We Slay Monsters - Roguelike with Poker-esque combat out of Early Access

This is a repost, original thread here:

I started this new thread because I can’t edit the thread title, and the old thread title had the word “ios” in it, which might have made some people skip over it. Sorry if I’m doing this wrong; not trying to spam everyone.

MonkeyPunky and I have been working on an roguelike called “We Slay Monsters”. It’s a dungeon crawler with a card-based combat mechanism with similarities to poker. There is some information on our web site: http://weslaymonsters.com

** Edit Alert **

We are now live on steam, so I have edited the first post on this thread to reflect new information. A lot has changed since I originally posted this (including the name of the game).

Here’s a link to the game on steam:

Later in this thread, I mention that I have some keys reserved for QT3 folks, so just PM me if you are interested.

0.9.7 Patch Notes

This patch upgrades to Unity 4 and Xcode 5, so the game is now build for iOS7, but should work
on previous version. Testers using iOS devices should let us know right away about any weirdness
running on the devices.

FYI, this version also resets saved progress.


[li]The full story for a dungeon now shows on the loading screen; an abbreviated
[/li] version shows when you click on a town on the map screen.
[li]When you get new wild cards from the shop or from a treasure chest, they are now
[/li] placed in the discard pile and won’t be seen until the deck is re-shuffled
[li]On iOS devices, the animations for monsters moving now shows one-at-a time instead
[/li] of all at once; this should improve framerate[/ul]

[li] If not all tutorial signs were viewed, treasures on a real dungeon could have been blinking
[/li][li] Scrolling on the character sheet to see all equipment shoudl work now
[/li][li] There were some z-ordering bugs where characters/effects/equipment would sometimes show on top
[/li] of creatures in the square below the hero
[*] Fixed a framerate drop when showing centering the map after pressing the play button[/ul]

Uploaded a massive patch last night, patch notes:

Patch 0.9.9 Release Notes

This is a major patch, and introduces the first of the all new profession-specific card sets. Also, there
has been significant work done on dungeon generation and monster placement (still work left to do though).

As of this patch, the only playable profession is the Wizard. Two main reasons: the other profession-specific
cards still need to be implemented, and I wanted to get some feedback on the new card system and do some
balancing before too much work is done on other professions.

The Wizard’s new cards are explained in more detail in this blog post:


Dungeons have also gotten an overhaul. The character starts in an empty room at the edge of the dungeon now,
and dungeons are a bit shorter with some larger rooms to give the player more room to manuever. Hopefully
dungeons are more interesting as well, and some of the annoyances (like doors right next to each other) have
been addressed.

Finally, there are the beginnings of new images in place, working toward full-retina capable images. We’re not
there yet, so only the low-res versions are currently available, but we’re making underlying changes that will
allow us to make the change once all of the images have been re-done. Along with this change comes a new style for
the art as well; we’ll be rolling more of this out over time. We have decided also to make the images generally
bigger, so more detail can be shown.

Other Changes

[li]Removed animated effect from “Monster Turn” indicator
[/li][li]Introduced new top UI, still needs many tweaks
[/li][li]Poison will now only apply when the attack is done with the main-hand weapon
[/li][li]Haggler perk has been removed from the game; it was too powerful if you luck was high


[li]Fixed damage display sometimes showing up under the monster
[/li][li]Fixed 10x point multipler showing up as 1x in the UI
[/li][li]Fixed Level indicators for monsters that where sometimes missing

Given the extensive nature of these changes, we’re hoping for lots of feedback, so please play and let us know
what you think!

Still looking for more alpha testers; both web and ios versions are available for testing:


Uploaded a new build to testflight and the web this evening; patch notes are below.

As always, we’d love some more folks to help us test this out (http://wwflgames.com/index.php/fury-alpha-testing/ for more info).


[li] New dungeon tile graphics have been introduced.
[/li][li] A new off-hand item has been introduced
[/li][li] The on-screen character now properly reflects the equipment that has been equipped (the character sheet graphics have not yet been updated and still show the old character images).
[/li][li] Monsters now use pathfinding to try to get to the Hero if they are aggressive, and have a limited memory for when they last saw the hero and will continue to pursue the hero in the direction they were last seen for a short time before they get bored. This lays the foundation for different types of monsters that will pursue the player more aggressively in the future.
[/li][li] A small version of the “suit” is on the cards now, instead of text with the name of the suit.
[/li][li] Keyboard based attack (web version) have been improved, you can now use the arrow keys to make a ranged attack as long as a valid target is in the direction pressed.
[/li][li] Monster distribution has been improved so that monsters “near” the player start location (as the crow flies), but far (as you crawl through the dungeon) are properly leveled. Placement is now based on pathfinding distance and should be more even.
[/li][li] Improved the movement animation
[/li][li] Vampire cows are a little more dangerous. I’ll leave it to you folks to discover the exact nature of the danger :)
[/li][li] Loading of saved games and generation of new games is faster and the loading animation should play smoothly now; there used to be a large framerate drop at a certain point toward the end of loading.
[/li][li] When zombie chickens are beheaded, the beheaded version keeps all of the status effects on the original chicken.
[/li][li] Lightning animation has been improved.[/ul]

