Building a deck of deckbuilders

I am currently playing Dead Grid which is an EA title on sale right now. I’m really liking it. It’s tactical strategy but the mercenary skills are cards that you draw and play during combat. It’s basically kind of like a video board game. It’s a mix of RPG, cards, and tactics as you take on the zombie apocalypse and kill zeds in missions.

It’s hard to describe and I really didn’t know what to expect going in, but now I’m having a hard time tearing myself away from playing it. It’s quite fun and well worth the price. I’m kind of surprised no one has mentioned it here. It’s in EA but it’s not early EA.

Also here’s a let’s play video from Splattercat:

Edit: Here’s the tactics screen.

Here’s the mission screen where you move between encounters.

The world map:

Good to know that’s an option.

That video is over a year old. Has it changed a lot?

There’s been a ton of QoL changes, like adding support for Steam Deck, UI improvements, support for more screen resolutions, balance changes, two new classes, a bunch of new items. Overall, the main gameplay hasn’t really changed.

I am quite interested in Abalon but thirty is a lot of bucks. Dead Grid’s price is much more my speed…

Yeah, it was a no-brainer for me to try it at that price. I was surprised and very happy at how fun it is.

Also, there’s only one steam guide for the game but it’s comprehensive and excellent.

Hmm, post-apocalypse, who exactly are you being a mercenary for?

Also lol at the guy with 130 hours saying “more content is needed”.

Anyone playing these games using Steam, streamed in-home to a tablet? I like deckbuilders but am going through a phase of not wanting to sit at a desk beyond the many hours I do for work.

I’ve played a bunch of them that way. For me, the question is can they work with left click only. Monster Train works well. I think Poker Quest did too. Struggling to renege others at the moment

shush you, we’ve all been that guy ;)

also, isn’t a game that lets you choose between a killer bunny, two killer bunnies, and hurling a squirrel worth an extra $10? I think so…

This is pretty good so far as a competent Slay the Spire “clone”.

The big difference in the deck management is quite noticable. Not only your starting deck but the pool from which random cards are drawn in a run can be edited for each character.
I don’t know if that system will be a benefit or drawback in the long run but starting out it’s a very nice addition to a familiar environment.

Did anyone get this?

I bought this on Nuuvem a couple of years ago.


Haven’t seen that, but also haven’t ever bought anything from nuuvem.

That’s weird. Nuuvem is listed among the “legitimate” key resellers by (formerly, not the grey-market keysellers, which are separated out.

I would file a claim with…someone.

Nuuvem is legitimate, but focused on the South American market - and some people use VPNs to buy keys to take advantage of the regional pricing, and some publishers may be trying to prevent or “correct” that. I’m only guessing though.

I got the same. There’s a post in the Steam discussions saying to contact the devs via email and tell them your Steam username. I did so and got a replacement key a couple hours later. I just activated it, no apparent problems.

Their contact address: [email protected]

This was my thought too - it’s certainly possible to make an illegitimate purchase from a legitimate site.

Glad to hear there’s a solution!

Thanks. I my new key too.

Poker Quest is the closest thing to Slay the Spire I have played since Slay the Spire, but with enough tweaks and variations to feel novel and special in its own way. @Mysterio can vouch for it too. Summonnng thee!

Cannot recommend highly enough that you avoid this game if you love Slay the Spire unless you are ready for a new addiction!

Writing as a 800+ hours Slay the Spire veteran and lover of many card battling deck building rogue-likes gamer.

If Slay the Spire and a-likes are your kind of game, this absolutely will be too. Of many deck building card battling rogue-likes, lets mention Griftlands, Across the Obelisk, Blood Card, Roguebook, Tainted Grail, Mahohenski, Etherlords as some examples, this one cleaves far closer than any of those to the core Slay the Spire formula and yet also manages to feel different enough not to just be a reskin.

This has the “one more fight” and “one more run attempt” hook absolutely nailed. Throughout a run, the challenge level is steadily increasing, and if have just the right level of skill and fortune, your power level will grow to match or exceed it.

Core Gameplay

Choose an archetype, which will determine a special power and starting equipment. Choose whether to play the ‘unlocks’ mode which lets you use points earned in all previous total runs to unlock some meta-benefits, such as starting with extra coins or food. Next, you have the very familiar branching trail structure with encounter nodes, letting you choose a path. Nodes present a combat, an elite combat, a shop, an upgrade option, a mini-game or some resources. Winning combats also grants resources, and you see exactly which before you choose the node.

This plays out over a 3-act structure, each act ending in an act-boss.

So far, so very, very familiar and similar to Slay.

What makes Poker Quest different from Slay?

In combat, instead of drawing and playing cards, you draw a set of poker cards and use those cards to activate one or more of your equipment. For example, you may have a sword that does direct damage and requires a matching pair. You might have a wand that applies poison and requires cards of value 6 or lower.

There is a very pleasing variety of equipment and you can typically have up to 8 pieces equipped at a time, albeit slots need to be unlocked via upgrading your “bag”.

Similar to Slay though, this lets you effectively set up a tableau that emphasises something in order to be effective. For example, direct damage, damage over time and damage mitigation.

You have constant on demand access to upgrades to enable you to draw more cards, have more equipment slots or see further ahead on the map. In another tweak from Slay, your map vision starts out limited to two nodes ahead, but you can expand this to 3+ via upgrades. Most all of your equipment can also be upgraded several times. This might, for example, take a sword which initially accepts just one card to a sword which can accept up to 3 cards, with a damage multiplier applied to the sum of the cards.

Another major difference to Slay is that part-way through each act you reach a settlement, which has some consistent and some randomised options, including dungeon fights, temples and inns for rewards, boons and resources / healing.

How much poker play is there?

Very little. I was worried about this, as I am not at all a fan of traditional card games like poker and blackjack. The only appearance of these games is in entirely optional and occasional mini-games, playable for prizes. When you play them, the full rules are one click away in game.

Skill vs Luck and difficulty

Like many similar games, when you are starting out the randomness elements i.e., card draw, may seem unfair and some combats may seem impossibly tough. Then you start to spot the synergies, what makes a good tableau, what node choices are better and so on. I am a middling-Ascension 20 Slay the Spire player, and I am yet to complete a full run of this game after about a dozen attempts on its default challenge level. There are also daily challenges with run variants, and additional challenge runs to take on.

Value for $$$

If the gameplay hooks you, this is a 100+ hours playtime game for sure. The production values are a little lower than Slay, with more simple art and common audio assets, but it plays slick, looks good enough, and feels like a fully developed game.

Oh, hell yeah! This game’s a no-brainer, even at full price.