Top-Decking The Perfect Dungeon: Hand Of Fate

If I’m to make my millions in indie development, it will almost certainly be by ripping off one of the many great deck-building games I’ve played in paper. There’ll be no new ideas from me, just stone-cold stealing of others’ work. I won’t have the smarts to do something new with it, unlike Hand of Fate which takes the concept of combining cards into a deck but then has you adventure through it at random, roguelike-like. Adam posted about the Kickstarter at the end of last year, but I’ve only just discovered it through the remarkably compulsive Steam queue. It’s been in Early Access for a couple of months, and boasts some fresh ideas.

From what I gather, the third-person adventure aspect is used to earn resources to fund the deck-building. It’s a smart twist on the roguelike formula, allowing for a degree of randomness while still letting you customise your experience. As you develop favourite rooms and get better at their encounters, that will shape how you want to build your deck. Equally, you still won’t know what order these things are going to show up in, or what you might have had access to once you get there. That’s before the meta-level of certain cards not being available in certain runs comes into play.

Defiant Development describe the current build as “largely content complete”, with just the final stages of the game and some details to work over. They’ve been providing weekly updates via the Steam forums and patches to the game seem to arrive every month or so. The release target is before the end of the year, so you won’t have to wait long if Early Access wards you off.


  1. Crafter says:

    I have been playing to HoF for a couple of months. It is a really neat concept, with a couple of issues though :
    -[nitpicking] animating each card individually is very nice, but it very quickly becomes boring to have to wait for the game master to dispose all the cards on the board and to wait for all these cards animations. It is not a game breaking flaw, but it does break the flow of the game.
    -The encounters are defined by the cards in the deck, which is an awesome idea, but the result of many encounters is also defined by which random card you pick. If you want to clear an encounter where you need to pick one card at random out of 4 twice, you have got 1 chance out of 16 to get it right. I have found these encounters to be a real chore and have stopped playing because of them.

    • LTK says:

      The latest update lets you skip the start-of-game card dealing animations, which helps a lot.

      As for the chance cards, I actually like how they implemented these, letting you keep track of which card was on top. Occasionally this allows you to make inferences about which card is certain to be a success or failure. And often there is more than one way to ‘get it right’; the best possible outcome is that you get a token to unlock new cards, but a partial failure can still net you a reward, or it might simply be a missed opportunity to skip combat or something. Given that you meet the same encounters many times over the course of the game, having a random element is crucial to keeping things fresh.

      But then near the end of the game, the boss puts a curse on you that makes you re-do every random card pick after you succeed. Now that one is a total bitch, I can tell you. I stopped playing after trying it a couple of times.

  2. jasta85 says:

    I backed this on kickstarter and am really happy. I backed it because I liked the concept but didn’t think they would execute it so well. It won’t win game of the year but considering they only have 54k AUSD from kickstarter they’ve done a fantastic job with so little money.

    Most of my major issues I had with the early beta were fixed (speed and responsiveness of the combat, animations, variety of cards etc). My only problem now is that I suck at the harder card pick challenges. It can be really hard to follow a card if it’s not on top of the deck when it shuffles, although that’s probably just because my eyes are slow.

    • LTK says:

      I’m pretty sure it’s impossible to follow the cards other than the one that goes on top, so I wouldn’t bother trying. :)

  3. DanMan says:

    I’ve been “following” this on Steam. I thought this was more about cards, but it seems to be more about face punching, and very simple face punching at that. I guess I’d have to play it before I can make up my mind.

  4. LTK says:

    The Extra Credits Humble Bundle sold this game to me, and I’ve been enjoying it a lot. Building a labyrinth of cards is a really cool idea, but when it comes to real-time combat I feel that the game’s lacking a bit. The frantic hacking and slashing and rolling around just feels totally inconsistent with the otherwise slow-paced, tense experience of revealing random encounters, picking risk cards, managing your food stockpile and so on. But the game’s still really enjoyable and the combat isn’t particularly difficult in the beginning. Yet I still don’t know what the combo meter actually does.

  5. Big Murray says:

    Wow … this sounds amazing and exactly the kind of game I’d w

    “Early Access”

    • jasta85 says:

      feel free to wait for release, I’m actually taking a break from the game so I can play through the final product in full when it’s done. I would recommend at least putting it on your wish list and then checking it out when it’s released because if it was released today it would be in a good state. right now they’re just polishing up the alternate play modes modes and doing final tweaks and balances with the cards and equipment, it’s perfectly playable

      • Big Murray says:

        The problem with Early Access is that there’s a good chance it will never be “finished”.

        • xao says:

          The problem with game development is that there’s a good chance it will never be “finished”.

  6. Wowbagger says:

    I really enjoy the game but I think the difficulty of the story campaign needs adjusting, it can be ridiculously easy at the beginning, but i’m finding it punishing now i’m near the end of the second set of bosses.

  7. Hobbes says:

    This one is more or less done now, and isn’t going to get DoubleFined (Yes, that’s a term now, I made it up, it now exists). Don’t worry folks, your money is safe here ;) I’ve been messing around with this one right from the start, all is well.

  8. heyhellowhatsnew says:

    Really disappointed there were no Manos: Hands of Fate jokes in this post or comments until now.

    • Eebahgum says:

      Eh? Saw this reference in a Steam review of the game too. You’re going to have to explain the joke to me I’m afraid.

      • Shadowcat says:

        Unfortunately no one can be told what Manos: The Hands of Fate is. You have to see it for yourself.

        • Harlander says:

          Best to watch the Mystery Science Theater 3000-ing of it. For a start it’ll give you something to do in the seems-like-20-minute action-less, dialogue-less driving scene where the opening credits were supposed to go but were omitted

          • Shadowcat says:

            Strictly speaking it’s best to see it in a crowded theatre :) But if you have to watch it on a TV screen than I warrant that Harlander is correct — it’s a film which benefits from audience reaction, so take what you can get.

  9. lordfrikk says:

    This is a good game. I clocked in around 30 hours so far and had tons of fun. The unskippable animations everywhere get a little jarring but I hope they’ll add some kind of “expert” mode that’ll do away with them completely. It’s surprisingly polished for an early access game but there’s no hurt in waiting for the final version.

  10. namad says:

    this quote from the article is 100% false “From what I gather, the third-person adventure aspect is used to earn resources to fund the deck-building. It’s a smart twist on the roguelike formula,”

    the deck building is fleshed out via achievements and victories in the rogue-like game. the resources are self contained within the rogue-like game and are used in standard rogue-like randomshop style. After each rogue-like adventure they vanish.