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Some Deckbuilders (Dark Mist, Blood Card, Dark Cards)

All of the games below are from Pixel Cattle Games . I bought all of them at once since they were on sale for $.99 (and still are, as of now). In order from best to worst:

Dark Mist

Summary: A solid deck-builder with great mechanics.

This is a deck-builder. Like Blood Card (below), Dark Mist uses a deck-as-health mechanic. In Dark Mist, enemy attacks steal cards from your draw ("life") and discard ("block") piles, with all cards being recovered when defeating an enemy. This leads to interesting strategic decisions:

• Killing an enemy frees up room for the next enemy, so often it makes sense to leave low-health enemies around.

• A larger deck means it's easier to survive long enough to kill dangerous enemies (which recovers any cards they have taken). In a traditional deck builder, you want a small deck so you can cycle it as quickly as possible. In Dark Mist, doubling the size of your deck means you'll last twice as long. Hence, often it's better to take a bad card

• Dark Mist has several different characters, each with specialized mechanics. While the initial character is fiarly generic, later characters include specialized cards: Cards which take effect only when held by the enemy, cards which trigger each other, and summons.

Blood Card

Summary: A wildly unbalanced slay-the-spire clone for people whose favorite part of the slay-the-spire experience is creating game-breaking combos.

This is a deck-builder. It's somewhat similar to games like Slay-the-spire, but the game takes a completely different approach to randomness and balance:

• The two default characters both have strong ability to address randomness. The first character can pull cards out of the discard pile at will (up to once per 3 turns). The second character can discard cards for mana. In both cases, the player has significant control over their current hand. I'll note that the second character feels like it ought to be weaker until you notice just how many mechanics end up filling your hand with cards.

• There is no redraw: Instead of health, the game centers around keeping your deck intact, with damage causing your draw pile to shrink. This means that there is little motivation to run a lean deck: Instead, theh goal of the player is to balance their need for a large deck (by taking lots of weak cards) against their need for powerful cards (which are available in smaller numbers).

• The game uses StS-style mechanics (events, shops, elite enemies, normal enemies), but instead of a map the player just flat-out picks their choices.

• The game has tons of massively broken/unbalanced cards and mechanics. It's common to pull cards which force enemies to skip their turn or which render the player immune to damage (and in both cases, these effects can be stacked for multiple turns). In some sense, the game is more about breaking the game as fast as possible, rather than creating a flexible deck. The game is designed to encourage this, with cards in the shop being cheap and card rewards being plentiful.

Dark Cards

Summary: Enough fun to justify my $.99 purchase, but not enough fun to justify writing a proper summary.

The first few matches were super confusing: I initially had no idea what I was doing. My bigger problem is that by mid-game, I'd come up with a dominant strategy that was effective enough that the game started to become repetitive. The game did intermittently force me to use other decks, but I felt like I had little control: I didn't feel like investigating a deck that I'd only use for one game, so playing with such decks felt very haphazard..

Mind you, a contributing factor to me not mucking with my deck once it was built is that the deck editor for Dark Cards is finicky: It does a poor job differentiating between the operation, "Tell the player what a card does" and the olperation, "add/remove the card from the deck".

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