Mike LawhunUnited States
If you are at all interested in checking out the cyberpunk "Spire-like" deckbuilding game Haxity, you can do so right now.
From their Steam page:
"Early Access release is rapidly approaching. And we know several of you are itching to get your hands dirty in Haxity. Well good news, we will be having a short beta weekend 15.May-17.May to let you visit Haxity about 10days before the actual release. In this Beta Event we will also be testing our new matchmaking system, so get ready to jack into Haxity and play out matches to your coils are fried.
To get a Beta key you only need to join up in our Discord Community. On 15.May 12:00 CET you will receive your key and can immediately play untill 17.May 23:59.
We hope that as many as possible will join us for this glorious weekend of Card games, Cyberpunk, fighting and fun.
See you on the streets of Haxity"
So go to the link below for the Discord invite and get haxin!
News, previews, reviews, and commentary of digital (mobile, console, and PC) versions of existing board and card games, as well as other items of interest to fans of those games, such as digital only board and card games, other digital games with a "tabletop feel" and more.
Archive for Mike Lawhun
15 May 2020
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Spoiler alert: It's something much more!
In all my years of gaming, both physical and digital, has a game so up my alley and meant for me to play never gone so far under my radar, both as a gamer and as someone now looking to cover games in a blog.
I know that the cyberpunk genre is going to be the "new hotness" this year, with the release of Cyberpunk 2077 coming (hopefully) this September, but I have honestly been intrigued by the genre for years. When I was in high school (a looooooooong time ago) a book called GURPS Cyberpunk came out. It was a sourcebook for playing cyberpunk adventures in the GURPS role playing game, but I didn't really buy it for that. I bought it to read about the intriguing "high tech low life" world that the book described on the back cover, and because I was a wannabe hacker at the time and it had the words "The book that was seized by the U.S. Secret Service!" plastered on the front, and I thought I was being subversive by buying it.
As a tabletop gamer and a video gamer, I've always loved the merging of the two, in case you can't tell that fact from the name of this blog. As far as video games go, roguelikes and more recently roguelites have been two of my favorite genres. For tabletop games, deckbuilders (from Ascension on, I really didn't care for Dominion much) have been one of my favorite types of games. So you would think that when Slay the Spire came out, I would be all over it. But for some reason, I just didn't get that much into it. Maybe it was the relatively standard fantasy theme, despite the interesting look of the art in that game.
But the idea of Slay the Spire's gameplay seemed super interesting to me, and I have always been on the lookout for similar games that either took place in a more interesting setting, or had a different take on Spire's gameplay formula.
Then recently, I was watching one of my favorite indie game covering YouTubers, and they showed a trailer for a game called Haxity. It was a "Spirelike" set in a gritty cyberpunk setting, and as soon as I saw it, I was hooked. I immediately checked out all the media I could for the game, and the more I saw the more I knew this would be a game I would enjoy immensely.
Haxity, as mentioned above, is a "Spirelike", which means that it has deckduilding mechanics and roguelike elements usually in the form of random events that can happen in between each battle that can have an effect on your deck or other aspects of your character, or a randomly generated environment to go through with different battles and other encounters strewn throughout. From what I have seen and read, Haxity will have both of these forms of gameplay in the form of two different modes, Campaign and Versus.
I have only played Versus so far in the beta version of the game, and I cannot wait to check out the Campaign mode when Haxity releases on Steam in Early Access on May 26. The Versus mode has you picking one of the three currently available characters, which all play completely differently with their own unique action cards. Then you draft cards in various phases, starting with a starter deck, where you make choices as to the types of cards you want to put in your deck. After that, you play a three games out of five match with a random computer opponent, with more phases of card selection or "mod" selection (items that give your character persistent buffs for that match) in between each game. So even if you get trounced in the first game, you can improve your deck and hope to have better luck (or strategy) in the later games. It is very addicting starting from humble beginnings each match and growing your deck and boosting your character through mods, as is usually the case with this kind of game.
