Collectible Card Games

Currently I am playing SLAY THE SPIRE insanely. It gets me in a way no other collectible card game does. I know it is weird but I don’t like the deck building aspect of most CCGs out there. From MAGIC: THE GATHERING to HEARTHSTONE this feature always scared me. Maybe it’s because my friends were were super into it. They created minmaxed decks which had strategies, long term plans and interaction between three cards and more.

STS turns that sideways: You start with a fixed set of cards – depending on the class you choose – and on the way to slay the spire you acquire new cards to use. So a deck grows organically while you play – leaving the stress of “I have to create a good deck” mentality.

In addition to cards you get potions and relics, relics often change the way you are playing your game and potions give you advantages specifically for that fight.

I like it immensely, even though my 30 hour play didn’t result in a single win. Because my death – like in all good roguelikes – results from my own choices. The biggest reason for that is, the game plays fair. In a fight you’ll see what will the enemy do. Whether it will cast a spell or damage you, and if it plans to attack, you will see the amount of damage as well. So it is in your capacity to prepare for them. If you are interested, please visit : https://store.steampowered.com/app/646570/Slay_the_Spire/

In that regard I am eyeing the NOWHERE PROPHET as well. Its setting, post-apocalypse, is a win in my books and they follow a similar methodology like STS. You have a base deck – in this game they are people, not your actions – and on the way you get new people and strengthten your hand. In addition to that, based on your class you have special skills as well. You can check it from its webpage: http://www.noprophet.com

Roguelikes – Cogmind & Caves of Qud

Other than STS I play COGMIND and CAVES OF QUD interchangeably. COGMIND is one of the unique takes in the roguelike genre. Usually their setting uses a high-fantasy theme. This one however goes way beyond the future. You are a mind, I want to imagine it as an IAIN M. BANKS’s mind but maybe not, and you awaken in a factory. Your goal is to escape. In this endaevor you can become a treading monstrosity firing plasma cannons left and right or a nimble stealthy spy hacking robots and staying mostly unseen – hence not alerting the overmind that runs the factory.

I like COGMIND’s approach to the NPCs as well. Not every robot you see is hostile towards you. The factory uses several types of utility robots – from scavengers to miners, from engineers to soldiers. You don’t have to kill everyone you see.

Armor and damage is handled in a very unique manner as well. As I’ve said you are playing a core, a mind that can attach parts to itself with no rejection. Each part you attach serves as armor as well – due to it covering the component that carries you. Any combat you enter involves damage and usually destruction of your parts. This approach also solves a long standing problem in my mind: How can a 1hp fighter fight like he didn’t lose any health when he’s close to death. In here, when you are under fire you lose functionality, speed, armor and weapons. So, unless you are prepared for this, a murderous approach doesn’t often go well for you.

If you like the concept, you can check it out from: https://www.gridsagegames.com/cogmind/

Caves of Qud

QUD on the other hand is a weird beast. It uses a post post-apocalypse setting. The technological world is dead, but there is another society is built on top of that. It is primitive-ish but doesn’t deny the existence of technology. There are robots, guns and cybernetics as well as mutations. Even though it is in early access I like the character generation’s variation. Want to shoot lasers from your eyes while having six swords in your additional hands? Knock yourself out the game says. Or if you don’t like the enormous pool of mutations you can go as a pure human with cybernetics, living in the various arcologies existing in QUD’s world.

As far as I can see every run involves creation of a procedurally generated history as well. I can’t say I am a master of this game, not yet anyway, but its simplicity and at the same time complexity provides a compelling argument to play it. Even though I die in interesting ways each time, I find myself returning to it over and over again.

For more information and roadmap: http://www.cavesofqud.com

Featured Image: Photo by Carl Raw on Unsplash