No, Astral Tournament worked fine. It just didn’t work in the traditional CCG method were no card is unbalanced by itself and a lucky draw is required to get a powerful combination of cards to crush the opponent It used an alternate and simpler mechanic where certain cards are just overpowered and it was a luck of the draw deal. Astral Tournament was a great little game but it wasn’t trying to be full blown CCG.

It was tons of fun in its own way, and I say this as a total CCG whore.

But you aren’t saying that’s a better system, just that it is ok and less work? I don’t see how that is an argument against the desire to have a deck editor.

It’s not an issue of better or worse. You are making an apples to oranges comparison. Astral Tournament at first glance looks like a traditional CCG but it different in a lot of important ways so you can’t compare it to a game on the Magic: The Gathering model. The basic gameplay and mechanics are different in very fundamental ways.

A deck editor doesn’t make sense for Astral Tournament for the same reason it doesn’t make sense for Monopoly. The random chance of getting a good or a bad card is a fundamental mechanic of the game. Stacking the deck doesn’t just imbalance the game it ruins it.

I second all of Nick’s points. The way it is works for this series of games. Forcing other collectible card game rules into these games simply would not work.

The “low impact” nature of Astral Tournament is part of the reason I enjoyed it so much.
If it had a deck editor it wouldn’t have worked for me. That’s not an activity that I enjoy doing online.

Reiner Knizia said something along the lines of you “You want to feel like that you win by cleverness, and lose because of randomness.” This game has that in spades.

Thats a fun little game. It could definitly use some additional variety and balancing (some of those cards are amazing and some are really weak).

This is probably just a side effect of the bad balance but I just got into the habit of restarting forfeiting and restarting games if I didn’t get cards I needed. After beating the game on average difficulty I swear that some of those matches were unbeatable if you were stuck with a bad sample of cards.

But its a beta, so I dont expect it to be perfectly balanced. Im excited to see the final product.

Yup. Some of the combos feel really good. Phoenixes plus fire mages were particularly fun. Load up on fire mages until fire mana was at ten then start pumping in the immortal phoenixes. Good fun.

So how exactly does card progression work in these 2 (3?) games. You get new cards to play with, but you can’t put them in your deck? Do you pick “possible” cards that may appear, or something? How, exactly, do new cards get added to the deck?

In Spectromancer the whole concept of cards is misleading. There is no deck, cards are not consumed when they are used, the “cards” are just spells. Mechanically the only card aspects are that there is some randomization around which spells you have available for each battle. Outside of that the card concept is just used to tap into the CCG market.

““You want to feel like that you win by cleverness, and lose because of randomness.” This game has that in spades.”

I agree with the Knizia quote, but when I loose with one set of cards, and then win with the next, I feel like there is more luck than I’d like to the winning and losing.

On a related note- after completing the demo on “normal” I’m now halfway through it on hard, and I’ve been doing a lot better, and I don’t think I’m playing much better- has anyone checked out the effect of the various difficulty settings?

I don’t think the random chance is a fundamental mechanic in the sense that it couldn’t be changed. Without playing a version with a deck editor, I don’t even see the basis of your statement. It certainly isn’t obviously true that knowing what cards you will have would be bad.

The only difference between the actual structure of the game with and without a deck editor would be rebalancing it to make sure there were completely unstoppable combos. But honestly, most combos have to be toned down even in the random game, since it would be pretty silly to just auto-win every time the combos came up.

As for the randomness argument, I agree with the quote in some sense, but I don’t think the current level of randomness is necessary. Certainly I think chess suffers from the lack of scapegoat randomness, but I think that the luck of what cards your opponent chose would be enough to blame your loss on without needing to throw out all the meta gameplay. If it wasn’t, then as I said, the editor could have you choose 5 cards for each column, or 6 and then randomly select 4 of them at game start (and possibly on certain subsequent turns, if needed).

The game is somewhat fun as is, but it is flawed because of the total randomness, which both prevents you from reliably playing with cards you like and encourages you to restart when you don’t get certain cards or combos.

If you want it to be a monopoly-style board game (as opposed to a german-style one), I think you have to either reshuffle the cards every few turns, or have some subset of them that reshuffle every few turns (or have more random effects on the cards).

So after finishing the Beta campaign, I am looking forward to more.

The one thing I do not see is how it varies that significantly from the two Astral games and what exactly the King of Magic has added other than attaching his name to it.

I played the opposite way, playing Spectromancer first and then going to Astral Masters. Although the cards and such are very similiar, I think the games are extremly different.

Astral Masters is a card game, you have drawing, deck building, discard, etc. Spectromancer isn’t really a card game at all. If you were to call the “cards” in spectormancer spells there wouldn’t be any corrollary to CCG’s. All the mechanics we define as “card” mechanics are gone from the game (and no, collecting isnt a card mechanic).

So I think they are functionally different games, even if a lot of the flavor is borrowed.

I like this game.

A lot.

wish there was more to the beta :(

I really do think this one’s going on the buy stack for when it’s available. It’s not super-deep, but it’s got enough play to it to be worth it. Especially since individual sessions of it can take less than 15 minutes and yet not be mind-numbing the way most casual games are for me.

New multiplayer beta was released this week, along with another mage type to play (Illusionist).

Just started playing the MP beta. And won my first game. IT SEEMS UNLIKELY.

I’m AdaLovelace if anyone wants to friend me.


After playing through (and whomping) the campaign on normal, I figured I’d try out the random duels. I’m now 1 for 30. How did it get so hard?

For those who care, the full version of this is now out. I haven’t got past the first campaign yet, which is pretty much the same as it was in the demo.

just found this game, off the Penny Arcade recommendation. Playing the demo still, I wonder if it’ll be deep enough to reward serious time investment. Anyone who’s played multiplayer or progressed further have any thoughts? So far, it looks like after a few games to complete your “deck” to four cards per element, you’re pretty much done with progression. It’s still very fun, I just wonder how it holds up medium-long term.