After Blizzard's success with the Warcraft-themed collectable card game, Hearthstone, a number of franchises have attempted to emulate their success. Bethesda released Elder Scrolls Legends based on the series of the same name, while Jagex have Chronicle: RuneScape Legends, and CD Projekt Red released Gwent as a standalone game after it went down well with players from The Witcher 3. Flaming Fowl, a studio formed out of the ashes of Lionhead, have gained access to the Fable franchise and are following suit with Fable Fortune.
Currently in closed beta, it's easy to draw a lot of comparisons to Hearthstone. Minions, or units as they're called in Fortune, have similar effects; 'Battlecry' is now 'Big Entrance', 'Deathrattle' is 'Last Laugh', 'Charge' is 'Rush'. You get the gist. Each unit has an attack stat (now known as strength), a health stat, and a mana cost (which is known as coins here). If you've played Hearthstone, there's not a lot to learn.
Where Fortune mixes it up is with the different modes and quests. Very similar to the latest Un'Goro expansion for Hearthstone that introduced quests that can be completed in-game for a reward, you'll find the same thing in Fortune. At the start of the game, before you decide which cards you want to keep in your hand and which you want to swap, you'll be asked to pick one of three quests. These require you to complete tasks, such as playing four units that cost four or less, or placing four units in Guard (Taunt in Hearthstone). Each quest is unique to the location you're playing in too. If you're in Lychfield Cemetery for example, the quests will be vastly different compared to playing in Fairfax Castle.
Once you complete the requisite, you have two options. To follow the path of Avo, the good god of Albion, or Skorm, the evil god. Morality is a constant theme throughout the main Fable games, and units with the 'Transform' keyword will grow based on the route you choose. Quests can be completed three times over the course of a match, and the choice becomes more powerful each time as it also affects your special ability.
Where Fortune really distances itself from the competition is in the co-op mode. A host of Fable villains like Nostro and Logan are available for two players to team up and fight, with three difficulty levels increasing aspects like the villain's health and special abilities. Each player can make a specially crafted deck, where turns alternate between you and your ally, with the opponent taking their turn in between. It's an unexplored concept for card games and it's surprisingly challenging, even on normal difficulty. Strong communication and knowledge of deck building will be required to take on the hard mode.
There's also a weekly event that occurs with various gameplay modifiers, akin to Hearthstone's Tavern Brawl. So if you're not overly competitive and don't want to progress through the PvP leagues, you can grab a friend and tackle the co-op modes, or have some casual fun in the weekly events. With six different classes available to play, all focused around different themes such as the Gravedigger having a lot of Last Laugh units, or the Merchant that can generate extra coins, there's something for everyone in Fortune. Some minor kinks still need to be ironed out before the game sees a full release, but it's looking promising. It's a tough ask to knock Hearthstone off its pedestal, but Fortune definitely has a chance.