  • Experience Booster: The Player Character can wear armor that has this effect.
  • Extra Turn: this is the Goblins' Hat, gameplay-wise; their spells always provide one. Since some of them also give you ways to (re)charge said spells, a Goblin comp can spiral out of control in a hurry.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Some kingdoms have parallels in the real world; for example, Stormheim is Norse-themed.
  • Fantasy World Map: The game map (a Point-and-Click Map on which the icons of the various kingdoms are displayed) features the usual grasslands, forests, mountains, and seas. Parts of it which you can't access yet are partly covered in cloud.
  • Flavor Text: Every troop has a snippet of it that appears when you click on them and then move to their picture in the Troops menu.
  • Fun with Acronyms: DRACOS 1337: Draconic Robot Assistant, Courtesy Of Sparkgrinder...
  • Geo Effects:
    • Each Kingdom counts as a battlefield, and has three specific colors of mana which are more likely to appear there. Combined with the Crippling Overspecialization above, it can make some team comps essentially untenable.
    • There are troops which can also (temporarily) raise the chances that gems of a specific color will appear, by summoning a Color Storm.
  • Girls with Moustaches: the "Apothecary," a Dwarf Mystic, is portrayed as a woman with a pointed beard and Odango Hair.
  • Global Currency: The description for Gold starts with "The currency of Krystara", Krystara being the initial location the game starts in.
  • Hearts Are Health: The symbol for Hit Points is a Heart Symbol.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Several troops have abilities that are boosted by the target's Skills.
    • The Rakshanin's "Crouching Tiger" attack does 1 extra point of damage for every 2 points of Life the target has.
    • Faunessa does the same for every 1 point of Attack, and grants life to her entire team based on the amount of damage she dealt.
    • The Hydra's attack is boosted by missing life. Got him down to 10 points of life and his mana fills? Oh, Crap!.
    • Can occur with enemy troops that change gem colors: if it's a gem type you use, or one of your troops has an ability that's boosted by the presence of certain gems, or if the enemy accidentally sets up a lot of extra turns for you (or any combination of the three!), the troop who used that ability is in for a rough time.
  • Horsemen of the Apocalypse: The four members of the Apocalypse "kingdom" are Death, Famine, Plague, and War, references to the Biblical horsemen of the apocalypse of those very names.
  • Item Crafting: Introduced in August 2017, the Soulforge lets you craft Traitstones (which are consumed to unlock permanent upgrades to a Troop), a bunch of Weapons that can only be obtained there, a selection of 4 Legendary and 4 Mythic-Rare Troops (the menu changes every week), and a Mythic Rare named Xathenos who can only be obtained there.
  • It Only Works Once: One-Shot spells, which can only be used once per battle.
    • Special shout-out to the Dwarven Slayer card, whose spell reads, "Deal 40 (+ my Magic) damage to an enemy and die gloriously. Can only be cast once (obviously)." The exact math depends on things like what level the Dwarven Slayer and his opponent are, but this is a One-Hit Kill in more than half of all cases, and the rest will definitely be hanging on by a thread. My Death Is Just the Beginning!
    • Tassarion creates his Magic (x 3) gems of a selected magic color, and gives all other allies 3 Magic. He can only cast once. He's not completely useless afterwards; he sports a hefty Attack score, enabling him to inflict a nasty amount of Skull Damage. Or you can use another card to Sacrifice him.
  • Joke Character: Mythic troops arguably fall into this category, because many of their spells are Awesome, but Impractical: Gargantuar, for instance, does more damage for each ally and enemy killed, but powering it up is difficult, and without buffs, it is actually outdamaged by lesser troops and comps. Having said that, some achieve the Lethal Joke Character status by means of their traits; Infernus, for instance, sets the entire enemy team on fire every time you make a 4+ match, and Queen Aurora makes you gain extra mana every time you make a match. These guys are included on teams not to use their spells, but simply because you want their side effects. And there are some Mythics — for instance, see under the "Level Scaling" trope — whose benefits outweigh their impracticality.
