I decided to make a new one because the Hearthstone thread is about 800 pages long and it's not really about Hearthstone anymore. I mean I don't mind if we talk about HS here, but the overall Arcen community consensus is that it's not one of the better ones out there anymore, obviously with some exceptions of course. It's still probably the most popular anyway.
But the reason I wanted to make this thread was because I believe it was this forum which introduced me to Spectromancer, which was a fantastic little card game on Steam. It never grew super popular but it had a lot of really neat elements that made it different from other games. For example, you didn't build your own deck, you chose a class and were given a set of random cards each game, and were tasked to use them as efficiently as possible to secure the victory.
All in all it was great stuff, and the classes themselves were very unique and dynamic as well. It was a wonderful card game.
Well, I guess this same company has come out with a new one, this one seems to be much more for mass marketing because I believe it's free to play and it's got an online platform built-in. It's called Astral Heroes
Here are some of the key features which really caught my eye, especially after having such a blast with Spectromancer:
*Thoroughly polished game balance, no useless cards
*Deep cards synergy
3 different game modes:
-Collect cards and build your own custom deck.
-Play with random pre-built decks
-Draft tournament: draft cards from random packs and use them to build your deck
*Sophisticated AI in addition to human rivals
I think it's awesome that they're trying to make no useless cards. The dominant meta-narrative when it comes to card games nowadays is that useless cards are necessary for achieving overall balance and introducing players to the game. Here's an article
written by Mark Rosewater of the Magic the Gathering development team in 2002, in which he makes the explicit claim that "By definition, some bad cards must exist."
He gives a very long and thoughtful reason as to why this is the case, and of course this is in response to the frustration of many players who have spent their hard earned money opening booster packs only to receive pure cow manure.
The thing is, I just don't agree with him. I still don't understand why all the cards can't be good, or at least why that can't be the design goal. Obviously there's always going to be a metagame that favors certain types of cards and decks over others, but that doesn't mean that certain cards should be designed
de facto bad
I've gotta be honest - Designing bad cards on purpose sounds more like a not-so-subtle business model to me than some logical and completely honest design decision created with the sole purpose of improving the game.
The trouble is, every game card game I've ever played has them. So everyone is following this model, and it's nice to see a company which is trying to break away from that.
Furthermore, Spectromancer's (their previous game) most fun mode was the random pre-built decks based on class. You could build your own decks but having the pre-built decks was awesome and the randomness and diversity of the classes kept you entertained for a long time, even just against the computers (which were damn good).
To know that you'll be able to have practically endless fun only using the pre-built random decks, without having to spend a penny or a second on the game just seems amazing to me. I'm excited to try it out.