Monster Train or Deckbuilder: the ‘good parts’ version

Oh, hehe, that is a bug? I experienced this too I think. When I noticed it I assumed I had mis-clicked when removing cards and removed it myself. Great to know I am not that bad.

They look cool! That is all :-)

This works in Monster Train too. If you exit mid-battle you reset to the beginning of the battle. I used this in Slay the Spire quite liberally. I did not feel at all bad about it given that a run would typically take me close to 2 hours and this let me have a do-over on the one bad combat that ended it.

Just unlocked the candle kids and managed to get my first covenant win with them. They’re wicked good!*


Yeah, use Steam Link on your IOS. Monster Train works VERY WELL on my iPAD.


That’s a bummer (like the game a lot though). I thought I was going to get new ways to upgrade the card or have it get more powerful.

See, I don’t buy that all :) I just think the didn’t want to implement saving in the middle of combat, which is a lot of work, just to fully close a loophole. The lack of a “restart this battle” UI isn’t an oversight, it’s the best way they have of signaling the design intent.

That’s the core disagreement then, and kind of the point I’ve been trying to make all along. Doing that will not maximize the enjoyment of all players. Oh, everyone would claim that they love the featur at first. But then it would make a lot of players miserable without them understanding quite why.

Everyone understands that save scumming isn’t actually an intentional game mechanic in these games. Nobody will restart the same battle 20 times to find the perfect set of moves that gives them a victory. Maybe they’ll never use it, use it when there was a bug, use it after a misclick, or use it a couple of times during a run after they feel the outcome of a battle was bullshit due to bad luck. And all of those outcomes are basically fine, none of them distort the design all that much.

That is not how a sanctioned undo option would work. To a certain (I’d argue large) segment of players it will immediately become a tool to use to the fullest possible extent when trying to win the game, not just a convenience. The game turns from whatever it’s now into a boring and grindy brute-force tree search. But because that’s the optimal way to play within the rules of the game, this is what those players would do no matter how boring it is.

I’m not saying that you have to keep that particular player segment happy at the expense of others. They’re not intrinsically any more or less deserving of getting the game they want than others. I’m just saying that there is a tradeoff: adding an undo into the framework of these existing games is not a purely positive no brainer feature. For it to be a win/win, it needs to be a part of the design from the start, and understood that it’s not just about UX but about the rules and incentives of the player.

No, the best way of signalling the design intent that you’re permanently locked in to every click you make would be to always save the latest state as and when a click occurs. We can speculate as to why that didn’t happen, of course - lack of time, unwillingness to lock the player into an unfair fail state if a bug occurred, etc. but this decision was still made at some point (and continues to be made).

But no matter how this came about, or why, I just don’t see how the implementation as-is does anything other than to segregate the playerbase into those that know about this ‘feature’ and those who do not.

I think you’re still missing what I’m getting at with making it optional. I mean, in no uncertain terms, that you should ask the player at the start of the campaign: do you want undo turn? If so, how many? Like how XCOM has ironman as an option, or how Invisible Inc. lets you configure pretty much every aspect of it (oh Klei, why can’t they all be as perfect as you?). You can literally even tell people in plain language next to the droppy-down: the design intent is that you get 1 use per battle. Or no uses. Whatever.

Basically; provide a guide to where the fun lies, but don’t dictate it. You don’t know what people have got going on. I can’t imagine how awkward it is for people with certain disabilities to play some of these things without any sorta safety net (my guess is: they don’t).

Your core argument here is everyone will pick the cheesiest option and just abuse the living daylights out of it is fundamentally flawed. If it were true, nobody would ever pick anything other than the easiest difficulty modes in any game as, arguably, hard mode is just sub-optimal play when the goal is to reach the end as quickly and unhindered as possible.

People want a challenge, have a bit more faith in them that they can define that on their own terms. Some are idiots unable to escape the morass of their own laziness, sure, but even they can learn a valuable lesson (eventually) on the dangers of cheese.

No, that’s not my core argument. I also very explicitly was not making claims about what “everybody” would do, and never talked about “options”.

You claimed that there’s no good reason to not support undo. I presented a selection of what I believe are good reasons for why that would not work in the context of this game. You’d need a very different design to make undo workable. You don’t believe that, which is of course fine. And if the above caricature is what you got out of my best attempt at explanation, there’s probably no point in continuing.

It’s a sterile discussion anyway, since neither of us is in a position to change the game :)

Well, yeah. Every discussion on an internet forum is sterile. I thought the golden rule was we don’t acknowledge that fact, lest we catch a glimpse of the abyssal void interminably awaiting us all.

Won on Covenant 2 with the Stygian Guard. I figured out they’re all about the spells so that’s what I emphasized. The holdover spell upgrade seems to be a big part of all my winning strategies so far. I used the Awoken as allies because I needed some tanks. Stygian units are really weak health-wise. So yay, 2 in a row, and now on to Covenant 3 and the Umbra which I just unlocked on that run.

