Just when you though it was safe to ignore collectible card games, Mythgard shows up [review]

I had no idea this existed, and I have been now reading a bunch about it… And I can’t wait for all that goodness to come to the tablet version.
Heck, even with just new pictures and revised lore quotes, I would have been on board, but some of the rework ideas sound very good!

Right, but I meant that I thought the actual Captain Cosmic is supposed to be a drawing of one of the designers himself, right? Although I’m not sure why I think that.

But, yes, loving the artwork! Which I would not call “adult”, so no need for any dishtowels on these cards to avoid offending anyone!

Hmmm, Citizens Anvil and Hammer were based on Christopher and Adam although I don’t remember at all regarding Captain Cosmic’s design - he does rock a pretty stylish beard.

Ooh - the artwork actually brings this back on topic - there was a conversation around the Sentinels artwork actually being too much male gaze, what with all the skintight outfits with idealised proportions, so even that is not immune to offending folks - and maybe even more so, since there’s a lot of … cheesecake? … in superhero art in general and a some Sentinels art definitely evokes the same kinds of poses.

Then again, the original plan for the Definitive Edition was to mainly update the art, so Adam is definitely pretty tough self-critic. I personally find even the oldest Sentinels art really charming (but I’m likely biased by my love for the game), and all the newest stuff in all the different styles is super impressive.

Interesting. Most of the complaints I’ve seen about the art were just describing it as amateurish or bad, which I can’t agree with. Especially circa Definitive Edition.

Ah, I did not know that! I guess Captain Cosmic just looks like a game designer, so I made certain assumptions. Although maybe he’s just going for the Gordon Freeman look?

I have no issue with the Sentinels artwork, which seems like an affectionate take on the silver age of comics. If someone has a problem with the representation of sexuality in silver era comics, I can see why they might also have a problem with Sentinels. But there’s also a very modern sensibility to Sentinels, and it seems to me you’d have to try pretty hard to be offended by it. :)

Furthermore, I don’t see any sign of the Sentinels artwork backpedaling from the previous game, which is the issue I have with the changes in Mythgard. When it was released, Mythgard’s art intentionally leaned into sexuality and horror. That was part of its appeal. It was a game for people who didn’t need – or want – the kid-safe cartoony World of Warcraft quality that permeates Western free-to-play games.

And now the new Mythgard developers are literally trying to hide that stuff behind fig leaves, as if that’s going to bring in new players?

“Hey, videogamers who might have been offended by tight pants! We’re sounding the “all clear” signal! The game is now safe for you to come play! Yoo hoo, where are you? Are you coming? We can make more changes if you want!”

With the caveat that I don’t play this game, the balance and composition of the Grease Monkey card after that dumb towel is added is way better to my eye… and I feel less like some tatted-up biker chick is about to blow a greasy fart in my face and give me pinkeye. I certainly don’t think it’s meaningfully less “adult” or “sexy.” Do you have other examples of this insidious plot to change Mythgard’s art? Is it possible you’re blowing this out of proportion, and the only reason this card’s art was changed was because someone in the company thought it looked better or even sexier this way?

Edit: Just showed my wife these same two images without giving her any other prompts or context. Ironically, she thinks the one without the towel is sexier, but only because the “I can see the towel fluttering behind her once the bike starts up and that seems farty.” However, she agrees with me that the one with the towel is indisputably a better composed piece of art than the first: the towel balances out the image better than a giant black latex ass sitting on top of an equally black tire in the dead center of the frame does not.

I really don’t get what you mean here?

I’m afraid I do not, but I’m not sure why you’re calling it “insidious”. Do you think that’s what I’m claiming? That’s not my intent. I’m more just complaining about a new developer sticking conspicuous fig leafs on the artwork for no discernible reason.

Well, sure, it’s possible. But do you believe that’s what happened? I would be surprised if that were the case.

As for “blowing it out of proportion”, that’s also possible, but I didn’t think I was overreacting. What would have been a more proportionate response? To just ignore it? I’m asking genuinely, because I thought it was interesting enough to share, and it bothered me enough to complain. But I’m not claiming anything “indidious” and I’m not trying to manufacture any outrage or exaggerate my own reaction.

I’m not sure how to clarify beyond what I wrote. Maybe if I paraphrase? Basically, it seems to me like the new developers of Mythgard aren’t happy with one of my favorite elements of the game, it’s artwork. It seems to me they’re making changes to mute what I liked about the artwork, which is what I’d expect in a game being engineered for a wider appeal. If that’s their approach, I’m not really interested in playing the game.

Does that clarify? I hope it doesn’t sound like I’m some incel demanding tits-and-ass in his games! I hesitated to even post because in some circles, that’s probably how this would be received. But it’s honestly one of the few videogame related experiences I’ve had lately, so here I am. :)

The owner of the company was on their sub-reddit, and made it clear he just thought the tone was too “salacious” (his word).

