Building a deck of deckbuilders

I started the game…

Also this game just left early access. It’s a murder mystery deckbuilder. It also have tactical combat! @Lykurgos buy it and tell me how the game is :P

hehe, you know, I am pretty sure we are genetically identical twins, separated at birth and placed with different foster families sworn to absolute secrecy, but we are now reuniting through discovering an identical love and addiction to tactical combat deckbuilders :-P

As for the suggestion, sure, of course, I do not really have a choice!

I am playing and after about an hour . . . it is like nothing I have ever played! So far it kinda feels a bit like the investigation and exploration part of Ultima 7 with a boons / banes character development model, tile-based combat fought with uncontrolled AI allies, but in a good way, a bit of economy, a bit of time management and boom nope, cannot parse it yet, too much! Will keep playing!

One thing does desperately need change. The turn based tactical grid combat looks interesting. It uses a time based system to organise ‘turns’, so if you do less, your next turn arrives earlier. Problem is, when the allies and opponents act all the outcomes play out without pauses to let you observe them, so it is really tricky to make sense of what is happening. Once it is back to your turn though you can view enemy and ally intentions for their next turn together with any status effects, so it is a bother, rather than critical.

Okay, so about The Magister . . .

It is rather special, rather unique, and therefore not so simple to describe. Recap that it is a murder mystery and you are a Magister with 15 days to solve a murder.

It has point and click adventure elements, perhaps most similar to games like Secret of Monkey Island, Sam & Max, Kings Quest etc. This is the way by which you move around the world, talk to characters, and try and develop clues and knowledge.

Characters you talk to have a simple 3 star relationship to you and typically you need to reach 3 stars to get the most from them, such as a clue or key information. You get to 3 in various ways, missions with combat, finding an item they want, selling or buying stuff from them.

As you go about tasks and missions, there are two forms of combat, mental and physical. The mental combat - Tactical Diplomacy - is thematically similar to that in Griftlands whilst having some mechanics similar to those in Star Realms… You are trying to reduce ‘rage’ via empathy. You do so by playing a card game where you make choices about which additional cards to buy from an ever-refreshing set of 3, with these cards costing empathy, which is the same resource you use to reduce rage, and all within a time-limit. So you have this challenging trade off between growing your economy and actually exploiting what you have to try and reach the goal line. It seems to work well.

The physical combat is played out turn-based, but with the space between turns determined by how many seconds of action your turn takes up. It is something comparable to the combat seen in the Banner Saga. Each turn you get 4 cards, with potential for extra draw, and you can play all or none. You can also play cards for their direct effect or discard them for other effects. It seems to add up to a highly variable, significantly engaging and thoughtful combat. Definitely not Trials of Fire clever, but highly credible. Whilst you control just your own character most or all fights are conducted with allies. In contrast to games where allies are just a pain in the ass to try and save or workaround, it really seems to work here particularly because there is nothing critical tied to the outcome for those allies, and both allies and enemies rout and run once they reach low health.

Then there are the RPG elements. You gain XP, you level up, and doing so enables you to choose a new skill from three groups of 9 themed around brawn, intellect and guile. This after you start out by choosing an archetype combining some significant bonuses together with a significant weakness, such as alcoholic and insomniac.

The murder mystery is procedural, and it does look like several replays may be worth enjoying. I am loving it. It seems to be from the same team or developer that made Monster Slayers, the pre-Slay the Spire Slay the Spire-like, and I would rate it as equal in appeal and quality.

So there ya go @Hereafter and also, @Mysterio is playing this, so what does he think? :-)

You summed it up nicely. It’s a game I knew I’d buy Day 1 after participating in the beta and then playing the recently released The First Two Days (play the first two days for free):

So it’s a thumbs up for me!

Also, if someone exists who doesn’t own Nerdook’s previous game (Monster Slayers), yet, PM me for a Steam key, which I’ve had since the beta (last Sept.).

Is the diplomacy less tedious than griftlands? I find that one such a chore that I don’t bother. I Should definitely try the demo.

You might cross post that in the magister thread

Thanks for the discussion on The Magister. I had really enjoyed Monster Slayers yet missed the developers had a new game out. This sounds great. Time to acquire.

Warning. Alert. Danger.

