Astral Tournament - Magic-type single player game

Have any of you played this?

I had seen the demo circulating here and there and with less than impressive screenshots I took a pass. I downloaded it Thursday and I have been playing it every day since. And that is just the demo. I going to contribute my $14.95 for the full version this evening.

It is single player with no deck building. So you have a random set of cards given to you at the beginning of each round for 5 different magic types. The rules, what there are of them, are really shallow. You pretty much have to figure it out as you go, but it is relatively easy to pick up if you are already familiar with the mana pool/casting cost concept. There is a lot more to it, but anyone who digs Magic, Spirit Wars, SAnctum should at least give it a quick look. It is only 5.4MB!!!

Damn you! I just blew the last 3 or 4 hours playing the demo. :)

Very addictive in the short term but there doesn’t seem to be a lot of variety of creatures/spells, even if you add the high level ones that are locked in the demo. Are there more that you can’t see in the unregistered version? One of the appeals of Magic, of course, is that new cards were constantly being added.

My favorite strategy is to summon a bunch of Air Priests, then use the excess Air points to zap my opponent when chain lightning spells. I’ve only played at Novice level, though.

These games are all just sums with pictures on them. Funny how doing math becomes fun when there is a drawing of a wizard or a goblin… :?

Damn you for destroying my little fairy world where I was doing battle with your common sense game analysis! :wink:

Nope. no more cards. I kinda like the fixed cards. The cards and numbers in each school of magic are random each game so it makes every round different. You are not able to use the same combos consistently because you never no what you are going to get. All of that sorting and building and thinking with Magic’s 9,807 card library began to tax my Mr. Bean sized brain.

I did get the full version last night and dammit if I am not doing worse in the Tournament. :)

BTW, any day now I think they are going to be updating the game to allow 2 player internet duels. So, Gordon, get to work on your figurin’ skills.

I paid for the full version of this some time ago. While I would like to see a slightly larger card pool (say another 3-6 cards per color), I would not want them to go overboard.

The AI is very hateful for sure. A couple of things to notice that they mention on their board is that for one thing, certain cards will almost always go to the same player, like the Dragon Turtle and the Tree thing since they both hit all of an opponent’s creatures. Likewise, there are some cards that will never be in play for the same player. I haven’t figured out what combinations are so powerful as to prevent this, but they are there apparently. Lastly, in each tournament bracket, there is always ONE player who has advantage over you. This player (I forget the names, but it is a druid in the first bracket and a water wizard in the second) has been given stronger cards than you are normally dealt to make it tough to win a bracket.

I still play this from time to time and found it is very much worth the $15 for it.

I’ve had the demo for two months now, but I’ve never had enough cash left at the end of the month to purchase the game. I did pretty well with the demo though, I have a consistant 60/40 win/loss record against the second highest level opponent. The highest level manages to kick my ass practically every time though.

Death magic has been good to me so far, with Fire and Earth trailing behind. Wall of souls and the give-mana-whenever-someone-dies creature are my favourites.

A couple of time I have considered registering just to be able to play with Steal Souls, damn that spell is a game breaker, thankfully the AI rarely gets to play it.

As far as I can tell, they have done a decent job with the A.I. and balancing. You really have to think ahead and have a plan to beat even the lowest level. Casting spells haphazardly will get you beaten everytime.

There forums have a couple of accusations of A.I. cheating. Spells being cast that they do not have the mana (?) for. I have not seen it, though. I believe the developers are Russian and while they understand English, I get the impression something gets lost in the translation during discussions on the forums.

Kalle - I could have continued with the demo for a while longer, too. I decided I have already received fifteen dollars worth of fun and even if I never played again it was worth it. I understand not having the cash, but this was a justifiable credit card emergency. :)

How many cards per color are there?

Ummmmm…Several? Look on the site you lazy bastard!

You get a random amount of mana in each color from 3 to 5. You also receive the same number of cards out of the ~12 card pool. Those cards are fixed for the duration of the round. You do not actually draw new cards. Your mana for each element is replinished each turn and the cards light up when available for casting. Once you win or lose, you get fresh cards and a new random starting mana level and card count for each element. Depending on what “color” you play, you get little bonuses to aid in that type.

Is that confusing enough? It plays out a bit more like a board/chess game where you can come up with combos, but the one’s available change from game to game so you must vary your strategy.

Oh, this sounds cool. I used to love Magic, the card game. I just couldn’t get into spending $500 for a deck of cards, so never went very far with it. Did they make a computer game that was very true to the original game? Sorry, I live in a cave 8)

Thanks for the link, played a few games, and I think I will register it. Just wish you could change the resolution.

Damn…you do live in a cave. Microprose made a fair version which I still pull out on occasion. You cannot find it anywhere. Maybe Ebay. Wizards of the Coast has a crack addict version which is basically a matching service where you can buy virtual cards directly from them. A racket where you have no actual merchandise to show for your investment and WotC has nothing for overhead other than maintenance on the card server. Yippee!

Anyone know how well that is doing by the way? The overhead cannot be that much so I would imagine it would be viable for quite a while.

Isn’t one of the guys at PCGAmer addicted to it?

As for Astral, I tried it last night. It’s a bit oversimplified, but damned if I wasn’t drawn in. I played it for a while, and really enjoyed it. More cards WOULD be nice, but I like the idea of not knowing which ones you will get each hand. It adds an interesting element to the game…plus you don’t know what your opponent might have. It’s a catchy game, but what good is registering it? I hardly ever get to those big 12+ level spells anyway. Is there more that you get?

You get to play with any of the 6 mages during tournament play. In the unregistered version, only the Battlemage is unlocked.

There is also the joyous satisfaction one feels after donating to the cause of indie developers. :)

Has anyone actually managed to win through the expert level tournament? Damned if I can.

Anyone got any hints?

(I registered the game and have definitely got more value out of it than a lot of full price crap I’ve bought…)

Yup, this is a great little game. Somehow its small size is actually part of what makes it so good. Unlike Magic, eventually you know the whole universe of spells pretty well, and beyond the initial spell set up there’s essentially no randomness - it really feels like there’s an optimal play for each situation if you could just find it.

I’ve created a profile for each of the mage types, and have made it through the second round (I forget the round names) for all but two of them. The secret is to not only win when possible, but to build up a lot of points to help you with ties.
I’ve found, when possible, line up as much of your side as possible with the phoenixes when playing against Nature or Death and just keep building up your fire. Since your opponent will be getting life somewhat regularly, you can continue to chip away with the occasional unblocked bird. Eventually, you can (hopefully) launch a huge inferno or fire-type spell and wipe out him and/or his critters, racking up your score.

holy cow this game is good. give it about 50 more cards, more options, some better graphics… worth a 30 or 40 dollar game. I definitely got my shareware;s worth. I’ll register sometime.


finally tried this - pretty fun. The computer seems to only cheat a little. on the higher settings it seems to draw more of the power cards than you do. also getting dealt cards you cant use is frustrating.

very fun though, good time sink. small enough to hide away on the work pc :)

I played with the shareware for a while.

It does seem fun, but the fixed random card draw means that you can end up screwed from the get go.
I’m surprised they didn’t allow for a player to skip a turn and spend some points to allow you to redraw a card. Seems like a simple, and easily balanced solution that would really up the depth of the game.

I’m not sure I’m going to pay for the full version though. The lack of internet play seems to be a major drawback.

It’s an interesting start, and a good way to noodle through a couple of hours.
I’d love to see what the next version looks like.

Your Power Pill

It is a pretty fun little game. I agree it could use some mechanism to replace one card, or remove a few entirely from your ‘deck’.