[li] Chilled status (from crystal cards) now properly applies on the first turn
[/li][li] A monster’s hate list is now properly saved with the dungeon
[/li][*] If the hero was at the bottom of the screen, there were times when the coin animation would play behind them[/ul]

Wanted to post a quick note about our game. Some really big changes since the last time I posted anything. We kinda went into stealth mode after our first round of testing; we re-tooled a bunch of stuff, re-did all of the graphics, and decided to target additional platforms. Oh, and we changed the name. The game is now called “We Slay Monsters”.

As of this afternoon, we have re-launched the game and set up our Greenlight page. We plan on launching now in iOS, PC and Mac, with other platforms to follow.

New web site: http://weslaymonsters.com
Greenlight page: http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=279434323

I also posted a recap of the 1st day on Greenlight (spoiler alert, it went pretty great!) on our devblog:


We’re getting ready for launching our game in early-access mode soon-ish. I’ll re-post back here when we get there.

If anyone is interested, the game is available for early-access purchase on itch.io and desura. We just put out Update #17 aka “Scary Skelton”, which addresses some game pacing issues and introduced fog-of-war, as well as a bunch of other tweaks and fixes.

itch.io link: http://furiouslyinactive.itch.io/we-slay-monsters
desura link: http://www.desura.com/games/we-slay-monsters

We’re working on Update 18 aka “Elusive Elf”, which will introduce the warrior class with a martial and defense focused deck, and we’re also planning on introducing a new “arena” game mode.

cool, think I will buy it. Any idea when it will hit steam early access? would prefer to not dig up my desura account

That looks like it has potential, but I’m trying to swear off early access. I have too many unfinished games on my hard drive as it is.

Harkonis, We’re still on greenlight; I wish I understood how they make the choices of who gets greenlight and who doesn’t. I saw in the last batch there was someone who had less votes than us that got approved and we weren’t (not that I begrudge them, just don’t understand the selection criteria). Anyway, hopefully next time they announce “winners”, or the time after that :)

tgb123, I don’t blame you, same here. We are working hard to get this thing done, so hopefully you can buy it not-early-access by the end of the year.

We’re now live on Steam, in early access mode:

I have some keys to share with you guys, just PM me and I’ll send them to you.

Looks cute. Price is nice too!

I played this for maybe half an hour.

First impressions, not very nuanced yet:

The game is quite fun and time flies by. The graphics are serviceable and the sound is unremarkable, but I wouldn’t really complain about either.

The font is an atrocity. It looks washed out and is an eye-strain to read on my system.

The stats system needs to be clearer. Why is it good to invest in INT? What does DEF do, exactly? And Luck?
Is this robe really better than that robe?

Maybe I skipped over the answers to these questions in the tutorial (see above, the font is horrible to read on my system), which leads me to the question: why can’t I re-read the tutorial messages? How about ingame help of any sort?

Combat is too vague and doesn’t communicate with the player very well. Numbers fly, but why hasn’t this snail died, I thought I’d do 32 damage and it said it had 18 health left? So, I’m poisoned/confused? What’s there to it?
Also, see the remark about the stats in general above.

The poker system is one everyone understands with ease, but it’s also … very VERY shallow in this implementation.
The fun at texas holdem is evaluating what you have vs. what other players might have in relation to the cards (revealed or not) on the table. This game has all the simplicity but none of the elegance. So, I can make rows of several cards, and a flush and a straight. But I’m at the mercy of the RNG. I drew only bad cards? Too bad, better play a single five, suck up that damage and hope for a good draw.
Like I wrote initially, it’s still fun in a very basic way, but I presume it’ll get VERY old VERY fast.
Why didn’t you have every monster in a room as a table and stronger monsters have bigger stacks in a very fast paced poker round?
Or every monster in combat range is dealt cards, there’s cards in the middle for everyone and everyone takes their “combat turn” simultaneously … something involving a little more than “Two of a kind. Single three. Small straight. Two of a kind. Two pairs…”…
Sorry for the armchair designing, but I really fear those mechanics will not hold my interest for long.

