Splinterlands: Everything to Know

By  Beluga Research August 12, 2023

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  • Splinterlands is a popular blockchain-based trading card game that involves players battling with digital cards to earn cryptocurrency rewards
  • Splinterlands, formerly known as Steem Monsters, is based on the Hive blockchain.
  • Splinterlands involves trading, selling, buying, and owning digital cards represented as non-fungible tokens (NFTs)
  • Splinterlands embraces the play-to-earn model. It allows players to earn cryptocurrency rewards for their successes in the game


Splinterlands is a popular blockchain-based trading card game that involves players battling with digital cards to earn cryptocurrency rewards. This game stands out from traditional trading card games because it relies on the blockchain to enhance the experience of playing. It also gives players the opportunity to acquire digital assets that have real value.

Splinterlands is a vibrant ecosystem in which players compete in battles, earn rewards, and trade their NFTs in the marketplace. The monsters in Splinterlands are represented on the NFTs, which ensures the uniqueness and scarcity of the assets. The Splinterlands game is turn-based and requires players to assemble teams of monsters to battle opponents.

The digital cards are collectible items. The game has a high barrier to entry. Its other challenges include scalability issues for the blockchain, market volatility, and limited access in certain geographic zones.

A Brief History

Splinterlands was launched in 2018 on the Steem blockchain. It quickly gained popularity within the crypto community, attracting players and investors. In 2019, the first Splinterlands cards were successfully bridged to the Ethereum blockchain. In 2020, the game transitioned to the Hive blockchain. Hive is a form of the Steem blockchain. The purpose of the change was to maintain decentralization and community governance. The shift allowed Splinterlands to retain its player base and continue evolving as a leading blockchain-based card game.

Splinterlands: Everything to Know

  • Gameplay: Splinterlands offers a strategic turn-based gameplay experience where players assemble a team of monsters to battle against opponents. Each monster belongs to a specific splinter. A splinter represents a particular elemental faction. There are seven elements: Fire, Earth, Water, Life, Death, Dragon and Neutral (mercenaries). Players strategically choose their monsters to form a team that complements their preferred playstyle. The team also needs to counter the strategies of the players' opponents. Battles take place in various leagues, tournaments, and seasonal competitions. These events provide players with diverse challenges and opportunities to earn rewards.
  • Card Collection: The core of Splinterlands revolves around collecting and owning digital cards. Each card represents a monster in the game. The cards come in different rarities. A card possesses unique abilities and stats. Players can acquire new cards through gameplay rewards, purchasing packs, or trading on the marketplace. The scarcity of certain cards make them desirable items to acquire. The uniqueness of the cards drives the market for trading and investing in the game.
  • Blockchain Integration: Some assets on Splinterlands can be bridged to the Ethereum blockchain. This feature of the game ensures transparency, security, and ownership of in-game assets. Each card that can be bridged is represented by an ERC-721 token. The integration with Ethereum allows players to sell the Ethereum-compatible cards in that marketplace.
  • Play-to-Earn: Splinterlands has embraced the play-to-earn model. This involves players earning cryptocurrency rewards through gameplay. Participating in battles, tournaments, and completing quests allows players to earn in-game resources. They can also acquire experience points, Dark Energy Crystals (DEC), the main in-game currency of Splinterlands, and Splintershards (SPS), the official governance token of Splinterlands. Players can stake, trade, or convert SPS tokens into tokens from other cryptocurrencies. The rewards provide players with tangible financial incentives for their engagement in the game.

Getting Started

  • Create an account and acquire cards. The game offers various ways to obtain cards, including purchasing them from the in-game marketplace, participating in tournaments, or earning them as rewards for gameplay achievements. Each card represents a unique creature or character with its own set of abilities and attributes.
  • Assemble a team of monsters to battle against other players. The gameplay revolves around turn-based battles where players strategically deploy their cards and use their abilities to defeat their opponents. Winning battles earns players rewards in the form of Dark Energy Crystals (DEC).
  • See certain cards rise in value. Players are allowed to buy, sell, and trade their cards.

Unique Aspects

  • Integration with blockchain technology. Use of the Hive blockchain and access to the Ethereum blockchain means that Splinterlands players enjoy transparency, immutability, and ownership of digital assets. Each card in the game can be bought, sold, or traded on various decentralized marketplaces.
  • Players have full control over their cards. This ownership extends beyond the game itself. Players can freely transfer or sell their cards on blockchain marketplaces, which creates an active secondary market for collectors and traders.
  • Provable fairness and transparent gameplay. Every battle outcome and card ownership is recorded on the blockchain. This reduces the potential for cheating. The transparency gives players confidence that the game is fair and their achievements and rewards are legitimate.


  • Play-to-Earn - Splinterlands offers an opportunity for players to earn cryptocurrency by participating in the game. Through battles and tournaments, players can win valuable in-game assets that can be sold on various cryptocurrency exchanges. The play-to-earn model provides a new way for gamers to monetize their skills and time spent in the game.
  • True Ownership - Splinterlands players own their in-game assets.
  • Interoperability - Since Splinterlands is built on the Hive blockchain and has access to the Ethereum blockchain, it benefits from the interoperability of these systems. Players that have cards that are sent to wallets linked to these blockchains can easily interact with other decentralized applications (dapps). They can also utilize their assets across different platforms. Interoperability provides players with chances to explore various DeFi protocols and lending platforms.
  • Scarce and Unique Assets - Each card in Splinterlands is unique. The scarcity creates a secondary market where players can trade their assets. The rarity of certain cards drives demand, creating opportunities for players to profit from their investments.


  • High Barrier to Entry - Splinterlands offers an enticing play-to-earn model, but getting started can be challenging for newcomers. Acquiring powerful cards and building a competitive deck requires significant investments of time and money. The initial learning curve can deter players from fully engaging with the game.
  • Blockchain Scalability - Splinterlands is subject to the scalability limitations of the networks on which it operates. During peak periods, congestion can occur. This usually results in higher transaction fees and slower gameplay. The concerns can negatively impact the user experience, especially for players looking for fast-paced battles.
  • Market Volatility - The value of in-game assets in Splinterlands is tied to the cryptocurrency market. Fluctuations in the prices of cryptocurrencies can lead to significant changes in the value of players' holdings. This volatility introduces an element of risk. The value of assets earned in the game is likely to fluctuate over time.
  • Limited Accessibility - Splinterlands has gained a substantial following, but may not be accessible to players in all regions due to regulatory restrictions or technological limitations. This can limit the potential player base. It can also hinder the game's growth in certain markets.