  • Law of Chromatic Superiority: the game uses the coloring system put in place by World of Warcraft: grey/white, green, blue, purple, orange. Mythic cards are a sort of pale blue-green that is meant to evoke steel.
  • Leaked Experience: a very limited but very useful form. Once you win 250 victories while your Hero is using a Character Class, you unlock a fancy and awesome weapon. Your Hero does not have to be a part of your team for this to happen; simply winning the match, using anyone, counts. (And there are 34 classes planned thus far, one for each kingdom, so this will definitely take a while!)
  • Lethal Lava Land: The island of Broken Spire is volcanic, and seems to have plentiful lava; whether the resident Lava Wrym is a cause or a consequence isn't stated.
  • Level Grinding: Zigzagged.
    • Though the Player Character earns EXP and can be deployed as a Troop, actual Troops don't gain levels. Instead, you spend "Souls" on them to level them up. Consequently, Troops that help you gain Souls efficiently can be very valuable; some of them generate Souls when they cast their spells, and those with the "Necromancy" trait multiply the number of Souls generated.
    • Item Farming used to center around Traitstones, which Randomly Drop when you complete a level. There are four rarities of Traitstone, and Traits require three types of them (and multiples of each type) to unlock. Needless to say, getting enough to Trait up the most powerful cards would take a while. Now that Item Crafting has been introduced, you can craft Traitstones at the Soulforge; doing so consumes — it's in the name — Souls, but it's easier to get those than Traitstones, so it's still a step up.
  • Level Scaling: a rare case of the player having access to it. There are weapons which destroy the enemy's Armor — just, boom, gone — and then provide bonuses that scale with the amount of Armor removed. While these can obviously be quite powerful in PVP combat, their main value (and design intent) was for use in post-game PVE content such as Dungeons and Delves, where teams have the Absurdly High Level Cap of 500... even though your team still can't break Level 20. Against such foes, weapons with Level Scaling are of obvious utility.
    • The current king combination of this trope is Earth's Fury — "Destroy all armor on one target, and give everyone on your team +1 Attack for every 3 armor destroyed this way" — and the Mythic troop High King Irongut — "Deal some damage to an enemy, with a chance to Devour them which is equal to... my current Attack." The fact that you can get said Attack above 100 (and thus above a 100% proc rate) seems absurd... until we point out that, again, your Lv.20 Irongut might be contending with a Lv. 500 enemy, who can kill you just as easily.
  • Limit Break: In addition to "basic" attacks, each troop has its own special ability which is gradually charged by matching gems of an appropriate colour. These can be attacks, but can also provide heals, buffs, and other effects. Using them takes up a turn, so when they're charged, you have to choose between employing them and making a regular move.
  • The Lost Woods: There are four forest areas in the game, with varying characters. The Forest of Thorns is fairly benign, inhabited by elves and talking trees. The Maugrim Woods are cold and harsh, inhabited by hostile wolf-people. Zhul'Kari is perpetually dark, conspicuously evil (as opposed to simply unforgiving), and full of spider-esque horrors. Finally, Bright Forest is inhabited by The Fair Folk.
  • Luck-Based Mission: A side effect of the "looping" (IE Extra Turn) Meta Game is that most matches devolve into this. If you don't get the mana you need in the first couple of turns, well, you might not get a third before the opponent cripples you with five or six turns' worth of spellcasts.
  • Magikarp Power: Several examples.
    • Some Troops get stronger as the match progresses because of how their spells work. The dwarven Lady Ironbeard, for instance, deals a certain amount of damage to a single target... or triple that if her Armor is higher than theirs. It takes some doing, but it's totally possible to get her Armor high enough / her opponent's low enough that she can start dispensing One Hit Kills.
    • Some troops can simply strengthen their Skills. Sunweaver, Princess Fizzbang, and Nax, for instance, can boost their own stats; the latter two can, additionally, increase the amount by which those stats get boosted. It takes some doing before they can run away with a match — Fizzy can add on much larger bonuses, but picks a random troop to target, whereas the other two have to take a slow-and-steady approach — so you need to build up a team of meat shields.