That puts you in pretty good company.

I’m guessing from your liberal use of quotation marks I’ve accidentally made you angry, which wasn’t my intention. So when I respond, please take this in the spirit which it is meant, which is that I’m not trying to score Internet points or make you upset, but I am trying to honestly answer your question.

From where I was sitting, your original post came across as a pretty weird take for you, Tom Chick, to have. I’m used to complaints from gamers about developers reducing the boob polygons in their game or covering up an imaginary girl’s asscrack, but I expect them to come from the usual subspecies of gamergate CHUD (or, as you put it, “incels who care about tits and ass in their games”). I don’t expect them to come from you, because you’re a lot smarter and more measured than that.

So because you posted it, I took this seriously enough to check my original impression and wonder if there was more to this than met the eye. But even after thinking about it more, your argument here seems to me to be a little thin: that because they put a towel over the ass of a girl in a single card, the developer is censoring itself to such an extent that you immediately quit out of the game because you felt you were no longer Mythgard’s target audience.

You’re welcome to stop playing a game for any reason you want, of course. But since you seemingly enjoy this game, it seemed like an overblown reaction from where I’m standing, especially since I know you don’t really care about tits and ass. I don’t think you’re wrong to complain about what irks you, but I do think you’re reading larger corporate motives than what the evidence of a single isolated change that arguably improved the product would suggest. But I also know nothing more about this game than what you’re saying here.

@DrCrypt, it sounds like you get what I’m saying. For instance…

I agree with this, but I don’t agree with the way you’re phrasing it to ridicule me. For instance, I take the towel as an indication of a change in philosophy. It’s not the towel that bothers me, it’s the change in philosophy that the altered artwork indicates. Furthermore, you’ve added words that I didn’t use, and they seem calculated to dismiss what I’m saying. So here’s how I would put it:

Because there seems to be a change in philosophy, I quit out of the game because I felt I was no longer Mythgard’s target audience.

That’s my overall point and I see no reason it should be controversial. I see no reason it should invite disdain or ridicule. There’s no need to portray me as “immediately” quitting out, or to suggest I think it’s “insidious” (I’m using quotes because these are your words, not mine!), or to accuse me of being angry, or to suggest changes were only made to a single card, or to posit that the changes were made to make the game even more sexy. All that seems disingenuous to me, and it seems like a set-up for an argument that I’m not sure we actually have.

Which is totally fair! And now that it’s his baby, he’s free to change whatever he wants. But as someone who didn’t mind the salaciousness – who actually enjoyed it for how it set Mythgard apart from its competitors! – those are the kind of changes I’m not interested in. I have probably about a dozen card games I’m playing or interested in playing, so I’m happy to just move on after shaking my head at how the Grease Monkey went from a 10 on the scale of “dumb” to an 11. I wouldn’t have thought it possible!

Tom, I thought you were being a little silly in your first post (hence the use of the word “insidious,” which has obviously gotten your dander up. And for the record, given how angry it has made you, I’m sorry I used that word.) but I took pains in my second post to make it clear I wasn’t ridiculing you in responding to your follow-up. And I’m still not. But while I agree this is a sensible point…

Because there seems to be a change in philosophy, I quit out of the game because I felt I was no longer Mythgard’s target audience.

… I’d argue you can’t meaningfully come to this conclusion based on a change in a single piece of art, as you have done.

That towel might indicate an overarching change of design philosophy if it was accompanied by other similarly changed art, but you’re not citing more than one example. This is just 1 out of 450 unique cards! In the age of digital assets and A-B testing, a company might choose to tweak the art in one image—even to make it in their words “less salacious”, which might in their view mean by as little as 1% to bring it in line with their other assets–without signaling a larger philosophical change, which can only be determined by either a public statement or a trend across multiple data points.

That’s why I think you’re blowing this out of proportion. I wouldn’t quit a game I like based on what amounts to one minute art change, and I was perplexed that you would. Also, to my eyes, the towel version isn’t any less sexy or pin-up-like, and is a lot better from the perspective of balance and composition. That in and of itself justifies the change to me, and makes your reaction hard for me to understand. But then again, I’m not the audience here.

As for whether or not you “immediately” quit out or not, I apologize that I inferred immediacy from this section of your post (emphasis mine):

Throwing a dishtowel over a tightly clad ass just makes the person who put the towel there look dumb. Who did he think he was fooling? How did it at all change the attitude of the image, which is clearly a pin-up worthy of a tool calendar, the side of a bomber, or a collectible card game that isn’t trying to appeal to the Hearthstone crowd. It’s laughable.

I quit out after seeing that.

To me, that implies immediacy, but I suppose I’m wrong and I owe you another apology.

