Saturday Morning Gaming: Nowhere Prophet
There are probably a million posts that could be written about Magic: The Gathering. I jumped onboard somewhere around 3rd Edition and jumped off somewhere around Ice Age (cumulative upkeep… shudder).
It quickly became a game that was bloated and unwieldy and a victim of its own enforced scarcity and obselescence of previous versions. You’d have a good deck in one season and, whammo, the new season comes out and not only was your deck worthless, EVERYBODY’S deck became worthless. And, suddenly, you were doing the chase all over again.
It’s kind of a shame because there is a pretty good game hiding underneath all of the skinner box “collect them all, again and again” mechanics. A nice little Rock/Paper/Scissors kinda thing. I really liked the Magic The Gathering: Duels of the Planeswalkers games that came out between 2012-2014 (2015’s UI was horrible to the point where the game was unusable) because you got all of the joys of the game, some of the minor joys of chasing rarer cards (you had to win duels to get them, not spend money), some fun new mechanics, and you had the whole game after you spent your money (well, sure, there was DLC, but a finite amount).
I kinda miss the Magic game for the PC that came out in 1997, though. That one had problems galore (I remember it crashing, like, ALL THE TIME) but it had a couple of expansions and that game allowed you to play the decks you’d read about in the magazines without having to spend a couple thousand dollars to do it. You just got the GAME without having to play the significantly less-fun (and significantly more expensive) meta-game.
Well, if you’ve been kinda missing a game that is like that (the computer version, not the table version), you should check out Nowhere Prophet. It’s a game where you have a deck of people/creatures/weapons/traps and you place them on the battlefield and then use these things to attack your opponent (who also has these things at their disposal).
You’re travelling on a map toward a goal and you have encounters as you wander towards your goal (and there are different branching paths that eventually circle back to the goal) and it’s got a rogue-lite kinda thing going on where you can unlock abilities and unlock new starting builds (and, of course, unlock new cards) as you travel the map until your death (that will, surely, be far, far short of your goal).
Now, there are a handful more differences between this and M:TG… the battlefield, for example, is much much smaller. Instead of using your creatures to block, you instead pick whether you want your creatures to attack the opponent or the opponent’s creatures. If you can wrap your head around those changes, though, I’d say that those familiar with Magic: The Gathering will be able to pick this up and play it pretty much immediately.
Now… do I have a complaint? Yes, I do. The big complaint is that your character starts out with a deck with a lot of creature cards that cost 3-4 to play and your early opponents will have a lot of creature cards that cost 1-2 to play. So you’re going to win your first few battles handily… after taking a bunch of hits. This isn’t a problem when your hitpoints regenerate between fights, but when they don’t, it’s frustrating as heck to lose a third of your HP to a boss that has 6 STARTING HP.
But if you miss M:TG but do NOT miss the meta-game (and, specifically, if you miss the old Microprose M:TG computer games), you should check out Nowhere Prophet.
So… what are you playing?