    • The Owleth is a more traditional example, since it needs to gain levels to come into its own. Its spell comes in two parts. Its second half, the important one, says, "Decrease a random skill" (IE stat) "on all enemies by [my Magic skill / 2]." Obviously, this is quite powerful, being a permanent debuff... which is probably why the Owleth starts with a Magic skill of 1 — which, when divided by 2, rounds down to zero — and doesn't get bigger until you promote it to Lv.10, an investment of around 1000 souls. Thankfully, at that point, it starts gaining 1 Magic every 2 levels or so, maxing out at 6. (The first half of its spell also increases the likelihood of the board spawning Purple gems for quite a few turns, making it at least useful as a support troop for the first half of its life.)
  • Microtransactions: The game is free to play, but has optional purchases. Spending real money gets you things a lot quicker, but in theory, almost everything can be acquired by other means if you keep at it long enough.
  • Money Multiplier: again, player-character armor.
  • Mordor: The island kingdom of Darkstone has been corrupted to this; it was once "a shining beacon", but its knights fell under demonic influence, becoming tyrants and slavers.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Many of the female characters and creatures are rather attractive, often sporting skimpy outfits. Egregious cases include the heroine Atlanta (a tall, stunning redhead with revealing clothes and large breasts) and the Devoted unit (which even lampshades this in her flavour text).
  • Multi-Platform: Originally built in Adobe AIR, the game was later ported to Unity (partially because Android discontinued support for Adobe AIR in its Oreo 8.0 release). Both platforms function equally well in iOS, Android, and Windows.
  • My Rules Are Not Your Rules: the enemy teams you face in Campaign will typically outlevel you, but they may also have enhanced abilities. For instance, the AI-controlled version of Gorgotha can charge its 15-mana spell off any color of mana; since said spell allows Gorgotha to absorb a minimum of 36 gems, it can recharge itself on the spot, and will cast it every turn forever. The version of the card you can deploy uses the conventional two colors of mana, which puts a major damper on your ability to spam it the way the AI did. (Thankfully, the spell itself isn't all that useful, merely doing damage equal to the number of Skulls there were amongst the absorbed gems.)
  • No Bulk Discounts: As an Omnipresent trope, Aversions are what's notable: Gem Chests are 10 Gems for 1, 95 for 10, and 450 for 50.
  • Non-Player Companion: Every kingdom has one. If you complete that kingdom's quest chain, they join your party. They are inevitably of Epic rarity and are frequently useful; Tyri, mentioned above, is one of them.
  • Percent-Based Values: Spells' numerical effects are sometimes based on a percentage of certain stats, rounded down. For example, the Widow Queen's spell does damage of [(Magic / 2) + (Sacrificed Troop's Life / 3) + 1].
  • Pinball Protagonist: The plot is linear, and the protagonist only speaks in the form of short sentences which fit on what is effectively a "continue" button. As such, the player character comes across as very laid-back and obliging to whichever character is serving as Quest Giver. ("Can I join you?" "Okay." "Will you help me?" "Sure, why not." "We must attack immediately!" "All right.") There are occasions where the player character attempts to point out the silliness of certain decisions, or snarks at the Quest Giver's logic or lack thereof, but he/she almost always gets carried along anyway.
  • Planet of Hats: Each kingdom has a particular theme, and some involve a "hat" — piety, invention, etc. However, the quest character for each kingdom is sometimes in opposition to that theme rather than an exemplar of it; for example, the kingdom of temples and paladins (Whitehelm) has you receive your quests from a vampire (Sapphira) who is being attacked by the pious folk.
  • Player Versus Player: asynchronous. You choose one specific team of characters who will defend on your behalf; if you are attacked in PvP, the AI plays for you.
  • Point-and-Click Map: The basic world map has icons on it for the various kingdoms; you can travel between them whenever you like, although they have to be unlocked with gold first.
  • Power Equals Rarity: Zigzagged Trope. There are six levels of rarity in the game (Common, Rare, Ultra-Rare, Epic, Legendary, Mythic) and any card can be "ascended" to the next level of rarity by combining enough of them together; doing so increases their stats. Having said that, the usefulness of cards does not depend on their starting rarity, and while rarer cards tend to be better, the power curve is shallow enough that cards of equal level but lower rarity can still win (especially against the AI).