What’s the intended audience for the game? Children? Cause I played a card based edutainment game some years ago which had a remakably similar system - though I don’t remember what exactly it was used for.

And some misc tech remarks: Why can’t I just close the game’s window? Cause I know this is possible in Unity games, but this one refuses to comply. And when I say “Save and Quit”, there should be an option which takes me to the menu instead of to the desktop.

Don’t take this criticism too seriously, I’m just trying to give feedback about the things I run into and how I feel about them.
If you don’t plan on changing any of that … fair enough. But please, do think about fixing the horrible horrible font. Did I mention how horrible it looks on my system? Cause it looks horrible.

Edit: I played some more and killed all monsters on the floor. Yet there’s no end or gate or whatever. What am I to do?


I’m happy to bug hunt for you if you have a key around! Looks interesting!

Thanks for giving it a whirl!

This appears to be something system-related, it’s not happening everywhere. I have spent a little bit of time trying to solve this, but it looks fine on all of the machines I have available to me, so it’s hard to know if anything I’m doing has any effect.

Agreed, I’ve been thinking a lot about the best way to communicate all of this, and haven’t come to any sort of epiphany. But it will be a focus before we release the game for sure.

Combat is 100% deterministic, so if an attack says it will kill the monster (indicated by a skull) and it doesn’t, thats a bug. When you have cards selected, it should be showing you how much damage it would do to any particular monster, and indicate on their health bar where it will leave them in terms of their health after their attack. It’s a lot of info to display and I tried to balance showing enough info so that you can make a relative decision without filing the screen with numbers. But the idea is you should always know before your attack what your attack will do.

Any ideas you have about how to make this clearer would be great!

Couple of things - every hero starts with 3 “discard runes”, which can be use to help build a better hand (and more are scattered throughout the dungeon in chests and whatnot). Also, every hero will have at least one ability that allows you to manipulate the deck in some way. For example, the wizard can unlock the summon card ability, which allows you to summon up to 3 cards that are added to your current hand.

We have other ideas about how to make the deck more interesting, we’ll have to see how they develop.

We have experimented with lots of different ways to have combat unfold, and this one is interesting, but I fear it would dramatically alter the flow of the game. Hopefully with some of the other things we are planning on adding (like the card-related abilities described above), it will keep people’s interest.

Not children particularly, but we aren’t excluding them either. We’re trying to walk a fine line between simplicity and depth, which may not be everyone’s cup of tea. I have tried to simplify and streamline many of the “fiddly” bits in traditional roguelikes and RPGs (inventory management for one), and that sort of thing may not appeal to everyone.

This is by design - once you start a dungeon, you finish it or die. So there’s no getting back to the menu unless you abandon your hero in the dungeon.

I appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts. And yes, we’ll fix the font! :)

The main boss is supposed to drop a treasure of some sort. Claiming the treasure should end the level. We have had report of this sporadically not working, so you might have fallen victim to that particular bug. It’s high on our priority list to fix.

I PM’d you a key!

I put some more time in this. I accidentally played the arena mode and was overwhelmed because wave after wave of ever stronger monsters was too much to handle for my newly created character. Started a new game and played the dungeon again, with the same result as before…

Heh, trying to reproduce bugs that don’t occur on any of your development/testing machines sure is a highlight of a programmer’s existance, isn’t it? ;)
I found it just boils down to my own inexperience with Unity, though. Before starting the game, it pops up a settings dialog and recommends “fastest” on my computer. If I manually change that to “best”, the font issue is gone. If that’s possible in unity, you should just disable this dialog or at the very least default to “best” (my GPU is maybe a year old, so my rig isn’t exactly ancient).

Yeah, it should be. I still have no idea what anything really does except HP, which is of course a no brainer.

I actually never noticed that skull before you mentioned it. I was indeed looking at the monsters HP vs my damage prediction, and those two things are totally unreliable. When the looming skull appears, the monster appears to indeed always die. Sometimes it does so without skull, though.

As for making things clearer, I think you should have a popup or hover window of sorts (or a dedicated area for this in the UI) which presents all neccessary/involved information. This could also spare you the effort of explaining what the stats do elsewhere, as their impact to calculations should be obvious from reading the more detailed damage predictions.

The effect of the discard runes needs to be clearer. I thought they merely allowed you to discard something from your current hand, putting it back into the shuffle pile?

