Hello everybody and welcome to another Fan Community Spotlight. This week in particular, we're cooking up a recipe unlike anything that we've ever covered on the series so far. Why is that? Because today we're looking at something that has absolutely no cards in it, in a traditional sense. Instead, it has playing pieces that function like cards in a traditional sense for the game, but they are not proper cards.

For this week's installment, we're not covering a class, an expansion, a Core Set design, a Battlegrounds design or anything you'd be familiar with on this series. Instead, we're covering what may very well be the very first fully playable custom game mode in the history of Hearthstone. Today, we've got a returning card-making veteran, Frostivus to talk about Aletta's Kitchen, a fan-made game mode that you can literally play right now on Discord. The game is coded entirely in Discord and can be played on the game's Discord server and a web browser version developed by Maysick also exists (both which will be linked at the end of the article). The "card" design was done by Frostivus and the game was coded by Steli, both of whom will appear in the interview.

The game is very much inspired by Battlegrounds, but in a way that gives the game its own flair. The way the game works is that you are given a list of buttons at the bottom to guide the game along. At the very start of the game, you can choose to either play a Tutorial or go right into the main game.

Upon entering the game, you are given a "kitchen" full of 5 ingredients. Every time you pick an ingredient, it will be added to your dish. You will also get a preview of what the next ingredient to enter the kitchen will be. Just like in Hearthstone, the "cards" in the game have tribes and they have all the ones you'd expect to see here: Beasts, Demons, Dragons, Elementals, and Murlocs (what, did you think you could eat a Mech?). In addition to that, there are also two additional tribes for the game: Fruit and Vegetable. Fruits destroy other ingredients in the kitchen for a benefit, and Vegetables grow more as they stay in the kitchen.

Each ingredient has its own point value, and you are required to meet a point quota every 5 turns or you lose the game. Every time you pick an ingredient, you advance the game one turn. Your quota will keep growing each time you reach it.

Your dish can hold up to 3 ingredients at a time, but you don't need to have a full dish before you can cook it. There is also a Game Events tab which will tell you various changes that cards make to other cards throughout the game.

The text of any given ingredient will change orange if they have an activate conditional effect.

If you fail to reach your point quota in the allotted number of rounds you are given, you will lose the game. Additionally, you can also end the game yourself at any time.

For the sake of everyone reading who hasn't heard of the game before, mind telling us what it is and what it's about?

Frostivus: "Aletta's Kitchen is a fully-playable fanmade Hearthstone deckbuilder made in the app Discord. In it, you're picking ingredients from a randomly-generated, ever-changing kitchen, finding synergies to cook your dish and gaining points to meet an ever-rising quota.

The game runs entirely on a Discord bot that hosts a minimalistic UI in which you interact exclusively with it to play. Within two days of release from our closed beta, we have over 80 members in our server now with a very dedicated community, with over 300 games played in total (including anonymous members from Blizzard). Feedback has been universally positive. To call it a success would be an understatement -- it has exceeded all my expectations.

Some may hesitate to call it custom Hearthstone, but it is set within that universe using cards and mechanics from it, in a way not too dissimilair from Battlegrounds. Most who are familiar with Hearthstone will find themselves at home here, and equally enjoy this new experience."

How did this project get into fruition and how long have you been working on it?

Frostivus: "Development of the game's mechanics had been brewing for almost a year, but existing entirely within hypothetical proof of concept. Building it into something tangible was only as a result of finding the right people with the right skilset. This project's success was only made possible through collaboration with the game's programmer, steli2, who coded the bot and most of the framework. Without his work, Aletta's Kitchen would remain as it had been for years: as a game design document and spreadsheet."

Given that this may very well be the first playable game mode, would you consider this an evolution to Hearthstone card making in general?

Steli: "I wouldn't necessarily call it that. I've seen a fair bit of other game mode ideas that were realised through pen and paper and were very fun to play. It's just that being only pen and paper makes it take a lot of time and is usually just a lot of numbers, driving a lot of people away. A Discord Bot is by no means the best way to make a better UI (User Interace), but I believe there are enough tools to be able to make something great with it. Also, being able to play in Discord adds a major social factor, being able to talk and play with friends much more easily is a big plus for me. I do hope that if our project gets enough traction that it would inspire more like it. There's definitely a ton of room for similar Hearthstone projects and I really want to see more."

Do you have anything behind the scenes you want to share with us?

Frostivus: "Aletta's Kitchen finds her roots in a 3-year old set: Around The World in 80 Meals. Designed as a final ode to Ben Brode, it followed the journey of the titular character, Aletta Springcutter, an aspiring chef who travelled the world to learn about cuisine. The set was a reflection of my own personal growth, and marked a changing relationship I had with the game. This character and this sub-universe in Hearthstone she inhabits, remains something of close sentimental value to me"

Steli: "Not that much except that working with Frostivus has been great. I as a programmer value communication a lot, so being able to be constantly in touch with him has made the work a lot more enjoyable and productive. Also, since I'm the only coder, being able to play with the new features first has always been tons of fun, sometimes even distracting. Unfortunately though, gotta say a few very fun ideas had to be cut due to either being too hard to code and outright impossible."

Do you have anything else you want to share with us?

Frostivus: "Play the game!"

Steli: "I hope more people come out to try the game! We've had a bit of a rough launch with some stuff immediately breaking, but everything's a lot more stable now and a bit more fleshed out"

And that does it for this, very different installment of the series. This may be a short one, but it's one of the most interesting ones I've written so far. The game is a great time waster, and if you're interested in trying the game out for yourself, you can play the game at the game's website or Discord server.