Just seeing the same intro logo and hearing the sounds, and seeing the same shape save buttons as from Monster Slayers invoked strong nostalgia and prompted me to reinstall. I then found myself picking up part way through a run with a Frost Dragon. However . . . time is not so kind. Feels to me now like a big negative for Monster Slayers relative to a lot of successor roguelike deckbuilding card-battlers is that on many turns there are no decisions to take. You just play all the cards you have. This can change a bit, and sometimes the order matters, but a big chunk of the gameplay does feel old and missing something now

I also played a ton of Monster Slayers. I missed that it was the same people. Aside from the key offered above, it is on sale for $2.24 on Steam.

Monster Slayer actually got me into the genre. It was also the first game I 100% in achievements. I’m afraid to retry it now after what Lykurgos said lol.

Speaking of achievements. I got 100% on Monster Train.

Definitely the best deck builder out there. Monster Train will probably stay on my hard drive for the foreseeable future.

One thing I noticed is the average run in MT. It’s less than 1 hour. Lots of the new games in the genre seems to think that longer runs are better. I really don’t. 2+ hours for a run is far too long. I checked my lists and all the games in this genre that I really like are the short ones.

hehe, I definitely use way more than 1 hour to optimize my morsel armies in Monster Train. I am with you regarding the desired run-duration though and especially if a game offers daily or weekly challenges as part of longer-term replay appeal. Longer durations will pretty much exclude me right off from any daily challenge.

For example, there is a promising looking deckbuilding roguelike for which I have played the demo. Across the Obelisk, but runs are reported to take 4+ hours. That scares me off . . . albeit if those extra hours somehow deepen the experience rather than turning into a slog, I could go for it

Agreed on run length, especially since I’m a slow player. Definitely one of the things that drew me to monster train.

Monster train is half price on steam

Crossposting a bit but one of my favorite games have a sequel and it’s out!

The game is insanely complex so have the fun is trying new combinations and stuff. The original is one of my favorite roguelike games.

This one is less a roguelike, apparently? You should make a thread for the sequel.

A mini review and thumbs up from me for Blood Card 2: Dark Mist. Link to the steam page and copying my review below!

If you enjoyed any of these other games, you will probably enjoy this one (and vice versa) - Blood Card, Fate Hunters, Meteorfall: Krummit’s Tale.

What they have in common is that you have a set of characters to play as, essentially just deck archetypes, and the gameplay challenge is to learn how to play them effectively. In Blood Card 2 these characters, Berzerker, Priestess, Chaos Knight and more, are very, very different in how they can be played effectively.

The rather unique twist and hook for Blood Card 2, also the original Blood Card, is that your deck is also your health pool. So when you take damage, cards from either your draw pile or your discard pile get temporarily absorbed into the ‘bodies’ of your attackers, regained only when you kill them.

This single innovation is really key. It means that the thin / lean / tight deck approach that is often desirable in other deck-building roguelikes is not at all effective here. However a fat deck stuffed with low value cards is not so great either, it could just result in slower failure. So you are challenged for navigate your way to something in between, fat enough to survive taking damage and thin enough to provide sufficient utility from your higher value cards. This balancing act is rather special and absolutely worth experiencing for deck-building roguelike fans.

Unlike many other deck-building roguelikes there is minimal ‘meta progression’. Completing runs unlocks the characters you can play as, and unlocks higher difficulty levels, that is all. This is not a bad thing necessarily, the gameplay is solid and enjoyable, like a puzzle but a loose puzzle with lots of possible solutions. Within each run there are many variables to be experienced thanks to a large number of passive boons (like relics / artefacts) and cards.

Oh geez, now you know I have credibility with deck-building roguelikes, right? Erannorth Reborn however, the first game, was utterly incomprehensible to me. I could barely perceive the depth through the miasma of features that the UI just did not provide easily accessible explanations to me. How to explain this phenomena, deck-building roguelike buddy / genetic twin? :-P

wow, didn’t know this was so close. I just streamed some Erannorth Reborn last night and relearned a bunch of it. Love the game.

edit: think I’ll dive into this today on stream then and figure it out. Got a few days to kill with console Inquisitor Martyr on 21st and New World 28th :)

Some of the reviews are saying the new game is a bit easier to fathom (though no less complex) due to UI changes, in particular.

it definitely is. played on a stream a bit this morning and will dive back in after lunch. I’m getting a bit confused just because I’m thinking in terms of the old one and the changes are throwing me off, but overall it’s much easier to read and follow what is going on. Readability in general is better as well and I’m liking the new art style way better than the last one also.