The fighting itself is just as interesting and addictive. While Spire just has you throwing cards at enemies to damage them or perform other actions, Haxity takes a novel approach to this type of gameplay by having three columns of two cards that you and your opponent play without the other seeing what cards each are playing until all six are played. The cards on the bottom row are yours, and the top row is the opponent's cards. Then the cards of each column are compared using a "Rock, Paper, Scissors" (no Lizard or Spock, sorry) system of Range, Melee, and Skill cards, and the losing card is deactivated for the turn. Then after the cards are revealed and compared, each player takes turns playing a "Hack" card until both players pass or run out of the energy points that are spent playing hacking cards. These hacking cards are completely different from the action cards (called "Move" cards in Haxity) that are played in the first phase, and they add another novel layer of depth and strategy to the game. They take what seems like a relatively luck based RPS system and lets the player mitigate that luck by manipulating, buffing, or otherwise effecting the cards that were already played, and the right hacking cards at the right time can turn what was originally a disastrous turn into an amazing one, or vice versa.
The presentation and feeling of the game is nothing short of amazing. The card art is crisp and clean (thank you devs for not making another pixel art game) and combined with the character art and backgrounds, makes for a great futuristic cyberpunk aesthetic. Speaking of character art, the animations during combat are great, impactful, and varied enough so that Haxity is as fun to watch as it is to play. Other elements of the game, such as the hacking cards and mods, also contribute to making the game an authentic cyberpunk experience.
I will have a lot more coverage of this game on this blog, as I plan to cover it pretty closely, from updates, analysis, gameplay details, and whatever else I can come up with to showcase this already great game that will hopefully only get better as it releases in Early Access and then matures to a full release title with the help of player feedback and the super hard work and dedication of the dev team members and community manager, which are very interactive and responsive with the player base from what I have seen so far.
See below for the Steam link so you can wishlist and get more info on Haxity.
- [+] Dice rolls
Thanks to Underbite Games for providing a Steam key for Sentinels of Freedom. This is not the final build of the game, but it is the current "public" build.
The Hero creator is a major part of the upcoming game Sentinels of Freedom. It was one of the reasons that caused the game to take as long as it did to develop, since the team at Underbite is a small one, and making a good character creator is not an easy task. Underbite stated that they are proud with what they were able to come up with, and I think they have good reason to be.
For my first hero, I decided to make a character called Cyberpunk, who is the result of a government super soldier experiment in cybernetic enhancement. Part of the idea was already in my head, and other aspects came to me as I was looking through all the options in the creator. I think that is a good thing, as you can use the tools given to spur your own creativity.
On the left, you can see the six blue buttons at the top of the character info panel. I am going to go through each of those, starting with the first one that includes your themes, backgrounds, personality traits, and power sources.
Your themes are what are going to have the most effect on how your hero actually plays, since they are how you choose the types of abilities you will perform in the game. There are thirteen in total, and you can select any three for your hero. For Cyberpunk, I chose "Blaster", "Power Melee", and "Mobile Melee", because those are the types of abilities that a badass cyborg of justice should have.
Then you can choose up to two each of backgrounds, personalities, and power sources. These not only help flesh out the background of your character and provide flavor, but they also have an effect on your stats as well. So you can either pick them for their "lore" value because they fit the theme of your character and deal with whatever bonuses or penalties they give you, or you can "min-max" them to tweak your stats to suit your play style. Up to you. I went for theme, personally.
For Cyberpunk, I chose the "Military" and "Created" backgrounds, since that is how he came to be the cyborg that he now is. I chose his personalities to be "Stoic" and "Analytical" because that's how a cyborg would likely act (think Robocop or Terminator). I chose his power sources to be "Powered Suit" and "Tech Upgrades" because that is what the military experiments gave him. It's who he is now.