Yeah, I agree it’s too late to make substantial changes like that. At some point, you gotta stick with your choices and run with them.
To my credit, I already apologized for the armchair designing. ;)

There’s a fine line between steamlining and dumbing down. The former is usually good, while the latter will make a game less appealing to some audiences but maybe more appealing to others. In general, you should look to other opinions than mine in this matter, though - I wasn’t too fond of all the steamlining in Firaxis’ XCOM, but the majority of people loved it.
In the case of this particular game, you’re only borrowing roguelike features anyway, so I don’t find it particularly unsettling.

Yeah, of course but that’s not really what I meant. I was refering to the fact that, in windowed mode, clicking the X in the upper right corner of the window does nothing. The game pretends nothing happened, which is imo bad UI design.
About the issue you described, how about allowing multiple heroes simultaneously? That’s pretty much a staple of roguelikes…

Yeah, I finished another dungeon. The main boss drops something that looks like a gem. But … what do you mean by claiming it?
Chests and bags and stuff I can claim by walking on it. This gem ignores such maneuvers, though. When you save and quit and return to the dungeon, the gem disappears, which means you can only abandon the game altogether. You … uh … you should fix that stuff. ;)

Some more observations:
Maybe you could make diagonal movements on the keypad work? Cause they don’t, which is irritating.
Also, holding down a movement key should repeat movement commands until the key is released.
The game is in dire need of audio options. Yes, it’s quite good, but still … let me tune down that music if so I desire.
Fog of war would be kinda neat.
How about color-coding doors to indicate the rooms difficulty level or something? Cause depending on the RNG, there can be IMMENSE deltas between directly adjacent rooms. Or maybe have a skill or something that does this?

That’s all for now.


This is great stuff; I’ll come back to this later tonight.

Couple of quick thoughts:
I think I figured out the font stuff on my side; we’ll have to wait until I get Update 19 out to see if it’s really fixed.

Some of the UI quirky-ness comes from the fact that this game was designed mobile-first, so we were trying to cram a lot into the UI for a phone and had to make some compromises. Update 20 or 21 will focus on bringing the UI up to snuff for PC/Mac and ditching some of the weird touch conventions that are currently there.

More to come later…

Here’s a quick rundown, obviously having these in the game will be helpful:

Strength - increases damage done by melee-based cards
Intelligence - increases damage done by magic-based cards
Defense - reduces damage done to the player (1 point of defense = 1 point of damage reduction per attack)
Luck - lots of different things :) Critical Hits (50% dmg bonus), Glancing Blows (50% dmg reduction), loot quality, amount of gold
Poison - damage over time for attacks where primary weapon used (for wizards, this is the Staff).
Spikes - damages attackers for 1 damage per point of spikes

The damage prediction at the bottom of the screen is the potential damage the combo could do. This can be effected by a monster’s resistances (Ghoul Snails, for example, are resistant to physical attacks because of their hard shell) and a monster’s defense. The amount of damage the attack will actually do is reflected in the number shown on each monster, and the health display shows the relative amount of damage (the flashing part of the health display) the attack will do, and will show a skull if it will kill the monster.

The number shown on the monster should be absolutely reliable. The only thing that should effect it are crits, which will only increase the amount of damage you do (by 50%), which you don’t know until you play the cards. If this isn’t the case, it’s a bug.

I’m working on adding your “deck” and “discard pile” to the UI, so you can see where you stand. Discard runes allow you to discard into your discard pile. When you can no longer draw from your deck, your discard pile is automatically shuffled and you now have a new deck. The new UI should show how many cards you have left in your deck and discard pile, and animate your cards to the discard pile when you’ve played or discarded them, to give the player a better idea of what’s going on.

The x should close the game, I’ll add a bug report for that. There is a weird thing where sometimes quitting the game through the regular menu takes a long time, or doesn’t work at all, so it’s probably related.

It’s a possibility, I’ll keep that in mind :)

You’re supposed to just walk onto it. There have been some other reports on this problem as well, it’s high on the list to fix.

Hmm. It should work (works on mine). I’ll poke around a bit and see why this doesn’t work consistently.

We’ve been looking at ways to make multiple moves better, but given the turn-based nature, it requires some thought to get right. It’s been suggested before though, so we’re looking at it.

These are already in for Update 19

We’ve been round an round on this; the current fog of war is room based, rather than line-of-sight based. Given the randomness inherent in having a deck of cards and having to do the best you can with them, giving the player a bit of an advantage to be able to plan their moves at least through the next room seemed a good compromise. We’ll see how this plays out, adding a more “traditional” fog of war isn’t out of the question (we had it at one point, but it made things pretty hard).

