Games

How not to make a card game

Every single computer trading card game struggles at the very concept of its core game-play. You don’t fucking randomise my hand, and deck. Doing so, completely nullifies any strategy involved in the deck and makes the game turn out to be 100% a matter of luck. No skill is needed. Slay the Spire is a card game that tries to reinvent certain aspects of the card game but ultimately fails flat on its face. You start with one hero, and as you play once with that hero, you unlock the next. Until you’ve unlocked all three. Each hero has their own starting deck, and you choose which linear path of rooms to clear. Clearing a fight results in a getting a new RANDOM card, or you can choose to decline. You can come across rooms that have a random event, giving you cards, or taking away, or upgrading, or just a random thing happens. There’s shops and there you can remove a card, but the price goes up. You choose which cards to add, or not. You face off a series of enemies that have set patterns, so it’s up to you to decide how to use your deck. Except…

NONE OF THIS MATTERS.

You are 100% up to the mercy of the game. The cards you can earn are completely randomised and the second hero you unlock, is so completely under-powered compared to the other two, you wonder if the developers even bother testing him out… oh wait, it’s an early access title… GO FIGURE.

The only strategy available for this hero is to redo and abandon every run unless you get a set of poison cards, or shiv cards. Otherwise no matter how well you try to do, you’ll inevitably lose without making it to the final boss. And if through some sheer luck, you manage to get to the final boss, it’s a possibility of three final bosses. And if you’re in my case, each FUCKING TIME, you get to the final boss, it’s the HARDEST boss available who absolutely fucks up the second hero. You had an insane stack of poison going? Purged. You had an insane shield stack going? Purge. Meanwhile the boss progressively gets stronger and stronger.

I dream of a day developers realise that the only strategy that can exist in a card game is only achievable by letting the player choose which fucking cards will be drawn, what fucking hand to start with, and every other hand. Give me control of my cards, and then.. I know, this next part is hard to swallow, omg look at that, there’s no more fucking luck involved. Then, miraculously, SURPRISE! There’s actual skill involved and not who can pay more money to the maker of the cards, or let me be at the mercy of sheer fucking luck.

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