The second button brings up the core, hair and body colors. The core is where you select your gender and voice. I chose "Masculine 3" because he sounds like a British punk rocker. It would be cool if they had a more robotic voice available, but you work with what you have. Then I chose "Buzzed" for the hair, which at least for the male heroes, makes them bald. Finally, I gave him a nice olive skin color (unless I'm color blind), as it looked good and there are not that many nuances available for "realistic" skin colors, but you can make blue or green people (among many other colors), so that is cool. Maybe something for them to enhance in the future, though.
The third button us where you can choose what is on your hero's head. I chose the "Gear Helmet" because it made Cyberpunk look like a menacing cyberdude, and reminded me of Robocop. You can also choose from five categories of accessories, but I didn't mess with too many of them because they could not be seen under that cool helmet anyway. I was able to add the mohawk, which pokes out of the helmet and looks like a cool accent to it.
The fourth button is where you can choose what is on your torso and arms. I chose to give Cyberpunk a bare chest and tactical gloves, because he is a tactical cyborg, after all. The accessories in this tab is where I was really able to flesh out the look of Cyberpunk, because I was able to set what was on each arm and shoulder separately, so I could keep one arm bare and bulk the other up with the cyber enhancements that the government was so kind to leave him with.
The fifth tab is for their legs. I chose the "Street Loose" theme because I wanted to put the "punk" in Cyberpunk. It didn't matter what I chose for his feet, because the "Gear Boots" accessory covers it up anyway. The "Gear Belt" was already selected by default, but I though it looked really cool on Cyberpunk so I kept it.
You'll notice that on the last three tabs, there were three color options at the bottom, for the primary, secondary, and accent colors. These stay the same from tab to tab, but I like how they are there at the bottom of each one so you can change what they are without having to go to another tab. I chose black, bright green, and grey because those are the colors of a military created cyborg.
The last button is for your hero color, which is the background behind your portrait in the game's UI, as well as what each of your themes look like, and the color of their UI buttons as well. These options are pretty important, because they also help to flesh out how your hero fights, because they determine what your abilities look like when you use them in the game.
For Cyberpunk, I could have given him guns (one or two) for his "Blaster" theme, but I wanted his cybernetics to be where is powers came from, so I chose "Caster Wrist Shot", which makes him hold out his fists when he shoots people, which is very cyber. For both of his melee themes, I gave him "Bare Fists" with "Green Charges" as the effect. Again, I could have given him a sword or even a huge axe, but that is not how he fights. He doesn't need any weapons. He is the weapon.
Thanks for reading this and I'll have more on this game after I play it. I've only played a few training missions to see what Cyberpunk looks like in battle, so I can't wait to bash in some badguy heads with him.
Steam link for Sentinels of Freedom:
- [+] Dice rolls
I have already posted a preview of Sentinels of Freedom on the blog, but Cory of Underbite Games was nice enough to answer a few of my questions regarding the game.
Me: How did you come about getting the Sentinels of the Multiverse license?
Cory: Many of us are board gamers as well as digital gamers. We really enjoyed the cross over with our fist game, Super Dungeon Tactics, and wanted to continue in that space. Some of the team are friends with the amazing group over at Greater Than Games so it was a natural fit.
Me: According to the Kickstarter page for Sentinels of Freedom, the original release time frame was planned to be August of 2019. Can you share at all why there was such a delay from that time frame to now?
Cory: Game development needs to be a very fluid process - especially if you are trying to make it not a copy of another game. You can design everything on paper and even make prototypes, but all those ideas may need to change a little or a lot once you are in full production. The game has really grown since we started development, so the extra time was to allow those ideas and changes to happen.
Features like the Character Creator have been huge undertakings for a team our size as well. While we hope to continue to add more, we are very happy with what we managed to create.
Me: You were originally planning to release the Switch version of Chapter 1 at the same time as the Steam version. You mentioned on your Twitter (I think it was there, but I read it somewhere) that due to the Corona virus, the Switch version was not able to be completed to release on April 16th. Can you share any details as to what happened and when you plan to release the Switch version?
Cory: All console development is slowed because of "Stay at Home" on both sides. I want to be careful not to violate any NDA's so I will just leave it as - it is challenging.