I’ve done some work to streamline this but it needs a lot more. The idea I have been working on is separating each dungeon into 3-4 areas, with monsters within 2-3 levels of you and a mini-boss. Killing the mini-boss gives you the key to advance to the next area, and so forth. So there is still some tension, because you might face higher level stuff, but you can’t accidentally stumble on the boss when you’re still level 2.

Thanks for the feedback! I really appreciate it.

Thanks. It was quite obvious though that they do SOMETHING…

Maybe so. I still feel everything is non-obvious and info needs to be cobbled together, and that the game would really benefit from having a combat rundown screen. Like, on the context menu screen where you can drink a potion, there could be a question mark, and when you click on it and a monster you can attack, it spells stuff out for you.
You do x damage because of the cards you selected for play. Stat s gives you bonus a and stat t gives you bonus b. The monster has resistance r, which reduces the damage you do by that amount. The attack has a chance c of a critical hit. It will also cause an explosion / poison the monster / teleport it away / kill it etc.
Maybe most of this info can already gathered somewhere, but it would be awesome and instructive to have everything in one place, and since you must already have access to all that info, a screen like that should be pretty trivial to implement?

Since there’s no inventory, I think it’d also be cool to have an “advanced info” screen like that when obtaining a new item, where you see in depth how picking something up will change your character. In other words, the +3 str on the old staff lost will reduce your damage from x to y, but the +2 spikes and +2 poison will have this other effect. At the moment, you can basically only glance and figure it might be better (or not).

Yeah, so it’s exactly as I thought it would be in a card game setup. It’d be cooler to have actual deckbuilding, where you could permanently discard cards and gain new ones as loot from monsters, but it’s also too late to make such drastic change I guess. Maybe keep it in mind for a sequel? ;)
However, given this, I feel discard runes are too scarce or too weak. The simplest solution that comes to mind is to make them discard the entire hand or give that option. So if you have crap, you can get a chance at something better. Discarding single cards is unpracticable, imo, especially in the face of enemies that will keep attacking you.

Yeah, I noticed the slowdown, but it DOES eventually quit when using the menu, as opposed to using the window’s X.

This is a critical game breaking bug, as you no doubt agree. Keep us posted when you fix it, because since this happened on the only two finished dungeon runs I made, I’m not going to bother with a third before it’s dealt with.

Great. :)

Well, I actually came from a direction that’d make it easier for the player in most cases. I had to run from a couple of rooms when stumbling into monsters with a much higher level than me. Their pathfinding is abysmal anyway (maybe that’s intentional, in any way I’m not complaining about it), so they don’t consistently seek me out / hunt me down in other rooms anyway, even when I’ve already aggroed them. So leaving the room for good might as well cover it in FOW again and this stop the monsters from moving in the first place, speeding the game up considerably (cause as it his, while they don’t chase you, you have to watch them fumble around in the room each time you make a move).
Alternatively, right clicking on a door could reset the room. But…

… maybe this’ll solve the issue or make it a moot point. Even though, quite frankly, the dungeon floors I’ve seen so far were far too small to be split up into subdungeons with mini-bosses. But I’ll comment on that once you implemented your idea.

It’s the least I can do. Thanks for making the game.


Yes, I agree we can improve in this area a lot. It will be a focus for one of the next updates, along with removing some of the touch-metaphor based stuff as well.

It discards 3 cards, not one, which seemed a good compromise. We’ll see how this plays out over time, this can obviously be tweaked.

It’s on the list to figure out.

Totally agree, just doesn’t happen every time so it’s hard to track down (I haven’t ever seen it in my playtesting, but I’ve seen two different “let’s play” videos where it happens, so it’s clearly not uncommon). This is my #1 priority to fix right now.

The will follow you as long as they have LOS. If they lose LOS, they forget about you and stop following you. I have gone back and forth on this, and will probably still tweak it. Likely a better solution is to have the memory of where your were decay over time, so they still follow where you were, and maybe can gain LOS again when they get there.

We’ve also toyed with the idea of being able to close doors. Another thing we’ll have to see how it pans out.

The size of the dungeons is for sure up for debate. At one point it was a choosable configuration; you could choose a “long” dungeon, which had more rooms. We wanted to focus on shorter burst gameplay, but that was when we were focused on mobile-first. I’ll add it to the list to look at re-exposing this.