Saturday Morning Gaming: The Deck Builder
The game where your moves are determined by the deck you have are really addictive to me. It’s like every game is a mini-slot machine. What am I going to get this turn? Oooh. What am I going to get NEXT turn? And the ones where you always start out with (more or less) the same initial set-up but, as soon as you really start playing, you start getting new cards? Man, that’s a recipe for “just one more game!”
We’ve talked about Slay the Spire before a couple of times. That’s probably one of the most perfect deck-builders I’ve come across. Four different starting classes, each one with unique cards and abilities, each one with unique artifacts to pick up along the way, randomness resulting in intermittent reinforcement.
Well, I’ve played Slay the Spire until I reached the point where I just can’t get any further. Seriously, I’ve tried.
But I really like deck-building games and keep looking for new little ones that can scratch that itch.
Monster Slayers is a little deck-building game that scratches that itch. If you’ve not played Slay the Spire, play that one instead. It’s better.
But if you just can’t play Slay the Spire anymore, but you kinda want to play Slay the Spire? You should get Monster Slayers.
You’ve got six classes to start with: Rogue, Ranger, Knight, Barbarian, Cleric, and Wizard. They play pretty much like you’d think. Rogue is the sneaky fighter, Knight is the high-defense fighter, Barbarian the low-defense fighter, so on. You then pick one of two dungeons and you’re dropped in the middle of the map where you get to pick one of two randomly selected companions. Do you want the wizard who can do X damage every 2 fights? The guy who lets you draw a random card? The guy who gives you X shield points? Having picked your companion, now you pick which room you go to next. Would you prefer a fight or a non-combat interaction of some kind? Maybe you’ll meet someone who will remove a card from your deck. Maybe you’ll meet someone who will upgrade a card in your deck. Maybe it’ll be an undead knight that you have to take out.
And after each interaction, you’ve got a shot at maybe making your deck a little bit better. Pare out the less effective level 1 attack spells so you know you’re more likely to draw a GOOD one next hand. Upgrade the level 1 attack spell and make it level 2.
You’ll eventually stumble across the dungeon’s big boss… at which point you’ll have a decision to make. Wanna defeat the big boss now? Or would you rather go back and clear out the rest of the dungeon and improve your deck that much more?
And then you get to pick a second dungeon (from two options) and do it all over again.
And the third dungeon is the last one… beat that, and unlock something cool. (Thief, for example, unlocks the Assassin and that gives you a different way to play. The other classes unlock other characters.)
You keep the various pieces of equipment you find in the dungeon between games UNLESS you beat the final boss in the 3rd dungeon. In that case, the character “retires” with that stuff. Also, as you go up various levels, you can unlock stuff like “start with additional hit points” or similar and give all future games a small bonus. A little bit rogue-like/rogue-lite, a lot deck builder, and a lot of stuff to unlock. If you go in expecting Slay the Spire, you’ll probably be disappointed but if you go in hoping to be reminded of Slay the Spire, you’re likely to be charmed and find yourself swearing at that third dungeon and cursing the choices you made 10 minutes earlier.
So… what are you playing?