As an aside, I wonder why they didn’t name this “Hell Train” instead of what they named it. Especially since it’s a … hell train. The name actually kind of put me off from paying much attention to the game at first. I’m sure they thought about naming it ‘hell train’ though. Maybe they figured that having ‘hell’ in the title would offend some people (and if so, they would probably be correct).

Just three things to say:

  1. “Restart battle,” whether that’s accomplished by a button that says “Restart Battle” or by quitting and re-launching, is categorically not Undo.

  2. Of course no game should allow you to Undo an action which lets you keep information that you gained by performing and then Undoing an action, UNLESS that is part of the design, a la Invisible Inc. But it’s not part of Slay the Spire’s design. It’s fine to wish Slay the Spire was a different game. But it’s not a different game. It’s the game it is.

  3. The fact that games might “let you” back up a save file, save-scum, or quit and restart a battle, does not mean that the designers intended that to be part of the gameplay. Nor does the fact that games might “let you” run the same seed on five different computers all next to each other so that you can try different strategies on the first four and then apply the knowledge you gained to the run you have going on the fifth. Stuff you do “outside” the game is, obviously, not part of the game.

Awesome! Yeah, the name is terrible. It really is.

This is a minor quibble and I’m still enjoying the game a lot. I don’t like how the score is calculated. In principle I like how you get the bonus for what floor you stop the boss on, but in practice sometimes you don’t have a choice but to play you strong set of monsters on the top floor - like in waiting out rage on enemies to dissipate.

I got covenant 3, hurrah!


  1. This is a semantic argument and it’s trivial to prove that it categorically is - if the button was called ‘Undo battle’ you’d have no trouble understanding exactly what it is and does. Whatever distinction you’re getting at here is, frankly, meaningless.

  2. Every save/load state in any game ever allows you to keep information. Where the enemies are. What the best gun to buy is. Whether the route to the left is easier than the route the right. I’d even go so far as to say unless every aspect of your game is generated randomly at the start, simply allowing players to start over at all allows this accumulation of information to occur. I’m not arguing against that, it’s part of the fun!
    Also, as much as I love it, I don’t understand the argument that “undo is part of Invisible Incs gameplay”. I mean it obviously is by virtue of its existence but if you’re arguing it’s a core gameplay feature which makes it anything more than a limited use save/load: how, exactly? Are we just saying that as a result of the lack of randomness in the gameplay? It’s just that in contrast with a game that really does have undo as being a core part of the gameplay (All Walls Must Fall), I don’t see enough here to distinguish it.

  3. This gets back to my accusation of arrogance. How designers intend things to be played and how they are played are two separate things. My whole point here is, again, is it really that much of concession to the intended experience to provide this functionality as an option? You can’t not know that a subset of players will do things like copying files around! So stop pretending that making it as awkward as possible for people to play how they want somehow absolves the flaws in your interface/gameplay. I mean, what does it really say about your game if fishing around for 5 minutes in file explorer/registry editor is preferential to the frustration of starting over? Once upon a time, a game was content to let you save/load to your heart’s content and IDDQD while you did so. It detracted nothing from its intended experience, and if anything helped cultivate a legacy that endures in a manner most designers can only dream of. I didn’t even have to write the name of the game, and you probably know exactly which one I’m talking about.

In Monster Train I have completely screwed up several runs because I didn’t notice that the level had spawned guys with haste, which makes the second floor completely irrelevant unless you can kill the back of every single enemy line that comes in. Sometimes I notice this after placing my guys in the middle floor and before I hit end turn, I don’t see what would be wrong with allowing an undo in that situation. At least until the devs do a much better job signalling the presence of haste to the player.

Players do dumb shit all the time. Doesn’t mean you should support, encourage, or even condone it as a designer.

This is the weirdest conversation, you guys.

I lost my first Umbra run (also was my first cov3 run) at the final boss so my (very short) win streak is over. I really thought I was going to win that run but the final boss battle was just so much harder than any of the preceding ones that I never really came close.

On the first turn I had some terrible luck with unit card draws and it kind of snowballed from there. The enemy kept throwing out lines with 2 units that had 150 to 170 health and I just could not kill them all consistently before they made it to my pyre. Then the final boss on top of all that with well over 2000 HP with his buff purge ability was too much. I’ve thought about it and I really can’t think of any strategy I could have tried that would have lead to a win with the cards I had. Hopefully, I will unlock some better Umbra cards as I play them more.

I could see enjoying one of two undo-type options in this game:

  1. one-time use of undo per battle. I like this as others have mentioned because it becomes another strategical touch point. Also, one of the covenant levels could turn it off. An artifact or event could increase #of undos, or decrease for some other benefit.

  2. When you lose a boss fight in persona 5 royale, the game gives you the option to restart the battle. I can see having that option available, either after every battle or just bosses, and either unlimited times or just once. I would prefer every battle because why not, and unlimited, because diminishing returns. I imagine this also reduces the burden on devs, who now only have to record the state just before the battle, which they probably already have anyway.

And I’ve been trying to avoid saying, “let’s stick to talking about the game,” but I’m at that point. The conversation is interesting, but if prefer it in a separate thread of it is to continue.

I just got a big Monster Train update on steam but can’t see any patchnotes. Anyone know of any?