Me: Do you have a time frame for release of Chapter 2, the skirmish mode, and the other console versions of Chapter 1?
Cory: With everything happening, I do not want to give a specific time but we are working on all of those. A rough estimate would be about a month of Skirmish mode and Switch then about 3-4 months for Chapter 2 and the other consoles. There will likely be some smaller updates and content releases during that time as well.
Me: Can you share any details of what the skirmish mode will be like?
Cory: For Phase 1, you will be able to choose a variety of levels, with a technical readout map, number of heroes, villains, types of standard enemies (even mixes), quantity and "rank"of enemies.
Me: Thanks for your time!
Sentinels of Freedom will be out on April 16th on Steam. See below for the link, and I will have a review of it soon on this blog.
- [+] Dice rolls
I wanted to post this news now because it is very time sensitive. I had not heard about this game until I noticed it on my Twitter feed this morning, but Monster Train is a digital "roguelike deck building game" being published by Good Shepherd Entertainment and developed by Shiny Shoe LLC.
The game's story involves a "train to Hell", and while I would not normally want to cover a game that makes light of anyone going to Hell, the art is more generally fantasy themed, and even a little cute in places, so it's not like it is "Agony the deckbuilder" or anything like that.
You can see more about it on their Steam page and game website here:
The news that I wanted to share was that you can check out a beta of the game right now. The beta period was supposed to have ended already, but it has been extended to the 27th of April, so thanks Shiny Shoe and Good Shepherd!
You can get in the beta by following the below discord invite, going to the #bot-testing channel, and typing "!getkey".
I'll post a more in depth preview of the game once I have played the beta within the next week or so.
- [+] Dice rolls
Happy Easter everyone. He is risen!
This is my first general news post for this blog. I'm not sure yet if I will do a weekly news post or just post whenever I'v seen enough news that I think I should do a post.
Don't Fear the Reaper
Nomad Games has announced on their Twitter that the Reaper expansion for Talisman Digital Edition will be free to play this week. See the full copy/paste below:Quote:This weeks free to play #TalismanDigitalEdition expansion is The Reaper! Simply load up the game and you'll have access to the expansion until Saturday evening!
Asmodee Sale on Switch Games
If you are a fan of board games in the Nintendo Switch and haven't gotten these games yet, now is a good time to get them, since they are 50% off:Quote:Get up to 50% off a selection of our Nintendo Switch titles this week only.
Be sure not to miss out!
Spirit Island Coming to Steam Early Access
I've never played the game Spirit Island, but I caught a couple of minute of Handelabra playing it on Twitch, and it looks pretty interesting. You will be able to buy the Early Access version on Steam on April 16th, which is coincidentally the same date that Sentinels of Freedom, the TBS game based on the card game that Handelabra made the digital version of.Quote:Get excited for #SpiritIsland coming to @Steam #EarlyAccess on April 16th! Check out the gameplay on the last episode of #HandelabraLive, now on YouTube (and make sure to mark it on your wishlist to be notified when it's ready to play)!
Want to Help Nomad Games?
In more Nomad news, if you are a fan of Nomad Games and their very good digital versions of various board and card games, you might want to help them out a bit by answering their survey:Quote:Want to help us make our games even better? We're running a survey to find out more about our audience, and we'd really appreciate you helping us out by filling it in! Sparkling heartYou will even have a chance to win a 25 Pound Games Workshop voucher. Cool!
Well, that is all the news for now. If you are a company that wants something to be shared, or a gamer that has heard or read something that I might not have yet, please let me know!
- [+] Dice rolls
This is a great implementation of the physical card game. I had never played the game before this version, but after losing several fights and winning one, I can say that this will scratch that itch you might have to play a deep "RPG lite" style card game of one on one tactical combat. It will be even better for you if you like the theme of dragons, but anyone who likes fantasy themed card games should at least check out the demo to see if they can get into it.
