Dungeon Deckbuilder Hand Of Fate Exits Early Access

I'll twist, thanks. Twist. Twist. Wrench! Tear!

I’ve peered at Hand of Fate [official site] through a one-way mirror over its journey from Kickstarter through Early Access, scribbling words like “impressive” and “promising” onto my clipboard. It’s a dungeon-raiding, decision-making, monster-murdering fantasy action-RPG where each adventure is generated from cards you collect and build into decks. Cards drawn become weapons, artifacts, locations, encounters, choices, and 3D battles with Arkham-y combat. Fancy. This week it left Early Access, becoming an actual properly-released game.

I really dig the idea. You get the usual deckbuilding fun of trying to create synergies, while also balancing risk/reward in what you choose to take on. Then the dealer throws a few extra nasty surprises into the deck as you play. New cards are unlocked as you play, leading to grander adventures and better odds of murdering bosses. If you’re curious, here’s a list of all the cards.

I hear good things about it, including from our Alec, who’s started playing to later tell us Wot He Thinks. This has lead to curious mutterings in the RPS treehouse today such as:

a goblin just stole a pickled onion from me in Hand of Fate
I really like pickled onions
quite angry about this

Hand of Fate is out on Steam for £15.19 or on GOG for £15.29, both prices being a bit cheaper with launch discounts. Here’s the launch trailer:

27 Comments

  1. Hex says:

    Pretty much pickled anything is the base of my food pyramid.

  2. Kefren says:

    Available on GOG too…

  3. sberg says:

    I am playing it and I would recommend it anytime. The cards and text are nice. The combat is not very deep but entertaining and doesn’t happen too often. There is a nice balance between the different kinds of encounters.

    What I particularly enjoy are the mini-stories narrated by “chains” of cards. You might fight a monster in a cave in one card. A success means that you unlock a new set of cards, among them a “follow up” encounter about a creature you accidentally freed in the cave. It helps to tie the different rounds together.

    • mechabuddha says:

      Ooh, I like that. Sold! More games need continuing consequences for your decisions.

      • sberg says:

        I wouldn’t call that “continuing consequences” as you don’t really have any influence on the story (you either fail or succeed a given card).

    • inf says:

      Wait… combat doesn’t happen too often? It’s 90% of the damn game, and seriously lacking…

      • Philomelle says:

        It’s only “90% of the damn game” if you keep filling your deck with combat encounters in every single match. The first four chapters of Story Mode admittedly make it hard to avoid that, but once you defeat the Jack of Plague and complete the Culling the Ratmen event, there is really no excuse to carry a combat-heavy deck.

  4. Sandepande says:

    It’s very good. To ham-fisted person such as myself the combat is challenging enough, and while certain cards tend to repeat themselves (like the onion-stealing goblin), that’s part and parcel of any card game.

    I also like the lines written for the dealer. Feels like he’s with you and against you at the same time.

  5. Mr Coot says:

    Mm. I will wait for Mr Meer’s Wot I think before giving my thoughts. Suffice to say, if all you use for input is a keyboard and mouse, you should probably wait for his Wot I think too.

  6. Odiorne Point says:

    5 hours in and loving it so far. I specifically made a point to wait until after early access, as there were very substantial balance changes with 1.0, but I can definitely say it’s the most fun I’ve had in a non-Elite-Dangerous game in the past 3 months. (Snarks about how that wouldn’t take much can be left at the door, thankyouverymuch.)

    Wonderful polish, perfectly enjoyable combat, meaningful choices, some randomness, a narrative that develops as each run goes on both via player choice and the aforementioned events, etc. Highly recommended.

  7. Lobotomist says:

    This is actually pretty excellent game

  8. Yargh says:

    just acquired this and played my first two runs. Most fun.

    I like the concept of short games with a slowly increasing world to choose from, the game itself I have found charming so far. (Definitely recommend using a controller for the combat)

    • EhexT says:

      One thing I’d warn people about is that it gets more roguelike-y later. The first 3-5 bosses are basically tutorial, but then the difficulty ramps up and your success at a dungeon isn’t really a given anymore. Especially once you do some things I won’t spoil there are combat encounters you’d to do well to be genuinely scared of because they will mess you up even if you are Batman (and damn it really helps to be Batman in this game).

  9. Chaoslord AJ says:

    Can also recommend it. Fun entertainment with the insidous mystery card dealer dude.
    It plays like one of those games where the playing field is laid out by cards on the table with a shot of talisman.
    Check it out it’s rather unique at the moment.

  10. MrLoque says:

    I wish there was a demo.

  11. Crafter says:

    I bought it a couple of months ago.
    It is an extremely good idea for a roguelite.
    The game has a couple of flaws though :
    -The Arkham-like combat feels very rough and limited. It seems that they just did not have the budget to develop an interesting battle system.
    -Using deckbuilding mechanics in order to manage encouters and equipment is a great idea. Having most of these encounter resolved randomly (for example you have to pass two trials and have 1/4 chance to win each of them) is a pain in the ass.

    • EhexT says:

      You should actually have a higher than 1/4 chance at the card shuffle events, because they don’t cheat. If you can visually follow the cards (which is fairly simple to a certain degree) you increase your odds dramatically. Basically, make sure you memorize all 4 cards, then follow which one gets put on top – then follow where it goes after being put on top.

      • EhexT says:

        Can’t edit, so addendum – you also get a shuffle-redo ability later in the game (and you can randomly get it earlier too).

  12. Elusiv3Pastry says:

    This is one of my new favorites, definitely one of the most original little gems to come out in a while. The combat may not be complex but it’s fun, the artwork is great, and the voice acting by your mysterious yet somewhat friendly antagonist is absolutely top notch, on par with the Dungeon Keeper narrator. He really brings all the spooky weirdness together.

    Absolutely recommended!

  13. bill says:

    I know nothing about it, but it sounds like an intriguing mix.

    I’ve always wanted an RPG with an AI gamesmaster who set up scenarios for the player, reacted to their actions, and strung them all together into an adventure.
    This isn’t that, but it’d have some similar effects.
    It even occurred to me that you could do something like this, but with the cards being hidden. Similar to how some single player card games use the cards as the gamesmaster.
    That way, the RPG would play kind of like a regular RPG for the players, but the AI Gamesmaster would be effectively playing combinations of scenario / enemy and object cards to create their game.

  14. Brosecutor says:

    That card-dealing guy is one drama queen of a dungeon master.

    • MrLoque says:

      Vice acting is superb, better than most triple-A titles in my opinion.

    • EhexT says:

      The best virtual DMs are drama queens. DnD Online has a hilarious one who voices all the NPCs with fake bad acting.

  15. Hands_of_Fates says:

    This game makes me feel like I’m sitting down for a single player DnD game with the dealer as sort of a “dungeon master”, laying out the adventure for me to go through. There are a lot of stories to be told that keep fairly short but interesting, and will occasionally result in combat. The combat of the game isn’t amazing or revolutionary, but I find it fun and enjoyable. I’m into hack and slash style gameplay and this game does it well enough while not overstaying its welcome.

    Gameplay here: link to youtube.com