Regardless, I’m not going to argue this with you further, since you can choose to dump a game for any reason you want. I’m sorry I offended you.

Just to be fair, I did look at the recent changes and I unfortunately didn’t see much new - some balance changes, and some puzzles removed because the balance changes broke them. I’m happy to hear that it isn’t gone - always sad to hear the end of a project - but nothing enticing me to come back, and I agree that card art cleanup is the opposite of what I’d think as wise investment of resources. Then again, they are the ones who took it over and are calling the shots - imagine buying a game just to fix art you didn’t like.

Only thing I can think of that makes actual business sense is if they needed to pass some kind of ratings/review board for a new market - maybe they’re trying to port to Switch? Is there a modern version of the “Nintendo Seal of Quality”? Or…some country? Australia?

Reminds me of the complete opposite thing I ran into. Earlier this year, when I felt the urge to play a Pokemon-style game, I reinstalled one of the many Android clones (I think it was “Neo Monsters”) and discovered that while the pokemon clone is still present underneath (complete with a “kid travels around battling in different towns and collecting monsters” clone story), somewhere in the intervening years it had leaned hard into the gacha, full of premium currency and random pulls of “pets”, and almost all the banners of available pools you could gamble on were like 99% waifus. There was of course some free pulls, so my old team of (regular trash tier) beginner pokemon were suddenly reinforced with some kind of demihuman tiger warrior (token male character) and a bunch of full-on human girls (all A or S tier). So maybe “art booster packs” are in the works for the “discerning customers” like the Total War Blood DLC ;)

According to the Internet there was 14 art changes.

One card art and name was completely changed.

image

I read up on some of the other changes. It’s mostly covering up boobage or giving people swimsuits but it isn’t applied consistently.

I noticed with this card, she is now wearing a white swimsuit with grey trim.

image

But the number 1 worst art edit because it looks so bad is Black Hatter

Original

Why change the hat or hair color at all?

I’m not angry, but I am puzzled that you keep accusing me of being angry. Can you point to what I’ve written that makes you think I’m angry? Because I’d like to not convey that, and I’m apparently failing.

But it’s not “one minute art change”, is it? Surely you can see that? Surely you understand the point I made about the change of philosophy? Why do you keep trying to minimize it to “one piece of artwork” or “one towel” or “one minor change”?

That would make sense, but wouldn’t they just say as much? “Hey, we’re about to undergo the ratings process, so we’re making some pre-emptive changes…” Sure, people might be peeved, but that would make sense at least.

I honestly think it’s just that the new guy figures it’s too salacious. And, even more absurd, that he’s somehow making it no longer salacious by draping a dishrag over a butt. If I were being really cynical, I might even guess it was a PR stunt.

But then I look at the changes @roguefrog posted and I have to wonder if this guy even knows what “salacious” means. Because based on the changes to that Black Hatter card, seems to me someone is sensitive to foot fetishism! So provocative, sticking those bare feet to the forefront like that! What a hussy!

If they are targeting the Asia market or something, maybe it’s a cultural thing with feet being viewed as unclean, and she is straight up putting her feet up on some table thing. Completely uncouth!

Who knows. I hate it.

OH NOES! FEET!
The horror!
Imagine the smell, and… and the taste…mmmmm

(just kidding I’m not that into feet actually.)

But Tom is right, it’s taking what was previously the nature of the thing (card game, but sexy and cyberpunk) and try to change it as something shameful. And if the devs are ashamed of it, why do we as players care to give it our time?
I can imagine if CDPR would try to do this to CP2077, there’s just so much sexy built into its bones, that the atempt would turn it soulless.

The mechanics are still sound. My decks still work. Maybe. I went 50\50 with actual human players I could get to match.

I hate the art changes besides. And just because it’s unessential.

This is too salacious for Mythgard:

I won’t post the Margot Robbie image from Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, because it’s way dirtier! Literally.

Have you tried finding players for PvP games recently? How was that?

I wanted this to be something I could badger some friends into taking back up, because the mechanics really are sound, aren’t they? It’s seems like such a solid design to me. But this sort of silliness is exactly why I’ve been leaning more into physical versions of games these days. There’s something reassuring about having something self-contained, fixed, immutable, firewalled from any revisionism or changes of heart or ill-advised rebalancing passes or new management or the various other things that can go pear-shaped in digital spaces. I dunno, maybe Dr. Crypt is right and I did overreact. But whatever the case, for me, Mythgard is on probation while the new owners figure out what they’re doing.

Yes. Got about 3 matches against real people. Ranked. Otherwise they dump you in a game against the AI. It was fine. Although one guy seemed to have lost connection. That game was actually hilarious because our decks were really similar. Yellow with lots of deadly and blight conditions. We kept nuking each other and by the end our lanes mirrored each other with the spider environmental.