The rules of the game were fairly easy to learn for me, but I have some experience with these kind of games. But at least for me, the combination of the tutorial tips, in game manual, and a few playthroughs making all kinds of mistakes was enough to teach me the game. Then I was able to put it all together in my third game and beat my opponent, although that was not without using all my cards to my advantage and a little luck.
And that is something I really like about this game. Even once you understand it and can make good use of all your cards, there is still a chance you can lose. You keep spending resources to attack whether you hit or miss with that attack, but you can increase your chances by using attacks your dragon is better at versus a defense the opponent is weaker at, but that is easier said then done, as you also have to make due with your cards in hand at the time, because if you wait for a certain card to come out, you may just end up discarding it to pay for an attack or as damage from being hit by an attack.
All that is to say that this is a very interesting game once you learn it, and each game is a fun exercise in balancing building your dragon, adding to the attacks it can perform, and pulling off those attacks enough times to get the opponent's deck and hand down to zero cards, at which time they are defeated. This game also creates some tense moments where even if you have a great set of attacks and your opponent is on the ropes, they could still win if you get very unlucky, but each turn you are trying to get them down to zero cards is a nailbiter that can go either way. Even with that, you never feel cheated when you lost, because you did your best, even though victory was just not in the cards for that game. But there is always next game, where you start all over with a new baby dragon.
You can get DragonClash or check out the demo now on Steam at the link below:
- [+] Dice rolls
10 Apr 2020
I had never heard of the card game DragonClash before. But as I was looking at today's Steam releases, I noticed it listed there, so I clicked on it because it looked like something I might enjoy. Sure enough, I did some research on this site and found that the Steam game was indeed a digital version of the physical card game, so I knew that I had to announce it on this blog and at least play it once.
It just so happens that there is a demo available on Steam for the game, so I quickly downloaded it and played a game. The following are my thoughts after playing one game of the demo with no previous knowledge of the game.
The first thing that shows up when you load the demo, and I'm assuming is the same for the full game, is a quick story intro about how we bad humans ruined the planet Earth and the planet itself retaliated by bringing dragons out of myth and back into reality. Okay, a little preachy imo but interesting lore nonetheless.
There are different colors of dragons available, and each one is based on a different element. In the demo you can only play the red dragon which is fire based, as anyone familiar with basic fantasy tropes could probably guess. As far as in know that is the only limitation of the demo, because it let me go right into a fight with another dragon and let me play a full match.
I won't go super deep into the rules, but I'll just give the basics from the perspective of someone that had never played the game before and how easy it was to pick up (if at all) just from one play of the demo. There are tooltips when hovering over different types of cards, as well as tutorial bits that pop up when you are seeing some aspect of the game for the first time, and those were pretty helpful to give me at least a small clue as to what I was doing, but I will definitely want to read the manual before I play again. A nice feature was that there was a button to consult the manual (or at least an abridged form of it, I'm not really sure) right there on the play screen, so that was nice.
The flow of the game was very intriguing. You start as a hatchling of your color type with low stats and a "tactics" rating of 1. Throughout the course of a game, you can "hoard" cards from your hand, and when you've hoarded two, you can level up to the next form of your dragon type, which upgrades two of your stats and raises your tactics level by one, which lets you play better attack cards.
How attack cards are handled are interesting as well. You "train" your different attacks by playing multiple copies of each attack card, the limit of how many copies you can have determined by your tactics rating. Every card played raises your rank in that attack, which makes it do more damage but cost more "essence", which is spent by discarding cards from your deck.
You also take damage from your opponents attack by discarding cards from your deck, and the idea is to run your opponent out of cards in their deck, because then they have to discard from their hand or their hoard, and the dragon that discards their egg, which starts in their hand at the beginning of the game, loses the game.
I thought the game was very fun and compelling, as it was pretty addicting to keep beefing up my dragon so that I could use the better cards in my hand, and also building up my attacks by playing multiple copies of them. There is also a luck element because when you attack (which you can only do once a turn by choosing one of your trained attacks to use) each player draws a card and compares the attack value, adding other things to the number like stats and such, and the attacker's value has to beat the defender's for the attack to hit.