  • Proud Scholar Race Guy: Proud Scholar Race Adana is distinguished from its neighbours by its dedication to scholarship and technology. (Not necessarily peaceful technology, though — it includes muskets.)
  • Quest Giver: Each kingdom has a character to deliver that kingdom's story and issue objectives. At the end of the quest line, that character joins the player.
  • Random Number God: one of the primary ways The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard. The game decides what gems drop in every time a match is made. At higher levels, it is far more likely to "coincidentally" give the enemy team large numbers of cascades.
  • Random Species Offspring: One of the kingdoms nearest to your starting point is Zhul'Kari, where you meet Tyri, an Elf Rogue. When you reach the Drifting Sands kingdom, you meet her brother, Marid... who not only has stereotypically Arabic features and garb, but is explicitly a Human (Rogue). Finally, in Blackhawk, you meet their father, Lil' Johnny Bronze, also a Human Rogue. How Tyri managed to be an Elf is never addressed or even lampshaded.
    • On the other hand, the difficulty Bronze has in remembering Marid's mother (although he finally manages it) does imply he has A Girl in Every Port, so the implication is definitely that Tyri and Marid are half-siblings.
  • Sand Worm: "The Great Maw." Its flavor text is, "Arrakis called. It wants its worm back."
  • Set Bonus: Each team of four (unique — no building a team that's four of the same card) troops can get bonuses for a number of different reasons. The bonus applies to all members of the team, not just those that qualify for it (for example, the sole human surrounded by 3 dwarves would still get a Dwarf bonus). The bonus also scales with numbers; even if you only need two troops to secure it, it'll get bigger if you add a third or fourth. The Set Bonus applies for each criteria, even if a troop qualifies for more than one of them (most Troops have both a race and a class, as well as two mana colors). The criteria are:
    • At least two of them are of the same Type (IE race and/or class). This gives bonuses to their Skills — IE, HP, Armor, ATK, and/or MAG.
    • At least three of them are from the same Kingdom. Again, the Skill bonuses are customized to the locale.
    • All four of them use the same color of Mana. This gives you a significant boost to your "Masteries," and increases the likelihood of getting bonus Mana when you match that color. Weapons wielded by your Hero count. Again, this stacks no matter how many colors of mana are in your team (and the 19 Mythic-Rare troops all gain mana from three colors).
    • Min-Maxing is averted though. Even though several hundred Troops cards have been released as of this writing and at least one new one comes out every week, it is not possible to craft a team with four-person bonuses in all six criteria (Kingdom, Type 1, Type 2, Mana Color 1, Mana Color 2, Mana Color 3). In fact, it's not currently possible to craft a team that has more four bonuses whatsoever.
  • Single-Use Shield: the "Barrier" ability procs to absorb any incoming damage. It does not work against debuffs or status effects.
  • Shout-Out: Numerous, particularly in the Flavor Text on each unit's (virtual) card. A few examples:
    • "He ain't nothing but a hound-dog" (for the Warhound) is a quote from an Elvis Presley song.
    • "No, swooping is not bad" (for the Hippogryph, which has Swoop as its special attack) refers to a quote from Alastair in Dragon Age: Origins.
    • "Don't blink" (for the Archon Statue) refers to the Weeping Angels of Doctor Who.
    • "Rumor is that she has a Girl Tattoo" (for Celestasia, a dragon) refers to the The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.
    • When preparing to fight Gobtruffle, king of the mushrooms (It Makes Sense in Context), Brian the Lucky proposes a toast to Jaylanstor, God of Regicide.
    • The flute-playing Elven Bard's Flavor Text is a reference to flute-playing Michelle of American Pie's and her uses of "one time, at band camp": "One time at Bard camp..."
  • Status Ailment: There are a number in the game; any troop afflicted by them has a 10% chance to recover from them, with the chance going up by 10% every turn. The turn-based nature of the game prevents them from being Useless Useful Spell.
