When I first saw Hand of Fate, I thought “MAN THAT LOOKS AWESOME!” and then noticed that it was an Early Access game at which point I said “ugh, that looks awful”. (For those of you who aren’t into the whole Steam thing, “Early Access” means that they make the builds available to the community early to, at their best, utilize the community as unpaid alpha/beta testers. At their worst, they use the community as their primary funding source on top of the whole unpaid alpha/beta tester thing. (And, at their worst, they’ve been nothing but a source of disappointment for games with promising elevator pitches that turn to abandonware when the developers realize that they’re not making as much money as they’d like.[/efn_note]
Anyway, as it turns out, Hand of Fate is one of those games that achieves the promise of Early Access games and merely “crowdsourced” its beta testing and turned out a fairly interesting game.
Here’s the concept: you’re playing a card game against That Evil Villain. He has a deck, you have a deck. His deck is the map of the dungeon you’re crawling through and your deck is your equipment, health, food, gold, etc. He lays his cards face down on the table (in a snaking line, usually) and you move your figurine through the cards he has in front of him, one at a time. Sometimes, you’ll encounter a fight. Sometimes, you’ll encounter a shop. Sometimes, you’ll encounter a decision point… such as, “you see a skeleton in the gully below. There is a glint of what might be a weapon. Do you go down and retrieve it?” and, if you say yes, you’re shown four cards: three of which say “success!” and one of which says “failure!” and these cards are then shuffled. Pick one. Now, my luck, so far, is that out of four such decision points, I’ve successfully picked “failure!” three times. (Which, granted, is a very small ‘n’.)
When it comes to combat, that’s when the game ceases to be a card game of sorts and becomes more of a straight up action/adventure game. You see your avatar, he gets the weapons/shield/helmet/armor from your equipped equipment cards, and you get to fight against the creatures you drew (this part is easily the weakest part of the game).
So far, I’m still in the part of the game where I’m excited to see new cards that I’ve not seen before (or not seen all of the possibilities from) so I can’t give this a fulsome recommendation but, honestly, I don’t know that I’ve played a game like this before. I’d recommend you check it out.
So… what are you playing?