There are other things in the game like different ranges that limit the attacks you can play, support cards that provide various ongoing effects, and counter cards that give a "take that" element to the game, and it all comes together for a fun and engaging experience. The computer version itself has a clean interface that does not get in the way of enjoying the game itself, without being too complicated or hard to figure out what is happening.
You can get DragonClash or check out the demo now on Steam at the link below:
- [+] Dice rolls
10 Apr 2020
In the description of this blog, I mention that I will also cover games of interest to those that like to play digital board or card games. For my first post in this blog, I would like to post a preview of a game called "Sentinels of Freedom" that should be of interest to those that like tabletop games and digital games, and which is a turn based tactical strategy game based on the "Sentinels of the Multiverse" franchise.
Having had a successful Kickstarter campaign back in April/May of 2018 that received over double its goal and had over 2,000 backers, it appears from the rewards list that developer Underbite Games was shooting for an August 2019 release. Better late than never, right?
I personally have been waiting for a game like this to come out ever since the computer game "Guardians: Agents of Justice" was announced and then canceled in 1997. That game was being billed as "X-Com with superheroes", but it never saw the light of anyone's computer monitors (except maybe the developers?), and fans were left wanting instead of playing what looked to be a really promising game.
Then in 2002, a computer game called "Freedom Force" came out that was kind of like Guardians, but not quite, since it was a "real time with pause" game. But still, it was a good superhero themed strategy game with a pretty deep creation system that let you make your own heroes. It was followed by it's sequel, "Freedom Force vs. the Third Reich", which released in 2005. Then there were no games like that to come out for years with the cool theme of comic book superheroes.
In 2011, Greater Than Games released the card game "Sentinels of the Multiverse." It was a hit, and for good reason. It has easy to learn mechanics paired with a depth that comes from being able to combine elements from a selection of heroes, villains, and locations to make each game unique and play differently. Even the same combination of those elements could play differently each time because of the order of the cards drawn, making each and every game a unique comic themed puzzle to solve. In 2014, the very capable Handelabra Games released a digital version of Sentinels, that has garnered a lot of praise on its own.
Ok, enough of the history lesson. This is a preview, after all. So now that Underbite Games is developing "Sentinels of Freedom", a turn based tactical game based on a super hero themed card game, why should you be excited? Well, if you are a fan of the Sentinels card game, you should already be excited to get to play a turn based game that has a very "tabletop" feel to it with your favorite heroes fighting against the villains that you love to hate.
The gameplay itself is another reason to look forward to this game. It has an action point system, which is nothing all that new to tactical games, but the "Stance" system is a novel way to arrange the various abilities that the characters in the game can perform. Each hero has several stances that you can choose two of for them to use in each mission. Each stance has three abilities that can be performed while in that stance, and those can be swapped in and out between missions as well from a preset pool. You can only have one active stance at a time, and it costs action points to change stances in the middle of your turn, and then you can choose what stance to be in at the end of your turn. This is helpful because there are "Vigilance" abilities that can be performed on other character's turns when certain conditions are met, but only if you are in the stance that contains that ability.
Other things that set this game apart, other than the great setting and the stance system, are features such as a no grid movement system and an excellent looking character creator, although for now you can only make one character per save and the rest of the heroes you play as are the already existing Sentinels heroes, but that is not a bad thing, because all your favorite comic tropes are present, from the lesbian speedster Tachyon to the female Batman clone Wraith. Yes, there are men in the game, too.
Another thing to be excited about is that Sentinels of Freedom is scheduled to be releasing on Steam on April 16th, with a Nintendo Switch release to follow and other consoles planned as well. And even though this is only Chapter 1 of the game, Chapter 2 is to come out not long after, along with a skirmish mode also in the works as free post release content.
For more info and to get the game, see the Kickstarter and Steam store links below:
- [+] Dice rolls