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All deez new games (and deckbuilding games)

Posted 12-14-2010 at 08:44 PM by Spacebear

New games to me, at least.

I bought Knights of the Old Republic off Steam when it was on sale. I never played it when it was remotely new, so here was my chance, and I sometimes feel obligated to play old games that have some sort of historical importance. The game doesn't always like to cooperate, and it doesn't take up the whole screen, which is a little sad, but I don't care all that much. I have put about 5 hours into it, and I don't think I have scratched the surface of the game yet. Good sign .

I also bought Super Street Fighter 4 and Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo HD REMIX. I had a craving to play a fighting game, since I got rid of Dead or Alive 4. I kinda miss that game... I have never played enough SF to get the hang of it, but I decided to change that.

Why did I get this sudden urge to play Street Fighter? Well, I have been frequenting David Sirlin's game design blog, Sirlin.net. Its pretty awesome, and he made his own card games too! He is a pretty big fighting game nut, and reading about how he goes about designing competitive games made me want to play SF.

I bought two of his three games, although I did think about getting the third one (it happened to also be the cheapest). I bought Yomi, a game he has apparantly has been working on for some time, and is finally getting manufactured. The game mechanics looked pretty strong, so it got my interest.

The second game, Puzzle Strike, is not really a card game, but a chip game. When I say chip game, all he did was replace the cards with chips, so you could put the chips in a bag and shake them to shuffle. I'm a pretty good shuffler, so I don't mind shuffling cards that much, and I'm not very slow at it. But, being a deckbuilding game (and deckbuilding games are all the rage), I had a good idea of how to play the game already. But there was one component that really sold me on it.

Deckbuilding games, as fun as they are, sometimes feel a little too much like Solitare. Players are buying cards, and bulking up their decks, but real interaction with other players is pretty limited. Dominion (a very popular deckbuilding game) has a few attacks that sometimes pop up, but they either are not very impactful or just don't change the game up too much. And the interaction is only optional, and isn't much from just putting crappy cards into your opponents decks.

Ascension has even less interaction though. Ascension got pretty popular because it was made by some well known Magic: The Gathering pros, including one who never shuts up. It is very streamlined, but the only real interaction with other players is messing up their plans by buying a card that they wanted to buy.

Puzzle Strike fixes this lack of interaction problem by changing the win condition. In both Dominion and Ascension, the win condition is to gather the most points before the end comes. Dominion has separate point cards, while everything you buy in Ascension has a point amount, and defeating monsters gives you points.

In Puzzle Strike, rather than an arbitrary point total, the goal is to simply overflow your opponents "gem pile". Everybody has a pile, and it grows every turn. So you buy chips to send your gems to another player, and they have to fight to keep their pile from overflowing. So the interaction is right in the structure of the gameplay.

I haven't gotten Yomi or Puzzle Strike yet, they ship in January. But I have looked at the online rulebooks and they both look to be great games. Simple game mechanics with a ton of depth. The best kind of game.
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