    • Burning: Damage Over Time, 3 per turn. Affects Armor first. This ability can inflict lethal damage.
    • Death Mark: The troop has a 10% chance to suffer Critical Existence Failure on any given turn.
    • Disease: a form of Anti-Magic that halves the troop's mana intake.
    • Entangle: the troop's Attack skill is reduced to 0. You can still match Skulls with them, and if you get 4, then the "4 skulls gives +1 damage" thing applies and your troop will in fact do 1 damage, but under other circumstances, nothing happens. Any spells that increase the Entangled troop's Attack skill will also have no effect until Entangle wears off.
    • Faerie Fire: a Damage-Increasing Debuff that increases incoming Spell damage by 50%.
    • Frozen: a troop cannot grant extra turns, either by using its spell or by making 4+ matches. Note that this only applies to gems of its own mana color(s), and to skulls for the first troop.
    • Hunter's Mark: Doubles damage taken from skull matches.
    • Poison: the target has a 50% chance to take 1 damage per turn. This damage bypasses Armor and goes straight to the Hit Points. This ability can inflict lethal damage. It also never goes away on its own, unlike the other status effects.
    • Silence: The target cannot gain mana or use its spells. Mana collected in its colors will bypass it and go to the next eligible troop in line. This ability does not drain the target's already-collected Mana (there's an ability called "Mana Drain" which does this).
    • Stun: This shuts down the troop's "Traits," which have to be unlocked by consuming Traitstones, but typically provide fairly serious bonuses (IE "All Dwarves in your party get +2 HP"). There are some Troops whose Traits are considered their main valuenote , so this Status Effect can all but One-Hit Kill those Troops.
    • Web: Entangle for magic. The Troop's Magic skill cannot be increased until the webbing dissolves. The troop's Magic is also reduced to 0, which sometimes makes the spell useless ("Deal damage equal to my Magic"), sometimes just weakens it ("Deal damage equal to 3 + my Magic"), and sometimes accomplishes nothing ("Convert all gems one color to another color, regardless of what my Magic is").
  • Summon Magic: some troops let you summon another: IE Dragon Eggs, whose spell says, "Summon a random dragon." The summoning only works if at least one of your troops have already died, and the troop drops in without any of the Skill buffs you may have already deployed, but it works wonders as a meat shield in PvP. It can also be of serious value in Delves, a Dungeon Crawling campaign where slain Troops stay that way until you either beat the dungeon or lose. Lost one? Who cares if you can replace 'em!
  • Suicide Attack: the Dwarven Slayer, as detailed above; see also the Bombot (which explodes to deal damage that scales with its armor) and Sacrificial Priest (which has a 30% chance to summon a killer Daemon replacement). Curiously, the Dragon Eggs mentioned above are able to keep spawning more Dragons until the enemy succeeds in smashing them.
  • Supernatural Is Purple: The Magic element is represented with purple orbs.
  • Swamps Are Evil: The Mist of Scales region is a swamp, and it's full of venomous Snake People and Man-Eating Plants. Travel is hampered not just by the swampy ground, but by the fact that it's often shrouded in mist; getting lost is very easy.
  • Take Your Time: Each kingdom quest-line is generally presented as though it's a continuous event, with the next step sometimes being urgent, but in fact, there's nothing stopping you from wandering off to another kingdom and not coming back for ages.
  • Third-Person Person: Tau, the Raksha Quest Giver from Sword's Edge.
  • Überwald: Ghulvania is ruled by evil vampire lords who keep the population terrorized. The "vania" part of the name is presumably a nod to Transylvania.
  • Whole Plot Reference: the Maugrim Woods quest line involves helping a young woman, who wears a red cloak with a hood, track down her grandmother, who (it turns out) has been eaten by wolf-daemons.
  • You Require More Vespene Gas: "Gold" is, you know, Gold. "Lumber" is Souls, which are used to power up your recruited Troops. There's also "Traitstones," which are used to unlock significant powerups on Troops, but these can be produced via Item Crafting at the Soulforge if you pay enough Souls, so they straddle the line between being a tertiary resource and being Lumber-and-a-half.


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