What is Steem Monsters?
I've been coming across more and more posts mentioning Steem Monsters recently. I could gather that it is a card game that seems to be becoming all the rage on Steemit, and that we need to buy the cards to play. But as I've never been a fan of card games, I didn't become interested in the Steem Monsters game, much less in buying the cards :P . The closest I ever got to card games was watching a few episodes of the Yu-Gi-Oh anime when I was a child and collecting some Pokemon cards that came with packs of potato chips over here in Brazil (though I never used them to battle anyone), and that's about it...
However, last week I decided to take part in the Minnow/Newbie Palooza contest hosted by @newbiegames. Among other things, it was promoting the Steem Monsters game by introducing it to people still unfamiliar with it, and giving out a few free cards to get people started. And to me, the trick worked :P .
I finally looked into the game, and found out that:
- Steem Monsters is an online card game created by witnesses @yabapmatt and @aggroed, where everything - from card ownership to the happenings during battles - gets recorded in the STEEM blockchain.
- It'll be possible to collect cards, trade with other people, battle and even make the cards level up. As it's a card game, Yu-Gi-Oh should be a more appropriate comparison, but "collect, trade and battle" sounds more like Pokemon to me. Since I like collecting and trading Pokemon, chances are that the same will apply to Steem Monsters for me.
- The game is still at a very early stage, and the battles part hasn't been implemented yet (not even stats or abilities). At the moment (early July 2018), all that's available is the collecting and trading part, and players are getting the cards in preparation for when tournaments finally begin.
- Battles will be automated (players only choose the cards to use, and the computer will carry out the fighting). This means the game will be friendly even to people who know nothing about card games.
- By winning in the tournaments, players will be able to win other cards, large upvotes from the @steemmonsters account, or even STEEM and SBD.
- To be eligible to take part in tournaments, players must buy a starter pack with 15 predetermined cards, which at the moment costs $5 USD (payable in either STEEM, SBD, Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Dash or Monero). They say it's a introductory price, and that it'll increase later once the game goes out of the alpha stage...
- To expand the card collection, there are booster packs for sale (can only be bought once the player has the starter pack), with 5 cards each and costing $2 USD. Then, it's possible to trade duplicate cards with other people, or even sell the cards.
- There are contests in Steemit giving away free booster packs too.
My First Card
Thanks to the contest I mentioned, I got my first Steem Monster card, a monster called Giant Roc. The first step to enter the Steem Monsters world would be to get acquainted with the officiall site, Steemmonsters.com. When I logged in with my Steemit posting key and went to the "My Collection" page, I got:
Image source: screenshot of my collection page on Steemmonsters.com
Alright. While everything may seem to look normal to everyone else, my problem is that I'm visually impaired and depend on screen reader software to hear the text that appears on the screen, and the Steem Monsters site has a lot of images (both icons and the cards themselves) with no text identifying them *. The only text I had to go by from the collection's page was:
@aiyumi's Collection TYPE RARITY ELEMENT
Level 1 - 0/2
It took me a while (and many "View image info" clicks on Firefox) until I found the image filename of the card I got. The card's name (in text form) only appears after clicking the card's image. It's also not possible to set focus on the icons nor the card image with the "Tab" key on the keyboard, nor to activate them with "Enter" like normal buttons (they must be clicked with the mouse).
After using the HTML inspector in Firefox to try to see what was going on through the HTML code, I found out that there are icons to filter the list of cards by different types, rarities, and elements, then there are the images of the cards themselves.
A Rundown of the Filtering Options
In case any other visually impaired person using a screen reader faces the same problem and stumbles on this post, here is the order of the filter icons:
- All cards, Gold cards
Below the text saying "TYPE," there are the following icons:
- All, Monsters, Summoners
Below the text saying "RARITY," there are the following icons:
- All, Common, Rare, Epic, Legendary
Below the text saying "ELEMENT," there are the following icons:
- All, Fire, Water, Earth, Life, Death, Dragon
* Note: the icons mentioned above are identified by tooltips that appear when the mouse cursor focuses on them, and the screen reader may or may not read the tooltips (at least mine, which is Orca for Linux, doesn't, and I have no way to test other screen readerss right now). The card images, on the other hand, don't have tooltips or anything.
Now I believe I got used to the page's layout, though I wish at least the cards would have alt text informing their names... but since everything is in a very early stage and there's still a lot to come, here's to hoping the site will also improve in the accessibility aspect in the future. I'm interested in this game now, and it'd be a shame to miss out on it just because of this kind of issues. Once battles are implemented, I also hope I won't have problems choosing the cards to send into battle. Time will tell!