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Coming the Week of July 15th (12 Jul 2019)
Seal Team Flix and Campy Creatures Reviews, a second look at Tiny Towns, Brainwaves Podcast on Megagames, Tank & DPS News and more TBA.
Let's Talk - Slay the Spire
Like Clank! and Thunderstone, this is an attempt to bring the dungeon crawl to the deckbuilding genre. Or vice versa. But it's much better at doing that. I don't want to spoil too much, but there are three classes, each with a fairly unique take on your standard Warrior/Rogue/ Sorceror trifecta that we saw with games like the original Diablo, because who wants to play a solo Cleric anyway?
You start with the Ironclad, this game's warrior. You start with a garbage deck, like the Estates and Coppers of old. Like Ascension, you can play multiple cards in a turn, but you're limited by an additional resource: energy. This replenishes every turn, and basically means you can play 3 actions per turn, until you get some cards that cost 0 or 2 energy to complete. (The Ironclad does start with one 2-coster actually, and the Silent starts with a 0). This core mechanic goes a long way towards making the design space more interesting and textured.
My favorite so far is the Defect, the take on the sorcerer. Once you get the hang of his subroutine, he (it?) is a lot of fun.
I'll have to go back to it, but maybe with a timer handy (actually, my wife works just as well...)
I've poured about 20 hours into it so far and I'm almost scared to pick it up again because it's such a time thief. I thank the lord I've got the PC version rather than the more convenient Switch one.
It's also totally a board game in disguise. So much so I put it on this list:
Matt Thrower wrote: Slay the Spire > Into the Breach. The puzzling mechanic got old after a while, even with different teams. Slay the Spire is fearsomely addictive, with easily enough variety to keep it fresh on multiple runs.
The achievement system and score tracking from Into the Breach gave it longevity for me. I eventually wanted to get perfect 30000 runs on hard with as many squads as I could. The level of control you get despite random spawns and enemy behavior was cool, despite being puzzly. Tactical games are also probably my favorite genre.
Some of the achievements in Slay the Spire just seem kind of random or impossible to get unless you devote a run to them. (I'm sitting at around 63% of them complete, with the remaining ones just being really hard). And I'm not sure if "more addictive" = "better." I'm not even gonna fight the more addictive point. It certainly has its hooks into me. Some of the "just one more run" comes from that randomness of the card draw. Your best run can be ended when that boss does his Hyper Beam, even if you know it's coming, just because that's the turn you get the bad draw.
I know that bad draws can be mitigated, because you can control what goes into your deck. Much like Dominion, the best advice I read online was that you don't HAVE to take a card each time you kill a monster if none of them gel well with what you're building. I also know now that each boss and elite has a set pattern to them- their attacks don't appear to be random at all. Many normals appear to have a set pattern too, but not all, some seem to have 2-3 options that they cycle through randomly.
Slay the Spire is certainly harder than Into the Breach, although I don't know if it's harder in a way that promotes continuous learning from your mistakes.